in determining man?s original state, we are wholly dependent upon Scripture. This represents human nature as coming from God?s hand, and therefore ?very good? ( <010131>Genesis 1:31). It moreover draws a parallel between man?s first state and that of his restoration ( <510310>Colossians 3:10; <490424> Ephesians 4:24). In interpreting these passages, however, we are to remember the twofold danger; on the one hand of putting man so high, that no progress is conceivable and on the other hand of putting him so low that he could not fall. We shall the more easily avoid these dangers by distinguishing between the essentials and the incidents of man?s original state.
<010111> Genesis 1:11 ? ?And God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good?; <510313>Colossians 3:13 ? ?the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him?; <490424> Ephesians 4:24 ? ?The new man that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.?
Philippi, Glaubenslehre, 2:387-399 ? ?The original state must be (1) a contrast to sin, (2) a parallel to the state of restoration. Difficulties in the way of understanding it:
(1) What lives in regeneration is something foreign to our present nature (?it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me? ? <480220>Galatians 2:20); but the original state was something native.
(2) It was a state of childhood. We cannot fully enter into childhood, though we see it about us, and have ourselves been through it. The original state is yet more difficult to reproduce to reason.
(3) Man?s external circumstances and his organization have suffered great changes, so that the present is no sign of the past. We must recur to the Scriptures, therefore, as well nigh our only guide.? John Caird, Fund. Ideas of Christianity, 1:164-195, points out that ideal perfection is to be looked for, not at the outset, but at the final stage of the spiritual life. If man were wholly finite, he would not know his finitude.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?