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Abstract

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Appendixes


     

Seed of the Woman

 

SUMMING UP

 

 

 

 

It is not that we have new light
on the Articles of Faith themselves:
they are still the grand fundamentals
we have always believed.

It is rather that we have new light
on the connecting links between them.
This new light underscores the organic unity of our Faith,
and shows how each Article contributes an essential element to the whole structure.

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Summing Up

Now unto the King
eternal, immortal, invisible,
the only wise God,
be honour and glory
for ever and ever.

(1 Timothy 1:17)

 

      If John Owen had not pre-empted the phrase "The Death of Death" as part of the title of one of his best known theological works, it might have made an excellent title for this volume. For this is largely what it is all about. Alternatively, it might have been titled The Unique Relationship Between the First and the Last Adam, since this too would have been appropriate. Yet its theme has a broader compass than either title.
     For a long time we were in the habit of referring to the volume as The Physiology of Redemption since it lays emphasis on those factors in the great scheme of redemption which have to do with matters physiological. Yet we were persuaded in the end that the title did not adequately declare the theme of the book which is the salvation of the whole man. So we ended up with the present title, The Seed of the Woman that Seed being the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour. It is a fresh examination of how the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Creator of the Universe, when He designed the order of nature, prepared the way for Himself to become Man in order to die as Man that we who had lost true manhood might live.
     We have indeed been dealing with the nature of death as a consequence of disobedience and with the promise of its final elimination. But we have been dealing with an even more profound problem: how

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can such a tragedy in human experience as death has proved to be, be reconciled with the claim that God who declares Himself to be altogether gracious in all his intentions towards man is also sovereign? How can such an evil have been allowed to bring so great an avalanche of tears to a race conceived in love by a Creator who desires only the good of his creatures? Was the Fall and its penalty unforeseen? Was it an accident? Was it merely allowed? Or was it planned?
     The conclusion seems to me to be somewhere between allowing and planning, for it was both allowed and allowed for and therefore part of the Plan. It was planned in hope, not after the event had happened but from the very beginning of creation indeed, before creation was actually begun. The whole process of creation, whether it took millions of years to set the stage or only a few days, was directly related to and designed with the Plan of Redemption in mind.
     Natural laws, including those governing all living processes, were engineered as a direct preparation for the creation of man as a free agent with the power of making a choice between right and wrong, and with the capacity for redemption if the choice was wrongly made. The process of redemption itself was ultimately bound to the nature of the penalty that disobedience would bring, namely, the experience of dying. And the origin and nature of man's dying as distinct from the origin and nature of plant and animal death provides the key to an understanding of the physical basis of this Plan of Redemption: in short, the physiology of redemption. Human death makes redemption possible.
    Only Revelation can help us here. All the sophisticated research in the world cannot tell us what kind of physical life Adam enjoyed at first that made it possible for him not to die unless he disobeyed. We see something of the meaning of a form of physical immortality in certain lower orders of life, but we cannot know by experiment whether the form of Adam's immortality was the same. And we still do not know even in animals what actually happens when a creature begins to die. If we should get closer to understanding this strange phenomenon for them, we still have no materials for experiment with man as God created him because man is no longer man. Adam ceased to be himself when he disobeyed and became something essentially different, for he no longer had the power to continue his life unendingly. If we experiment with man today, we are not experimenting with man as God created him in Adam.
     All we know is that the original kind of life system was not entirely lost to the human race when Adam fell. By the unique formation of Eve out of Adam, provision was made in the woman's seed for its continuance and recovery in the Person of Jesus Christ. The Universe seems to have been designed for this: and the earth was prepared

