Hebrews Lesson 93 July 13, 2007
NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Well, before we get into technical details of Romans 5 we have a couple of matters of contemporary interest to go over. For those of you who haven't heard about this yet, I thought that this was something that people needed to be made aware of. As most of you know there is a lot of legislative discussion about developing a bill on hate crimes. The hate crimes legislation defines certain speech that is, as we will see in the second topic of current events, certain speech is being hateful just because in the eyes of our human viewpoint culture disenfranchises or marginalizes or doesn't validate somebody's sin nature and their carnal responses. So there are all kinds of problems with hate crimes legislation. We have certain legislators who have no idea of any kind of absolutes who constantly try to slip this stuff in. So Senators Edward Kennedy (no surprise there) and Gordon Smith who is a Republican from Oregon have (I am just reading what was sent to me) found (These editorial comments are not mine. They are already embedded in the email) another underhanded way to push their own agendas. Yesterday they filed their hate crimes bill as an amendment #2067 to the Department of Defense Reauthorization Bill currently under consideration on the Senate floor. In doing so, they blatantly promoted the homosexual agenda which is completely unrelated to the bill's focus which is national sovereignty and defense. So you need to be aware that this kind of thing is going on.
If you are so inclined to discuss these things with legislators, then that is a good idea. I think we live in a time today when Christians can't be quiet and passive anymore. It doesn't mean that you are going out and marching in the streets or anything of that nature, but as citizens it is our responsibility as citizens in the nation to be involved and be informing our legislators of our views and our opinions and encouraging them in the right direction. As Christians of course your views and opinions should be influenced by your biblical worldview.
The problem with this kind of hate crimes legislation is who defines what hate is? Just the very idea gives me pause. If somebody gets angry and kills somebody isn't that by definition a hate crime. This is a purely manipulative way to go after certain people for what is considered politically incorrect sins. But, that's not new in the history of this country. There have been politically and socially unacceptable sins going all the way back to slavery in the 19th century that gained a certain stigma by certain segments of society and they wanted to make it a broader category crime than what was necessitated. If something is criminal, it is criminal. That is all that needs to be said about it. But we live in an era today when nobody wants to hear the truth and if anybody there is a truth as opposed to equally valid competing truths, then they are deemed the enemy of society.
If you saw it this last Saturday, if any of you still take this rag called the Houston Chronicle, their religion section which has historically been much better than most religion sections is probably the only thing I ever look at in the paper. Whether I agree with it or disagree with it, at least they try to be somewhat informative. They had an article here and the big banner headline is "What is the most dangerous idea in religion today?" Did y'all see that? This is really good. Now they ask some very interesting people what they thought the most dangerous idea in religion today is. You can pretty much predetermine what their answers are going to be once you hear who they are if you are informed as to who these people are.
The first person they ask is Rabi Harold Kushner. Now Rabbi Harold Kushner shouldn't even have the term "rabbi" in front of his name because he is basically – he is famous because he wrote the book on When Bad Things Happen to Good People. I remember looking at that years ago and his answer is that bad things happen to good people because God can't control anything. He is this little bitty god who doesn't have any power and the poor thing he just doesn't want bad things to happen to good people but he is too impotent and he can't do anything about it. So that tells you a little bit about him. The smaller God gets the bigger man gets in anybody's system. So that is his view. What is his answer?
He says, "The most dangerous idea in religion today is 'my religion is right'. There is sense that in order for me to be right everyone who disagrees with me is wrong."
Well, that is what being right means. If something is right it means that everything else is wrong. But what he doesn't understand is that he is making an equal assertion of truth and validity. His proposition that all things are right and there is no one truth is just as dogmatic and just as dangerous and just as exclusive of the Christian idea that there is only one truth as he deems Christianity to be. So by his very assumption that the idea that there is one truth i.e. my religion is right, he has just said that the most dangerous idea in religion today is Jesus statement,
NKJ John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
"If you believe that you are dangerous. You are a danger to society."
That is going to classify you one day as a hater. That will be a hate crime to say that there is only one way to God because you are saying that he is wrong and people like him. So that is his answer.
Now the second person they went to is another one of those people I love to poke fun at because they are so easy to poke fun at if you come from a Christian position and that is Deepak Chopra. You can go down to the religion section of Barnes and Noble or Waldenbooks or any of the bookstores and you'll find all of his books there and people think this simpering, sentimental self-promotion is so wonderful. You'll never guess how he answers the question.
