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My Father in heaven, in Jesus name I come, because He alone is worthy of an audience with You. Please, hear me as I am in Christ, not as I am in myself. See me as I am in Christ, not as I am in myself. For in Him alone I am acceptable, accepted in the Beloved. {Eph 1:6} And Father I come in my own behalf and in behalf of my blood bought brothers and sisters just now to ask once again for the precious gift of Your Spirit. We recognize that we don’t need to convince You to give us that gift however, that’s not why we ask. We ask because Jesus said: “Ask and it shall be given.” {Mt 7:7} We ask because in so doing we acknowledge our need and prepare our hearts to receive what You long to give us – Your gift, Your most precious gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit. {Jn 16:26-27; DA 200.3} You have assured us that if we, with our small, faulty love for our children long to give them good gifts, You much  more long to give us Your Spirit. {Mt 7:11} And so we are grateful, Father, for that love that is so willing to pour out such a precious gift. And we are grateful that Jesus Christ has made it possible for You to bless us with that gift, though undeserving in ourselves. We don’t deserve it, that’s not why we ask for it. We need it! That’s why we ask. Oh, Father, I need Your Spirit so much now to take full possession of me and to speak only Your Words. Father, give me better thoughts and better words than my own. Take full possession of my being and let me proclaim the truth {CH 556.1} and only the truth and only as it is in Jesus. {Eph 4:21} This is my prayer in His name. Amen

{2’51”} The text from which we have taken the title of our study is Ecclesiastes 7:29: “Truly this only I have found that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” God made man upright, but… Man, as God created him, was upright. He had no bent towards evil, but something happened to change him–fundamentally, basically in his nature. And that was willful transgression of God’s law. {PP 56.2}

On this study, brothers and sisters, of the nature of Christ, as we have indicated in our first discussions together, there are two camps. Both of them have precious and vitally important truths that are their primary concerns. But where the potential problem lies is emphasizing a precious truth to the point where it first of all neglects, then downplays, and then eventually denies a vitally important, balancing truth. This one camp–their primary concern is that Christ be recognized as our sinless Substitute. And that’s what He became incarnate to be. This camp, of course, is primarily concerned that Christ be recognized as our sympathetic Elder Brother and be perceived of as a valid Example. That is what they understand to be the primary purpose of His incarnation–to be such for us. Both of those are vitally important truths.

And these folk over here, they emphasize Christ’s difference from us because they perceive that in order for Him to be a sinless Substitute, He has to be in some very basic fundamental ways different from us. These folks over here, however, emphasize His likeness to us. Because, indeed, if He is not like us how can He be sympathetic? How can He be a valid Example? So, with that in mind, we hear often the question–asked: “What nature did Christ take? Adam’s nature before the fall or Adam’s nature after the fall?”

Now these folk over here with their primary concern wanting Christ to be different from us, what typically do they say in answer to that question? {Before the fall.} Oh, with great enthusiasm and emphasis they say: “He took Adam’s nature before the fall.” And these folks over here with their emphasis on Christ being like us, how will they answer that question typically? {After the fall.} “He took Adam’s nature after the fall.” Now, brothers and sisters, if I were to ask you that question, how would you answer it this morning? Of course, I won’t ask you to do that to indicate your position because it wouldn’t be wise to ask you to do that until we together have very carefully considered what Adam’s nature was like before the fall and what it was like after the fall.

You see, those in this camp whose primary concern that Christ be recognized as our sinless Substitute, they say [He took] Adam’s nature before the fall; typically with the exception that He was mortal and that in the physical realm He was weakened on account of sin.

These folk over here whose primary concern is that He be recognized as a valid Example, they say He took Adam’s nature after the fall. Some without any exception. Others will allow for the exception that His will, even at birth, was perfectly submitted to the law of God.

What is the answer to that question? Did He take Adam’s nature before the fall or after the fall? The answer is: it depends upon what aspect of His nature and sin’s consequence upon it you are talking about. Please recognize with me that that question cannot be answered with an “either or.” It must be qualified, it absolutely must be qualified. In a very real sense, Christ had neither Adam’s nature before the fall nor Adam’s nature after the fall. He had a very unique nature. And we must give Him a very unique nature in order to allow Him to be both our sinless Substitute and our sympathetic Example at the same time. Let’s take a look at Adam’s nature both before the fall and after the fall and take a brief look at what caused the change, namely His willful transgression. I would like to study with you from the pen of Ellen White regarding this truth. God made man upright, but, but… {Eccl 7:29}

How did God make man initially? Before the fall what was Adam’s nature? {9’53”} Signs of the Times August 26, 1897: “God did not create man sinful. Adam came forth from the hand of his Maker without the taint of evil.” {ST August 26, 1897, par. 4} [When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden, he was without the taint of sin. {Con 31.4} See note below.] Now, in what sense was man created sinless without the taint of sin? Was he not sinful? Was he free from the taint of sin in that he had not willfully sinned? Well, yes, certainly. But obviously this freedom from sinfulness, this being without a taint of sin is in reference to more than his simply not having committed sin. It refers to the state in which God created him. In other words, it refers to his nature.

I read from Letter 83, 1905. This is found in Manuscript Release No. 201, page 24. And brothers and sisters let me insert here that I recognized that many of these statements that I am sharing with you are not readily available. [Praise the LORD, today, thanks to EGW Estate, anyone can read them online.] I have the special privilege of spending every day, if I so choose–at least when I am home, at the E. G. White Research Center there at Andrews University. And I have access to these materials. And though they are not readily available, I like to share them with you because they are precious insights. Any one of them you can check out and verify by simply writing to the White Estate. {11’30”} Letter 83, 1905: “He [Adam] had originally the wonderful gift of a sinless nature.”

