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Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

Part VII


Part IX


Part IV: The Virgin Birth and The Incarnation

Chapter 3

Rebirth and Incarnation Anew

     THE AUTHORIZED Version renders the first part of Acts 17:26 as follows: "[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." The Revised Standard Version renders this, "[God] hath made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth," omitting the word "blood." The omission reflects the fact that some of the most reliable and ancient manuscripts show the latter reading. For reasons which are worth careful consideration, the issue may be an important one both from a theological point of view and from the point of view of a proper understanding of the processes of growth in Christian character after conversion.
     When we commonly speak of a group of people as belonging within a single family, we refer to them as "blood relatives." And if we say that all men are of "one blood," the usually accepted inference is that ultimately all men belong within a single family and can be traced back to the same father and mother. This common father and mother would be Adam and Eve.
     It is quite possible that this is all Paul had in mind, namely, that the human race is a single family, all the members of which have shared the same father and mother. But I think that something more may be intended by Paul, who, directed by the Holy Spirit, modified the common phrase for blood relationship by the omission of the word "blood." He was not simply tracing the human race back to the common parentage of Adam and Eve, but back to a single progenitor, Adam. In short, Paul was underscoring the fact that since Eve was taken out of Adam in the first place, we can quite properly speak of all men having descended not from a single pair, but from a single individual.

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     The theological significance of this fact stems from the requirement that the Lord as Redeemer must truly represent all men. But this requirement could not have been fulfilled if Eve, instead of being formed out of Adam, had been an entirely separate creation. The point is worth careful consideration, for genetically speaking, if Eve had been created independently of Adam and then the two had been mated, their union would have resulted not in a single line of descendants, but in two lines. If Adam and Eve were separate creations, each with a truly individual and independent identity in terms of their genetic constitution, their descendants would actually form three distinct lines or recognizable strains. Two of these would be pure strains, owing their character to either Adam or Eve and sharing nothing of the hereditary constitution of the other parent. The third would be a hybrid composed of an amalgam of each, of both Adam and Eve in varying proportions.
     A similar situation was the basis of some correspondence in The New Scientist recently. In an earlier issue of this journal, Hans Eysenck reaffirmed his view that Negroes as a "race" have a slightly lower I.Q. than whites. This has, expectedly, aroused much heated debate. The issue itself is not the question in the present context, but rather the definition of the word "race" and more particularly the concept of a "pure race." Is there such a thing as a pure race? In the correspondence that ensued, two geneticists from the Medical Research Council of the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh, C. Auerbach and G. H. Beale,
(38) argued that if one starts any line with two animals of supposedly independent origin, one can never speak of their descendants as a pure race. Applying this to man, they observed:

     Man's ancestor was not a single individual that, by asexual reproduction, handed on all its genes to its progeny, thus fathering a true-breeding line of individuals.

     And this is precisely the point. Unless man was such an asexual (or a bisexual) individual, he could not father a single line for he must then start the line by mating with some other independent fountain of genes. This is as true of a specially created "help" as it would have been had he mated with some ape-like creature with nearly human character. To create a single line, this mate must be formed out of himself with identical genes. For this reason God must make all men of one, if all men equally are to be potentially redeemable by a single