He says, "The most dangerous idea is – my god is the only true god and my religion is the only true religion."
Gee, just like Rabi Kushner. This guy is a Hindu.
Okay then, not to leave them out because we wouldn't want to ignore the Muslims because they are so peaceful they might blow up the newspaper so they interview a man who I am unfamiliar with. Abdullah Amed An-Na'im is allegedly an internationally recognized scholar of Islam and human rights. Of course he believes Islam is a peaceful religion so he is not very much of a scholar of Islam. He doesn't understand anything about human rights – not starting with the Bible. But he talks about the fact of the notion of superiority and exclusivity is inherent to religious beliefs and it can be dangerous and not dangerous. So for him the whole idea of missionary work is the most dangerous idea in the world. So he just steps back because missionary work flows out of the idea that I have the truth and you need to hear it. So he is simply sidestepping the initial statement and going to a second one. So everybody is against the Christians.
They did go to a man fairly alert and fairly capable of expressing himself and very well-educated. I happen to have met him on several occasions. That is Dr. Richard Land who is the head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberties Convention. He has a PhD from a Baptist seminary as well as a PhD from Oxford. So he is very well-educated. He is very articulate. He is very good at handling these kinds of things. He said that the most dangerous thing is violence in the name of religion. He is addressing a key point that just because you are right doesn't give you the position to coerce somebody through violence and to force that on somebody else. There has to be freedom which is something that apparently everybody else has missed. They just don't like the idea – they can't stand it in their arrogant little souls that somebody out there is saying that they are wrong. So they have to fight against it.
This is the direction of our culture when representatives of Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam all basically agree that the biggest danger in religious ideas today and is a veiled statement that they make. What they are really going after is Christianity. So we live in an age today when Christianity is under assault from every direction in the world.
As believers this is one of the reasons historically that you have to understand apologetics, because apologetics is that field of theology that teaches you to defend and to give an answer for what you believe. That doesn't mean that you have to give an answer to the person next to you every time they say something that is wrong. It just means that you can put up your own defense shields because you know what the truth is and you can articulate that rationally to yourself and you understand why you believe what you believe because Satan is always attacking in numerous fronts and we always have to be prepared. So this is why Peter wrote that we are always to be ready to give an answer – apologeia – for the hope that is within us.
But, just as the early church in the early era of the church, you have one of the first periods is known as the Age of the Apologists. When they break things down, you have the Age of the Apostolic Fathers which aren't the apostles but the group that knew the apostles that comes right after them. Then the Age of the Theologians and the Age of the Apologists come towards the end of the second century and into the third century because as Christianity spread out and began to impact the Roman Empire it came to the attention of the intellectual elites throughout the Roman Empire. So the Greek philosophers and the Roman philosophers and the thinkers within the Roman Empire began to attack the intellectual claims of Christianity. So it was necessary for the early church to begin to articulate their response to these attacks so that people would understand that you didn't have to put your brain in neutral in order to believe in Christianity and in divine revelation. So the foundations were laid in the early church. Very little has changed from their initial arguments and their initial writings. A lot can be learned from reading them. Okay, that's enough of current events.
Now let's get into our passage in Romans 5. We are studying Romans 5:12-21 in order to understand the answer to the question - how did sin originate and how is sin transmitted from Adam to the rest of the race. In our passage in Hebrews 7 we have the statement that Levi paid tithes to Melchizedek while he was in the loins of Abraham. So this has given rise as a proof text to a whole theology based on both seminalism and based on Traducianism. These theologies inform a lot of things. The thing about theology that is so fascinating is because a lot of these ideas are assumptions that most people never take out of the box and look at and yet it affects so many things. As I have been doing a lot of work on this because there are some aspects of this some, questions of this that I have never fully settled in my own mind so I am trying to settle those and see if I can dot a few i's and cross a few t's that I haven't dotted and crossed before to see if I can unscrew a few more inscrutable things. It is difficult because very little has been written and very little has been thought about it. For example today I took off the shelf a commentary that I hadn't had a chance to look at yet. It is written by a well-known contemporary professor of theology at an evangelical school. He has been teaching Romans for years. (It is not Dallas Seminary) He has been teaching Romans for years and he has come out with about a 600-700 page commentary on Romans which is considered one of the best. Yet when he comes to this issue in Romans 5:12-14 and he comes to address this issue of the transmission of sin and the sin nature, he cites in two sentences the passage from Hebrews 7 without ever investigating the mechanics. This is too often what happens.
