Arthur Custance - The Seed of the Woman - the spiritual imperative of the virgin birth

Steven Avery

Administrator
This is planned to get its own section.
New material is here, taking from Facebook, mostly the Patristics for Protestants discussion (about three threads), also on PureBible:

Facebook - Pure Bible
https://www.facebook.com/groups/purebible/permalink/2110166415741903/

Pure Bible Forum - this thread
https://www.purebibleforum.com/inde...piritual-imperative-of-the-virgin-birth.1048/

Apostolic Friends Forum
http://www.apostolicfriendsforum.com/showthread.php?t=54121


Facebook - Patristics for Protestants
Steven Avery initial review (tweaked a bit later)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/884609654958164/permalink/2106480662771051/

The virgin birth and the sinlessness of the Lord Jesus as our atoning sacrifice without blemish.

And I will review how I understand four general views, there may be more, e.g. I have not searched out gnostics. There may be hybrid views. And this may not get a lot of church writer attention, early, medieval, reformation or modern. Our helpful compatriots may be able to align early church writers to one or more of these, or greatly improve my layout.

==========

(A) The immaculate conception of Mary and her sinlessness, combined with the Holy Spirit parentage of Jesus meant that through the virgin birth there was no sin nature transference/inheritance.

(B) The virgin birth of Jesus was in the realm of a divine implant, with Mary, if you will, as a surrogate mother. Thus the non-sin element was built into his Messiah nature. In this case, Mary’s human egg-DNA and nature are bypassed, even while she is the chosen vessel.

(C) The sin-nature is passed through Adam and the “seed” of the man. Thus, the virgin birth negates that human propensity to sin. In modern times, this has been articulated very well in some writings by Arthur Custance (1910-1985) including “The Seed of the Woman” in his sometimes uneven Doorway Papers. Some iterations of this give Jesus a unique chromosomal count.


(D) The virgin birth did not have any direct effect on the nature of the Lord Jesus, it was mostly for prophetic fulfillment and Messianic narrative. Jesus was sinless by his goodness and effort, with perhaps a providential anointing put in the mix. Here we are more into the realm of the ebionites, and possibly adoptionists and nazarenes.
Facebook - Patristics for Protetants
https://www.facebook.com/groups/884609654958164/permalink/2112252922193825/?comment_id=2113278295424621&comment_tracking={"tn":"R"}

==========================

Thomas Aquinas on early writers
An addition to sinlessness of Messiah theories

===================

In the earlier thread, in the OP, I mentioned the immaculate conception as one of the doctrinal methods used to explain the sinlessness of Jesus.

While looking at Aquinas quoting Augustine and John of Damascus, Dionysius and Chrysostom.--

-- it seems that another idea should be mentioned as one of the historical doctrinal explanatory attempts. This has a lesser cleansing and sinlessness of Mary, in that it came forth at the conception or birth of Jesus.

Plus, it confirms something that I noticed in other studies, about the heavenly witnesses, and Luke 2:22, that we should happily use Thomas Aquinas as a window into earlier Latin and Greek writings.

Any help with the primary sections would be appreciated, your comments and thoughts as well.

And I'll try to fill out a bit of the referencing here and place it on an easier to read spot, with italics, etc.

Summa Theologiae: Volume 51, Our Lady: 3a. 27-30
By Thomas Aquinas
https://books.google.com/books?id=4WfcEZj5wa0C&pg=PA15

4. Sanctification has a double aspect. One is the sanctification of the whole nature when the whole of human nature is freed from all fault and punishment. This will take place in the resurrection—the other is personal sanctification. This is not transmitted to children by sexual generation since it is a matter of the soul not the flesh.20 Thus even if the parents of the blessed Virgin were cleansed from original sin, the blessed Virgin contracted it since she was conceived in sexual desire and the joining of husband and wife. Augustine says, All flesh born of intercourse is of sin. '21 p. 15

3- Furthermore, John of Damascus says that the Holy Spirit came upon the blessed Virgin, purifying her x before the conception of the Son of God. This must refer to the inflammation of sin since she never sinned, as Augustine says.5 Hence when she was sanctified in the womb she was not cleared of the inflammation of sin.- p. 15

(SA: the Augustine spot for "she never sinned" is *De natura et gratia, 36. PL 44, 267" and this seems to have some tension with the other Augustine quotes.

