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prets the saving significance of the death of Christ. It may be said that the analogy on which he proceeds is a mistaken one, that the existence and perpetuation of sin and death through our connection with Adam is a theory borrowed by him from the Rabbinical theology of his time; and, further, that it is disproved by science, which requires us to view the narrative of Gen. iii. not as history but as symbolic truth, as describing the way in which man first realised the consciousness of sin. But if sin, as the evolutionist says, is not strictly an innovation, but the survival of animal appetites that ruled without check during an earlier stage in the history of humanity, and that became sin when the new faculty of conscience had been developed, by which we recognise what is “right” as distinct from what is pleasant —what then becomes of the analogy between the first Adam and the Second ? and what becomes of the apostolic interpretation of the obedience of the Second Adam, who is said to bring life and righteousness to the human race, after the same manner in which the disobedience of the first Adam inflicted sin and death upon them? In reference to all this, it is admitted that possibly Paul did proceed on ideas that can be traced to Jewish schools of theology. In Jewish literature ascribed to that age we find the theory of the Fall stated as he states it. And the question may be raised, supposing that he derived it thence, is it a valid reason for our accepting it as true that Paul takes its truth for granted, and uses it to illustrate the Gospel method of salvation ? a question that runs up into the further one, whether all the arguments Paul makes use of to illustrate the truth of revelation are to be accepted as equally authoritative with the truth itself.? To attempt to answer these
i See Note H on the Doctrine of the Fall in Jewish Literature.
2 “In order to do justice to Paul's theology, we must avoid confusing his principles (which are permanent and universal) with his arguments
himself)” (Abbott, The Spirit on the Waters, p. 310). It does not
questions satisfactorily would lead us too far afield; assuming, however, the uncertainty or baselessness on scientific grounds of the analogy which the apostle employs, I ask, would this invalidate the interpretation put by him on the work of Christ ? Must we regard as simply a bit of religious speculation this whole idea of Christ as a Second Adam, who has by His death lifted mankind into a new relation to God, calling now for our personal concurrence in it in order that life and righteousness may come to us? The conclusion does not, in my opinion, follow at all. For the solidarity of mankind is a fact, whether or not it is rightly accounted for by the theory of our connection with an individual head of the race whose fall involved that of all the rest. Sin is common to the race. Death is the common doom of the race. This is fact, whatever account of it we may give. As a believer, Paul was conscious of facts that meant that this law of solidarity held also in redemption. The righteousness that was the ground of his confidence before God was not his own; it was common to all men; it was the free gift of One who had obtained it for all. It was the result of Christ's dying, for it was in the appropriation and spiritual apprehension of Christ's death that Paul and his fellow-Christians realised their forgiveness and fellowship with God. Connecting his religious life thus directly with Christ and His death, he could well think of Him as a Second Adam, divinely appointed to be the author of a new race of men who should owe to Him their gracious standing before God and eternal life. He is that, He is a Second Adam, although it were proved that the progenitors of the natural humanity were not one but many. To Him and to His work for them men have ever delighted to ascribe their forgiveness by God, and all those blessings that flow from forgiveness. The truth of Paul's representation turns on the question whether Christ's death has really that all-determining influence on the religious state of man which faith attributes to it; for if this be so, the idea of the solidarity of men with Christ,—the idea, that is, that an action of His has had so supreme an influence on the human race as to carry with it the actual salvation of all who trust in Him,—is an eminently reasonable conception, and agreeable to what we otherwise know of the moral government of God.
follow that the conclusion is false because the apostle's premises are irrelevant. His quotations may not always bear the weight he puts upon them. What he regards as history may be better understood as parable. But the facts to which he appeals, the conclusions to which he comes, are true all the same, and are borne witness to by the universal consciousness of men.
