“I’ve decided not to continue reporting at Bob’s Corner on our family reading of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man. My reasons are: my not having received a reply to my request to https://www.dake.com/ for permission to quote from God’s Plan for Man; the amount of time that preparing the reports takes; and the lack of response by readers to the reports.”
This morning I finished reading another selection assigned in Religion and Theology, Reading Plan 4 of Encyclopedia Britannica’s The Great Ideas Program—Books I-III of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. This was at least my third encounter with Paradise Lost, my having studied it or part of it in grade XIII or first year of university (in 1955-56 or 56-57, I can’t remember which) and my having read it when working through The Great Ideas Program sometime after being given The Great Books of the Western World in 1967. The Great Ideas Program considers the whole poem in Reading Plan 7, Imaginative Literature II.
Of Milton and Paradise Lost, Encyclopedia Britannica says: “John Milton stands next to Shaekespeare among English poets; his writings and his influence are a very important part of the history of English literature, culture, and libertarian thought. He is best known for his long epic poem Paradise Lost, in which his ‘grand style’ is used with superb power; its characterization of Satan is one of the supreme achievements of world literature.” (Encyclopedia Britannica: The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1974, volume 12, page 204)
Books I-III of Paradise Lost concern Satan’s plan to bring about the fall of man and are a good companion to our recent family reading about man’s fall in Finis Jennings Dake ‘s God’s Plan for Man (https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/the-dispensation-of-innocence-the-fall/). In Religion and Theology Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain introduce Paradise Lost; consider how Satan, God, and the Son are pictured in Books I-III of it; and discuss five questions about the three books. Here I’ll sketch Milton’s life, summarize what Adler and Cain say about Paradise Lost, and pose the five questions which they discuss.
John Milton was born in London, England, on December 9, 1608. His father, who had been disinherited by his father when he converted to Anglicanism, was a successful scrivener. Milton was educated at home and at St. Paul’s School. He took to studies with a zeal, saying later, “From my twelfth year I scarcely went to bed before midnight, which was the first cause of injury to my eyes.” At the age of seventeen he entered Cambridge, where he worked diligently and by the time that he received his MA degree in 1632 had won recognition and esteem. Abandoning his original plan of entering the service of the Church, he spent the next six years with his father, studying classical literature, history, mathematics, and music. Then he spent fifteen months travelling in France and Italy, where he was widely received. He returned to England in 1639, settled in a house in London, and began taking in students.
In 1642 Milton, who was 33, married Mary Powell, the 17-year-old daughter of a Royalist squire. After a few weeks she returned home, but two years later she came back. They had three daughters and a son died in infancy before she died in childbirth in 1654. In the year that she left him Milton wrote The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce asserting that marriage being a “private matter” could be dissolved in cases of incompatibility. Because he published it without a license, proceedings were instituted against him. He responded with Areopagitica, a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, published the following year without a license.
After his wife’s death in 1654 Milton’s personal life was lonely. Totally blind at the time of her death, he was dependent on his daughters, who resented and neglected him. In 1656 he married Katherine Woodcock, who died in childbirth less than a year later. Then in 1663 he married the young and amiable Elizabeth Minshull. She brightened his life, which was passed in quiet study tempered with music and the company of friends. He died from complications of the gout on November 8, 1674, and was buried in St. Giles Cripplegate Church in London.
Milton was a prolific writer. While still at Cambridge he wrote “On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” and while with his father he wrote the companion poems “L’Allegro” and “Il Penseroso”; the masques Arcades and Comus; and an elegy for a college friend who had drowned in a shipwreck, “Lycidas.” (He wrote many other works while at Cambridge and with his father, but these are the most famous.) He returned to England with plans for an Arthurian epic, but for 1641-60 (a period including the English Civil Wars and government by the Commonwealth under Cromwell and ending with the restoration of the monarchy) devoted himself almost wholly to writing pamphlets in the cause of religious and civil liberty. He became totally blind in the winter of 1651-52, the great poem still unwritten.
With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 Milton was arrested and heavily fined for his writing on behalf of Cromwell and the Commonwealth, but he was released after a short while. At the age of fifty-two, after nineteen years of stormy political activity, he turned again to the studious and literary pursuits of his youth. To this last period of his life belong his greatest poetic achievements—Paradise Lost (1667), Paradise Regained (1671), and Samson Agonistes (1671)—and a miscellany of scholarly and historical works.
Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit
Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast
Brought Death into the World, and all our woe,
With loss of Eden…
(Encyclopedia Britannica: Great Books of the Western World, 1952, volume 32, page 93)
Thus Milton introduces Paradise Lost, in which he tells the story of Genesis 3. In doing so he imagines scenes that are not in Genesis. Like Paul, he presents the story of the fall in light of the crucifixion of Jesus, which he sees as atonement for and redemption from man’s original sin. He also introduces many pagan and mythological allusions that are out of date with regard to the story in Genesis. Moreover he introduces a Devil (Satan) and demons that are not in the Biblical account; those devils have definite names and characters and add colour to his story. [Adler and Cain note that you must read the whole poem to get the full sweep of Milton’s rendition of the story of Genesis 3, but they say that their discussion of its first three books will help get you started. I’ll consider the whole poem when doing Reading Plan 7 of The Great Ideas Program.]