Song of Solomon 4:7 (AV) - scripture ref
Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.)

Reply: There are several opinions on this matter. Some7 say that in her sanctification in the womb the blessed Virgin was totally cleared of the inflammation. Others8 say that the inflammation making virtue difficult remained, but that inclining towards sin was removed. Others9 say that no inflammation remained that diminished the person regarding either the arduousncss of virtue or the case toward sin. What did remain was the diminishing of the nature so that it now was the cause of transmitting original sin to children. Others10 hold that in the first sanctification the inflammation remained in essence but was rendered harmless. Then, in the conception of the Son of God it was completely taken away. p. 17

... Now just as no one obtained physical immortality until after Christ had risen clothed in immortality, so it would seem wrong to say that in the case at hand his Virgin mother, or anyone else, was free from all inflammation of sin before Christ appeared in his sinless flesh. After all, the inflammation of sin is called the law of the flesh or of the members;13 p. 19

... 3. The Holy Spirit purified the blessed Virgin twice. The first was in preparation for the conception of Christ. She was not then cleared of the stain of sin or of the inflammation. She achieved rather a unity of purpose and was disengaged from many distracting things.16 Now even the angels are said to be purified even though there is no stain in diem, as Dionysius says.17 The Holy Spirit’s second purificaton of Mary was through the conception of Christ, for that was the work of the Holy Spirit. He cleared her completely of the inflammation then. p. 21

2. Also Augustine says on that text in Luke, A sword will pierce your own soul,1 that the blessed Virgin at the time of the death of Christ was stunned, as it were, into doubting.a But to doubt one’s faith is a sin. The blessed Virgin was not then kept from all sin.

3. Furthermore, on Matthew's text, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren are standing outside seeking thee,5 Chrysostom comments, It’s obvious that they did this out of vain glory* Or on John’s, They have no wine, he says that she wanted to do them a favour, and at the same time to make herself look good at her Son's expense. She thus perhaps succumbed to human weakness just as his brethren did when they said, Show yourself to the world He adds further on that she had not yet come to believe in him as she should* Sin is involved in all of this. The blessed Virgin then, was not kept from all sin.p. 21

ON THE OTHER hand Augustine says,
"When we are talking about sin I want absolutely—because of the honour due to Christ—to exclude the blessed Virgin from it. We know that she conceived and gave birth to him who had no sin. She received, therefore, abundance of grace to overcome sin in every way.9"

On p. 23 Aquinas gives his own view, quite different:
"We should therefore simply say that the blessed Virgin committed no actual sin, either mortal or venial. And what the Canticle says16 is fulfilled, You are wholly beautiful, my love, and without blemish."
Thomas Aquinas on early writers

An addition to sinlessness of Messiah theories

===================

In the earlier thread, in the OP, I mentioned the immaculate conception as one of the doctrinal methods used to explain the sinlessness of Jesus.

While looking at Aquinas quoting Augustine and John of Damascus, Dionysius and Chrysostom.--

-- it seems that another idea should be mentioned as one of the historical doctrinal explanatory attempts. This has a lesser cleansing and sinlessness of Mary, in that it came forth at the conception or birth of Jesus.

Plus, it confirms something that I noticed in other studies, about the heavenly witnesses, and Luke 2:22, that we should happily use Thomas Aquinas as a window into earlier Latin and Greek writings.

Any help with the primary sections would be appreciated, your comments and thoughts as well.

