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man was created in God's image, it is plain that man was created in Christ."* "We are then informed by the sacred text, that God formed (not created) man of the dust of the ground."t
From these passages taken from your Atonement, it would seem that man was first created a spiritual being, absolutely pure; and was created in Jesus Christ: and that some time after his creation, God was pleased to form him of the dust of the earth, and from this earthly constitution all sin proceeds. This hypothesis, wild and visionary as it is, is the foundation of your system; it is the basis on which your whole scheme rests. This is what you introduce to solve the profound question, Whence came evil?
You maintain that man was first created spiritual and pure. But of the truth of this, you have not produced a particle of proof. You further state that man was created in Jesus Christ. What idea you mean to convey by saying that man was created in Christ, I am unable to determine. One thing however is certain, viz. that the evidence you adduce in support of this position is weak and inconclusive. The first passage you quote for this purpose, is Rev. iii. 14, where Christ calls himself, "the beginning of the creation of God." Wakefield renders the passage, "the chief of the creation of God." If this be its meaning, it furnishes no proof that Jesus Christ was created before men. But it is probable that St. Paul means the same, by "the first born of every creature," that is meant by "the beginning of the creation of God." And this he explains by saying, "he is the beginning, the first born from the dead." Here the apostle explains "the first born of every creature," to signify "the first born from the
+ Ib. p. 31.
* Aton. p. 31. Col. i. 15, 18.
dead;" that is, the first who was raised to immortal life. The passage therefore does not even prove that Jesus Christ was created before men. But if it should be granted that Jesus Christ was created before Adam, what has this to do with the point in question? If Christ was created before Adam, this furnishes no proof that Adam was created in Christ. I presume it will be conceded that angels were created before men. But does this prove that men were created in angels? According to Moses' account, it will be seen that the beasts of the field, fowls of the air, and fishes of the sea were all created before men; and it would follow from this, that men were created in the brutes, as clearly as it follows that men were created in Jesus Christ, from the position that he was the first of God's creation.
Because it is said by Moses that man was created in the image of God, and Christ is called by the apostle, "the express image of his person," you infer that man was created in Jesus Christ. Now this argument rests entirely on the principle that the same word has invariably the same meaning in every connexion in which it may be found. But no man of sober sense will admit such a position. Should you admit this principle, it would follow that Jesus Christ is the self-existent Jehovah, that Moses is the God of the universe, and that the Jewish rulers are the Supreme Being; for the same names and titles are applied to Jesus, Moses, and the Jewish magistrates in some passages, which in others are applied to the Deity. It would prove that Jesus Christ is literally a lamb and a lion, a shepherd, a vine, a door, a star, and at the same time a stone. It would prove that Job and Christ are one and the same being, for both are called God's servant. Nay, it would prove, that the words, create and form, have the same meaning in the first and second chapters of Genesis, because
they are used synonymously in other passages, as will be shown below. Now I cannot believe that you will contend for a principle which will disprove every proposition, and leave you in scepticism.
St. Paul, it is true, calls Christ the image of God, and the same Apostle says also that man is the image of God. Now this passage proves as clearly that man was created in himself, as you have proved that he was created in Jesus Christ; and the former is no more mystical than the latter. If any person has discernment enough to understand what is meant by man's being created, that is, first brought into existence, in Christ, I presume that he can understand what is meant by man's being created in himself. For my own part, I can form no conception of either. According to your views of the subject, the idea I am opposing is a leading feature in revealed religion. You make use of this notion to account for the origin of evil, to explain the doctrine of atonement, to show the nature of salvation, and to limit the extent of punishment. Your views of the creation and formation of man are, therefore, the fundamental article of revealed religion. And can we suppose that an article thus important would be wrapt up in mystery to that degree, that not one in ten thousand can understand it? The declaration, that man was first created in Christ, is to me utterly unintelligible, and I very much doubt whether any person whatever can form any definite idea upon the subject. If this be revelation, then revelation instead of enlightening, tends to perplex, darken, and bewilder the human mind. The doctrine of two natures in man appears to be too mystical for belief. You object to the Trinitarian notion of two natures in Christ. You reject it because it is so mysterious that no definite idea can be formed
1 Cor. xi. 7.
upon the subject. But your doctrine is liable to the same objection. You regard the Trinitarian notion of two natures in Christ as a subterfuge to shield them from the arguments of their opponents. When any passage is quoted expressive of Christ's inferiority to the Father, they immediately say, this applies only to his human nature. This course, you strictly condemn. But you make use of the two natures in man in the The parable of the wheat and chaff you explain in the same way. The wheat signifies the heavenly, and the chaff the earthly nature.*
To support the idea of two natures in man, you sometimes quote 1 Cor. xv. 45, 46, 47.† "The first man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven." Whoever will take the trouble to read this passage in its connexion, will be sensible that the Apostle was speaking of Christ and Adam, and not of the two natures in man. But for the sake of the case, we will admit that Paul was speaking of two natures in man. The passage then, instead of favoring your views, is directly opposed to them. You maintain that man was first created a spiritual man, and afterward was formed a natural man. But the Apostle maintains the contrary. He says, "That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual." You contend that man was at first heavenly, and afterward by formation, became earthly. But Paul was of another opinion. He says, "The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man was the Lord from heaven." Your opinion is so directly opposite to + Notes on the Parables, p. 17.
Aton. p. 159.
that of the Apostle, that I shall offer no further comment upon the passage.
By examining the two first chapters of Genesis, I can discover no ground for the distinction you attempt to make between the creation and formation of man. You assert that after man was formed of the dust of the ground, he was a "partaker of flesh and blood, and possessed appetites and passions."* Now the propagation of our species certainly requires the existence of flesh and blood, and appetites. St. Paul mentions adultery and fornication as the works of the flesh.t Remarking upon this passage you say, "These works, (i. e. adultery, fornication, &c.) are all the natural productions of our fleshly, earthly nature."‡ Again; "These are the sins which our fleshly minds are daily producing." Thus you acknowledge sexual intercourse to be the work our fleshly, earthly nature. Without such intercourse our species cannot be propagated, and this work necessarily requires the existence of flesh and blood. Now man in his created character, as you term it, was commanded to propagate his species. As soon as man was created, he was commanded to "be fruitful and multiply," verse 28. Since procreation necessarily supposes the existence of flesh and blood, and bodily passions, the command to multiply in the created state, incontrovertibly shows that they were in a condition to comply; i.e. that they were composed of flesh and blood at their first creation. So that the distinction you make between creation and formation, appears to be unfounded. For we have seen that man in his created state, as you denominate it, possessed those very appetites which you ascribe to flesh and blood, and attribute to his earthly nature. It is expressly said, that man was cre
⚫ Aton. p. 31. Lect. p. 74.
+ Gal. v. 19.