The first three books of Paradise Lost describe the journey of Satan from the depths of Hell, where he has been cast for leading a rebellion against God, to Earth to tempt God’s new creation, man. Satan dominates this part of the poem, having more speeches and being displayed more forcefully than any other character. His opening speech to Beelzebub sets the stage:
“…What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me.…” (ibid., pages 95-96)
Satan’s mood is that he has just lost a battle and the war is to be continued. He gathers his chiefs together and proposes that they carry on the fight. He urges that they do it by guile rather than by war and they agree. He then offers to go alone on a mission to discover the new world and subvert man and they bow to his will.
Satan finds the gates of Hell guarded by a woman-serpent and a shapeless monster. The monster challenges Satan, who prepares to give it battle. However the woman-serpent tells Satan that the monster is their son, she being Sin and the monster being Death. Satan pleads with them to let him through the gates of Hell, promising them freedom and prosperity on Earth. They let him through and he begins the hard and risky journey to Earth.
From His throne the Father and the Son see the bliss of Adam and Eve in Paradise and Satan speeding to put an end to it. In their conversation the Father distinguishes Satan’s purposeful sin through self-temptation, which is unforgivable, and Adam’s sin through being tempted, which is forgivable. The Son urges mercy for man, but the Father answers that man cannot by his own power redeem himself from sin and so is utterly condemned unless someone suffers vicariously for him. The Son offers to do so.
The Father hails the Son as the new Adam and the redeemer of the world, proclaiming:
“And be thyself man among men on Earth,
Made flesh, when time shall be, of virgin seed,
By wondrous birth; be thou in Adam’s room
The head of all mankind, though Adam’s son.
As in him perish all men, so in thee,
As from a second root, shall be restored
As many as are restored, without thee none.”
(Ibid., page 141)
The Father goes on to say that the Son will be judged and die, will rise (and with him his ransomed brothers), and will rule over the universe until the final judgment. A hosanna by the heavenly host of angels follows.
Questions about the Reading
1. Is Satan like Prometheus? (See https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/1-aeschyluss-prometheus-bound/)
2. Is Satan’s fall analogous to Adam’s?
3. Why are sin and death linked in Milton and in the Bible?
4. Why is the portrait of Satan so much more vivid than that of God and the Son?
5. What is Milton’s portrait of Christ in this poem?
In our after-breakfast study of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949) this morning, my family and I finished considering Supplement Five, which follows Lessons Nine and Ten. Lesson Nine had been on the dispensation of innocence (Genesis 2:15-3:21), and Lesson Ten had been on providence, God’s plan for the needs of man. In Lesson Nine Dake identified six steps in the fall of man—doubt concerning God’s Word, addition to and misquoting God’s Word, contradiction of God’s Word, misinterpretation of God’s Word, temptation to transgress God’s Word, and transgression of God’s Word (see https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/the-dispensation-of-innocence-the-fall/). Here he claims that man must take steps that are just the opposite of them to be redeemed. He also discusses ten miscellaneous Bible questions.
This report consists of brief summaries of what Dake says about the six steps that he claims man must take to be redeemed. Most of what he says about them explains how they relate to Christians having their prayers about their needs answered and thus provides a good followup to his presentation on providence in Lesson Ten. The comments in square brackets are ones made in our family discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.
1. Doubt Concerning God’s Word
God made very plain that the absolute condition of answered prayer is: “Let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8).
If this is God’s condition of answered prayer, children of God should make up their mind before they pray that they are going to stick to what they ask of God until they get an answer. Then their prayers will be answered. But many times when the answer doesn’t come immediately, they decide that it is not the will of God or that it might not have been best for them to receive an answer. A few failures like this will soon make them form a habit that causes failure in almost every prayer that is prayed.
Since it was Satan (through the serpent) who raised the first doubt in man (Genesis 3:1), we should recognize that all doubts are of the devil. To out an end to doubting, we should resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). “The way to answered prayer then becomes clear, and it is the duty of each individual to see that he masters all doubt and demons and cooperates with God’s Word with all his heart” (Dake, page 181).
2. Addition to and Misquoting God’s Word
Until all doubt is cleansed from the believer’s life, there will be some addition to and misquoting of God’s Word. However if immediate answers to all prayers are his goal, he must never add one thing to God’s Word or take one thing from it. He must learn to take every statement of God as it is written and practice it to the letter.
