Robert Roberts on Adam's Mortality

From Reconciling understandings of Scripture and Science
Jump to navigationJump to search

Robert Roberts' views appear to have changed over his lifetime.

Bruce (talk)

1869: "no evidence of a change" in Adam's nature

“But there is a misapprehension lurking under the proposition which we are combating. Our friend imagines there was a change in the nature of Adam when he became disobedient. There is no evidence of this whatever, and the presumption and evidence are entirely the contrary way. There was a change in Adam’s relation to his maker, but not in the nature of his organization. What are the facts? He was formed from the dust a “living soul,” or natural body. His mental constitution gave him moral relation to God. He was given a law to observe: the law he disobeyed, and sentence was passed that he (the disobedient living soul) should return to mother earth.

"What was the difference between his position before disobedience and his position after? Simply this; that in the one case he was a living soul or natural body in probation for immortality; and in the other, he was a living soul or natural body under sentence of death. He was a living soul or natural body in both cases. The phrase “sin in the flesh” is metonymical. It is not expressive of a literal element or principle pervading the physical organization. Literally, sin is disobedience, or the act of rebellion."

— Robert Roberts, The relation of Jesus to the Law of Sin and Death, The Christadelphian Volume 6 page 85 (1869)

1898: "presumably not immortal"

Man’s State After Creation

General Principle. —He was a living soul or natural body of life, maintained in being by the action of the air through the lungs like us, but unlike us, a “very good” form of that mode of being, and unsubjected to death.

Uncertain Detail. —Would he have died if left alone, unchanged, in that state if he had not sinned? Who can tell? The testimony is that death came by sin: but the fact also is that, not being a spiritual body, he was presumably not immortal. Are we going to insist upon an opinion on a point like this, about which no man can be certain? We shall act unwarrantably if we do so. It is sufficient if a man believe that Adam after creation was a very good form of flesh and blood, untainted by curse. The uncertain points must be left to private judgment.

— Robert Roberts, True Principles and Uncertain Details; or, The Danger of Going Too Far in our Demands on Fellow-Believers,
The Christadelphian, 1898; republished by C. C. Walker 1923, p. 248 and J Carter 1955