IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHY HE WAS SENT:
Jesus, the Christ Redeemer of men, was not born of our own ‘fallen’ race as it descends through the first man, Adam. And there is no way that the seed of Adam could have produced a Christ Redeemer.
The ‘seed’ of Adam was marred. It was long-blighted by the development of the sin nature of first man, who had fallen from God’s grace because of sinful disobedience. And for this, he was expelled from the paradise-like Garden that God had created for him.
Genesis 2: 17-19
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, You must not eat from it. Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
As part of his punishment, his own seed would henceforth carry forward his fallen nature.
GOD IS BORN INTO THE WORLD OF MAN:
Had Jesus been gestated by the seed of Joseph impregnating his virgin bride, he would have been born blemished, as are we. He would have followed the fallen lineage of the first man, Adam because, he would have inherited the ‘sin nature.’ And in this gestation, he would have fulfilled none of the characteristics demanded of an unblemished Passover (paschal), lamb. He could not have!
Though Luke traces the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam, it can only relate to the ‘Adam’ that was before the temptation and subsequent fall. Prior to the temptation, neither Adam or Eve knew of the ‘Knowledge of Good and Evil’ and, therefore, neither possessed the ‘sin nature.’
Because of what one man did (through Adam the first man), the ‘sin nature’ was thereafter transferable, for in lineage it, of course, follows through all mankind subsequently born of woman.
However, because of the divinely unique way in which God the Father created His Son, the ‘sin nature’ was not transferred. And yet, Jesus, though God, born into the world as a man after being carried in and expelled from the womb of his mother, knew the ‘sin nature.’ Satan knew that He knew, and attempted His temptation. Jesus did not simply resist it, He rose above it at every attempt to lure Him. Jesus did, because of His divine nature, what we cannot do until we come to God through Him.
TRANSFERANCE OF THE ‘SIN NATURE’
I am not going to speculate by giving my opinion as to how the sin nature is inherited, by suggesting or nominating DNA as the vehicle through which this occurs. Some things are simply too big for our minds to understand. If Scripture has not defined the medium, then most certainly I won’t go there.
From birth, all mankind inherits from fallen Adam, the ‘sin nature.’
I understand this to mean (from Scripture) that we will be born possessing a natural predisposition to sin. As we develop and grow, we become aware (because of the ‘sin nature’ within us) that we have within that nature the knowledge of both ‘good’ and evil.’
That conclusion is surely self-evident. Adam and Eve ‘ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and so (contrary to what God desired for them wherein they would have remained innocent), they became aware of everything through which they might derive pleasure, notwithstanding its nature or conflict with God’s law.
“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil, And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” – therefore the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. (Our of and from of the dust of the Earth, N.K.J Life Application Study Bible.)
Had Adam and Eve gained immortality, the LORD knew that they would have had no need to call upon Him; they would become at least of the status of Satan and maintaining (forever) the worst aspects of the ‘sin nature.’
Though from infancy we have the ‘sin nature,’ we parents attempt to bring it under control by teaching our children the difference between ‘right and ‘wrong.’
The ‘seed,’ then, is not a genetic manipulation of our physiological being (our DNA). Rather, it is ‘our sin nature’ that we inherit through a natural predisposition to do that which is against God’s law; the law that Scripture teaches us is instinctively known in every man.
And our ‘sin nature’, in its present form, is rejected of God whilst ever it remains within an unreconciled man/woman or child.
When, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the child claims Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior, we joyfully give up ‘our sin nature’ because it is a terrible burden. We give it to Jesus because only He can lift away the burden that has bowed us down.
WILL BABIES AND THE MENTALLY CHALLENGED GO TO HEAVEN?
GOT Questions attempted to answer it this way:
Will God hold babies responsible for not responding to the gospel, when they are incapable of understanding the message? We believe that granting saving grace to babies and young children, on the basis of the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement, is consistent with God’s love and mercy. – Source
Perhaps they could have gone further. Although babes and the mentally challenged possess the ‘sin nature,’ they DO NOT initially have the capacity to understand the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ (which is knowledge of the law that God has given us). Surely then, they cannot (by virtue of this fact) be guilty of that of which they have NO knowledge.
With loads of love, nurture and care, they may, in varying degrees, become open to the ministrations of the Holy Spirit. That which is impossible for man, will pose no obstacle to our Creator.
Part of the Got Questions answer does help our understanding:
In John 9, Jesus heals a man born blind. After the physical healing, the man goes through a process of receiving his spiritual sight. At first, the man is ignorant; he knows Jesus’ name but not where to find Him (John 9:11–12). Later, he arrives at the truth that Jesus is a prophet (verse 17) and that He is from God (verse 33). Then, in speaking to Jesus, the man admits his ignorance and his need for the Savior. Jesus asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” and the man replies, “Who is he, sir? . . . Tell me so that I may believe in him” (verses 35–36). Finally, having seen the light spiritually, he says, “Lord, I believe” and worships Jesus (verse 38). – end quote
We should always remind ourselves (as parents) that children are a heritage from the LORD. They are offspring; a reward from him (Psalm 127:3, NIV).