I always get questions. In fact I have two by email this week related to commentaries where people ask me: "What do you think about this commentary and what do you think about that commentary?"
There are good things and bad things about every commentary. Those of you who have been coming to the class that Ike is teaching on how to study the Bible for yourself need to, are going to run into this in a couple of weeks. He is going to start talking about the kinds of resources you can go to that as you are reading the Bible you ought to have some good resources that you can go to just to answer some questions. You ought to have a good set of Bible encyclopedias. You ought to have a good single or two-volume commentary. In the past in terms historically speaking I would never recommend a one volume commentary because with the exception of one recent set that came out in the early 80's and I am always amazed how many people don't know about this. One set that came out in the early 80's - most commentaries have a general modus operandi. That is when they come to something difficult, they ignore it.
So as soon as you are reading through a passage and say, "Wait a minute. What does that mean and how does that relate to this?"
You go and look at it and they completely ignore the whole issue. They go right passed it as if it doesn't exist. So that is standard operating procedure.
Now in the early 80's Dallas Theological Seminary published a two-volume commentary set called the Bible Knowledge Commentary. You have one volume on the New Testament and one volume on the Old Testament. Each book was written by a different professor at Dallas Seminary so there are some that are a little weaker than others. I know which ones those are because I personally know almost every contributor to theBible Knowledge Commentary because those men were my professors when I was at Dallas. So I know them well. I know their theology. I know their theological nuances and proclivities and strengths and weakness and all those kinds of things. One of the things that makes it helpful is that part of their philosophy of writing this was that they weren't going to dodge the issues. In most cases they will say that there is disagreement over this and these are the three options. These are the strengths and weaknesses with each of the three options.
But you are going to run into problems. For example I think Martin emailed me the other day to ask me about some commentary notes that are out on the internet by Tom Constable who is a professor at Dallas Seminary, been a professor of mine. I have a copy of those notes on my computer. He is good in some places; but he completely rejects the reference of Isaiah 14 to Satan (which is what we are getting into on Sunday morning) and to Ezekiel 28 as Satan. Then he references John Martin who wrote the Isaiah commentary in the Bible Knowledge Commentary. At some levels I am sure that on some passages John did a fairly good job, but I also know that John had a position as academic dean at Dallas Seminary in the 80's and his unstated agenda was to reshape the faculty at Dallas Seminary. He was hiring new younger faculty members that were willing to question the status quo of the Chafer-Walvoord-Ryrie view of theology and dispensationalism. He got caught in some problems in the late 80's (fortunately) and he was removed. Otherwise he was on the fast track to become the president of Dallas Seminary. He was using… The second most powerful position on any school faculty is the academic dean. Most people don't know that because he is in charge of hiring, firing and oversees the faculty. He determines many issues that are related to what actually comes across in the classroom. So he wrote the commentary on Isaiah. But he rejects the view that Isaiah 14 relates to the fall of Satan. We are going to cover a lot of that on Sunday morning so I am not going to get off on that.
You have to realize that there is no one book that you can go to or one commentary set where you …You always have to think. You always have your grid on and be thinking about what you are reading. There are great charts in there. There is a tremendous amount of information. I frequently go there and am amazed at how much they were able to cram into such a small two-volume commentary. I do recommend that. Everybody should have in their own personal library good 2 volume Bible commentary set, a good Bible encyclopedia (three or four volumes) or a good Bible dictionary just as a reference so that they can look up things when you are reading their Bible at home.
They say, "Hmm.. I wonder where that place is or wonder who that person was or wonder what was significant about that?"
They have someplace that they can look and get answers to those basic kinds of questions.
Well here we are in Romans 5:12 and I just want to remind you a little overview of the section that we went into last week. Verse 12 begins a comparison and contrast between Adam's sin and how it affects the human race and Christ's work on the cross and how it affects the human race.
As Paul begins to develop this, he sets up the first part of the comparison and says, "Just as."