3. Contradiction of God’s Word
Not only must one never doubt, add to, or take away from God’s Word, but if he wants God to honour him enough to answer prayer he must never try to make God a liar by contradicting His Word. One can afford to contradict theories of men concerning God’s Word, but he cannot afford to contradict what is plainly written. “Our motto should be, ‘The Bible States It; I Believe It; That Settles It’ (Dake, page 182).
4. Misinterpretation of God’s Word
The next step in retracing our steps from the Fall is to stop misinterpreting God’s Word. It is impossible to misinterpret what is written if one will take at face value what is plainly written. If God’s Word is taken just as it is, a solid unshakeable faith will be created.
5. Temptation to Transgress God’s Word
If one transgresses the Word of God concerning open sin, he becomes an open sinner and incurs the death penalty. Likewise if one doubts the Word of God regarding His promises, he cannot get the things for which he prays. [Dake quotes several Bible passages that express the law of faith and several that describe Jesus’ rebuking the disciples when they doubted.]
There are only two times when Christ marvelled at men. The first time he marvelled at the faith of a centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), and the second time he marvelled at the unbelief of his hometown people (Mark 6:1-6). “Evidently, the greatest mystery to Him is that men do not believe Him after having more than His Word, as the centurion did” (Dake, page 184).
6. Transgression of God’s Word
[Dake repeats the idea of the first two sentences of 5 above.] “(Faith) is the all-inclusive condition of answered prayer.… All one has to do is to get into Christ and meditate on the Word of God until his heart becomes full of His promises, and then ask in faith nothing wavering, and it shall be done” (Dake, page 184).
This morning my family and I finished our study of “God’s free and abundant promises for the needs of man,” the third of the six parts in Lesson 10: Providence: God’s Plan for the Needs of Man of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we’re studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time.
Dake opens by stating that his purpose is “to disprove the false and nonsensical theories of many modern churches that it is God’s will for His children to suffer disease, sickness, poverty, and lack every good thing in life so as to keep them humble and continue saved to the end.” He claims that instead “God created man that he might be prosperous, healthy, successful, happy, wise, and blessed with all the good things that he could wish for in this life” (Dake, page 167-68).
Conceding that some people backslide when they prosper (because of their putting their prosperity ahead of God?), Dake observes that they would backslide anyway and cautions, “So if a few do backslide when God blesses them with prosperity, let us not lose faith in the abundant love and providence of God” and “Stay saved and use prosperity wisely to help others and God will bless you in greater abundance” (Dake, page 168).
Next Dake gives almost four pages of Bible passages in support of his claim that it is God’s will for man to be blessed. Below I’ll give a few of those texts. (I’ll give them from the KJV, which Dake quotes from, and italicise the phrases which Dake italicises.) He closes by asserting, “The only thing that will hinder you from getting what you want is your unbelief” (Dake, page 172), and appealing to believers to cooperate with God to receive blessings from Him.
“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law…turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.…thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Josh. 1:7-8). [Dake also quotes 1 Sam. 2:7-8; 1 Ki. 2:3-4; 1 Chron. 29:12; Ezra 8:22; Job 36:11; Ps. 1:1-3.]
Those who teach that the Christians should be poor, sickly, and suffering all their days would naturally argue that these passages are in the Old Testament and refer to those under the Law of Moses, but we reply, we are under a better covenant and have greater and better promises in the New Testament; so is these things were promised under the Old Covenant, they are for us in a greater way under the New Covenant.
Apart from this argument there are plain promises in the New Testament concerning prosperity: “Ask, and it shall be given you…For every one that asketh receiveth…If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Mt. 7:7-11). [Dake also quotes Mt. 6:31-33; Mk. 11:22-14; Jn. 15:7, 16; 2 Cor. 9:6-8; Phil. 4:19; 3 Jn. 2.]
2. HEALING AND HEALTH
“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26). [Dake also quotes parts of Ps. 91; Ps. 103:3-5; Isa. 53:4-5; Isa. 58:8.]
The same truth of healing and health is found in the New Testament. “He cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Mt. 8:16-17). [Dake also quotes Jas. 5:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3 Jn. 2.]
Christ came “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:9) and to deliver “all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). He came to do this not only for his three years of ministry here but forever. He commissioned the disciples to carry on His work (Mt. 28:19-20; etc.), and they did so until they lost faith (Acts 5:16; etc.).
3. WANTS AND NEEDS
The common theory is that only the bare necessities will be met by God and that they are hard to get, but the Bible teaches that all man’s wants are abundantly provided for and that such supplies are easy to get by faith: “Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mk. 11:22-24). [Dake also quotes Mk. 9:23; Jn. 14:12-14; 1 Jn. 5:14-15.]
The doctrine of no want on the part of God’s people was also taught in the Old Testament. David said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1). [Dake also quotes Ps. 34:9-10; 37:4; 84:11.]
4. OTHER BENEFITS
Besides prosperity, healing, healing and health, and anything that one wants in general, God has specified many scores of benefits that men in can in this life and the life to come. [Dake lists 35 benefits, starting with salvation and the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and gives references to Bible passages affirming them. I read the list and suggested that the rest of our family read it, but we didn’t discuss it.]
THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL
Recognizing that what Dake advocates is what is commonly called “the prosperity gospel” or “the health and wealth gospel,” I read what I could find about the prosperity gospel on the Internet and shared in our family Bible reading time one of the articles that I found. The article, “What Is the Prosperity Gospel?” by Andrew Spencer, appears at https://tifwe.org/what-is-the-prosperity-gospel/. It was intended to be the first in a three-part series, but I couldn’t locate the other parts of the series.
Spencer opens the article by identifying two errors that Christians make about money, one disparaging wealth as inherently evil and contrary to God’s plan and the other claiming that faithfulness to God necessarily results in material prosperity (the prosperity gospel). He classes the former as an error because wealth creation and proper stewardship are actually consistent with human flourishing and the latter as one because it doesn’t provide an adequate basis for understanding why faithful Christians sometimes suffer or why the unrighteous sometimes prosper.
Next Spencer gives a brief history of the prosperity gospel, attributing its initial rise to the New Thought movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and its revival after World War II to the apparent successes of some evangelists who sought miraculous healings and supernatural financial blessings.
Next Spencer identifies three basic characteristics of the prosperity gospel: faith, wealth, and health. He defines the faith of prosperity gospel adherents as “positive thinking and expectation of God’s material blessings” and observes that according to them material wealth and good health are guaranteed results of faith.
Spencer closes by pointing out these implications of the prosperity gospel:
– It implies that the poor are poor because they are spiritually deficient. However their poverty may be caused by the sin of others and structural evils. [We observed that it also implies that the sick are sick because they are spiritually deficient. However Paul told the Corinthians that he had been given a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him humble (2 Corinthians 12:7) and the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).]
– It overemphasizes the importance of temporal wealth. While the Bible records examples of faithful rich men like Abraham, it also records examples of people who were faithful and poor or sick like Paul. [See Matthew 6:24, Matthew 19:21-24, Luke 12:15-21, and 1 Timothy 6:6-12.]
– It distracts individuals from understanding the natural laws that govern economic reality. “Expecting a future supernatural blessing to make a balloon payment on a mortgage may tempt someone to ignore the financial realities of an excessively large loan-to-value-ratio on a house. This could result in real, naturally caused financial ruin.”
This morning my family and I considered the first two of the six parts in Lesson 10: Providence: God’s Plan for the Needs of Man of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we’re studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. After defining providence the lesson considers the sphere of divine providence, the numerous promises made in it for the needs of man, its proof, its ultimate purpose and final end, and how we should interpret it. This post considers the definition of providence and the fivefold sphere of divine providence.
I. The Definition of Providence
Webster’s New College Dictionary defines “providence” as “1. a looking to, or preparation for, the future; 2. skill or wisdom in management; 3. the care or benevolent guidance of God or nature” (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, fifth edition – 2014). This post concerns the third of those definitions, which Dake defines as “the care and government [God] exercises over all things that He has created, in order that they may accomplish the ends for which they were created” (Dake, page 166). He observes that it may be considered universal in reference to all things, special in reference to moral beings, and particular in reference to converted beings. With regard to converted beings, he describes providence as “that agency of God through Christ by the Holy Spirit, by which through holy angels, redeemed men, and even demons and unsaved men, He makes all things work together for good to them that love the Lord” (Ibid.).
II. The Fivefold Sphere of Divine Providence
1. The Material Universe.
2. The Vegetable and Plant World.
3. The Animal World.
4. The Rational World of Spirit-beings.
5. The Rational World of Flesh-beings, Man.
Except for 4, Dake gives references to numerous Bible passage to illustrate these. If you like me to give some of them, ask and I’ll do so.
This morning my family and I considered the final two of the nine points identified by Finis Jennings Dake on the dispensation of innocence in Lesson 9: The Dispensation of Innocence (Genesis 2:15-3:21) of his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we’re studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. In it Dake considers the curse on the serpent, Satan, the woman, the man, and the earth and God’s provision of redemption.
14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:14-21, KJV; all Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise specified)
VIII. The Judgment on God upon Fallen Man
1. The Curse upon the Serpent (Gen. 3:14-15)
The serpent was cursed because he was first to yield to Satan to cause the fall of man. He was to go upon his belly and eat dust all of his days (Isa. 65:25). [Dake argues that the serpent was not the devil but merely a creature of the field which the devil used as a tool.]
2. The Curse upon Satan (Gen. 3:15)
Although the serpent is the one addressed, Satan is also addressed. Thus “thy seed” refers not only to natural snakes but also to ungodly men who are children of the devil. There is a natural enmity both between men and natural serpents and between the godly and the ungodly.
“Her seed” refers both to all the natural descendants of Eve and to one in particular—Christ. This is the first prophecy of the coming of Christ who would defeat Satan, the invisible person addressed. Christ bruised his head on Calvary and will put him into the Lake of Fire in the future.