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specifically as the stage within the theatre of the Universe upon which the drama of Redemption was to be worked out. The nature of the Universe predetermined the nature of man's corporeality, and it was only possible for man to be redeemed by a Redeemer who assumed man's corporeal constitution. The Redeemer was God Himself, taking upon Him the nature of man as a permanent part of his own personal existence without in any way surrendering his deity. And the constitution of man as a hyphenate body/spirit entity made this 'assumption' possible.
     His death for man, by incarnation as Man, meant that his manhood could suffer death when his human body died and could be recovered again when his human body was resurrected. He died as Man even though He continued to live as God; and it was in his capacity as God that He raised Himself again as Man from the dead. What He raised up again was his human body and what He thereby reconstituted was his manhood. He was perfectly correct when He said that He would raise his body up again in three days (John 2:19). But Peter was equally correct when he said that it was God who raised Him up (Acts 2:24). For He was God. It was the Lord Jehovah who raised up his own human body and re-appeared to the disciples as the Lord Jesus whom they had known before. As such, even Thomas acknowledged Him when he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).
     The death of God as Man incarnate is only comprehensible to the extent that we grasp the fact that it was by the destruction of the human body which He had assumed, that He died as Man. And the reconstitution of God as Man is only comprehensible to the extent that we recognize He was able to raise that body and assume it once again in a glorified form.
     Man was created with the possibility of dying but not the necessity of doing so, and thus accordingly a Redeemer could be made with the same potential and be truly human. Since redemption involved the Redeemer's death but without internal necessity, this is precisely how true man had to be constituted at first. No angel could die for man since angels do not experience physical death, and no animal can suffice by its dying either. Only God could suffice as Redeemer of men; and therefore God became neither angel nor animal, but Man. And He became Man specifically that He might taste death not for some solitary individual, as a man may do today in giving his life for a friend, but that He might taste death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). That was why He had to be both man and more than man: God-Man.
     As we have seen, while death must be possible for man even in his unfallen state since otherwise an unfallen redeemer could not himself have experienced death on man's behalf, it had to be possible for him not to die since otherwise the redeemer could not embrace death

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voluntarily. Unless these two alternatives were present in Adam, there could have been no Redeemer and no redemption. It is necessary to underscore these two potentials because so much hinges upon them. Unless it is possible for man to die, no man can possibly die as a substitutionary sacrifice. Unless it is possible for man not to die, such a redeemer if truly man would be subject to death by nature and could not therefore offer himself in man's place. We know that both these conditions were met in the creation of the first Adam, and we know now that the processes of conception and birth and hereditary transmission were so designed that out of Adam's loins there might still arise a Second Adam who could be just such a Redeemer.
     So the Plan is of a piece in every element. To surrender any link in the chain is to make the Plan unworkable. For man to be redeemable, the race must have begun with an Adam whose physiology was precisely that which Scripture reveals it was in Adam. Such a creature was not evolved but was a special creation.
     And in order for the Redeemer to escape the necessity of death while remaining truly man, what is revealed in Genesis to have happened is precisely what had to happen to make the Plan of Redemption work. The creation of Eve out of Adam in order to separate the two seeds, the housing of the woman's seed in a unique way for its preservation, and the virgin conception and birth of a sinless and immortal Redeemer these form a single theme. Bodily resurrection without corruption was proof of its success.
     In following this sequence of events, we have seen how research has shed more and more light upon the matter until continued unbelief is well-nigh inexcusable. We see now that the great fundamentals of the Faith need not be abandoned because of the advance of knowledge, but ought to be even more securely embraced than ever before. Only those ignorant of the facts can today justify their departure from the Faith.

      But it may be argued that the approach taken in this volume is inherently dangerous. In the past, apparent confirmations of faith have been hailed with enthusiasm only to prove in the course of time to be misinterpretations of the evidence which, properly understood, offered no confirmation at all. In a few instances the evidence has in fact been the invention of an over-eager mind, although with the best of intentions. Such claims can only do harm. The argument is, therefore, that we should never bolster Faith by such means.
     With this I agree. Faith based on humanly acquired knowledge is precarious, since all such knowledge is subject to correction. Yet it is undoubtedly a mistake to go to the other extreme and refuse to explore the implications of such new knowledge in the light of the