Now, what constitutes a sinless human nature? Well, let’s first consider what constitutes human nature. What are we referring to when we talk about human nature?

{12’04”} Child Guidance, page 39: “The nature of man is threefold …the physical, intellectual, and moral.” {CG 39.1} So when we talk, brothers and sisters, about human nature–sinful or sinless–we are talking about the whole man. Please bear that in mind. Body, mind, and spirit. Each one of these dimensions are intimately and inseparably related one to the other. One dimension cannot be affected without a corresponding effect on the others. Important point to recognize. When we talk about sinlessness or sinfulness of human nature, we are talking about the condition of the whole man. For the nature of man is three-fold, the physical, intellectual, and moral.

Now, what about sinless human nature, that wonderful gift that Adam had originally? What made it sinless, in what sense was it sinless?

(1) {13’23”} Education, page 15: “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker.” Was this likeness perfect? Oh, yes! God doesn’t make anything imperfect. But was it an absolute or static perfection? No. It was a developing dynamic perfection. I read from Education, page 15: “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature a likeness to his nature. God created man in His own image {Gen 1:27}, and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image. {2 Cor 3:18} The more fully reflect the glory of the Creator. All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. {Ed 15.1}

We must note then that having a sinless nature did not depend on the relative strength of man’s faculties. Their capacity and vigor were continually to increase and yet he still had a sinless nature. The sinlessness of human nature depends rather on how those faculties function, on whether or not they function perfectly to the fullness of their present capacity in the way that God ordained that they should, in a way that ever more perfectly revealed the Creator’s image and reflected His glory. So then that which made man’s human nature sinless was not the strength of his faculties but the fact that they functioned in perfect harmony with God’s law. Ok? Now, these are all very relevant issues to answering our question: “Did Christ take man’s nature before the fall or after the fall?”

(2) {15’51”} Patriarchs and Prophets, page 45: “…man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the law of God.” That’s what made it sinless. Not the relative strength of the faculties of body, mind, and spirit, but the fact that all of those faculties were in harmony with the law of God–the will of God, which is expressed in His law. And sin is transgression of the law. {1 Jn 3:4} And as long as man’s nature functioned in perfect harmony with the law, it was sinless. It in no way transgressed the law. Such a nature Adam had. Thus he had a sinless nature. Now note what that meant. I read on, that same statement, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 45: “His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.” {PP 45.2} Again, what made him sinless in nature? He was in perfect obedience to God’s will in all of his functions of all of his faculties.

Now, how was this perfect obedience possible? {17’36”} Great Controversy, page 467: “In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart.” {GC 467.2} Why then could he live in perfect harmony with the law of God? Because the law of God was perfectly inscribed upon his heart. In fact, the pen of inspiration tells us that upon every nerve and every fiber was imprinted God’s law. {Ev 265.4} His whole being had the law of God perfectly imprinted upon it.

{18’25”} I read from Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1084: “Adam and Eve at their creation had knowledge of the original law of God. It was imprinted upon their hearts, and they were acquainted with the claims of law upon them. {1BC 1084.7} Now, what is the law of God in one word? Love, precisely. God is love {1 Jn 4:16} and His law is love as inspiration tells us. {GC 467.1} What then was imprinted upon their hearts? The principles of love. So, we can conclude that part of that wonderful gift of a sinful nature was a heart with the law of love written upon it.

(3) But it takes more than just having the law of God written upon our hearts in order to be sinless. We must have as well a will that is entirely submitted to those principles in order to be sinless. Did Adam have such? What is the will, by the way? Again, the inspired definition: {19’45”} “The will is the governing power in the nature of man.”–Education, page 289. The will is the governing power in the nature of man. Now, if man is to be sinless, that governing power must be perfectly submitted to the principles of God’s law, which are impressed upon man’s heart, especially his conscience. Did man have such a will the way God created him? Indeed. {20’30”} Adventist Home, page 26-27: “Not a shadow interposed between them and their Creator. They knew God as their beneficent Father, and in all things their will was conformed to the will of God.” {AH 26.4} Thus again, we conclude that part of that wonderful gift of a sinless nature was a will that was perfectly submitted to God’s will.

(4) What else constituted the sinlessness of Adam’s nature before the fall? It had no bias to evil. Listen. {21’16”} Patriarchs and Prophets, page 49: “God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil.” {PP 49.2} What does that mean, when it says God made man upright? {Eccl 7:29} It means that he was totally centered upon God, fully and completely directed toward obedience without any bent towards disobedience or evil. There was no bias. So then we conclude again that the wonderful gift of the sinless nature included being made upright with no bias toward evil. {22’02”} I read again Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1084: “It certainly was not God’s purpose that man should be sinful. He made Adam pure and noble, with no tendency to evil.” {1BC 1084.3} Please note here again, part of man’s purity and sinlessness was in his perfect freedom from any tendency to evil. Is that clear? In order for him to be sinless, in order for him to be pure, he had to have no tendency to evil. Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1084.

Thus, to have a wonderful gift of a sinless human nature meant that

(1) his body with all its wonderful, God-like faculties, his mind with all its wonderful God-like faculties, and his spirit with its wonderful God-like faculties,

(2) because of the law of God that was written upon his heart,

(3) and because of a will that was perfectly submitted to that law, the will being the governing power in the nature of man, all these God-like faculties of body, mind, and spirit functioned in perfect and natural harmony with the will of God,

(4) without even a tendency or bias to do otherwise.

