Who is our God? Chapter 2

That God created humanity in His Image is a glorious truth about which we are in no doubt (Gen. 1:27). As the verb is in the "present" or descriptive "tense" in the Hebrew, this means that the action is viewed as actually taking place at the time mentioned. That is to say, Adam and his race were created in that Image. It is quite true, of course, we believe, that in New Creation all mankind will be re-created in that Image.

Of no other animal is it stated that it was created in that Image. Of mankind it is most clearly stated. Paul confirms this at I Cor. 11:7, by saying that a man (anEr, a male) exists all along (huparchOn) "image and glory of God." The man should not be having his head covered while praying or prophesying, for the reason just given. We may take it that the rule is no new one. It looks like a cosmic, universal, and eonian law of spiritual or religious etiquette and decency. This would confirm that ever since Adam's time, mankind has continued, in some measure at least, in God's image.

But what are we to understand by image? Perhaps this point has never been clearly elucidated. Some have maintained that a mortal image is meant. Well, this is true in some sense. We possess, varying degrees of conscience. To some 'extent' mankind can judge between right and wrong. Many human beings have bewailed their lack of rectitude.

Let us, however, take the evidence of the, Hebrew word used in Gen. 1. You may be astonished, or perhaps astounded, if I insist that the Hebrew word tzelem always refers to a material, visible and physical image. According to Gen. 1:26, God says, "Let us be making Man in our Image (tzdem), according to our likeness (dmuth)." Whereas Adam, in ch. 5:3, begets children in his likeness, according to his image.

Tzelem occurs in the Hebrew of the Old Testament seventeen times. In the A. V. it is always rendered "image" except once at Psalm 39:6, where it is rendered by "vain shew." In the Chaldee of Daniel it also occurs another seventeen times, always rendered by "image" except once at ch. 3:19, where it is rendered by "form."

The word is used of God's image, man's image, molten images, images of things worshipped, images of mice and men. It is never once found as meaning a mental representation, or of spiritual qualities.

Dr. Bullinger, in his Companion Bible, states (Gen. 1:26) that this word "refers only to outward form, not to attributes." "The image and likeness is physical, not moral. Man fell and is a moral ruin, but some physical likeness to Elohim still remains. Cp. Gen. 9:6; 1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9. No indication that that similitude was ever lost."

Yes; some physical likeness still remains. Are there not some people, whose natural dignity and beauty make one instinctively think of God?

Very obviously our Hebrew term is related to another word, semel, meaning FIGURE, occurring five times, again signifying physical figures or idols. This word, is so obviously related to the Latin siml (as in similar, similitude) that the fact hardly needs to be stated. In fact, our common English word same is also related.

Very little attention has ever been given to this fact of revelation. The subject has been shunned, because it has been deemed irreverent to think of Adam being created in the physical image of God. Is not God invisible? How can we picture an image of invisibility? Is not God infinite?
Whom do the Scriptures declare to be the Image of God the invisible? Immediately you refer to Col. 1:15. The Son is that Image.

Adam was created in the physical image of that God-Man of whom we wrote in chapter 1. That God-Man or Logos (Word) who existed all along.

If we are permitted to draw an inference, we should say, it is very likely that the visible appearance of Adam was, at first, the same as that of the Lord Jesus Christ, before anguish and suffering made Him seem prematurely old (John 8:57). While we cannot prove this statement, any other view seems to be unlikely.

There is something unsatisfying and unsatisfactory in the view that the divine Word only took human form occasionally, on apparitional visitations to men, just as we might imagine a ghost to appear. This view leaves much to be explained. It leaves difficulties unanswered. There is a feeling of incompleteness about it. It makes the "Secret of God" (Col. 2:2) a very difficult problem. Here Paul longs for the saints to come to a "realization of the Secret of God—Christ!" If God can only be elucidated or explained in and through Christ, then let us be very clear who Christ was and is.

An old Scottish preacher, when coming to a passage in the Scriptures which he did not understand, would say, "There are great mysteries here, my friends; let us look them boldly in the face, and pass on."

Some of these mysteries have been caused by the spate of erroneous views let loose upon the Church in the early centuries regarding the Person of Christ. Almost all believers today are still more or less under the spell of one or other of these errors.

The doctrine that the Word or Son of God did not become man until the incarnation has been the root of a vast number of half truths and heresies.

Surely we should be able to look in the face any and all revealed doctrine in the Scriptures. Throughout the centuries ecclesiastics, scholars and teachers have magnified or ignored some aspect of the doctrine of God. Each sect or school has picked out certain features which appeal to it, and built up thereupon its Creed. Each one thinks it is going upon the teachings of the Apostles, yet each one ignores certain clear statements.

