Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's
"HAMARTIOLOGY - The Doctrine of SIN"
PART-1: EVOLUTIONARY HYPOTHESIS
VS. BIBLICAL REVELATION
BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
HYPOTHESIS VS. BIBLICAL REVELATION
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.
teaching (Gen. 1:31)
- power to know (cp. the fact that Adam named the animals)
- power to feel
- power to choose (note his authority over animals)
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 knowing sin:
(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. 1:8).
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
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 commandments).
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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