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strong convictions we do have. The worst of all fears is fear that the discovery of the truth will be damaging to our Faith. Yet a fact established is as sacred as a truth revealed.
     Moreover, almost all the evidence here presented is experimentally verifiable or can be documented historically. Much of it is repeatable evidence, observable, and in essentials hardly deniable. It is not likely that we shall suddenly discover it is all a mistake. Theories come and go, but experimentally established data remain. And I believe it is time that the implications of these findings should be explored by the Lord's people. The supposed conflict between Science and Faith lies not in the facts themselves but in the way they are interpreted. We are challenged to interpret them in the light of the Word of God.
     Just when our theological colleges and seminaries are tending to lead the ministers and pastors of tomorrow away from the old Faith on the grounds that modern science has made that old Faith untenable, modern research is in many ways tending in exactly the opposite direction.
     That Adam could have been 'divided' for the formation of Eve, and that two such creatures could have had a potential physical immortality is no longer a concept foreign to current biological findings though few biologists would risk their reputations yet by openly declaring such a position as I have taken. But human genetics and developmental physiology do combine to show that the unique formation of Eve out of Adam could very well serve the purpose of providing a means whereby the potential immortality they both enjoyed at first could be preserved via the woman's seed, even after it had been surrendered by both of them personally. However, what the evidence really tells us is not so much that this could be done, for we know by the implications of Scripture that this is what must have been done. What this new knowledge does is to enable us to gain a deeper insight into the means whereby God brought it all about. And it shows that the natural order had been designed with this in view.
     We should not therefore turn our backs upon this new light, but rejoice in it and explore our Faith along new lines. The result of such exploration is to provide new understandings of Scripture itself and new insights into passages, the meaning of which has lain dormant hitherto. Such passages are suddenly unlocked, and many old familiar passages are illuminated in new and surprising ways. In short, this new knowledge is not to engender Faith but to enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the things we already believe.

     But there is an important distinction that needs to be made between what are strictly the fundamentals of our Faith when viewed   

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as a series of propositions to which we assent wholeheartedly, and the rationale with which they are organized into a coherent and defensible system of theology. The existence and nature of God, the creation of man in God's image, the formation of Eve, the fact and nature of the Fall, the entrance of death (both spiritual and physical), the promise of a Redeemer, the Incarnation whereby God became Man for man's redemption through the miracle of a virgin conception, the sinless life and vicarious death of that Redeemer, his bodily resurrection without corruption, and his promised return all these are the elements of our Faith, the basis of our hope as Christians, and the subject headings of our systematic theologies. How one element follows from the preceding one and relates to it and to all the rest is something which God has left us to work out by thinking about the matter, though He has provided pointers throughout Scripture.
     Such pointers illuminate the whole fabric of our Faith and make it beautifully satisfying to the sort of minds we have, if we do but accept these fundamental elements to begin with. But because our minds are at different stages of development, so we each take from Scripture that which is most suitable for us personally. Scripture encourages this selectivity by its constant use of parable and symbol and metaphor, since such devices lend themselves to different purposes according to the mind of the reader. By which I mean that one may have in a single household a child reading a Bible story and being stirred in imagination to make noble resolves, while at the same time in another room grandfather is sitting at a desk poring over the same passage and drinking in the deep things of God, which the child would never discover nor needs to know at that stage of development. The words are for children, but the thoughts are for men. Each draws from the same Word food convenient for himself. Yet the truth is not thereby compromised.
     However, what I think we have to avoid at all costs is the temptation to confuse the rationale (the theology which we construct for ourselves in relation to our Faith) with saving faith itself. Such systematic theologies are built up partly on the basis of explicit statements of Scripture, and partly upon its implicit statements and upon knowledge gained from other sources. We must not equate faith with reason in such a way that it becomes dependent upon reason. Faith that is dependent upon reason is not a biblical faith. Saving faith is something granted to our darkened minds by the Holy Spirit. We reach it by a leap not a ladder, by a jump not a climb. It is something that suddenly grips the mind, as though a light were switched on unexpectedly. Afterwards we may back-track and construct a rationale but we do not arrive at our faith this way to begin with. Christian evidences may serve the purpose of removing some of our objections

