Remember my preference

 

Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Appendixes


     

Part II: The Seed of the Woman

Chapter 17
 

God Hath Made All Of One

 
Have we not all one father?
Hath not one God created us?
Malachi 2:10

[God] hath made of one
all nations of men
for to dwell on the face of the earth.
Acts 17:26
 


      God is never devious. He acts simply and directly. When a certain leper came to the Lord Jesus and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean," Jesus simply put forth his hand and touched him saying, "I will: be thou clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:2,3). By contrast, the major surgery performed upon Adam's body for the formation of Eve may seem at first sight to be a devious way of producing the first parents of the human race. Why not simply create an Adam and an Eve instantaneously in the first place? Why this complex procedure?
     I believe there are two very important reasons for the initial creation of Adam as androgynous and for his subsequent division into a male and a female to form the first father and mother of all mankind. Perhaps there are more than two reasons: but certainly there are two; and they are now made apparent in the light of what we know today from a study of human genetics. What has long been held by Christian commentators and theologians and proclaimed as a matter of faith

     pg.1 of 9     


that Adam was first formed and then Eve out of Adam we are at long last in the privileged position of being able to understand with sufficient clarity to make it worthwhile to discuss the subject in physiological terms. There is still much that is not fully understood, but we are beginning to perceive some of the reasons that necessitated the adoption of this less direct procedure which the Genesis account sets before us.
     These two reasons of which we wish to speak can be examined from a physiological, or even more specifically, a genetic point of view: but their real significance remains essentially theological. They both relate basically to the redemptive purposes of God.

     The first reason relates to the method adopted by the Creator in the formation of Eve a method made necessary for physiological reasons in order that all men might ultimately be derived from a single individual, Adam, and not from Adam and Eve as two separately created individuals. The human race originates therefore from a single stem with one head, one source, one "original" Adam. The creation of two separate heads, a father of the race and a mother of the race, each formed by a distinct act of creation, would have physiological and genetic consequences respecting the true unity of the race which would present what seem to be insoluble problems in terms of provision of a single Redeemer truly representative of such a duophyletic line of human beings.
     The importance of drawing Eve out of Adam and not making her a separate creation, and thus meeting the exact requirement of the statement in Acts 17:26 that God has made "of one" (not of one blood) all who dwell on the earth, is clearly brought out by the following consideration.
     Every individual in the world who ever lived or is alive today is descended from a single person. And this includes Eve herself. It follows that Adam stood as a Federal Head, and in him we stand as one. For this reason a single Redeemer tracing descent from Adam can truly represent any one (or every one) of Adam's descendants.
     There are none to whom He is not related as a brother human being; whether male or female. He was in Adam (as to his body) as we are in Adam, and therefore He is brother to all of Adam's seed. He can be the Goel, the Redeemer, of the whole family of man, none excepted.
     We can grasp the significance of this more clearly by considering the difference between the angelic population of heaven and the human population of earth. Each angel appears to have been a separate creation. Angels are not brothers, or if one wishes to avoid all intimations of sex, they are not siblings. They have no familial relationships. They are "angelic" only by virtue of having

     pg 2 of 9      

been all fashioned according to a single pattern, all "cast in the same mold," by their Creator. They do not form a race or a "species" in the sense that earth's creatures (including man) do. By definition, a species is an interbreeding community and angels simply do not interbreed in order to multiply, and did not originate by breeding. * They are not derived from a single ancestor. But because of the formation of Eve out of Adam, man does derive from a single ancestor.
      Thus having no federal head because they do not form a single "family," there could never be for the angels any single angelic redeemer since there is, strictly speaking, no angelic race but only an aggregation of angelic individuals of entirely independent origin. Thomas Aquinas was acute enough to see, in fact, that "each angel is itself a species." This statement demonstrated the genius of Thomas in getting at the nub of the issue provided, of course, that he was aware of the truth he was annunciating so succinctly. In a similar vein, Herman Bavinck observed:

     (Angels) do not constitute one race, are not blood relatives, and did not beget each other. It is possible to speak of mankind but not of angelkind [emphasis ACC]. When Christ assumed human nature He was immediately related to all men, related by blood, and He was their brother according "to the flesh." But angels (merely) live next to each other, each one accountable for himself and not for the others, so that a portion of them could fall and a portion remain faithful to God.