Remember if you are doing a comparison you are going to say just as this …so this. Well he never gets to the "so this" until you get down to verse 18. As he sets up the first part of the comparison "just as through one man sin entered the world", he recognizes that there are a lot of places people could go incorrectly in this analogy, in this comparison and contrast between Adam's sin and it's affect on the human race and Christ's death and its affect on the human race. So he stops. He abruptly pauses in the middle of this comparison at the end of verse 12. That is why you have the m- most English versions.
Then you have a parenthetical aside that is put in there in verse 13. I just noticed in my English Bible they have the whole section from verse 13 down through verse 17 offset in parenthesis. That is a good editorial move to show people that Paul is stopping and he is on a rabbit trail – on an anacoluthon – to explain a few things and to make sure people understand first of all what sin and death is all about and how death spread because of sin in verses 13 and 14. Then in 15 through 17 he is going to contrast Christ's work and Adam's sin. This is clear because of the initial statements in verse 15 and verse 16. Notice verse 15 begins:
NKJ Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the offense.
See there are places you can't go in this analogy. The free gift (that is Christ's work) isn't like the offense of Adam in this way.
Then in verse 16 he says:
NKJ Romans 5:16 And the gift
That is the free gift of salvation.
is not like that which came through the one who sinned.
So you have to be careful in your comparison and contrast between the sin of Adam and the work of Christ. There is only one particular area that he is focusing on and that is that basically he is saying that as Christ (and His work on the cross) is the person who is solely responsible for our salvation, Adam is the one who is solely responsible for sin and the spiritual death of the human race. Let me say that again. He is saying that just as Christ is the only person who is solely responsible for our salvation (It is not up to us. It is His work on the cross that pays the penalty) so Adam is the only one responsible for sin and our spiritual death. So he introduces the concept in verse 12 of death. He says:
NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned --
Now we looked at some of the aspects of this last time. I am not going to review all of the exegesis. The main question that we are answering here is – how did death spread to all men. Now one thing - I haven't created a slide on this at this point yet but we will bring it out later - you have the word "death" used twice in this passage. Sin is used three times. Death is used twice. What is interesting in the Greek is that every time in Romans 5 and Romans 6 that Paul uses the word death, he puts it with the definite article. The first time you see it that kind of strikes you.
"That's interesting. Why did he put the definite article here?"
Actually in Greek it is not definite because there is no indefinite article, just the article. Why did he put the article with the noun? What is he trying to emphasize here? That is the point. There are 10 or 12 different ways that Greeks use an article in grammar and it is not always like we use the definite
article in English to show that something is definite as opposed to indefinite. In Greek you have different meanings for your article so you have to think about why he is doing this. I stopped and did a study and realized that in Romans 5 and on into Romans 6 he always uses that article. He is talking about – he is emphasizing this death as a unique kind of death. It is not just any particular death. So we have to ask this question – how does death spread to all men. He sets up the analogy between the "just as" at the beginning and then he is going to break that. He introduces the word – let me go back to here…
NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus
I pointed out last time that this word "thus" is houtos which indicates what follows. Thus or that is in this manner death spread to all men. In what manner?
because all sinned
What you must understand there is they all sinned positionally in Adam. So we would translate that:
Corrected translation: In this manner (that is what I am about to explain) death spread to all men because all sinned.
Sin is the cause; death is the result. But, we have to take some time to understand this. We see it in the passage because you have a chiasm here. Sin is mentioned first, then death. Then death is mentioned again and then sin. It sets up this chiastic structure which puts the emphasis and draws our attention to the middle element, whatever that is in the chiasm. Here we have death. The focus here is on that transmission of death from Adam to his progeny. So this occurs through one man.
We have something interesting here that I didn't point out last time. We have the Greek preposition dia which is then used. If you noticed down here the second verb I have in the lower part of this chart is dierchomai which is a combination of the root verb erchomai meaning to go or to come and dia as the preposition that is now prefixed to the verb. Dia is a preposition of distribution as one of its nuances. So the point is that anything that is distributed you are going to say that it goes through something. That is where you would use this particular preposition. So the focus here is on how sin permeates the human race and as a result death, the result of sin goes throughout the human race. This is a result of sin.
So thus in this manner death spread to all men because all sin.
There are two views as I pointed out on how this transmission occurred. The first is seminalism.
Seminalism: The entire human race body and soul, was genetically present in Adam. Thus according to seminalism God considered every human being to be physically participating in Adam's original sin and thus receiving the same penalty even though you weren't there. You are there physically and so you are accountable.
