18. In the study of God's messages to women, I wish you to approach His Book as though, like a pagan, you had never seen it before, and knew nothing about it. Will you endeavour to cultivate this spirit of fresh inquiry? When we have heard, over and over again, with unquestioning credulity an explanation of a thing, even though the explanation be grotesque, it comes back to us with all the force of natural fact. The mention of the thing recalls to the imagination that explanation, and no other seems right. If there be an error in the explanation, we arrive at a point where we can detect it only by a real effort; the false view comes to mind first, and hinders acceptance of the true. The rabbis told their Jewish scholars that there were many fish in the sea hundreds of miles long; and that Adam was so tall, before he fell, that his head touched the firmament. After hearing such tales, oft repeated as assured facts, it is not likely that the Jewish youth could hear the story of Jonah without imagining a fish such as never existed; nor could he hear the name "Adam" without thinking of a great giant; and he would probably suppose that the Bible said these things. They seemed natural conclusions from the Scripture, but they were wildest fables. Let us get false pictures out of mind, by weighing the evidence.

19. Therefore, we will accept no views as authoritative simply because that book, so valued among the Jews, the Talmud, teaches them,--not even because Christian tradition teaches them. We will test matters by the general trend of Bible teaching itself. The famous Earl of Chatham said, once, in a great speech in the House of Commons, "I confess that I am apt to distrust the refinements of learning, because I have seen the ablest and most learned men equally liable to deceive themselves, and to mislead others." Let us maintain this attitude of mind.

20. Savonarola wrought a revolution in the morals and manners of Florence, and he did it by adhering, and teaching the people to adhere, to two underlying principles upon which he based the chapters of his remarkable book, The Triumph of the Cross. These were, "Nothing has been learnt from any man,” and, "We accept no authority save our own experience and reason." Dr. Campbell Morgan has recently voiced the same spirit in his words, "Do interpret our Bible by what the Bible says, and not by what men say that it says." We will take these as our basic principles in Bible study.

21. But does not Savonarola's use of the word "reason" savor of scepticism? Yes, as to the worth of "traditions of men;" and it savors also of the "glorious liberty of the children of God," to study the Bible for themselves, under the immediate tuition of the Holy Spirit. Savonarola further explains himself: "Not that faith, the spontaneous gift of God, can be acquired through reason, but because reason is a useful weapon with which to combat unbelievers, or open to them the way of salvation, to arouse the lukewarm, and give strength to the faithful" (1 Peter 3:15).[4] But while not bowing to any human authority as final, yet we will glean what information we can from writers; we will quote them to corroborate our statements, especially if we might have expected the one quoted to have taken an opposite view, had it been tenable at all; and make use of their works in any manner useful to our purpose:  But always remembering that we bow to no authority as final but the Word of God, as illuminated by the Spirit. We will endeavor to "interpret the Bible by what the Bible says, not by what men say that it says."

22. Some will say that it is not worth our while to expend any time on the early chapters of Genesis, but that we should treat them as mere "folklore." We are convinced that they are history, and to women very valuable history. But even if we did not believe this, yet women could not afford to ignore them, for the sufferings of women from a false interpretation of their teachings, have been no unreality, and that false interpretation must be resisted.

23. Please read Genesis 1:26-28, and with it, Genesis 5:2. We find that at the first the name "Adam" belonged equally to male and female. God said: "Let US make man [or "Adam,"--it is the same word] in our likeness;" and the story proceeds,--"In the image of God made HE HIM, male and female made HE THEM." Please note that in the second clause, man is spoken of as both singular and plural. What does this mean?

24. The theory has been held among the Jews, at least as far back as the days of Jesus Christ, as shown by the writings of Philo, that man was, at the beginning, male and female in one person. This belief will also be found among other people besides the Jews. Next, after the androgynous state, it is supposed that human beings were born in pairs, male and female twins. Then there would have existed a male and female Cain; a male and female Abel, etc.; and thus Cain secured his wife. If this be correct, it lends force to the Lord's words in Matthew 19:4 (R. V.), concerning the sanctity of marriage,—and we must remember He was speaking to men who were doubtless familiar with the theory: "Have, ye not read, that He Who made [no "them" in the original] from the beginning made them male and female." The rabbis did not seem to recognize an "and" in the expression in Genesis, "male and female," but read "male-female." Dr. Hershon, in his book, Talmudic Miscellany, says: "There is a notion among the rabbis that Adam was possessed originally of a bi-sexual organism, and this conclusion they draw from Genesis 1:27, where it is said, 'God created man in His own image; male-female created He them."' This view is not unscientific, but the reverse, as those know who are acquainted with such books as The Evolution of Sex by Geddes and Thomson. We will presently continue this topic.

25. Five blessings were pronounced on them by God. Genesis 1:28.
(1) "Be fruitful:" (2) "Multiply ye:" (3, "Replenish the earth:" (4) "Subdue It:" (5) "Have dominion over . . . fish . . . fowl . . . and every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Dr. Harper in his Hebrew Method and Manual renders this literally, bringing out the plural form of each verb, so we will reproduce his translation: "Be ye fruitful and multiply ye, and fill ye the earth, and subdue ye her [the word for earth is feminine]; and have ye dominion," etc. The plural is clearly expressed in each form. As the Word distinctly says that these blessings were pronounced upon male and female, we observe the perfect equality of the sexes by God's original creation.

26. Finally, note that when God had finished all His creation, including male and female man, He pronounced all "very good."

Additional Notes on Paragraph 24.

The word androgynous means the same as the adjective hermaphrodite, though it applies properly to the human species. Hermaphroditism is defined by Webster as "the union of the two sexes in the same individual." The following quotations from Geddes and Thomson may be useful to those who have not seen this work, or similar ones: "Some observations by Laulaine as to the embryonic organs are of interest. . . . He distinguishes in birds and mammals three stages in the individual development of the reproductive organs: (1) Germiparity, (2) Hermaphroditism, (3) Differentiated Unisexuality" (p. 35). "One view of the matter is that hermaphroditism was the primitive state among multicellular animals" (p. 84). "Minot in his Theory of Genoblasts, or sexual elements, ventures little further than regarding male and female as derivatives of primitive hermaphroditism in two opposite directions" (p. 127).

The following is from Darwin, whose Darwinian theory we do not believe; but that theory could never have gained acceptance anywhere had he not based it upon well-founded facts: "It has long been known that in the vertebrate kingdom one sex bears rudiments of various accessory parts, appertaining to the reproductive system, which properly belongs to the opposite sex; and it has now been ascertained that at a very early embryonic period both sexes possess true male and female glands." It is well to note, as we proceed, how the Scriptures in no way contradict scientific facts such as these, discovered only thousands of years afterwards by human research. However, in all this which we have said regarding the physical, or animal, form of mankind, as having resemblance to God, whose image man bears, we need to remember that God Himself is pure Spirit.


[4] “I oppose not rational to spiritual, for spiritual is most rational,” Whichcote.

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