     In Adam are all men, and in Adam's Fall all are involved. In the Second Adam, therefore, all may again be represented, for He was by blood their kinsman Redeemer. Bavinck comments further that both animals and plants have, so to speak, multiple origins, "various ancestors" as he puts it.
     By contrast, all men are descended from a single parental pair. The human race has only one ancestry and

* Some such idea seems to have been held by Gregory of Nyssa (310 c.395). In his work On the Making of Man (chapter XVII) he notes that there are evidently billions of angels. But they cannot have multiplied by breeding, because they do not inter-marry. Since man is to become like the angels (Matthew 22: 30), and at the same time to regain his original constitution, he too was at first designed to multiply without conjugation. This means in effect that Adam was bisexual.
Thomas Aquinas: quoted by H. 0. Taylor, The Medieval Mind, London, Macmillan, 1911, vol.2, p.458.
Bavinck, Herman, Our Reasonable Faith, translated by H. Zystra, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1956, p.201.
Bavinck, Herman, ibid., p.199.

     pg.3 of 9     

thus constitutes a single generation. To redeem the animal kingdom one would need as many saviours as there are species: a lamb could not redeem a lion and a mouse could not redeem an elephant. The same circumstance applies on an even wider scale in the plant kingdom, except that it is impossible to even conceive of redemption where there is no animation.
     It therefore follows that if Eve also had been a separate creation, the human race would effectively have been composed of a line of descendants who were "pure Adam-ite" and owed nothing of their inherited constitution to Eve, and a line of descendants who were "pure Eve-ites" and owed nothing of their inherited constitution to Adam. In addition there would have been a mongrel line neither strictly Adam-ite nor Eve-ite. These three strains could never be truly represented by a single Redeemer.
     The principle of the inevitable sorting out of the two strains (the Adam-ite and the Eve-ite) is clearly established by breeding experiments in nature. Ordinary conditions of miscegenation of two separately created seeds would always result in a certain percentage of pure Adam-ites who owed none of their genes to Eve, and of pure Eve-ites who owed none of their genes to Adam, so that a single Redeemer-substitute in his individual person could only stand for one of these lines. The rest would be without the means of redemption. This would be the situation if Adam and Eve had been separate creations.
     The situation is quite otherwise if Eve was not a separate creation but was derived out of Adam's loins. For in this case, all descendants are basically Adamic since all trace back to Adam, including Eve. A single Redeemer can thus stand in the stead of all, without exception.
     It may seem absurd to suggest that in a race of men all descended from a first pair, Adam and Eve; there could still be a significant number of people whose hereditary constitution owed nothing to the first father, Adam, and an equally significant number whose hereditary constitution owed nothing to their first mother, Eve. Genetically speaking, Eve would not be the mother of all living contrary to Genesis 3:20. Yet it is so. Remarkably enough, Augustine was aware of it! In his City of God (Book XII, 21) he states the matter thus: "And indeed He did not even create the woman that was to be given him as his wife, as he created the man; but created her out of man, that the whole human race might derive from one man." This was certainly an amazing insight from a man living 1500 years ago!
     So we conclude that whether the word blood belongs in Paul's observation in Acts 17:26 or not, his statement was more profoundly true and important than appears at first sight. We are indeed the offspring of God through Adam (Acts 17:29) and because we are all truly Adamic in our constitution and share the same line of heredity and

     pg.4 of 9     

therefore stand undifferentiated in so far as human nature is rooted in a truly common clay, * it is perfectly appropriate that we should be saved by the same Redeemer and the world should be judged by the same standard (Acts 17:31) since that Redeemer as the Second Adam properly represents us all individually.

     There is a second reason for forming Eve out of Adam. It is related in a way to the first, and yet in some respects it stands as an entirely independent issue. We have already touched upon it several times in Part I but we must bring it forward again here because it forms the starting point for much that follows in the next two chapters.
     One day, a Saviour was to be born in the line of Adam, made in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) but escaping the entail of corruption which man can no longer escape in his flesh if he is begotten and born by the natural union of the male and female seed.
     It now appears that the poison introduced into Adam's body also reached Adam's seed, or germ plasm as Weismann termed it (of which more anon). By contrast, however, that same poison, though equally damaging to Eve's body as it was to Adam's, did not apparently reach her seed. Adam and Eve were both literally poisoned to death, but the effect of the poison upon each seems to have been different in this important respect, that while the seed of the man was also infected by the poison, the seed of the woman evidently was not. And in this respect the body of the man and the body of the woman were, and still are, constituted differently in a way that is crucial to the working out of the Plan of Redemption.
     I think we have to conclude from the subsequent course of events in Scripture which lead up to the Virgin Birth, that the body of Eve and the bodies of all female descendants of Eve from that day forward provided (and continue to provide) a housing which has uniquely protected her seed in a way that Adam's body did not protect his. It thus becomes highly significant to refer, as Scripture does, to the promise of the coming Redeemer as being the "seed of the woman" as opposed to the seed of the man while at the same time tracing the Saviour back, step by step, not to Eve but to Adam (Luke 3:38). Clearly if Eve was indeed derived from Adam then the seed of the woman was