Do you know of one body of believers that acknowledges the fact and the truth of Paul's statement contained in Acts 17:28, 29?

To illustrate our argument, we shall briefly describe some of the old heresies which sprang up through a partial understanding of revealed truth.

The Gnostic believed God was good, but maintained that Moral Evil is something independent of God, contrary to His purposes. That Evil is inherent in matter, and God, being infinite, could not directly act upon matter. God required to send forth agencies, angels or spirits, evolved from Himself, who became the moulders of matter and created the worlds. As for Jesus Christ, how could He be God incarnate, as Infinite Being could never become a finite man? In the Colossian epistle Paul disposes of this heresy. Whereas the Gnostic set God at a great distance from man, and the Son at a great distance from the Father, the sacred writings bring God very close to man in His Image and Son.

The Ebionite claimed that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary, in every way like unto other men, except that he was the best of men, a moral reformer, who would restore the primitive and true religion of mankind. His Jesus was, therefore, very like that of the Unitarian. Clearly, the Ebionite had no room for a Deity who appeared to men in human form.

The Sabellian maintained that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Were a threefold manifestation of one Person, who became Jesus of Nazareth, that is, Incarnate Triune Unity.

The Arian reckoned that the Son of God must necessarily be inferior to the Father, because of His sonship, and was therefore something less than divine.

The Nestorian deemed Christ to be but a deified man. It seems strange that while the Jew, well acquainted with his Hebrew Bible, with its clear accounts of the theophanies in human form, failed to recognize Jehovah when He came in flesh the ecclesiastical Gentiles who framed the famous Church Creeds in the fifth century, failed to comprehend the facts of Hebrew revelation.
The Apollinarians, however, probably came very close to the truth. Apollinaris was a very clever and well taught man, with a profound knowledge of the Scriptures. He was quite clear that Scripture never states that Christ became Man, but that He became Flesh. He believed that from the eons the Son of God had been divinely human, and recognized that when He appeared in O. T. times, He seemed to do so in a body of flesh. This appears to have led him to believe that Christ's flesh came down with Him from heaven at the incarnation. It is said that he denied that Christ was entirely human. But we must always bear in mind that the accounts of these early times have often come down from the pen of prejudiced opponents, who wrote in Greek or Latin, and not only so, but English translations of the works of these writers are invariably very discordantly rendered, Translators will render Greek words just in the same manner as the A. V. did, so that one can only get a confused idea of what these early Church Fathers did say or mean.
So far as the Christology of the early Church is concerned, final shape was given thereto at the Council of Chalcedon in A. D. 451, in the form of a Creed. This Creed contains two great fallacies, namely, that before His incarnation, the Son was divine only, and that as incarnate Son of the Virgin, He was the perfect Man. That is, He became Man in the incarnation.

We must now turn our attention to another puzzling problem.

How can God be both visible and invisible? Irenaeus it was who said the Father is the invisible of the Son, while the Son is the visible of the Father. If there is any scripture which contradicts this, we should like to know it and consider it.

Someone in the O. T. times visibly represented God, occasionally in plain human guise, but at other times with more or less of divine majesty. There seemed to be a well-known tradition that no human could be seeing God and continue alive.

In the N. T., we read much of One who in visible form represented God, and admitted that He was the Son of God.

Can it be that one invisible God has two visible representatives?

We are forced to the conclusion that the Figure seen by many in O. T. times can be no other Person that He whom we know in the N. T. as the Lord Jesus.

But what of that dread statement, "There shall no man see Me, and live"? (Exodus 33:20). Who is the speaker? Beyond a doubt it is the Word. For we read in verse 11, "And Jehovah speaks unto Moses face unto face, just as is speaking a man unto his friend."

Why, however, should Jehovah at one stage speak thus face to face, while later on His face may not be seen? The answer is, that Moses, after speaking face to face, was sufficiently intimate with that Friend, to ask humbly, "Cause me to see, now, Thy glory." Then Jehovah said, "I shall; I shall make all My goodness pass over thy face, and I proclaim in the name of Jehovah to thy face, and I favour whom I am favouring, and I shew mercy to whom I am shewing mercy. And He is saying, Thou art not able (la thukl) to see My face, for the human being is not seeing Me and he lives." Then Jehovah sets Moses on a rock and puts His hand upon him until He passes by in His glory. Then He removes His hand, and Moses sees His rear, but "My face is not being seen." Next day, Moses is ordered to ascend mount Sinai, to present himself on the summit before Jehovah. "And Jehovah is descending in a cloud, and is stationing Himself with him there; and He is proclaiming in the name of Jehovah" (ch. 34:5). The next verse tells us that "Jehovah is passing by over his face and is proclaiming, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious. . . ."