3. The Curse upon the Woman (Gen. 3:16)
Before the Fall the woman was equal with the man and childbirth was to be a pleasure without pain, but now she must be ruled over by man and have multiplied sorrow and conception.
4. The Curse upon the Man (Gen. 3:17-19)
Before the Fall Adam had worked in a beautiful and fruitful garden, but now he be driven from the garden (Gen. 3:23) and have to till undeveloped land and struggle with thorns and thistles.
5. The Curse upon the Earth (Gen. 3:17-19)
The ground would produce thorns, thistles, weeds, briars, and be more or less a wilderness. It will remain cursed until the Millenium, when the desert will again blossom like a rose (Isa. 35).
Dake also demonstrates under the heading “Man’s Penalty Discussed” that the penalty was not spiritual or physical death, but eternal death.
(1) God told Adam, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” The Hebrew word for “day” is yom, meaning a literal day when not qualified by such words as “of vengeance” (Prov. 6:36). The phrase “in the day” appears 84 times and never means 1000 years as some teach. Thus Adam died the very day he ate of the tree. Since he did not die physically that day (he was 930 years old when he died), the death penalty could not have been physical death and so had to be either spiritual or eternal death.
(2) If physical death would have been the only penalty, then the penalty for sin would be paid at physical death and all who died physically would be free from sin and go immediately to Heaven. This would not be a penalty, but a reward. That the penalty goes beyond physical death is clear from the fact that some who die physically go to Heaven and some go to Hell at death.
(3) The penalty could not be spiritual death only because spiritual death is the state into which all sinners go when they become sinful. This would free man from the guilt of sin after he has committed many sins to pay the penalty for committing the one sin. They would then go to Heaven and no one would go to Hell. The penalty must be something beyond physical and spiritual death, for some go to Heaven and some go to Hell after going through these deaths. [I don’t follow Dake’s reasoning here and thus think that the penalty could be spiritual death. However I also think that if a person remains spiritually dead he or she will suffer eternal death.]
(4) The penalty, therefore, must be eternal (or endless) death or separation from God. Some object to eternal death and torment on the grounds that it is too long in proportion to the time spent committing sin in this life. However since God has made a way for all men to escape Hell and it is left up to each individual whether he accepts it or not, there is no room for any accusation against God.
(5) Such statements as Ezek. 18:4; Mt. 7:13-14; Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:7-8 [Dake quotes the passages] and many others prove that the future death that is to be experienced is eternal death. All men outside of Christ are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-9), yet they are physically alive. All men are now eternally dead should they continue this way. Redemption alone will cancel the death penalty. Should a man die physically without redemption he remains forever separated from God, and this is the future death referred to
IX. God’s Provision of Redemption
Immediately after the fall of man God promised a Redeemer and revealed that He would be born of a woman without natural generation and that He would defeat Satan and restore man’s dominion. This was taught man by the prophecy of Gen. 3:15 and demonstrated in type by the shedding of the blood of animals and the clothing of man with the skins of the animals (Gen. 3:21). From then to the first coming of Christ, man shed blood as a token of his faith in the coming Redeemer, who was to shed His own blood to atone for sin and restore man’s dominion (Rev. 5:8-10; Dake gives several more references).
This morning my family and I considered the seventh of the nine points identified by Finis Jennings Dake on the dispensation of innocence in Lesson 9: The Dispensation of Innocence (Genesis 2:15-3:21) of his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we’re studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. In it Dake expounds on the main facts of the account of the fall of man.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
(Genesis 3:1-13, KJV; all Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless specified otherwise)
The above is a simple record of the fall of man, including what made him fall. Without a clear faith in the fall of man, we cannot have a clear faith in the redemption of man. One must believe in the Fall, or he cannot be saved. Jesus Christ did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mt. 9:13). If man never had a fall he could never be redeemed. Likewise, if a man does not believe he is a sinner he cannot be saved. He must repent to be saved (Mk. 1:4).
The whole temptation centred around this tree and its fruit. Why Adam and Eve happened to go near the forbidden fruit is not stated, and so we have to believe that they were curious as to why God would not permit them to eat of this tree. At any rate, they were at this tree together, as is clear from “she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked” (italicized by Dake). It is true that the serpent talked with the woman, but that does not prove that the man was not present. There is no statement that Adam was not present, so we naturally conclude that he was. [On the contrary, I’d conclude that the record’s not stating that Adam was present indicates that he wasn’t present. However he may have been.]
1. DOUBT CONCERNING GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:1). Satan raised a doubt whether God would permit man to eat of every tree of the Garden. His opposition to God’s word accounts for our having so many false theories of the Bible. Any theory that teaches that God does not mean what He says and that changes what it plainly says is satanic. All theories that teach that the Bible is hard to understand or that one man’s interpretation is as good as another is satanic.
