CHRIST or MODERNISM
By W.W. OTEY
The purpose of the author in sending forth this book is not for material gain, but to do spiritual good. For that reason, it is not copyrighted, and the author will be pleased for anyone to reproduce its contents in part or in whole.
CHAPTER I: The Virgin Birth of Jesus
CHAPTER II: The Virgin Birth of Jesus
CHAPTER III: Modernism
CHAPTER IV: Books
CHAPTER V: Resurrection of Jesus
CHAPTER VI: The Future
CHAPTER VII: What Others Think
CHAPTER VIII: Part 1 The Battle of the Versions
CHAPTER VIII: Part 2 The Battle of the Versions
CHAPTER IX: What Jesus Said About Himself
CHAPTER X: Miracles
CHAPTER XI: Silent Witnesses
CHAPTER XII: What Is Man?
It is the confirmed opinion of the author that we are just entering upon the greatest investigation and discussion of the Bible and Christianity since Luther set in motion the Protestantism four hundred years ago. For centuries, authority in religious matters had been centred in human authority vested in one man. Luther called man back to the Bible, the word of God as the true and only source of authority. All that has come from Protestantism for the elevation of Christian living has grown out of the Restoration of the Bible as God's revealed will to man.
The aim of the present movement is to break down the belief that the Bible is the revelation of God to man, and substitute "Modern Scholarship" as the only guide in matters religious. Luther's movement was back to the Bible. The present movement is in the opposite direction, away from the Bible as the inspired word of God. Reject the Bible, and man has nothing more than the ancient Greek hand to guide him; heathen moral teachers and paganism. Man is left without help or spiritual guidance. The attack on the virgin birth of Jesus and his miracles is only an attack on the inspiration of the Bible. If the Holy Spirit guided prophets and apostles in writing the original copies all it contains is true. But if uninspired men made it up from "myths" and "legend," then it is all false. Here the battle line is drawn. But in every age when the Bible has been attacked it has gained in its influence and power. But men of faith are needed to wield the sword of the Spirit with unwavering faith and unceasing courage. That hosts of such men will arise I doubt not in the least.
My thanks are due Brother G. H. P. Showalter who gave me the first word of encouragement to undertake the task of preparing the material for this book, and useful material. Also, Brother J. D. Bales was helpful and encouraging from the first. More credit than can be expressed in words is due Professor R. C. Foster of the Cincinnati Bible Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, for the permission to use in full his three essays first published in the Christian Standard, and suggested to me by the editor, Burris Butler. I doubt if that production has thus far been equalled in the present controversy and may not be soon. It will remain of great importance for years to come. It is worth the price of the book to all careful students of the Bible.
Last but not least, I am due sincere thanks to Sister James C. Bays for the typing. It was first written, or rather scrawled, with pencil. Her patience and efficiency in deciphering and typing the manuscript made possible the publication many months sooner than could have otherwise been achieved. I send forth this volume with a sincere prayer that it may aid in strengthening the faith, increasing the courage and zeal of believers in Christ as the, Son of God.
Belle Plaine, Kansas
W. W. OTEY
To all who believe that Jesus was born of a miracle; died on the cross for the sins of the world; was raised from the dead, and is now seated at God's right hand, and will return to gather all faithful servants of God into the eternal kingdom, this book is dedicated with the hope that it may convince the doubting and strengthen the faith and hope of believers in Christ.
The subjects treated in this book are certainly worthy of careful consideration by the reader. William Wesley Otey was born in Pulaski County, Virginia, 86 years ago. He was baptized by my father, J. T. Showalter, when he was 19 years of age. The same year, 1886, he began preaching at rural points in Floyd County, Virginia. Brother Otey married Minnie Showalter, a relative of mine.
I have known Brother Otey from the time he was quite young, particularly from the time he began preaching. He was a close Bible student and immediately, as a young man, became popular as a preacher of the gospel. With little opportunity in the field of educational attainments and advantages, he became a man of one book, the Bible. Denominational teaching and teachers were met, studied, reviewed and refuted in a commendable way. My life was enriched by its contacts with him. I began preaching some six years later than he, and we were associated together in several evangelistic efforts in the Lord.
Brother Otey has offered for the public an examination of some things that to him seem. in place and of importance at the present time.
It is a day of many books on many subjects. Some are good and some are worthless in the various fields of philosophy and religion. Brother Otey, in the following pages, is clearly constructive. His critical notes on the translators of the RSV show care and study. He is, of course, bitterly opposed to modernistic teaching as it relates to the Bible and as all, or practically all, of the translators of the RSV are of certain schools of modernism, he gives some time to criticism of their attitude and of the tinge of modernism that they undoubtedly have shown in the translation of the Bible.
The merits of the RSV, if observed at all, are assumed without much comment on the part of the author. The errors assailed are handled in a way characteristic of the real conviction, faith and energy of Brother Otey. It is a pleasure for me to commend this book to a loyal brotherhood. The author of the book has lived for many years as a preacher, debater, and writer. In 1910 he conducted a debate with J. B. Briney on Instrumental Music and Missionary Societies that was published in book form and is a worthwhile publication.
Brother W. W. Otey, in a long life, has stood among the most highly esteemed exponents of the gospel of Christ and is justly loved and appreciated by the faithful in Christ. His book should have a wide circulation and we commend it to all interested in publications relating to the faith, as a book well worth a studious examination.
G. H. P. Showalter Austin, Texas, May 25, 1953
THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS
None except atheists deny the existence of God. All who believe there is a God, also believe that he created the material universe and man. It is perhaps safe to say that all who believe that God created man, hold that man is a free moral agent, and accountable in some measure to God for his conduct-that he will be held accountable to God for his actions, and will receive some reward, either good or bad. Otherwise man is no more than an improved animal, and has no moral responsibility.
The inherent sense of justice in man decrees that if man is to be held accountable, he must first be given laws by, which to live, and by which to be judged and rewarded for good or evil conduct. Without laws imposed upon him, by which to live and by which to be judged, man cannot either be justly rewarded or justly punished. The responsibility and accountability of man are determined on the basis of keeping or breaking just laws imposed upon him by the tribunal that is to call him to judgment whether it be God or his fellow man.
It is scarcely to be supposed that God created man a sinner. In simplest terms, sin is breaking moral law. Sound reason affirms that man was created sinless, but rebelled against God and sinned. In the absence of just laws to break there can be no sin. This being true, man must be given a moral standard by which to live in order that he can be justly rewarded for keeping it and justly condemned for breaking it. Such a standard could be provided only by God himself.
It is unthinkable that God would leave man hopelessly to grope his way in total darkness. Sound reason revolts at such a conclusion. The inescapable conclusion is that God has revealed himself to man, and given him a law by which to live in order to fit him to return to God and dwell in his presence in eternity. There is only one book which claims it came from God. That book is the Bible. Other books there are, that treat on religion, but make no claim that they came from God, and that man will at last be judged and rewarded for keeping or breaking its precepts. When fairly examined the Bible is worthy of God as its author, and meets every requirement for man's redemption. To reject the Bible as God's revealed will to man, is to leave man in total darkness, and without hope of reward or the fear of punishment. Such a conclusion denies that man has any moral responsibility, and is bound by no laws except such as are imposed upon him by his fellow man. In such case there is no reward for virtue and righteousness, and no punishment for the vilest crime of those who are shrewd enough to escape the judgment of civil courts.
The Bible is the only book that claims to be given by God. It is in every particular worthy of God as its author, and fills man's every need by which to live and by which to be judged. If the Bible is rejected, man is left without any moral and spiritual help. In such case each man is law unto himself.
All that has thus far been proposed centers in Jesus the Christ. As the sun is the source from which all light in our universe comes, so is Christ the source of all light in our moral and spiritual universe. Blot out the sun, and our material universe is in total darkness. Remove Jesus the Christ from the moral and spiritual system and there remains no lamp for the feet and no light to guide man on his way into eternity. He is left without hope and in the depths of despair. All that has thus far been proposed centers in Christ and rests on the simple proposition: Whose Son is he?
The Old Testament pointed forward to Christ, and was fulfilled in him. The New Testament came from him, and he is its author. To the apostles he said: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; for he will show you things to come" (John 16:13). That which the apostles spoke and wrote was not of their authority, but the authority of Jesus himself. They were his ambassadors, speaking and writing in his stead. He, then, was and is the supreme authority of all that is contained in the New Testament.
He made claims for himself that were never made by anyone else, and such no man could possibly be worthy or able to claim. A few of the statements will suffice for this writing.
"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself." "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day." "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 12:32;
14:6). In Matthew, 25th chapter, he says that he will come upon the throne of his glory, and all the angels with him, and gather all mankind before him, and pronounce their reward. No man was ever so exalted in pride as to make any claims for himself comparable in the least measure with the claims Jesus made for himself. No one other than the Son of God, to whom God had committed all "authority in heaven and on earth" could truthfully make such claims for himself. The pivotal question on which all turns is: WHOSE SON IS HE? Attention must now be given to the answer to that question.
Was he born of a natural father? Or was he born of a virgin by a miracle? If he was born of a natural father, all the claims that he made for himself are false. But if he was born of a virgin, he is the only begotten Son of God, and is now seated on the right hand of God, and will judge the world in the last day.
Jesus asked the Jews: "What think ye of Christ; whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in the Spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then calleth him Lord, how then is he his son?" (Matt. 22:44, 45). A failure to understand the prophecy quoted by Jesus was the basic cause of their rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. They understood how Christ was to be the son of David, but did not understand how he was David's Lord. They believed that Christ was to be only a great earthly king, ruling from David's throne in Jerusalem. They had not the least conception of Christ sitting on the right hand of God in heaven till his enemies were put under his feet. Had they understood that Christ was to be the son of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the Spirit, they would have understood that his reign was to be spiritual and heavenly, not earthly; that he was to be both man and God. Because they did not understand his dual sonship, they have continued to reject him till this day.
It seems to be generally believed that the vital, moral and spiritual force of the denominational world has been greatly weakened. This is undoubtedly due to a weakened or watered down faith in the divinity of Christ. Doubt has been cast on the Virgin Birth of Jesus by modernists among them. It is the most deceptive and dangerous attack that can be made on the religion of Christ. To deny the Virgin Birth of Jesus, is to place him among the moral teachers of past ages. As a result, it seems that it is no longer believed that the world is lost and needs saving. The idea of sin against God is outmoded. As a result no great effort is made by many to convict men of sin; bring them to repentance and reformation of life; to lead to a holy life, without which none can see God. Rather much of practical religion consists largely of socialised service and "culture." Such is well enough in its place. It is far short of enough to reconcile a lost world and save it through Jesus the Christ. Recreation halls; community centers; gymnasiums, and such like for the young. Kitchens, cooking, banqueting and games seem to be popular for the older members. All this, and much more of the same character, contributes not in the least to the knowledge of the word of the Lord; to the convicting sinners of sin or to edifying believers. Such things aid not in the least measure to piety and purity of living of those for whom Christ died. Well did John write: "For all that is in the world, the just of the flesh, and the just of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (John 2:16). Professed Christians will most certainly find and engage in enough of such dangerous things outside of the church. When the church brings such things into the church, it lowers the holy things of the Lord to the level of the carnal world. Jesus said: "The pleasures of life choked the word out of their heart." When the church begins to provide such pleasures inside, the line between the church and the world is erased. The church must Eve in the world, but should not take the world into the church. Don't think it can't happen to "us." It is already happening in far too many Places. Many errors and much worldliness crept into the church even while the apostles were still living. Not till Christ at last conquers Satan can Christians cease to watch. Sinners are not convicted of sin and saved by way of the stomach and carnal love of pleasure, but by way of the heart.
Perhaps no other subject at this time demands more careful and thorough consideration than the Virgin Birth of Jesus. No other vital truth is so universally and insidiously attacked. It needs to be considered from the point of view of both Revelation and Reason. And in order that all doubt may be removed, Revelation and Reason must be in full agreement.
God said: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Gen. 3:15). This is the only place in the Bible where the "seed of the woman" is mentioned. Reference of course is made to Christ as the "seed of the woman." It is a prophetic promise that the "seed of the woman" who was to "bruise Satan's head" was to be born of a woman without a natural father-of a virgin, by a miracle. Otherwise the prophetic promise would be the "seed of man." About four thousand years later the prophetic promise was recorded as historically fulfilled.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through Isaiah, said: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). Language can make it no plainer than that Christ should be born by a miracle-without a natural father. God said:
"The Lord himself shall give you a `sign' that the Son was to be Immanuel-God is with us." A natural born son would lack any sign that he was Immanuel. Only something contrary to the natural order of events could be a sign that the promise was fulfilled. God himself declared that a Son born of a virgin would be the sign that the promised Messiah had come.
Fulfilled prophecy is the strongest proof that can be asked or given of divine inspiration. No one can foresee and foretell an event hundreds of years before it happens unless that one is miraculously given a view of future events. No one can specifically fulfil prophecy unless influenced by supernatural providence.
Because of very limited space only a very brief account of the historical account of fulfilment will be given.
"But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us" (Matt. 1:20-23).
"Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary"-And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:26, 27, 35).
The prophecy, its fulfilment and the inspired record unite in declaring the virgin birth of Jesus. To deny it is to deny divine inspiration and all miracles, and to affirm that the Bible is of no higher authority than man.
It is scarcely to be supposed that anyone will affirm that any man ever had a personal, conscious existence before his birth, that is, a pre-existence. If Jesus was only a man, even a super man, he had no personal, conscious existence before his birth. In that case he was born of a natural father. And that is what it is understood that modernists teach concerning the birth of Jesus. But the word of the Lord declares many times that Jesus had a personal existence before he "was made flesh" and dwelt among men. Only a few of the many such declarations of his pre-existence can be cited here.
Paul says: "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist, and he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence" (Col. 1:15-18). The mind of man can but faintly grasp the full meaning of the foregoing Scripture. It is declared that Jesus had a personal existence before all things material and spiritual, except God himself. He was God's creative agent that brought into existence all things except God himself, and has been the sovereign ruler of the moral and material universe since its creation. Even to suggest that he had a natural father is an attempt to hurl him from the exalted position next in rank to God and to place him among the moral philosophers of the heathen world. The thought of such irreverence should fill men with awe and fear. Since the dawn of time the angels have joined in proclaiming his infinite glory and majesty. A host of angelic messengers were dispatched from God's presence to attend his lowly birth. "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
John writes: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that was made.-And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:1).
In the solemn night, in the very shadow of the cross, Jesus prayed: "And now, 0 Father, glorify thou me with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5). He who affirms that Jesus was born of a natural father, in so doing denies that he was with the Father in glory, even before the world had an existence, and denies all credibility of the word of God, and reduces its awful and solemn truths to the level of ancient fable.
Why is the virgin birth of Jesus denied? If God created the first man by a miracle, why is it thought incredible that he could by a miracle prepare a body for the Messiah? That would admit that a miracle had occurred. Modernists deny that God created Adam, fully developed. They affirm that all men have been evolved from dead matter up through the lowest order of animal life. They affirm that man's ancestors have been jelly fish; fish, reptiles, and finally some apelike form of animal. To admit one miracle in creating the first man, or the miraculous birth of Jesus, would wreck their whole theory of evolution. Leading colleges and universities, religious and state, have long since surrendered the Bible account of the creation of man in the image of God, and have accepted and defended the atheistic theory of evolution. In so doing they have surrendered the Bible declaration of the virgin birth of Jesus, and his divine origin.
If the history of the creation, the sin and fall of man, as recorded in Genesis is true, then the miracles recorded in the whole Bible occurred, including the virgin birth of the Lord. The promises in this life and the life to come are made sure. But if the history of the creation and fall of man recorded in Genesis is false, then Christ is only a moral teacher and the religion he established is the work of man. The whole Bible, including the Sonship of Jesus, rests on and grows out of the record in Genesis.
The creation of man; his sin and fall; the virgin birth of Jesus; his resurrection from the dead; the church embracing all the redeemed, are the foundation stones on which the whole system of salvation rests. Remove any one of these and the religion of Christ hat no other basis on which to rest than the fallible and ever-changing wisdom of man. In that case man knows not whence he came nor whither he is tending. His origin and destiny are shrouded in darkness and doubt. The soul cries out in vain for light on the pathway and for hope to bear it up under the burdens that often weight it down to the material things of time and earth. But resting on the promises in the word of the Lord, the soul triumphs over every difficulty, and will at last exclaim: "0 death where is thy sting? 0 grave where is thy victory?" Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ the Lord.
Reason and Revelation Agree
Those who oppose the religion of Christ claim that it does not agree with sound reason. Christians claim that the religion of Christ rests on both Reason and Revelation.
The adaptation of man to his environment, and his environment to his physical needs, is the strongest possible proof that both were designed and created --that they did not come by chance. Man's body was made with certain needs, and his every need is supplied in his environment. Food to satisfy his hunger; water to quench his thirst; air for his lungs; sleep to repair his weary body-all these are supplied by him who made man.
Throughout the material universe of earth, sun, stars-so many of them and so great that man cannot imagine them-there is found the most perfect harmony and adaptation. All are interrelated and interdependent. Remove even the smallest heavenly body and it would likely throw the universe out of balance. Man bows in awe in contemplation. Truly, "The heavens declare the glory of God." Man's body, with its spiritual needs, is but the temporary house of the spiritual man on his way to eternity.
Christ and the gospel are as perfectly adapted to supply every need and good desire of the soul of man as his environment is to supply the needs of his body. Christ and the,, gospel were not given to gratify the fleshly passions of the animal part of man. They were given to restrain the passions from breaking beyond the proper limits, and to prepare the soul of man to dwell with God and the angels. To disregard this basic truth is to launch out on the uncharted sea of uncertainty, doubt, confusion and despair. The same Being who made man's soul gave us Christ and the gospel to supply every need of the soul. There is no more perfect adaptation of light to the eye, food to hunger, water to thirst than the adaptation of Christ and the gospel to satisfy every need and desire of man's spirit. This perfect adaptation is the strongest proof that can be asked or given that the Being who made man's soul revealed Christ and the gospel to satisfy the soul's every need.
Through man's disobedience he became guilty and justly condemned. A sacrifice was needed in order that God "might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). A sacrifice was needed as a substitute for man who had sinned and come under condemnation. The sacrifice must be sinless by keeping the law that man had broken; must be of greater merit than man, and be wilfully offered as man's substitute. It was not in man's power to provide a sacrifice to meet these requirements. God alone was able to provide such a sacrifice. Man offered lambs for a long period of time that were accepted only as typifying a more meritorious sacrifice yet to be provided. A lamb could not be sinless by keeping the law in man's stead; it was not of sufficient merit to redeem man, and could not willingly offer itself as man's substitute. It was lacking in every essential. But not so with Christ. He was sinless; he was of sufficient merit to redeem man, and willingly offered himself as man's substitute. As a sacrifice he filled every requirement of such an offering that God could accept in order to justify the ungodly and still be just himself.
Before man sinned he was at peace with God, and could approach into the immediate presence of God. Sin alienated him and separated him from God by an impassable gulf. A mediator was needed to reconcile and make peace between God and alienated man. Such a mediator must understand both God and man; and must be able to propose terms of reconciliation acceptable to God, and with which man could comply, and thus restore the bonds of union that sin had broken. As man had rebelled against God, he had no right to propose terms of reconciliation acceptable to God, and with which man could comply, and thus restore the bonds of union that sin had broken. As man rebelled against God, he had no right to propose terms of reconciliation in order to be again at peace with God. Such a mediator must be able freely to approach both God and man, must be impartial, and bring man back on such terms with which he could comply.
Jesus meets every requirement as a perfect mediator between God and man. He was with God before the foundation of the world, perfectly understands God, and is now in his immediate presence. He became man and lived among men, and understands man's needs perfectly. He was as divine as God, and as human as man. No other religion than Christianity has ever claimed to have a mediator of any kind whatsoever, to say nothing of one comparable to Christ. Surely this truth is irrefutable evidence that Christ was sent, and that the gospel was revealed from the same infinite Creator of man.
Having been reconciled to God by a perfect sacrifice and mediator, man still needed a priest through whom to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, and to make intercession in his behalf. In other words, he needed an accredited ambassador to plead in his behalf before the mercy seat of God. Such a priest needed to be able to appear in the immediate presence of God, and to abide or continue forever. He must be able to know man-his weakness and needs. Jesus went into the immediate presence of God to be high Priest forever. His priesthood is unchangeable. There will never be a vacancy by reason of removal or by death as often occurred under the Aaronic priesthood. He knows man's needs; he is able to sympathise with him and to succour to the utmost all who come to God through him.
"Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin-whither as forerunner Jesus entered for us, having become a high priest after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:14, 15; 6:20). Jesus fills every possible requirement of a priest between God and man.
Man Needed to be Taught how to Live
In his fallen state, having lost a true knowledge of God, man needs to be taught and shown how to live holy so as to be able to return to God. The teaching of Christ, if perfectly followed, would lead to a sinless life. In the measure that man is able or willing to follow the teaching of Christ, he attains holiness. But man also needs to be shown how to live by a perfect model life. Example is often more helpful than abstract teaching. The sinless life of Jesus has challenged the attention and admiration of the wisest and best man of the world. His life is a perfect model for man's imitation.
The wisdom and power of God are seen in the created universe; his justice in the law of Moses. But his goodness, love and mercy are fully manifested in the person and life of Jesus. Truly he was God manifested in the flesh.
Desire to live Again
The desire to live again, after this life, is, perhaps, the strongest desire of the human heart. Millions have yielded this life rather than give up the hope of a future life. Job asked: "If a man die, shall he live again?" Jesus was the first and only one ever to provide an answer that could give firm assurance to the universal desire of man. To Martha he said: "I am the resurrection and the life." Again he said: "The hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth" (John 5:28, 29). Jesus yielded to death. His spirit went to the Hadean world, his body to the tomb. But he burst asunder the gates of hades; he broke out from the sealed tomb, and came forth having triumphed over death and him that hath power of death. In his resurrection he gave the strongest possible evidence that the universal desire of the righteous has been made sure.
Admitting then, as must be done, the need of a sacrifice of great enough merit to atone for sin; the need of a mediator between God and man; the need of a high priest to intercede in God's immediate presence forever; the need of a perfect system of teaching, and a perfect life to copy-admitting these four vital essentials to save man, when the Virgin Birth of Jesus must also be admitted. Without these there can be no assurance of redemption. All stand or fall together. Without these four fundamental essentials, Christianity is founded on fable and fiction, and gives no more assurance of salvation from sin or of the hope of heaven than heathen moral philosophies.
The most righteous man who ever lived needed a worthy sacrifice in his own behalf. Could anyone else who ever lived appear in the immediate presence of God as mediator to reconcile man to God? Who else among all the sons of man can stand before God as intercessor, and do so forever?
Deny the Virgin Birth of Jesus, and all that he and the apostles affirm as his work in behalf of a lost world is denied. All these are inseparably linked, forming a chain starting with the fall in Eden and ending when the righteous shall have been redeemed from the grave and ushered into life eternal in the presence of God. Break the chain, and man is left in total darkness, without God and without hope.
VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS
Some quotations from several publications, to be followed by a careful analysis and comments.
The December, 1952 issue of Readers Digest, quoting from Colliers:
"One day last March a clergyman pressed a button and started the presses rolling on one of the most tremendous publishing jobs in history-the printing of the new authorised revision of the King James Bible."
"Into the production of the new version-called the Revised Standard Version-went to the efforts of a committee of 32 scholars who worked 14 years to make sure that the new work would take advantage of recent archaeological discoveries, and that it would be more accurate and easier to understand than any Bible before."
"After nine years of evaluating both old and new research material, the members of the New Testament section of Dean Weigies committee finished their work, and that part of the Bible was published in 1946. One million copies were sold the first year and another million have been sold since."
"The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U. S. A., which holds the copyright to the new version, thinks the scholars have succeeded in their work."
Now follows an editorial in the Firm Foundation, December 2, 1952, written by G. H. P. Showalter.
"Virgin" in Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23
"The King James translation of the Bible was made by eminent scholars of the time, in 1611. The proverbial plainness, simplicity, and beauty of the English used in this version has a charm for the reader that has persisted down through the generations and centuries to the present time. There are three other translations that are recognised as works of real scholarship,--and hence challenge our attention. The first of these is the English Revised Version of 1881-1885; then the American Standard Revised Version of 1901, and finally the Revised Standard Version of 1946-1952. Of these four great versions of the Bible all render Matthew 1:23, "virgin"; three of them render Isaiah 7:14, "virgin"; the other renders this passage "young woman" with a marginal reading "virgin." The occurrence of the word is eight times for the four versions; seven of these times the translation is "virgin" and the other lone instance gives "virgin" in the margin. This gives an overwhelming evidence in favor of "virgin" being the correct translation. There are good reasons why the placing of "virgin" in the margin instead of in the text, would appear arbitrary and wholly inexcusable. There is certainly no good reason-no favourable reflection on the scholarship of the committee-it is distinctly prejudicial-and, when considered in the light of the foregoing figures, it becomes to the ordinary reader, nothing more than a miserable and abortive effort on the part of the translators to render support and comfort to Modernism. But this strained effort in the RSV to put something in the English translation that is not in the original, would, we regret to observe, lead many of their readers to a challenge of their integrity. There is good ground we believe for a correction of this manifest error in future printings of this version, with an appropriate explanation. It would go far to inspire confidence, and greatly to increase the reception and appreciation of the RSV among Bible readers."
The Christian Standard, October 11, 1952, has this to say:
The New Version
"One result of the half-million dollar campaign put on by a professional advertising agency to `sell' the new Revised Standard Version to the American public is that every preacher and religious leader is being asked again and again, `What do you think of the new version of the Bible?'
"One thing about it we like. The narrative portions read smoothly because the sentence construction and use of familiar words are more natural to the English reader.
"And some things about it we don't like. It is inevitable that the theological bias of the translators will show through in any version. For often the translator must put on the role of interpreter. He must choose between moot renderings or variant reading of the text. This was true of the King James Version, of the American Standard, and now of the Revised Standard Version. And, with a committee composed largely of men noted for their liberal and modernistic views, it would be surprising indeed if their personal predilections did not carry the balance of power in many such decisions.
"It is our solemn conviction that this version tends to weaken rather than to strengthen Christian faith. For example, the vital messianic prophecies are rendered in such a way that their force is almost completely destroyed. Take, for instance, the prophecy of the virgin birth of the Messiah, Isaiah 7:14. The King James Version reads, `Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' The Revised Standard Version gives it, `Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.' This rendering was chosen in spite of the fact that Septuagint translators used a Greek word in translating this passage that cannot mean anything but `virgin,' and in spite of the fact that the Holy Spirit through Matthew quoted the passage and again used the Greek word meaning `virgin.'