Twice here in verse 6 occurs in the Hebrew text after the name Jehovah, the Note-line, a thin vertical stroke, which the Hebrews call Pesiq or Paseq. The signification of this line is to call attention to a reading or word, which may be doubtful, suspected, or important. It corresponds to our nota bene (N. B.). The origin of this mark is thought to go back long before the Massoretic system.

It is known that in quite a number of cases the scribes altered the name Jehovah to Adonai. This happened four times in Gen. 18, at verses 3, 27, 30, and 32. It was considered to be grossly irreverent of Abraham to be standing face to face with the great Jehovah, and talking to Him. The same applies in Exodus 34:6. Probably the scribes had the feeling that the name Jehovah should not stand in this verse.

No human being is able to behold God in the blaze of His glory.

Where there is no glory, He may be seen by men.

It will be observed that Jehovah does not tell Moses, "Thou mayest not see My face," but, "Thou art not able" to see it. In saying, "Thou canst not see my face," the A. V. is ambiguous, at least in modern English, as we use the word can in two senses.

The common Hebrew word yakal (iKl) always refers to ability to do something, not to permissibility. Moses, therefore, had not the ability, the strength, to look upon Jehovah's glory, just as we are unable to stare at the sun in its glory.

What, then, about I Tim. 6:15, 16? Let us first get a literal and full rendering of this passage. "Unto the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ, which (advent), in its own eras, He will be shewing the happy and only Potentate, the King of those having kingship, and Lord of those having lordship, the only One having immortality, making His home light inaccessible, Whom not one of mankind does perceive or is able (dunatai) to be perceiving, to Whom—honour and might eonian."

Here we meet with no future tense, but a present tense. No human being is able to look upon that glory. Once again, it is the human being who has not the power or ability to gaze at that glory.

Not one word is said about the future. What we know is that we shall be changed, and wonderfully changed. We do not yet know quite what we shall be, as we cannot even glimpse what a pneumatized body will be like. But if our bodies are to be conformed to the body of Christ's glory (Phil. 3:21), we shaIl see a great deal which at present we cannot see. How grand it is that Paul, in 1 Tim. 6:16 wrote "is able" (dunatai) and not "will be able" (dunEsetai, as at Rom. 8:39). That leaves the door open. Those versions which read "can" here are misleading. Almost everyone reads this in a future sense, expressive of permissibility. Rotherham, Darby and the Emphatic Diaglott are correct, in rendering by "is able."

There appears to be no statement to the effect that God can never be seen.

Some have expressed a longing to behold the Father in some form, as it were looking over the shoulder of the Son, to see Another and more venerable Person. Such people have a feeling that they are losing something because the Father is invisible. For many years I have pointed out to them that if they cannot see in the face of Christ all they need for the present to know of God, there is something wrong. In an old book published in London in 1761, called "Universal Restitution a Scripture Doctrine," it is stated that "Christ is the very God of the aeons." In Him, for the meantime, we ought to behold God to the full, as much as we need.

When the obscure times or eons finish, obscurity also will come to an end. But we really know next to nothing of what will then happen.

John tells us (1:18) that "GOD no one has ever seen." This, however does not tell us anything about the end of the eons. "Only-begotten God, Who, being within the bosom of the Father, HE unfolds Him." "Not that anyone has seen the FATHER, except Him being from-beside God. This One has seen the Father" (ch. 6:46). Once again, nothing is stated concerning the distant future. In 1 John 4:12 he says, "Upon GOD no one ever has gazed." Yet once, in Matt. 5:8, we do have a future tense, "Happy are the clean in heart, for they shall be seeing GOD." Strange it is that this same word (opsontai, WILL-BE-VIEWING) in about half of its occurrences, is used of those who shall be seeing the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24:30 etc.).

What impression must the Lord's words have made when He uttered these words? Just the same impression as they make now on the hearts of simple, humble souls.

At this point I hear some one quote the following statements, "There is no hint that this invisibility is due to human disability." "We shall never see Him, in a literal sense. . . . God is absolutely invisible. . . ."

I trust I have already demonstrated from the Scriptures, both from Hebrew and from Greek, that there is more than a hint that the present and past invisibility of God is represented as a human disability.

Not even 1 Tim. 1:17 denies this. "Now to the King of the eons, incorruptible, invisible, only God,—honour and glory for the eons of the eons." (Pray do not lower Him by calling Him the "only wise God"). This verse is structurally related toch. 6:16, and the two verses should explain each other.