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so that our blindness is not quite so strongly 'willed': but this is not how saving faith itself is acquired.
     We do not simply decide to believe, having been convinced by factual evidence. We first grasp the truth, being enabled by the Holy Spirit, and then the external evidence for the truth suddenly takes on a new significance. Thus we 'understand' by faith rather than believe because we have first understood. Anselm said, "I believe in order that I may understand." It was years later that Abelard set the modern trend by saying instead, "I seek understanding in order that I may believe." Abelard led us astray.
     The reason I believe the fundamentals of my Faith is not because I can rationalize them. For some years I believed them with all my heart without being able to systematize them in my own mind. Systematization, and rationalization, came long after faith. But today I find it exciting indeed to explore the implications of these things not only in the light of Scripture but with the help of scientific research also. Such findings do not certify faith but they can indeed broaden understanding: and they help to show the organic unity of that Faith.
     It is important to note that the fundamentals of Faith are sometimes abandoned because their interrelateness as a system of belief has not been made explicit. For example, it is easy to abandon the concept of the direct creation of Adam and to substitute some form of evolution at least of his body, if the true significance of the body in man's constituted being is not recognized. If Adam's body is animal in origin, regardless of where his 'soul' arises, then man is half animal and the Lord Jesus when He became Man became half animal also. If we once accept the erroneous view that man is only truly man by reason of his 'soul,' and that his body has little significance except in so far as it is an adept housing for his soul from a physiological point of view, then we are really losing sight of what man is. The human body forms as much a part of man's humanity as his spirit does. Neither is more important than the other, or less important.
      If Adam had his physical life by virtue of animal ancestry, then his death was not a penalty but was programmed as it was for animals. He becomes a unique spirit in an animal body, all the physical elements of which are shared by other primates. But Scripture does not seem to take this view at all. The death of a man is quite different from the death of an animal because it is a rending apart of a bond originally designed to last throughout eternity. So important is the body of a man that he must have his own body resurrected in order to be reconstituted as truly himself. When we bow to the implacable offensive of science in such an issue as this, as the Roman Catholic Church has done officially, we are left with a totally indefensible theology of salvation, and a biblical psychology that is no longer truly

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biblical. It is only a matter of time before the logical relations of this betrayal of sound doctrine will become evident. Professor Gresham J. Machen said many years ago: *

     The true way in which to examine a spiritual movement is in its logical relations: logic is the great dynamic and the logical implications of any way of thinking are sooner or later certain to be worked out.

     Few people realize when they begin to take a supposedly broader view of human origins that they are initiating a process of reasoning which will work itself out in their minds, willy-nilly, until they find they are shifting their position even with respect to some elements of their Faith which they never had any intention of abandoning. And very soon the whole Faith, the whole system of Faith, begins to collapse. It is quite hopeless to defend the fact of the Virgin Birth and the Incarnation if we abandon the record of the formation of Eve as given in Genesis. The Virgin Birth apart from the background of original sin and the communication of mortality through natural generation becomes meaningless. Indeed such a scholar as William Barclay, who accepted the evolution of man, has stated quite candidly that he cannot see the significance of either the virgin birth or the bodily resurrection of the Lord. If one can see no reason for these great truths, can they remain great convictions? The fatal step from a little doubt to no faith is sometimes delayed for a long time, but it is almost always taken in the end. And we have seen how unnecessary it is for us to surrender our Faith in any of its fundamentals so far as factual evidence goes.
     Whatever else in Karl Barth's theology we may feel uneasy about, he was unquestionably right in insisting that the creation of man in such a form that the Fall of man took place as it did, was an essential step in the revelation of God's redeeming love; and the story of Eden must be viewed as preparatory to Calvary. In this sense creation was conceived after the Plan of Redemption had been formulated, because that plan predetermined the form that creation must take. As Barth put it:

     To proceed from creation to original sin, from original sin to actual sin, and from actual Sin to grace, is a wrong method in dogmatics. The true method of a believing theology is in reverse.

* Machen, Gresham J., quoted by J. I. Packer, Fundamentalism and the Word of God, London, IVF, 1958, p. 26, 27.     DOC
Barth, Karl, quoted by N. H. Ridderbos, Is There a Conflict Between Genesis and Natural Science?, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1957, p. 14.   DOC