2. ADDITION TO AND MISQUOTING GOD’S WORD (Gen, 3:2-3), The woman answered the doubt raised by the serpent by adding to God’s Word the statement “neither shall ye touch it” (see Genesis 2:16-17).
3. CONTRADICTION OF GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:4). Next the serpent directly contradicts what God said in Genesis 2:17, “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Both statements cannot be true. One must choose to believe one or another. God still says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23; Dake also refers to Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 3:17; Galatians 5:19-21; Galatians 6:8; and 2 Timothy 2:12). This (and the other passages Dake refers to) was spoken to Christians and thus applies to all men as did Genesis 2:17.
4. MISINTERPRETATION OF GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:5). Satan’s second statement to to woman is the basis of many false doctrines saying that all we need to do is to look to the God in us and use the divine power of which we are a part. [In talking about 5, Dake observes that the desire to be like God is in itself not sin, but that it should be in the divine way demonstrated by Christ, not in the selfish way demonstrated by Lucifer and by Adam and Eve.]
5. TEMPTATION TO TRANSGRESS GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:6). When Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise,” she was tempted to sin. The appeal consists of three main lines of temptation, the only three with which man has to deal, “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). These are the three lines of temptation Christ went through in the wilderness and overcame, as recorded in Matthew 4:1-11 [Dake explains how they are in Dake, pages 156-57]. If man overcomes these three lines of temptation, he is an overcomer of Satan, the flesh, and the world.
6. TRANSGRESSION OF GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:6). Adam and Eve went through the same routine of temptation until actual sin was committed as many do today. James says, “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).
7. THE RESULTS OF TRANSGRESSION OF GOD’S WORD (Gen. 3:7-19). In the Fall man lost spiritual, physical, and eternal life and gained instead the opposite—spiritual, physical, and eternal death or separation from God, and was cut off from the purpose for which he was created. [Dake lists 16 things that man lost in the Fall and what he received instead.]
The last two mornings my family and I considered the first six of the nine points identified by Finis Jennings Dake on the dispensation of innocence in Lesson 9: The Dispensation of Innocence (Genesis 2:15-3:21) of his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we’re studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. Dake opens the lesson by listing the nine main points that should be identified in connection with each dispensation in order to gain a general knowledge of the period. Then he discusses each of the points for the dispensation of innocence.
I. Definition of Innocence
The word “innocence” is defined by Merriam-Webster as “freedom from guilt or sin through being unacquainted with evil; blamelessness.” As applied to a dispensation it means that the period “was an age of sinlessness, innocence, harmlessness, and freedom from guilt or sin on the part of the man who was responsible to rule for God in [the] period” (Dake, page 150).
II. The Length of the Dispensation of Innocence
The length of the Dispensation of Innocence is unknown, but it unlikely to be longer than six days. [Dake gives eight reasons for claiming this, the first two being that Satan doesn’t let man alone for very long today and that the records of the creation and fall of man continue without a break between them indicating that they were in close succession.]
The forbidden fruit was not intercourse between the man and his wife, as many teach, because that was necessary if they were going to multiply and replenish the earth as they were commanded to do (Genesis 1:26-28).
III. The Favorable Beginning of Man in Innocence (Gen. 1:26-30; 2:8-24)
“Man and woman fresh from the hand of the Creator had physical, spiritual, and eternal life; communion and fellowship with God and all creatures in the new creation; dominion over that creation; the revealed will of God and His law and the knowledge of penalties and rewards.… These and other favorable conditions made it entirely and easily possible for man to have been true to his trust and rule the Earth for God forever.” (Dake, pages 152-53)
IV. The Test—Man on Probation (Gen. 2:16-17)
Man, being created a free moral agent, needed to be tested to see whether he would remain true to God before being placed in the eternal responsibility that God had in mind for him. The test was that he should not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If he had proved true, he could have lived forever physically and spiritually. Even after the Fall man could have lived forever physically if he had eaten of the Tree of Life. The reason God drove him out of the Garden was so that he wouldn’t (Gen. 2:22-24).
V. The Purpose of God in This Dispensation
The purpose of God in testing man while in a state of innocence was to see whether or not man would obey Him, so that he could be trusted in an eternal responsibility in connection with the Earth and God’s universal kingdom. God planned that if man fell he should do so before he ate of the Tree of Life so that he would not have to live forever in a sinful state. God also intended that if man fell he should do it before he had offspring so that his children could be born into the world on the same level with himself in order that God could have mercy upon all alike. [We observed that the last two claims were based on speculation rather than of Scripture.]
VI. The Means of God in Accomplishing this Purpose
The restriction of man from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the temptations offered by the devil were the means of God in testing man in his ambitions to become like God (Gen. 3:1-5).