While, admittedly, it is now true that God is invisible, who has the right to say we shall never see Him? Is not this an addition to Scripture? Admittedly, too, "God is Spirit." Spirit is, to us, some form of invisible power. But, if all creation, including all physical matter, came forth out of God,; who is spirit, what is matter? Is it a mode of spirit? Is it Scripture which states that invisibility is one of the permanent essentials of "absolute" Deity?

Must we argue from 1 Tim. 6:16—"Who alone has deathlessness," that no other being in the whole universe can ever reach this happy state? Here is another statement which says not one word about the future.

The fact that God in these dark eons is "unknowable" (Acts 17:23, agnOstos) is surely not a proof that He will forever be unknowable. He is undoubtedly unknowable to most human beings now on account of their disability, whatever form that may take.

Our contention is supported by a note in "Unsearchable Riches" of 1933, page 196, dealing with 1 Tim. 6:14-16. It is claimed that this passage refers to God's Son, not to the Father. The argument is that our Lord has deathlessness. The statement concerns the Lord in His glory, not in His humiliation. No human being can perceive Him now, but "We shall perceive Him when we also are glorified."

For those who would welcome further suggestions upon matter being a mode of spirit, we would recommend perusal of articles in the magazine "Unsearchable Riches," "Creation and Destiny" (June 1917, page 210), "Creation out of Spirit" (October 1917, page 21) and "Evolution" (July 1925, page 242).

Then again, there is Matt. 18:10. These little ones have angels or messengers in heavens who are continually observing the face of the Father. Whatever this may mean, we may at least be sure it does not mean nothing. The Lord was referring to His Father in heavens, that is, the Invisible One.

Moreover, what of John 17:3? "Now this is (that) eonian life, that they may be getting to know Thee, the only true God, and Him Whom Thou dost commission, Jesus Christ." The verb here used refers to progressive knowledge, getting to know more and more by learning. For all we know, this might lead to "observing the face of the Father," whatever that may mean. It certainly implies true intimacy. If it will require eons of time to get to know God in the case of believers, how long will it take unbelievers, and when? No wonder we learn so little here on earth, when the real time for learning lies away in the future, about which we know so very little.
The fact that the Lord, in verse 8 states that the disciples got to know truly that from-beside the Father He came out, should cause us to pause and think. A visible material, tangible person came out from Invisible Spirit? He was the Image of this Invisible Spirit?

A serious charge has been laid against me. It has been said that I am seeking to humanize God. And this too, by those who know and admit that Christ is the God of the eons; who would admit that for the future He is permanently, so far as we can know, human; who would most probably not deny that in the past, when He did appear, it was always in human form. Further, there is the strange phenomenon that this One came to the only world of human beings in order to accomplish the one mighty act of sacrifice in the entire universe. Why was He so specially attached to Mankind that He came hither to die? Is it not because Deity is very much more closely allied and attached to humanity than to any other creatures of His?

Many years ago a well taught teacher asked a meeting to give a reason for God's love. His own answer was, that there was no reason at all. God's love was causeless. With such a conclusion I could not agree. There is always some reason for real love.

God loves the world of mankind because they are His own race, His own kin. Those who think this view would drag down God do so because their faith is weak: they fail to visualize Man as he will be in the future, the crown and glory of God's creation.

But just here two dangerous texts are lurking to destroy our view.

We recollect that we have been told very clearly that "God is not a man" (Num. 23:19), with a somewhat similar statement in 1 Sam. 15:29. That seems to settle the matter. At one blow, much of the Old Testament becomes obsolete. The theophanies are found out to be wicked inventions, impositions. But perhaps we had better confirm "Not man God and he is lying and son mankind and he is changing mind." (La aish Al uikzb; ubn adm uithnchm). No language can surpass Hebrew for terseness, quaintness and simplicity. In English we would render it thus, "God is not man, and lying; and a son of mankind, and changing (His) mind." Rotherham and others shew the idiomatic meaning by rendering, "that he should lie," and "that he should repent." From the fact that God is often in the O. T. said to "repent" or change His mind or attitude or ways, we see that the statement means something different from what it appeared at first to be. Why not have a look at the context? Balak would have liked Israel to come under a curse. But Balaam is inspired by God to pronounce a blessing. God does not go back upon His word. His blessings and His graces are not to be regretted. It is in this respect that God is not a man. The subject of discussion between Balak and Balaam is not the fundamental being and nature of the Godhead. The subject is, is God changeable, fickle, like all men and women. Could He be won round to our side, could we get His ear, could we get Him influenced?

Similarly, in 1 Sam. 15:29, when Jehovah rejects Saul from being king, and the kingdom is torn from him. "And moreover, the Continuity (or Continuer) of Israel is not playing false, and is not changing (His) mind, for He is not a human to change (His) mind."