This was the gift, the wonderful gift, of a sinless nature that God gave man initially.

(5) Not only did He give him a sinless nature, brothers and sisters, but He gave him every possible advantage to keep his nature sinless. {24’04”} I read from Youths Instructor, August 10, 1899: “He possessed a right understanding, a true knowledge of his Creator, of himself, his duty, his obligations in respect to the law of God. His judgment was uncorrupted, unbiased, and disposed to obedience and affection, regulated according to reason and truth. …Yet he was not placed beyond the reach of temptation.” {YI August 10, 1899, par. 3}

While sinless in nature with no bias or tendency to evil, he could still be tempted! Please note that. Do you have to have a tendency or bias to evil in order to be tempted? Absolutely not. We have just read that Adam had no bias to evil, no tendencies to evil, and yet he was what? He was tempted. It is not essential to have a tendency of bias to evil in order to be tempted. With all of these advantages that we have outlined when we discuss the gift of the sinless nature and with that judgment that uncorrupted, unbiased, and disposed to obedience, even with all of this he still was not beyond the possibility of wrongdoing.

For he was given by God appetites and passions that afforded him great, personal pleasure. And his indulgence of them had to be controlled by an intelligent understanding of what was lawful indulgence through the right exercise of the will. Who gave man the capacity to enjoy the sensory pleasure of good food? God did. Did man enjoy the gratification of that appetite before the fall? Why of course. Who gave man the sensory gratification and pleasure of that most intimate and precious union in a marriage relationship? God did. These were given to man to bring him personal, physical, sensory pleasure by God out of love. And yet man, as he was created by God, was in perfect control of those appetites and passions. They were perfectly submitted to his conscience, his reason, and his will–the higher powers in the nature of man. {PK 488.4} And this lower nature, this physical nature with appetites and passions, was under perfect submission to the higher powers. {3T 538.2} They brought him pleasure in their gratification, but he had to exercise control over them that he should not gratify them in an unlawful way.

But was such control difficult for Adam, was it a struggle for him to keep the body under? No. (1) First, because none of the appetites and passions of his physical nature were perverted or unnaturally intense through sinful indulgence. (2) Secondly, because the natural tendency of his whole nature was toward obedience. He was without any trace of selfishness–that principle of sin that puts self first and desires self-gratification and self-glorification in an unlawful way. In other words, in disobedience to God’s law, which requires supreme love for Him and love for others. {AA 551.2; DA 498.1} At the expense of others, at the expense of God, man was never tempted to gratify his lower nature. But still, that did not mean that he was not capable of unlawful self-gratification or self-glorification, even though he was perfectly sinless in nature.

For already a perfectly sinless being had demonstrated that though a creature can be given by God every possible advantage to remain in perfect harmony with His law, he still can choose to transgress and fall from his sinless state. {Is 14:12} And who had manifested that truth? Lucifer. To protect Adam from Lucifer’s mistake, what did God do in addition to giving him the wonderful gift of a sinless nature? {29’28”} I read from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 48: “Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. … They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested. At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall.” {PP 48.4} Now, please note that this “check” that was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence was given man in his sinless state when his desire for self-indulgence was perfectly sinless. Do you understand what we are saying? He still needed a check. And how did this check come? In what form did it come? The tree. Precisely. The tree of knowledge and good and evil. {Gen 2:16-17}

{30’45”} Review and Herald, February 24, 1874: “The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial. The reins of self-government were placed in his hands. Judgment, reason, and conscience were to bear sway.” And then she proceeds to quote Genesis 2:15-17: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying: Of every tree in the garden you may eat freely. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” {RH February 24, 1874, par. 10} That was the first moral lesson that Adam had to learn–the lesson of self-denial. That was the “check” against self-indulgence.

Now, was it a sinful, selfish nature that had to be denied? Absolutely not. It was perfectly sinless. Yet, even then, its God-given, sinless, unperverted appetites and passions had to be controlled. They could be satisfied only in accordance with God’s will. In other words, lawfully.

{32’25”} Counsels to Teachers, page 32-33: “Through the temptation to self-indulgence and ambition [here is another aspect], Satan accomplished the fall of our first parents.” {CT 32.3} Brothers and sisters, it’s important to note that Adam was tempted in these two areas, self-indulgence and ambition without being in any way prone to selfishness or unlawful self-gratification or self-glorification. He was still tempted in these areas.

Now, in what sense–how was it that Adam was tempted in self-indulgence and ambition? Gen 3:6. There are only three major areas of temptation. You know that, don’t you? What are they? {33’44”} They are found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.” We will be discussing that in some depth some time later. But I just want to note with you now that those are the three major categories of temptation. Every specific temptation comes under one of those heads–lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. Was Adam tempted in those three areas? Indeed he was! Did he have a sinful nature? No! Do you have to have a sinful nature in order to be tempted in those three areas? Obviously not. How was he tempted in those three areas? Listen. {34’37”} Genesis 3:6: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food [lust of the flesh, appetite], that it was a delight to the eyes [what’s that?–lust of the eyes] and desirable to make one wise [what’s that?–pride of life], she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

{35’12”} Now, there are those three areas that man is tempted in. Note how it’s stated–even in his sinless state–note how it’s stated in Desire of Ages, page 116: “… The test upon appetite [lust of the flesh], upon the love of the world [lust of the eyes], and upon that love of display which leads to presumption [what’s that?–pride of life], these were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve and so readily overcome us.” {DA 116.4}

We will be discussing it in depth later, but I want you to consider now, how many times Christ was tempted in the wilderness? Three times. In what areas? Lust of the flesh–appetite–turn stones to bread {Mt 4:3}, lust of the eyes–behold all of these marvelous cities–bow down to me, they’re yours {Mt 4:9}, pride of life that leads to presumption–jump off the pinnacle of the temple–prove who you are {Mt 4:6}, think on those things, we’ll discuss it later.