"The promise to Abraham, `In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,' is made to read, `By you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves.' In rendering `seed' as `descendants' the revision committee leaves the apostle Paul in the embarrassing predicament of basing a vital doctrinal argument on nothing: `Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ' (Gal. 3:16).
"Other examples follow:
"Psalm 2:12--in which `Kiss the Son' has bee changed to `kiss his feet.' "Zech. 11:13--in which the betrayer's reward is cast to the `treasury' rather than to the `potter.'
"Psalm 16:10--`to see corruption' has become `to see the pit' See Acts 2:27 for the apostle Peter's argument as to the messianic import of this passage. "Even if one does not predicate a `modernist conspiracy' he is still driven to wonder at the phenomenon of papyri, ancient manuscripts, and modern scholarship combining to make fools of Peter and Paul, and to make the Holy Spirit himself guilty of gross inconsistency!"
The following appeared in the Gospel Guardian, November 6, 1952. The explanatory "Editor's Note," is by Fanning Yater Tant, Editor of the Gospel Guardian.
"The New Version"
Oswald T. Allis
"(Editor's Note: While some of our brethren have been going `all out' in their praise of the new `Revised Standard Version' of the Bible, our Methodist friends, knowing at first hand the terrible tragedy of liberal and modernistic influences in their church, are far more critical of the translation. The following article is taken from `The Congregational Methodist Messenger.' We commend it to your careful reading. The abbreviations in it are as follows: AV means Authorised Version or King James; ARV means American Revised Version or American Standard Version, which was published in 1901; RSV means Revised Standard Version, which is just off the press.)
"On September 30 the much-advertised and highly recommended `Revised Standard Version' of the Bible will be available at all book stores in America. It is being presented to the public as `the first official version of the Bible' and `the greatest Bible news' in 341 years.
"It is 341 years since the Authorised or King James Version was released. It was an official version in the sense that King James I of England interested himself in the matter and thus gave it the imprimatur of both church and state. It was the work of forty-seven great scholars of the time and is conceded by competent literary critics to be the greatest single piece of English literature, unsurpassed in power and beauty of expression even by Milton and Shakespeare. No book in the history of the world has ever been more beloved or has more profoundly affected the life and the literature of the world.
"The new Revised Standard Version is an official version in the sense that it is authorised by the National `Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. The work of translation was initiated by the International Council of Religious Education and accomplished by a committee of thirty-two scholars headed by Dr. Luther A. Weigle, dean emeritus of Yale Divinity School. The ICRE was later absorbed by the National Council of Churches and the latter body now owns and controls the copyright and will receive (along with Thomas Nelson and Sons, its publishers) the profits from the new Bible.
"For months before the publication of the RSV New Testament in 1946, an extensive publicity campaign was carried on in its favor. Pre-publication copies, which were supplied to reviewers before the release date, contained this estimate of the version printed on the jacket, `The result, critics agree, is a Version of the New Testament more accurate in translation than any previous one, because of its beautiful modern English, more useful, understandable, and pleasurable to the twentieth-century reader.' This was the claim of the publishers before any but what might be called the inner circle of friendly critics had had any opportunity to examine the book, before any reviews or criticisms of it were allowed to appear.
"A similar procedure is being followed with the RSV Old Testament. Every effort is being made to treat it as The Most Important Publication of 1952. A recent news release from New York which appeared in a Los Angeles newspaper has the glaring headline, `Version Corrects Over 5,000 Errors.' It speaks of a `Huge First Edition,' declaring that `Thomas Nelson and Sons, the publishers, says it is the biggest first edition in history.' It declares that `Orders are on hand for over 500,000 copies.' It assures the reader that `Weigle expects RSV to replace the King James for most English-speaking churches' and the statement is made: `Vast new material has been found by Bible scholars in the last 75 years. Some 300 words in the Bible have changed meaning since the King James was prepared in 1611. In some cases translations were wrong.'
"This and similar statements have been appearing in the public press for some time. It is reported that $850,000 will be spent on publicity and advertising. This seems like a very large sum. But when it is remembered that the RSV is a copyrighted version, that tremendous profits are involved, the figure does not seem remarkable."
Analysis and Comment
The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America was organised in 1929. It is composed of top men from forty of the largest denominations and represents about 33 million members. They, the members of the Council, appointed a committee, headed by Luther A. Weigle, Dean emeritus of Harvard Divinity School of Harvard University, to make a survey to determine if a new translation was needed. After two years' study the committee reported that a new translation of the Bible should be made. The Council appointed a committee of 32 scholars to make a translation of the whole Bible. The work of translating the New Testament, completed by nine men, was printed and released to the public in 1946. The whole Bible was put before the public in 1952.
The Council representing 40 denominations was, supported in whole or in part during the 14 years engaged in the translation. It is estimated by good authority that the Council spent $850,000 in publicity and advertising in advance of its offering to the general public. In March, 1952, the presses were started on the job of an edition of approximately one million copies of the Bible. The Committee owns the copyright. On a conservative estimate the copyright is worth millions of dollars. The potential profits to be derived from the benefit of the copyright during the future years is enormous-could be astronomical. Apparently, on the surface, all this should be a cause of much joy on the part of all who reverence and love the Bible. Let us reserve any judgment until we shall have looked closely at some documentary material that sheds much light on the tremendous work that has thus far been done, and proposed to be done. We need to know the religious faith of the council, and especially of the translators. And we need to know what they believe and what they do not believe. And we need to know their object, or goal, that they have set before themselves. We need to know their motives, which they plainly reveal over their own signatures. We must not rely upon "rumour"; "general opinion," however well founded such may be, but facts, documented and unquestioned. And we need to examine briefly their work as translators.
When men form an organisation, supposed to represent thirty-three million church members; and raise and expend millions of dollars as has more than likely been done by this date, December, 1952, there has to be some impelling motive moving them to perform so vast a task. We can only judge men's motives by the work they launch and carry forward over a period that has now reached twenty-three years. The goal to be attained must have tremendous power of attraction. It is very true that men love to organise, and so provide places of prestige and positions and jobs that command good salaries. But in the movement now being considered, these are at most mere incidental motives. The overpowering motive must be something far deeper and more impelling. We can judge men's motives by the work they propose and carry forward. The Lord said: "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt. 7:20). The work thus far performed strongly indicates that they plan first, to form an overall ecclesiasticism, with a view of leading, directing and, as possible, to control even the teaching and practice of more than thirty million church members. No other religious movement with such vast plans and potential power has been launched in years, yes, even in centuries. From the beginning till this day, strong ecclesiasticisms have made every possible effort to suppress freedom of teaching and practice in religion. Holding the copyright to its own "authorised" translation of the Bible, to impose upon, or to persuade so many millions to adopt, cannot be ignored and brushed aside as though of little importance. No one can forecast what will be the results. It turns upon the answer to the question: How many of the thirty-three million members will the Council be able to lead, direct and control?
The Apparent Motive
We now begin our search to find, if we can do so, the impelling motive of the whole movement. This will be determined first, by a brief examination of their translation that they call Revised Standard Version. They say that The Revised Standard Version contains "no changes in doctrinal or fundamental concept. This statement is wholly inaccurate. Or at least great numbers of scholars as well as "common" people strongly believe that it is incorrect. Many are firmly convinced that a dark shadow of doubt has been cast on the Virgin Birth of Jesus, and his relation to God as his "only begotten Son." Furthermore, by strong implication they have placed Christ and the Christian religion among heathen moral teachers and their religion. Competent scholars who have carefully examined the translation, are convinced of the truth of the foregoing statements. This writing is intended for every one who can read the English language.
In Psalm 2:12, other translations read, "Kiss the Son lest he be angry with thee." This is undoubtedly a prophecy referring to Christ. Their translation reads, to "Kiss his feet." Why render it "feet" instead of "Son"? Whose "son" is meant in the prophecy? It could be none other than the Son of God. To get rid of the idea that Jesus was the Son of God, and that the Bible was inspired, is the impelling motive behind their movement. In their books which the translators have recommended to me, in their translation, and in their recent letters to me, I find not a hint that they hold Jesus any higher than a mere man, and not of the highest rank at that. Be patient till the record is produced.
In Genesis 22:18 God made a promise to Abraham in these words: "And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." Such is the rendering of King James, American Standard, and all other translations of which the writer has any knowledge. But the new version, now being considered, renders it instead, "By you and your descendants shall all the families of the earth bless themselves." The apostle Paul, in Galatians, 3:16, "Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed which is Christ." The Holy Spirit by Paul says "thy seed" is one, not many. And that seed (one) is Christ. But these modern translators contradict the Holy Spirit through Paul, and say "thy descendants." Abraham's fleshly descendants include every Jew that has been born since that time or that shall be born till the end of the race. Instead of God blessing the nations through Abraham's seed, which is Christ, they make it read, "the nations shall bless themselves in thy descendants." In their translation of the fulfilment of prophetic promise they make it read: "It does not say, `And to offspring,' referring to many; but referring to one, `And to your offspring; which is Christ' (Galatians 3:16). A plain contradiction in meaning.
Did these translators think that the thirty odd million whom they claim to represent would supinely accept such wresting of the word of God?
What is the primary effect of his rendering? Specifically, it casts a shadow of doubt on the virgin birth of Jesus. But that is plainly on the surface that can be easily read. But this writer, with all his heart believes that here is to be found the impelling motive that animates the whole movement. If the translators had said "thy seed," meaning "one" not many, it would have proved beyond all question that the God-inspired prophetic promise was fulfilled, not in countless millions of Abraham's fleshly descendants. It would have proved beyond all doubt the inspiration by the Holy Spirit. If they should admit that Moses was inspired to write the promise and Paul Was inspired to state its fulfilment, that would be the end of Modernism.
Judging their translation by the books recommended, and their recent letters, over their own signatures, their first object to be accomplished is summed up in a few words. Their first purpose is to break down faith in the inspiration of the Bible. If the prophets and apostles were not supernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit, then the Bible is the work of man, and all hope of the redemption of man is a delusion. Jesus is made to rank only as one of the long list of moral teachers, and Christianity takes its place among heathen religions. They do not make a frontal attack on the inspiration of the Bible. To do so would fail. Their skill is unsurpassed. They well know that the inspiration of prophets and apostles stands or falls together. Their frontal attack is on the Virgin Birth of Jesus. There are a number of prophecies in the Old Testament that the apostles plainly declare were fulfilled in Jesus. Had these translators correctly rendered those prophecies in the Bible it would prove beyond the least shadow of doubt that both the prophets and apostles were inspired and all doubt that Jesus was born of a virgin-by a miracle.
The prophet Isaiah (7:14) said: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel-God with us." In Matthew, first chapter, we read: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. Now all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us. And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth a son: and he called his name Jesus" (Matt. 1:18-25).
The translators of the Revised Standard Version in their translating Matthew's account of the birth of Jesus, say Isaiah wrote: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son; and his name shall be called Em-man-u-el" (which means, God with us). But when they translated the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, they make it read: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Why do they say "virgin" in Matthew first chapter when he quotes Isaiah 7:14, and when they translate it as found in Isaiah 7:14, make it read "a young woman"? If it should be "young woman" in Isaiah's prophecy, 7:14, why did they not correct Matthew's mistake in Matthew 1:23? Either Matthew was wrong When he quoted Isaiah-"virgin" or these translators were wrong in making Isaiah say "a young woman shall conceive and bear a son." Was Matthew wrong When he quoted Isaiah saying a "virgin shall conceive and bear a son"? If so, then these translators were wrong when they followed him in Matthew 1:23. Why did they not correct his error and make it read, instead of a virgin "a young woman" as they have in translating Isaiah's prophecy in 7:14? Will the fact that the New Testament was translated several years before the Old Testament was made, throw some light on the question? Who can say?
Had they rendered Isaiah 7:14 "virgin" as they did in their own translation read, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son" it would have proved beyond any possible doubt that the Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah when he made the prophecy, and the Holy Spirit spoke through Matthew when he recorded its fulfilment. Did the Holy Spirit speak through Isaiah when he made the prophecy, and did the Holy Spirit speak through Matthew when he recorded its fulfilment? Here the battle line is drawn. And there will be no truce sent or received and no armistice declared till Christ Jesus conquers the last foe.
A young woman may be a virgin, a married woman or an immoral unmarried woman. A virgin is neither married nor immoral. The word virgin is specific and definite in its meaning. Only a woman who has never known man in the sense of sex can be a virgin. Why, then, did the translators render the original into English, "a young woman," which can be any of three kinds of woman, instead of "virgin" that can be only one character of woman-a chaste, unmarried woman? None but God can know their motive. But it is plain in regard to its effects on many readers. By implication it denies the inspiration of the Bible, and casts doubt on the virgin birth of Jesus, and gives support to their claims that Jesus was born of a natural father.
In all ages men have wrested the Scriptures from plain, true meaning and have corrupted the practice of religion. But God has so guarded the original text that his word has not been harmed in any vital matter. In spite of any rendering of Isaiah 7:14, the virgin birth of Jesus is not left in doubt. A sign the Messiah had come is the vital matter. A son born of a natural father could not possibly be a "sign" the Messiah had come, nor could a son so born be called "Immanuel-God with us." So long as the record declares that "Joseph did as the Lord commanded him"; "he took his wife, but knew her not until she brought forth a son," remains in the text, just that long will the Virgin Birth of Jesus remain a vital part of God's eternal truth.
The words "Modernism" and "Modernists" have been frequently used in speaking and writing in recent years. It is perhaps safe to say that they are sometimes used without due regard to their correct meaning. In this chapter the chief aim is to determine the correct meaning of the two words-a meaning that is so specific and correct that no one can offer a just criticism.
A Modernist is one who teaches and defends a theory regarding the Bible, with regard to the miracles recorded in it, and especially the Virgin Birth of Jesus and whether the original copies were written by men who were infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit. General belief, unless based on documented facts, is not a satisfactory basis for an answer to a question of such deep concern and vital interest to all believers in the Bible as God's revealed will to man. An unchallenged definition must first be based on signed letters of recent date, and second, books written and endorsed by the authors of the letters.
Letters were addressed to a number of the Committee who made the translation of the Bible called, Revised Standard Version. A number of specific questions were submitted. Replies were received. Their answers were clear and without a shadow of evasion.
Not the least room for doubt was left in regard to what the writer believed and what he did not believe on matters of the most vital importance to every one who believes that the Bible is a revelation from God. Three of those who answered were members of the Committee of nine who translated the New Testament, which is now being considered. The reader should consider carefully the questions and answers.
Belle Plaine, Kansas,
November 10, 1952
Prof. Edgar Goodspeed,
In order to enjoy the full benefits of Christianity, do you think it absolutely essential that one believe that Jesus was born without a natural father, and without shedding his blood no one can be cleansed from sin? I sincerely thank you in advance for just a word in reply.
Yours very truly,
W. W. Otey
"I do not wish to express myself negatively, on these matters. But my answer to both questions is NO. This is not for publication, for unaccompanied by a statement of what I do believe, it would make a false impression on many devout but uninformed people.
Matthew and Luke both held to Jesus being the son of David through Joseph; and as for the shedding f blood text, the statement of Hebrews 9:22 has to do with the state of things under the Law, as it expressly says; see any modern translation.-Are you acquainted with my life of Jesus or my translation?
Edgar J. Goodspeed."
I did not wish to use his answer without his consent. I addressed a second letter to him.
Belle Plaine, Kansas,
December 8, 1952.
Professor Edgar J. Goodspeed
I thank you for your prompt reply to my inquiry of recent date. You state that "unaccompanied by a statement of what I do believe, it would make a false impression on many devout but uninformed people." Is it too much to ask you for a brief statement affirmatively so that I may know what you believe on the two questions, namely: the idea of Jesus' birth, and that his blood was absolutely essential in order to the forgiveness of sins. I sincerely trust you may enlighten me on this question.
Yours very truly,
W. W. Otey.
"No, not at all. The Virgin Birth is simply an oft repeat Ancient Greek way of describing moral sonship to God. Consider what Epictetus says of Hercules: in his Discourses. It is not mentioned in Mark, Paul, or John, and is definitely negative (if you mean physically) in the genealogies of both Matthew and Luke, which trace Jesus' descent from David, through Joseph. As to blood remission of sins, that was under the law as Hebrews 9:22 expressly says:
Any bookseller can get you my life of Jesus. Or try the publisher. Harper and Bros., 49 East 33rd St., New York 16.
E. F. G."
(Note, I obtained his "Life of Jesus.")
Yale University Graduate School
New Haven, Conn.
November 10, 1952
Mr. W. W. Otey,
Dear Mr. Otey:
Please pardon my delay in answering your letter of October 20. I have never believed that the virgin birth of Jesus was an essential article of Christian faith. As for the doctrine of blood atonement, I feel that in the form-in which it has usually been presented it is foreign to the teaching of the Bible.
Yours very truly,
5235 So. University Ave.,
December 26, 1952.
Dear Mr. Otey:
I think you have been misinformed. I have never been connected, in any way, with the committee which has produced this Revised Standard Version of the Bible. I am no longer at Yale University, having retired many years ago, but am living in Chicago at the above address.
As for my personal opinion, I do not think that belief in any of the things which you specify is essential.
Very truly yours,
Charles C. Torrey.
(Questions were, Virgin Birth of Jesus, the blood atonement, and the inspiration of the Bible)
Harvard Divinity School,
December 24, 1952.
W. W. Otey
Your letter deserves a fuller reply than I can give it. The view that Jesus was born without a natural father and that his death was unnecessary to secure the favor of God in behalf of sinners is held and aggressively promoted in some quarters of America including some of the theological schools. They can quote the Bible to that effect.
In many individual minds and in many institutions view of God is held which would find these doctrines discordant with general considerations which commend themselves as to the methods of divine government of history and the ethical character of God.
Very truly yours,
Henry J. Cadbury.
It will be noted that all deny that Jesus was born of a virgin by a miracle.
They deny that the blood of Jesus was shed in order to the salvation of sinners. Torrey specifically says he does not believe that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
In their books, they deny that Jesus was raised from the dead.
What truth do Modernists believe? I think it safe to say one truth only. They profess strongly that they believe in God. But what God? Their God is not the God of the Bible. Cadbury says "'these doctrines are discordant with general considerations which commend themselves as to the methods of divine government of history and the `ethical' (moral) character of God." In plain words, he says the God of the Bible is not of "ethical" (moral) character. And in their books they utterly reject God as set forth in the Bible. Rejecting God as set forth in the Bible, what does Cadbury, or any one else, know about any God?
They loose their attack on the historical record in the Bible as setting forth a God that is "cruel" and lacking in moral character. Even a casual reading f their books shows clearly that this charge is their base from which to attack the Bible history; from Genesis first to the close of Revelation.
I find no hint in their books that God has ever tried to reveal himself to man. If God did not reveal himself to man in the Bible, then they have no more way to learn of God than Ancient Greeks, and others who are without a revelation. They hold that all the progress man has made upward to some sort of a mystical fellowship with God he has accomplished by his own efforts.
In answer to the question of Virgin Birth of Jesus, Cadbury says, "they can quote the Bible to that effect." Then boldly denies that he believes it; that it is "discordant with the ethical (moral) character of God." No more direct denial of belief in the word of the Lord can be made. No plainer implication is possible than that the God revealed in the Bible is not the same God they profess to believe in. What do Modernists know about the "ethical character of God" that they have not learned from the Bible itself? Are there any other sources from which to learn about God except the Bible and Nature? Rejecting the Bible, as they do, as the source from which to gain a knowledge of God, they have no other source except Natural LAW. It is true that God's power is seen in the material world. But how much of God's love and mercy are revealed in Natural Law? `Is Nature always kind and gentle? If God was cruel and lacking in "ethical character" as Cadbury says, what of Nature that they almost deify? Nature never pardons a violation of her laws. Break Nature's law, and the penalty is meted out. Refuse to eat, drink and breathe, and her penalty is death. Nature sends her messengers of tornadoes, typhoons, earthquakes and destructive storms. The ice, snow and piercing winds of the North, that bring suffering and death, to man and beast, the innocent and helpless alike, are not gentle and kind. The torrid, enervating heat of the tropics with jungles swarming with disease-carrying insects, cause great suffering to both innocent and guilty. What of the diseases that strike down many of the best and most useful in the prime of life? What of polio, that cripples and kills so many innocent and pure children? Who is wise enough to tell us the why of these visitations of Nature? And tell us, Modernist, who created Nature and her laws? Who decreed their inescapable penalties? If God created and upholds the laws of the natural world that causes the innocent to suffer, why could he not punish wicked nations? Who is wise enough to call in question the wisdom of God when preparing a people to whom to reveal his Son, and thus reconcile alien man to himself? A careful unprejudiced study of God's dealing with nations in developing a plan of redemption for man, will give a better understanding of his acts as recorded in the Old Testament. If limited space permits, a brief review will be given in this writing.
In every way that doubt can be cast on the credibility of the Bible they have tried to destroy faith in its inspiration. It has long been believed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. They claim the first books were made up from fragments of traditions, about 900 B. C., some 600 years later than Moses lived. It has been generally believed that the prophecy of Daniel was written somewhere about 750 B. C. Daniel's prophecy vividly describes the overthrow of the empire ruled over by Nebuchadnezzar, and the setting up of the Medo-Persian, followed by the rule of Alexander the Great. To admit that Daniel foretold what occurred later would prove beyond shadow of doubt that he was guided by the Holy Spirit. The unavoidable conclusion would be that the Bible came from God-that it is a revelation by Inspiration. To admit inspiration of even one book is to surrender the corner stone of their doctrine-from A to Z. The utter destruction of an idea of inspiration is their first aim. To admit that the book of Daniel was written before the events occurred, that he so vividly describes, would prove inspiration. They have placed the date of the prophecy of Daniel at about B. C. 160. They know full well that unless they can destroy faith in inspiration by the Holy Spirit, that this whole system of Modernism must be surrendered. Their attack on the Virgin Birth of Christ is aimed at inspiration of the Bible.
The heart of their position forbids their accepting inspiration. They do not admit there exists an intelligent personal being, sent from God called the Holy Spirit. They utterly repudiate the idea that Jesus had a personal existence even before the world was created. Their doctrine is that he first existed when he was born as the natural son of Joseph. They pretend not to have any idea how his body left the tomb. And if they have any idea where his spirit went, or whether he now has a conscious existence-for an answer to any of these questions I have searched their writings in vain. With them, there is no such a thought as Father, Son and Holy Spirit: these three working as one for the redemption of mail. With them, there is A God, but not the God of the Old Testament. Him they reject as unjust, cruel and devoid of moral character. Their God did not so love the world that he sent his only begotten Son into the world, in order to reveal himself to man, and through him to reconcile the world unto himself. I search in vain their books for even a hint that any God has ever tried in the least to reveal himself to mail. Man is left alone to struggle up to a mystical fellowship with God. How different is the belief that God did send help: even his only Son: the Holy Spirit, and often angels from heaven to minister in behalf of weak man. They recognise no beloved Son; no Holy Spirit; no angels. How cold and cheerless is such a doctrine! Can such a theory give life, joy, gratitude, love and a zeal that moves to a service and sacrifice? What has such negative theory; that rejects all belief that God sent his only Son, the Holy Spirit and angels to help man in his struggle upward to God and a better world. I find no hint of any reward after this life for the righteous and no retribution for the wicked.
Cadbury, Burroughs and Goodspeed are three of the nine who translated the New Testament. All say they do not believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, but that he had a natural father. All say they do not believe in the blood atonement of Christ.
I wondered what rendering they gave the passages declaring that we are saved by the blood of Christ. The following are quotations from their own translation. To save space only a part of each verse is quoted-whom God has put forward as an expiation in his blood-we are now justified by his blood-in him we have redemption through his blood-brought near by in blood of Christ-making peace by the blood of the cross-redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses-brought near in the blood of Christ-making peace by the blood of his cross-how much more shall the blood of Christ consecrate the people by his own blood-by the blood of the eternal covenant-ransom with the precious blood of Christ-the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin-freed us from our sins by his blood-by thy blood didst ransom men for God-they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rom. 3:25, 5:9; Eph. 1:7, 2:13; Col. 1:14, 20; Heb. 9:14, 10:19, 13:12, 20; 1 Pet. 1:19; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 1:5, 5:9, 7:14).
Not believing the blood atonement of Jesus, why did these men make this translation plainly contradicting their own words? They do not believe the Bible was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. Why did they translate into English that which they unhesitatingly declare they do not believe? On the same principle that they translate Greek mythology. Both of which they regard as "myths," and "legends."
Goodspeed twice advised me to get his book, "A Life of Jesus." Cadbury recommended two books. One is out of print. The other, "A Guide to Understanding the Bible," by Harry Emerson Fosdick, I found, published by Harper and Brothers, New York.
I have never read any other as fine praise of a man and of moral teaching as Goodspeed's praise of Jesus as a man in his "Life of Jesus." But he starts with Jesus as an ordinary babe, born of a natural father, and leaves him pictured as a man of high character who unexpectedly suffered martyrdom for his high ideals.
Quotations must necessarily be brief. "It must be plain that Jesus could read the Hebrew Scriptures." "Jesus was soon satisfied that John's message expressed the will of God and pressed forward for baptism in the turbid waters of the muddy river." "After weeks of solitary wrestling that engaged his whole mind and soul, most of the time forgetful of food and drink, he fell from his tremendous exaltation into a mood of depression, which he regarded as temptation." "In imagination he saw himself in the temple in Jerusalem; if he was God's chosen could he not by some spectacular act, casting himself from a pinnacle to be borne up in their hands by the angels, command the obedience and worship of the Jewish people who gathered there? But a voice within answered, `You shall not try the Lord your God'."
"Jesus had no patience with man's delusion. Silence, he cried. Get out of him. The confident appeal to the man's deeper nature dispelled his pitiful delusion and brought him to his senses ... .. As they landed, there met them from among the tombs a poor demoniac, who came running up and bowed low to Jesus. Jesus immediately uttered his characteristic words exorcism: `You foul spirit, come out of him.' `What do you want of Me?' screamed the poor fellow. `In God's name I implore you not to torture me.' Jesus calmed him with a question, What is your name? My name is Legion, cried the man, for there are many of us.' This was clearly the man's own conviction of his emotional instability; he felt himself to be in the control of a multiple personality. He could only beg Jesus to send all the hordes of a demon that he felt possessed into a great herd of pigs that were feeding on the neighboring headland. Jesus humored, him and the man's cries and movements so frightened the animals that they rushed in frantic over the edge of the cliff into the Lake." "Not only is he hoping and striving to succeed but he has a course of action in view to be followed in case of failure, that will he hopes, turn defeat into victory."
