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QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
CONCERNING THE EPISTLE OF JAMES
Question. I notice in the columns of the WATCH TOWER frequent reference to the Epistle of James, applying its statements to Christian believers, the same as the other New Testament writings. In the October ’96 issue you called attention to the remarkable fulfilment before our eyes of a prophecy by James (5:1-8); and his exhortation, “Be patient, brethren,” you applied to Christian believers. Also frequently you have quoted James 1:18, applying it to Christians. In the TOWER discussing Faith and Prayer Cures, etc., you cited James 5:14-16, claiming that it referred to Christians seriously sick as a chastisement for sins of omission or commission, and that the prayer should be for the forgiveness of confessed sins and the restoration of the transgressor to divine favor, as in verse 16;—and that the word “if” of verse 15 would be better translated though, etc. And finally, in the January 1 issue (page 7), discussing the true Israel, you apply James 1:1, as meaning the true Jews residing in various parts of the civilized world, to whom the gospel was preached “first” (Acts 3:26) and who believed—many of them at and shortly after Pentecost.
Now my question is, How can we harmonize these teachings with an article which appeared in the WATCH TOWER, representing the Epistle of James as addressed not to Christians but to Jews?
Answer. You are correct in supposing that the two positions are antagonistic and not harmonizable. The article to which you refer last, as being in conflict with our general presentations, was not an editorial article. Nevertheless, the Editor does not claim that his negligence in the matter is a sufficient excuse. It is a part of his duty to be critical, and to exclude whatever his judgment does not approve; and he now promises that by the Lord’s grace he will hereafter be still more careful of his stewardship,—to the end that ZION’S WATCH TOWER may ever speak as an oracle of God.
Now that this matter is corrected a weight is lifted from our conscience. Had the article in question been an editorial we would have corrected it long ago.
WAS MOTHER EVE RANSOMED?
Question. If it be true, as you seem to prove that the Scriptures teach, that the man Christ Jesus gave himself as the ransom or corresponding price for Adam, and an ungenerated race in his loins for the ungenerated race of Adam in his loins at the time of his disobedience and which since born has shared, naturally, every feature of his sentence,—how would it be with Mother Eve? She was not in Adam at the time of transgression, but was a separate individual accountable for her own deeds and the first to participate in the sin of disobedience and hence a sharer before Adam in the sentence of death. How was her ransom paid? Or was it ever paid, and will she ever be released from the sentence?
Answer. Originally Eve was a part of Adam’s body; and after she was separated from him physically she was not separated from him actually; but, as he expressed it, she was still bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh;—they were not twain but one flesh. Adam was not given to Eve to be her help-mate, but she was given to him to be a help meet (suitable) for him. Not that this signified a right on Adam’s part to treat Eve as a slave, or to be cruel, or abusive, or even unkind to her, as some of the fallen race today seem to suppose. Quite the contrary, Adam was a true man and loved, planned for and cared for Eve “as his own body.” In the divine division care had been taken to adapt each to the other’s necessities. Adam, the stronger physically and mentally, enjoyed having just such a helper as needed his care and love. Eve, as the “weaker vessel,” possessed delicacy of mind and manner as well as of physique which drew toward her the tenderest and noblest sentiments of her royal husband, whose pleasure it was to grant her a share in all the blessings and honors of his realm, as a queen.
But they were not twain, but one; and of that one Adam was the head. In dealing with them God did not recognize them separately but as one. Adam represented not only his own individual person but also his wife’s person; for she was “his own body,” “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh;”—she was part of himself.
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Hence it is written, “All in Adam die:” Eve’s identity was so linked with Adam’s that, even if she had not sinned in partaking of the forbidden fruit, she would as part of him, as his partner, have shared his penalty—death. And, similarly, although Eve was “first in the transgression,” her act did not imperil the race; because the race was not in her, but in Adam. (1 Cor. 15:22.) It was “By one man’s disobedience” that “sin entered into the world and death by [as the result of] sin.”—Rom. 5:12-19.
Moreover, it is evident that, the accountability being in Adam as the head of the family, Eve’s deception and transgression need not necessarily have brought death even upon herself: she probably would have been disciplined, however. The principle of this judgment is shown by the Lord under the Law Covenant, which, formulated by the same Creator, upheld the same arrangement and recognized the husband and father as in every way the head and representative of the family. For instance, if any man vowed a vow to the Lord he could not escape it; but if a wife or a daughter vowed a vow unto the Lord it was void except as ratified by the husband or father. (Num. 30:2,5,8,13,16.) In other words, God has not only established the family relationship by the laws of nature in adapting the man to be the head of the family and the woman to be his helper, but he clearly expressed this in the Law given to Israel which is “honorable,” “just” and “good.”—Rom. 7:12.
Looking along these strongly marked lines of divine providence we can see clearly that Eve had recognition of the Lord only as a part of Adam: hence we can see that this not only involved her in his transgression and its penalty, death, but also that the redemption of Adam implied also the redemption of Eve as a part of Adam, “his body.” This close relationship between the husband and wife in the divine order is clearly stated by the Apostle Paul.—Eph. 5:22-33.
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Now many marriages are not after the divine pattern. The fall of the race, mentally, morally and physically, has affected its various members, some more and some less. All men and all women have lost more or less of the noble character possessed by the first perfectly adapted pair. It is not surprising, therefore, that there are now many mis-fit unions and consequent unhappiness; especially when the divine order of adaptability is not recognized. Following the divine model a man should avoid marrying a woman who is his superior as much as one who is his inferior: because in the inferior he could not have real fellowship, she being unequal as a mate in life; while with the superior there would be a continual conflict because of his incapacity to fill properly the office of husband or head to a superior. Likewise a woman should guard specially against marrying a man her inferior, whom she could not look up to as a fit husband and head of the family according to the divine command, “Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and he is the savior of the body.”—Eph. 5:22,23.
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As man has sunken into barbarism, woman sank with him; as man has risen in civilization, woman has risen with him; so also have man’s subjects, the lower animals, and the vegetable kingdom, been cursed or blessed by his degradation or elevation. It is the operation of the divine law. The schools and seminaries for girls are the provisions of the men as truly as are the schools for boys. The gradual changing of the laws, adapting them to the advancing civilization, takes cognizance of woman’s rising conditions as well as of man’s, yet these laws are framed by men.
Human laws, based upon divine laws, take cognizance of the husband and father as the representative not only of his wife, who is a part of himself, but also of his minor children, in matters of general welfare, just as it was with Israel, and just as it was before sin entered Eden. The endeavor in modern times to destroy the unity of the family and to make husband and wife twain instead of one is in harmony with other delusions after which mankind are clutching in the hope of thereby remedying present evils. The mothers who have no influence upon their husbands and sons, and the sisters who have no influence upon their brothers and fathers, thereby prove themselves unworthy of a franchise. Those who have such an influence have no need of a franchise, are better in harmony with the Lord’s order, and generally realize it.
— February 1, 1897 —