FACTS AND FABLES.
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.
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.
"Nothing has been learnt from any man,” and,
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
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).
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
26. Finally, note that when God had finished all His
creation, including male and female man, He pronounced all
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
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
 “I oppose not rational to spiritual, for spiritual is most rational,” Whichcote.