Quotations are from the following pages of "A Life of Jesus" written by Edgar J. Goodspeed: 34, 42, 43, 44, 52, 92, 161.
Read again the last sentence in the quotations. "Not only is he hoping and striving to succeed, but the has a course of action in view to he followed in case of failure that will he hopes, turn defeat into victory." It seems incredible that any other than an avowed infidel could place the Son of God, who is on his throne at God's right hand on a level with some ignorant man.
Professor Henry J. Cadbury, Harvard University, advised me to get "A Guide to Understanding the Bible", by Harry Emerson Fosdick. To most of our readers, Rev. Fosdick will need to be introduced. Perhaps a newspaper clipping from the Wichita Eagle twenty-four years ago will start the introduction.
METHODISTS SEEK TO BAR FOSDICK'S SIGNED ARTICLES
Pastors Demand Modernists Contributions Be Prohibited in Epworth Herald
NEED TO PROTECT YOUTH
NEW YORK, Dec. 24, 1929--A special Philadelphia dispatch to the Times says:
A demand that Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor of the Park Avenue Baptist church, New York City, and noted modernist, be prohibited from contributing further to the Epworth Herald, official organ of the Methodist young people's organisation, was made in a resolution passed by the Methodist preachers' meeting of Philadelphia and vicinity today.
Calling attention to an article by Dr. Fosdick appearing in the issue of Dec. 8, the resolution said that "upon the article named we have no special criticism, but upon his admission to the paper under any caption we have definite criticism."
Dr. E. W. J. Gartz, editor of the magazine, was warned that unless he gave immediate assurance that Dr. Fosdick's writings would be discontinued more drastic action would be taken among the local chapters of the Epworth League to condemn the publication.
"In these expressions," the resolution continued, "we have no personal animosity to Dr. Fosdick. We are aware not only of our right but are impressed with our solemn duty to protect the youth of our church from the loss of their precious faith in Christ.
"In his book, `The Modern Use of the Bible,' he reduced the miracles of the Old Testament to folk-lore stories. Three miracles of Jesus, namely, the coin in the fish's mouth, his walking on the water and, the withering of the fig tree, are merely legendary tales. Upon the cornerstone fact of the resurrection these statements lead to uncertainty and doubt. In his lectures at Union Seminary he repudiates the supernatural and, especially, the resurrection of Christ.
"In his `New Knowledge and Christian Faith,' he disregards the scriptural facts as to the Virgin birth of our Lord. In his sermon on the divinity of Jesus, as also in his book `The Modern Use of the Bible,' he repudiates the deity of Christ. The incarnation in the sense of a pre-existent divine personality, he denies."
"The resolution did not receive the vote of all the clergymen present."
The foregoing clipping shows plainly that Fosdick's writings were objectionable to Methodist preachers in Philadelphia a quarter of a century ago, and I think years before 1928. It would be of interest to know how large a vote would be cast against his writings at the present. Yale, Harvard and Chicago furnish 10 of the 32 translators of the Revised Standard Version Bible.
Professors in the divinity schools of universities are the creators of Modernism. Yale, Harvard and Chicago seem to have been the chief sources of Attack on the inspiration of the Bible. Many other universities have sent forth streams of lesser volume. Books in great number have been written directly attacking belief in the Bible as a revelation from God. With them no miracle has ever occurred. According to them, from first to last, the Bible was composed by ignorant men.
But books written by such learned men are always written in such technical language that none except those who are educated as those professors were, can understand them. They do not write for people of ordinary scholastic training. To reach the great majority of people they must have co-workers through whom to reach the common people. To perform this work, they have in Harry Emerson Fosdick a man eminently qualified. For more than a quarter of a century he has been the pipeline through which has flowed the faith-destroying, hope-blasting poisoning doctrine of Modernism. I think the book now under consideration is perhaps his eighteenth book. If he has ever written a page that would make faith and hope stronger and aid a single Christian, I do not know of it. His writings increase no faith, strengthen no hope and instil no joy. At least if he has written anything helpful I have never learned of it.
As I read his book, A Guide to Understanding the Bible, I marked statements that I thought I might produce here. I doubt if the book contains a short paragraph that is not an attack on some part of the Bible. It is likely that Fosdick has done more to weaken the faith of believers in the inspiration of the Bible than any half dozen other men. Modernists in Universities needed aid to get their attack to the people. For many years he was the preacher for what has been known as the Rockefeller Church in New York City.
Belief in no other one fact has inspired faith in the Sonship of Jesus and hope of immortality, than the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb. If Jesus conquered death, came out of the tomb, met his disciples on frequent occasions, ascended to heaven; was seated on his throne at God's right hand, and will come again to gather the children of God; then the hope of immortality is made sure.
What idea do Modernists hold about the resurrection of Jesus? All hold Jesus as a man, and deny that he was raised from the dead. As Fosdick is their chief spokesman, it is well to know his belief of Jesus' resurrection. I quote from his book, A Guide to Understanding the Bible, Modernists have only one article in their Creed. They believe there is a God. In everything else they are negative-they deny everything else that makes up the sum of Christianity. God did not, and could not, send his only Son into the world in order that the world might have life, and more abundantly. In their view God had no "only Son" to send. Jesus was not with the Father in glory before the world was. According to them, the Son of God set forth in the Bible was only the natural born son of Joseph and Mary. They admit that there was one called Jesus the Christ; that he was crucified and buried in Joseph's tomb. They admit the tomb was found empty. They exhaust their mental powers trying to prove that he was not raised from the dead. But how Jesus' body disappeared from the tomb they do not say. What became of his body and where his spirit went they don't venture a guess. That Jesus was not raised from the dead they feel sure. Certain it is they do not believe he ascended to heaven and was seated on his throne, so to remain till he returns to gather the children of God to his habitation.
They utterly reject the Bible that teaches that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. They do not so much as hint that God has ever revealed himself to the world, or even to any man. God has no messenger, Son, angel or man to communicate with mankind. They reject with disdain the inspiration of the Bible. They acknowledge no intelligent personality called the Holy Spirit. And so the Bible could not have been written by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for there is no Holy Spirit. They speak of God, but never about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Their frontal attack is on the Virgin Birth of Jesus; his resurrection from the dead, and the inspiration of the Bible. For the attack on the resurrection of Jesus, I quote from Fosdick's book, A Guide to Understanding the Bible, pages 292, 293, 294.
"The central factor in creating the difference between the Testaments with reference to life after death is the disciples' confidence that Jesus himself had been raised from the dead. Whatever opinion the modern mind may arrive at with regard to the origin and validity of the stories associated with Jesus' resurrection, the historic fact is clear that the first Christian was essentially associated with a triumphant faith, not alone that death would be overcome but that it had already been overcome. In this regard Paul was typical in insisting that if Christ had not been raised, his preaching was vain.
The development of ideas and stories related with Jesus' resurrection presents one of the most tangled, if not altogether insoluble, problems faced by New Testament scholarship. The assembled documents, as they now stand, suggest that the empty tomb and the sight and handling of his risen body were the origin of confidence in the resurrection, and that the experience of the. early Christians, as, for example, Paul's on the Damascus road. Careful study of the New Testament, however, throws doubt on this and suggests the possibility that the line of development may have been in precisely the opposite direction.
The New Testament plainly indicates two kinds of experience as bases of faith in Jesus' continued life-one, the empty tomb and its associated events; the other, appearances of the heavenly Christ to various people, especially to Paul at his conversion. Chronologically the written records of these spiritual visions of the heavenly Christ are the earlier. The Epistles of Paul antedate the Gospels, so that the first written testimony we possess to the resurrection of Jesus is I Corinthians 15:3-8, where Paul lists his own transforming sight of Jesus as on a par with, and of the same sort as, all the other appearances of the risen Lord. The question inevitably arises: What if faith in Jesus' continued life originated in such spiritual experiences and was translated afterwards into stories of physical resuscitation by the invertebrate Jewish-Christian idea that without such revivification no life after death was conceivable.
Certainly it must be said that such experiences as Paul had on the Damascus road are intelligible and have often been reproduced in Christian history, but that as soon as we pass to the later writings, where the empty tomb and its related events are involved, we find ourselves amid dubious evidence and irreconcilable confusion. The earliest Gospel, Mark, has lost its original ending, as the Revised Version states, so that after verse eight of the final chapter we are dealing with a late addition not present in our oldest Greek manuscripts. As the main body of the Gospel is left, the story of the resurrection is reduced to terms so simple that only the finding of an empty tomb and the word of a young man that Jesus was not there remain; Jesus himself is not seen and the three women who found the tomb are too terrified to tell any one.
When we turn from this to the latest addition to Mark's Gospel and to the narratives of the later Gospels, Matthew, Luke, and John, we find a florescent growth of story, full of irreconcilable details. In Mark one young man announces to the surprised visitors at the tomb that Jesus is risen; in Luke, two men; in Matthew, one angel; in John, two angels. In Mark, the women, coming from the tomb, say `nothing to any one'; in Luke they tell `all these things to the eleven, and all the rest' in Matthew, they depart quickly and run and bring the disciples word. Whereas in Mark three women visit the tomb plus a larger group, in John only Mary Magdalene is thus early at the sepulchre and she tells the first news, not to the eleven, but only to Peter and `the other disciple whom Jesus loved! In Matthew Jesus himself meets the women as they run from the tomb to tell the disciples; in Luke he does not meet them; in John he meets only Mary Magdalene, not as she goes to tell the disciples themselves have visited it. Neither in Matthew nor in Mark, even with the late addition, is there any account that the disciples themselves saw the empty tomb; in Luke, Peter ran and looked in; in John, Peter and the `other disciple' both entered the sepulchre. As for specialties in the individual narratives, Matthew alone records the sealing and guarding of the tomb and he alone introduces an earthquake; Luke expands the story of the revelation on the road to Emmaus, which Mark's addition suggests, and introduces the meal of broiled fish partaken of by Jesus to prove the reality of his resurrection; John alone, at the end of the century, narrates at length the conversation between Jesus and Mary Magdalene and records the scene between Jesus and Thomas and the appearance by the Sea of Galilee. No straightforward dealing with these and other similar facts can resolve their incompatibility into even the semblance of consistent narrative. Moreover, underlying such inconsistency is the still more substantial conflict, which we earlier noted, between two ideas of Jesus' resurrected body, one altogether fleshly, the other so spiritualised as to escape the trammels of a material organism.-Certainly, if the idea of Jesus' risen life started with any factual element associated with an empty tomb, that element was never clearly visualized, even in the imagination of the first disciples, and is now confused for us in narratives that contradict each other on every important detail. The tracing of the development of faith in Christ's risen life is still and probably always will be an unfinished task.
The denial of the truth of the word of the Lord is so plain that it needs no comment that I can make. Paul had to deal with the same example of denying the truth while yet here. His reply to the unbelievers in Corinth will meet the charges of those who try to place Christ and the gospel on the level of heathen moralists.
"Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised: and if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised: and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; you are yet in your sins. Then they that have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hope in Christ in this life, we are of all man pitiable" (1 Cor. 15:12-19). Paul based all hope in this life and the life to come on the resurrection of Jesus. And so can every Christian rest his hope now. It is anchored to Christ at God's right hand. It is sure and steadfast. It sustained millions who suffered martyrdom, and cannot be shaken till the Lord returns. Modernism is not an orderly system of teaching. They affirm but little. They build no moral or spiritual system. Their work is almost entirely of denying basic facts that have been the foundation on which the Christian's faith and hope have rested for centuries. Tearing down, not building, is their work. They would rob Christians of their most precious hope, and in return offer nothing but doubt and despair. They profess faith in God. But it cannot be the God revealed in the Bible. They say, that the Virgin Birth of Jesus is "discordant with the ethical (moral) character of God." Since they reject the God revealed in the Bible, it follows that all they know about God is what they imagine. Rejecting the Revelation given in the Bible, there can be no other way to know God except the work of their imagination.
In their letters and excerpts from their already quoted books they deny, first of all, that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. They do not believe there is an intelligent personality that spoke and wrote by prophets and apostles. And to destroy the belief that the Bible came from God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is their firm objective. Break down that faith in inspiration by the Holy Spirit, and Christ and Christianity take their place in the company of heathen moral teachers and system of religion. Christianity came from God by revelation of the Holy Spirit, or it originated in the minds of men. They deny that Christianity is a revelation from God to man.
They deny that Jesus was born of a virgin by a miracle. They deny that any miracle has ever occurred since the beginning of time. They deny the Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They deny that Jesus was raised from the dead, but do not say what became of his body or where his soul or spirit went after leaving his body. They deny a resurrection in the future. In their view there can be no general judgment. No reward for the righteous and no retribution for the wicked. I search in vain for even an intimation that there will be any eternal abode for any class of people. The whole system (if it can be so called) is faithless, joyless and without any promises.
You can have Christ and Christianity, with faith that makes strong the weak; its hope that gives courage that sustains in every trial, and its precious promises for the life that now is and the life that is to come, and joys unspeakable. Or you can have Modernism that denies every help for the weak and offers nothing in return. But you can't have both Christ and Modernism.
The Root of Modernism
Every house must have a foundation on which to rest. Every oak grew from an acorn. Every system of teaching, whether affirming or denying; whether building or tearing down, springs from a basic or root idea. Christianity grew out of the idea that man was a sinner, lost, and estranged from God. Even so the destructive theory of Modernism grew from a basic or root idea. To understand a tree, it must be traced from the root to its topmost branch. And so must Modernism be traced from the root to its topmost branches.
It is perhaps true that the most pronounced characteristic of the vast majority of people a century ago was their unwavering faith that the Bible is a revelation of God's will to man. It was regarded as a guide sent from God to teach man how to live. The words of Jesus were to be the standard from which man was to be judged and rewarded for his life whether good or bad.
In 1859 Darwin published the book, The Origin of the Species. He held that from one species of animal a higher and more complex animal sprung till man appeared. In other words, by the working of natural laws the lowest form of animal was produced. This process was called evolution. This theory of how came earth was as directly contradictory of the history of man's creation as recorded in Genesis as was possible. Publication of the theory of evolution created a sensation and a storm of protest in Europe that soon spread to America. The theory was soon accepted and taught in most theological institutions. Preachers, and clergymen carried it back into churches of the more wealthy people. At this time it is doubtful if any institution of what is called higher education is left that teaches that the Bible was written by those who were guided by the Holy Spirit. Reject the history in Genesis that man was created in the likeness of God, sinned and became estranged from God, and everything to the close of Revelations is rejected.
The theory of evolution is the root from which has grown the mighty tree of Modernism. Modernists claim that high ideal of "ethics" taught by Christ was reached, not by a supernatural revelation from God, but by the process of evolution.
Man came down from God by a miracle of creation, or he came up from the lowest order of animal life. Creation leads to Christ and ends when the redeemed enter in through the gates into the City of God. Evolution leads to Modernism and ends-where? Thus far I have found no answer.
RESURRECTION OF JESUS
Probably there has been more controversy with reference to how the body of Jesus left the tomb than any other one fact in the Christian religion. All admit that Jesus lived in Palestine at the time recorded by the four who wrote the history of his life. Most of what is recorded about his teaching and life is also admitted. It is universally admitted that he was sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate, and buried in Joseph's tomb. There has never been any controversy that on the third day the tomb was empty-the body of Jesus had disappeared. The only matter of controversy that has ever been is, How, or by what Paeans, the body of Jesus disappeared from the tomb.
There has never been any question in the mind of all who believe that the Christian religion is a miraculous revelation from God. But some have an inquiring state of mind. This chapter aims to aid in removing any shadow of doubt. For the time being it will be considered from the point `of view of legal testimony, such as is regarded as credible and convincing in any court of justice.
That the body of Jesus was absent from the tomb on the morning of the third day, is admitted on both sides. That the body decayed and left no trace has never been offered as an explanation. Only two possible explanations have been offered or can be true. One, his disciples stole the body while the guards slept. Two, he was raised from the dead.
Unbelievers declared that the disciples stole the body while the guards slept. The Jews were afraid that the disciples would steal the body and then spread the report that Jesus was raised from the dead. In order to avoid such a report being circulated, they made the greatest possible precaution to prevent it from happening. "Now the next day, that followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so that the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, and make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch" (Matt. 27:62-66).
The Jews and the Roman governor unite in a supreme effort to prevent the stealing of the body of Jesus. The tomb is sealed. A watch of soldiers is set at the tomb. Seldom have such precautions been taken to safe-guard against a possible occurrence as was taken to prevent the possibility of the disciples removing the dead body from Joseph's tomb.
What story did the Roman soldiers tell about how the body of Jesus left the tomb?
"Now when they were going, behold some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is common among the Jews until this day" (Matt. 28:11-15).
Seldom, if ever, has a less reasonable story been offered to explain a matter of such importance. On it rested the reputation and the whole prestige and authority of the rulers of the Jews. And Pilate was also deeply concerned. He had ordered that Jesus must be crucified. Should a report be spread abroad that Jesus was raised from the dead, it would reflect seriously on him. Just a little reflection will reveal how unlikely the story was.
1. The guard was a number of Roman soldiers.
2. The penalty for a Roman soldier to permit a prisoner to escape was death. Was it any less severe if he should permit the escape of the body of Jesus?
3. Would all the watch fall asleep, so soundly, that the seal could be broken, the heavy stone rolled away, and the body carried away, and not one awaken during all the work required to complete the transaction? Was any story ever put forth as truth more unlikely?
4. Had the soldiers all slept, to awake and discover that the body of Jesus was gone, what would have been their course of action? Could any one imagine that the soldiers would have done any thing else than possibly flee to avoid the death penalty for their failure to perform the work assigned them? They were set to watch to prevent a report being spread abroad that the body was stolen. But they came back to those who set them to watch, and reported that the body was not stolen but risen from the dead. The supernatural happenings on the morning alone can reasonably account for their coming back to report to the authorities that set them to watch that he was not stolen but raised from the dead.
Evidences of the Resurrection
The resurrection is the one fact on which the whole Christian religion rests. It is the pivot on which all else turns.
God's first prophetic promise was, "the seed of the woman shall bruise Satan's head." To Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." By the prophet Isaiah God said: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:6-9).
Mortals can but bow in reverence and meditate upon the grandeur of what its fulfilment in Jesus must mean to weak man.
Angels announced his birth. At his baptism God said: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
For more than three years he preached the gospel to the poor; healed the sick and raised the dead.
He was crucified and buried in Joseph's tomb. Every promise that God had made was in the vault hewn out of the rock. The three days that death held Jesus prisoner, were the darkest three days since man fell from his sinless state. For three days the hope of a sinful world hung on three words. And these words were spoken by him whose body lies in that tomb of rock. Jesus had promised: I will arise. On these three words hung the destiny of man. If he did not rise again, the world is without light and without hope. The future of time and eternity is only darkness, doubt and despair. But if his promise to rise again was made good, the fondest hopes and happiest aspirations of man are made sure.
No fact can be proven without the testimony of witnesses. Jesus chose before hand the men who should be witnesses of his resurrection. God has never required faith without presenting conclusive evidence of the fact to be believed. The twelve apostles were chosen and qualified to give such unimpeachable testimony that would remove all doubt from reasonable minds. To the twelve he said: "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:9; 2:30; 3:15; 10:24).
In all history the obligation of being "witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth," has never been laid upon any other group of men. The central or basic fact to which they were to bear witness was the resurrection of Jesus.
The essential qualifications for a credible witness are the following:
1. Men of good sense.
2. Must be thoroughly familiar with the facts of their testimony.
3. Their testimony must be in agreement.
4. They must be honest and sincere.
The twelve apostles were men of good character. To intimate that they were not far above the average in intelligence would be illogical in the extreme. They had to be men far above the average in ability to carry out their mission of spreading the gospel.
They lived in the closest possible daily association with Jesus for more than three years. They had every possible opportunity to know him in his physical appearance, and especially the things about which they talked. They knew him intimately up to his crucifixion. Three days later they met him, ate with him and talked with him at different times during forty days. Surely no one would say that the twelve were not amply qualified to know whether the one they frequently ate with and talked with during the forty days after his crucifixion was the same person with whom they had lived intimately for more than three years.
Can there be any doubt that they were amply intelligent to become competent witnesses? Is there room for the least doubt that they had every possible opportunity to become familiar with all the facts about which they were to bear witness?
To have weight in any court of Justice there must be substantial agreement in the facts stated, when a plurality of witnesses give testimony. Any plain contradictions serve to weaken the evidence. But some variation serves to strengthen rather than weaken testimony. When two or more witnesses relate the same story, with little or no variation, it is regarded in all courts of Justice as suspicion of Collusion-of conspiring to formulate a story of fabrication to deceive by false testimony. Perhaps these observations are generally accepted in all courts of Justice.
But strange to say that Harry Emerson Fosdick, as quoted in previous chapter, takes the opposite position. He emphatically denies that Jesus was raised from the dead, and gives his strongest reason for his denial, the fact that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John relate the story differently. Of course he makes an effort to show some discrepancies, but fails to find any contradictions in the stories related. Had all four told the story in exactly the same way it would have been regarded till this day as evidence of collusion to support a false story. Variation without contradiction has added weight to testimony from A. D. 33 to A. D. 1953.
Another attempt to cast doubt on the resurrection of Jesus is that the apostles claimed they saw Jesus ascend up to heaven with the same body of flesh that he had while on earth. To disprove this, Fosdick quotes Paul's words, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50). So he reasons, Jesus' body was not raised, for he could not go to heaven in a body of "flesh and blood."
Jesus said to the Sadducees, "Ye do always err, not knowing the Scriptures." How true this is of Modernists: When it suits their purpose, they quote the word of the Lord as though they believed it.
No well informed Christian will claim Jesus entered the habitation of God with the body in which he lived for more than thirty years. Certainly the body that disappeared in the cloud was the same body. Why did not Fosdick read the next verse, 51, and learn the simple truth so plainly stated? Perhaps it did not suit his purpose, Verse 51 reads: "Behold,, I show you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, (in death) but we all shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." The bodies of living and dead will be changed and made incorruptible, just as his fleshly body was changed as he ascended from the earth. What incorruptible bodies are like, we know not. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but when we see him we shall be like him."
The Sincerity of the Witnesses
The apostles believed that Jesus was to establish a throne in Jerusalem and reign over both the Jews and Gentiles. When they saw him meekly submit to arrest, and crucified on the cross, their faith in him as a deliverer perished. Most of them deserted him and his chosen leader denied him. And after they met him repeatedly after his body disappeared from the tomb their faith was not revived. At the end of forty days they falteringly asked: "Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). He requested that they tarry in Jerusalem till they were clothed with power. It would seem that they barely had faith enough in him to remain together for about eight days. Certain it is that they were timid and confused.
Early in the morning just eight days later, they stood up in the presence of an audience of thousands of their enemies, and set in motion the mightiest revolution of all time. A revolution that banished paganism from the Roman empire, and continued until this day the greatest force for good men have ever experienced.
The chief priests, scribes and elders of the people, had doubtless been busy spreading the report that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus while the guard slept. Never have men faced a more hostile audience than were the majority of the thousands before which they stood. Few indeed, if any friends and sympathisers were present. The speech that Peter made was the most personal in its application and terrifying in its accusation ever uttered by man.
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know: Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hands of lawless men did crucify and slay: whom God raised up, having loosed the pangs of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (Acts 2:22-24). The vital thought in that sermon was Jesus is risen from the dead. If he was risen, that convinced the Jewish authorities not only of rejecting the Son of God but also of killing him. No other such charge has ever been made against men before nor since. Men never before undertook to prove a statement such as that Jesus was risen from the dead. The rulers of the Jews and the Roman governor had judged him worthy of death, and crucified him. The report had been spread abroad that his disciples had stolen his body. But with all these obstacles about three thousand believed the story so overwhelmingly that they publicly became obedient servants of him who so recently had been regarded as a deceiver of the people. The occurrence is not only without a parallel, but even without a comparison in human history. Surely it can be accounted for only by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles that enabled them to speak in languages that they had never learned. It was the greatest manifestation of supernatural power ever witnessed. Truly it is not a wonder that so many believed that he had risen from the dead. The wonder is that any of the thousands present remained in unbelief.
The apostles were imprisoned and finally killed. Did they suffer all this for telling that Jesus had risen from the dead when they knew as was claimed, that they had stolen his body from the tomb? Who can believe it? Yet that is what Modernists would have us believe. It was the story of the resurrection that so greatly troubled the Jews, even as it troubles those who would destroy the trusting faith of weak ones today.
For three days the hope of the world hung on three words: I will arise.
For nineteen hundred years the hope of the world has hung on three words: He is risen.
The movement now under way is unquestionably one of the most, if not the most, momentous religious movement since Martin Luther challenged the authority of the pope, and affirmed that the Bible is the only source of authority. That movement was to restore faith in the Bible as the revealed will of God to man. The result was a mighty awakening of righteous living. The present movement is directly in the opposite direction. It is a bold denial that the Bible is a revelation from God. How far this new theology will lead into ungodliness is yet to be revealed. But the Lord said "by their fruits ye shall know them." When one knows the theology of the leaders and promoters of the movement the fruits of it can be forecast with reasonable accuracy.
The Formidable Set-up
In 1928 an organisation was formed, now called, Council of Churches of Christ, composed of leaders appointed by the forty largest denominations. This organisation seems to be, or aspires to become, an over-all ecclesiastical head. This Council appointed a committee headed by Dean Luther A. Weigle, of the Yale University School, to determine whether a new translation of the Bible was needed. The report was affirmative.
A Committee of nine men completed a revision of the New Testament. A large edition, perhaps one million copies, was released to the public in 1946.
A Committee of 32 were engaged fourteen years in making the translation of the whole Bible. For the first edition contracts were let for approximately one million copies, a number greater than ever before of any book in the history of printing.
What seems to be a conservative estimate says that $850,000 were spent in publicity and advertising before any copies were placed on sale. The Committee owns the copyright. It has a potential value of millions of dollars. The Committee claims to represent forty of the largest denominations with an aggregate membership of 33 million. A copy sold to one member in every five would mean profits on six and a half million Bibles. It is safe to say the potential profits on no other publication has ever before been dreamed of much less realised. And money is a mighty power in any movement, and most especially is this true in ecclesiastical religions. It required much money to defray the expense of the Committee of 32 who were engaged for a period of fourteen years in completing their work of translating the Bible. Grant that the translators were only engaged part time, still the expense had to be great. Then to spend through an advertising agency $850,000 for publicity and advertising before a copy came from the press. Add the items all up, and the sum would be astronomical. This money all had to be raised in advance of any receipts from sales.
