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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

"They were naked, both the man and his wife, and were not ashamed".

They were no more abashed than children in their nudity; for, though adults in stature, yet, being in the infancy of nature, they stood before the Elohim, and in the face of one another, without embarrassment.

This fact was not accidentally recorded.

As we shall see herealter, it is a clue, as it were, given to enable us to understand the nature of the transgression.

While in the state of good unmixed with evil, were Adam and Eve mortal or immortal?

This is a question which presents itself to many who study the Mosaic account of the origin of things.

It is an interesting question, and worthy of all attention.

Some hastily reply, they were mortal; that is, if they had not sinned they would nevertheless have died.

It is probable they would after a long time, if no further change had been operated upon their nature.

But the Tree of Life seems to have been provided for the purpose of this change being effected, through the eating of its fruit, if they had proved themselves worthy of the favour.

The animal nature will sooner or later dissolve.

It was not constituted so as to continue in life for ever, independent of any further modification.

We may admit, therefore, the corruptibility, and consequent mortality, of their nature, without saying that they were mortal.

The inherent tendency of their nature to death would have been arrested; and they would have been changed as Enoch and Elijah were; and as they of whom Paul says, "We shall not all die" The "we" here indicated possess an animal, and therefore corruptible nature; and, if not "changed," would surely die: but inasmuch as they are to "be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet," though corruptible, they are not mortal.

In this sense, therefore, I say, that in their novitiate, Adam and his betrothed had a nature capable of corruption, but were not subject to death, or mortal.

The penalty was "dying thou shalt die"; that is, "You shall not be permitted to eat of the Tree of Life in arrest of dissolution; but the inherent tendency of your animal nature shall take its course, and return you to the dust whence you originally came".

Mortality was in disobedience as the wages of sin, and not a necessity.

But, if they were not mortal in their novitiate, it is also true that they were not immortal.

To say that immortals were expelled from the garden of Eden, that they might live for ever by eating of the tree, is absurd.

The truth is in few words, man was created with a nature endued with certain susceptibilities.

He was capable of death; and capable of endless life; but, whether he should merge into mortality; or, by a physical change be clothed with immortality, was predicated on his choosing to do good or evil.

Capacity must not be confounded with impletion.

A vessel may be capable of holding a pint of fluid; but it does not therefore follow that there is a pint in it, or any at all.