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     That is to say, in the mind of God the exhibition of his love at Calvary was the prime cause of his decision to create man at all: the creation of man in the form in which it is revealed to have taken place was a necessary but dependent consideration. Calvary preceded Eden and the Plan of Redemption preceded the Fall. This means that the crucifixion was not an emergency measure planned later to offset an unfortunate incident in Eden. What happened to the First Adam had everything to do with what was achieved by the Last Adam. By distorting the former we completely confuse the significance of the latter.
     We should be exploring the new evidence that science is uncovering in the fields of genetics, embryology, and developmental physiology with a view to enlarging our sense of wonder that God in his wisdom should so design the processes of conception and birth that He could use them, without doing violence to his own created order, as a means of entering into our world of space and time in the likeness of ourselves for our redemption. He did not need to supercede these laws. He put them to a higher service, a service for which they were designed in the first place.
     It is not that we have discovered unexpectedly that the natural laws governing these things at last permit us to present a scientific argument for our Faith. It is rather that we can now see how these laws were from the very first intended to serve the purpose of God. Our Faith perceives them to have been essential if that purpose was to be fulfilled. God was not limited by natural law which by some adjustment permitted Him to do what He wished: He designed those laws in the first place to serve his own purpose. He first made his plans and then designed the natural order accordingly.
     It is time to return to the old Faith, for the old Faith as traditionally understood is far nearer to the truth than the newer versions of it. The revised versions are often the result of ignorance rather than the understanding of modern research. We have abandoned our Faith too easily. We were fearful of being 'out of date' where in point of fact we might even have inspired some new fields of biological research which just now are beginning to excite the scientific world (the basis of longevity, for example). If only we had had the courage to explore without apology the consequences of those things which the Lord's people have most surely believed from the beginning, we might have led the way to exciting new understandings of both the world we live in and of the Faith we profess.

     I cannot do better than close with a beautiful succinct summation of the whys and wherefores of much that has been discussed in this volume than by quoting some words of W. Ian Thomas in his quite

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remarkable little book, The Mystery of Godliness. *

He had to come as He did
             to be what He was.

He had to be what He was
             to do what He did.

He had to do what He did
             that you might have what He is.

You must have what He is
            to be what He was.

     In short, the Lord Jesus had to come by virgin conception to be a truly human being. He had to be a truly human being to redeem fallen man. He had to redeem fallen man in order that you and I might have his kind of eternal life. You and I must have his kind of eternal life in order to be a truly human being. Amen!
     We have for too long thought of the salvation of the soul as a salvation of the spirit only. But man is not a spirit only. Angels are spirits, but man is man: and he is man by reason of the duality of his constitution as a body/spirit entity.
     Whereas it is true that the application of the redemptive process depends upon man's spiritual nature which permits him to see his own need and appropriate God's promises, it is nevertheless true that the manner of man's redemption hinges upon the nature of his physiology which was so designed that the Son of God might be made flesh in order to achieve that redemption for him without doing violence either to his own nature or to the natural order of things.
     The salvation of his soul is not possible except his body be redeemed as well. Nor is the body incidental: it is as fundamental a part of man's being as his spirit.
     Furthermore, the emphasis upon man's spiritual being to the exclusion of his bodily existence has led us to overlook the physiology of his redemption. Redemption is not simply a matter of the Lord's spiritual sacrifice of Himself. In spite of the great emphasis in Scripture upon the blood of his sacrifice, we tend to find repugnant the thought that the shedding of his blood is the ground of our salvation. Yet this shedding of blood is what made his embodiment, his Incarnation, a prerequisite. It involved not merely taking upon Himself for our sakes the appearance of man, as angels already have done throughout biblical history. It involved being human as to his  

* Thomas, W. Ian, The Mystery of Godliness, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1972, p.121.

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body including his brain: i.e., physiologically. So we re-discover the importance of Adam's body as created, not evolved: of Eve as formed miraculously, not by natural process: of the Fall as a physical Fall as well as a spiritual Fall: of the virgin conception as an essential step in the redemption of man: of a death that need never have happened for internal reasons but was truly substitutionary both spiritually and physically: and of a resurrection of that body that allowed the symbol and proof of divine satisfaction to be placed on record in heaven to protect for ever those whose souls have been redeemed at such a price.
     The whole man is body and spirit, a hyphenated entity in which neither constituent is whole in itself, nor is either superior or inferior to the other in importance. As Robert H. Gundry argues*, the biblical touchstone for truly human life is not a spirit that has consciousness nor the mere existence of a physical object such as a body. Man is only himself in the unity of his body and his spirit, wherein the body is animated and the spirit can express itself actively in obedience to God. Once redeemed, both parts of the human constitution share equally in the dignity of the divine image, a dignity which lies in man's service as God's representative caretaker over the material world. For such a task man needs just as much the physical instrument for action, his body, as he does the incorporeal source of conscious willing to action, his spirit. Thus we come full circle and find ourselves reiterating the words of Hugo St. Victor, that the world was made for the body, the body for the spirit, and the spirit for God. And we may remind ourselves that the Universe was made for the world.

