The Condition of Adam Before the Fall

Please give in the Gospel Advocate your understanding of the condition of Adam before his fall. In other words, was he immortal before he violated his Maker? Did he lose both temporal and spiritual life? If so, did not the Savior die, not only a temporal, but a spiritual, death, to consummate the at-one-ment for the human family? I have my ideas of this question, resulting from a careful study of the Bible. A brother and myself, differing to some extent about it, agreed to refer to you for the sum of your investigations, thinking you might assist us and perhaps others occupying similar positions. My position is, in short, that he was subject to mortality even in Eden, but the fruit of the tree of life could, and did, perpetuate his life, counteracting his tendency to mortality. What say you?

These questions are so near the border line of speculations that have a tendency to draw men’s minds from the more practical requirements of religion, that we answer them cautiously. Some things, we think, are revealed about the death of Adam. These we try to answer. The death that Adam died clearly was that he became mortal.

Mortality is death. Death is suffering, decay, corruption. What we call “death” is the final result of a state of death that we are undergoing here. The biblical use of the term immortality is not eternal existence merely, but the opposite of mortality — freedom from suffering, decay, corruption. This corruptible must put on incorruption; this mortal, immortality; so death (our present state) will be swallowed up in victory. Man was without corruption, or mortality, before he sinned. Whether he was kept so by eating the fruit of the tree of life or whether it was inherent in him, we have no means of determining. The cutting off from the tree of life corresponded in time with his becoming mortal, or entering into the state of death. It is probably a legitimate inference that the continuance to partake of the tree of life would have perpetuated existence. Man became physically a dying being. He sinned. To sin is to separate from God, is to unite with the devil. This is to breathe the atmosphere of death, is to drink in the life of the evil one. His life becomes our life. The life of the evil one is a living death. Deliverance from the service of the evil one is life, is union with God. Whether it required the spiritual death of Christ, or how far he suffered or died spiritually or in his divine nature, we have no means of determining; so anything we might say would be unprofitable speculation in things not revealed. We only know he did not die as a spiritual being, in the sense of sinning against God, and being united to the evil one. How a being can spiritually die without separation from God and union with the evil one, we know not. Christ’s death opened the way for our escape from union with the evil one for a reunion with God. The devil is the ruler of this world. Its atmosphere is impregnated with a spirit of rebellion against God. We imbibe the spirit of rebellion. Christ died to deliver men from this evil influence. He calls him into his church, in which a different atmosphere prevails, so man may breathe a different spirit. Finally this church will repossess this world. The atmosphere will be purged of the spirit of sin, with which it is surcharged, and men will cease to breathe the rebellious spirit and will be less in love with sin.

The Promise to Abraham

Please give us an article in the Gospel Advocate on the promises made to Abraham – whether they have been fulfilled or not; or do we, as Christians, look for those promises yet to be fulfilled? In Gen. 13:14, 15, God said to Abraham: “Look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it.” Then in Acts 7:5 it is said that he did not inherit it. Why I want your views on this is that the Adventists are creating great excitement in this country among the brethren.

When people will not know and practice the word of God, they will be carried off by some delusion or other. God will send a delusion upon those who stubbornly reject his word. The people of this country and age do not know what the Bible teaches; hence they cannot believe or practice it. We think likely Adventism is as harmless a delusion of a religious character as can afflict them.

The promise to Abraham was: “In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall poses the gate of his enemies; and in, thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” It is an indefinite question to ask if that promise has been fulfilled. There are so many items in the blessing that were not all to be accomplished at one time that the same answer will not answer for all.

The first promise, “I will bless thee,” certainly was fulfilled; the second, “In multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore,” was fulfilled. Their numbers increased beyond computation almost. They were given the mastery over their enemies, or possessed the gates of their enemies, until by disobedience they forfeited this power. Through Abraham the promised seed has come – Christ Jesus, our Lord. In him the blessing for all nations is provided. All nations who have received him have received the promised blessing, but the enjoyment of it depends upon our accepting that blessing and appropriating it through compliance with the conditions connected with the giving of it. The condition of enjoying the blessing through Christ is trust in him that leads to a full acceptance of Christ as the Ruler and Lord of all. No nation, as a whole, has accepted him thus. Some have wholly rejected him. They wholly fail of the blessing through this rejection. Only individuals of other nations and families accept him. To the extent that they receive and obey him, to that extent they have received the blessing. The blessings through Abraham have been provided and given to the world. The enjoyment of those blessings is only partial. The Jews have forfeited the blessings they once enjoyed. The Gentiles have only partially accepted the blessings, so to a very limited extent enjoy them. The blessings through Abraham have all been provided by God and placed in reach of man. Man enjoys them just to the extent that he receives and obeys Christ.

David Lipscomb