And I'll try to fill out a bit of the referencing here and place it on an easier to read spot, with italics, etc.
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Patristics for Protestants
https://www.facebook.com/groups/884...3325570317528740/?comment_id=3326212094131229

Ambroisiaster makes the virgin birth connection, to a reasonable degree:

Romans
https://books.google.com/books?id=sTmPBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA203

God Sent His Son in the Likeness of Sinful Flesh.
Ambrosiaster:

For whom was this impossible? For us of course, because we could not fulfill the commandment of the law, since we were subject to sin. For this reason God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. It is the likeness of our flesh because, although it is the same as ours is, it was sanctified in the womb and born without sin, neither did he sin in it. Therefore the womb of a virgin was chosen for the divine birth so that the divine flesh might differ from ours in its holiness. It is like ours in origin bur not in sinfulness. For this reason Paul says that it is similar to our flesh, since it is of the same substance, but it did not have the same birth, because the body of the Lord was not subject to sin. The Lord's flesh was sanctified by the Holy Spirit in order that he might be born in the same kind of body as Adam had before he sinned. By sending Christ God used sin to condemn sin.... For Christ was crucified by sin, which is Satan; hence sin sinned in the flesh of the Savior's body. In this way, God condemned sin in the flesh, in the very place where it sinned.

Commentary on Paul's Epistles.27 CSEL 81:255
=================

Later posts, Origen is especially similar to Ambrosiaster, writing in very different church environments.

What the Law Could Not Do.
Origen:
In my opinion, Paul here as in many other passages divides the law of Moses into two parts, one of which is carnal and the other spiritual. Moreover, he calls the literal observance of the law its carnal meaning... . This observance is both impossible and inadequate. For what is more impossible than observance of the sabbath according to the letter of the law? For it is commanded that no one should go outside his house, nor move away from his place, nor carry any burden.” When the Jews, who observed the letter of the law, realized that these things were impossible, they glossed the law in silly and ridiculous ways.. .. And what can I say about the system of sacrifices, which is now totally impossible to observe since there is no temple, no altar and no place to perform the sacrifices? In these instances I would say that the law is not just impossible or inadequate; it is dead!

Paul shows that Jesus had the likeness of sinful flesh but not that he had sinful flesh in the same way we do. For we are all human beings who have been born from the seed of a man who has slept with a woman, and we can only say, along with David, that: “In sin my mother conceived me." But the one who was born without contact with a male but only because the Holy Spirit came upon a virgin and covering her with the power of the Most High gave birth to a spotless body which had the same nature as ours but without the corruption of sin which is passed on by the act of conception.
Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. CER 3:294-96.
==================

His Flesh Not Illusory.
Tertullian:
If the Father “sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh" it must not be said that the flesh in which he appeared was illusory.... The Son was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh in order to redeem our sinful flesh by a like substance, even a fleshly one, which bore a resemblance to sinful flesh although it was itself free from sin.
Against Marcion 5-I4-21
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Arthur Custance (1910-1985)

“The Seed of the Woman”.
https://custance.org/Library/SOTW/Index.html

THE VIRGIN BIRTH AND THE INCARNATION


And i wrote up the Wikipedia section.

Seed of the Woman
Writing on the virgin birth, The Seed of the Woman, Custance explains the necessity of the virgin birth for the Messiah to be sinless. Custance asserts that the sin nature or the propensity to sin (in Hebraic writings the yetzer hara) is passed through the male line genetically, starting from the first Adam, thus allowing a full human genetic complement through Mary. This understanding of male transmission of the sin nature is one alternative to two other theories that consider the virgin birth as intrinsically connected to the sinless nature of the Messiah, necessary for the atoning sacrifice. One is the Roman Catholic conception of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Another has the virgin birth as a divine implantation in which Mary did not contribute genetically.

The viewpoint expounded by Custance is popular in Christian evangelical circles, although usually given without the type of in depth exposition supplied by Custance. Apologist Matt Slick of CARM expresses this position in Why wasn't Jesus born with original sin?. Robert L. and Charles W. Asbell studied directly with Arthur Custance and write of these ideas in Scripture Research[permanent dead link] Vol 4, No 5, 2007. Charles Spurgeon, in writing "He is born of a woman, that he might be human; but not by man, that he might not be sinful." in "A Popular Exposition to the Gospel According to Matthew" is essentially expounding a short summary of this understanding.

There are additional theories that only look at the virgin birth as historically, but not intrinsically, significant to the question of the sinless Messiah. Those theories can see the virgin birth as related to incarnational or Biblical terminology, such as the Son of God, without directly being causal to the sinless nature of the Messiah.

