The Children of Old Man Adam
November 19th, 1986 @ 7:30 PM
THE CHILDREN OF OLD MAN ADAM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-19-86 7:30 p.m.
And the title of the message is The Children of Old Man Adam, namely we. Genesis 6:1-7, you have it? Let us stand together in the presence of the Lord and read it out loud, Genesis 6:1-7, now together:
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.
And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them.
Now may we be seated and begin.
The Children of Old Man Adam. The history of unregenerate human nature is ever the same. It is a story of murder and war and bloodshed.
- Whatever date we will give to the days of Cain and Abel, Cain slays his own brother Abel.
- In 4000—if that were 6000, say—the story continues with the destruction of all breathing life in 4000, in the days of Noah.
- In 2000 BC Abraham left a country of idolatry—the whole world was idolatrous—and he went to a land of sodomy that was burned up by the fire and brimstone of the judgment of God.
- In 1500 BC Moses is sent because of the oppression of God’s children under Pharaoh.
- In 1000 BC are recounted the wars of David and the Philistines [2 Samuel 8:1, 21:15].
- In 800 BC is Ahab and Jezebel [1 Kings 18:1-22:40].
- In 700 BC is Assyria with Tiglath-Pileser and Sargon and Sennacherib [2 Kings 15:29, 16:7-10, 18:13-19:37].
- In 600 BC is Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar [2 Kings 24-25].
- In 500 BC is the Persian conquest [Daniel 5].
- In 300 BC is Alexander the Great and the Greek conquest [Daniel 8:5-8, 11:4].
- In 150 BC the story of the war of the Maccabees.
- In the first century the Roman legions are everywhere.
- And 120 AD the Mongolians, and the Genghis Khans and the Tamerlanes overwhelm the eastern part of the earth.
- In 700 AD comes Mohammedan, and then the Saracens, and the Turks.
The Middle Ages are familiar to these school children reading of the Hundred Years War and the Thirty Years War, and the story of America is no less written in blood:
- The Indian Wars, the French Wars, the Spanish Wars, the English Wars.
- In 1776, our Revolution.
- In 1812, the war with England.
- In 1846, the war with Mexico.
- In 1892, the war with Spain.
- In 1914 we were soon plunged into the First World War.
- In 1940 we became participants in the bloodiest of all human wars, the Second World War.
- In the ‘50s we were involved in the Korean War.
- And in the ‘60s we were involved in Vietnam.
The story of the human race is a story and is a recorded history of the rejection of God and of disobedience on the part of the children of old man Adam.
- In the garden of Eden, the Lord God said, “Of all the trees you may freely eat,” but one I reserve for Myself [Genesis 2:16-17], and our first parents said, “No, we take that, too.”
- Under the days of the Law, God said, “Keep My commandments” [Leviticus 22:31]. And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we break them, every one” [Jeremiah 11:9-10].
- In the days of the prophets, they came preaching saying, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will you die?” [Ezekiel 33:11]. And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we won’t turn.” And some of them, they stoned to death. And some of them, they sawed asunder. And some of them, they fed to the lions. And some of them, they cast into the fiery furnace. And some of them they sawed asunder [Hebrews 11:33-38].
- Then God sent His messenger before His face, who said, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [Matthew 3:1-2], and they said, “No, we won’t repent,” and they cut off his head, and he died in his own blood [Mark 6:27-28].
- Then the Son of God came, and the Lord God said, “They will reverence My Son” [Matthew 21:37]. But the children of old man Adam said, “No, we won’t reverence God’s Son,” and they crucified Him on a Roman cross [Matthew 27:32-50].
- The apostles were raised up by the Lord God who came preaching, saying, “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in thine heart that He lives, you will be saved” [Romans 10:9]. And the children of old man Adam said, “No, we won’t believe, and we won’t confess.” And some of God’s prophets they stoned, some of them they beat to death, some of them they beheaded, some of them they banished to lonely isles, and some of them died in prisons and in jails! [2 Corinthians 11:25; Revelation 1:9].