38. Auerbach, C., and Beale, G. H., Letter to the Editor, New Scientist, May 29, 1969, pp.491f.

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Saviour who is truly representative of Adam, Eve must have derived her genes from Adam.
     Had God decided to start the human race on its way by the union of a first man and a first woman who were separately created and therefore totally unrelated, there would have been a very important consequence. For no single Redeemer could then ever have appeared as a Second Adam to act as an appropriate substitute for those individuals who happened quite by chance to have fallen within the pure line traceable to Eve but not to Adam. Such individuals would all be entirely "in Eve" and in no sense "in Adam." The moment we allow for an independent creation of Adam and of Eve, we bring into being as an inevitable consequence three distinct strains, one of which must of necessity be composed of individuals who would be carrying nothing whatever of the hereditary constitution of Adam. They would, in fact, be as unrelated to Adam as Eve was by the fact of her independent creation. It is statistically certain that such individuals would always be appearing among the descendants of Adam and Eve, no matter how many generations removed they might be from the first pair.
     In such a situation, no single individual could thereafter ever truly represent all the descendants of Adam and Eve. This may sound incredible. It may seem absurd to suggest that in a race of men all descended from the first pair, Adam and Eve, there could still be a significant number of people whose hereditary constitution owed nothing to the first father, Adam. Yet it is so.
     Let me attempt an analogy, with apologies to dog lovers who may object to my hypothetical experiment. Suppose we have in the world (perhaps due to some war) only two dogs left. One is a pure Alsatian and the other a pure Spaniel: the first a male, the second a female. We decide they should be mated in order to perpetuate the canine species. The first litter produces a family of marvelous little bundles of fluff and energy (and wetness!), all of which display the same amalgam of character halfway between the two breeds, exactly as one might expect. After an appropriate interval of time, we cross two of the puppies. According to genetics, we may now expect to have the following proportion of types in this third generation: instead of all the puppies having the same delightful mixture of characters, the statistical probability is that one quarter of them will be pure Alsatian (like their grandfather), one quarter pure Spaniel (like their grandmother), and the balance of them are the hybrid or mixture of characters observed in the preceding generation. So we have within two generations recovered in physical type and in

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genetic constitution both the grandfather and the grandmother lines, to which we have added a mongrel crossbreed line as well. And if we wish, we can now arrange to perpetuate these three lines indefinitely as distinct and separate varieties. In the pure Spaniel line we would see the elimination of all genetic constitutional influences of the original Alsatian "father," i.e., by analogy the "Adamic" strain. (39)
     In other words, transferring this analogy to the human race, we see that if Adam and Eve were separately created, they could give rise to a human family in which something of the order of one quarter of the population would be constitutionally non-Adamic. It would not be true to say any longer that all men were of one blood (Acts 17:26) and a significant portion of the human race would in actual fact be pure Eve and unrelated "by blood" to Adam. They would be, as it were, pure Spaniels, owing nothing to an Alsatian grand sire. A Redeemer who was to be truly, in every way, representative of all men in order that His sacrifice might be efficacious for "whosoever will" must then find that He cannot act as an appropriate substitute for some 25 percent of the world's population who are constitutionally "pure Eve."
     To revert to the Alsatian and Spaniel situation once again. Suppose that by some chance circumstance all the original experimental hybrid animals were destroyed and that only three pure-line Alsatians and one pure-line Spaniel remained. And let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that you happen to be the fond possessor of two Alsatians and I of the Spaniel and the other Alsatian. Then let us make one further supposition, namely, that quite by accident you killed my Spaniel. Now, how can you compensate me for my loss? By giving me one of your Alsatians? Even if it were of the right sex, it would not compensate. You can only compensate for the death of my Spaniel by giving me a Spaniel as a substitute: the Alsatian is not appropriate for my purposes.
     All analogies, except those used by the Lord in His parables, soon turn out to be sadly incomplete. But this one may serve to show

39. One reason why my analogy would break down in reality is that we have no reason to suppose an Alsatian and a Spaniel do really represent separate creations. Somewhere back along the line they must converge to a single ancestor. Hence no matter how pure we may think the purebred Spaniel is, we are mistaken. Such a line still carries some of the hereditary constitution which had long ago been shared by the Alsatian, so that with sufficient time and care we could probably recover the Alsatian strain out of our pure Spaniels. To this extent the analogy is not a true one, for in the event of an entirely independent creation there would be no such common ancestor as we can safely assume there is for the pure-line Alsatian and for the pure-line Spaniels. No amount of cross-breeding of Adam and Eve's progeny could ever bring into being the supposed common ancestor again, since it never existed if Adam and Eve were separate creatures.