Parents have the responsibility of care towards them because, from birth, for a number of years, they are both psychologically and physiologically incapable of fending for themselves. Some may require full care all their lives.
That in itself does not infer or confirm innocence. None of us can be said to be innocent. That is the legacy left us within the ‘sin nature.’
We must, therefore, accept that the mentally challenged (within which the range can go from barely cognizant of the world around them to levels that allow for limited self-sufficiency) may, by virtue of the limits imposed upon those capacities, have little understanding of their ‘sin nature.’ Consequently, they may possess little or no knowledge of how to control their impulses and desires, let alone seeking a relationship with God through the Grace offered by Jesus.
This is a complex area but no more so than the mystery of how God understands each and all of that which he has created. Ultimately, are we not ALL in the hand of God? The God who knows every feather upon the sparrow and can number the hairs on our heads.
From Gotquestions.org: Because we are born sinners, we must experience a second, spiritual birth. We are born once into Adam’s family and are sinners by nature. When we are born-again, we are born into God’s family and are given the nature of Christ. – Source
I would suggest a further small change to the Got Questions answer:
‘Because we are born with the sin nature, the Gospel teaches us that the only way through which we can overcome it is to seek, through Jesus, the experience of a second, spiritual birth. We are born once into Adam’s family and are sinners by nature. When we are born again, we are born into God’s family and are given the nature of Christ.
The word “heritage” comes from the root meaning “to get or inherit.” It is an honor and responsibility to be entrusted with a little one from God. We stand beside them to shepherd their growth and development, to advocate for them, and provide for their needs while they’re in our care.
The different denominations hold very conflicting views on the matters I have tried to explain, particularly in relation to what they term, Original Sin.’ Some doctrines hold that the seed or ‘sin nature’ is carried over as the ‘original’ sin of Adam and that child baptism is the only way to get rid of it.
Steve Shirley writing in https://jesusalive.cc/ques156.htm makes these points:
There are those who teach that Jesus did not “inherit original sin” from Adam (it was not “passed on”) because God was His Father, and not man. However, the lineage given in Luke clearly shows a “direct” bloodline link to the “seed” of Adam and Eve (again see: Gen 3:15). Therefore, if there “was” a “sin-gene,” it would have to have been “passed on” to Jesus through His mother Mary. According to the “Total Depravity” view, this would mean that Jesus was “born a sinner.” However, we know that Jesus was sinless (2 Cor 5:21)(1 Pet 2:22)(1 Jn 3:5), so this is IMPOSSIBLE.
This also shows us that “temptation” is not sin. Temptations become sin when we give “birth” to them (James 1:14-15)(Mt 5:27-28). In other words, when we take those outward temptations and internalize them, they turn to sin. The difference between us and Jesus is that, at some point, we ALL give “birth” to temptation. Jesus did not. – Source
From World Vision: “What Does the Bible Say About Children?”
Children need nurture and guidance.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.—Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
When planting vines and some bushes, gardeners will attach them to a framework, like a pole or trellis, to keep them from spreading out of control. Kids need solid structure to keep their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth on track too. This means we are present in their lives, supporting their growth and development, and leading by our godly example. – Source
What can we glean from this? I suggest it is this. We, being responsible for the nurture of our children, are the ones who will be required to answer at Judgment. That includes teaching them of Jesus. (I failed miserably, so preoccupied was I with ‘self.’)
GOD SOLVED THIS DILEMMA OF CHOOSING THE ETERNAL PASCHAL LAMB AS ONLY HE COULD:
He chose a pure, young virgin (in Mary).
She was not only chaste as God knew her to be but she was a faithful, worshipful believer of her God. Some accounts give an estimation of her age at the time of her betrothal as around twelve. It seems (at least to me) unclear as to how long there was between the betrothal and her marriage to Joseph ben Heli.
Reckoned in earthly lineage, her line is assumed to run back through the House of David as did that of her earthly husband Joseph. His lineage went back through King David, to Boaz and Ruth and beyond to the Canaanite prostitute Rahab who gave shelter to the Hebrew spies in Jericho and, subsequently, on being spared from destruction, married a Hebrew.
Both Mathew and Luke give the genealogy but differ according to the way in which lineage was counted. And it was always counted through the male line. Never through the maternal.
The Paschal (Passover) Lamb of God, was gestated through the power of the Holy Spirit of God. As such, it was and remains a mystery.
From Gotquestions.org: “What is the paschal mystery?”
The word ‘paschal’ comes from the Hebrew word for Passover (pesach)—the event in Exodus where the death angel passed over all the homes that had the blood of a lamb on the lintel and door posts but brought death to the firstborn in all houses that did not have the blood. The word mystery refers to something that cannot be known except by grace and revelation—a person cannot figure it out on his own (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).