Balak would have had the continuance of Israel as a nation destroyed. But he was fighting against Israel's God, who is the Continuer of the chosen nation.

All of us human beings change our mind in many things, and must do so when we learn new facts. We have the right to do so. But there are some things about which we never change our mind.

God is not man in that He tells lies or changes His mind. He is not human in respect of being false and changeable. When He makes a statement, shall He not do it?

Let us always study Scripture contexts, and find out the object of the writer's statements.
It has been well said, "Man craves, not only for the spiritual vision of the unseen God, but for a face to face sight of a Visible God." Among the wildest and most simple races this will find expression in the most grotesque idol forms. But all the idols are more or less human. Man cannot even think of God without giving Him human form. A missionary in India once sent the following view to a religious publication in London: "We see the insufficiency of mere Theism, as propounded by the Brahmo Somaj movement, to satisfy the emotional nature of the Hindu; and how his philosophical nature must ever turn from all its abstractions to that popular side of his religion which, with all its degrading worship, enshrines the idea of an Incarnation, and witnesses to the instinctive craving of the human heart to see a humanized God."

What is the cause of the view that God and man must be kept so much apart? We should reply, without hesitation, it consists in ignorance of a few Scripture facts and statements, plus a Creed more or less based upon the confusion engendered by the early Fathers. The fact that the Father is Invisible Spirit makes it look at first sight as though He could not have, as His permanent Image, a Human Son. Yet this is a prime truth of revelation. God's Image was, all along, in human form, when He was seen. And that is the form which at Phil. 2:6 is called 'God's form.' When it dawns upon our tardy comprehension that God's permanent, visible, human Image, who to us is the Lord Jesus Christ, possesses bodily features, we shall not be concerned to make excuses for those statements which ascribe to God human features and feelings. We shall no longer require to excuse our lack of faith by putting down statements to a figure of speech called anthropomorphism (human-form) or anthropopatheia (human experience or suffering). These figures have wrought effectively to make our God unreal and make Him distant. Expositors, by taking refuge in such figures, seek to get rid of any apparent human features in God. They must be ignorant of the fact that the Word ever was the great Anthropomorph. He was and is God's human form, and apart from Him we would know nothing whatever about God. Without God there could be no Divine Man, but it is quite as true that without the Divine Man, we should be without God altogether. The Visible God—He who was always Intermediary between God and man, is the Word or Logos, who speaks through the Old Testament. If He could speak face to face as man to man, with Abraham and Moses, why should not His eyes be upon the righteous and the wrongdoer, and His ears open to the cry of the afflicted? Would not the traditions passed down by these ancient worthies reach in due course some of the prophets of Israel? Would they not realize that this God-Man possessed human features, hands, head, mouth, ears, voice, and human feelings?

Why should it be, that when certain expositors come to a statement which describes God as being grieved or pained, or "repenting," they immediately mark such utterances as examples of Anthropopatheia, that is, God pretending, merely shamming, to possess human feelings? He is far above all that, He the "happy God," who cannot endure or suffer any unhappiness! He does not really suffer or feel any pain. It is only those made in His own image who are left to bear the pain and unhappiness! Strange it is, that His Son, who, we are told, is the "Emblem of His assumption" (Heb. 1:3), that is, Emblem of all forms or modes He ever assumes in order to display or reveal Himself, His Son did much suffering while on earth, but that suffering was no sham or pretense! Why should, the statements concerning the Lord Jesus be true and real, while similar statements in the Old Testament about God are only "figures."

Here is one statement by a writer who seems to deny that God ever appeared on earth in human form. "Men cannot understand any language that is not human. Hence the figure anthropopatheia is freely used, in which God is treated as a man. He is continually given human attributes and furnished with various members of the human body. We read of His eyes; His ears; His mouth; His lips; His arms; His hands; His feet. Messengers behold His face. Besides this He is given human feelings, and ignorance, and many other traits which humanize Him so that we may understand Him."

But suppose God has already humanized Himself? These statements are made by one who claims to be in the front rank as acclaiming that the Lord Jesus was God. He claims that the Word of the New Testament was the same Person as that Jehovah who appeared of old in human form, even eating in front of human beings, and holding converse with them by word of mouth. In the same article he attacks unscriptural methods and words, yet mentions no less than five times One whom he calls "absolute God." We know of no such expression in all Scripture.

Let us put the matter in another form. We are told, and it is quite reasonable to believe, that God never spoke or speaks to men except in and through His Word. If legO means "speak," then its noun, logos, means Speaker, or Word, or Expression. Christ expressed God, and did so all along, from beginning. Not only so, but this Expressor of God was in God's form, and in human form. So that for this Person to perform human actions, and have human feelings, and use human speech, was equivalent to God doing so.