The other view is federalism.
Federalism: The view that Adam stood as the head and representative of the human race, Adam's decisions were on behalf of all humanity. God viewed Adam's sin as the act of all people through representation, and thus Adam's penalty is judicially imputed to all mankind.
This view is most consistently linked to the creationist view of the origin and transmission of the soul. The point that I am making it that – actually this isn't an either-or. It is a both-and. In some ways, yes, we are all linked together. The human race has a common genetic unity and because of that common genetic unity we're all equally guilty. We're all equally connected biologically to Adam and to one another. That biological, seminal connection also allows Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity, to become a human being and in the plan of salvation as a human being he can die for everybody else in humanity. So you have to have that seminal connection. That is true.
But, that is not all that there is to it. There is also the federal headship aspect that we are guilty because Adam is our representative and that connects over to Jesus Christ substitutionary work on the cross. He can die for the rest of humanity because He is genetically related to the rest of humanity, but He is representing us on the cross and so that ties to the federal aspect. So they are both true and when you look at it that way it flushes out your whole understanding of what the dynamics of Adam as the first Adam and Christ as the Second Adam and what is happening on the cross and why it had to happened that way.
We also looked at these views on the imputation of sin and I will come back to discuss this other issue later but I spent a good bit of time also studying the fact that between the Pelagian view and the Augustinian view there were two other views that popped up historically in the early church. One was the semi-Pelagian view and one was the semi-Augustinian view; but I didn't think I would confuse you with all the technicalities of that as we go through this because there are a lot of rabbit trails that get us away from the primary thing that we are looking at right now.
The one thing I keep wanting to go back to here is that most people – most evangelicals even though there is a huge rise of Calvinism in the last few years – probably the vast majority of Christians in America have a Pelagian or Arminian view. The difference is in the Pelagian view man is not even sick. He is not affected by Adam's sin at all. He gets to make his own decision whether or not he is going to be a sinner. Every man is born just the same way Adam was created. In the semi-Pelagian view and to a greater degree in the Arminian view the problem is that they view man as basically sick. So in all of these views – the Pelagian view, the Arminian view, the semi- Pelagian view - the problem is that man is basically good. If man is basically good, then your understanding of society, your understanding of problems, your understanding of what is necessary to solve problems when you have criminal problems, when you have relational problems, when you have discipline problems with your cute little infant child who won't obey you… If they are basically good, you are going to treat them and discipline them like Dr. Spock. If you think like a Christian you are going to think like Solomon in the Proverbs and you aren't going to spare the rod. You are going to drive the sin far from him with the rod of correction. So you see it all depends on how you view basic human nature. It is going to affect many things. It will affect your view of economics. It will affect your view of government and how much power you are willing to give government because if the people in government are just as corrupt and depraved as you are, then you don't want to give them too much power because then they will tyrannize you. So this has a tremendous impact on how you view many, many things in life. Anything that involves people is going to be affected by your view of their basic nature and their relationship to Adam.
The difference between the federal view and the even the seminal view which I have here and classify as the Augustinian view is that sin and guilt are imputed to every human being. That is this third column over here. Depravity is total; sin and guilt are imputed. That is true for both of those positions – both seminalists and those who believe in federal headship agree on this.
What I mean by guilt – I thought about this after class last week because most of you have been so brainwashed by Freudian emotionalism that when you hear the word guilt what you think of is guilt feelings –feeling guilty. That is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about the legal guilt of Adam's sin. In the other systems, that legal guilt only comes upon you if you sin. But in a biblical view (and these two views) guilt is imputed to you at birth. You are legally guilty. Therefore that sin has to be paid for and of course that leads to imputation of righteousness and justification. So these are all very important things to understand as we try to understand the rich complexity of our salvation.
So we stopped last time with these four questions.
- What is sin?
- What is the penalty for sin?
- What is the sin nature's relationship to the corporeal human body?
- And how is this passed on?
We looked at the first one last time by looking at the different words for sin that we have in the Old Testament in Hebrew and in the New Testament. All of these have to do – we boil it all down to the fact that they all have to do with violating an absolute objective standard. There is a violation of an absolute objective standard and that standard is sometimes mistakenly expressed as the law. But that's a confusing way. Some theologians will talk about well, the law of God is just His character. But the law is an expression of His character. It usually follows various instances and too often when you just use the words "law of God" what is the first thing that pops into your mind? The Mosaic Law. So, it is a very confusing thing. The standard is Gods' character, His righteousness. We go back to the teaching that we have had over and over again on the integrity of God that the integrity of God is composed of His righteousness and His justice as well as His love and His grace, which is an outworking of everything. But, His righteousness is the standard of His character. It's the standard. That is the ideal. That is where we find that absolute external objective standard.