There were other factors as well in the temptation that brought about the fall of Adam. Not just was he tempted in the areas of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. Listen to these other factors. {36’52”} Education, page 25: “It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His Word, and rejection of His authority that made our first parents transgressors and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil.” {Ed 25.2} Oh, if we had the time, I would love to consider with you how Satan caused them and tempted them to distrust God’s goodness, to disbelieve His Word, and then finally to reject His authority. It is clearly brought out in the Genesis 3 account those three steps–fascinating to consider.

To tempt Adam and Eve to sin, Satan had to use deception however; for they had no inclination to sin. Could he tempt them with evil? No. They had absolutely no bent to evil, no desire for evil. So what did he have to do? He had to disguise evil as something good. Then and only then could it be a temptation to him [Adam]. Does he have to tempt us with only disguised evil? No. Because we have a natural inclination, a natural bent towards evil. Evil is naturally attractive to us in our fallen state. But it wasn’t to Adam. I ask you, think on these things. We will discuss it later.

Was it to Christ? Was evil naturally attractive to Christ? Think on these things. {38’55”} Let me read a statement found in Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1083: “With what intense interest the whole universe watched the conflict that was to decide the position of Adam and Eve. How attentively the angels listened to the words of Satan, the originator of sin, as he placed his own ideas above the commands of God and sought to make of none effect the law of God through his deceptive reasoning. [He had to use deception in tempting them.] How anxiously they waited to see if the holy pair would be deluded by the tempted and yield to his arts. They asked themselves: Will the holy pair transfer their faith and love from the Father and Son to Satan? Will they accept his falsehood as truth? They knew they might refrain from taking the fruit and obey the positive injunction of God or they might violate the express command of their Creator. The mildest test was given them that they could be given, for there was no need of their eating of the forbidden tree. Everything that their wants required had been provided.” {1BC 1083.3-4}

Oh, brothers and sisters, in spite of all these advantages that were theirs: (1) in spite of that wonderful gift of a sinless nature, (2) in spite of the fact that it was the mildest test that could be devised by God, (3) in spite of the fact that they were in a perfectly sinless environment that in no way promoted, or induced, or influenced them to sin, (4) in spite of the fact that they had constant communion with holy beings that warned them and encouraged them in obedience, in spite of all of this, (5) in spite of even the clear warnings of God, they fell. They yielded to temptation. Why? It is a mystery. It is the mystery of iniquity. {2 Thes 2:7} If we could give a cause for it, it would cease to be sin. {GC 492.2} Sin is sin because it is causeless, rebellion against God who is only good and holy and just and loving. That’s why it’s sin. We cannot give a reason it, but we can most definitely state one reason that is not the reason–one cause that is not the reason for their fall. {41’52”} Listen. Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1083: “In what consisted the strength of the assault made upon Adam, which caused his fall? It was not indwelling sin. For God made Adam after His own character, pure and upright. There were no corrupt principles in the first Adam, no corrupt propensities or tendencies to evil. Adam was as faultless as the angels before God’s throne.” {1BC 1083.6}

Now, please note, what does it mean to have no indwelling sin? It means to have no corrupt principles, no corrupt propensities, or tendencies to evil. That’s what it means to have no indwelling sin. So the reason was not due to any fault or any tendency, evil, any corrupt principles that were in man’s heart by creation. That was not the cause of his fall. It was causeless, therefore, and that’s why it is sin.

But now that Adam has sinned, what has happened to his nature? How did his willful transgression affect that wonderful gift of a sinless nature? Basically in two ways. And please note them carefully with me:

(1) His nature was weakened, deteriorated, diminished in all its powers of body, mind, and spirit on account of sin. He became subject to death.

(2) The second basic way in which his nature was affected is that his nature was perverted, deranged, depraved in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit by sin. He became subject to selfishness.

Did you get the distinction between those two, brothers and sisters? I want to repeat that. His nature was weakened, deteriorated, diminished in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit on account of sin. He became subject to death. Secondly, his nature was perverted, deranged, depraved in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit by sin–not on account of sin but by sin. He became subject to selfishness.

{45’02”} Note these two aspects in the following statement. Steps to Christ, page 17: “Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, (1) his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. (2) His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan, and would have remained so forever had not God specially interposed.” {SC 17.1} Did you get the two aspects? His nature became weakened, but was that all? No. Through disobedience his powers were perverted. Why? Selfishness took the place of love. I ask you, what was the place of love in man’s sinless nature? It was written upon his heart. {Deut 6:5; Ez 36:26-27; 2 Cor 3:3} It was the very center, the very fundamental basic, central motivating principle of his whole being–the law of love. {Rom 13:10} But what happened when he fell? Selfishness took the place of love and because of that, there was a radical, fundamental change in his whole nature.

