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ENRICHED BY MANHOOD
In the columns of an exchange we read this explanation of why Jesus became a man:
“One, whom we may call brother, has brought the language down to us, and knowing our language, is able to teach it to us. How short his earthly life! How infinite its results! The everliving, irrepressible Word, worked out a fitter abode and re-ascended to God ENRICHED BY THE POSSESSION OF MANHOOD.”
This statement is almost too absurd to criticize. If it were true, why should not angels be thus enriched? Nay, if it so enriched the Son of God, why should not the Father also thus enrich himself? Truly our exchange has a higher estimate of manhood, and a lower estimate of spiritual nature, than we can find taught in Scripture. We read that a perfect manhood, as illustrated in Adam and again in Jesus (See Psa. 8:5, and Heb. 2:9), is a little lower than the nature of angels, though they are the lowest order on the spiritual plane.
But again, notice the reason given for Jesus becoming a man—that he might become acquainted with our language and teach us of heavenly things. Now, it is true, that Jesus did teach some
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heavenly things, though very little, as he said: “If I have told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe IF I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12). The fact is that the revelation of heavenly or spiritual things dates from Pentecost, after he was gone, as it is written: “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. … I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:7,12,13).
It follows, then, that the writer of the above is not only in error about Jesus being enriched with manhood, but is in error also as to why he became a man. He could and did teach us heavenly things while he was in heaven; hence the object of his becoming a man must be something else.
Let us inquire of Paul on this matter, and let us remember that a little Scripture is better than a great deal of theory, whether it be the old musty theories expressed in the fifteenth century creeds or in modern theorizings such as the above. The Apostle says that Jesus humbled himself in becoming a man, and that the object of so doing was to redeem men, to give himself a ransom for all, to taste death for every man. This being accomplished he was exalted again to the spiritual plane, yea to the highest grade on that plane of being—He has been made a partaker of the Divine nature. (1 Tim. 1:15; Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6; Acts 20:28).
He was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened in spirit.” And “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him [so:: no more.” (1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:16). His humanity was all dropped, and so must ours be, for “Flesh” and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 15:50.) Therefore we must be changed to his likeness, which is not human, but “The express image of the Father’s person.” Let us keep natures separate, and remember that apples, potatoes and peas cannot be blended: nor can horses, dogs and fish; because they are of different natures. So the human and the divine natures cannot be blended because they are different natures. See Paul’s definition of the distinctness of natures—”There is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.” 1 Cor. 15:38-41,48.
But in this same exchange the editor asks, “Why will any contemporary hold the editor responsible for expressions of correspondents?” Now we should say that the above expression is not editorial matter, but what of it? We do not criticize the editor’s writings only, but the statements of the PAPER. It is the paper which goes forth as a Teacher. Unless said editor endorses the above expression of nonsense he has no right to publish it. Is there no responsibility to either the Church or the head of the Church connected with his position of editor?
What should we say of the cook, who would serve up to the table a dish prepared by a subordinate, knowing it to contain deleterious and poisonous food?
— July, 1883 —