It is the character of God and He reveals that character to mankind progressively through the pages of Scripture. We start off in Genesis 1, Genesis 2, and Genesis 3. As each chapter goes by we learn more about God and who He is. So we start off defining sin as that which violates and that which misses the standard of God's character, God's righteousness. It is defined as lawlessness as an act of disobedience, as unrighteousness, as a transgression or the twisting of a standard. All of these different words are used. So when we summarized this last time I simply said that to summarize all that I said that it is a violation of God's character.
Now the first sin that entered the universe entered in through Lucifer. I am not going to take the time in our study here in Hebrews to go through the issues in Isaiah 14. If I were teaching this and I wasn't covering the same thing in Revelation on Sunday morning then I would do that. Those who are listening to the Hebrews messages need to go over and listen to the angelic conflict special that I am covering in Revelation on Sunday morning. That is where I am going through Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 and as I pointed out both on Sunday morning and here is that we live in an era today where so many things that you and I were taught what the Bible said when we were younger are being questioned now by people we thought we trusted, by schools we thought were orthodox, and they are shifting.
What is interesting is that I find that (you will probably agree with me) – how many times do you see people change their views and all of a sudden they go to this church and they say, "Well, I heard this new view."
We just get enamored in new views.
"Well, so-and-so came along and he's got a couple of doctorates and he's not as old as Dr. so-and-so or pastor so-and-so and he realizes that Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28 or both of them don't talk about Satan. This is new stuff therefore it must be better stuff. It must be better scholarship."
That is simply not true.
Sometimes we do come across new information, better information and as we stand on the shoulders of those who went before us we are able to study, think things through and come to a better understanding; but when you come along and you are reinterpreting passages that have been understood by the vast majority of solid orthodox theologians down through the centuries and now all of a sudden you are coming along and saying, "Those things don't have to do with Satan at all."
You've got a real problem. Wait a minute! Maybe Genesis 3 doesn't have to do with Adam at all. Maybe that is just a metaphorical figure for mankind and that's all it is talking about!!
Now see, you have entered a slippery slope and one thing is going to lead to another. Now I am not saying that everybody or anybody who believes that Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28 don't refer to the original sin of Satan are beginning to shift on Genesis 3. I am not saying that. I am saying that it opens the door to that type of thing. In the study that I have done several times now to the point that I am getting tired of having to go back restudy this, but it is always helpful to do that…is that the vast majority…it was almost a monolithic position in the early church that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 referred to Satan either typologically or directly. Luther and Calvin didn't hold it. They taught it was historical - they referred to the literal king of Tyre or Nebuchadnezzar. But it doesn't fit that historical framework. That was generally a minor position. But in the last 100 - 150 years with the rise of historical criticism (which is a bad word.)… That is one of those pornographic words, profanity that you shouldn't hear in seminaries, but historical criticism isn't a good thing. It is a bad thing. It is the methodology of liberalism.
The first thing it attacks usually is authorship of Scripture. The reason you always attack the traditional view of the author of Scripture is because once you get it away from prophetic authorship or apostolic authorship now you start to question the whole doctrine of infallibility and inerrancy. These things gradually begin to erode. I heard of somebody who should be orthodox, I heard of them just teaching recently that it wasn't John the Apostle that wrote the book of Revelation or II John or III John. It was John the Elder who is another person. But, since we don't know who in the world John the Elder was (if he is a distinct person from the Apostle John… If we don't know who John the Elder was then we no longer have him connected to the apostolic foundation of the New Testament. The argument for centuries has been that we know of the veracity of the New Testament because all of the authors were either apostles or they were working with an apostle. Luke worked with Paul. Mark worked with Peter. So we have apostolic verification. Ephesians 2:20 - the church is founded on the apostles and the prophets. So this becomes a foundation. But, once you begin to attack that, then other things begin to domino.
