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by Dr. John Thomas
IMMORTALITY, RELIGION, "CLERGY" AND "LAITY"
The Lord God, having arranged the foundation of the world, in the sentences pronounced upon the transgressors; and commenced the preparation of the kingdom in the stipulations of the New Law: decreed their expulsion from the garden eastward in Eden.
As the Serpent had said, the man had become "as the gods," or Elohim, "to know good and evil," in consequence of eating the forbidden fruit.
He had known good only in his novitiate; but, being lifted up with pride, he had fallen into the condemnation of the devil, and had come to know also by experience both sorrow and pain.
This was a great calamity; but not so great as that a greater might not befall him, even in Paradise.
He had eaten of one tree, and his presumption might cause him to take and eat of the other.
The consequences of this eating, superadded to the first, would have rendered his situation still more deplorable than it was.
He now knew evil, as the Elohim had clone before him; but there was hope of deliverance from it when he should return to the dust whence he was taken; but if he should eat of the Tree of the Lives, this hope would be cut off; and he would live for ever the subject of weeping, sorrow, and pain.
The misery of being the subject of evil for ever is forcibly expressed by Job.
When reduced to the deepest distress, he laments, saying, "When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: so that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity," But, if Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, when reduced to such misery as this he would have sought death, but it would have fled from him.
He would have found no deliverance.
This, however, would not have been the worst of it.
He would have involved all his posterity in the same interminable calamity.
The earth would at length have become crowded with undying generations of sensual and devilish men; who, if any virtue should survive, would afflict it a hundredfold.
For this awful consummation there would have been no remedy but to break up the fountains of the abyss, and cast them down under chains of intense darkness, after the example of the terrene angels who sinned under a previous constitution of the globe.
But the repetition of the scenes of the pre-Adamic drama was not designed, although men were afterwards permitted to imitate it with a similar result; with this difference, however, that the race of the angels was one generation, while that of men was composed of many.
To prevent, then, the replenishment of the earth with undying sinners, the Lord God said to Elohim, "Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth his hand and take also of the Tree of the Lives, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man".
This is a very remarkable passage of scripture.
It contains much in a few words.
The points which stand out, shining like two stars, are the acknowledgement that man had become as the gods by his offence; and, secondly, that he was expelled from Paradise that he might not live for ever.
I shall defer to another place the exposition of the things suggested by his god-likeness in evil; and after what has already been said on the tree of lives, but little need be added respecting his exclusion from present immortality.