* Perhaps the "one blood" of Acts 17:26 is to be identified with the "same lump" of Romans 9:21.
See Chapter 9.
On the difference between likeness or similarity, and identity, see #223 at the end of this chapter (page 8).

     pg.5 of 9     

originally the seed of Adam, and thus to call the Saviour the Son of Adam (i.e., the Son of "man") rather than the Son of Eve (in spite of the wording of Genesis 3:15) is perfectly proper.
    What if Eve had not been separated from Adam until after the Fall? When he ate the forbidden fruit, presumably the female seed within his body would be afforded no greater protection against the poison than the male seed. Consequently, her seed (now separated) would convey the same fatal poison in each generation just as Adam's seed. Thus there could never have arisen a Redeemer, even virgin born, who could escape the entail of sin as we know the Lord Jesus Christ did. Eve must, therefore, be separated from Adam before the Fall in order to preserve that seed which was the sole guarantee and promise of such a Saviour.
    For it was necessary that some step be taken to make possible the recovery of the first Adam in the form of a genuine descendant who was entirely uncorrupted by the stream of poison that runs without fail in all his other descendants. The seed of the woman which was once Adam's seed and therefore carried the Adamic line unbroken, had to be separated and set apart where it could be preserved uncorrupted to await the day when it would be germinated miraculously, the normal component which a male in Adam's line should have supplied being provided supernaturally by God Himself through the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).
    In his wisdom God therefore set the stage for the coming of the Saviour who was to redeem man's body as well as his spirit, by first creating an Adam who was potentially immortal, encompassing within himself the reproductive mechanisms (both male and female) for the multiplication of his own kind, and then by separating Eve out of him and entrusting to her one of these mechanisms, fashioning for her a body specially designed to preserve that seed intact as it passed uncorrupted through each successive generation from daughter to daughter, regardless of the fate of her own body or of theirs. The record is set forth in Scripture without embellishment and it bears all the earmarks of simple truth. We are only now beginning to grasp the possibilities of such an operation as was involved in the formation of Eve, and its consequences in the light of developmental physiology.
    That some such process of formation of Eve was involved has, it seems, been "in the air" for some years. Humphrey J. T. Johnson in his book The Bible and Early Man, * notes that a Brazilian biologist,

* Johnson, Humphrey J. T., quoting Piza in a paper entitled "A Costela de Adao a luz da biologica" ["Adam's Rib in the Light of Biology"], Revista de Agricultura, Sept-Oct., 1946, p. 359ff, with English summary.

     pg.6 of 9     


S. de Toledo Piza, in 1946 suggested that what God took from Adam's body for the purpose was not a rib but a chromosome, perhaps one of Adam's X chromosomes. It should not be beneath the concern of any biologist with Christian convictions to contemplate what could be the meaning of this ancient record of what happened. It is only our fear of being labeled "literalist" that puts the subject in the not-to-be-taken-seriously category by any biologist who has a weather eye on the safety of his or her professional reputation.


     This seemingly roundabout way of providing a helpmeet for Adam proves to have been a necessary step in the provision which God foresaw was going to have to be made for the redemption of a creature who was to be allowed freedom of choice. In the first place, it was necessary in order that a single Person could be the Redeemer of any member of that race, being kinsman to all men without exception. And in the second place, it was necessary because there was no other way in which One who was to be truly the Son of Man could be born of woman without the entail of sin.
    There is nothing arbitrary here. Nor is there anything purely miraculous as though God could only work by miracle, or purely natural as though there was no need for divine intervention. God seems from the very beginning to have so designed the process of conception and birth throughout nature that He could use it, later on, without doing any violence to his own created order when the time finally came to objectify Himself by entering into this world of time and space in the likeness of ourselves as our Redeemer in the Person of Jesus Christ. He did violence neither to nature nor to Himself.
    Just how this seed was preserved and carried in the female line from generation to generation (as it is still being carried even today) without surrendering its original immortality, is the subject of the next two chapters. How wonderfully the Word of God is illuminated in so many familiar passages, once the meaning of these things has been understood, will be abundantly clear as we proceed towards the time of that most amazing of all events since the creation of the Universe, the moment when God became flesh and was dwelling among us.