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that on the principle set forth in the Old Testament of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, a basic principle adhered to in ancient law and in primitive law today all over the world, the substitute must be fully adequate and proper for the thing substituted if satisfaction is to be given. If Adam and Eve had indeed been created as separate individuals, we could in fact have three distinct lines, one which might be called "in Adam," in which the heredity of Eve was excluded; one which might be called "in Eve," in which the heredity of Adam would have no part; and a cross which shared some of both Adam and Eve. No one single substitute could stand in for all these descendants. Approximately one-quarter of all mankind (if we apply the ordinary Mendelian laws of percentage) would be beyond reach.
     By contrast, consider what the situation actually was according to Genesis. Adam contained Eve as part of his genetic constitution. He was an Adam/Eve creation in one individual. When Eve was taken out of him, she was indeed given an independent existence, but her blood relationship to Adam was as complete as it could possibly be. Any "pure" line of Eve could still exist among us, but it could never be said of it that it had nothing of Adam's hereditary constitution, for it did, Eve herself being the link in the genetic chain leading us back ultimately to Adam. Relationship by descent from Eve means relationship by descent from Adam, for Eve was "descended" from Adam.
     It may appear to some readers that this is a mundane subject, hardly befitting the divine mystery of the Incarnation. Yet it is important to bear in mind that Christianity is not simply a system of beliefs articulated independently of the physical framework in which man lives and moves and has his being, but has been wrought out in the real space-time world in which he lives. His body is to be redeemed as well as his spirit. The whole man came under judgment. The body suffered a physical assault upon its integrity, just as the spirit did. Both were mortally wounded. Both became sick. Both came under judgment. But God has provided a means by which man may be wholly saved, by ensuring the redemption of his body and the rebirth of his spirit. We constantly stress man's spiritual needs but seem to feel much less concern for the ultimate destiny of the body. Yet in the New Testament the word "redemption" is applied exclusively to the body. And the very fact of the Incarnation and of the bodily resurrection of the Lord settles once for all the importance of man in the eyes of God, not merely as a spiritual creature who happens to have a body, but as a creature who in eternity will have a glorified body as an essential part of his being. It was therefore

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necessary that the Redeemer should be able to act substitutionally for the whole man, for the corporeal side of his being as well as for the spiritual side. Because all men are derived ultimately from a single person, Adam, a Second Adam can truly represent them as individuals both as to the bodies they inhabit and the persons that they are. It is not merely the saved who will be resurrected in body, but the unsaved also; for Jesus tasted death "for every man" (Hebrews 2:9) Thus, as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22).
     This brings us to the final topic of this Paper, namely, the method by which God is able to implant in the believer's heart a "new man," a new nature, a new personality, which, though appropriate to him as a unique individual, is nevertheless the consequence of the indwelling presence in every believer of one and the same Person, Jesus Christ. The new man in Christ is not a reformed "old man," but is in fact the Lord Jesus incarnate once again in the heart of the believer. This fact is abundantly confirmed in the New Testament. The new life of the Christian is not the old life set aright but is the actual presence of Christ within.
     All the infinite variety of human personality that has found expression through the centuries in the individual lives of those who came out of Adam's loins must have been latent in Adam at the first. So in the Second Adam this vast potential reappeared and found expression in His life. When He now enters into a human heart, He is incarnated anew. But no one of us could possibly display His character in its total range; and so He distributes part of Himself, as it were, to each believer that He may display to the world just that measure of His total personality which is completely appropriate to that indwelt soul.
     I suppose if man had never fallen, each one of us individually would have displayed this fragment of the total potential in Adam as a natural outgrowth of our constitution as one of his children. But now the new life is, instead, the supernatural outgrowth of a new constitution as a child of God indwelt by the Second Adam. Perhaps at any moment, were it possible to add us all together, we should find that the Lord Jesus was still altogether and wholly present in the world. In this sense we each provide a small channel for Him to express Himself, and all together form the vehicle, the Body, of which He is the Head and by which He still dwells with men.
     Consider the following passages: Perhaps Galatians 2:20 is one of the best known and most explicit passages of this nature: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth

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in me." In 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul wrote: "Know ye not your own selves, how that Christ Jesus is in you...?" In writing to the Colossians Paul said, "To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27). And again in Colossians 3:4: "When Christ, who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." We are not filled with some kind of impersonal power that descends from His presence: when we open the heart's door, it is He Himself who enters in. In Revelation 3:20 John wrote that Jesus said: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." And it was the same John who told us how awareness of His presence within is brought home to us, when he said, "And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the spirit which he hath given us" (1 John 3:24). In the same Epistle he wrote "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he [that is, Satan] that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). And again, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:11,12).
     In describing the conflict in himself which, like the rest of us Paul also experienced, he could nevertheless take great comfort from the knowledge that the new Paul delighted in the law of God. Why? If we render the Greek of Romans 7:22 literally, it is "according to the man inside." The Authorized Version has "after the inward man," but the real source of Paul's new life was Jesus Christ, the Man within.
     Like the precious ointment in Mary's alabaster vase (Mark 14:3), we have this treasure in these earthen vessels of ours (2 Corinthians 4:7). The treasure is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It is by Him that we "are filled with the fruits of righteousness" (Philippians 1:11) and therefore "filled with all joy and peace in believing" (Romans 15:13). In Ephesians 3:19 Paul writes praying that we may be "filled with all the fulness of God." And what is the fullness of God? Jesus Christ -- "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9); "for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell" (Col. 1:19)
     Consequently, when all these apportioned "fillings" within the individual are summed together, the end result is "His Body," the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. Thus in due time we shall all

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come in the unity of the faith "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:15).
     The Seed which is introduced into the new man is Christ (Galatians 3:16), and this Seed is sinless. The Seed which is born in the believer is incorruptible (1 Peter 1:23) for it is Christ Himself. I am persuaded that this is the meaning of 1 John 3:9: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his [God's] seed [Christ] remaineth in him [the believer]: and he cannot sin because he [Christ] is born of God." That portion of Jesus which He is pleased to commit into my keeping and into your keeping, a portion which is exactly suited to my nature or to your nature, is incorruptible and cannot be the source of any sin. If we will allow Him, He will grow at the expense of our old nature, the new Adam displacing the old. Christianity, unlike all other religions, is incarnational in the sense that God proposes to set free in the world through the believer the Lord Jesus so that the new life becomes nothing less than Himself reliving in us.
     Although it is the same Lord who unveils Himself in each child of God, the unveiling in some measure takes the shape of the vessel it indwells so that, contrary to expectations, no two Christians will have the same character, even though it is the same Lord who indwells them. It is true that if any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yet not all old things have passed away. While the old self is not reformed, it is not simply replaced either. It is a common experience to find that in a subtle way something of the old personality does remain. Simply to by-pass it, to cast the old self aside as meaningless, would seem to do violence to all that the experiences of the past have contributed to its molding. Almost every child of God can look back and see how at certain critical points before conversion, the hand of the Lord had been at work arranging events so that experience might act upon the soul to form a certain kind of character.
     The fact is that in each one of us Christ "distributes" Himself aptly, as experience has molded our capacity to receive His person. As Dan Crawford put it, looking back over twenty-two years without a break in Central Africa, "With the converted African, Christ's mercy, like the water in a vase, takes the shape of the vessel that holds it."
(41) And I do not think he meant by this only that the Lord expects no more of us than circumstance has prepared us for, but rather that

40. See further on this, "The Development of Personality: The Old and the New," Part IV in Man in Adam and in Christ, vol.3 in The Doorway Papers Series
41. Crawford, D. M. C., Thinking Black, Morgan and Scott, London, , 1914, p.484.