Lambert Dolphin summarizes the Custance view from an evangelical perspective in The Seed of the Serpent :

Some years ago, a Canadian scholar, Arthur Custance, suggested the possibility that "original sin" (which causes the death of the body, and our innate and total predisposition to sin)—is transmitted to the next generation through the male sperm, not through the female ovum ... Custance suggests that a child born to an ordinary woman, a descendant of Eve, could be a sinless child if her ovum were fertilized supernaturally. Thus he is suggesting a mechanism for the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus. Most scholars consider that the phrase the seed of the woman in Genesis 3:15 does refer to the virgin birth of Jesus as the Redeemer and Savior of our race. In fact verse 15 is often called "the protevangelium," or first announcement of the gospel.
To study, utilizing Arthur Custance material
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Which of these actually say that the sin nature is passed through the man?
Or is only implied, an extrapolation, until Custance?

"The Virgin Birth alone insured both the full deity and full humanity of Jesus. If God had created Jesus a complete human being in heaven and sent Him to earth apart from any human parent, it is difficult to see how He could be truly a man. If God had sent His Son into the world through both a human father and mother, it is difficult to see how He could be truly God."
Virgin Birth, November 6, 2006, Sam Storms
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=479207805445038&story_fbid=3297753960257061
https://www.samstorms.org/all-articles/post/the-virgin-birth-and-the-tooth-fairy--3-

Fundamentalists and the “Incorruptible” Blood of Christ
Martyn McGeown
https://cprc.co.uk/articles/blood/
The Bible glories in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, in “the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20). God “hath set forth [Christ] to be a propitiation through faith in his blood” (Rom. 3:25). Believers are “justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9); we have “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7; cf. Col 1:14; I Pet. 1:17-18); Gentile believers “who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13); the blood of Christ “purges the conscience” of the child of God (Heb. 9:14); we “have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (Heb. 10:19); we were “sanctified with the blood of the covenant” (Heb. 10:29); we are “sprinkled” (I Pet. 1:2), “cleansed” (I John 1:7) and “washed” (Rev. 1:5) by that same blood. Clearly, the subject of the blood of Christ is important in divine revelation. However, some, in a zeal which is not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:3),
While opposed to any doctrine that exalts the blood, McGeown gives many verse resources.

Colossians 1:20 (AV)
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross,
by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him,
I say, whether they be things in earth,
or things in heaven.

Romans 3:25 (AV)
Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood,
to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past,
through the forbearance of God;

Romans 5:9 (AV)
Much more then, being now justified by his blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through him.

=================

Ephesians 1:7 (AV)
In whom we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace;

Colossians 1:14 (AV)
In whom we have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:

1 Peter 1:17-18 (AV)
And if ye call on the Father,
who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work,
pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,
as silver and gold,
from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

=================

Ephesians 2:13 (AV)
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Hebrews 9:13-14 (AV)
For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean,
sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
How much more shall the blood of Christ,
who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God,
purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:19 (AV)
Having therefore, brethren,
boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:29 (AV)
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy,
who hath trodden under foot the Son of God,
and hath counted the blood of the covenant,
wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing,
and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

1 Peter 1:2 (AV)
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

1 John 1:7 (AV)
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another,
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Revelation 1:5 (AV)
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
and the first begotten of the dead,
and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Romans 10:3 (AV)
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness,
and going about to establish their own righteousness,
have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

=================
Not included in the paragraph:

Acts 20:28 (AV)
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock,
over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,
to feed the church of God,
which he hath purchased with his own blood.
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Custance has a historical review section.
However, we add to this, above, Ambrosiaster, Origen and Tertullian.
Justin Martyr
below is now usually considered Ps-Justin.

=====================

Seed of the Woman
https://custance.org/Library/SOTW/Part_III/chapter22.html

Here are some of the "feelings after the truth" that we find from the writings of the earlier Church Fathers and up to and including Reformation times as men struggled with the problem.