Some might think this all is not pertinent to the questions at issue. But they are fundamentally pertinent. Was all this vast sum contributed by generous people? Or was it in part or in whole, loaned? What is the faith, or lack of faith, of those who furnished this great sum of money? Are they avowed unbelievers in the divine Sonship of Jesus? Do they hold that Jesus was with the Father in glory before the world was, "That he was sent by the Father, and became flesh," and gave his life to save sinners? Do they believe Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended to his throne at God's right hand? Or do they hold, with Goodspeed and Fosdick, who deny that he was raised from the dead, and hold that he was only a man? Answers to these questions are of the most vital importance. Clear answers will unerringly forecast the fruits of this vast movement-a movement without precedent in religious history. When men give large sums of money, they know what it is to be spent for.
Assets of Movement
Am ecclesiastical organisation claiming to represent a membership of 33 millions of members can exert tremendous influence in what is called the Christian world. How much influence this over-all ecclesiasticism can exert depends, first, upon how many of the 33 million they can indoctrinate, lead and control. An answer to this question depends upon several important factors. The first factor is, Will they be able to weld and cement their loosely-formed Council into a tightly-formed authoritative head? This is possible of course. Evidently they hope to make it authoritative. Still there are good reasons to believe the Council may fall to pieces. Their first hurdle is to solidify the authority of their super ecclesiasticism. This phase needs to be carefully watched.
A second powerful asset is that they have their own "authorised" Bible. Undoubtedly millions of the 32 million members will buy and use their "authorised" translation. It abounds in attacks on the Virgin Birth of Jesus; the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the Bible as a revelation from God. Perhaps no greater or more skilful and ingenious effort has ever been made to conceal the aim to weaken faith in the divine Sonship of Jesus. How many will be led to embrace the theology of Modernism? Who can forecast? It has its appeal to the worldly-minded who have never been sincerely converted to Christ as a Saviour. They do not realise that men are sinners, and lost. And that without a full surrender of heart, soul and life to Jesus, there is no hope for this life or the life to come. By implication at least all this Modernists strenuously deny. They laud Jesus as a leader in some sort of Social Service. But as a Saviour of man who is lost in sin-in this light they do not represent him. (This is made clear in letters of recent date from members of the translating Committee to the writer, and the contents of books by Edgar J. Goodspeed and Harry Emerson Fosdick, quoted in previous chapters.)
On the other hand it is the confirmed judgment of the author that the vast majority of the 33 million members of the forty denominations will not surrender their faith in Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, the personality of the Holy Spirit, and that the Bible is a revelation from God to man-that prophets and apostles spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. If this forecast proves correct, then there will be the most stirring conflict within the denominations that has occurred in Protestant churches since their establishment. In either case there must be a realignment between those who believe that Christianity is a revelation from God and those who believe that it is an Evolution by natural law.
Modernists head most if not all divinity schools in universities and many colleges and seminaries. Most denominational preachers are educated to be preachers in such institutions. Only a man of great strength of individuality can return from such institutions with faith unshaken in the Sonship of Jesus and the inspiration of the Bible. Perhaps herein is found their greatest asset. The average member will not discover the skilfully concealed attacks on faith in the Bible as an infallible guide. But preachers whose faith has been weakened can adroitly instil such things in the minds of their hearers.
An asset that should not be overlooked nor discounted is that many are disposed to worship at the shrine of what is called Scholarship. Modernists seem to assume that, perhaps, all real scholars are found in their ranks. It is likely true that the majority of those who lay claim to scholastic eminence are found in institutions of learning in which the theology of Modernism prevails. When so-called higher institutions of learning accepted without reserve the Darwin theory of evolution they laid the foundation for the structure of Modernism. The whole system of Modernism grows out of the root of evolution. It is simply applying the theory of evolution of the animal world, including man, to things spiritual. In both, all supernatural agencies are denied. Natural law, they say, has brought man to where he now is, without the intervention of divine aid to man. Here lies the vital point at issue.
The unstinted praise bestowed upon the committee of 32 who made the translation under consideration would lead the unsuspecting to believe that its members embraced the greatest group of scholars ever to be assembled. No one would doubt their scholastic standing. Nor should anyone discount the worth of great learning. The value of learning depends upon whether such attainment is used for the dissimilation and defence of truth, or in discrediting vital truth on which hangs the welfare and happiness of man.
It is scarcely to be supposed that anyone will make the claim that the 32 of recent date are superior to the devout men who made the King James translation, and the English and American scholars who made the revision of 1885, and 1901. So far as is known everyone of both groups were devout believers in the Virgin Birth of Jesus; the blood atonement; the Holy Spirit who spoke and wrote by prophets and apostles. In recent letters, four of the translators deny all these truths.
That there were minor errors in former translations that needed to be corrected, no well informed person will doubt. But that any fundamental change should be made, denying the divinity of Jesus, is a serious matter. And there are scholars today who strongly believe that Christianity is a revelation, and not an evolution.
On the other side of the ledger is entered a fundamental weakness, a very grave weakness. Their theory is negative, totally lacking faith-in a vital truth. Without faith there can be no burning zeal that moves men to be crusaders, who will suffer, and if need be, endure to martyrdom. It was that kind of faith that moved Paul to make tents to supply his daily bread while preaching a crucified Jesus for the redemption of sinners. It was preaching the resurrection of Jesus that moved the Jews to beat, imprison and kill Paul. Imagine, if you can, Fosdick or Goodspeed, laboring with their hands to supply their needs, in order to preach that Jesus was only a man, and was not raised from the dead.
Someone may say that being willing to suffer for a cause does not prove it true or false. But it does prove one's faith or lack of faith, in that which is affirmed or denied. Modernists profess faith in God. But the God they believe in has never been concerned enough in man to reveal himself to man. The lack of a vital faith; a faith that fills the heart; a faith that inspires a burning, impelling zeal that cannot be discouraged or suppressed-this sort of faith can never be produced by the cold negativism of the Modernistic doctrine. Numbers, money, vaunted scholarship, can never prove a substitute for a living faith in a risen Lord and crowned King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Millions have suffered martyrdom rather than deny faith in a risen Saviour, now seated on the right hand of God.
It is difficult for man to understand the full meaning of the present movement. It involves everything that has made Protestantism the great moral and spiritual power for more than four hundred years. That power has been the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin by a miracle; that the Holy Spirit spoke through prophets and apostles; that the Bible is God's revealed will to man, by which to live, and supreme authority in all matters of morals and religion. It has been this belief that has produced all that is good in Western nations. Destroy this faith and in time these nations would sink to the plane of Eastern nations. Reject miraculous revelation, and there remains no other guide than man's groping mind. And best that man can do in religion is to produce Ancient Greek Mythology, Buddhism, Zoroasterism. And utterly to destroy faith in the religion of Christ as a revelation from God, is the intention of Modernists.
Possibly some sincere people, but who do not know what Modernists hold, may think these are strong words. Strong words indeed. Strong faith and courage also. If Jesus was not the only begotten Son of God; if the Bible is not a revelation from God but the work of man; if there is no Holy Spirit-without these-and they deny them all-what is left more than the originators of heathen religions had to guide them? In the end, how far will they succeed? That depends upon how many millions who will arise in the faith and courage of Paul, when he engaged the hosts of heathenism, and set up the blood-stained banner of a risen Saviour. There should arise a million such servants of Christ and drive this dragon of heathen philosophy into the regions of darkness from whence it came.
Young man, no other time has needed men of inspired faith, and undaunted courage since Luther defied the See at Rome. The call is imperative. They hope to control millions. Unfaltering faith has always won against numbers and money. By the help of God it will continue to win till Christ comes to call his servants to an eternal rest. "My son, be strong in the Lord and the power of his might."
WHAT OTHERS THINK
Within the ranks of all religions there is arising voices of warning. Some are scholars of eminence. Some excerpts were given in a previous chapter. The following is from the pen of John Allen Hudson, editor of the Bible Advocate:
The modernist is a fellow who believes nothing for sure, except the omnipresence of human judgments when passed upon divine truth. He subjects the Bible to his own puny thoughts and thinks anyone who would question his profundity of wisdom is unlettered. He is never an original thinker, but takes the concoctions fed to him by others, not even knowing that he is being funnelled and fed, taking thoughts from others, as a little bird takes food from the mother bird. He dotes upon scholarship with a capital S. He likes to think of himself as among the intelligentsia; the mental sophisticates. He prides himself on the scientific approach, when there is nothing scientific about him, for a real scientific mind accepts nothing without proof. He is in most instances incapable of original thought and research. He talks about the fairness of every man's position, when he takes all positions on the pattern of what the scholars have said about the theologians, or about the Sacred Text. He always wants his dicta to be highly appreciated, his guidance to be followed. In other words, he wants to would you into the uncertainty in which he finds himself.
Such a man is seldom one of originality, and capable of coming to grips with a subject independently. He is enormously interested to know what the scholars say. He is overawed by what others have said, on the subject; he dares not cross lances with them, though they are in the silent halls of the dead. He is a man who is supremely reverential for what is traditionally said to emanate from a scholarly source.
There is nothing really new in modernism. It was at first called by another name. That was rationalism. If in some respects modernism is a refinement of rationalism, it differs not in kind; only in degree. That school, having such men as Renan as spokesmen, had the approach of making every interpretation of Scripture conform to a rational explanation. Then along came German Higher Criticism, which sought to subject Scripture to the evaluations of scholarship. The term of rationalism was dropped, and so largely was Higher Criticism. Modernism embraces and merges the two. The new verbiage does not bring a new thought into existence. Truly, there is little that is new under the sun. Modernism is defined: "In religion, a member of the Anglican, Roman Catholic or Protestant Church who holds the belief that theological dogma and practice should follow modern interpretation or treatment. One who prefers or admires modern trends or ideas; one who upholds the value of teaching modern subjects, as opposed to classical."
The twin deities of modernism are modern man and modern thought. The Bible sets forth an anthropomorphic God whose development in history followed the development of the race. The divine revelation divinely preserved, in spite of the onslaughts of the enemy, or the weakening influence of professed friends, who subject the whole of the Bible to their scholarship, and count not the miracle of its preservation as ample proof of their own puny efforts against it, makes no such impression as the weight of scholars, whose theories in the next generation may be no longer the same. It seems nothing to such that new terminology is being employed from time to time, and that old theories are re-vitalised under new dress, but that the assault is really against divine revelation. They still walk as in the house of friends. They dare not preserve their souls by speaking hard-won independent thought now, for fear they will lose their standard among the mental sophisticates. That is to be valued more highly than anything else, even if it is a building on shifting sand.
A modernist, in the sense of his lack of belief, will not admit it to himself. He disguises his own heart by appeal to scholarship, which is really his divinity. But if himself he deceives, others he cannot. `Tis a pity that such devotion should betray him!
The assumptions of modernism are tremendous. The credulity of modernists is very great. They will accept any specious interpretation of the formation of Scripture by some supposed literary person, from some supposed earlier sources, and place implicit faith in a hypothetical redactor, without anything more than assertion and assumption from some half-informed would-be scholar, who is performing mental gymnastics far beyond his capacity when he bases all that he does upon points of similarity. They will raise all sorts of questions against the most superlative Book of the ages. Faith in the Holy Volume of Scripture is very weak, but credulity beggaring description is based upon the supposed findings of some imaginary ghost writer, or redactor whom no one can identify except by some initial! Such men do not deserve the respect of men. And the most of them are charlatans, with childish, toying minds, the querying, testing minds of juveniles. Truly, Scripture has suffered as much or more from its professed friends, with tinkering imaginations, than it has from its avowed enemies. "As it is written, He that hath eaten out of the dish with me hath lifted up his heel against me," said Christ. Such scholarship will prate about the earlier writings of such men as Hammurabi and because of some similarity between some things he said and some things contained in Scripture, reach the conclusion that some copying was done, and that the Bible is the work of some ghost writer, unknown and undiscoverable (but assumed to be), forgetting in the meantime that there are points of similarity in thinking in many parts of the world. Why, even today, one comes out with thoughts that all men are thinking, and the book he writes becomes a best seller overnight. Such is true of the book, "Peace of Mind." What hindrance has there been for some other great men to have thought some of the thoughts that God inspired? Need God shy away from them because some have thought them? Besides, where is the evidence (not assumption) that the marvellous Book we call the Bible, with its unity of purpose has anywhere a link between it and the writings of uninspired men? Where is the evidence? The mere figment of imagination will not do for stubborn men nor is it scientific to accept assumptions. The just demand is that such evidence shall be produced, or the real man will remain incredulous still, burning no incense at the altar of the mammon of scholarship.
Could not God have inspired men even if thoughts that others had thought were incorporated, granting, for sake of argument, that they had been? Would this invalidate the divine revelation? Such reasoning is specious indeed.
I submit that such crass credulity as the modernist has in his scholarship dwarfs the soul and stultifies the spirit and is profoundly hurtful to the hearer without a satisfactory compensation for the things which he would take away. He is filching faith, and offering a hypothetical redactor, who is not actually proven to be as yet. He may keep his ghost writer and I shall keep ray faith.
Besides, all the tinkering of the modernist may be chucked overboard in the next generation. Even now some of the best minds are unfettering their thinking from this phantom and are turning to Neo-Orthodoxy. Men like Charles Clayton Morrison, in his book, "Can Protestantism Win America?" have admitted the inadequacy of modernism to meet the problems which itself raises, and to provide an adequate plan for life.
Now there is nothing wrong with genuine scholarship, but infidelity, parading under the guise of scholarship, should not be afraid to disrobe and to stand in its barrenness before the people. An honest infidel is to be respected, and a scholar, who will not be afraid to follow the findings of scholarship is also to be respected, but when a fledgling comes up with unprovable things, out of a perverted imagination, he is not entitled to the high title of scholar.
It is a case of where one fixes loyalties. If they are centred in Christ and the apostles, he cannot be moved by modernism; if he establishes them upon scholarship, then he will accommodate Christ and the apostles to that scholarship, and he will accommodate all the Bible to that scholarship. This is bound to bring a great deal of uncertainty, for scholarship is frequently changing its point of view.
There are various shades and degrees of modernism. One can go the whole way and deny the virgin birth, the resurrection, the inspiration of the Scriptures, etc., or he can go just far enough to create a Bible with an anthropomorphic God. The one who simulates Christian faith, and does not go the whole way is just as dangerous, or more so, than the complete one, because the close counterfeit is always less easily detected."
Weigle Correcting "An Old Mistake"
Dr. Luther A. Weigle, chairman of the translators' committee for the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, has made further comments on the elimination of the word "virgin" from the Isaiah 7:14 passage. In a United Press dispatch, November 24, Dr. Weigle is reported to have said, "We have given the true meaning to an old mistake." The report also says: "Weigle said the objections were `nonsense,' and that `grounds for belief in the virgin birth are given clearly' in the New Testament in the revised edition. He said the Hebrew word `Almah' meaning `young woman' is used in the original text of the Old Testament prophecy, while the Greek word `parthenos' meaning `virgin' is used in the original of Matthew 1:23, when the prophecy of Isaiah is repeated."
To translate "almah," according to Dr. Weigle, as "virgin," is an old mistake. The Septuagint translators, 70 of them, who translated the Hebrew into the Greek 270 years before Christ, and before there was any New Testament or any question about Jesus of Nazareth being the actual Messiah, translated the word "almah" by "virgin." They used the Greek word, which Weigle himself admits means virgin, "parthenos." These 70 Hebrew scholars believing the Bible to be the word of God, made this translation. Were these 70 scholars, all of them Jewish, better equipped to know the meaning of "almah" than Luther Weigle and his men in 1952?
Matthew, the apostle of our Lord, writing under divine inspiration, quotes the prophecy of Isaiah, and he makes the translation of "almah" into "parthenos," meaning "virgin." Does Matthew know more about this matter, or do Luther Weigle and his men?
In view of the fact that Matthew's gospel specifically says that the Lord spake by the prophets saying, "Behold, a virgin," in the light of Luther Weigle's declaration that they have corrected an old mistake, there were a good many mistakes made. First, the Lord made a mistake because he did not speak the words, "Behold, a virgin," though Matthew says he (the Lord) did. Second, the prophet made a mistake because he did not predict, "Behold, a virgin," though Matthew says he did. Third, Matthew made a mistake, because he specifically quotes the passage as including the word "virgin" when the passage which he is supposed to be quoting, according to Luther Weigle, does not say "virgin" and is a mistake.
The press account further states: "Weigle said a team of 32 scholars, working from the original Hebrew of the Old Testament and the original Greek of the New Testament, found thousands of such errors in the popular King James version of the Bible ... .. Such errors" refers to the mistake of translating "almah" into "virgin," rather than, as Weigle maintains, into "young woman." There just simply are not and were not many errors. There may be that many. places in which the translating committee changed words for one reason or another.
The Readers Digest for December, which carries a very favourable article on the new Bible, obviously inspired by and also quoting Dean Weigle, a condensation from Collier's, points out that with the finding of the famous Isaiah manuscript in a cave near the Dead Sea there is in our possession today a portion of the Old Testament text dating back to about 100 B.C.-at least a thousand years older than any other Hebrew text known to exist. The article says: "The most noteworthy points about this find, however, is that it has led to so few corrections. Here, in the case of one of the Bible's most important books, is a text that brings us 1000 years closer to the original, yet is almost precisely the same as the texts with which scholars have been working since medieval times." As a holy, sacred Book, the Bible has been meticulously copied and cared for through the centuries. There have been copyist's errors, but these have been eliminated by comparison and the careful science of what is known as textual criticism, not higher criticism, which is the attack of the modernists upon the Bible.
Dean Weigle faces a real dilemma. His way out is to stand by his own translation, and he has already committed himself so thoroughly to it that his committee could not possibly change it now and keep any face as scholars."--(C. Mervin Young, in Christian Beacon).
CHAPTER VIII-Part 1
THE BATTLE OF THE VERSIONS
By R. C. Foster, Professor, The Cincinnati Bible Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio. Published in Christian Standard, and used by Permission of Professor Foster, and the Christian Standard.
"Sufficient time has now elapsed in the Battle of the `Versions for certain trends to be obvious. Whether the new Revised Standard Version is to be relegated to a conspicuous place in the museum of theological curiosities or is to gain general acceptance by a generation whose faith has long been shaken and corrupted, is yet to be seen. Nothing has ever been seen in America to compare with the advertising extravaganza which has been staged to force immediate acceptance of the new version. The presumption of the radical National Council in its pronouncements declaring it is the authoritative mouthpiece of all the millions of Protestant people in America, is of one piece with the mighty blare of trumpets for the new version as the sole, authoritative translation of the Scriptures which straightway must be "adopted." The vast sums of money expended in the advertising campaign have been variously estimated from $250,000 to $1,000,000. It would probably be as difficult to discover the total amount spent by the National Council through the advertising firm of Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborne, and through the council's subsidiary organisations and affiliated corporations, as it would be to arrive at the total amount of expenditure in a modern, national, political campaign in America. Typical of the promotion of the new version is the following announcement: "An advertising budget of $250,000 has been set up to properly publicise the sale during the remainder of 1952. After we have spent that you may be assured that nobody in the United States will remember that there was a King James Version of the Bible." Is the scholarship of the translators of such calibre that the promoters must depend on the power of a quarter of a million or a half-million dollars rather than on the merit of translation? The propaganda campaign has produced such high-pressure sales that the general dissemination of the new version is assured. But what happens to the copies of the new version now that the text is in the hands of the people who will read and compare, and then decide for themselves?
The Battle of the Versions is a three-cornered encounter between the King James Version, the American Standard Version, and the New Revised Standard Version. With cunning military strategy the modernists have sought desperately to reduce the struggle to a straight combat between the King James and the new version. Although the statements issued by the translators declare that their version is a revision of the American Standard Edition of 1901, the promotional campaign has sought to ignore the American Standard and feature contrasts between the King James and the new version. It is really not the King James Version which the propagandists would have the people forget. On the contrary, every conceivable means has been used to conceal the American Standard Version, which they evidently regard as their more dangerous rival, and to cause the people to forget that they now have in their possession a translation made in 1901 which already has achieved the meritorious features of the new version such as the change of archaic English words like "wist," "wot," into the understandable usage of our own time. When the promoters of the new version make such a great fanfare about the improvement made from the obsolete English of the King James to the modern usage of the new version, they deliberately create the impression that this is a new and much needed achievement. As a matter of fact, it has already been done in the English Revised Version of 1881 and the American Standard Version of 1901. Moreover these revisions corrected much of the faulty translation of the Greek seen in the King James because they were not subject to some of the theological notions that hampered the King James translators and because their careful following of an improved Greek text in most cases gave a more exact translation.
The preface to the new version states briefly the facts that show the American Standard Version is in existence, but the entire weight of the promotional campaign has been devoted to the effort to shove the American Standard Version out of the picture. It their official document, An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, Professor George Dahl admits that the American Standard Version corrected the obsolete words of the King James, but claims sixty-five cases in which "misleading words" are retained in the American Standard Version (page 22). When the long arguments are offered for the new version on the basis of correction of obsolete words in the King James, the question should be asked: "What `misleading' words are found in the American Standard Version to be corrected by the new version and in what way are they `misleading'?" Many conservative reviewers have fallen full-length into this trap which had been set for them. A ministerial association recently sent forth a pronouncement denouncing the new version for its brazen, radical perversions of Scripture, but ended their statement with the humble declaration that they intended to wait patiently until a modern translation which is faithful to the text of the Scriptures is produced which will correct the archaisms of the King James. This overlooks the very great value of the American Standard Version already in our hands.
In a speech delivered at Columbus, Ohio, in 1946, when the new translation of the New Testament was being dedicated, Dean Weigle admitted that the American Standard Version is the most accurate translation of the Greek text in existence, but he claimed there was need for a revision because the American Standard Version followed the structure of the Greek too closely resulting in complex English sentences difficult to follow. In his recent book, The English New Testament, Dean Weigle repeats his criticism: "But with all their accuracy, the revised versions of 1881 and 1901 lost some of the beauty and power of the King James Version. This is because they are too obviously `translation English.' They are mechanically exact, literal, word-for-word translations which follow the order of the Greek words, so far as this is possible, rather than the order which is natural to English." (Weigle, Luther A., The English New Testament, Abington-Cokesbury Press, Nashville, Tenn., p. 102.) He attempts to cite some instances in which the new version has improved upon the American Standard Version, while arguing for the most part that improvements have been made in the King James. Noteworthy is his admission that Professor James Hardy Ropes, the celebrated New Testament scholar who was head of the New Testament department at Harvard Divinity School in 1929 when the lengthy discussions were being carried on as to whether this new version should be attempted, opposed the whole plan and held that the King James was adequate. "At one extreme stood Professor James H. Ropes, who held that the revisions of the King James Version published in 1881 and 1901 ought not to have been made, and opposed any further revision." (Ibid., p. 102.) Professor George Foote Moore of Harvard, pre-eminent as a Hebrew scholar, shared with Professor Ropes, the high estimate of the King James Version. In his class lectures Professor Moore continually pointed out details of superiority in the King James Version.
One of the things which has enabled the National Council to push the American Standard Version into the background of this struggle is the fact that the International Council of Religious Education, now merged into the National Council as its Division of Christian Education, has controlled the copyright of this version since 1929. It is significant that the copyright was secured at the same time that the plans were laid for the new version. Roy G. Ross, General Secretary of the International Council of Religious Education declares in The Scroll of May, 1946, that immediately upon gaining actual control of the copyright of the American Standard Version the officers of the International Council began discussion of plans for this new version. The legal renewal of the copyright finally runs out in 1957. This should be a memorable date in the Battle of the Versions for the American Standard Version, coming from under commercial control of the mammoth, radical super-organisation is sure to exercise a more powerful influence in this struggle.
Since human beings are unable to maintain a purely objective attitude, it is inevitable that the personal opinions and prejudices of the translators should show themselves in any translation. No one can claim that either the King James or the American Standard is without fault. In the King James Version erroneous theological ideas protrude. The translators showed their subjection to the idea of a type of predestination which overshadows the freedom of the will in such translations as: "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47). This was corrected by the more accurate translation of the Greek in the American Standard Version "such as were saved" and the footnote:
"were being saved." On the other hand, in this very verse most readers would probably feel that the King James Version had the better of the argument in the reading: "The Lord added to the church," where the American Standard Version reads: "The Lord added to them." The Greek text does not have the word "church," nor does it contain the plural pronoun "them." It reads "eph to auto"-"The Lord added to the same thing" or "to the same body." The King James translators decided this meant the church and went directly to this goal. The American Standard translators introduced the plural pronoun "them" into their translation, but added a footnote rendering "eph to auto" as "together."
The King James translators failed to discriminate between the Greek words-Gehenna and hades: they translated both words with the English word, "hell." The American Standard carefully discriminates reserving the translation "hell" in the New Testament to thirteen times the Greek word "Gehenna" occurs and meeting the difficulty of the double meaning of hades by transliterating the Greek word into a coined English word, "hades." The Greek word "hades" like the parallel Hebrew word "Sheol" can mean: (1) the grave, the abode of the dead regardless of whether they are righteous or wicked, in a state of blessedness or punishment; (2) the intermediate place of punishment where the rich man was in torment (Luke 16:23) and which is distinct from hell, the final place of eternal punishment of the wicked (Rev. 20:14).
The fact that obsolete words are found in the King James is a matter of minor concern compared with the many passages in which the American Standard Version of 1901 offers a more accurate and clearer translation of the Greek text.
Prominent among such corrections is Acts 2:27, 31 where the King James reads:
"Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption"; and where the American Standard renders "hades," instead of "hell." On the cross, Jesus had declared: "It is finished" (John 19:30), and had promised to the repentant thief: "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). The idea of Jesus being in hell or even in the intermediate place of punishment, Tartarus (the verb, tartarosas, is translated "cast them down to hell" with "Tartarus" in the footnote and "committed them to pits of darkness" given as the rendering of the related phrase of the American Standard Version--2 Peter 2:4) is entirely foreign to the Scripture. The parallelism of Hebrew poetry repeats in the second line of the couplet the affirmation of the first, either by affirmation, negation, or addition. The second line of Psalm 16:10 affirms the meaning that God did not allow the Christ, after his death on the cross, to see corruption. This strongly confirms the meaning of "the grave" for Sheol and hades in the respective passages instead of the pit of torment. The King James translates both Psalm 16:10 and Acts 2:27, 31 by using the word "hell"; but the American Standard Version renders "Sheol" in Psalm 16:10 and "hades" in Acts 2:27, 31, thus leaving the commentators to thresh out the theological problem and the reader to make up his mind for himself as to which of the two meanings of "Sheol...hades," he chooses to understand. The new version renders Psalm 16:10: "Thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit"-which follows closely the translation of Rotherham. The introduction of the translation "see the pit" by a man of faith such as Rotherham is to be taken only as evidence of his penchant for straining after unusual and eccentric translations, but in the concerted attempt of the translators of the New Version to throw the messianic predictions of the Old Testament out of gear with the quotations and declarations of the apostles in the New Testament, this rendering takes on a different color.
