Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Creation: A Christian's Bedrock Part 6
In fact, Paul plainly hints that it is through these oncoming tribulations that Christian character is developed; in other words our faith and the fruit of the Spirit which God’s Holy Spirit produces in us become stronger and more defined as we walk with God through said tribulations, Romans 5:3-4. Finally, this building of character crowns with hope that does not disappoint. Here we must not become confused; Paul is not referring to hope in the sense that we use this term in our culture and time.
Here Paul employs the word hope in a sense of eager anticipation; that since we have received so much in the adoption and reception of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14, etc) that we may look forward in hope to the consummation, or conclusion of our faith, 1st Peter 1:8-9. Hope in this sense is not some vague thing that implies a potential fear that what we hope for may not come to pass; the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to plainly declare that “now [godly] hope does not disappoint”; why? “because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us,” Romans 5:5.
Verses 6-11 declare the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice and blood; and how through Christ and His atonement we have been reconciled to God, and Christ died on our behalf while we were still sinners and enemies of God, Romans 5:8, 10. The apostle goes on with his usual “therefore” demonstrating that a previous point made is leading into a new point that Paul is emphasizing, verse 12. Paul’s eschatology at this point clearly takes on a literal creationist bent.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 5:12-21.
This is a voluminous amount of content to digest. Numerous implications and assertions about the Christian world view are exhibited here with crystal clarity. Verse 12 asserts that sin did not exist until Adam (the “one man” Paul speaks of). When Adam sinned death entered the world and death spread to all men because all sinned, Romans 3:23; 6:23. In other words death did not exist in God’s creation prior to Adam’s sin in the beginning. All evolutionary models (Day-Age Theory, Gap Theory, Theistic Evolution, etc) absolutely require death to exist prior to Adam’s arrival; or else no animal could have evolved into their current forms. Evolution is dead in the water if death did not exist before a thinking, cognitive being made in God’s image dwelt on the earth. It took moral and intelligent choice to permit sin; which is making a decision that is unworthy of God’s perfect moral character; microbes and single celled organisms cannot make such choices, therefore there was no sin, and therefore God’s judgment against sin (spiritual and physical death) had not occurred until Adam.
Verses 13 and 14 demonstrate that though God had not given the Law by direct revelation (Psalm 147:19-20) yet the law existed in men’s hearts or consciences and so we found justification or condemnation in the primitive light of conscience, Romans chapter 2. This does not imply reception of eternal life but rather living compatibly with the moral character of God revealed in us as creatures made in His image. The verses also indicate that death worked in men from Adam until Moses. Through the natural revelation (nature and conscience) men could perceive that their actions were wrong and deserving of judgment, Romans 1:18-32. Paul also affirms that Adam is a type or figure of Christ. The Greek word for “figure” (KJV) is “tupos” and means “a shape; a statue (resembling the genuine article), style or resemblance.” The comparison between these two “Adams” is what occupies the rest of the discourse; we will also touch on this in 1st Corinthians 15:45-49.
Verse 15 presents a universal scope in both sin’s indictment and salvation’s reach. The two are contrasted one against the other; whereas Adam brought condemnation to all men as their representative; so did Christ bring salvation to all who will be born again in the image of Him who created them, Colossians 3:10-11. The sentence of death passed on all men by Adam’s transgression; so too did Christ’s free gift (verse 16) pass to all by God’s grace (His unmerited favor). It all depends then on who our representative is. Adam chose willful self over obedience to God and chose to disobey thus sinning and bringing on himself the sentence of God against sin: death. Everyone who is represented in Adam still conducts themselves with this attitude: willful defiance of the God who offers Christ as their new representative to bring them back into reconciled fellowship with Him. Christ, having become a Man and remaining eternally God, may represent both interested parties and reconcile offending mankind to their offended Creator by the perfect sacrifice of Himself. He atoned for the sin Adam (and us) unleashed in God’s “very good” creation. The salvation our Lord offers goes out to “many”, but those same “many” also died due to Adam’s transgression and our own, verse 14. The context here precludes the theological error of Calvinism which only permits the “elect” into God’s mercy and Heaven.