By Amos Binney and Daniel Steele
This generic term includes the whole race or species of human beings, as descended from Adam and Eve. That the race has a common origin, and all the varieties of man have (95. Will they ever be restrained? What would the principle of interpretation lead to that denies the existence of a devil?) oneness of nature is taught in the following texts. Gen. 1:27-28; 2:7, 18, 21-24; 3:20; Mal. 2:10; Acts 17:26; Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22, 45.
Man is a compound being, having a mortal body and a spirit which is devoid of all material qualities, and is immortal, continuing to live after separation from the body in a state of conscious existence. Eccl. 3:21; I Kings 17:21-22; Luke 8:55; 16:22-23; 23:43; Matt. 10:28; 22:32; Acts 7:59; II Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23; Rev. 6:9-11; 14:13 The body is formed of the dust of the earth, with the senses of feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing. The spirit is rational, having understanding, affections, and will. Gen. 22:7; Eccl. 11:7.
Paul speaks of a third element, the soul. I Thess. 5:23. By this he means the psyche, the lower or animal soul, containing the passions and desires which we have in common with the brutes, Eccl. 3:19-21; but this in Christians is ennobled and spiritualized. The spirit is that part whereby we are receptive of the Holy Spirit. In the unbeliever it is crushed down and subordinated to the animal soul, and hence he is called a natural or merely animal man. I Cor. 2:14; Jude 19.
Man was made upright, Eccl. 7:29; that is, (96. What of man? Body? Spirit? Soul?) in a moral sense, by nature conformed to God, or moral rectitude; called the image of God, Gen. 1:27; as explained Eph. 4:24. Yet a free responsible agent and probationer, placed under Divine law, by breaking which, he incurred its death penalty, both temporal and spiritual. Gen. 2:16, 17; Rom. 5:12; 6:23; Heb. 2:14.
The first sin of the first man changed his whole moral nature, from a holy to a sinful state; which changed condition, being hereditary, has entered into all his descendants. Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:3, 5; Job 15:14; Ps. 14:2, 3; 51:5; 58:3. Yet every one is responsible for his own sin. Deut. 24:16; II Kings 14:6; Prov. 11:19; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Jer. 31:30; Rom. 1:20-21; John 3:19-20.
Though man is fallen and sadly depraved, so that there is in his nature a strong tendency toward sin, yet does he retain the God-like attribute of freedom. In every volition of a moral nature he is free to will the opposite. No (97. In what image was man made? Was he a free agent? What law did he break? What penalty incurred? What text? Did this sin change his moral nature? Did his changed condition become hereditary? What texts prove it? Is every one responsible for his own sin?) decree of God, no chain of causation behind his will, no combination of elements in his constitution, compels his moral acts. The gracious aid of the Holy Spirit is only suasive, not necessitating. Acts 7:51; Eph. 4:30; I Thess. 5:19. The free will is a self-determining, original cause, itself uncaused in its volitions. It is a new and responsible fountain of causation in the universe.
1. Consciousness: "I know I am free, and that's the end of it." Dr. Samuel Johnson.
2. Such freedom is involved in the feeling of moral obligation, and in the sense of guilt for our misdeeds. "If man be punished in the future state, God must be the punished. If God be the punished, the punishment must be just. If the punishment be just, the punished might have done otherwise. If the punished might have done otherwise they were free agents. Therefore, if men are to be punished in the future world, they must be free in this."
3. The Scriptures every-where assume that men are free to obey God's law and to comply with the conditions of salvation. Prov. 1:23-31; Matt. 23:37; John 7:17.
4. If men's moral acts are the effects of causes arranged by God, then God is either the author of sin, or, His own acts being the effects of some necessitating cause, such as the strongest motive, or the constitution of His nature, the universe is under the iron law of Fate, and sin is an illusion and an impossibility.