III But the death of Christ is represented not only as the basis of the forgiveness of sin, as the ground of our religious confidence, but also as the cause of our moral renewal and our deliverance from the power and dominion of sin. He not only died for sin, and in order to expiate it, but He died to sin, thereby bringing to an end its rule in human nature. This aspect of the death of Christ, its bearing on the destruction of sin, has a larger place assigned to it in the writings of the apostle than the aspect which we have con. sidered ; and it is still more characteristic of his interpretation of the saving significance of the event on the Cross. Weizäcker and others maintain that it is in what he says on this subject that we are to recognise the distinctiveness of the teaching of Paul on the death of Christ, and that he is alone and original among the teachers of apostolic Christianity in the emphasis he lays on that event as a death to sin, containing in it the potentiality of our death to it, and our entire deliverance in this way from its power. As a
i See Dale's Christian Doctrine, pp. 325--356 ; also T. C. Edwards, The God-Man, p. 76.
? Das Apostolische Zeitalter, p. 142. R. Schmidt, in his Paulinsche believer, Paul was conscious of an emancipation from the passions and lusts of the flesh of so complete a character that he could truly speak of himself as “dead” to that old self-life that had been ruled by the flesh. And this he describes as a universal effect of believing in Christ,“ they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections thereof."1 Union with Christ meant a union with Him in the death He died on the Cross, in virtue of which they had died or had been crucified with Him to the old nature. This is the teaching in particular of Rom. vi., where the very idea of a man continuing in sin who had been saved by the grace of God is repudiated as inconsistent with the fact of his position as a believer, for “baptized unto Christ he is baptized unto a fellowship with Christ in His death,” and in that death the “old man was crucified that the body of sin might be destroyed,” ? that is, that it might for us be brought to an end. But how is this to be understood ? The death of Christ was physical, while the death in us that follows as its effect is a moral process, is an inward separation from sin. In what way can a death that is of the body bring about in us a death that is ethical in its character, a dying to sin? This is one of the debatable questions in the theology of Paul. The portions of his Epistle to the Romans that refer to it are among the most difficult in his writings. It has been thought by some that we are not to seek for any intelligible connection between the two things, that while Paul relates them closely together, he probably had no idea in his mind of there being any ethical element in the act of Christ's dying analogous to the moral act of dying to sin to which it gives rise in us.* I am reluctant to accept this conclusion. The language of the apostle seems to imply that there was something in the mind of Christ in dying for us that was the moral equivalent to that death to sin which takes place in us when we believe in Him, something in its very nature fitted to produce that change in us. "In that He died,” we read, “ He died unto sin once.”] Not as if sin had had in Him a life that was brought thereby to an end; but He came “in the likeness of the flesh of sin.” 2 He partook of our flesh, in which sin has certainly its seat; and His dying in that flesh, in so far as there was an element of will, of personal activity in the act, was the supreme instance of holy obedience. It was in its very nature a death inflicted on the principle of sin that characterises the flesh of ordinary human nature, a slaying of it in its very principle of self-will, a bringing to an end its ascendency over the flesh of man. The power of His death to mortify sin in the flesh of all who identify themselves with Him is derived from the fact that it was in some true sense a dying unto sin in the flesh. He is the Second Adam, in whose flesh that of all mankind received a mortal blow that deprived it once for all of its ascendency over human nature. As the Representative of the whole human race He submitted to the law that conditions our entering on our true life, He was the first to surrender willingly the life of the flesh that He might become the Firstborn of the Resurrection, and was thereby the Ideal and Example of all who were to follow Him hereafter. Heir in His own Person to the weakness of the flesh and its temptations, Christ found this dying to it an essential element of holiness, and in so far as His death on the Cross was the final triumph of His holiness over all those desires of the flesh that furnish to man unregenerate the motive power of his life, it possesses a moral efficacy that constitutes Him the leader of all His brethren in their entering on the inheritance of their true life. And so Paul could speak i Rom. vi. 1o
Christologie, makes this the ruling thought in Paul's doctrine of the Death of Christ to the exclusion of every other. i Gal. v. 24.
2 Rom. vi. 3, 6. 3 Bruce's Conception of Christianity, p. 180.