It was interesting. I heard this last week and so I did some goggle on this on the internet the other day. One of the prominent proponents of this view is a Roman Catholic theologian who doesn't believe anything about the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. His name is Raymond Brown. He is considered to be the modern Johannine scholar. He is the expert. He doesn't even believe the Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John. It was the Johannine community. It was a committee effort by a bunch of his students. But he is considered to be the expert. So the whole idea that John the Apostle didn't write Revelation comes out of a group of theologians who question inerrancy, infallibility, divine authorship of Scripture. So these things are very important to look at because they tend to erode gradually over time and not in one fell swoop. So I pointed out last time that sin first entered the universe through this creature identified as Lucifer or literally in the Hebrew Halel ben Shahar.
The second determinative sin of the universe is that of Adam. Adam's sin impacts man in two basic areas, first of all in the sin nature. Something corrupts the nature of man at the instant that he sins. We call it spiritual death. He loses something in his makeup that on one side gives him the ability to orient to God, to understand God and relate to God. On the other hand it is not just a loss.
If you come out of a Roman Catholic background, what you were always taught was that sin was a privation. That may be a new word to some of you but the first time I ran across was when I was taking classes over at the University of St. Thomas and was my first real exposure to any in-depth Roman Catholic theology. They define sin as privation. It is only a loss of something. But see Protestant theology and biblical theology… Protestant theology is right not because it is Protestant but because it is biblical.
Did y'all get that email that was going around this week? Everybody was talking about how isn't it sad that the pope says we're not a church. We're not going to heaven. He doesn't recognize us. This was another papal announcement this last week that they are the only true church. Everybody else is just playing a game. I just thought you wanted to know that to have a little chuckle.
So you have this sin nature that is not just the loss of righteousness or the loss of a relationship to God but it is the positive gaining of evil and an orientation of corruption that man is now corrupt and death enters into the human race physically. There is a soul corruption that comes from sin. There is a physical and bodily corruption that comes from sin. This is passed on genetically. That's the seminal side that we have talked about. On the other hand there is guilt that is passed on - genuine guilt. That's the imputation side. So we have the sin nature which is passed on genetically and we have the imputation of Adam's guilt to that sin nature. That is a legal guilt that is imputed to us at birth so that his disobedience is our disobedience. We are just as guilty as he is because he is our federal head. This goes back to understanding Genesis 2:17.
NKJ Genesis 2:17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
So we have to ask the question – what kind of death is this. Now you've all heard that this is spiritual death. Most of your lives you have heard this. This is spiritual death. Romans 5 I believe is talking about spiritual death over against physical death because it uses this "the death". Now I Corinthians 15 uses the same articular construction with death; but the context is different because the contrast in I Corinthians 15 is with resurrection. Resurrection is bodily physical resurrection. It has to do with – the resurrection is in contrast to physical death. So the context of I Corinthians 15 tells us that the death that is being talked about there is physical death. That's not what is being talked about in Romans 5. So when you come to I Corinthians 15 "in Adam all die" we learn that death as physical death enters into the universe with Adam's sin. Therefore you can't have all these geologic ages preceding Adam with all the stratification and fossilization of dead things prior to Adam because death as a principle comes into affect according to I Corinthians 15 with Adam's sin. It's clearly physical death there. But this is not the case here. It is talking "the death". It is a totally different passage, different context and it's talking about death comes through sin and this death spreads to all men.
So we have to ask the question – what kind of death is Paul talking about here? Since I already introduced the idea of creation – evolution, one thing you should think about. Most of you have become very well-educated in the last few years on a lot of issues related to creation- evolution. It is one of the key battlefield areas in worldview. All of us need to keep up to date with these things. We need to be reading things that come out from the Institute for Creation Research and their website is icr.org and answersingenesis.org. But there are some things that I would not agree with them on. One of them is I keep running into when I read these creationists is that they don't want to take the penalty of sin as death - I mean as physical death that Genesis 2:17 is talking about physical death.
I just scratch my head. In fact I was talking with someone not long ago, a good friend of mine who is also a theologian, well-known. I am not going to mention his name because you all know him.
We were debating this and he said, "Where do you get this idea that this is spiritual death in Genesis 2:17?"
I said, "Ephesians 2:1."
Ephesians 2:1 is the key passage for trying to understand this concept or validate this concept of spiritual death.
NKJ Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive,
It is regeneration.