Before the fall, in his sinless human nature, he was God-centered. The natural inclination of all the faculties of mind, body, and spirit was to function in harmony with God’s law of love. Man loved God supremely and sought with all his faculties to glorify and gratify Him and seeking the welfare of others above his own. {Mk 12:33} But after the fall, sinful human nature became self-centered. Selfishness took the place of love. Now the natural inclination of all the faculties of mind, body, and spirit are to function out of harmony with God’s law of love and in harmony with Satan’s law of selfishness. Man now loves self-supremely and seeks with all his faculties to glorify and gratify whom? Self–in seeking his own welfare at the expense of the welfare of others. Why the radical change? Because selfishness took the place of love.

{48’15”} And what is selfishness? Counsels on Stewardship, page 24: “Selfishness is the essence of depravity.” {CS 24.2} Elsewhere Ellen White speaks of depravity as the moral derangement of man’s faculties. {HP 196.2} You see, before sin when law was written upon man’s heart, all of man’s faculties were in perfect harmony with God; because the law of love was in perfect control. But when that law of love was replaced with the law of selfishness, there was moral derangement in all of man’s being. Man became depraved. {49’13”} I read Patriarchs and Prophets, page 61: “But they [Adam and Eve] were told that their natures had become depraved by sin.” {PP 61.4} What’s the essence of depravity? We just noted it, what is it? It’s selfishness. Their natures were depraved by sin.

Now, listen again for these two aspects–these two consequences. Remember what they were? The first consequence was that his nature was weakened, deteriorated, diminished in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit. The second is that his nature was perverted, deranged, depraved. The first, he was subject to death on account of sin. The second, he was subject to selfishness, which is sin. {50’15”} Signs of the Times, November 3, 1904: “Man has fallen. God’s image in him is defaced. By disobedience he is depraved in inclination and weakened in power.” {ST March 30, 1904, par. 2} “Depraved in inclination,” what inclinations? Every inclination is depraved, because every inclination now is selfish. Precisely. And selfishness is the essence of depravity. {CS 24.2} What powers were weakened? Every power was weakened.

Now, here is an important point, brothers and sisters, that I want to establish before we close. We can and will refer to these two effects of Adam’s sin upon his nature in these terms, just to simplify things. First, we will refer to that effect of the weakening, the deterioration, the diminishment of all his powers, which is on account of sin, his becoming subject to death. We will refer to those as innocent infirmities–that is, the weaknesses and deterioration of body, mind, and spirit which man is subject to because of his mortality.

Is man under condemnation of God’s law because he is mortal? No. These weaknesses and infirmities–this mortality is not in itself sinful. It is the consequence of sin. Are you with me? It is not, therefore, under condemnation. It is the consequence of condemnation. Do you understand what we are trying to clarify here? This is an important point to recognize. This is the unavoidable consequence of sin–not sin itself. Man is not under condemnation for being mortal subject to death. He is not under condemnation for having the infirmities and weaknesses that are the consequence of sin. He is only under condemnation for being selfish, for being depraved, for being evil in nature. For that he is under condemnation.

Secondly, that second category of the consequences of man’s fall upon his nature–remember, his nature was perverted, deranged, depraved in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit. By sin he became subject to selfishness. We will refer to these as sinful propensities. The first as innocent infirmities, the second as sinful propensities. By sinful propensities we mean bent to evil {Ed 29.1}–that moral derangement, which we call depravity that is the result of selfishness having taken the place of love in man’s heart. Now the inclinations of body, mind, and spirit are towards transgression of God’s law. They are sinful tendencies and inclinations because he is naturally selfish. His depravity, his selfishness is under condemnation of the law. {ST March 11, 1897, par. 8} For selfishness is sin {ST April 13, 1891, par. 3}, and sin is transgression of the law. {1 Jn 3:4} These we call then sinful propensities. Do you have these two? Innocent infirmities and sinful propensities. Please keep those clear in your memory. We will be building each one of these studies, brothers and sisters, upon what we have sought to establish in the preceding ones. Sinful propensities, innocent infirmities.

Now, note with me as well, briefly. Some of the consequences in the realm of the sinful propensities, in the realm of his nature becoming perverted, depraved by sin. {55’04”} Review and Herald, May 3, 1906: “When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan’s side; his nature became evil, and he became separated from God.” {RH May 3, 1906, par. 2} I would like to just parenthetically note with you here that absolutely nowhere in all of the inspired writing of the Spirit of Prophecy do we find a single reference to Christ as having an evil nature. Nowhere! Think on these things. I read again: “When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan’s side; his nature became evil, and he became separated from God.”

{56’03”} Great Controversy, page 505: “When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy.” {GC 505.2} Can we say such of the nature of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? I read it again: “When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy.” Again, it is significant to note that Ellen White never refers to Christ as either having an evil nature or a depraved nature. Never! Or having taken, either, upon Himself. Never!

{57’11”} I read from Testimonies for the Church, page 6: “When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden, they were innocent and sinless, in perfect harmony with God. …But when they transgressed, their nature was no longer sinless. They became evil; for they had placed themselves on the side of the fallen foe…” {SpTB02 6.2}

How in this state did they relate to Satan? {57’38”} Patriarchs and Prophets, page 53: “But should they once yield to temptation, their nature would become so depraved that in themselves they would have no power and no disposition to resist Satan.” {PP 53.2} Do you see the two aspects that we are talking about here? “No power” Why? Because they had become subject to innocent infirmities. But not only did they have “no power,” they had “no disposition.” Why? Because they had become subject to sinful propensities. Are you with me? They now had a natural bent towards evil. They now had an inclination towards evil. They were in harmony with Satan, not at variance with him and the only way they could ever be otherwise, as God supernaturally placed within them that promised gift of enmity. “I will put enmity between you and the woman.” {Gen 3:15} Why does He have to put it there? Because it is no longer naturally there. What is naturally there now? The carnal mind is enmity against God. {Rom 8:7} That’s what’s natural now to man.