In any effort to compare the King James and American Standard Versions to estimate their value and to speculate on the probability of their survival and relative influence, it is impossible to pass over the unfortunate fact that even among the translators of the American Standard Version there was a radical element. When one considers the fact that Professor Henry T. Thayer, head of the New Testament department of Unitarian Harvard Divinity School, was secretary of the New Testament Committee and exercised a powerful influence in the translation, then certain conclusions are immediate and inevitable. Since this radical element was in the minority, the radical trend in the American Revised Version shows itself mainly in footnotes. To turn from the American Standard Version to a study of the new version is to see these footnotes suddenly spring into life in the text itself, full-grown and possessed of such proportions as to overshadow the central narrative.
The Battle of the Versions by its very nature is such as to stir deeply the emotions. Every Christian should beware of the danger of allowing himself to be committed to a blind, fanatical devotion to either the King James or the American Standard versions. The new version itself has used many interesting synonyms and has clarified many phrases in the rendition. It is impossible that such a concentration of scholarship should work for so long a time without achieving some admirable results in the translation of specific passages. It is not arrogant presumption for a Christian to insist stubbornly that he intends to study the original Greek and Hebrew text with all his power and to compare carefully all the various available translations. It is rather his personal obligation to use his freedom of will and whatever intellectual powers and training he possesses and whatever time God allots to him on earth in the tenacious effort to study to show himself approved unto God by rightly dividing the word of truth. But he should always remember that it is the original, autograph copies of the books written by the inspired messengers of God, that are infallible; the translations are human and fallible. To follow blindly either the King James or the American Standard versions with the idea that it must necessarily be right in every detail is to embrace a religion which seeks freedom from the obligation to think.
Since freedom of speech is a most precious heritage of all Americans, the modernists were within their legal rights when they produced and published their new version embodying as much of their radical theories as they cared to expose to the view of the general public at this time in such a setting. If they had published this new version for what it is-a massive piece of radical propaganda, it would have been accepted immediately by their own coterie and would have been diligently studied by a great number of persons interested to observe the pre-suppositions, conclusions, and objectives of the modernists. But when these radical leaders attempt a shrewd coup to convert the nation en masse to modernism by pretending that this monstrous piece of radical propaganda is actually a bona fide translation of the Hebrew and Greek texts and by using all the vast power and financial resources of the great radical super-organisations to force this new version-sight unseen-upon the general public and to compel its acceptance as the "Authorised" version to be read in public worship with all other versions discarded, then this reveals itself as the most critical attack upon the Christian religion in this century. If so many tragic results of the Battle of the Versions were not involved, there would be a touch of comedy in the fact that the radicals with all their learning should be so naive in their perception of human nature and the record of history as to imagine they could succeed in perpetrating such a colossal fraud. Above all else, God reigns.
One of the most distinguished Greek scholars of this century was Dr. John A. Scott of Northwestern University. Writing in the Classical Weekly of January 6, 1947, shortly before his death, Dr. Scott delivered a scathing denunciation of the Revised Standard Version. Among the many citations which Dr. Scott offered are the following: "Luke 1:3: This version has, `It seemed good to me also, having followed closely for some time past.' To translate the fine Greek word meaning `from the beginning' with the tame `for some time past' seems irony, not an intended translation ... Luke 1:34: When the angel told Mary that she was to bear a son, this version makes her reply: `How can this be, since I have no husband,' Mary gave no such reply; she said: `How can this be, since I know not a man.' Many an unmarried girl or woman has become a mother. Mary knew this."
In his long series of citations of mistranslation in the new version, Dr. Scott delivers the climactic charge that the translators did not even intend to translate the Greek text, and accuses them of "trifling with the original" and "offering the ultimate in mistranslation," and of constantly inserting their own ideas and interpretations instead of making a translation of the Greek text. In closing his review he employed with bitter sarcasm a quotation from Shakespeare's Hamlet. "The King James Version is immeasurably superior in the knowledge of Greek, and the mastery of English and, above all, in the honest and docile fidelity to the Greek text.
"The thing in this version which distresses me most is the irreverent disregard for the simple meaning of the original, and while reading it I feel as Hamlet felt, when he chanced upon the jovial grave diggers: `Has this fellow no feeling of his business that he sings at grave making?"'
Christ's own words assure us that the interment of the word of God will not prove to be so simple a task no matter how cheerful the demeanour of the grave diggers.
The entire campaign of the National Council to produce a new version and compel by sheer force of propaganda its acceptance as the "authoritative" translation, has offered an unparalleled sounding board for their radical propaganda. But there has been the stern limitation which the commercial side of the project has afforded. Perversion of the text for propaganda purposes could not be forced too far or the shocked public would react immediately with resentment and repudiation. Shrewd changes calculated to allow the radical theories gradually to seep into the consciousness of the reader had to be used rather than point-blank denials. A careful reading of the radical books published by the dominant personalities on the committee of translators and a comparison of these stated positions with what one finds in the new version, confirms this conclusion. The erratic and contradictory nature of the new version is the result of the collision of radical propaganda with the commercial considerations and the practical difficulties of placing in the hands of the public an edition of the Bible so emasculated as to represent properly their radical theories. The translators could riot afford to cut right through the middle, they had to keep trimming the edges in as many critical spots as possible.
One of the doctrines of Christianity most directly assailed in the new version is the inspiration of the Scriptures. Basic to everything that Christianity has to offer the world is the proposition: "God hath...spoken unto us" (Heb. 1:1, 2). If this claim be proven false, then the gospel is not "good news" of redemption, but bad news of deception and hoax; all of Christianity falls. In turning through the new version to place the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament alongside the quotations and arguments of the New Testament, one finds that not only is the divine inspiration of the writers assailed, but the elemental truth and accuracy of their assertions is denied. This has been the sector where modernists have concentrated their attacks for decades. They have charged that the apostles and the other New Testament writers deliberately twisted and perverted the predictions and declarations of the Old Testament to secure proof that Jesus is the promised Messiah and the Son of God. By using the shrewd double-dialect "thou-you" scheme with which they had operated on the gospel narratives to cut the ground from under Jesus' claim to deity, the translators of the new version change the content and atmosphere of messianic quotations in the Old Testament and bring them into conflict with the quotations in the New Testament. In the same manner, perverse translations of words are used in the messianic passages of the Old Testament so that the citations and arguments of the New Testament writers are denied. By passing through the Old Testament and clipping the ends of these passages and leaving them to float idly in thin air, the solid contact of prediction fulfilment is broken.
Chief among these passages is Isaiah 7:14 where "young woman" is substituted for "virgin" as the meaning of the Hebrew word almah. In Heb. 1:5, "Thou art my son" is retained, but the declaration of Psalm 2:7 is changed to read: "You are my son." Thus also in Psalm 45:6, "Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever" is changed to read, "Your divine throne endures forever and ever" which leaves the new version in a state of confusion. The translators thus insist that the Messiah, who is a mere man must be addressed in terms of "your" rather than "thy," and yet they find themselves unable to escape the declaration that his reign is to be eternal! The new version retains the quotation: "But of the Son he says, `Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever'" in Heb. 1:8. It translates Psalm 2:7: "You are my son" making the reference point to a mere man and removes entirely the messianic content of Psalm 2:11, 12 by following a maverick reading: "Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling kiss his feet" instead of the established Hebrew text followed by both the King James and the American Standard versions. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry." Heb. 1:5 is still allowed to affirm the quotation from Psalm 2:7 as: "Thou art my Son."
Professor Millar Burrows admits that the reading, "Kiss his feet" is merely an "emendation" of the Hebrew text: "As ASV had to relinquish `the beauty of holiness' (Psalm 29:2; 96:9), so RSV has been constrained in honesty to give up `kiss the son' (Psalm 2:12) as an indefensible translation even of the traditional Hebrew text, which in this case clearly requires emendation" (Burrows, Millar, An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, p. 58, Thomas Nelson and Sons, New York, N. Y. Copyright, 1952, by Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and used by permission.) He does not inform us as to how much dishonesty is to be attributed to the translators of the King James, the English Revised, and American Standard versions, when these scholars did not delete the messianic content from this verse and substitute some stray guess of their own.
At first, it seemed that such astonishing confusion and contradiction between the translations of the Old Testament and in the New Testament itself, might have resulted from the conflict of opinions among the translators, especially between those of the Old Testament and New Testament divisions, but a study of the roster of names of the translators, a perusal of their published works, and an analysis of the conflicting translators in the new version do not confirm this conjecture. Whatever order or pattern is to be found in their procedure other than denying when they dared, and refraining from denying when they dared not, must be found in the menacing shadow of form-criticism with the evolutionary development of the gospel narratives from bits and fragments of "myths," "legends" "miracle-tales" into larger "sources" which finally were gathered by "anonymous editors" into our four gospel narratives, and in the various documentary hypotheses by which the modernists seek to dissect and discredit the books of critical importance in the Old Testament.
Their central attack has been focused upon the effort to embed in the gospel narratives and in Acts, the constant assertion that the immediate associates of Jesus, the eye witnesses who saw and heard for themselves what he was, what he did and said, did not believe that he was anything more than a mere man: they always address him as "you" in this new version; they are never permitted to address him as "thou" and thus admit his deity. Thus the validity of their worship of him and their confession of him as "the Son of God" and "my Lord and my God," is denied and the gospel accounts left in a state of confusion. Having welded into the text itself this proposition that the eye witnesses did not believe Jesus to have been more than a man, the translators are content to allow that the process of evolution did actually achieve at a later date "the deification of Jesus," as "myths" and "miracle-tales" came to be accepted as history, and people who had never seen Jesus came to imagine that he actually was God-in-the-flesh who had come from heaven to save mankind. By this means they are willing to admit that a book which was written many decades after the time of Christ, such as the book of Revelation does actually address Jesus as God: "Thou" (Rev. 5:9). This is merely the imagination of "the anonymous author of Revelation" according to the modernists and has nothing to do with the impression made on the eye witnesses. Since they hold that even the Synoptic accounts were compiled at a late date by "editors," it is quite possible for the translators of the new version to allow Mark 1:11 to read, "Thou art my beloved Son," since this can still be discounted as merely the late recording of a myth about God's having spoken from heaven at the time of the baptism of Jesus. This line of attack is, of course, not entirely satisfactory since the modernists find it exceedingly difficult to deny even to their own satisfaction the Pauline authorship of all the epistles which the text of the New Testament declares that he wrote. Here, also, they can call in their favorite reminder that Paul was not an eye witness of the ministry of Jesus and not really an eye witness at all, but simply had an epileptic fit on the road to Damascus.
In like fashion, the translators of the new version are content to allow the anonymous compilers of late New Testament books to quote Old Testament predictions with the use of "thou" affirming the deity of Christ and with the affirmation, "Behold a virgin shall conceive" so long as they keep control of what the Old Testament prophets are allowed to say, and they prevent them from predicting the supernatural birth and the deity of the Christ. Thus, they can assail at once both the messianic nature of the Old Testament predictions and the divine inspiration of the New Testament writers.
A further advantage which the promotional propaganda for the new version has gained from keeping the American Standard Version out of the battle, is in the vast claims of a wealth of new manuscripts which have been discovered and which give such a superior Greek text for the new version. This is true so far as the contrast between the new version and the King James is concerned. It is not true in the battle between the new version and the American Standard Version. The advertising campaign gives the impression that a great advantage was enjoyed by the translators of the new version in the possession of manuscripts hitherto unknown, but Dean Weigle in his book, The English New Testament, admits that "the sum total of the new evidence as to Greek text" is the "Washington Codex of the late fourth or fifth century, and the Chester Beatty papyri, which date from the early third century." The Washington uncial was discovered in Egypt in 1906 and was presented to America by Mr. Freer of Detroit. Like Codex Bezae (D), the Washington manuscript is "Western text" which carries many curious readings. The Chester Beatty papyri are in a dilapidated condition and instead of trying to point out one single passage in which signal improvement in the Greek text has been achieved through these two manuscript sources, Dean Weigle admits that these discoveries have "not issued in results so different from those reached by the revisers of 1881 and 1901, as to be in itself sufficient reason for a fresh revision of the English text of the New Testament." He further points out that the first of A. Deissmann's studies of the papyri discovered in Egypt was published in 1895 (p. 104). This was six years before the American Revised Version came from the press.
Many uninformed camp followers of the new version have taken the propaganda about the vast number of new manuscripts now available to the translators as warrant for announcing to the world that the Dead Sea Scroll which furnishes a Hebrew text one thousand years older than the oldest Hebrew texts previously in our possession, is the basis for the greatly improved Hebrew text of the new version. But a recent article in Collier's admits that the most minute study of the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah led only to a dozen minor changes of which the change in Isaiah 3:24 from "burning" to the word "shame" is given as an example.
In his article entitled, "The Hebrew Text and the Ancient Versions," which is chapter IV of the introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, one of the translators, Dr. Harry M. Orlinsky-Jewish scholar of the Jewish Institute of Religion, of New York, says bluntly that the scroll of Isaiah, said to have been discovered in 1947 in a cave near the Dead Sea, has no value for the reconstruction of the Masoretic text.
The discovery of these scrolls in a cave overlooking the northwest corner of the Dead Sea made in 1947 caused an immense amount of excitement and controversy. It was thrilling to contemplate that the book of Isaiah which contains so many magnificent messianic predictions that echo and re-echo through the New Testament should have been one of these scrolls. Would the radicals now secure some actual evidence on which to rest their attacks upon these messianic passages and especially upon the virgin birth of Christ? If they had found that Isaiah 7:14 in the Dead Sea Scroll read "beulah" instead of "almah" making it affirm, "Behold a married woman shall conceive" instead of saying: "Behold a virgin shall conceive," what a shout of triumph would have arisen from the modernists! But not so!--the Dead Sea Scroll has "almah," just as the other Hebrew texts. It is no wonder that Dr. Orlinsky says with such evident disgust that the Dead Sea Scroll has virtually no value for the reconstruction of the Masoretic text. Baulked at every turn by the archaeological discoveries and refused the slippery footing of even this single manuscript, the radicals find themselves compelled to return to their interminable task of trying to construct their attack against the virgin birth upon the quicksand of their own disbelief.
If it were necessary that the new version should receive "the kiss of death," this touch has been provided by the Campbell Institute in their official organ, The Scroll. The issue of October, 1951, carries a lengthy editorial entitled, "The Event of the Century" in which the "liberals" are congratulated on their choice twin-products: this new version and the Interpreter's Bible (new radical twelve volume commentary). The editor declares that the new version and Us commentary are the evidence "of the work of higher criticism as it affects the whole Bible." In reciting the course of "higher criticism," the editor says: "It had developed an extensive literary criticism of the Scriptures and was already refining it into `formgeschichte'-the illuminating history of the forms through which Biblical materials passed, on their way to becoming Scripture." The editor affirms that the new version and the Interpreter's Bible "will serve the new theological interest of our own day."
At a dedication service for the new version held in the Cincinnati Garden on Sunday, October 26, with nine of the translators present, the speaker for the occasion, Dr. C. B. Clausen built his address around a veiled illustration. He told how once he had been assembled in the gymnasium of a high school preparing to go out into the stadium with a procession of students for a service at which he was to be the speaker. A nervous high school teacher kept rushing from one to another of the student-participants trying to bolster up their courage to the sticking point with the jittery question: "Are you ready? Are you ready?" Finally, a broadshouldered husky who looked as if he might have been the fullback of the football team arose in disgust and said: "Ready or not, here we come!" This became the rallying cry of the entire company; it was turned into a battle cry by the speaker in the Cincinnati Garden.
All those who still believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and who still believe that the Bible is the word of God had better put on the whole armour of God and renew their grasp upon the sword of the Spirit. They should look with discerning eye to see who it is that is shouting: "Ready or not, here we come"; where it is they propose to "come"; what it is they plan to do which has caused such timorous delay and now demands such desperate determination.
The magazine, Time, in a "scoop" review of the new version published the same week it came from the press predicted that there would be controversy over the translation of Isaiah 7:14. "Some of their changes are sure to rouse controversy. In Isaiah 7:14--`Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son'-they have substituted `young woman' for virgin on the basis of a second century text."
It required no great intellectual acumen to predict there would be controversy over such a decisive change, inasmuch as this controversy has raged through the centuries. Most astonishing was the declaration that the change had been made on the basis of a second century text. What sort of principle of textual criticism was now to be enunciated by the translators to justify the setting aside of all the hundreds of manuscripts in order to follow one single text? Some began to speculate that this was the recently found Dead Sea Scroll on which the translators had decided to stake their case. But instantly it was plain to any informed person that this could not be the text, for the Dead Sea Scroll is of the first century B.C., rather than the second century A.D. Moreover, the Dead Sea Scroll has the standard reading "almah" in this passage. It seemed evident that what Time called "a second century text," would turn out to be a translation made in second century from Hebrew to Greek. This conjecture has proved to be correct.
When the new version of the New Testament was published in 1946, it was naturally expected that the translators would shortly follow their publication with a scholarly document listing the manuscripts pro and con in each disputed passage, and giving the relative weight allotted to the various manuscripts and the reasons for the final decision of the committee in each case. A person need only take up the volume published by B. F. Westcott, speaking for the scholars who translated the English Revised Version-a committee which included such giants as Lightfoot and Westcott-to see the meticulous care with which Westcott set forth all the details of manuscript evidence and the principles upon which the translators proceeded. In like manner Philip Schaff, chairman of the American committee, published the detailed evidence on which the American Standard Version rested in its differences with the English committee. Then compare these volumes with the chatty book, The English New Testament, which Dean Weigle has published in promotion of the new version. Take up the document published by the translators of the new version in 1946, entitled Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament, and observe for example how Dr. Craig substitutes anecdotes for evidence. Take the recent document, Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, and follow the lead given in the footnote of the new version, Psalm 2:11, 12, which declares that the Hebrew of 11b and 12a is uncertain ("kiss the Son" v.s. the conjecture "kiss his feet"). Try to discover from their introduction what the evidence is which they have rejected and what it is they have accepted. You find Dr. Burrows affirming that the King James, the English Revised, and American Standard translators made an unjustifiable translation of the traditional Hebrew text, which, he claimed, required "emendation." The public is not informed as to why the translators threw away the Hebrew text to insert a guess of their own, and why all the preceding scholars made "an indefensible translation." But the public should not have to read very far in any of the books published by these radical translators or very far in the new version itself to be able to "emend" Dr. Burrows' statement and insert a guess of their own as to why these radical scholars ripped the messianic content from this verse in such bold fashion.
Dr. Barton Payne, professor of Old Testament, Bob Jones University, has published, "A Criticism of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible," in the December 19 issue of The Sword of the Lord. He analysed the conjectural emendation of the new version in this verse as follows: "RSV, `Kiss his feet,' lest he be angry, a reading gained by taking the Hebrew for `and rejoiced' from the preceding verse and adding it to that for `son' in v. 12, plus certain other changes. Even the Jewish version is content simply to repoint bar, `son,' as bor, reading, `Do homage in purity Scholarly juggling, this may be; translating, it is not."
Anyone who possesses a copy of the new version can turn to page 5 of the preface and read the affirmation that most of the corrections which have been adopted in the text are based on various ancient translations rather than upon the Hebrew text; and on page 6, the statement that where a Hebrew word is rendered in a way which contradicts' the "traditional" interpretation (what a neat package, for all the translations by faithful Christian scholars through the centuries, not to mention the explicit declarations of the inspired writers of the New Testament!), they have not given any footnotes to warn the reader, but assures the general public that the evidence upon which they rested was entirely convincing.
If the translators in this preface or in their introduction had added the assurance that in due time they planned to publish a full defence of their translation with scholarly citations of the actual manuscript evidence in each case and the principles of textual criticism upon which their decisions rested, then the public would in all justice be compelled to control its impatience and give these translators further time to prepare such a document. As a matter of fact, these scholars are now at work on a new Greek text of the New Testament which they hope will supplant the standard Westcott and Hort or the Nestle texts that have prevailed for so many decades. What they have done to the English translation gives ominous warning of what they plan to do by way of cutting up the Greek text. The blunt fashion in which the preface of the new version brushes aside any expected challenge of their sweeping emendations and perverse translations with the brusque declaration that they had sufficient evidence or they would not have made the changes, reminds one of the insolence of the first century enemies of Christ, as he was being crucified the first time: "Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee" (John 18:29, 30).
This entire attitude of the translators concentrates the attention of the reader upon the statement of Dr. Orlinsky in the Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, in which he offers as much of a statement as the translators are willing to make public of the basis on which the change was made in Isaiah 7:14 from "virgin" to "young woman." Dr. Orlinsky offers six lines of explanation. They are the most revealing six lines which the translators have allowed to Come forth in their explanations of the changes they have made in the Old Testament.
If any readers are astonished that a Jewish scholar should have been one of the translators of this new version which is being heralded as the "authoritative translation" to be read in all Christian churches and used by all Christians, even to the point of forgetting there ever was a King James Version, then it should be made plain that there is no essential difference in the position of an unbelieving Jewish scholar and that of a modernistic scholar. They occupy common ground in their bitter hostility to the Christian gospel, and to the deity of Christ. Both the unbelieving Jewish scholar and the modernistic scholar unite in the most violent attacks upon the inspiration and upon the truth and accuracy of both the Old and New Testaments.
The declaration of Dr. Orlinsky of the grounds upon which the translators justify their epochal change of translation in the translators justify their epochal change of translation in Isaiah 7:14 from "virgin" to "young woman," brings to light "the, second century text" upon which they rest. It is the translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek made in the second century by a Jewish proselyte named Aquila. Dr. Orlinsky's statement is as follows:
"There are several other translations, into Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, and Latin, which were made shortly after the turn of the era directly from the Hebrew Bible. Early in the second century A.D., Aquila, a convert to Judaism, made an independent and unique Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. He incorporated the kind of Jewish interpretation which was current in his day, and he avoided the Christological elements which had been introduced in the Septuagint text. Thus Aquila rendered the Hebrew word "ha-almah" in Isa. 7:14 literally, the young woman in place of the word `virgin' which the Christians had substituted for it. Unfortunately, only fragments of Aquila have survived" (Orlinsky, Harry M., in An Introduction to the Revised Standard Version of the Old Testament, p. 30, Thomas Nelson and Sons, New York, N. Y. Copyright, 1952, by Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, and used by permission.)
It is quite true that there was "the kind of Jewish interpretation which was current" in the second century, but we are not dependent upon Aquila for our knowledge of its existence. This "kind of Jewish interpretation" was "current" much earlier than the second century. This is the "kind of Jewish interpretation" which charged Jesus with being a "gluttonous man and a winebibber," with being in league with the devil and with casting out demons by the power of the devil. This is "the kind of Jewish interpretation" which plotted the assassination of Lazarus in order to remove from the public view the climactic evidence which the resurrection of Lazarus gave to the deity of. Jesus. The perversion of the meaning of a Hebrew word, such as almah, would be a mere bagatelle compared with such plots and such slanders as had already been perpetrated in the deadly effort to destroy Jesus and the Christian gospel.
This is the "kind of Jewish interpretation" which charged Jesus with "perverting the nation" and with being "guilty of blasphemy" because he claimed to be the Son of God; and which forced the Roman authorities to execute Jesus as a criminal. This is the same line of interpretation which, when it found itself faced with the public proclamation of indubitable, historical testimony to the resurrection of Jesus, resorted to scourging, imprisonment, and murder of the witnesses. It Was this line of interpretation which rent asunder the Jerusalem church and scattered it to the four winds only to find that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church as Christianity spread all over the civilized world.
In our present crisis., few things could be more important than to examine carefully this "kind of Jewish interpretation" of the second century, to analyse its pre-suppositions and conclusions, to search for factual basis, and to give the Christian scholars of the second century the chance to tell us what they thought of this line of interpretation.
A study of the man, Aquila, is of first importance since the translators of the new version have actually revealed the flimsy character of the evidence upon which they rest by naming Aquila as their authority. An English scholar, Dr. A. E. Silverstone, of Cambridge University has published a book entitled, Aquila and Onkelos (1931). This work had been preceded by a German work: Onkelos und Akylas, written by M. Friedmann (1896). Dr. Silverstone's thesis is that Aquila and Onkelos are one and the same person. He proves this identification with a vast array of scholarly data, both from the biographical material found in Christian and Jewish sources, and from the textual criticism of the fragments of Aquila. At the close of his book he offers a biography of Aquila based upon the fads to be gleaned from the accounts of Epiphanius and other early writers. The noted textual critic, Dr. H. B. Swete, also of Cambridge University, published in 1900, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, a work which has been the standard authority in the field. Dr. Swete also gives a careful study of Aquila in his book (p. 31ff).
Aquila was born in Sinope, Pontus, where he is pictured in his youth by Dr. Silverstone as living the typical life of a wealthy pagan. He lived during the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138). According to the history Epiphanius gives, he was a relative of the emperor, Hadrian, and was employed by him in the reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina. Jewish tradition represents Aquila as the pupil of Rabbi Akiba and also of Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, predecessors of Rabbi Akiba who taught from A.D. 95-135.
Dr. Silverstone conjectures that Aquila was born about A.D. 80. He uses as the historic data in his argument the statement that Aquila began the study of Hebrew in his fortieth year (cf. The Dialogue Between Timothy and Aquila) and the tradition that he was present at the funeral of Rabbi Gamaliel I at Jerusalem about A.D. 117, and that he burned costly raiment in a gesture of reverent devotion to Gamaliel at the funeral. Dr. Silverstone holds that this act showed Aquila was in A.D. 117 either a devoted student under Gamaliel or that he was at least sympathetic toward Judaism and had begun his study of Hebrew.
