Biblical Doctrine, Plainly Stated

By William S. Plumer, 1875


I. Man is a creature of God. Reason proves this; Scripture asserts it. Gen. 1:27; 5:1; Eccles. 12:1, 7; Mal. 2:10; Zech. 12:1. These passages claim that God is not only the framer of our bodies, but the Father of our spirits. We are entirely the creatures of God.

II. God made man pure in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24. "Lo, this only have I found, that God has made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Eccles. 7:29. God made man in his own image, after his own likeness. Gen. 1:26, 27; 5:1. The image of God and the likeness of God mean the same thing. They both denote a similitude. This likeness is either natural or moral. The natural image of God consists in intelligence. The moral image of God consists in holiness. Man has lost God's moral image, but retains somewhat of his natural image. Gen. 9:6.

III. All men of whatever color or nationality are of one race, and had a common origin. "God has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Acts 17:26. Compare Gen. 3:20; 9:19; Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Cor. 15:22.

IV. In creating our first parents, God made our father Adam before he made our mother Eve. This is noticed in the Scriptures as worthy of attention and instructive. 1 Cor. 11:8, 9; 1 Tim. 2:13, 14. The woman was last made, but she was the first to sin.

V. It seems to be God's plan to subject all the rational beings he has made to a trial or probation. Thus the angels were tried, and some of them fell. Thus man was tried, and he fell. His trial was very fair. It was as slight as it could be, to be a test at all. It was simply abstaining from one kind of fruit in the garden. Of the rest he might eat. Gen. 2:16, 17. How long man stood before he fell we do not know, and it is idle to inquire. By his fall man became liable to all penal evil, for that is the meaning of the word death when used on this subject. An immediate effect of man's sin was his expulsion from Paradise. But he was not driven out in a hopeless manner. He had a gospel promise made him, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Gen. 3:15.

VI. The effects of the fall on the posterity of our first parents are just the same as on Adam and Eve. The earth still brings forth thorns and thistles. In the sweat of man's face he still eats his bread, and finally returns to the dust. Gen. 3:18,19. The sorrow of woman is just the same as that which came upon Eve. Gen. 3:16.

VII. All men come into the world in a state of guilt, and thus, exposure to wrath. Indeed the Bible says in so many words that we are "by nature the children of wrath even as others." Eph. 2:3. It says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." It further says, that "through the offence of one many are dead." "The judgment was by one to condemnation." "By one man's offence death reigned by one." "By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation." "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners." Romans 5:12, 15-19. Language can hardly be clearer or less liable to mistake.

VIII. Another effect of the fall was the depravity of man's nature. So that there is none righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10. Bitterly does David bewail his own native depravity: "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." Psalm 51:5. Compare Job 14:4; John 3:6; Gen. 6:5. On the universal depravity of the race the Bible speaks but one language. In Romans 1:19-32, Paul proves the Gentiles to be sinners. In Romans 2:11-29, he proves that the Jews are sinners; and in Romans 3:10-23, he proves that the whole race of man is apostate from God. He relies on the prophets of the Old Testament. He might have quoted many more than he did.

IX. In his natural state man is full of spiritual darkness. The very light that is in him, is darkness. Matt. 6:23. "The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14. In order to salvation, man as much needs divine instruction as he does pardon or renewal; and it is great grace in God to promise to teach all his children. Isaiah 54:13.

X. By nature man is in a state of misery; and yet he knows not that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and has need of all things. Rev. 3:17. All the sinful passions are in their nature tormenting. A guilty conscience is the worst scourge ever felt. Speaking of the wicked, God says, "Destruction and misery are in their ways." Even if a man's conscience is seared as with a hot iron, there is no telling when his tumults will be terrific. It was so with Belshazzar. Dan. 5:9. It was so with Herod. Matt. 14:2.

XI. By nature man is helpless. He cannot atone for a single sin. The redemption of the soul is precious. Psalm 49:8. It costs too much to be redeemed with silver and gold, with tears or human sacrifices, or with any corruptible things. It can be redeemed alone with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Pet. 1:19. Nor can man turn himself to God by any power that is within him. We are expressly said to be "without strength," and to be "the servants of sin." Romans 5:6; 6:17. "The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." By nature we are polluted in our blood. Ezek. 16:6. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. The dead cannot raise themselves, and men are dead in trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1.

XII. The whole nature of man is affected by sin. The understanding is darkened; the will is corrupt; the conscience is defiled; the memory is polluted; the imagination is depraved; the throat is an open sepulcher; the tongue is deceitful; the poison of asps is under the lips; the mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; the feet are swift to shed blood; the eyes are full of adultery; the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Men yield their members servants to uncleanness. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. "From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness--only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil." Isaiah 1:6. See Romans 3:10-18; 6:19.

XIII. The very names given to sin should awaken in us uneasiness and alarm. Sin means a missing of the mark. It is transgression. It is lack of conformity to law. It is iniquity. It is unrighteousness. It is evil. It is wrong. It is hateful to God. It deserves all the evil threatened against it or brought upon it. It has dug every grave. It fills hell with groans.

XIV. Sin when finished brings forth death. Because Satan was a seducer he was a murderer. John 8:44. It is possible to sin beyond forgiveness. Matt. 12:32.