What Kind of Humanity Was Required?

o understand the problem, we must look closely at the subject of the Incarnation. It was the Saviour's entrance into the human family that laid the foundation for the entire redemptive process. According to the Scriptures, He had to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, and die for our sins. In what manner and form did He fulfill those requirements? To assume human nature, He had to choose between the only two kinds available— the holy, unfallen nature of Adam, or the fallen nature of all Adam's descendants. If He had taken any other kind, it would not have been human nature at all.

The religious world today is divided over this matter of which nature Jesus chose for His incarnate life. Those who believe He took Adam's unfallen nature, before the lapse into sin, are called Prelapsarians. Those who believe that Jesus assumed the nature of fallen man are called Postlapsarians. whichever position one chooses to accept of these two groups, he is locked into the limitations of that choice.

Let us consider first the implications of believing that Jesus came in the nature of unfallen Adam. It is mind-boggling to discover where this position leads us. First of all, let's ask what kind of nature Adam had before the fall. of course, it was a perfect, obedient nature for which sin had no appeal. But it was more than that. Adam's pre-fall nature was also one of conditional immortality, which means that he could not die except by choosing to sin.

The truth is that there was no way for unfallen Adam to ever experience death except through disobedience. THE UNFAHEN NATURE oF ADAM CoULD Not DiE. it only became subject to death after Adam sinned. If he had never sinned, Adam would have continued to have access to the tree of life. "Obedience, perfect and perpetual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition he was to have access to the tree of life" (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 49).

When God created man, He set up the condition by which he could live forever. "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Death and separation from the tree of life was decreed for man only on the condition of his sinning. As long as Adam and Eve obeyed God, they could eat of the tree and were immune to death. "Just as prior to his fall Adam could be certain of immortality, vouchsafed to him by the tree of life, so now, subsequent to that catastrophe, his mortality was just as certain" (SDA Bible Commentary Volume 1, p. 225).

It is very important for us to understand the reason for Jesus taking on a body of flesh when He came into this world. The Bible says, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death ... that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9).

Jesus had to come as a man in order to experience death and pay the penalty for sin. He could not die as God. He had to put on a nature that was capable of dying. But here is the startling truth: If He had taken Adam's unfallen nature, He could never have died UNLESS HE HAD SINNED! That nature was not subject to death until after it was weakened by sin. Jesus could taste death only by being born into the fallen family of Adam's descendants. As one writer has put it, "Christ did in reality unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by this act of condescension, He would be able to pour out His blood in behalf of the fallen race" (Ellen G. White, Manuscript 166, 1898).

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