Epiphanius relates that Aquila was impressed by the miracles which he saw certain lingering disciples of apostles work (A few leaders of the church upon whom the apostles had bestowed this power by the laying on of their hands, would undoubtedly have still been living). As a result, Aquila became a convert from Judaism to Christianity. But all the while Aquila had been a devotee of pagan astrology which he refused to abandon. He seems to have had no trouble combining his pagan. astrology with his acceptance of Judaism, but when he began to teach this false doctrine in the church, the Christians recoiled from it and excommunicated him. The author of the article on "Aquila" in McClintock and Strong's Cyclopaedia of Religious Literature compares the conversion of Aquila to Christianity to the conversion of Simon Magus, Samaria's worker of black magic. This was indeed the sort of stuff from which pagan astrology was concocted. After his excommunication from the church, Aquila apostatised back to Judaism and in furious hatred of Christianity undertook a translation of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament into Greek in a version which would enable him to deal a deadly blow at Christianity by perverting the translations of the messianic passages. Dr. Silverstone says that Aquila gave himself to the study of Hebrew in order to render the Scriptures afresh into Greek with a view to setting aside the Christological passages which were drawn from the Septuagint. Dr. Silverstone also notes that the Christians charged that Aquila's version rendered the messianic passages incorrectly. Dr. Swete says of Aquila: "The purpose of his translation was to set aside the interpretation of the LXX, insofar as it appeared to support the views of the Christian church" (Swete, H. B., Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, P. 31, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.)
Anyone who desires to get a close-up view for himself what "the kind of Jewish interpretation which was current in his (Aquila's) day" was like should go to the library and secure a copy of. the book, Jesus of Nazareth, by Joseph Klausner, noted Jewish scholar of Jerusalem. The book was published in 1925. The chapter on, "The Hebrew Sources" assembles and sifts the various scurrilous attacks upon Jesus which were current in the second century and which were repeated over and over in various forms in the Talmud. Generally the writers have such bitter spite against Jesus that they will not use his name, but call him, "That man," "The fool," "The one hung," "Son of the stake," "Worshipper of a brick." On page 23ff, Klausner sifts the Jewish legend that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Mary of Nazareth and a Roman soldier named "Panther." Origin of his work, Contra Celsum I Ix, 32, 33, had taken up the attack of the noted pagan opponent of Christianity of the second century, Celsus, who had reported that about the year A.D. 178, he heard from a Jew the declaration that Mary was divorced from her husband after it had been proved she was an adulteress and that while wandering about abandoned and in shame she had given birth to Jesus, whose father was a certain soldier named Pantheras. Klausner decides that the theory of Nietsch and Bleek is probably correct: Pantheras is just a corrupt travesty of "Parthenos." The Christians called Jesus, "Son of the virgin" (uios tou parthenou) and the Jews in bitter mockery invented this story and called Jesus: "Ben ha-Pantera," "son of the leopard." Pantera finally was taken as the name of a Roman soldier when the story grew with time.
Joseph Klausner offers as the proper line of interpretation to accept the Jewish version that Jesus was born of fornication from Joseph and Mary. It is noteworthy how Klausner keeps quoting Talmudic stories attributed to Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiba listed by Jewish tradition as the teachers of Aquila. It is also important that he cites on page 33 a Talmudic record about the conversion of Onkelos (now held to be the same as Aquila by scholars who are expert on "Aquila") in which Onkelos performs various magic spells (pagan astrology) in seeking to call up spirits of departed persons such as Balaam, and asks from them advice as to his becoming a proselyte to Judaism. The climax comes in the fierce hatred of the prediction that Jesus (who appears under the pseudonym "That man") shall be condemned to spend eternity in boiling filth. The "kind of Jewish interpretation which was current in his (Aquila's) time" really throws the floodlight on the new version, its author, and their motives! By way of expressing his personal regret for the unfortunate origin of Jesus from an illicit union, Klausner says that the birth of Jesus really could be considered as legitimate, since the moral standards prevailing in Galilee would not be so high as in Judea (pp. 232, 233). He cites a long list of Talmudic studies to justify this benevolent theory that fornication would be condemned in the capital, Jerusalem, but that in the provinces, such as Nazareth in Galilee, it would be quite common. In. fact, Klausner, in a very generous mood, is willing to admit that Jesus might have been as legitimate as any other child in Galilee. Behold the depths to which the Jewish haters of Christianity would descend in heaping calumny upon a great mass of their own people, if only they can thrust their attack to the Son of God! And this is "the kind of Jewish interpretation which was current in his (Aquila's) day" brought up-to-date with the twentieth century line of attack upon Christ. The translators of the new version have the boldness to declare that they rest their case in Isaiah 7:14 upon the "kind of Jewish interpretation current in his day!"
Now observe how the translators of the new version, themselves, introduce this same scurrilous slander against our Lord, into their translation by the following footnote appended to Matt. 1:16: "Other ancient authorities read Joseph, to whom was betrothed the virgin Mary, was the father of Jesus who is called Christ."
CHAPTER VIII-Part 2
THE BATTLE OF THE VERSIONS
Epiphanius and Irenaeus denounce Aquila for his mistranslation of the messianic passages and lay bare his bitter hatred for Christianity. About A.D. 140, Justin Martyr wrote his famous Dialogue With Trypho, the account of a debate he had had with a Jew named Trypho. This was about ten years after the date scholars assign to Aquila's translation. In the Dialogue With Trypho, Justin argues for many pages over the meaning of almah and shows conclusively that the Jews in their recent translations are guilty of deliberate change of the meaning of the word from "virgin" to "young woman" in order to falsify the gospel of Matthew and deny the virgin birth. He argues powerfully on the context of Isaiah 7:14 that God was predicting a stupendous miracle through this utterance of Isaiah, challenging Ahaz to ask for a sign in the heaven above or the earth beneath, and that the virgin birth of the Messiah was predicted in the promised name of the son: "Emanuel"-"God with us," even as Matthew declares. Justin Martyr goes further than this: he charges the Jewish translators of his time with deliberately mutilating the Hebrew text of the Old Testament in the messianic passages, omitting key words which enabled them to conceal or deny the messianic content (Dialogue With Trypho, LXXII-LXXIII).
Irenaeus assails Aquila as one of the bitter enemies of the Christian religion whose false teaching would destroy the truth of God. "God, then, was made man, and the Lord did himself save us, giving us the token of the virgin. But not as some allege, among those now presuming to expound the Scripture, (thus):
`Behold, a young woman shall conceive, and bring forth a son,' as Theodotion the Ephesian has interpreted, and Aquila of Pontus, both Jewish proselytes. The Ebionites, following these, assert that he was begotten by Joseph; thus destroying, as far as in them lies, such a marvellous dispensation of God, and setting aside the testimony of the prophets which proceeded from God" (Against Heresies, Chapter XXI).
Words frequently change their meanings with usage. It is even possible for a single person to change on a specific occasion the meaning of a word in a significant manner by the change of facial expression or a peculiar lilt of the voice. The raucous defy of the roisterers of the Old West was, "When you say that word-smile!" It is all the more possible for a people embittered by controversy to change the meaning of a word. The unanimity of the Jewish lexicons of the Middle Ages and of modern times, in declaring that almah means merely a young woman of marriageable age without regard as to whether married or unmarried, whether respectable or disreputable, must be considered in the light of the bitter controversy. The translators do not cite these lexicons; they go back as far as they can-to Aquila.
A study of the seven passages in the Old Testament where almah is used (Gen. 24:43; Exodus 2:8; Prov. 30:9; Psalm 68:25; Song of Solomon 1:3; 6:8; Isaiah 7:14) will show that the context strongly supports the meaning "virgin" and in no case justifies the adoption of the colorless meaning, "young woman." Of course, an old woman might be a virgin. That this is not the meaning of almah is quite clear from these Old Testament passages. It does carry something of the meaning of "young woman," but as between "young woman" and "virgin," it is not a case of either-or, but both-and, "a young woman who is a virgin." Certainly none of the passages suggest either a young woman of bad character or a married woman.
Professor Solomon Birnbaum, of Moody Bible Institute, has an interesting article in the November-December issue of The Messianic Witness, a magazine devoted to the carrying of the gospel to the Jewish population of America. Professor Birnbaum repudiates the new version's translation of Isaiah 7:14 which changes "virgin" to "young woman." One of the important points in his essay is the proof he adduces from the Old Testament to show that the Hebrew word "bethulah," which the radicals claim is the specific word of the Old Testament for "virgin," actually is used in the sense of "married woman": Joel 1:8, "Lament like a (bethulah) over the husband of her youth." The translators of the new version try desperately to save themselves from this dilemma by translating: "Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the bridegroom of her young." Such stretching and straining to imagine some sort of conceivable situation which would enable them to deny the obvious meaning of the passage as it pictures a widow looking back across the years and lamenting "the husband of her youth," underscores the demise of their theory. Professor Birnbaum also cites Jer. 18:13, "The virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing" where the word bethulah is used in the comparison of Israel "in a state of marriage relationship with Jehovah, from whom she had gone astray. Here is a `wife' who has left or lost her husband, and is yet called a bethulah."
The immediate proof that the word "almah" means virgin is the inspired declaration of the apostle Matthew (Matt. 1:23). To deny this is to assail instantly the inspiration of Matthew and the truth and veracity of his record. The enemies of Christianity have not hesitated to charge that Matthew misrepresented the content of Isaiah 7:14, but the stone wall against which they collide is the Septuagint version. This version was made in Egypt in 285 B.C. by seventy Jewish scholars sent by the high priest to make a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek for the library of Ptolemy. They rendered Isaiah 7:14 by the precise Greek word for "virgin"-"parthenos." Greek literature is very emphatic about the fact that Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, was a virgin. The temple of the citadel above Athens was called, "The Parthenon.''
The odds are seventy against one, when Aquila's version is placed alongside the Septuagint. Even taking into account the rabbis who prompted Aquila, the odds are very great in favor of the judgment of seventy great scholars as against two or three. Moreover, Aquila's version is the product of an age of bitter controversy. The seventy scholars who translated the Septuagint version were not trying to prove anything for or against Jesus of Nazareth. They lived some three centuries too early for that. Again, they were four centuries closer to Isaiah than was Aquila. It is not surprising that when the rabbis got in their hands this translation of Aquila which contradicted the Septuagint version on the messianic passages, they swiftly burned or destroyed the available copies of the Septuagint version in their synagogues, so as to blot out such formidable, unprejudiced testimony to the truth of the claims of Jesus. The manner in which Dr. Orlinsky leaps to attack the Septuagint as soon as he has introduced Aquila as the authority on which the new version rests is most significant. In a later article an effort will be made to probe the cryptic charge of Dr. Orlinsky that this translation of almah as Parthenos represents "Christological elements which had been introduced in the Septuagint text."
The Septuagint version gave the authentic meaning of almah in translating Isaiah 7:14 virgin. They offered a translation which was in harmony with the context as Isaiah declares he is predicting a miracle as high as the heaven and as wide as the earth. Their translation was confirmed by the name predicted for the virgin-born Messiah-"Emanuel." Aquila crossed out "parthenos" from his version and inserted a colorless Greek word meaning "young woman" (the rabbis had argued neanis should have been used-Justin, Dialogue With Trypho, 71, 84; Iren. 111. 21. 1). R. M. Abrahams declares neanis was the word used by Aquila in Isaiah 7:14 (Aquila's Greek Version of the Hebrew Bible, p. 6). Aquila thus left the passage in the same state of contradiction seen in the new version. Whether or not the translators of the Septuagint had some understanding of the significance of the prediction of Isaiah or simply were humbly translating what the Hebrew text said and left the fulfilment of the prediction to God, we cannot tell. But we can tell that the new version translation a la Aquila is self-contradictory.
Two strange aspects of Aquila's version confront us: (1) Although Greek was his mother tongue, the Greek of her version was clumsy in its Hebraic style; (2) Although, even according to Dr. Silverstone's calculations, Aquila had had but little more than a decade in which to master Hebrew, yet, with the exception of the messianic passages where Aquila had a theological axe to grind which led him to perverse renderings, his following of the Hebrew text is for the most part so literal and exact that Jerome declared it read like a Hebrew dictionary. (Jerome, of course, assailed Aquila for his mistranslation of the messianic passages The above contrasts make the prejudiced mistranslation of the messianic passages by Aquila stand out in stark contrast. Considering these two aspects of Aquila, concerning both of which the ancients have much to say, suggests the proposition as to whether the version is really the work of Aquila or whether he served as amanuensis for the rabbis who instructed him what to write. They might thus secure the pagan prestige of a relative of the Roman emperor as the author of their version and might find a cunning camouflage of supposed objectivity in the translation of one who was not a Jew by birth. In the preface to Burkitt's Fragments of Aquila, Dr. C. Taylor says: "Aquila in a sense was not the sole or independent author of the version, its uncompromising literalism being the necessary outcome of his Jewish teachers' system of exegesis" (Quoted by H. B. Swete in Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, p. 33, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.)
At this point consideration should be given to the Talmudic story about the conversion of Onkelos (Akylas or Aquila) to which reference has already been made. Before quoting the account, certain solid facts should be pointed out, for the account itself is such blasphemous nonsense they are apt to be overlooked:
(1) It is a fact that this story is not from Christian sources, but was written by the rabbis themselves, and is a part of their own Talmud. No one can deny this.
(2) It is a fact that this account is woven around the experience of a certain pagan astrologer who is struggling with the problem as to whether he should become a proselyte to Judaism. No one can deny this.
(3) It is a fact that this story shows how the rabbi (who wrote the account) condoned, if he did not glory in, the witchcraft and sorcery which the pagan astrologer was practicing. No one can deny this.
We do not need this story from the Talmud to establish this point: we can call the roll, out of the New Testament, of Simon Magus of Samaria, Elymas of Cyprus, Sceva, and his seven sons, the strolling Jewish exorcists of Ephesus. But it throws a flood of light upon the historical account of Epiphanius when he states that Akylas (Aquila) was a pagan astrologer and was excommunicated from the Jerusalem church by the Christians because he persisted in his devotion to it. This story from the Talmud gives a clear view of what pagan astrology was like. Watch Onkelos (Akylas or Aquila) as he goes to work with his magic spells, his hocus-pocus of sorcery by which he is supposed to be able to call up the dead for consultation.
Klausner is very sure that this Talmudic story is early, which would mean a second-century product. He cites in proof the fact that the hero of the account, Onkelos, is presented as a relative of the emperor Titus. He introduces evidence from the scholar, Graetz, to show that "the son of the sister of Titus" called Flavius Clemens or Kalonymos or Kalonikos, was actually put to, death. by the Romans for atheism ("we know that the heathen regarded belief in a one and invisible God as atheism"). The date of this martyrdom was about A.D. 96. Notice how this curious account thus gives incidental confirmation to the historical account of Epiphanius that Akylas (Aquila) was a relative of the emperor Hadrian and how it gives an inside view of the collaboration of second-century Judaism with pagan astrology. Here is the Talmudic legend:
"The story is told of `Onkelos, son of Kalonymos, son of Titus' sister,' that he wished to become a proselyte. He first called up Titus by means of spells. Titus advised him not to become a proselyte because Israel had so many commandments and commandments hard to observe; rather would he advise him to oppose them. Onkelos then called up Balaam, who said to him in his rage against Israel, `Seek not their peace nor their good.' Not till then did he go and `raise up Jesus by spells and say to him: What is the most important thing in the world? He said to him, Israel. He asked, And how if I should join myself with them? He said to him, Seek their good and do not seek their harm; everyone that hurteth them is as if he hurt the apple of God's eye. He then asked, And what is the fate of that man? He said to him, Boiling filth. A Baraita has said: Everyone that scoffeth against the words of the wise is condemned to boiling filth. Come and see what there is between the transgressors in Israel and the prophets of the nations of the world'" (Quoted by Joseph Klausner in Jesus of Nazareth, p. 33, The Macmillan Co., New York, N. Y.)
The utter stupidity of this account is self-evident. Yet out of the midst comes the most surprising incidental confirmations to the historical account of Epiphanius. Onkelos seems an entirely different name from Aquila, but the Greek alphabet has no letter "q," and the moment one sees the Greek spelling of the name Aquila as it is found in the writings of Irenaeus, Epiphanius and others of the period then the similarity between Onkelos and Akylas appears. Dr. Silverstone proves by lengthy, detailed arguments that Onkelos, Akylas, and Aquila are variant spellings of the name of the same man. He gives a careful, scholarly explanation of how the changes in the letters of the variant spelling of the name took place. He cites the following scholars who hold the same view:
S. D. Luzzatto, Graetz, Burkitt, Rabbi Eliyahu of Wilna, Frankel, Weiss, Adler, Berliner, Deutsch, Bacher, Buehler, Hyman, Blau, Abrahams (pages 34, 35). Thus an overwhelming weight of scholarship identifies Onkelos, Akylas, and Aquila. Dr. Silverstone uses the above passage from the Talmud to show lines of contact with the biography of Aquila given by Epiphanius. Incidentally, it may be noted that where Joseph Klausner translates: "He first called up Titus by means of spells," Dr. Silverstone renders: "He raised Titus from the grave by necromancy." Dr. Silverstone rejects the statement of Epiphanius that Aquila first became a Christian, but he admits Ottley accepts it as history (page 159). R. M. Abrahams in his monograph, Aquila's Greek Version of the Hebrew Bible, holds that the Jewish account of the life of Aquila agrees with the account of Epiphanius except that the former says nothing of Aquila's conversion to Christianity. He admits, however, that his colleague, Dr. Louis Ginsberg, holds he can see in the Jewish account some trace of the account of Epiphanius (page 6).
Although the story in the Talmud is merely a rabbinical fantasy, in the midst of its distorted imaginings, the shadowy outlines of the life of Aquila appear. Notice that he first calls up from the dead Titus the Roman emperor. This brings to mind the period in the life of Aquila when he was first toying with the proposition of becoming a proselyte to Judaism. Next, he calls up his fellow-traveller, Balaam. This depicts his tenacious devotion to pagan astrology when sternly challenged by the Jerusalem church and finally excommunicated. Finally the story ends with a terrific explosion of hatred against Christ and Christianity. What invective could be conceived more steeped in hatred than to have Aquila call up Jesus from the dead, compel him to admit the superiority of Judaism to Christianity, and then pass sentence upon himself to spend eternity in boiling filth? See how it reflects Aquila's hatred of Christianity after his excommunication. Just as the rabbinical composer of this fantastic legend of the Talmud kept control of what was said, turned the question given to Jesus into:
"What is the most important thing in the world?" forced Jesus to repudiate the Christian gospel, and answer in the language of fiercely fanatical Judaism, so Aquila in making his anti-Christian translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek kept control of what the prophets were permitted to say and thus blotted out, where possible, the predictions of a virgin-born, divine Messiah.
To a person unacquainted with the labored subtleties of the Talmud, it will not be clear that this passage refers to Jesus as "that man." But even Joseph Klausner freely admits that this is the customary way to refer to Jesus in the Talmud. And in the above passage, he admits that Jesus is charged with being "a scoffer against the words of the wise" and "a transgressor in Israel" (page 34). In the Talmud you will see that these charges are the basis upon which "that man" is condemned to an eternity in boiling filth.
One last phase of the life of Aquila furnishes a problem staggering in its impact. It is the historic fact that Aquila was a builder as well as a scholar and that he had charge of the reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina, with its contemptuous desecration of the site of Solomon's temple by the erection of a pagan temple to Jupiter and the placing of a statue of the emperor in the very place where the Holy of Holies had been. No greater insult could be offered to the Jewish nation than this! Dr. Silverstone does not deny the historic merit of the account of Epiphanius that Aquila had charge of this rebuilding of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina. He is rather on the defensive to prove that his acceptance of the tradition which has Aquila burning costly raiment at the funeral of Rabbi Gamaliel I in A.D. 117 can be properly harmonised with the time element of the account of Epiphanius. He offers the simple and quite plausible conjecture that Aquila was appointed by his relative, Hadrian, to rebuild Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina forty-seven years after the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. He supposes that Aquila translated his version in A.D. 30 and started his work of reconstruction the same year. Dr. Swete says: "The twelfth year of Hadrian was A.D. 128-129, the year in which the emperor began to rebuild Aelia" (page 32). This calculation is on the basis of the statement of Epiphanius which he quotes, but the Greek text of Epiphanius merely places the time when Aquila flourished as in the twelfth year of Hadrian's reign. He "became known" or "was recognised" by this translation when it was published in the twelfth year of Hadrian's reign. Professor G. F. Moore, on the basis of a citation from the Roman historian Dio Cassius, declares that the bloody revolt of the Jews resulted from the visit of Hadrian to Jerusalem in A.D. 130, when he announced his intention to rebuild Jerusalem with a temple of Jupiter Capitolina on the site of the temple (Judaism, p. 89). Col. C. R. Conder, the great pioneer in the field of history and archaeology of Jerusalem, has a learned and fascinating discussion of this period of the history of the city: the chapter entitled, "The Roman City," in his book, The City of Jerusalem. He holds that the reconstruction of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina did not take place until A.D. 135, at the close of the Jewish rebellion (page 193ff). Dr. J. T. Barclay, another pioneer in the history and archaeology of Jerusalem, names A.D. 136 as the date when the construction of Aelia Capitolina was actually begun (The City of the Great King, p. 33). Perhaps there is no great discrepancy in these views with the emperor's edict for reconstruction and some preparatory work in A.D. 130, and the actual work of building in 135-136 after the Jewish rebellion had been quelled, except that Conder argues strongly that the Jewish rebellion was the cause of the desecration of the city by this pagan reconstruction, rather than the proposed outrage against the holy place of the Jews being the cause of the rebellion. Dr. J. S. Riggs has the following summation of the bitter struggle in his work. A History of the Jewish People:
"Unmindful of the disastrous issues of A. D. 70, and heedless of all warnings concerning the strength of its foe, Judaism in Palestine, in the year A. D. 132, dared once more to risk all in war. The immediate occasion was Hadrian's determination to build a heathen city on the site of Jerusalem, and, climax of desecration, a temple to Jupiter on the old temple mount. The outrage was beyond endurance. All the pent-up feelings of sixty years broke forth in volcanic fury. The fretting, exasperating requirements of the Romans had worn on the temper of the nation until it virtually became insane. A clever trickster, styled Bar-Cochba, the Son of a Star, was accepted as the Messiah, and followed through suffering and blood to ruin. By his side stood the very pride of the schools, Rabbi Akiba, of whom tradition related that a thousand volumes would not contain the wonderful things which he did and said. Akiba, the herald of Bar-Cochba the Pretender-and both woeful deceivers of the people! Reason had again forsaken Judea. Had we any such record of this war of three years and over (A. D. 132-135) as Josephus has given us in that which ended in the fall of Jerusalem it would be as full of daring deeds, pitiless suffering, atrocious cruelties, and bitter issues. Says Dio Cassius, `All Judea was well-nigh a desert. Fifty fortresses and nine hundred and eighty-five villages were destroyed; five hundred and eighty thousand men fell in battle, while the number of those who succumbed to their wounds and to famine was never reckoned.' (Ixix 14.)" (Riggs, J. S., A History of the Jewish People, pp. 280, 281, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, N. Y.)
Here is the shocking problem which the writers on Aquila consistently gloss over and evade: the man who supervised this contemptuous outrage against the Jews of building a pagan temple on the site of the temple of Solomon and of putting a statue of the emperor where the Holy of Holies had been, was none other than this pagan astrologer, Aquila, the author of the Greek version of the Old Testament! In other words, Aquila ends his vaudeville career and bows off the stage of history in the role of a traitor of traitors to the Jewish race! There were two great accomplishments of Aquila: (1) The publication of a Greek version of the Old Testament which enabled him to vent his hatred of Christianity by perverting the messianic passages of the Old Testament; (2) The reconstruction of Jerusalem as a pagan city with the climax of all insults that could be hurled at the Jewish race in the erection of a pagan temple on Mount Moriah."
WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT HIMSELF
Modernists say that Jesus was the greatest man in history, and that his teaching was far superior to any moral philosophy of all past ages. But they deny that he was the Son of God, or that he is now enthroned at Gods right hand. This reasoning involves them in the greatest possible imaginal contradiction of themselves. He was the only begotten Son of God, or he was the greatest deceiver and falsifier known in history. Jesus taught a truth that forbids the idea that he is good if only a man. In Matthew 12:33, he said: "Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit." If Jesus spoke the truth about himself, he was truly the Son of God. If he was not the Son of God he was the most corrupt deceiver who ever lived.
It will be in place to let Jesus speak of himself and for himself.
"Think not that I come to destroy the law and the prophets; I come not to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all things are accomplished" (Matt. 5:17-18).
Could a man give assurance that the law given by Moses was more securely fixed than "heaven and earth?"
"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).
This invitation is extended to every one of every race and for all time. Was he able to grant rest to all that came to him? Not if what Modernists say of him is true-that he was only a good man. Would a "good man" mock a sorrowing, weary world? That is what their position implies.
"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 13:40-42).
Could a good man make such statements, knowing if he was only a man, that it was utterly false?
"And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying. All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and 10, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18-20).
Not only does Jesus claim God has given him all authority on earth but in heaven also, where the "angels worship him." His commission to the apostles not only extends to all men on earth, but he is to be with the apostles "always, even unto the end of the world." No exalted ruler on earth ever claimed authority over any except a limited number, and for a limited time.
In Matt. 25:31-34, 46,
"But when the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit on the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all the nations; and he shall separate them one from another; as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world-And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life."
Modernists praise Jesus as the greatest of all men, and his teaching as the best of all doctrine. Still they say there is not a word of truth in what has here been given as his words. It is understandable in part how men can reject Jesus as infidels do. But when men laud Jesus and his teaching, they deny the most solemn statements he ever made-who can explain the contradiction? Since Christ ascended to heaven no other such inconsistencies and contradictions have been recorded.
The whole system, if it can be called a system, is without Jesus as the only begotten Son of God; without any sacrifice for sin; they recognise none as sinners.
They have no mediator between God and man; no high priest in God's presence to intercede in man's behalf. They acknowledge no Holy Spirit to speak by prophets and apostles. They deny that God was in Christ revealing himself to man. They offer no explanation how man may know God except the workings of his own mind-nothing more than ancient Greeks and Buddhists bad to guide themselves. They suggest no retribution for the wicked, and propose no reward for the righteous. Everything is negative. Tearing down, not building.
What do they offer to increase faith in the hearts of the weak? What anchor of hope do they give the storm-tossed soul to prevent it from being wrecked on rocks and shoals of adversity? And what shall I more say?
If any one should think these words are too strong, I respectfully ask for a citation from any book written by one of their leaders that affirms any of the precious promises so graciously given us by Jesus in the Gospel.
History is replete with examples of man unaided searching for a knowledge of God. The Ancient Greeks, who are still regarded as the wisest of the ancients, diligently searched to find God. A plurality of deities, with all the unrestrained baser passions was the result.
Buddhism, Zoroasterism were the results of the highest intelligent, effort of past ages. All these imagined deities of past ages have long been rejected by the Western hemisphere.