We have, however, more evidence to produce. It will never convince our Unitarian friend, but it may appeal to those who reverence God and His Word. Ask yourself this question. Into whose face did Moses look upon the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3)? You reply, "Jesus" of course, "the Lord." Perfectly true. But one thing seems very evident, that the Face into which Moses looked was that of no stranger. There is every indication that He had the Face of a very well known Person, with whom he had in olden times conversed. Moses and Elijah seem to have been quite at home in the presence of the Lord. The three spectators appear to have had some means of recognizing the figures of Moses and Elijah, and, no doubt their thought must have been that these two Were once again gazing into that wondrous Face they had known so well in ancient times. How would it be possible for any Israelite to think otherwise? Had not Moses seen some of that transfiguration glory long ago? How could the disciples feel that they were in the presence of any other than that same wonderful Jehovah who had appeared on various occasions of old. The great Name means "He who will come to be," and here He Was. The Name Jehovah is usually explained as referring to the self-existent One, but that is not its meaning. It was a promise that One would come and actually dwell with His people. The words, "I am that I am" are really meaningless to us, and those who explain the Lord's statement to the Jews at John 8:58, "Before Abraham is coming to be, I am," as implying that the last two words referred to the ever-existent One, are badly mistaken. The statement in Exodus 3:14 reads, in the Hebrew, "I shall come to be what I shall come to be," and refers, not to the past, but entirely to the future.

John 17:1-5 is one fulfillment of the Name Jehovah. Here He is, as the Son of Man, coming in His kingliness, or kingly power. We do not require to say He was coming in His kingdom, because in our sense of the word Kingdom, He did not come thus. As is well known, the termination of the word basileia (kingdom) expresses an abstract quality. God's kingdom is His kingship, rather than His possession and His rule. His kingship is very different from that of men.

Let me ask, what would you do if you received a kingdom? Very few human beings would refuse a kingdom if they had the chance of one. Now turn to Mark 10:15. "Whoever should not be receiving the kingdom of God as a little child, may not at all be entering into it." What is the kingdom of God? His kingship. Other verses which may get an explanation in this way are Luke 1:33 and compare 1 Cor. 15:24; Luke 10:9,11; 17:21.

Kingship of course implies a kingdom over subjects, but we may be sure that Gods kingdom will be first spiritual and secondly material.

As the God-Man of the Old Testament theophanies must be identified with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration (as God could hardly manifest Himself in two different material and visible persons), it will follow that if the former possessed divine nature (which no one could deny), so must the latter. And it is not difficult to believe that the Lord possessed divine nature. Why, if any of us had as his father the Holy Spirit, and no other father, would it not follow that we would inherently possess the divine nature? Luke 1:35 hits both the Trinitarians and the Unitarians a sore blow between the eyes. This one verse alone ought to have prevented the doctrine these sects hold. Luke presents as the Father of the Holy One being born the Holy Spirit, or the Most High's power.

But Luke tells us a vast deal more in this one verse; something which theology so far does not appear to have made clear. In Matt. 1:20 the messenger of Jehovah tells Joseph that what in Miriam his wife is being generated (out) of spirit is holy. Here the verb is passive (gennEthen). But in Luke 1:35 the verb is not passive, but a middle form (gennOmenon). Surely we ought to indicate this somehow. The versions shew the following renderings: shall be born; is being begotten; is to be born; the begotten thing. The Concordant Version reads "the holy One Who is being generated also," while its 1944 revision alters this to "also the holy One Who is being generated," indicating that the last word is a middle by printing the final two letters in light type. This, however, says nothing about the meaning of such a middle form. The meaning is, plainly, that what was generating, Holy, shall be called Son of God.

In simpler terms, here was God, Holy Spirit, Himself generating within Mary, about to appear in flesh. This middle form gives the powerful impression that God alone is concerned in this wonderful transaction. He whom Miriam in verse 49 calls the Power (ho Dunatos) is alone the Actor. This Power was coming into existence in flesh.

While it is quite true that such a middle form can be used of the birth of ordinary human beings, no other person was ever able to claim as his Father the Holy Spirit at birth.

Do you know of any other human being, who, so to speak, ever came to the birth of his own accord, under his own power?

Some who deny the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus claim that other virgin births have taken place. But these so-called virgin births are all among plants, sea-urchins, frogs, shrimps and so forth. No other case of a human virgin birth has ever been known.

