Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "HAMARTIOLOGY -
The Doctrine of SIN"
PART-1: EVOLUTIONARY HYPOTHESIS
VS. BIBLICAL REVELATION
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
- EVOLUTIONARY HYPOTHESIS VS.
Evolution says that our race has painfully struggled upward from a state of
Scripture is irreconcilably opposed to this theory. Indeed, Romans l:18ff.
would definitely lead to the opposite conclusion of "devolution" rather than
evolution, i.e., the direction has been downward.
The historical conditions of many nations prove the opposite.
- Biblical teaching (Gen.
- Intellect - power to know
(cp. the fact that Adam named the animals)
- Sensibility - power to feel
- Will - power to choose (note
his authority over animals)
- Moral state of man
Some theologians speak of man as being innocent; others speak of him as
being holy. If innocence implies immaturity or being like a child, it
cannot be affirmed. The maturity and perfection of man in all other
regards suppose that he is mature in respect to right moral action (cp.
Eccl. 7:29; Col. 3:10). Neither was it a complete holiness such as that
which is an attribute of God. (Some urge that innocence does not imply
immaturity but simply an untainted state, with righteousness being
obtainable through obedience and sin through disobedience.)
(a) The knowledge possessed by Adam and Eve before the fall was different
from that after (Genesis 2:25; cp. 3:7). "Originally man was conscious of
holiness, and had no consciousness of sin. . .There are two ways of
(i) As the sinner knows it, and
(ii) As the saint knows it. . . Holy man was ignorant of sin;
and sinful man was ignorant of holiness. " (Shedd)
(b) Man's original condition entailed a disposition and inclination which
was harmonious with the character of God. Law and will were one (1 Tim.
- Note circumstances
surrounding first man
A clear responsibility
Communion with God
Given a help(er), meet for
(suited to) him
Placed under probation
Had an adversary
- Probation (Gen. 2:8-9,15-17)
Necessary in order to test their loyalty to God by obedience or disobedience
to God's command.
Purpose: to transform their sinless nature into holy character. There had to
be the opportunity for this, even though it involved the possibility of
disobedience and the resultant sinful character. Their virtue, apart from
testing, was simply passive--absence of evil. There must be active moral
character and this involves a test.
The test (Gen. 2:17a)
A moral command carries its own reason for obedience (e.g., the ten
A positive command involves merely personal right (e.g., God with Abraham
and Isaac, Gen. 22). Genesis 2:17 is a positive command. The tree of
knowledge of good and evil was simply the occasion by which God made known
His will, the ground of testing. It was God's right to command; it was the
duty of Adam and Eve to obey.
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