Now at this late, date Modernists have adopted anew, the old pagan effort, to find God by mental searching. They absolutely reject the Bible as a revelation in which God has revealed himself to man. In this case there is no other possible position than man's own search for God. They deny that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit. They deny (as already quoted) that Jesus is the Son of God, and stoutly declare he was the natural born son of Joseph. They reject what John says, 1 John 5:7: "For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one The statement, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is nit found in their vocabulary. They reject the truth that there is a personal Intelligence called the Holy Spirit. They profess to believe in God, but deny the other two members of the Godhead, Son and Holy Spirit.
Denying that God has revealed himself by the Holy Spirit speaking and writing through prophets, there remains no other possible position except that man's efforts to search for a knowledge of God.
In plain words, Religion has been acquired by a mental evolution. Man began as the lowest form of animal life and evolved upward till his complex material body was matured. In like manner primitive man had mental fears that finally matured in his present form of religion. (The reader is referred to their books, especially Fosdick's "A Guide to Understanding the Bible.")
The second view is that man once knew God but lost his knowledge of God. Since man by searching could not acquire a knowledge of God it was necessary for God to reveal himself to man. This revelation of himself to man could be done only by miracles.
How long man in general retained a knowledge of God we are not informed. But it is apparent that there remained a line of descent of righteous men down through the ages. But for the most part man in general became very wicked and lost a true knowledge of God. Paul describes the general condition in most impressive manner. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things. that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonoured among themselves: for that they changed the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen" (Rom. 1:18-24).
The foregoing from Paul vividly describes the appalling state of wickedness when God called Abraham out of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan. Abraham's kindred were losing a knowledge of God and becoming idolaters.
A Chosen People
In order to perfect and reveal a plan of redemption for man a people must be chosen by whom and through whom to reveal Christ the Redeemer. God selected Abraham and his descendants through Seed, Christ, to bless all the nations. He called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to remove him from his idolatrous kin. The first purpose was to reveal himself to Abraham as the only true God. It marks the first step in preparing a people through whom to reveal a plan of redemption for all nations. He isolated the Hebrews from the idolatrous nations, as far as could be done, to prepare them for the promised Messiah. God appeared repeatedly, in the person of angels, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses, the law and the prophets, were God's representatives, or perhaps we might say, his ambassadors, to the Jews. The whole ceremonial law consisted of types and shadows of the realities in Christ and the gospel. Had Modernists learned and profited by the truth that the purpose of the law was only to lead to Christ they would, perhaps, have accepted Jesus. "But before faith came, me were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Gal. 3:23-25). Modernists seem to fail to realise that the Jews and the law and prophets were only preparing for the coming of Christ as a redeemer not only for the Jews but for the whole world.
Did the miracles recorded in the Old Testament occur? That depends upon, first of all, whether God was able to perform acts or occurrences different from that which natural law works. Could not God who created natural law, and upholds it in its operation in regulating the universe, temporarily suspend the minor action of that law?
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Gen. 1:1, 2).
God said `let there be light," and the darkness vanished, and the earth was filled with light. God said, "Let the waters under the heavens, be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear." At the command of God the continents of the earth rose out of the depths of the sea, and the oceans were formed. He gave the word of command and the waters and the earth were filled with vegetable and animal life from the least to the greatest in sea and on earth. The whole universe operates in perfect harmony, simply in obedience to his command. Who is so lacking in faith in God's infinite power that he would limit his power to perform a work that may appear to man's finite mind to be not in harmony with natural law? Shall one contend that he who created natural law and sustains it is not also able to suspend its action?
Were Miracles Essential?
It must follow then that God had the power to work miracles if miracles were essential in preparing and perfecting the plan of redemption for man. And the need of miracles in perfecting such a plan is so apparent that it is surprising that any doubt could ever have been raised. To Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, God revealed himself as the only true God. Because of famine Jacob and his sons vaunt down into Egypt. For some hundreds of years they were held as slaves. Moses was born. Because of the king's command to kill all male children his parents hid him in the bulrushes on the river bank. Pharaoh's daughter found him, and adopted him as her son. When forty years of age he fled to Arabia. Forty years later the angel of the Lord called to him from the burning bush and told him God was sending him to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of bondage and into the land of Canaan. He was not willing to go. God gave him two miracles before he believed. He then said that the Israelites would not believe God had sent him. He was given the power to perform a whole series of miracles to cause the Israelites to believe God had sent him to deliver them, and cause Pharaoh to be willing to let them leave Egypt. Moses was God's ambassador or spokesman. Miracles were Moses' credentials to prove that he was God's representative. From that day till the plan of redemption was perfected, miracles were the credentials of God's messengers sent to speak for him to man. Miracles confirmed the spoken or written word of prophets and apostles. When the plan of redemption was completed and all the truth revealed through the apostles, miracles were no longer needed to "confirm the word." The word of God had been spoken, written and confirmed, and miracles were no longer performed.
For some hundred of years the Israelites had been in Egypt, and so far as the record shows had lost all knowledge of God.
The second purpose was to preserve a people of Abraham's blood. To preserve this pure race, and protect them from Gentile idolatry, is the reason for the law prohibiting the Jews from mixing with the Gentiles. This historical fact is ignored by Modernists. Should they recognise this fact it would make plain much of their confusion.
Abraham's descendants went into Egypt and were enslaved. They must be brought out, and led to Canaan, the land in which Abraham sojourned, and that God gave to him by promise. To accomplish this, the greatest migration in history, not only made miracles necessary but many miracles till the Messiah should come. In God's wisdom about fifteen hundred years were necessary to prepare for the coming into the world of his only begotten Son that the world might have redemption.
God chose Moses to mediate between him and the Jews. A miracle was essential to send him on a mission of deliverance. The angel appeared to him in the burning bush. God, in the person of the angel, told Moses that he was selected to deliver Israel. It took additional miracles before he believed he must go on the mission. He protested that the Jews would not believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had sent him. He gave Moses the power to work a whole series of miracles to convince the Jews that God had sent him. Miracles were the credentials of God's spokesman when sent to speak by his authority. From that day till the plan of redemption was perfected, miracles have been the credentials of God's representatives. When all the truth was revealed and confirmed by miracles they ceased because no longer needed.
For some hundreds of years the Jews doubtless had worshipped the gods of the Egyptians. The first lesson they must learn was that there is but one God who has all power. To produce this basic faith absolute power over the material elements must be proved. They must have known of the enchantments of the magicians, and regarded them as the works of the gods of the Egyptians. But the victory of Moses' rod over that of the magicians was proof that here was the work of a greater God. It took the ten plagues of miracles to convince the Jews and make them willing to go, and to make Pharaoh willing to let them leave his service.
They reached an arm of the Red Sea, perhaps about four miles of shallow water. God parted the water so that two or three million footmen passed across into the wilderness. Skeptics and doubters ridicule this miracle. They say it is contrary to natural law for water to act in that way. Who made both natural law and water? Is the creator of natural law limited and bound in his actions by that law? One who would do so does not believe that God is infinite in power. Surely God had the power to perform the miracle. That it was essential to God's purpose is certain.
The natural law of gravity decrees that all material substance, when lifted above the earth, shall immediately fall to the ground. But seemingly contrary to the law of gravity millions of tons of water is suspended in the clouds far above the earth and carried hundreds of miles, and let down in droplets. In this case one natural law temporarily suspends the law of gravity. Is it unreasonable, then, that God could do the same at least temporarily?
Suppose that a hundred years ago ten honorable men should have reported that while in the heart of Africa they had seen a monstrous mechanical body, weighing many tons, carrying fifty men, high above the earth, travelling many miles each minute. Who would have believed them? Every scientist would have cried:
Impossible. It is contrary to the fixed law of gravity. Today thousands of greater wonders happen every day. The inventive genius of man temporarily suspends the natural law of gravity by the employment of other phases of natural law of propulsion.
The chosen people are now out of bondage and en route to the promised land. Their education is just commencing. They are to learn that there is right and that there is wrong. They must learn that right is for their own good and pleasure, and that wrong brings suffering and sorrow. Forty years they are taught by experience and disciplined in the most exacting school ever attended by man. They are taught that obedience to the right brings rich rewards, while rebelling against God's laws that were given for their good are to be severely punished.
It is affirmed by Modernists that the God of the Jews was not of "ethical" character. We boast that we are the most enlightened nation on earth. Don't we have laws and rewards for those who keep the laws, and severe punishment for those who break the laws? If we punish the wicked with some hope of their reform and for the protection of the good, are we therefore not ethical? Who then will judge God because he disciplined the Jews? The chastisement was not for the Jews alone. It was to make ready the chosen people for the coming of the Messiah. No, dear reader, the severe discipline of the Jews was not an act of angry vengeance, but for our good even at this day. "What advantage hath the Jew? Much every way; first of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. For what if some were without faith? Shall their want of faith make of none effect the faithfulness of God?" (Rom. 3:1-3).
"Neither let us make trial of the Lord, as some of them made trial, and perished by the serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them murmured, and perished by the destroyer. Now these things happened unto them by way of example; and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages are come" (I Cor. 10:9-11). Sinners died in the wilderness to warn us today not to sin as they sinned. Shall we profit by that warning?
"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" (Heb. 2:14).
The teaching and discipline of the Jews in the wilderness was not for them alone but for us under the Christ also. Only by keeping this fact in mind can we secure our promised inheritance in our service to the Christ.
Forty years of teaching, reward and chastisement were needed to free them in part from their generations under the influence of Egyptian idolatry. Their lives depended upon daily miracles. They must learn to worship God largely by ceremonial practices, that are types or shadows of the real and better observances for us in the gospel age. Daily manna to feed their bodies, a type of the spiritual food and drink for hungry and thirsty souls now. Daily incense then a type of daily prayers of the Christian. The lamb as a sacrifice was of value only as it pointed to Jesus as the "lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." The tabernacle, the holy place, was but a type, or a picture, so to speak, of the church. The holy place a figure of heaven.
"Now these things having been prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services; but into the second, the high priest alone; once in the year, not without blood, which he offereth for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way, into the holy place hath not yet been made manifest, while the first tabernacle is yet standing; which is a figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts and sacrifices, make the worshipper perfect-For Christ entered not into a holy place made with hands, like in pattern to the time; but into heaven itself, now to appear before the face of God for us" (Heb. 9:6-9, 24). 1 am persuaded that if Modernists had carefully studied the history of God's revelation in preparing the plan of salvation, some, at least, would never have charged the God of the Bible with being cruel and not "ethical." They would have discovered the unity of purpose; the beauty and grandeur of God's plan as it unfolded under the different dispensations, and the divinity of Christ, and the glory of his spiritual body, the church.
The Coming of Christ
From the call of Abraham to the coming of Christ was perhaps about fifteen hundred years. Some whose knowledge of God and little faith in his wisdom raise the question: Why leave man to himself so long? It seems there were some who lacked faith in God's wisdom in Paul's day. "For who hath known the mind of God? or who hath been his counselor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?" (Rom. 11:34, 35). Faith does not question God's wisdom. The coming of the Christ was the most glorious event since the fall of man. It marked the beginning of the fulfilment of the promise made to Eve: The seed of the woman would bruise Satan's head. It marked also the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham: "In thy seed shall the nations be blessed." Not only did the birth of Jesus mark the greatest event in the history of man, but also in heaven itself. "And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world he saith, And all the angels worship him" (Heb. 1:6). How fitting then, that his coming should be attended by the most glorious and sublime miracles. Should it be thought strange that heaven and earth should unite in proclaiming him as the firstborn Son of the most high God. If, when he was born in Bethlehem, he was worthy of worship of the angels around God's throne, who is so irreverent as to say he was only a man-born of a natural father?
He was God's ambassador to man. An ambassador must have credentials attesting his authority. Jesus' credentials were of three kind. He was the first and only one who ever lived a sinless life. He fulfilled the prophecies made hundreds of years before his coming. He performed miracles in every realm of the material and spiritual worlds. He walked upon the water, and commanded the wind and waves and they obeyed. He revealed men's unspoken thoughts; spoke to the fig tree and it withered; turned water into wine; blessed a few loaves and fishes; fed several thousand, and they gathered up a larger amount of fragments than the amount before the multitude had eaten. Why should it be thought incredible that he could create bread in a few minutes? Man plants the wheat. The grain has a germ of life. Obeying the law of nature, that life-principle in the grain, silently, unseen, produces a harvest. Man reaps and grinds the wheat and bakes it into bread. The food in the bread was silent and unseen, drawn from the earth and air, and so feeds man's body. Who created that law, the germ of life in the wheat, and who created man, gave him the knowledge and power to make bread in nine months? Could not the one who created all these, cause the elements of food to silently and unseen assemble and become bread in a few minutes? "He was in the world and the world was by him made," affirms the Holy Spirit by John.
Paul says, "For in him were all things created, in heaven and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him and unto him" (Col. 1:16). He who believes that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write these statements can also believe that Jesus could and did create food to feed the multitude. To doubt either is to deny that the Holy Spirit spoke and wrote by prophets and apostles. If the Bible is not an inspired revelation from God, then the religion of Christ has no higher authority than heathen religions. If it did not come from God, it originated with man.
Jesus and Miracles
In order that the reader may have a clear understanding of what Modernism is it is necessary to state often that the theory is summed up in this: It is a denial that any miracle has ever occurred. The first aim is to destroy faith in the inspiration of the Bible. If the Bible is inspired, all that it says is true. The Bible records many miracles. But if it is not inspired the records are false. It is very apparent that inspiration by the Holy Spirit stands as the first of all miracles.
The skill employed by Modernists in undermining faith in the unsuspecting has seldom if ever been surpassed. Their attack is made from every possible angle.
Jesus endorsed miracles both of the Old and New Testaments. The Jews said: ",If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name these bear witness of me. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do them, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father" (John 10:24, 25, 37, 38).
Jesus not only declared that the miracles he performed were proof that he was sent by his Father, but he endorsed the miracles recorded in the Old Testament. If all Protestant preachers were polled perhaps the majority would say that man was evolved from animals of past ages. The belief that man was created by a miracle has been exchanged for faith in man's evolution. They say they believe in Theistic Evolution-that man was made by evolution. At the same time they declare their belief in the Son of God. How men can reason themselves into such a contradiction is a mystery.
The unbelieving Jews asked Jesus: "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said, Have ye not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?" (Matt. 19:3-5). When man's creation by a miracle is denied the word of Jesus is denied. Man's creation and the Sonship of Jesus stand or fall together. Jesus inseparably linked them together.
Many doubt what they call the Jonah story. But Jesus said: "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; (sea-monster), so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:4).
It seems that Jesus selected the miracles recorded in the Old Testament that were most likely to be doubted by men and gave his full endorsement of them. He mentioned Noah and the flood; Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot's wife; the manna that was the bread in the wilderness; the brazen serpent, and the widow feeding Elijah from the meal that never wasted till the famine was ended. The one who truly believes that Jesus is now seated on his throne at God's right hand finds no trouble in believing all that he said.
Is the Bible God's inspired will to man? Here the battle line is drawn. The gigantic association of talented men, the potential available money, compose the mightiest conspiracy against the word of God in centuries. Young men, put on the whole armour of God, and with the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, go forth in the mighty battle. Yours is the greatest responsibility and opportunity to do valiant service for Christ since the days of martyrdom.
"This is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith."
Testimony is evidence as proof of a past fact or event. Testimony may be oral-spoken by a person. It may be in writing. Or it may be silent, without words spoken or written. Such testimony is borne by immovable monuments, or memorial observances. The pyramids in Egypt bear testimony to the Pharaohs who built them. The granite shaft in Washington, D. C., silently bears testimony to George Washington's life and work.
The testimony of monuments and memorial observances are of value only as they confirm the historical record to which they point. Perhaps the historical statement confirmed by a monument or memorial observance forms the most unquestioned evidence of past events that can be produced. The observance of the Fourth of July is irrefutable evidence of the signing of the Declaration of the independence of the American colonies.
God has always furnished man with ample evidence that he has not left him in total darkness, except as man chose to remain in unbelief. In addressing the gathering at Lystra, Paul said: "Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways. And yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:15-17). God's creation of the heaven and the earth, and his providence in supplying man's every temporal need, were silent witnesses testifying to God's power and goodness toward men.
David said: "The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language: their voice is not heard" (Psalms 19:1-3).
The starry heavens are so great that even astronomers can but faintly comprehend them. It is said our galaxy contains about a billion stars and suns, many of them thousands of times as large in volume as the earth, and that light is thousands of years passing from one side to the other. Our galaxy is but one of countless numbers that can be seen by the aid of great telescopes. Whether astronomers are accurate in all their calculations, we do not know. But it is certain that great minds have always been deeply moved by the greatness, perfection and glory of God's created material universe. The whole creation of God is a silent witness of the power, majesty and glory of God. Truly David says: "Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." Wherever men dwell, there God's silent witnesses bear testimony of him.
It is more especially true that God has established monuments-memorials-that are silent witnesses testifying to the Sonship of Jesus and the inspiration of the Bible. Some of these will be only briefly sketched in this chapter.
A calendar hangs on the wall above the desk where I am writing. I notice four characters on it, which are four of the ten that form the basis of every phase of life. The four characters on the calendar are arranged in this order, 1-9-5-3. Arranged in any other possible order they would mean but little to most people. But arranged in this order they vitally affect the daily lives of all people except a few of those whom we call uncivilised. What is the meaning of 1-9-5-3? Primarily date in time. It is the base or starting point from which all surveys of time are run. Beginning with 1, which is the basis, time is measured backward as far as history extends, and on back as far as imagination can reach, supposed by many to be billions of years. Beginning with 1, time is measured forward to this date, 1953. How many times have these four figures been written in this order today? One could as easily enumerate the number of sands on the seashore.
Suppose that the date 1953, and all related dates were erased from every document, written and printed. What would be the result? The civilized world would fall to the level of the most ignorant race who live without date.
Pick up your evening newspaper. Its contents would be meaningless. When the news items happened would not be known, Date gives news meaning.
No business contracts between individuals or corporations is binding unless dated. Present a signed check to the bank teller, undated. You draw no money, it matters not how large amount may be to your credit. Money as coin or currency is not honoured by the treasury but is judged counterfeit. Without date no criminal can be tried in any court. Erase all dates and no convict can be held behind bars. Date of crime, date of conviction and date of expiration of sentence must be present, else he would go free. Destroy date and law itself is destroyed. No law can be enforced unless dated. No legislator or elected or appointed officer, from president down to the precinct, can function unless date of election or appointment is present. Why mention more? The thought is appalling!
What event created this date, 1953? Out there a short distance from Jerusalem in the little village of Bethlehem, Jesus was born in a stable. No other event in recorded history has ever so vitally affected so many people. That birth is the center of time itself. All other events are dated so many years before that birth or so many years after that birth.
In many of the most advanced nations of the world are many men of great intelligence, education and wealth and influence, who scoff at the name and claim of Jesus. Yet every letter they write, they date pointing to his birth. In every important business transaction, execution of deed to real estate or conveyance of wealth, they must sign his birth certificate. Otherwise they can neither own nor convey wealth of importance. The birth in Bethlehem is the center of recorded time. All history is written as B.C. or A.D., which means so many years before Christ's birth, or so many years after his birth. Remove the influence of that birth and time would be very nearly meaningless to three-fourths of the people of the whole world.
Was he only a man? Or was he God manifested in the flesh? How can the influence of his birth be accounted for otherwise than that he still lives and reigns from his throne in heaven?
A little more than nineteen hundred years ago a small number of people began to meet on Sunday, the first day of the week and spend the day in a simple form of worship. They were of the common people, without wealth or social standing. But they were law abiding, benevolent and of the highest moral character. They increased in number and were persecuted and many killed. Many fled to foreign lands. Persecution and social ostracism could not cause them to cease to gather for simple, humble worship on Sunday that was then called the first day of the week or the Lord's day. The day became a holy day for rest from common labor and devoted to worship. During the first centuries, Christians spread throughout the Roman empire. The influence of the first day finally destroyed pagan days and festivals, and became the most important day of the week in all the then known world.
The day set apart as the day for rest and worship came to North and South America. Sunday as a day of rest and worship was legalised, and so is still recognised. In its importance; its universality; in its moral and spiritual power in creating a better world-in all these, Sunday has been and is the greatest memorial day in history. It may be safely said that no other day set apart as a special day of observance has ever so influenced so many.
Sunday, one day of seven, has been observed for solemn worship for more than nineteen hundred years. Its purpose was and still is to commemorate a past event. The influence of the day for good has been great. Fifty-two times each year, Sunday is sacredly observed by many millions as a day of solemn worship. To the truth of what event does Sunday silently bear witness? In memory of what event is one-seventh of time kept? In memory of the disappearing of the body of Jesus from the tomb. Both believers and unbelievers agree that Jesus was buried in Joseph's tomb. Both say that on the morning of the third day the body of Jesus was absent from the tomb. During more than nineteen hundred years the only point of disagreement has been: How did the body of Jesus disappear from the tomb? Only two explanations have been or can be offered. One is that his disciples stole his body while the guards slept. The other is that he was raised from the dead. Could the theft of a dead body have in it the power to cause one in seven to be kept as a holy day of worship for more than nineteen hundred years? Such a conclusion is contrary to reason and to all history. Only the miracle of the resurrection from the dead could establish and perpetuate that which is equal to a miracle-keeping one day in seven as a holy day of worship.
WHAT IS MAN?
(Note: This chapter is taken from, "The Origin and Destiny of Man," first published in 1938).
The earth is but a speck in the universe, and man is but an atom on the earth. Yet so far as his knowledge extends, he himself is by far the greatest of all living beings. Any others equal to or superior to man, are of faith and not of personal knowledge.
Of all the questions that engage the interest of man, three arise far above all others in importance:
1. What is man?
2. What is his origin?
3. What is to be his destiny?
In the answer to these questions will be found the answer to these further questions: What is man's duty to himself? What is his duty to those of his kind? What is his duty to the Author of his being? Till he has the answer to the question, "What is man?" he can never know the answer to the other questions. And till all these questions are intelligently answered, man will in large measure grope in darkness.
The character of any object or personality must be known before an intelligent search can be made with regard to its origin and ultimate destiny. Hence the need of considering first the question, "What is man?" Material objects and spiritual personalities could only have originated from sources where qualities of which they are formed are to be found. The quality of which the coin is made, whether of gold, silver or of some other metal, must be known before its origin can be determined. If the coin be gold, it originated where gold was found. Man, his body and all that which dwells in his body, could have had their origin only from sources where qualities like these were found. So it is necessary first to find the answer to the question, "What is man?" Then the answer to the question, "What is his origin?" will be easier to determine.
It is well understood that man's body, composed of some twenty-six or more elements, had its origin from the source of these elements, earth, water, light, atmosphere. The destiny of the body is to return to the source of its origin. The composition, origin and destiny of the body need not be further considered here. The present inquiry is in regard to the conscious Indweller of the body. Who that indweller is, is the question of first importance. The origin and destiny of the indweller will be sought in later chapters.
The indweller can neither be seen, weighed nor assayed by chemical action. It is non-material and eludes every test by which such substances are judged. The indweller can be studied only by conscious personal experience of the appetites, emotions and attributes, and by correctly observing the outward manifestation of these in the behaviour of individuals and social groups. The feeling experienced, and the action observed determine the character of the appetite or attribute from which these spring.
Is man only a highly intelligent animal? Is his superiority over the animal due only to a fuller development and a higher cultivation of the attributes that are in the animal in a less mature state? Or is he an animal plus attributes not in the mere animal in any measure whatever? Is there nothing more in man than a highly developed and cultivated animal-self, common to the brute family? Or has he also a complete soul-self? Does his body house only one self? Or is it the tabernacle of two complete but different selves, one an animal, the other a soul-self? To find the answer, the most critical analysis and comparison must be made between man and the animal, not of their bodies, but of that which dwells in their bodies.
The self is the conscious state of being. In the animal-self it is the conscious recognition of the appetites, cravings and emotions that relate solely to the body, its needs and gratifications. The appetites are interested in seeking body nourishment as food, air, drink, comfort, protection; in mating, reproducing and caring for its young. Its appetites and instincts relate solely to the body. It has no interests except those which relate solely to the needs of the body. When the needs of the body are supplied and the appetites satisfied, the animal is content. Beyond these limits the animal-self does not go.
In the animal-self, with its appetites and instincts, there, is perfect harmony; there is not a trace of antagonism. There is no restraining impulse against the full gratification of every appetite, and no urge to moral duty. There is no moral code by which the appetites are regulated. The animal knows no code except the opportunity to gratify its hunger and sex desire. It takes its food wherever food is found, and by whatever method or means that lies within its power. It satisfies its sex desire without any regard to moral or aesthetic regulations or restrictions It has no conception of the rights of property ownership to be respected, and it matters not in the least that its food is obtained by robbing the sick or weak of its kind, or even by the death of its nearest blood relative. The only law that it knows in gratifying its sex desire is the law of opportunity.
The animal-self is concerned in nourishing and protecting the body and in gratifying its sensual appetites. There is not a trace of moral concept, or of a restraining conscience to be found in the whole animal family. It is not concerned with any moral or altruistic ideals, for it has none. It has no moral urge of duty to the less favoured of its kind, and no restraint against the full gratification of every appetite regardless of the interests of others. None of the appetites of the animal-self rise higher than the needs and the sensual pleasure of the animal organism. It is not moved with pity to share with the needy and suffering of its kind. The sick, wounded and starving are passed by without ministration. It takes the life of its nearest relative without experiencing the least remorse. The animal cannot be influenced by any altruistic appeal, nor bound by any moral law.
In the animal there is one self. Its appetites are sensual, related solely to the body and supply of its every need. The body as an organism is perfectly suited for the expression of every appetite of the animal-self, and the animal-self with its appetites fills every need of the body. They supplement each other and fit together as the two halves of a perfect circle. The body needs nothing more than the animal-self, and the animal-self needs nothing more than the body through which to express itself. As there is but one self in the animal, and all its interests are related to the body, perfect harmony reigns within the animal.
The animal is one body and one self; one house and one indweller. Every appetite is necessary for the well-being of the body, and perfectly supplies every need of the body. They are inseparably associated and bound together. It is impossible to think of them as existing separately. As the animal has no second half, seeking either to restrain the animal-self or to urge moral and spiritual ideals, a state of perfect harmony exists in the animal. There is not a trace of antagonism between any of its appetites. It neither needs nor has any moral and spiritual attributes.
The animal-self in the brute has its exact counterpart in man. There is not the least difference between the sensual appetites and their use in the brute, and the same appetites and their use in man. In both they are related to the body, its needs, its preservation and to the perpetuation of the species. The animal-self in the one is the exact counterpart of that which is in the other. In both it is a complete self and perfectly harmonious within itself, as the appetites never seek to restrain or to antagonise each other. The proper gratification of the appetites of the animal-self, both in the brute and in man, is necessary for the well-being of the individual and the perpetuation of the species. The animal-self is the all of the state of being of the mere animal. It supplies every need of the body, and the body is an organism through which it satisfies its every desire.