Athanasius (c. 296-373), the great champion of orthodoxy against Arianism, held that Christ's body was first redeemed and then sanctified to become the means of our redemption. As he put it: "Although it was only after He was made man for us and became our brother by similitude of body, still He is called (and is) the 'first-born' of us, because all men being lost according to the transgression of Adam, his flesh before all others was saved and liberated as being the body of the Logos [the divine Son]. And henceforth we, becoming incorporate with It, are saved after Its pattern" [Apologia Contra Arianos, Discourse II. lxi, in Ante-Nicene Fathers, New York, Scribner, 2nd series, 1913, vol.IV, p.381, col. b]. It will be noted that Athanasius did not for one moment suppose that the Lord as Logos needed redemption, but only his body as received from Mary.

Augustine (354-430) wrote: "If the soul of Christ be derived from Adam's soul, He, in assuming it to Himself, cleansed it so that when He came into this world He was born of the virgin perfectly free from sin either actual or transmitted. If however the souls of men are not derived from that one soul [of Adam] and it is only by the flesh that original sin is transmitted from Adam, then the Son of God created a soul for Himself just as He creates souls for all other men: but He united it not to sinful flesh but only to the 'likeness of sinful flesh' (Romans 8:3)" [Letter No.164, chap.7, 19, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, New York, Scribner, 1st series, 1885, vol.1, p.521].

One observes the influence of Augustine's thought on Roman Catholic theology which also holds that original sin was excluded from the soul of Jesus by the sanctification of it through the divine indwelling presence of the Logos.

In the eighth century, Felix of Urgellis (died 818 in Spain) maintained that the Logos united Himself with a human nature that was not sanctified, and that therefore Christ had a corrupted nature although He never actually committed sin. He believed this was a necessary condition of his incarnation in order that He might be tempted in all points like as we are, that is to say, that He might be tempted from within also [quoted by W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1969 reprint, vol.II, p.302].

It is important, as we have already noted, to keep in mind that the words like as (represented in the Greek by homoi-oteta) does not mean in exactly the same way -- which would have required some such form as homo-oteta [see ref. #223 on this].

Anselm (1033-1109) in his Cur Deus Homo? [Bk. II, chap.17] has his companion in conversation arguing that Christ's mother's body was somehow purified "prospectively" by the power of Jesus' death. With this Anselm seems to agree.

John Calvin (1509-1564) wrestled with the problem. In his Institutes [II. xiii. 4] he wrote: "They betray their ignorance who argue that if Christ is perfectly immaculate and was begotten of the seed of Mary by the secret operation of the Spirit, then it follows that there is no impurity in the seed of the woman, but only in that of the man. We do not represent Christ as perfectly immaculate merely because He was born of the seed of the woman unconnected with any man, but because He was sanctified by the Spirit in order that the generation might be pure and undefiled as would have been true before Adam's fall."

If only he had known what we now know, he might have seen how near to the truth was that which he firmly denied!

Zacharius Ursinus (1534-1583) in his Christian Religion (Question 35) wrote: "Mary was a sinner: but the mass of flesh which was taken out of her substance was by the operation of the Holy Spirit at the same instant sanctified when it was taken."

John Owen (1616ï-1683) in his Discourse on the Holy Spirit [vol. II, published in 1674] wrote: "The human nature of Christ, being thus formed in the womb by a supernatural creative act of the Holy Spirit was in the instant of its conception sanctified and filled with grace . . . . [this] human nature, being not begotten by natural generation, derived no taint of original sin or corruption from Adam."

Francois Turrettin (1623-1687) in his Institutio Theologae Elencticae [XIII. xi. 10] wrote: "The Holy Spirit must prepare the substance cut away from the substance of the virgin by a suitable sanctification . . . by purifying it from all stain of sin . . . and this in order that Christ may be born without sin. There is no need of having recourse to the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary (herself)."

