This the 30th installment of 52 reviewing RA Torrey’s 1898 publication What The Bible Teaches. See all of Lex’s posts here. A PDF copy of the book can be downloaded here. You are welcome and encouraged to join the discussion in your comments to these posts.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
After RA Torrey discusses God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the next subject is Man. And the first consideration is man’s original condition after his creation In the Beginning. As opposed to after a lengthy period of evolutionary progress when God said, “Enough evolution already. You have sufficiently developed and can now appropriately be called ‘Man.'” But I get ahead of myself. Torrey doesn’t attack Evolution until three pages into the topic.
God’s first great act of creation is to make a creature in His own image and likeness. Yes, He had already created the the actual physical universe and it is an awesome thing, the galaxies, globular clusters, pulsars, spiral nebula, comets, myriads of stars and ringed planets in glorious, living color, so to speak. Fabulous to gaze at the pictures from the Hubble telescope. But when it comes to making things the human body has it hands down (pun intended). At least before the Fall.
God created man in His own image and called it good and set him in a garden. Torrey stresses the likeness of intellectual and moral nature. Adam named all the animals that God brought to him, so had had some smarts. Now we can only use 10% of our brain. Adam, I presume, could use all of his. What a monumental difference that could have made in his quality of life had he continued that path for very long!
On the moral front Adam was sinless, yes. He was innocent, certainly. But did he know right from wrong? He had not yet eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He knew God’s directive, so he should have known what it was to obey a command, and that the consequences to disobey was death. But did he know what death was to be able to judge that consequence? And out of all the the things he could do in the garden and in life there was only one thing he was told not to do. With overwhelming odds like that he’s not going to think much about this little thing. So morally, he is a child. He walks with God and enjoys a close fellowship with his Creator for however long this perfection lasted for himself and Eve. There’s no sin, there’s no anger, hostility, shame, antagonism, domineering competition; all social interaction is peaceful, encouraging, uplifting, pleasant, and blessed.
And contributing to all this are all the other likenesses that God instilled into His creation, Adam and Eve. The ability to create, ponder, have fun, laugh, all the best things man can do today in fact, except without the evil and twisted nonsense and hatred that attaches itself. All the good things are still the effects of God’s creation of mankind in His image and likeness. Except we hardly recognize it now or even give Him credit. So life before the Fall is is so unlike anything we can ever dream of we are incapable of comprehending it. We have no point of reference. Kind of like Heaven. People think Heaven is someplace so boring with nothing to do or nothing anyone would really want to do that who in their right mind would really want to go there, they’d really rather just stay here on earth!
But the test had to come. God created all of this for a reason. One of these days we’ll know that reason, and I suspect it has something to do with the larger stage of Heaven and the Fallen Angels and how God will show them how He will be glorified in spite of their rebellion, and that He is going to use us to accomplish that mission. But I think we’ll eventually find out for sure.
In the next chapter Torrey addresses the Fall of Man, but he introduces it here with a paragraph and a thought, that man was creates sinless, and “sin only entered the world through man by his conscious and voluntary choice.” A topic to be discussed more thoroughly next week. I’d like only to say before that discussion that I’ve always excoriated Adam and Eve for that monumental failure. That is until I read a work by C.S. Lewis. The second book of his Space Trilogy, Perelandra, has its own temptation scene, chapter 9, that is written in such a manner that explains better than I could have ever thought possible how such an argument as depicted in Genesis in the Garden of Eden could have resulted as it did with Eve and Adam’s disobedience. It is an astounding piece of writing by Lewis. And if you think that if it were you in that garden instead of Adam things would have turned out much differently, be prepared for a change of mind after reading this ninth chapter on Perelandra. (Perelandra, C. S. Lewis, 1944, Clive Staples Lewis.)