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INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Question. Had Adam a knowledge of death by observation of it in the lower creation?
Answer. There is nothing to show that he had. But whether he had or had not witnessed death, he probably understood to some extent what God meant when he used the words, “Dying, thou shalt die.” He was not deceived. Tho Adam’s experience was limited, he undoubtedly understood what it meant to have life, and had some idea of what it would mean to lose his life and to be resolved into the elements from which he had been created.
Question. In Gen. 1:28 and similar passages the word “replenish” seems to indicate that the earth had been peopled before Adam’s creation. Is there anything in the claim of a pre-Adamic race? or that some of the more barbarous nations are not Adam’s offspring?
Answer. You would find it of advantage when such questions come up to consult Young’s Concordance and show the advocate of any erroneous view the definitions there given, and also other passages in which the word in question occurs. If “replenish” be the meaning here, it should fit the other instances in which the word is used; but it does not. The proper rendering of the word is fill.—See margin.
The Scriptures are positive in the declaration that Adam was the first human being. In 1 Cor. 15:45,47, he is called the first man. In Acts 17:26, it is stated that God “made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth;” in other words, all the peoples of the earth are descended from Adam, no matter how different in color, stature, intelligence, etc., they may now be.
Furthermore, the entire testimony of the Bible must needs be set aside to give color to such a theory: for the Scriptures record that present races had their start in father Noah and that only his descendants survived the flood. And in the New Testament our Lord and several of the Apostles corroborate this record—of Noah and the flood. The negro race is supposed to be descended from Ham, whose special degradation is mentioned in Gen. 9:22,25.
Question. Please briefly give us your views on Rom. 2:14,15.
Answer. These verses assure us that some heathen people do some good things in harmony with the
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divine law, and that to that extent their conduct meets with the divine approval. But the Apostle clearly
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shows that neither the Jews nor the heathen do all things in harmony with the divine law, nor can they, because of inherited imperfections. Hence, neither the Jews nor the heathen would be justified under the Law. God, however, has provided through Christ a justification, under the terms of the New Covenant, which excuses and forgives whatever is not wilful sin, on the part of both Jews and heathen, who receive Christ, and through his merit. Thus it is that God will justify the heathen through faith—not all the heathen, but all the heathen who will exercise the faith when the knowledge of Christ shall reach them, in God’s due time.
Question. I was surprised to note your advice to any who might be drafted into the army. Would not your advice seem like compromising to avoid trouble?
Answer. It is proper to avoid trouble in a proper manner. It is proper to compromise when no principle is involved, as in the case mentioned. Notice that there is no command in the Scriptures against military service. Obedience to a draft would remind us of our Lord’s words, “If any man compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” The government may compel marching or drilling, but cannot compel you to kill the foe. You need not be a good marksman.
Question. You suggested in a recent WATCH TOWER that, if drafted and in the army, we need not shoot to kill. Would such a course be right? Would it not be fraudulent?
Answer. No; it would be quite right to shoot, not to kill. You forget, perhaps, our provisos, which were that we explain our conscientious scruples against war, and seek to be excused; if not excused, that we seek non-combatant positions, as nurses, etc.; but if compelled to go a mile or many miles as a soldier, we still need not kill anybody.
Question. Will we know each other in the Kingdom?
Answer. When the Apostle says (1 Cor. 13:12), “Now we see through a glass darkly [i.e., as through an obscured glass], but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know, even as I also am known,” he undoubtedly included in the future knowledge the recognition of friends, even as he realized himself already known of God. If we are to be partakers of “the divine nature” and inheritors of all things, we must expect to be acquainted with the beings who form a considerable part of our heritage for a thousand years as well as with our associates in that inheritance.
Question. Were not the Psalms inspired specially for song service; and is it not therefore improper to use other hymns?
Answer. David’s thought in writing the Psalms may have been merely their use in song; but the Lord’s object was to give prophecy to assist his people of a later period. See what Peter says on this subject. (1 Pet. 1:10-12.) Other prophecies of the Old Testament are written in poetical form, particularly Isaiah and Job. Our Lord quoted from both, as did also his apostles, and showed that in some of the Psalms David typified the Lord.
While some of the Psalms seem to us very suitable for singing, others we regard as less appropriate than hymns of praise of modern date. When the apostles said that we should sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19), he recognized a distinction between the three kinds of songs and commended all. We believe it is safe to follow his instructions, remembering the instruction, “Be not wise above what is written.” However, on this subject we believe each one should follow his own conscience. Doubtless the Lord accepts the offering of song, whatever its form, so long as it comes from the heart,—just as with prose prayers; for hymns and psalms should be regarded as union or concert prayers.
— August 1, 1898 —