I’ve just finished reading selections from another work by Sir Isaac Newton, Optics, guided by what Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff say about it in Foundations of Science and Mathematics, Reading Plan 3 of Encyclopedia Britannica’s The Great Ideas Program (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960). In the Reading Plan Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff (I) compare the methods used by Newton in Mathematical Principles and Optics; (II) examine the law of reflection and the law of refraction; (III) consider the corpuscular and wave theories of light; and (IV) pose and discuss three questions. Here I’ll compare the methods used by Newton (summarizes I), outline the parts of Optics assigned for reading in Foundations of Science and Mathematics (includes II and III), compare the corpuscular and wave theories of light (summarizes III), and pose the questions asked in IV. For a sketch of Newton’s life see https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/12-newtons-mathematical-principles-of-natural-philosophy/.
The Methods Used by Newton
Both of the works of Newton considered in my readings from Great Books of the Western World, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/12-newtons-mathematical-principles-of-natural-philosophy/) and Optics, follow the pattern of Euclid’s Elements (https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/1-2-euclids-elements/): they begin with definitions, axioms, and postulates and then they present a series of propositions. However they differ considerably from each other in method. Mathematical Principles is a work in mathematical physics, characterized by the mathematical development of certain tentative formulations. Optics is a work in experimental physics, characterized by the experimental development of certain general principles.
All three works employ axioms, but they are of different kinds. The axioms in Elements are self-evident truths that are universally applicable. The axioms in Mathematical Principles state the very general Laws of Motion, which form the basis of the entire science of dynamics. The axioms in Optics just state what was generally accepted in the science of optics around the year 1700.
All three works present propositions, but again they are of different kinds. The propositions in Elements and Mathematical Principles state conclusions that are to be demonstrated from general principles. Optics state principles that have been found as the result of making experiments and observations and drawing general conclusions from them by induction.
[The above is based on part I of Adler and Wolff’s guide to Optics (Foundations of Science and Mathematics, pages 181-184).]
This is an outline of the parts of Optics assigned for reading in Foundations of Science and Mathematics: Book I, Part I, Definitions, Axioms, Propositions 1-2; Book III, Part I, Queries 27-31.DEFINITIONS
Newton defines eight terms. If I use a term which you don’t know the meaning of, please ask me its meaning and if it’s a term which Newton defines, I’ll give you his definition of it.AXIOMS
Newton gives eight axioms. I’ll give here just the three which Adler and Wolff explain or refer to in Part II of their guide to Optics (Foundations of Science and Mathematics, pages 184-186).
II. The angle of reflexion is equal to the angle of incidence.
IV. Refraction out of the rarer medium into the denser is made towards the perpendicular; that is, so that the angle of refraction be less than the angle of incidence.
V. The sine of incidence is either accurately or very nearly in a given ratio to the sign of refraction.
Newton presents 39 propositions but only the first two are assigned for reading in Foundations of Science and Mathematics. They are:
1. Lights which differ in colour, differ also in degrees of refrangibility. [Under Definitions, Newton defines refrangibility of rays of light as “their disposition to be refracted or turned out of their way in passing out of one transparent body or medium into another” (Optics in Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952, volume 34, page 379).]
2. The light of the Sun consists of rays differently refrangible.
In conjunction with presenting the 39 propositions, Newton makes 38 observations. After making them, he planned to repeat most of them and to make more to determine how rays of light are bent in their passage by bodies. However he was interrupted and instead proposed some queries to assist others in their search. The last five of his 31 queries are assigned for reading in Foundations of Science and Mathematics. They are:
27. Are not all hypotheses erroneous which have hitherto been invented for explaining the phenomena of light, by new modifications of the rays?
28. Are not all hypotheses erroneous in which light is supposed to consist in pressure or motion, propagated through a liquid fluid?
29. Are not the rays of light very small bodies emitted from shining substances?
30. Are not gross bodies and light convertible into one another, and may not bodies receive much of their activity from the particles of light which enter their composition?
31. Have not the small particles of bodies certain powers, virtues, or forces, by which they act at a distance, not only upon the rays of light for reflecting, refracting, and inflecting them, but also upon one another for producing a great part of the phenomena of Nature?
Adler and Wolff consider these queries in their III, which I summarize below.
The Corpuscular and Wave Theories of Light
In Query 29 (see above) Newton refers to the corpuscular theory of light, adding, “For such bodies will pass through uniform mediums in rights lines without bending into the shadow, which is the nature of the rays of light.” Adler and Wolff observe that this characteristic of light is easily explained by the corpuscular theory of light but gives some difficulty to its great rival, the wave theory of light, which will be encountered in the next reading in this series.
One consequence of the corpuscular theory is that light travels more swiftly in a denser than in a rarer medium. However according to the wave theory light travels more rapidly in a rarer medium than in a denser one. In 1850 Foucault performed an experiment which showed that the speed of light is greater in air than in water, thus supporting the wave theory. However since then additional phenomena have been discovered which cannot be reconciled with the wave theory. Thus the nature of light is still in doubt.