Together, the terms are used to refer to the suffering, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and exaltation of Jesus Christ.
In faith, having understood this to be so, we accept it as fact. This, of course, ‘sticks in the craw’ of fallen man and, in denial, is he thus blinded and can never accept its validity. Unless he invokes the name of Jesus and begs for that grace, he will always remain locked within denial of all aspects of faith.
The Holy Spirit of the Living God covered Mary.
What does that mean?
It means, obviously, that God was able (as Creator of all things) to have Mary conceive and that, therefore, by divine act, she was impregnated with child.
It is written in God’s Holy Word that this occurred. In faith, reverently and joyfully we accept that it is so.
Did this act of divine intervention occur whilst she lay asleep?
Or, was it such a supernatural intervention that it was simply expressed to happen through the will of God and so took place?
The Bible does NOT go into any further detail except to say that she became obviously pregnant, displaying her carriage as is the way with all women.
Her betrothed husband, Joseph (son of Heli), thinking she had played the harlot, intended to put her aside by a decree of divorce. Instead, God commanded that he take her as his wife, sending an angel to him so that, as he slept, he was told what he must do.
From the divine nature of this union, a child was born, untainted by the fallen bloodline of Adam through which all natural men are, as a result, born into sin.
Jesus was with the Father at the Beginning of Creation; therefore, within the Godhead, He is before Adam. Luke, in tracing His genealogy, takes it back to Adam. However, it is surely obvious that we are looking at Adam ‘before’ the temptation and Fall. Adam, as he was meant to be. And Jesus is also Adam reborn, for He is ‘the risen first-born of the Dead.’
Joseph had no concourse with Mary prior to her delivery. Other children of the seed of Adam were delivered of Mary later as she lay with her husband in the manner of our flesh. The Bible records of those children.
As referenced earlier, the circumstances of the birth of Jesus will always remain a major point of contention with the ‘World.’
Blinded by the conceit of his own intellectualism, fallen man, locked into denial, can never concede this to be so nor could it have been so. In the terms of the World, that is because it obviates the ‘truth’ of the laws of science and genetics.
Actually, geneticists concede that man does possess a common ancestor. However, they remain at odds as to who, from where, and in what time-period he existed. It is postulated that that ancestor could have existed as long as 350,000 years ago. I wouldn’t suggest we do any more than note the genetic ‘investigation’ and move on.
WHO JESUS WASN’T:
Jesus of Nazareth was not, then, the natural son of the Carpenter, Joseph ben Heli, but was gestated/created as described through an action of divine intervention and passed into the world through flesh in the way all men (other than how Adam himself was) are born.
He was expelled from the womb of the vessel God chose in the form of the body of Mary. And He was born as man into the world of mankind as is any man. The one, great and significant difference is that He was God!
Almighty God (I am who I am), righteous, just, yet loving, compassionate and merciful, chose Himself to become the means by which perfect redemption (the reconciliation of man) would ultimately be accomplished.
God had tasked Himself to restore the fallen nature of man.
He did this as (being born into humankind) sinless; He continued to live a life of sinlessness. He did not have the ‘sin nature’ but, of His divinity, He quite obviously knew it for what it was, and thus knew what temptation represented when confronted by Satan as he attempted to bribe Jesus with the blandishments of the World.
Our Redeemer God had to confront sin in the form of temptation. This, in order that He might ready Himself to become the ultimate sacrifice of redemptive love. Jesus, the Christ of God is, in Himself, the vessel of atonement for the remission of all sin, however manifested, within the soul of man.
However, in all respects of His physical birth delivery, Jesus, though divine, was physically born a human child to a human mother.
Are you following our Scriptural journey?
OTHER THINGS OF THE MYSTERY OF CREATION WHICH WE KNOW NOT:
Do you understand the seasons? Or why the seas are contained? Explain to me the logical existence of the Rainbow! No – not what it consists of in terms of colour and rays of refracted light, but why it should exist within the atmosphere at all?
My friends, some things are so immense as to be totally beyond man’s puny understanding. You are left with a choice. Reject it out of hand (many do) or, as a person of faith, accept that it happened so as stated within Scripture.
REJECTING THE TRUTH DOES NOT INVALIDATE OUR FAITH:
Abjure this truth (as the world sneeringly does), and you instantly invalidate yourself, locking out your soul from reconciliation with God, through denial. You do not, however, invalidate our faith.
Our faith is built on His spilt blood of righteousness.
We stand or fall upon the divine aspects of the nature of Jesus. Faith is our belief, beyond doubt, that Jesus is God and that, through His sacrificial giving of Himself, reconciliation of fallen man is now not only possible, but accomplished fact.
TO BE CONTINUED:
CHURCHIANITY: Part III-C (The Early Years of Jesus)
May God Bless you all.