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He finds ways of expressing His own Person to the fullest possible extent without doing any violence to what we have become. He respects not merely our limitations, but our capacities, too. Culturally, the African Christian is still an African, as the Hebrew Christian remains Hebrew. Moreover, the converted child remains a child, and the converted woman remains a woman, even though it is the same Lord who is expressing Himself in each.
     It is not too difficult to see how this can be. The structure of every kind of personality existed in the first man and has since been divided by inheritance, fragmented and re-distributed by natural circumstance so that each of us has a small portion of the total potential and all of us together may perhaps sum up what was latent in Adam. In Adam all of us were waiting to be born.
     Out of Adam were derived not only all men as individuals, but whole nations sharing a certain recognizable temperament. The distinctive personality of the Chinese in contrast to the Italian for example, however we may account for it (whether by cultural influence or by heredity), was latent in Adam, only as yet unexpressed.
     When the Lord indwells the Chinese Christian it is, as it were, a "Chinese indwelling," and with the African an "African indwelling." Humanly it is inconceivable that a single person could so express himself through such different channels without contradiction. But as all these potentials were in Adam, so they were in Christ. Adam could only consistently sustain one character because of his human limitations, but no such limitations existed for the Son of God. That this is really so is intimated for us in the New Testament by the existence of four Gospels, each of which presents us with a type of personality that seems distinct.
(42) Matthew saw in Jesus a kingly Person, Mark saw in Him precisely the opposite -- a Servant par excellence. Luke saw in Jesus a man, pre-eminently Man in every way; whereas John saw Him pre-eminently as the Son of God. All these were seen by different people in one man, apparently without any conflict. We are not particularly aware of this divergence of view either, until it is drawn to our attention.
     I am sure other such portraits might easily have been written and preserved for us as Gospels had God so wished it. One might have been written by a Negro who, living as one of the disciples and spending much of each day in His presence, would nevertheless have somehow seen Jesus as a Negro like himself, not merely in temperament,

42. The four-fold portrait of Jesus: see chapter 3 of "The Harmony of Contradiction" Part II in Hidden Things of God's Revelation, vol.7 of The Doorway Papers Series

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but even in facial aspect and skin colour. One might have been so written, but it would be misleading if it overlooked the fact that half of the Lord's genetic complement was derived through Mary, who was a Jewess and presumably not coloured, else Joseph would not have been willing to adopt Him as his legal son. But this complement still only accounted for half of the total. We have no way of knowing about the other half which God the Holy Spirit provided.
     I think it is a terrible mistake that we should presume to portray Jesus Christ as a white man, and it is certainly in direct contravention to the injunction against the making of images. Many black men who are now prominent leaders in America and who are violently anti-white state that they reject Christianity outright because Jesus was a white man.
(43) He was a white man; but He was also a Negro, Chinese, and American Indian. He was all men. He was the Son of man, of mankind. And He was all these things because He was Adam again, out of whom all these were originated in the first place.
     It is not at all uncommon nowadays to see Christmas cards in which Jesus is represented as a "national" by the people who produce the card. I have examples of Hawaiian pictures of this kind, Negro pictures, and Chinese pictures. They are all perfectly justified in one sense only: namely, that Jesus is identified appropriately as a Saviour who was a Hawaiian, a Negro, or a Chinese. Yet in all other ways such pictures are quite inappropriate, since in the very nature of the case they exclude His identification with men of other races. There is no way of producing "images" or pictures of the Lord which do not distort the truth, even while they may in a small way clarify it. The truth here is spiritually, not visually, discerned.
     What seems to me quite clear is that from the very beginning God planned the creation of man along such lines as to make it possible for all men to be redeemed with a total redemption that ensures, if they will but accept it, the ultimate salvation of the whole man in all his individuality, black or white, young or old, male or female. And the full glory of this redemption will be mediated entirely through the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In a unique way each child of God will be a perfected spirit in a glorified body, our spirit a reflection of His and our body re-fashioned like unto His glorified body, but still identifiable as the individuals we are; yet

43. As an example, the black novelist James Baldwin was quoted in Time magazine for July 19, 1968, as saying that he rejected Christianity completely because "the Christ I was presented with, though He was born in Nazareth under a hot sun, was presented to me with blue eyes and blonde hair; and all the virtues to which I, as a black man, was expected to aspire to had by definition to be white." 

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owing everything to one man, the man Christ Jesus. And it required that all be derived originally out of one and not out of two who had independent origins.
      Only God could have formed such a plan as this.

     O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?
     For of him, and through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

(Romans 11:33, 34, 36) 

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

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