Theology Of Dr. Emmons -- By: E. Smalley

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 007:27 (Jul 1850)
Article: Theology Of Dr. Emmons
Author: E. Smalley


Theology Of Dr. Emmons

Rev. E. Smalley

With this simple indication of his opinions on these topics, we proceed to a condensed statement of his views respecting

§ 9. Man

What was his original state? “God made man upright.” This, according to Dr. Emmons, means more than that God formed his body and gave him power to walk erect. It has special reference to the mind and heart. Nor does it comprehend the whole idea to say that God gave Adam all the powers of a free moral agent and thus qualified him to become holy. He entirely disagreed with Dr. Taylor of England, who affirmed, ‘That it is utterly inconsistent with the nature of virtue, that it should be concreated with any person; because, if so, it must be an act of God’s absolute power, without our knowledge or concurrence. To say that God not only endowed Adam with a capacity of being righteous, but moreover that righteousness and true holiness were created with him, or wrought into his nature, at the same time he was made, is to affirm a contradiction, or what is inconsistent with the nature of righteousness.’1 By no means, replies Dr. Emmons; for all that is meant by God’s making man upright is, that he willed him to exercise his powers of moral agency aright. God chose that Adam should come into existence a perfect man in respect of bodily organization and mental endowment, and that he should commence his being by loving his Creator with his whole heart and soul. This is what is meant by predicating uprightness of him at his creation.

“Uprightness belongs to the heart, and gives a man his moral character.2 Man is the living image of the living God, in whom is displayed more of the divine nature and glory, than in all the works and creatures of God upon earth.”3

Dr. Emmons had no doubt that God might have made Adam upright, in this exalted sense. He believed that he must have created him so; because, —

“To suppose that God implanted in his mind the principles of moral agency, without making him a moral agent, is extremely absurd. For, if God gave him the powers of perception, reason, and conscience, he must have been immediately under moral obligation, which he must have immediately either fulfilled or violated, and so have immediately become either holy or sinful.”4

From the account which Moses gives of the creation of Adam, and from the history of him who was created in the image of God, up to the time of ...

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