On the surface of it, the children of old man Adam have greatly changed. In the days of Abraham, they walked or they rode a donkey. Jesus went from Nazareth to the Jordan where John was baptizing, and walked the sixty miles. I’ve made that journey in a car in just a few minutes; and I have flown over it in an airplane in a few seconds.
Communication in Abraham’s day: they baked tablets like the Tel el Amarna tablets and carried them. Today, with our teletypes and our radio and our TV, we can watch a thing happen on the other side of the world while it is happening. Two days ago, I listened to the former editor of Life magazine, who was answering the question, “Why did your magazine go out of business?” And he said, “Because the people today can see the thing on television as it happens, and they don’t have to wait for a magazine to publish it.” In our daily lives, we seemingly have progressed so starkly and so marvelously. Abraham lived in a tent. When the angel messengers came by, the Book says Abraham asked them to remain while he dressed a kid [Genesis 18:7-8]. Can you imagine the time it would take to do that? Today you have electric lights, you have the refrigerator, you have the bread already baked, everything is all prepared.
But the old Adamic nature is just the same; we haven’t changed. The children of old man Adam are as lost today as they were in the days of Abel and Cain [1 Corinthians 15:22].
I remember reading a story of a missionary named Dan Crawford. And he was taking a few of his black converts from the heart of Africa down to the coast, where they were going to board a ship and go to visit his homeland. And on the way, Dan Crawford the missionary began to describe the marvels of modern life in the civilized nations of the world. All of them were very impressed with what they were going to see—coming out of the primitive huts in the jungle in which they live—the marvelous things that they were going to see in this civilized world. One of those big, black men was most unimpressed as Dan Crawford described all of the modern mechanical maneuvers and miracles of modern life. And finally, Dan Crawford, the missionary said to him, “Why are you not impressed?” And the big black man stood to his greatest height, folded his arms, and replied, “To be better off is not to be better.” The Lord God said: “For the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of the things that he possesseth” [Luke 12:15].
The children of old man Adam are just the same. The lethal instruments of death are only evolving toward a tremendous awesome and terror of destruction. I am supposing that when Cain slew his brother Abel [Genesis 4:8], he did it with a stone or with a club. Today, we kill with bombs, and machine guns, and rockets, and missiles. People say, “Pastor, do you believe in evolution?” I certainly do believe in evolution. We have evolved from the club and the stone axe to the missile and the bomb. There is evolution, yes, but in the power of sin to destroy and to desolate.
In our metals—in Genesis 4:22, it says Tubal-Cain was an “instructor of every artificer in brass and iron.” Today we have these great mills that turn out these awesome instruments of death and destruction.
In the energy of the ancient world, I suppose the finest illustration of it would be in the power of an ox or in the power of donkey. Today, we have atomic fission and are cowering before its awesome possibilities.
In ships, we have evolved—old man Adam’s children have certainly gone on the way up. They used to have biremes and triremes—rows of oars you know—and they fought one another with grappling hooks. Today, we have these great aircraft carriers and these iron battleships with their awful explosive firepower.
In education, they used to sit down at the feet of Plato in the academy, or Aristotle in the Lyceum, or with Zeno in the Porch of the Stoic. Today, you have the university system and the computer and the laboratories and all of these great institutions of learning that defy God. I started to bring a cartoon that was on the front page of the Tampa daily newspaper. Strangest thing; wouldn’t dare mention God; wouldn’t dare mention Christ. Evolution in our education—have a marvelous system—but you wouldn’t dare be allowed even by law to pray, or to read the Bible, or to teach the Word of God.
Our homes: ancient days, you go to a well to draw water and live by a lamp. Today, we have all the accouterments of the modern, beautiful life. And our homes are as lost!
I listened to me preach a day or so ago. They had a televised program, and in that I had said, “The day is soon coming—it is soon coming—when the majority of the children of America are going to be reared in a one-parent home.”