Who were what?
who were dead in trespasses and sins,
That's not physical death. They were dead in their trespasses and sins at the same time they were physically alive. So there is a spiritual death in contrast to a physical death that the first time you have physical death mentioned in the early part of Genesis comes at the end of Genesis 3. Genesis 2 indicates that that death is going to be immediate. That death is the separation from God and that loss of something, that when somebody is spiritually dead they are missing something. At regeneration you are born again.
What happens at birth? Something comes into existence, right? Well, for a lot of theologians (this may surprise you) because they don't think of spiritual death the way you have been taught to think of it, they think of regeneration mostly as an ethical change that takes place. It's not that you get something you didn't have. Nothing comes into existence. It is just that you have this moral reformation that takes place inside your soul so golly gee you are not going to sin as bad as you used to.
All these things kind of connect theologically. I don't have time to connect all the dots for you. But that affects a certain segment of the Lordship - Calvinist view of perseverance of the saints that when you as a believer get regenerate then you are not going to commit certain sins. You are not quite as bad as you were before you were saved. But, it is mostly a nomenclature thing. It's not a substantive birth to something new in your nature that you didn't have before. The way we usually describe this is that man is made up of three parts - a soul, a body and a spirit. The term human spirit is used especially in I Corinthians 2 to describe that immaterial component of the makeup of man's person that allows him to relate to God and understand God and to communicate with God and have fellowship with God. That was lost at Adam's fall. It is gained in regeneration. That is what is given birth to because you are born without it. Adam lost it and then he got it back. We never had it to begin with. We get it when we trust in Christ. In Genesis 3 you have the penalty for sin is spiritual death. This is why Christ dies on the cross, pays the penalty for sin before He dies physically.
He says, "It is finished."
In John 19 when he describes the death John says, "And when it was finished (tetelestai which is the perfect active indicative of teleo meaning it is finished) John just to make sure we get the point he says, "When it was finished, Jesus said, 'It is finished.'"
There is that repetition there. Twice it is stated. John says it and Jesus says it.
When it was finished, Jesus said, "It was finished."
That indicates that nothing more can be done. The physical death did not add to the payment for sin. Genesis 3 talks about the consequences. When God calls to Adam and comes and gets a confession from Adam as to what happened, basically he blamed the woman and she blamed the serpent and then God told them how this would affect them.
NKJ Genesis 3:14 So the LORD God said to the serpent: "Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.
Does it talk about physical death there? No. If physical death is the penalty, then that is what you would be getting there. I am making this distinction. Then he goes on to talk to the serpent.
NKJ Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."
This is the first mention of the gospel called the proto evangelium. To the woman he says:
NKJ Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you."
Is death mentioned anywhere there? God said the penalty was death in Genesis 2:17. But He never mentions death when He talks to the woman. He talks about the consequences now of spiritual death, that number 1 it is going to affect the command to multiply and fill the earth. Now that process is going to involve sorrow and pain. Instead of the husband and wife working together as a team, she would desire to dominate him and to impose her will and her agenda on him and he would do the same. When you have two unrestrained sin natures living together in a house without any doctrine, each person is going to try to dominate the other person and impose their agenda on the other person. That is the result of the fall.
NKJ Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
Why did he curse the ground? Because he told Adam his responsibility was to take care of the ground, the garden. So his work environment now becomes toilsome. It isn't that he didn't have work or responsibility before the fall; it is that now that work is going to become toilsome.
I am not going to ask for any men to say, "Amen."
There are going to be thorns and thistles produced by the soil and make it difficult. It is going to be by the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread. It is now going to be difficult. How many people are faced continuously with financial problems that ultimately come back to work and employment issues?
Finally he says:
NKJ Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
That is our first mention of physical death. It is listed with all the other consequences of spiritual death. So "the death" that definite article used with death is a reference to spiritual death in Romans 5. This is what gets passed on to all members of the human race. So we go back to Romans 5 and Paul says:
NKJ Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and spiritual death through sin, and thus spiritual death spread to all men, because all sinned --
He breaks it off but what he is talking about is that all sinned in Adam's sin. That will become clear as we get into verses 16, 17 and 18.
NKJ Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
NKJ Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
NKJ Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.
It reinforces this idea of Adam's sin being the determinative thing.
So we will come back next time and we will get a little further (I was hoping we would get there tonight but we didn't) into verses 13 and 14 and try to understand this parenthesis and the qualifications Paul is putting on his comparison.