Questions about the Reading
1. What is the method employed by Newton to prove the axioms in the Optics?
2. How does the law of refraction explain the bent appearance of a stick in water?
3. Are there any practical consequences of the different refrangibility [capability of being refracted] of light rays of different color?
In our after-breakfast study of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949) this morning, my family and I finished considering Supplement Four, which follows Lessons Seven and Eight. Lesson Seven had been on the rebellion and overthrow of the first social system (the one ruled over by the angel Lucifer), and Lesson Eight had been on the re-creation of the Earth. Supplement Four considers three ways in which saints add to the glory of Lucifer, whom we call Satan) and ten miscellaneous Bible questions.
This report consists of brief summaries of what Dake says about the three ways, supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.
I. Saints Add to Satan’s Glory by Giving in to Him
1. Saints glorify Satan through unbelief. Most believers discourage others from expecting too much from God, telling them to be satisfied what the Heavenly Father sees fit to give. Some even argue that miracles, healings, gifts, and supernatural and inspirational powers were for the apostles only and not for us today. We must believe the Gospel’s promises of such benefits if we are going to attain them. [We agreed with Dake.]
2. Saints glorify Satan through fear of sickness, pain, trouble, and death. Satan gets people to think about sickness, failure, etc.; their thinking about such conditions leads them to talk about them; and soon the conditions materialize. [We agreed only partly with Dake, our agreeing that thinking about sin produces sin but not agreeing that thinking about sickness produces sickness.] Think right thoughts and you will have no acts that you will regret. [We agreed with Dake on this.]
3. Saints glorify Satan by giving in to him in times of temptation. No sin is committed until lust hath conceived and sin is finished (James 1:13-15). People under attack from demons should resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9). [We agreed with Dake.]
4. Saints glorify Satan by permitting him to keep them sick. No child of God has to be sick or stay sick (Psalms 91; Matthew 8:16-17; Matthew 21:21-22; John 15:7; Romans 8:11.). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil and give life more abundantly, and those who do not permit Him to complete this work in them are causing the work of Christ to be a failure in them (John 10:10; 1 John 3:8; Acts 10:38) and thus glorify Satan more than they glorify God. [Although we agreed with Dake that Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, we didn’t agree with him that the passages which he cited show that those who don’t ask for and receive healing are causing the work of Christ to be a failure in them.]
5. Saints glorify Satan by permitting him to rob them of the wonderful material benefits promised them by God. If God has promised and provided material blessings for all men, particularly His own children, then all believers can have these blessings. If they do not receive them, it is not God’s fault but their fault for permitting themselves to be defeated by Satan. The following passages prove that natural blessings are promised every child of God: Psalms 1:3; Proverbs 3:9-10; Malachi 3:10-11; Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6; 3 John 2. [Although we agreed with Dake that God promises and provides material blessings for believers, we felt that Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane suggests that we should qualify our requests to God with the provision that He provide just what is in accordance with His will.]
II. Saints Add to Satan’s Glory by Advertising His Works and Magnifying His Power
1. Saints add to Satan’s glory by being living testimonies of the power of Satan. If sickness, sin, defeat, poverty, and failure in life are the works of the devil, then when these things are manifest in the life in the lives of people who claim to be Christians, they glorify Satan more than God. [See my comment on I, 4, above.]
2. Saints add to the glory of Satan by being his tools at times. In Matthew 16:21-23 Christ rebuked Peter for allowing Satan to influence him to try and stop Jesus from going to the cross. Every time a believer takes part in any division, strife, malice, hatred, or wrongdoing, he is being used by satanic powers.
3. Saints add to Satan’s glory when they propagate false doctrines. Any doctrine that is in the least out of harmony with revealed truth should not be tolerated in the life of a child of God. [Although we agreed with Dake on this, we observed that genuine Christians may disagree on what the Bible reveals, noting that Dake himself held some unorthodox beliefs.]
III. Saints Add to Satan’s Glory by Failing God in Life and Work
1. Every excuse for unbelief and every argument that throws any reflection on God’s will for the best good of all creation is helping Satan keep men in unbelief and bondage to sin, sickness, poverty, and failure in life.
2. All failure in trusting God in times of temptation, sickness, trial, and suffering and all insinuations that God is responsible for these things rob God of man’s respect and add to Satan’s glory.
3. Unconcern for lost souls, failure to live and walk in the Spirit and thus live victorious over sin, disease, and failure in life, and disobedience to God in not coveting the best gifts and the endowment of power for service, all help build up the kingdom of Satan.
Hindrances to Answered Prayer and How to Overcome Them
The hindrances to answered prayer are Satan, demons, fallen angels, doubt, unbelief, and false doctrines among Christians concerning God and answered prayer.
https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/gods-plan-for-man-the-doctrine-of-satan/, 11, tells how to overcome Satan. Review it and doggedly carry out the instructions given in Scripture on this point. Above all, be careful that you have Scripture to prove every part of your faith and every detail of doctrine, and then it will be truth that will set free.