The curse of universal sin and judgment and death is as tragic today as it has been in any generation since. And there is no thing in the development of human history to portend or to prophesy that it will be any better. We are helpless before the curse and damnation of wrong and evil. There’s no system of government or of education or of training that will deliver us from it.
I don’t know of a better illustration of that than the false dream of the communist world. You say, “How in the God’s world do the communists now control about one-half of the whole population of this planet? How does a system like that seize upon the imagination and the power and thrust of people?” Well, it does so because of its incomparable, indescribable goals and golden forecasts of tomorrow. Whenever you think that the communist doesn’t have a beautiful utopian picture of the future, you haven’t read. They have a tremendous conviction that by their system of government and by the coercive power of the state, they’re going to bring in the kingdom—not of God—but of everything beautiful and wonderful and glorious in human life.
I want to read to you a paragraph out of Trotsky’s— Leon Trotsky’s— literature on revolution. He said:
All the emotions, which we revolutionists at the present time feel apprehensive of naming, such as disinterested friendship, love for one’s neighbors, sympathy, will be the mighty ringing words of socialist poetry. All will be equally interested in the success of the whole. There will be no running after profits. There will be nothing mean. No betrayals. No bribery. None of the things which form the soul of competition in a society divided into classes.
[The Communist Party on Art, Leon Trotsky]
What a glorious utopia. Well, what happened to it? And what happens to it today? I don’t know of a better illustration then than what happened to Leon Trotsky. He was hounded to death over the whole face of the earth and was slain in 1940 by a pickax-welding terrorist in old Mexico. What’s the matter with the golden utopia of the communist? It doesn’t take into consideration the depths of unregenerate human nature, of which Leon Trotsky is a pathetic example.
I close with a word from Dr. Robert J. McCracken, who at that time was the president of the University of Chicago, delivering an address before a great congress. And his closing paragraph is a commentary on a sentence of Herbert Spencer, the philosopher: Spencer said, “There is no political alchemy by which you can get golden conduct out of leaden instincts” [The Man versus the State, Herbert Spencer]. And this is the closing paragraph of Dr. McCracken’s address:
Those seeking to rid themselves of the fundamental root of sin, the root from which pride and lust spring, sooner or later make two discoveries. First, that nothing will serve their case but an inner transformation, a radical change of nature. And second, that by themselves and in their own strength, they are powerless to bring about such a transformation. It is a discovery in line with the fundamental tenets of Christianity. About nothing is Christianity more emphatic than this—that human nature carries within itself the seeds of its own frustration and defeat and death, that man unaided is powerless to be what he wants to be, that he stands in need of redemption, that if he or his society are to be saved, it must be by a power greater than his own, that he must, in Jesus’ phrase, be “born again” [John 3:3, 7].
Education cannot do it. Government cannot do it. Social programs cannot do it. Human reformation cannot achieve it. It has to be done by the power and strength of God Almighty. What Jesus says, “You must be born anew, anōthen, from above” [John 3:3]. And, that’s the gospel message. Our hope does not lie in a better education system, or the founding of greater universities, or in all of these things by which we seek to use governmental strength to reborn and remake people. Our hope lies in Jesus our Lord, in the preaching of the gospel, and in the message of hope in heaven from the church of Jesus Christ [Romans 10:14-15; 1 Peter 1:3-4]. God help us to be faithful in that commitment.
Now Denny, we’re going to sing us a song. And while we sing the song, an appeal, I’ll be standing right there and somebody you to give your heart to Jesus, “Pastor, tonight, I’m accepting the Lord in my heart and soul as my personal Savior. I’m turning and looking to Him,” come and give me your hand. A family you, or a couple you, coming into the fellowship of this dear church, “Pastor, this is God’s time for me, and here I stand.” Or to answer the call of God in your heart, or “Pastor, I would just like for you to pray with me.” If God moves in your heart tonight, come. It will be a sweet preciousness just to kneel before the Lord together. As God shall speak and as the Spirit shall invite, welcome, while we stand and while we sing.