John Howe (1630-1705), a non-Conformist Puritan theologian, in his Oracles [II. xxxvii] wrote: "It is a mighty confirmation of the natural descent of sin with the nature of man in the ordinary way, that when God designed the incarnation of his own Son, in order to avoid the corruption of nature descending to Him, He then steps out of the ordinary course; a consideration that hath weight with it, that, if anyone allow himself to think, it must overbear his mind in that matter, that surely there is some secret profound reason in the council of God -- whether obvious to our view or not obvious -- that the descent of corrupt nature was in the ordinary way unavoidable; that when God had a design to incarnate his own Son, when it was intended that God should be manifested in the flesh, to avoid that contagion and corruption which in the ordinary course is transmitted, He doth in this single instance recede and go off from the ordinary course. Because the human nature had been corrupted if it had descended in the ordinary way, therefore the ordinary course of procreation is declined and avoided: a most pregnant demonstration that in the ordinary course sin is always naturally transmitted" [quoted by W. G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 1969 reprint, vol. II, p.2]. For all the complexity of his sentence structure, it is clear that Howe was nearer than most of his predecessors to recognizing the real significance of the virgin conception.

Throughout these centuries men had struggled with the problem. How could the Lord Jesus be truly human without a truly human body, and how could He acquire a truly human body without also acquiring the taint of original sin? Many adopted the view that his body had to be, and indeed was, sanctified either by his own entry into it or by the Holy Spirit before He entered it. At first the relevance of the virgin conception does not seem to have been clearly perceived. One of the earliest of the Church Fathers, Justin Martyr (110-165), illustrates lack of perceptiveness in this regard when he wrote: "And our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, for no other reason [emphasis mine] than that he might destroy the begetting by lawless desire, and might show to the devil that the formation of man was possible to God without human intervention" [Fragments of the Lost Works of Justin on the Resurrection, chap. III, Ante-Nicene Fathers, New York, Scribner, 1913, vol. I, p.295]. To Justin, the virgin birth was a display of God's miraculous power and a rebuke to Satan. That it could be related to the present issue was not perceived. It was not until considerably later that it began to be realized such a perfect body was not preserved against the inheritance of original sin by some act of cleansing but by the exclusion of natural generation. Thus it slowly became apparent that the male seed had to be by-passed. It is perhaps time now to explore afresh the significance of the necessity of virginal conception in the light of modern knowledge.

223. (See page 4) In some circles there is considerable debate as to whether the Lord's body was identical with ours or only similar. It is argued that if his body was only similar, then He was not a true representative of man. Against this argument it may be said by contrast that we ourselves in our present fallen state are not truly man, and that true Man is to be found only in Adam before he fell. Since the Fall did irreparable and fatal damage to his body, a damage shared by all his natural born descendants, then any human being appearing with such a body as we now have is not a true representative of manhood as originally constituted by God.

Thus it is appropriate that Romans 8:3 should state very specifically that God sent his Son only "in the likeness of sinful flesh" but not actually in the flesh of sin which is ours since the Fall. The Greek is unequivocal. It reads: en homoiomati sarkos hamartias (
). The crucial word here is homoiomati (
) which means very precisely "similar to" but not "identical with." The first part of this word is homoi- (
) which is to be most carefully distinguished from homo- (
). The difference lies only in the single letter i (iota in Greek) which though seemingly slight makes all the difference in the world. A Greek scholar will not need elaboration of this, but for the reader not acquainted with Greek, here are a number of examples of this prefixed syllable in its two forms and the difference it makes to the words to which they are prefixed.
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Christian Scholar's Review
A Theologically Based Biological Challenge to the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
By R. Gary Chiang and Evelyn M. White April 15, 2014
https://christianscholars.com/a-the...the-immaculate-conception-of-the-virgin-mary/

Interestingly, the Bible does not say that the stain of original sin is passed down through our parents, but only through our fathers. This is a very important theological point that has biological implications; an ovum from the Virgin Mary needed no special intervention except that it be fertilized not by a man but by the Holy Spirit. In other words, the germ cell line giving rise to the ovum may have escaped the stain of original sin but this stain has become, through the male, part of our human condition.