     pg.7 of 9     


NOTE

223. (See page 5)   In some circles there is considerable debate as to whether the Lord's body was identical with ours or only similar. It is argued that if his body was only similar, then He was not a true representative of man. Against this argument it may be said by contrast that we ourselves in our present fallen state are not truly man, and that true Man is to be found only in Adam before he fell. Since the Fall did irreparable and fatal damage to his body, a damage shared by all his natural born descendants, then any human being appearing with such a body as we now have is not a true representative of manhood as originally constituted by God.
     Thus it is appropriate that Romans 8:3 should state very specifically that God sent his Son only "in the likeness of sinful flesh" but not actually in the flesh of sin which is ours since the Fall. The Greek is unequivocal. It reads: en homoiomati sarkos hamartias (). The crucial word here is homoiomati () which means very precisely "similar to" but not "identical with." The first part of this word is homoi- () which is to be most carefully distinguished from homo- (). The difference lies only in the single letter i (iota in Greek) which though seemingly slight makes all the difference in the world. A Greek scholar will not need elaboration of this, but for the reader not acquainted with Greek, here are a number of examples of this prefixed syllable in its two forms and the difference it makes to the words to which they are prefixed.

homoieides         means         "of like kind"
homoeides          means         "of the same kind"

homoios             means         "resembling," "like" (so rendered 47 times in the King James Version)
homos                means         "one and the same"

homonoeo          means         "of one mind"
homometrios      means         "of the same mother" (i.e., true siblings).

     The verb homoioo is regularly used to introduce parables: for example, "the Kingdom of heaven is like unto. . . " [see Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol.5, p.189].
     In the article in Kittel on the word homoioma by Johannes Schneider, emphasis is placed upon the above distinctions, and Romans 8:3 is particularly referred to. As Schneider says: "Paul is emphasizing that Christ was really man. He bore a physical body, fashioned according to the human body which is infected with sin. In outward form He was in no way different from other men. But Paul does not say that He came en sarki hamartias [i.e., He did not come in sinful flesh, but only in the likeness of sinful flesh, ACC]. With his words en homoiomati Paul is showing that for all the similarity between Christ's physical body and that of [other] men, there is an essential difference between Christ and men . . .  He became man without entering the nexus [the actual stream, ACC] of human sin" [p.195].

     pg.8 of 9     


     The distinction between the two groups of words prefixed by homo- and homoi- is universally recognized by scholars, and by taking careful note of these distinctive usages in the New Testament many wonderful truths become apparent. For example, that the Lord was tempted in all points like we are, means (according to the Greek) "in a similar manner" but not "in an identical manner" (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord "was made in the likeness of men," but not identical with us as fallen creatures (Philippians 2:7). We have been "planted together in the likeness of his death" but obviously not in precisely the same way (Romans 6:5). Schneider quotes H. Schlier on this verse as saying "the image (or likeness) of his death is like its object but not equivalent" [p.192]. And he quotes S. Stricker as saying, "It is something similar in another form." Again, "It behooved Him to be made like unto his brethren in all things that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest" (Hebrews 2:17) but manifestly not to be made exactly as his brethren are, for then He could never have become our High Priest in the very presence of God.
     Students of Church History will recognize the importance of the distinction between the words homo-ousias (of the same substance) and homoi-ousias (of like substance) in the formulation of the Nicene Creed (325374). The Eastern Church favoured the view that the Lord Jesus was only of like substance with the Father, whereas the Western Church held the view that He was of the same substance ("of one substance") with the Father. The result was a final rupture between the Eastern and Western branches of the Church which remains officially to this day. This fundamental division was over an iota, the difference between homo- and homoi-. Yet this iota was crucial to the preservation of the Christian faith! It is interesting that the Lord should have said "not one jot (the Greek iota) . . . shall pass away from the law till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18).
     Athanasius himself (c. 296373), who became a great defender of the homo-ousias principle, tells us that in the matter of proving the faith of Christian leaders "homo-ousias became the crucial test of orthodoxy" [The New Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1969, vol.1, p.345]. And Augustus Neander, in his nine volume General History of the Christian Religion and Church, tells us that it was made the "watch-word" as a bulwark in the Nicene Creed against the Arianism favoured by the Eastern Church at that time [Edinburgh, Clark, 1885, vol.4, especially p.38ff.].

     pg.9 of 9     

Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

Previous Chapter                                                                      Next Chapter



Home | Biography | The Books | Search | Order Books | Contact Us