{58’53”} Listen. Signs of the Times, February 13, 1893: “When man sinned, all heaven was filled with sorrow; for through yielding to temptation, man became the enemy of God, a partaker of the Satanic nature. The image of God in which he had been created was marred and distorted. The character of man was out of harmony with the character of God; for through sin man became carnal, and the carnal heart is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. … Out of harmony with the nature of God, unyielding to the claims of His law, naught but destruction was before the human race.  … par. 7: Man had become so degraded by sin, his nature so perverted by evil, that it was impossible for him of himself to come into harmony with God, whose nature is purity and love.” {ST Feb 13, 193, par. 6 and par. 7} A hopeless picture? Yes.

Now, do you want to vote again on the question: “Did Christ in His incarnate experience take man’s nature before the fall or man’s nature after the fall?” It depends, doesn’t it, upon: which aspect? There are two! There are the innocent infirmities and there are the sinful propensities.

My brother, my sister, in order for Him to be our sinless Substitute, could He take the sinful propensities, that depravity, that selfishness, which makes us evil by nature? Could He take that and be our sinless Substitute? Most definitely not. He has to be excluded from that. And we will explore that in depth later. But, what about our innocent infirmities? Can He take those and still be our sinless Substitute? Yes. And He must take those. Why? Because He is not only our sinless Substitute, He’s our sympathetic Elder Brother who took upon Himself our infirmities {Mt 8:17}, who is acquainted with all of our weakness {Is 53:3}, and who is tempted in all things like as we are. {Heb 4:15}

Oh, brothers and sisters, but please recognize with me: did Adam have to be tempted in all things like as we are? Did Adam have to be sinful, perverted in his nature to be tempted in those three areas like we are, did he? {No.} Did Christ? He did not have to be perverted to be tempted in those three areas. But, oh, and here is a point that we have to carefully develop, and we can’t do it now. We are out of time. He was not only tempted in those three areas as Adam was tempted, but He is tempted in all things like as we are; and we have perverted appetites and passions. How could Christ be tempted like as we are without perverted, selfish, depraved appetites and passions? That’s the question. And we must grapple with that. And there are precious insights in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy that answer that question so clearly for us that allow us to recognize Him as our sympathetic Elder Brother and our valid Example and still preserve His perfect sinlessness that He might be our Substitute. Oh, brothers and sisters, this is such precious truth, and we must understand it–not only for ourselves, but for the sake of those to whom the Lord commissions us to preach the gospel.

I have painted a rather grim picture, I know, in this study. But let me end up with just a couple minutes of good news, ok? I want to end on a positive note. {1h 03’47”} In the book Faith and Works, page 21: “The moment the workmanship of God refused obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom, that moment he became disloyal to the government of God and he made himself entirely unworthy of all the blessings wherewith God had favored him. Par. 2: This was the position of the human race after man divorced himself from God by transgression.” Note, it was the position of whom? The human race! After who divorced himself? Adam, did. How many of us were involved in that divorce? {All of us.} Very important point and we’ll study on that this evening, Lord willing. “This was the position of the human race after man divorced himself from God by transgression. Then he was no longer entitled to a breath of air, a ray of sunshine, or a particle of food. And the reason why man was not annihilated was because God so loved him that He made the gift of His dear Son that He should suffer the penalty of his transgression.” {FW 21.1 and 2} Oh, it’s a terrible thing that happened to the human race. But praise God for the marvelous provision to meet the desperate and hopeless need of man.

{1h 05’10”} Review and Herald, April 23, 1901: “Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his [Adam’s] case?—Because a ransom was found.” {RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 9}

{1h 05’24”} Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1085: “The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead…” {1BC 1085.2}

{1h 05’37”} Spiritual Gifts, volume 3, page 47: “For the sake of His dear Son the Father forbears a while the execution of death, and to Christ He commits the fallen race.” {3SG 46.3} Can we be in better hands? Oh, we can’t.

{1h 05′ 56″} Conflict and Courage, page 20. Listen, in closing: “Adam and Eve were given a probation in which to return to their allegiance, and in this plan all their posterity were embraced.” {CC 20.6}

Brothers and sisters, praise God! Not only for that period of probation, but praise God for the Saviour, the sinless yet sympathetic Saviour, that He sent to bring us back to our God-ordained, sin-forfeited, but blood-salvaged destiny. And praise God that the nature, which He assumed, allowed Him to accomplish in perfection every aspect of His mission. May God help us understand and appreciate what that nature was, so we might understand and appreciate our Lord more. Not only as our sinless Substitute, but as our sympathetic Elder Brother and valid Example. Shall we pray?

Father in Heaven, I thank You so much for the privilege we have of studying Your Word. And I thank You especially for the precious insight that You have given us through the pen of inspiration, the testimony of Jesus, the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. {Rev 12:17; 19:10} Lord help us, not only to understand these things intellectually, but help us to understand them in a way that touches our lives at the everyday level and makes us more like our Lord. Thank You that He became a partaker of our nature so that we might become a partaker of His nature. {1SM 408.1} Help us to do so, I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Note:

The point is much stronger if I had said “without a taint of evil” as she has originally written it! That is especially true now that I understand the significant difference between sin and evil. Note the following definitions:

Sin is the conscious, knowing, and deliberate transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will.