Man has a complete second self that in every internal feeling and external manifestation is distinctly different from that which belongs to the animal-self, that is in both man and the brute. This second self is a soul-self, or a state of being whose attributes are not sensual appetites related to the body, but are moral and spiritual concepts, relating chiefly to ideals outside of the body. The soul-self is not a more fully developed and a more highly cultivated state of the appetites and instincts that are in the animal in a less measure, but attributes or qualities not present in the animal in any measure whatever. The soul-self is not the animal-self super-cultivated, but is a super-added, complete second self. Man has every appetite and instinct, together with the same uses that the animal has. But man has in addition a group of moral and spiritual attributes that form a complete second self, not a trace of which is found in the animal.
Within the appetites of the animal-self in both man and the brute, there is perfect harmony. And within the moral and spiritual attributes of the soul-self in man there is also perfect harmony. But between the two selves in man there is always some measure of antagonism, and often the fiercest conflict. The keenest conflict of interests is frequently experienced. The animal-self seeks unrestrained gratification of every appetite. The soul-self seeks not only to restrain and guide within the limits of the moral code approved by the soul-self, but also urges to moral and altruistic duty. On no other ground than the indwelling of two selves, different in their nature, is it possible to account for the universally experienced conflict in man. Had man but one self he would be as harmonious in himself as the animal that feels neither a restraining force against the unregulated gratification of every appetite, nor any urge to altruistic duty. In man there are two selves, each seeking to use the body through which to express itself. Their interests often conflict. One house, two tenants with conflicting ideals.
Duty and altruistic service grow out of a feeling of duty to the less fortunate of man's kind, and to a belief in and accountability to God, the Great First Cause. The animal feels neither obligation of duty nor service to the less favoured. Its one self is sensual, its interests are material and relate to the body. It has not a trace of any moral quality. The animal-self in man is also sensual and its interests relate to the body. The soul-self is moral and spiritual and its interests are chiefly moral and altruistic, and concerned with things outside of the body and not related directly to the needs of the body. Its ideals and objectives in their ultimate aim are not material but spiritual. Hence the conflict between the two selves in man. Cold and heat, light and darkness are no more definitely set in opposition than are the ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral, set in opposition in the mind of man. One might as well deny the existence of light and darkness as to deny the ideas of good and evil. It is this conception in the soul-self of man that most strikingly sets him apart from the animal. This moral conception is not found in the animal-self of the brute in any measure whatever.
Nor is it a result of a more highly developed and cultivated state of some appetite or instinct in the animal-self. Man has every appetite and instinct that is found in the animal. His moral conception springs from an entirely different group of attributes than those in the animal-self, even of man. Moral feeling and moral deeds can only spring from moral attributes. Sensual appetites and instincts can never inspire ideals and actions that rise higher than the desires and needs of the body. All that is called good grows out of attributes that are moral and spiritual. All that is called evil grows out of the appetites of the animal-self only when debased. When wisely guided, nothing but good, that which is best for the well-being of the body and the perpetuation of the species, grows out of the animal-self.
The Soul-Self Identified
The task now is more clearly to identify the soul-self. To do this, appeal must be made to personal experience and social groups. It is not necessary to establish the exact line of separation between the animal-self and the soul-self in man. It is sufficient to establish the fact that man is a dual being, that he has two distinctly different selves, each with different attributes; each complete and sufficient within itself; that the soul-self has rational, moral and spiritual attributes, not a trace of which is found in the animal-self either of man or the brute. In the soul-self there is a consciousness of moral and spiritual ideals, concepts and aspirations, that clearly manifest themselves in outward action, that separate man almost the distance of infinity from any animal on the earth. There is no kinship between the two selves other than minor exceptions that will appear later.
No attempt will be made to establish the exact measure of memory, perception, or possibly reason that may safely be attributed to the animal. It is sufficient to show unmistakably that man has, not a greater measure of intelligence, but an entirely different kind of character of intelligence from that of the animal; a character of intelligence that is not attainable by the animal in this measure.
By the aid of his own inventions, the telescope and other devices, and by his own developed science of mathematics, man has surveyed and charted the heavens, the stars which are millions of light years distant. He has learned so perfectly the course of the stars that he can predict years in advance the exact location in the sky where a star will be found although it will have traversed almost countless millions of miles in the interim. He can visualise our galaxy of perhaps a thousand million of stars or suns, so great in expanse that it requires thousands of years for light to cross it. Yet our galaxy, though so great in expanse, is very likely but one of a vast number just as great, each rushing through space at an incredible rate of speed. Man's intelligence has enabled him to analyse the sun and determine the elements of which it is composed, even though it is more than ninety million miles distant. There is no appetite, instinct or other attribute in the animal that can grasp in the least measure the simplest problem in mathematics and astronomy. By no possible stretch of the imagination can the conclusion ever be reached that these sciences can ever be grasped in the faintest measure by the super-developed or the super-cultivated appetites, instincts or any other attribute in the animal. And it is just as true of psychology, Chemistry, and every other science. This character of intelligence is entirely beyond the reach of any animal attribute. It is scarcely possible to imagine any state or degree of development or cultivation of any appetite or instinct so it would be able to attain any measure whatever of intelligence in any science. The sciences, as well as all other abstract knowledge, are learned by the exercise of the super-added rational, mental attributes that are found alone in man.
The soul-self has a conscious sense of judgment, which is the mental ability to compare, weigh, balance and decide the relative value of material objects and mental ideas. The owning of property, the enjoyment of liberty and life depends on the enactment and observance of laws inspired by a sense of justice between individuals and social groups arrived at by the right use of judgment. The enactment, observance and enforcement of law is man's attempt to gain justice for everyone. All legal rewards and penalties spring from a sense of judgment as to what is just. Destroy the attributes of judgment and justice in the soul-self of man, and law and order will cease. The animal cannot be regulated by laws of justice. It knows no law to move it to action except the craving of appetite and of self-preservation, and it can be restrained only by superior physical force. It has no conception of justice between individuals and groups of its kind. Not a trace of the sense of judgment and justice is found in any of the brute creation. Had man only an animal-self, he would be as destitute of a sense of judgment and justice as the beast of the jungle.
A very large part of man's thinking is in purely abstract ideas, entirely separate from material objects that can be seen, weighed and felt. To illustrate, the idea of eternity that has no beginning and can have no ending; the idea of space, can it have any limit? If so, what is beyond that limit? The idea of God alone being self-existing from all eternity; the idea of the probability that there are myriads of purely spiritual intelligences? But why mention more? A chapter could scarcely contain the mere mention of purely abstract ideas about which man thinks, talks and writes, not one idea of which it is possible for the animal to have the faintest conception. And it is just as impossible for man to think of any of these ideas by the use of any appetite or instinct that he has in common with all the animal creation. This character of thinking is possible only by the exercise of the rational attributes that dwell nowhere else except in the soul-self of man.
Simple characters called letters, assembled in groups called words, each the sign of an idea, uttered by the voice or formed by signs on paper, through which man imparts and receives very nearly unlimited knowledge-perhaps this gift called language-is the most marvellous of all man's endowments. He uses thousands of words, spoken or written, each the sign of an idea, either of a material object or of an abstract mental concept. By the use of language, man is able to communicate his ideas, thoughts, feelings and knowledge to vast numbers of others. By far the greater portion of one's knowledge is received through words, spoken or written. All knowledge reaching back to the dawn of history, and of everything that now exists outside of the range of personal experience, is received through the medium of language. He who knows only what he has seen and personally experienced, is ignorant indeed, knowing scarcely more than the beast itself. The most ignorant savage has received the greater portion of his very limited store of knowledge through the medium of words spoken by his fellows. No attribute in the animal-self of either man or the beast is susceptible of being so developed or cultivated to perform the function of abstract thinking or of imparting knowledge to others. The power to think abstractly, and to impart knowledge, is due solely to the use of the mental attributes that belong to the soul-self of man.
The animal does indeed possess a power that may be called natural language by which it influences others of its kind. But its power to communicate is limited to sound, sight and touch, and it is only able to awaken sensuous feelings related solely to the body. But no knowledge can be imparted. It does not think abstractly, and, of course, it does not have language by which to impart knowledge. Man alone thinks in words that he imagines.
The animal communicates its feelings chiefly by sight and sound. The mother in the bird family sees or hears the enemy, is convulsed with fear, ruffs her feathers and utters the sound creating a sense of danger. The feeling of fear is awakened in her brood, and they instinctively hide from the enemy. The watchman crow, perched on the topmost branch, sees the farmer approaching, feels a sense of danger, utters his warning cry that reaches the ears and vibrates the same emotional chord in his fellows in the corn field, and they instinctively take to wing. Mating sounds are made and received in the same way. The sight and sound of fighting dogs will awaken in some men the same feeling of rage and impulse to combat. The expression of suffering, sorrow or joy on the face of others awakens the same emotions in the onlooker. The sound of joyous laughter, the wail of grief, the outcry of pain, or of raging anger, vibrates the same emotional chords and awakens the same feeling in those who hear, even though darkness, blindness or obstructing walls shut off vision. Such sounds produce these effects when no articulate word is spoken. It is not articulate language, but sound-and-sight language. It cannot impart knowledge nor experience. Its effects do not reach beyond the range of touch, sight, sound, and personal contact, and it awakens only sensuous feelings related to the body, its appetites and protection. And man has in his animal-self this natural but inarticulate language just as fully and completely as it is possessed by the mere animal. The feelings of pain, joy, sorrow and mirth are more deeply stirred by sight and sound in man, due in part, perhaps, to cultivation. If man were lacking in sign language, then there would be some reason to conclude that his word-language is due to a more fully developed and a more highly cultivated state of the attributes in the animal. But man is not one whit behind the animal in his endowment of sign language. He has all the sign language possessed by the animal, plus word language. And this recognised fact demonstrates that man must have all the appetites and instincts possessed by the animal, from which sign language springs, plus mental attributes not possessed by the animal, from which springs his word language.
Sign language is not learned. It is implanted instinct, inherited. It belongs to the animal-self in both man and the brute. In both it is related to the body and its senses. But knowledge cannot be imparted, nor moral and spiritual feelings awakened by the medium of sign language. Words alone can impart knowledge and awaken moral and spiritual feelings.
What the animal has never seen, heard and felt, it can never know, and what it has personally seen, heard and felt, it can never impart to its kind. Its store of knowledge can never extend beyond the range of its personal experience. Man corresponds exactly to the animal in his contact knowledge. But man has language by which he is able to communicate his contact knowledge to his kind. This fact sets him entirely apart from the animal. He not only has a greater measure of contact knowledge than the animal can attain, but he also has a different kind of character of knowledge. He not only can awaken in others the same kind of sensuous feelings that the animal can, but he can also impart his knowledge to others. He is able not only to learn from history much that has happened during thousands of years past, but also to gain a knowledge of much that now exists over the whole earth, and even of the universe around him, consisting of countless suns, millions of times greater in volume than our earth, and millions of light-years distant.
If man had no other attributes than those common to both man and the animal, he might indeed attain a greater measure of knowledge than the animal, but he certainly could not attain a different character of knowledge, a character of knowledge beyond the power of the animal to attain in the least measure. It is not so much a question of the measure of, knowledge, but rather a question of the character of knowledge that sets man apart from the animal. It is not possible to attain this superior character of knowledge except by the exercise of mental attributes not possessed by the animal in any measure whatever. The animal appetites and instincts have their function to perform in serving the needs of the body. But they can no more apprehend the character of knowledge now under consideration than the ears can see or the eyes perceive sound. These facts, well known by everyone of ordinary intelligence, amount to actual demonstration that man has a second self, rational, moral and spiritual, of which the animal has not a trace.
Were it not for altruistic love, the world would be ruled by cunning, intellectual savages, preying upon each other. Cannibalism would universally prevail. Pity, sympathy, kindness and gentleness would perish from the earth. It is the hand of love that reaches down to lift up the fallen. Benevolence, service and sacrifice that make the world a place at all tolerable in which to live, are the fruits of altruistic love. As the earth, without the radiant beams of the sun, would be dark, cold and lifeless, so would the intellectual attributes also be cold and cheerless were it not for the radiant, fructifying, life-giving beams of love. When love rules the appetites and guides the intellect, man becomes God-like. When the animal appetites rule, man becomes beast-like.
Conscience is the monitor of behaviour, the arbiter of every voluntary act and even of the kind of thought entertained. It approves or condemns every deed and thought. It urges to duty and more than duty, even to the greatest service and sacrifice. It approves what is believed to be right, and urges its performance, and condemns what is believed to be wrong and restrains from doing the wrong. The deepest regret and the bitterest remorse follow disobedience to its dictates. and the greatest joy springs from obeying its voice. Countless numbers have suffered martyrdom rather than violate its dictates. When joined to religion, conscience is unconquerable by any external force, and in this connection it is probably the only motive that will lead men calmly to chose death rather than violate its dictates. Men die in war in defence of their country, and also in war for conquest. But men go into battle with only the probability of death, not the certainty of death. When the battle is joined, it is then a matter of self-preservation with at least some hope of surviving. But for a religious conscience, numbers have gone calmly, and many even joyously to the stake and flame. No other feeling or emotion has led or can lead people to deliberate death rather than violate its dictates. What appetite, instinct or other attribute of the animal can reasonably be regarded as the root from which conscience could grow? Has anyone yet been so rash as to affirm the discovery of the least trace of conscience in any animal on the earth? Conscience is as distinctly different from the highest instinct in the animal as the imagination itself can go.
Conscience not only differentiates man from the animal by an impassable gulf, but it also differentiates the two selves in man, the animal-self from the soul-self. By no method of reasoning is it possible to associate conscience with the group of appetites and instincts that is in both man and the brute. Conscience can only be associated with the group of moral and spiritual attributes that make up the soul-self in man.
It is not here contended that conscience is a guide to determine what is right and what is wrong. It is conceded that many have died rather than renounce error. Error believed is held to as tenaciously as truth believed. Conscience does not determine what is right or what is wrong. That is done by the sense of judgment and justice. The office of conscience is to restrain the appetites from leading the body to act in violation of the moral code approved by the soul-self, and urge the performance of the moral and spiritual duties contained in that code. Conscience approves or condemns when the accepted moral code of the soul-self is obeyed or violated. Further than this, conscience cannot go.
The basis of conscience is a feeling of accountability, not to man, but to God. It seeks to avoid disapproval and penalty on the one hand, approval and reward on the other hand, not from man, but from God. Conscience is internal, not open to the view of man but of God. The basis of conscience is a belief in God,-- and that he will, justly and mercifully. reward. In the absence of a belief in God and a feeling of accountability to him, conscience cannot exist. The animal can have no conception of nor belief in God and no feeling of accountability to him, and so does not and cannot have a conscience.
Faith is the basis of confidence in all social relations. When related to material objects and abstract mental concepts, it may perhaps be defined as mental assent to, or the conviction of the truth of the existence of such material objects that one has not seen, or of the correctness of the idea that cannot be proved by demonstration. The existence of lands, oceans, cities, peoples and such objects that one has never seen can only be believed by giving mental assent to the word of others. So also of scientific matters. The layman can only mentally assent to what the scientist says. But there is a faith that is higher than a mere mental assent. In its relations to persons and social groups, it carries the idea of confidence, trust in their honour, integrity and virtue. It is one of the virtues of character that forms the very foundation of law, order, the enjoyment of property, liberty and life itself. Faith, confidence and trust constitute the very breath of life of all social relations between individuals and social groups, without which law, order and liberty would perish.
Schools, from the kindergarten to the university, are engaged in imparting knowledge to pupils, perhaps ninety-eight per cent of which is faith-knowledge, communicated through the medium of language, not one idea of which can be imparted to the animal.' All knowledge, except that which 18 received through the five senses, is attained by faith based on testimony. All that man can know about things and events of the past, and of everything which now exists out side of the range of personal experience, is by faith. And this knowledge has been received through spoken or written language. Language, knowledge and faith are inseparably linked. By the medium of language everyone has access to much of past events, and of that which now exists outside of the range of personal experience. Deprive man of faith-knowledge and he would know but little more than the animal itself. Its knowledge. is limited to its personal experience, and this limited store of knowledge cannot be imparted to those of its kind. It is inconceivable that the animal can have any conception of any past event that it has not experienced or of the existence of any place or thing not associated with its experience through its personal contact. It knows nothing, except that which it has seen, heard, smelled, tasted and felt by touch. And its knowledge of these experiences it cannot communicate to others of its kind, because it has neither the mental concept nor language. This faith-knowledge belongs alone to man, and does not spring from some instinct that is in the animal in a less mature state of development and cultivation than is present in man. No instinct or appetite in the animal is susceptible of being so developed or cultivated so as to be taught faith-knowledge. It is as impossible for the animal to believe by the use of its group of appetites and. instincts, as it is to see through its ears. Receiving and imparting faith-knowledge is possible only by the exercise of the attributes in the soul-self of man.
All human effort, mental and physical, is inspired by hope-the desire and expectation of future good. Hope is never related to the past nor to the present. It looks into the future and visualises the good yet to be attained. The farmer plants, the merchant buys, the artist paints in hope of some adequate reward. Whether the objective aimed for be health, wealth, the satisfaction of achievement, or greatest of all, a future life, the final objective aimed for is personal happiness. When the last ray of hope of future good fades, life is no longer bearable. Truly, hope is the lodestar that allures man onward in toil.
The prophetic function of the soul-self visualises future good, faith convinces that it can be attained, hope desires and expects its achievement. Prophetic vision,. desire,' faith, toil, the ultimate aim, happiness. Only the desire of moral and spiritual objectives and the employment of worthy means, can lead to true happiness. The choice of wrong objectives and the employment of unworthy means leads to the deepest sorrow. Man alone hopes.
Religion is as universal as man. No race and but few individuals deny religion. Religion is the worship of deity, a feeling of accountability to him, and a desire to live again, form the basis of religion.
It is not here contended that all worshippers have had as the object of their devotions the one true God, the I AM, or that the teaching and ceremonial observances have always been such as would elevate the worshipper to a higher plane of goodness. Perhaps in the vast majority of religions, the imagined deity set up, together with the ceremonies observed, have been degrading rather than elevating. When man worships the one true God, to whom are ascribed the highest and holiest attributes that the human mind can understand, together with the most altruistic service, and unassociated with formal, dead ceremonies-only then can religion bless him by lifting him to a higher plan of purity. The purpose of true religion is to make man happy by making him holy. Apart from true holiness there is no true happiness.
Belief in God, a feeling of accountability to him, the fear of penalty for wrong-doing and the hope of reward for well-doing, is the basis of religion. Conscience is related to a fear to displease, and a desire to please God. Destroy belief in God, and conscience ends, and with it all feeling of accountability. Where there is no belief in deity there is no conscience, no moral code, no restraint against evil and no urge to good. Among all the living on the earth man is the only creature that can believe, and therefore, he is the only moral and religious being.
Rather than violate a religious conscience, vast numbers have deliberately gone to a martyr's death. It is the most impelling motive that dwells in man. The proper direction and exercise of religion elevates man almost the distance of infinity above the animal. It cleanses, sanctifies and guides the appetites within the divinely intended limits, and results in the greatest good and happiness of man. Pure religion sanctifies every animal appetite and instinct, brings them into harmony with, and under the guidance of, the moral and spiritual attributes of the soul-self, and exalts man to a nobility that reflects his kinship to deity.
It is true religion alone that leads man to curb the appetites that often want to run riot to his debasement and that leads him upward into a sphere of purity and service to his kind. It is true that many who do not profess the true religion are fine examples in many respects of moral probity and altruistic service. But it will be found that these have been reared under the influence of a deeply religious environment, and so their good qualities are due to the influence of the worship of the true God.
No one has been so rash as to attribute to the animal the least trace of religion, the worship of deity or the idea of a future life. Can anyone logically group and associate, the attributes of justice, altruistic love, hope, conscience and the worship of deity with the animal appetites that dwell in both man and the beast? If these moral and spiritual attributes were all that dwell in man, then indeed there would be some ground for the contention that these attributes are only a more mature state of development and a higher degree of cultivation of the appetites that are found in the animal. But man has every appetite and instinct that belongs to the animal, and he also has a full and complete group of moral and spiritual attributes that are as foreign to the animal appetites as they are to a stone. How, then, can it be doubted that there are in man two selves-that first as all admit, his animal self that he has in common with the brute, with its appetites and instincts, that relate to the body, its nourishment, comfort, protection and the reproduction of its species; and a second self that is moral and spiritual, concerned chiefly with spiritual ideals, altruistic love, service to the less favoured, consciousness of right and wrong, the worship of God, and that faith and hope that in prophetic vision, reaches even into the spirit realm and embraces the idea of a future life?
The animal-self is the state of being recognised through the appetites and instincts. The self feels hunger, thirst, ease, pain, sex desire.
Instinct is the power or disposition by which, independent of instruction or experience, without deliberation, and without having any end in view, animals are unerringly directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for the preservation of the individual or the perpetuation of its kind. If the eggs are taken away from any of the bird family, the young hatched and reared entirely out of contact with any of its kind, the new generation will repeat every method of its ancestors. The birds will build their nests and perform every other act of life just as did their ancestors as far back as their history can be discovered. Instinct is not taught but inheres in the animal-self by inheritance. Some animals can be taught to perform some physical acts in a very limited measure. But the learned acts, chiefly of imitation, cannot be taught by any animal to its kind.
Man has instinct in a very limited measure. After the period of infancy, it is very little that man does by instinct. The higher attributes of reason and judgment that belong to the soul-self become his guide.
The interests of the animal-self in both man and the brute relate to the appetites and needs of the body. It is satisfied with material substances that nourish and comfort the body, and physical contacts that gratify its sex and other appetites. To the arts, sciences, moral and spiritual ideals, it is a total stranger. To the animal-self, these make no appeal.
The soul-self is the state of moral and spiritual being. Its consciousness is its recognition of its moral and spiritual feelings. The soul-self experiences moral and spiritual feelings, ideals and aspirations, and is satisfied only with non-material, spiritual concepts outside of the body-those not vitally related to, or connected with the things that satisfy the animal-self.
The soul-self is interested in the body in two respects: (a) to hold it within the limits of the moral code approved by the soul-self, (b) to preserve the body in the best possible health as a vehicle through which to work in order to attain its moral and spiritual objectives. To this end, the soul-self strives to regulate the body. While the appetites are gratified within the limits of the moral code approved by the soul-self, there is perfect harmony between the two selves. But when the animal-self seeks to gratify the appetites outside of that code, there arises the fiercest antagonism between the two selves. And this antagonism that is experienced by everyone, established the fact that there are two selves in man, the one animal and the other spiritual. On no other ground can this antagonism be explained.
It is admitted by all that the brute has a complete brute-self, related to the body and the gratification of its appetites, and that perfect harmony reigns within this self, with no restraining feeling nor urge to altruistic service. And it must also be admitted that there is in man an animal-self, the exact counterpart of that which is in the animal. There is not the least difference between the two. But it is also known that man has another complete group of attributes that are moral and spiritual, and that are entirely different from, and in addition to the animal appetites that are in both man and the brute. It is between the two distinctly different groups in man that the fierce antagonism is experienced. There is not the least antagonism in the group of animal appetites and instincts in the animal. Nor is there the least antagonism within either group in man. It is between the two groups in man that the war rages. But this war is experienced only when the animal group seeks to lead outside of the limits of the moral code approved by the soul-self. Within the limits of that code, the soul-self enlists reason, planning and the will in behalf of the lawful gratification of every animal appetite. In the most highly approved examples of character, the appetites of the animal-self are so well disciplined that there is but little antagonism between the two selves. In such, the energies are not dissipated in a fierce war of emotion, but are left free to be used in the achievement of worthy objectives. In these are found many of the world's greatest benefactors. These are they in whom the soul-self sits on the throne and rules, while the animal-self is made to serve the needs of the body. The soul-self is not made for the sake of the animal-self and the body, but these are made for the soul-self, through which to work in order to attain moral and spiritual objectives. The moral and spiritual attributes are greater than the body and its appetites. The animal-self and body are temporal; the soul-self is eternal.
In many the animal-self has gained the complete mastery, and the soul-self has been so weakened by frequent defeat that it has been enslaved. The intellect and all its skill is prostituted to the desires of the debased appetites. Such descend to lower depths than the mere animal. In some the two selves are very nearly balanced; the good and the evil mixed in about equal proportions in the life. Between the two extreme;, of the highest type of nobility and the lowest depths of debasement, there is found every possible degree of antagonism. and mixed conduct. When the soul-self rules and guides the animal-self with its appetites wisely, man attains the lofty plane of nobility designed for him in his creation, and shows his kinship to God himself.
The self is the conscious state of being, the I AM. The self is the Knower, the ultimate of what we call Being, the I.
The appetites in the animal-self are not the self, but the experiences of the self. Hunger and thirst are the cravings of the self.
The soul-self experiences feelings of altruistic love, a sense of right and wrong, conscience, a desire to worship God, a desire to live again. But these feelings are not the self but the experiences of the self. in order to feel, there Must be a self to experience and recognise emotion. If it be asked, "What, then, in the last analysis, is the self that feels and recognises emotion?" the answer must be, that it is as yet an unsolved mystery. If this be wondered at, it is enough to reply that in the last analysis no one knows What matter is, or even what is in the atom that was once thought to be the ultimate in the division of matter, but it is now thought that the atom may be divided into four or more parts. So if the ultimate of matter, or even its ultimate division, is unknown, it need not be thought strange that the ultimate of the soul-self, a purely spiritual entity, is unknown. And if it be argued that because the ultimate of the soul-self is not known, that therefore it does not exist, it is replied that by the same reasoning the non-existence of electricity can be proved, for no one knows what electricity is. But the manifestation of the power of electricity proves its existence. On the same principle, the soul-self in man must be admitted to be an actuality by its manifestation of moral and spiritual power. Only a spiritual self, having spiritual attributes, can manifest spiritual influence. The body is material and manifests itself in material phenomena as form, weight and chemical reaction. The animal-self is sensual and can only manifest itself in sensuous feelings as appetite and instinct. The soul-self is moral and spiritual and manifests itself in moral and spiritual influences. If form, weight and chemical reaction prove the existence of the material body, and if the sensual appetites prove the existence of the animal-self, then by the same logic the manifestation of moral and spiritual influences prove the existence in man of a moral and spiritual soul-self from which these qualities spring. To deny the existence of the soul-self in man, is to deny the existence of the animal-self in the brute, and even of the material body. All must be accepted, or all rejected, for all are based on the same character of evidence.