     Man in his whole constitution becomes the reason for the whole creation, which now waits for his redemption, the redemption of his body (Romans 8:23), because upon it the proper ordering of the world hinges and without it, its proper master is missing.
     It becomes us to recognize once again the fundamental importance of the long chain of events which has been the subject of this study of the physiological aspects of man's redemption. All too often we have tended to ignore these aspects of salvation and consequently to lose sight of the vital importance of the events which necessitated such a kind of redemption and also made such a kind of redemption possible.
     The human body is as essential to the existence of a truly human being as is the human spirit. In spite of the effect of the Fall upon man's body, his body is still essential to his spirit because it supplies the spirit with its means of expression and action, just as the spirit provides the body with its animation and capacity for purposeful 

* Gundry, Robert H., Soma in Biblical Theology, Cambridge University Press, 1976, p.160.

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activity. By their separation body and spirit both die; and so dies the whole man. Thus by the redemption of the body and by bodily resurrection wherein the physiology of redemption is made complete, the whole man is reconstituted personally, and the original creation of man is finally fulfilled and justified. Thereby is also fulfilled and justified the creation of the whole Universe.
     The whole creation awaits the redemption of man, a redemption made possible because both the cosmos and man himself were prepared for this contingency perhaps even designed for it. Certainly the design encompassed the necessary mechanisms for the appearance in due time of one unique Seed of woman in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, who by special means escaped the entail of sin and death transmitted through the seed of man.
     By his sacrifice of Himself, He who was the Creator of the Universe effected our salvation by temporarily laying aside the glory He had shared with his Father and being made one with us within the framework of space and time, becoming subject to two kinds of death in our place. So that, by rebirth of our spirit and by resurrection of our body we are thus wholly redeemed.
     As there is to be a race of new men in Christ new in spirit and new in body so there is to be a new heaven and a new earth accordingly. Nothing has been in vain, nothing was unforeseen. He who promised He would make a new people out of us who are really no longer people at all (1 Peter 2:9), promised also that He would make all other things new as well (Revelation 21:5). And indeed He will!

     Even so, come Lord Jesus. . . . Amen.

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EPILOGUE

    The drama is not yet completed.
    The final chapter has still to be played out, and it is to far outlast earth accord- all that has gone before. The prospect carries us into eternity . . .
    While the precise details and the exact order of events associated with the Lord's return are not yet clear enough to ensure unanimous agreement upon them, yet the fact itself is nowhere disputed among the Lord's people.
    He will return. And He will return as He went into heaven; a perfect Man with a perfect human body, a body as glorious in its constitution and potential as God originally planned the human body to be: and as becomes the vehicle of a race appointed to have dominion over all other creatures on earth - and perhaps even over the universe itself. And we shall be like Him! Free from all sin; free from all vulnerabilities; free from pain and tears; free from the circumscriptions of time and space; and above all free from the devastation of death.
    With our Lord, we shall be part of a new world that is to encompass a new earth, not merely a new heaven. We shall not all die, for some will be alive at his coming, though millions will have sown their bodies in the earth. But we shall all be changed, transforrned, transfigured, beautified in spirit and in body, incomparably.
    He, as Man, will restore the pristine splendour of the earth that God planned for it, and we under Him will finally fufill, with joy and with skills made perfect, the establishment of human dominion over all living things. Paradise will not be a hoped for place in heaven, but an experienced reality on earth-and on the new earth it will never

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ever wear out or decay.
    And perhaps this wonderful thing we call the web of nature will be transported in an ever widening circle and in ever diversifying forms until the whole Universe is thronged with the creatures of God's design! Of the increase of his kingdom there is to be no end (Isaiah :7).
    We have some intimations of it. This enormous Universe surely cannot have been created solely as a display of God's power and might. But we see only through a glass darkly. Certainly man has yet to have total dominion over the physical order and the Son of Man is yet to wear the crown of that dominion. The millenial age is not the terminal one, nor is the present physical world the final economy of things. All this is but the first step towards a fulfilled reality the glory of which will be breathless to behold: so that in a wonderful sense we can perhaps say to one another (borrowing the words of Robert Browning's Rabbi ben Ezra),

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand
Who saith "A whole, I planned."
Youth shares but half; trust God:
See all nor be afraid.

    Behold! I make all things new! Alleluiah! "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life" (Rev.22:14) which is in the midst of the Garden.

Meanwhile,

the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you.
Amen.
 

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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