Sin is the measure of unwillingness to be divinely led and spiritually directed.

Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father’s will.

Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfections of obedience to the Father’s will.

To have been given a nature that was free from “the taint of evil” was far greater than to be given a nature “without the taint of sin”. It is a profound statement God makes through this inspired writings regarding how He made us originally.  It shows us very clearly how totally free God made us from anything that could even approach sin. We didn’t even have an inclination to an unconscious or unintended transgression of the Torah [teaching, showing the directions by our loving Father], nor any tendency whatsoever to imperfectly obey His will in any way. In other words, we were in full and complete harmony with His law and without the slightest bent or inclination to unconsciously or imperfectly obey it. What more could He have given us when He prepared us to face the simple test we had to face {Gen 2:17; PP 60.4; CG 79.5}, than to be “without the taint of evil”?! Nothing more! That is, “nothing more” without forcing our wills to obey Him, and that He could not do if we were to be able to develop a character. A free will is essential to be able that. We certainly had a freewill, but we had absolutely no tendency whatsoever to sin for we were created even “without the taint of evil”! What a remarkable truth!

Quotes from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as used in this lesson for your reference. 😉

 

Eccl 7:29 “Truly, this only I have found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”

ST Aug 26, 1897 “God did not create man sinful.  Adam came forth from the hand of his Maker without the taint of evil.”

Letter 83, 1905 (MR# 201, page 24)  “He (Adam) had originally the wonderful gift of a sinless nature.”

GC 505 “When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy.”

Ed 15 “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature a likeness to his Maker.  God created man in His own image, and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image–the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator.  All his faculties were capable of development, their capacity and vigor were continually to increase.”

PP 45 “Man was formed in the likeness of God.  His nature was in harmony with the law of God.”

GC 467 “In the beginning, man was created in the image of God.  He was in perfect harmony with the nature and law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart.”

1 BC 1084 “Adam and Eve at their creation had knowledge of the original law of God.  It was imprinted upon their hearts, and they were acquainted with the claims of the law upon them.”

Ed 289 “The will is the governing power in the nature of man.”

AH 26 “Not a shadow interposed between them and their Creator.  They knew God as their beneficent Father, and in all things their will was conformed to the will of God.”

PP 49 “God made man upright.  He gave him noble traits of character with no bias toward evil.”

1 BC 1084 “It was certainly not God’s purpose that man should be sinful.  God made man pure and noble with no tendency to evil.”

YI Aug 10, 1899 “He possessed a right understanding, a true knowledge of his Creator, of himself, his duties, his obligations in respect to the law of God.  His judgment was uncorrupted, unbiased, and disposed to obedience and affection regulated according to reason and truth.  Yet, he was not placed beyond the reach of temptation.”

PP 48 “Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing…They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels, but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested.  At the very beginning of man’s existence, a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall.”

RH Feb 24, 1874 “The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial.  The reins of self-government were placed in his hands.  Judgment, reason, and conscience were to bear sway.”

Gen 2:15-17 “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘of every tree in the garden you may eat freely, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.’”

CT 32-33 “Through the temptation to self-indulgence and ambition, Satan accomplished the fall of our first parents.”

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world.”

Gen 3:6 “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food (lust of the flesh, appetite), that it was a delight to the eyes (lust of the eyes), and desirable to make one wise (pride of life), she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”

DA 116 “The test upon appetite, upon the love of the world, and upon that love of display that leads to presumption, these were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve and so readily overcome us.”

Ed 25 “It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His Word, and rejection of His authority that made our first parents transgressors and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil.”

1 BC 1083 “With what intense interest the whole universe watched the conflict that was to decide the position of Adam and Eve.  How attentively the angels listened to the words of Satan, the originator of sin, as he placed his own ideas above the commands of God and sought to make of now effect the law of God, through his deceptive reasoning.   How anxiously they waited to see if the holy pair would be deluded by the tempted and yield to his arts.  They asked themselves, ‘Will the holy pair transfer their faith and love from the Father and Son to Satan?  Will they accept his falsehood as truth?’  They knew they might refrain from taking the fruit and obey the positive injunction of God or they might violate the express command of their Creator.  The mildest test was given them that they could be given, for there was no need of their eating of the forbidden tree.  Everything that their wants required had been provided.”

1 BC 1083 “In what consisted the strength of the assault made upon Adam which caused his fall?  It was not indwelling sin.  For God made Adam after His own character, pure and upright.  There were no corrupt principles in the first Adam, no corrupt propensities or tendencies to evil.  Adam was as faultless as the angels before God’s throne.”

SC 17 “Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind.  He was perfect in his being and in harmony with God.  His thoughts were pure, his aims holy.  But through disobedience, his powers were perverted and selfishness took the place of love.  His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him in his own strength to resist the power of evil.  He was made a captive of Satan and would have remained so forever had God not specifically interposed.”

CS 24 “Selfishness is the essence of depravity.”

HP 196 “Moral derangement, which we call depravity,”

PP 61 “But they (Adam and Eve) were told that their natures had become depraved by sin.”

ST Mar 30, 1904 “Man was fallen.  God’s image in him is defaced.  By disobedience he is depraved in inclination and weakened in power.”

RH May 3, 1906 “When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan’s side.  His nature became evil, and he became separated from God.”