As the Hebrew writings clearly demonstrate that at one time God did appear on brief and fleeting occasions as a Human Being, yet without tabernacling with men, why should it be difficult to believe that later He became flesh and tabernacled among men? "And the Word becomes flesh and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory,—glory as of Only-begotten from-beside 'Father'." (John 1:14). Not "from the Father," but something far more intimate, "from Father." No doubt in ancient times, during the theophanies, He had flesh just as in resurrection He had flesh, but now He becomes flesh, through a human process.

We are told that the "divine nature" of which Peter speaks (2Peter 1:4) is the future life of immortality, and that the Lord's miraculous birth did not give Him that divine nature, because if He had possessed it, He could not have died. We are asked also, "How could Christ die, as God is immortal, and angels cannot die?" "Christ was God's Son in the days of his flesh. . . and therefore mortal, before he became immortal at his resurrection."

Now, if Christ did not possess divine nature until His resurrection, this must deny that His Father was Holy Spirit. Peter, however, says nothing about the divine nature pertaining to the future life of immortality. Had he meant that, he would not have been so foolish as to add the final clause of the verse. It must be obvious to any careful reader that what he means is, that precious and very great promises have been presented to us, that through these you may become sharers in divine nature, (while) fleeing from the corruption which is in the world in excessive desire. Just as, in verse 3, His divine power gives all things suited for life and godliness, through the realizing of Him, so the saints may share His divine nature, provided they shun the corruptions of the world and live godly. Just as in John 1:9, the true Greek sense is, "It was the true light, which is enlightening every human being, (by) coming into the world," so here, the participial construction has the same force. John is not writing about "every man coming into the world," but concerning the light Who came into the dark world. Here was the Divine Radiance (Heb. 1:3) coming into the world, enlightening every human being, just as the sun does so.
Moffatt's paraphrase reads thus in 2 Peter 1:4: "that by means of them you may escape the corruption produced within the world by lust, and participate in the divine nature." Goodspeed renders thus: "so that through them you may escape the corrupting influences that exist in the world through passion, and come to share in the divine nature. For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness. . ."

At this point let us ask one question. Is it not a real living fact that we do possess some measure of divine nature? How is it possible to avoid taking on divine nature if one lives close to God and His word? If it is possible to 'be getting filled in spirit' as the Greek ought to be rendered at Eph. 5:18, and this glorious possibility is open to any believer who is obedient, ought not that to impart the divine nature to him? If we become like those among whom we live, or who attract us, we shall take on some of their nature, because we approve of it and admire it. If we worship God, if we discover in Him a vast attraction, if we wish to please Him, will we not become in some degree more like Him?

As for whether Christ was "mortal" or not, there must be a vast difference between the ordinary human being who can not avoid death, and One who could lay down His soul, and who had the right plus the might to take it again (John 10:18). No one was taking away His soul from Him, but He was laying it down from Himself. Literally, placing it from Himself. We submit that only a Divine Being could accomplish that. The Lord's death and His resurrection proves the very point the Unitarian denies. Closely allied to this thought is Rev. 1:18, "I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. And I became dead, and lo, Living am I for the eons of the eons." Would any human being ever presume to declare that he became dead, yet lived again? The same speaker in Isa; 48:12, who says "I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last," declares in ch. 45:5, "I am Jehovah and there is none further; setting Me aside, there is NO GOD."

We challenge anyone to discover the God of Israel, or the God of the Universe, anywhere but in Christ Jesus. It cannot be done.

It was not possible for Him to be held by death (Acts 2:24).

Do not the Signs of the Zodiac foretell the sufferings of a divine Victim? The story of the constellations has been made abundantly clear by Miss Frances Rolleston, Dr. Seiss, Dr. Kinns, Dr. E. W. Bullinger, and Mr. E. M. Smith. It is absurd to imagine that this Victim was merely a fortunate human being.

Mankind by itself could never have produced a Messiah—one fit to be Mediator between God and man, even though he had been miraculously born.

To invent a chimerical Christ will avail nothing. It is not the Saviour we picture to ourselves who is going to deliver us. No one has yet been saved by the Unitarian Christ, because he does not exist, and even if he had ever existed, he could not save.

So far, two results have sprung from our present enquiry. We find (1) that our Lord Jesus Christ is GOD in a richer, fuller, and more glorious sense than we had ever imagined; and (2) He is MAN in a fuller and more satisfying way than we had thought.

In our next chapter we shall consider a few other very important Scripture terms and texts, such as Hebrews 1:3, which have not so far been studied sufficiently or along strictly concordant lines. We are more than convinced these studies will clear up difficulties which linger in the minds of many. There will be intense opposition from certain quarters, but we are quite prepared for anything that the Enemy may do, as our court of appeal must be the original Scriptures, which will not let us down.