As the concept of the Immaculate Conception was developed in response to a theological concern, the contamination of the ovum by the male is also based on theology. Using exegesis of Rom. 5:12, both Martin Luther and John Calvin concluded that the “paternal sperm” is the deadly factor by which the “stain” of death and sins are passed on.15

See “paternal sperm” in A. C. Custance, Sovereignty of Grace, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979), 87, and Seed of the Woman (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: Doorway Publications, 1980), 145-146. Both books can be read online through Doorway Publications at www.custance.org. As noted by Custance, Luther wrote that “the paternal sperm covey the corruption from generation to generation” as quoted by J. L. Neve, History of Christian Thought, vol. 1 (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1946), 230. Calvin wrote that “woman’s seed is not unclean but only man’s.” Institutes, II, xiii, 4.
More planned for addition.
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
We should have more directly from Custance.
Here might be a good starting point:

Seed of the Woman
https://custance.org/Library/SOTW/Part_III/chapter21.html

Throughout the centuries, many of the great theologians of the past struggled with the problem of the provision of a perfect body out of the sinful flesh that was Mary's (for she too needed a Saviour: Luke 1:47). Roman Catholic theology evolved the dogma of Immaculate Conception. But I believe such a dogma is not necessary and that many who sought to solve the problem by such means would have revelled in the kind of understanding which is now open to us and would have made the greatest possible use of it. Such knowledge has been acquired almost entirely by those who are not at all concerned with the doctrines of the Christian faith. Yet whether they know it or not, they are God's servants, even as Cyrus was a servant of God but knew it not (Isaiah 45:1,5). And I am convinced we should respect this service by making use of it, not merely to improve our lot in life but also to increase our understanding of the things we most surely believe. We should not depend upon the findings of science to confirm our Faith, though this may well happen; but it is certainly proper to use these findings to explore that Faith.
 
Last edited:

Steven Avery

Administrator
Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man
by Lambert Dolphin


The Seat of Original Sin
The late Arthur Custance, a gifted Canadian Bible scholar, in his book The Seed of the Woman, (Ref. 1) makes a case that "original sin" in the human race may very well be transmitted biologically from generation to generation [from Adam] through the male sperm, rather than through the female ovum. Custance took care to defend his premises thoroughly. The virgin birth, Custance believed, allowed Jesus to be born of Mary free from all sin so as to become a "lamb without spot or blemish," "tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin." Scripture also speaks of Jesus as "The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world." If original sin is transmitted genetically by the male sperm and not by the female ovum, then Mary, though she herself was a forgiven sinner and a mortal daughter of Adam and Eve, could give birth to a sinless son through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit without ordinary fertilization by her husband's seed.

The incarnation, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus the Son of God is an awesome intrusion into our limited space-time domain. These events which we see as merely historic in our time frame constitute an eternal event, a transaction (known in theology as "the eternal covenant") between the Father and the Son, which really takes place in eternity, outside of time. The prophet Isaiah records amazing "conversations" outside of time between God the Father and His servant the Messiah, (Isaiah was written about 700 years before Jesus was born) For example Isaiah 49 says:
Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me (Messiah) from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, 'You are my servant, Israel, (here the Messiah is spoken of as the true Israel) in whom I will be glorified.'
But I (Messiah) said, 'I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.'
And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength---he says: 'It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.' Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations, the servant of rulers: 'Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the LORD, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.'" (1-7)
Arthur Custance's argument about the mechanism by which sin may be genetically transmitted is a very reasonable one, (at least to my way of thinking), and helps us to understand why the blood line of the promise through legitimate heirs from Eve down through Mary is uninterrupted, while only the Kingly promise (not the blood line---see Jer. 22:30, 36:30) is preserved from Abraham to Joseph.

The conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary by the Holy Spirit interrupted the chain of genetic links beginning with the fall, allowing a descendant of Adam to be born into the world free from original sin. The perfect obedience of Jesus during His life on earth also was necessary to assure that He reached the cross as a fully qualified sin-offering. Scripture emphasizes the humanity of the Messiah as fully as it does His Deity. The Old Testament is replete with references to the Messiah as the "root out of dry ground," "the seed of David," "the suffering servant of the LORD," and so on.
 

Steven Avery

Administrator
Starting around 15:30, till about 22:00 Doug Wilson gets it right about the virgin birth and our sinless Messiah.

Born of the Virgin, Mary
Doug Wilson

It would be good if he had mentioned Arthur Custance, and also a bit more about the faux divine implant, surrogate mother doctrine. (He does make one reference.)

The modern dull thinking Christians give Doug a lot of pushback. He wrote a blog on this topic years ago, but it is no longer online.
 
Top