Note: Absolutely nowhere in all the inspired writings of the Spirit of Prophecy do we find a single reference to Christ as having an evil nature.

GC 505 “When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy.”

SpTB02 6 “When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were innocent and sinless in perfect harmony with God, but when they transgressed, their nature was no longer sinless.  They became evil for they had placed themselves on the side of the fallen foe….”

PP 53 “But should they once yield to temptation, their nature would become so depraved that in themselves, they would have no power and no disposition to resist Satan.”

ST Feb 13, 1893 “When man sinned, all heaven was filled with sorrow.  For through yielding to temptation, man became the enemy of God, a partaker of the satanic nature.  The image of God in which he had been created was marred and distorted.  The character of man was out of harmony with the character of God.  For through sin, man became carnal and the carnal heart is enmity against God, is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’  Out of harmony with the nature of God, unyielding to the claims of His law, naught but destruction was before the human race.  Man had become so degraded by sin, his nature so perverted by evil, that it was impossible for him of himself to come into harmony with God, whose nature is purity and love.”

FW 21 “The moment the workmanship of God refused obedience to the laws of God’s kingdom, that moment he became disloyal to the government of God and he made himself entirely unworthy of all the blessings wherewith God had favored him.  This was the position of the human race after man divorced himself from God by transgression.  Then he was no longer entitled to a breath of air, a ray of sunshine, or a particle of food.  And the reason why man was not annihilated was because God so loved him that He made the gift of His dear Son that He should suffer the penalty of His transgression.”

RH Apr 23, 1901 “Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his (Adam’s) case?  Because a ransom was found.”

1 BC 1085 “The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very thing God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead.”

3 SG 47 “For the sake of His dear Son, the Father forebears awhile the execution of death, and to Christ He commits the fallen race.”

CC 20 “Adam and Eve were given a probation in which to return to their allegiance, and in this plan all their posterity were embraced.”

😉

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Outline of the lesson 3:

 

1) Man, as God created him, was upright. He had no bent towards evil, but something happened to change him–fundamentally, basically in his nature. And that was willful transgression of God’s law. {PP 56.2}

2) Did He take Adam’s nature before the fall or after the fall? It depends upon what aspect of His nature and sin’s consequence upon it you are talking about.

3) Before the fall what was Adam’s nature?

3.1) “Adam came forth from the hand of his Maker without the taint of evil.” {ST August 26, 1897, par. 4}

3.2) Letter 83, 1905: “He had originally the wonderful gift of a sinless nature.”

4) What are we referring to when we talk about human nature? “The nature of man is threefold …the physical, intellectual, and moral.” {CG 39.1}

5) What constitutes a sinless human nature?

5.1) “When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. {Gen 1:27}, … and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image. {2 Cor 3:18} … All his faculties were capable of development; their capacity and vigor were continually to increase. {Ed 15.1}

5.2) “… His nature was in harmony with the will of God. … His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.” {PP 45.2}

5.3) They [Adam & Eve] knew God as their beneficent Father, and in all things their will was conformed to the will of God.” {AH 26.4}

5.4) “God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil.” {PP 49.2}

5.5) “His judgment … was disposed to obedience and affection regulated according to reason and truth … Yet he was not placed beyond the reach of temptation.” {YI August 10, 1899, par. 3}

6) To protect Adam from Lucifer’s mistake, what did God do in addition to giving him the wonderful gift of a sinless nature? “Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not placed beyond the possibility of wrongdoing. … They were to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be tested. At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall.” {PP 48.4}

7) “The first great moral lesson given Adam was that of self-denial. The reins of self-government were placed in his hands. … Genesis 2:15-17: “… And the Lord God commanded the man saying: Of every tree in the garden you may eat freely. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” {RH February 24, 1874, par. 10} Was it a sinful, selfish nature that had to be denied? Absolutely not.

8) How was it that Adam was tempted in self-indulgence and ambition? There are only three major areas of temptation. 1 John 2:16: “… the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life …” “… The test upon appetite [lust of the flesh], upon the love of the world [lust of the eyes], and upon that love of display which leads to presumption [pride of life], these were the temptations that overcame Adam and Eve and so readily overcome us.” {DA 116.4} “It was distrust of God’s goodness, disbelief of His Word, and rejection of His authority that made our first parents transgressors and that brought into the world a knowledge of evil.” {Ed 23.2}

9) But now that Adam has sinned, what has happened to his nature? How did his willful transgression affect that wonderful gift of a sinless nature? Basically in two ways:

9.1) His nature was weakened, deteriorated, diminished in all its powers of body, mind, and spirit on account of sin. He became subject to death. We will refer to those as innocent infirmities.

9.2) The second basic way in which his nature was affected is that his nature was perverted, deranged, depraved in all its powers of mind, body, and spirit by sin. He became subject to selfishness. We will refer to these as sinful propensities. “Selfishness took the place of love.” {SC 17.1; ST March 30, 1904, par. 2; CS 24.2} “When Adam apostatized, he placed himself on Satan’s side; his nature became evil, and he became separated from God.” {RH May 3, 1906, par. 2}

10) “Did Christ in His incarnate experience take man’s nature before the fall or man’s nature after the fall?” It depends upon which aspect. There are two! There are the innocent infirmities and there are the sinful propensities.

11) “Why was not the death penalty at once enforced in his [Adam’s] case?—Because a ransom was found.” {RH April 23, 1901, Art. A, par. 9} “The instant man accepted the temptations of Satan, and did the very things God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead…” {1BC 1085.2}

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