End Chapter 2 (Alexander Thomson)

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Listing of Articles

Who is our God? Chapter 1
Who is our God? Chapter 2
Who is our God? Chapter 3
Who is our God? Chapter 4
Who is our God? Chapter 5
Who is our God? Chapter 6
Who is our God? Chapter 7
Who is our God? Chapter 8
Who is our God? Chapter 9
Who is our God? Chapter 10
Who is our God? Chapter 11
Who is our God? Chapter 12
Who is our God? Chapter 13
Who is our God? Chapter 14
Who is our God? Chapter 15
Who is our God? Chapter 16
Who is our God? Chapter 17
A Female Deity?
Acts 7:15 & 16
All Things
Amos 3:6
An Answer to the Challenge of Hell
Angels & Men One Species?
An Interesting New Version
Are You an Ambassador?
Are You a Pillar?
Are You a Witness for Jehovah?
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 1
Are You an Israelite? Chapter 2
Are You an Israelite? Chapters 3 & 4
A Special Resurrection?
Baptized for the Dead?
"Beloved" or "Loveable"?
Brotherly Love
Book Review
Colossians 1:23
Common or Unclean?
Common Sense
Did Paul Visit Spain?
Did the Lord give up His Flesh?
"Divine" Fire?
Doctoring the Holy Scriptures
Does God know Everything?
Does God will Everything?
Does your Spiritual Life seem Unreal?
Did God hate Esau?
Earth our Future Home?
Emphasis in the Scriptures
English more Archaic than Ancient Hebrew?
Ephesians 1:23
Erroneous Translations
Gleanings from A.T.
Heaven our Homeland
How is Christ God's "Word"?
How many were Crucified?
In the Christ All Shall Be Made Alive
Is Dust the Serpent's Food?
Is the Devil Impersonal?
Isaiah 26:14,19
James 4:5
Jehovah's Theocratic Organization
Jesus the Saviour
John 19:29
The Kingdom of the Hebrews
Leave it with God
Men or Mortals?
Misplaced Ingenuity
New Light on the Second Death
None Other Things
Objective Value of Prayer
Other or Different
Our Advocate
Paul's Chain
Paul the Sensitive
Paul versus James
Prevailing Prayer
Problems of Translation: I Cor. 7:21
Problems of Translation: II Cor. 3:18
Psalm 66:18
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
Rogues and Rascals
Rom 9 & 10: Human Freedom & Human Choice
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:30 to 10:21
II Corinthians 5:16
II Peter 3:10
Seven Wicked Spirits
Shall We See God?
Sir, We would see Jesus
Should we fear God?
The Bloody Husband
The Cherubim of Glory
The Corinthian Error
The Cunning Manager
The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah
The Designation of Jesus as "God"
The Disruption Fallacy
The Disruption Fallacy #2
The Eighth of Proverbs
The Eleven "Generations" of Genesis
The Elohim
The Ends of the Eons
The Eternal Saviour-Judge
The Eternity of Hell Torments
The First Christian Convention
The Four Gospels
The Gentiles in Ephesians
The Greek Definite Article
The Hardening of Pharoah's Heart
The Hebrew Conception of Time
The Hebrews Epistle
The Hebrew Terms Rendered 'For Ever'
The Hope of Israel
The Life of Prayer
The Lord Jesus Revealing the Heart of God
The Lord's Relatives
The Lordly Supper
The Meaning of Ta Panta
The Ministry of Women Parts 1 & 2
The Ministry of Women Parts 3 & 4
The "Penalty of Sin"
The Poor in Spirit
The Primeval Laws
The Primeval Laws #2
The Problem of Evil
The Quality of Divine Love
The Rich Man and Lazarus
The Serpent of Genesis 3
The Soul and the Spirit
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 1 & 2
The Talmud of the Jews Parts 3 & 4
The Translation of Acts 28:25
The Trial of the Lord
The Truth of the Bible
The Two Seeds
The Works of Henry Clay Mabie, D.D.
"Three Days and Three Nights"
Translator's Incentive
Truthfulness and Mercy
Try the Spirits
Unto Eternity and Further
We have all been Wrong
What did Peter do?
What does Olethros mean?
What Happened to Jephthah's Daughter?
What is Destruction?
What is the Flesh?
What is the Sin unto Death?
Whence "Eternity"?
Who are the Saints?
Who is Jehovah?
Who Shall Deliver Me?
Why Pray?
Why the "Lake" of Fire?
Will God Punish?
Will the Lord Come for Us?
Will the Man of Lawlessness be Killed?


The Differentiator Revisited 2009