Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), by Watchman Nee


We are not trying to be curious; we are merely trying to see what God had given Adam. Genesis 1:26 says, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The Hebrew word image means man’s outside appearance; it can be translated "appearance." In its literal meaning the word likeness is not much different from the word image, and appears to be repetitious. However, likeness in Hebrew means not only the physical likeness but also moral and spiritual likeness. It is not a physical word, but a metaphysical word, a spiritual word. I am not that good with the Hebrew language and can only consult the Hebrew dictionary. One Western lady, Mrs. ______, was very good in Hebrew. She said likeness in Hebrew means "to make someone like something." This interpretation does not sound like a good sentence; what it actually means is "to become alike." In other words, it means to become like God. God created man in order that man would become like Him. God’s purpose was that Adam would be like Him. The devil said, "You may be like God." God said, "You need to become like Me." This is God’s purpose. Before his fall, there was a potential ability inside of Adam to be like God. Within him, there was a latent power that made it possible for him to be like God. His outside appearance looked like God, but morally He wants whatever is metaphysical to be like Him as well. (I use the word morally to mean everything beyond the physical realm, and not just good human behavior.) From this we can see the great loss that man incurred from the fall. Many people may have never thought about the immensity of this loss.


Adam was a soul. His spirit and body were both joined to his soul. Therefore, the astonishing abilities mentioned above were all included in Adam’s soul. The power that came from Adam’s living soul, which was a product of his spirit and body, was unimaginable and supernatural according to today’s eyes. When he fell, these abilities, which were different from ours, were lost. However, this does not mean that they are gone. Rather, these abilities, though present inside man, became dormant and unusable. By Genesis 6, after man’s fall, he had become flesh. The flesh surrounded man’s whole being and subdued him. Man was originally a living soul. But, through the fall, he became flesh. Man’s soul was originally under the spirit’s control; it is now under the flesh’s control. Therefore, God said that He would no longer strive with man because he had become flesh. In its original language, the Bible calls man the flesh. When God talked about men, God no longer called them men, but flesh. In God’s eyes, all of them had become just pieces of flesh. Therefore, the Bible says that all flesh was corrupt (v. 12) and that God would not pour His Spirit upon man’s flesh anymore (Exo. 30:32). In another place, it says that no flesh can be justified by the works of law (Rom. 3:20). From that point on, all men were subjected under the flesh.

Why should I mention this here? I mention this because all the things in Revelation 18 will take place in the last age. I also mentioned at the beginning the souls of men. The souls of men will become a commodity that can be bought and sold in Babylon. Why will the souls of men become a commodity that can be sold and bought? It is because Satan and Antichrist want the souls of men to be the instruments for their activities in the last age. Adam fell in the garden of Eden, and his power also fell. Adam did not lose his power through the fall; the power was merely buried within him. When Adam became flesh, the flesh locked up all the wonderful powers inside him. This went on generation after generation. The original power which Adam had, became a latent power that was inherited by his descendants. This became a kind of latent power. Man did not lose this power; this power was merely bound up inside man’s flesh. Today everyone in the world still has Adam’s power. But it is concealed inside and cannot be expressed freely. All this power is in a man’s soul, in the same way that it was in Adam’s soul. Because the soul is surrounded by the flesh, the power is also surrounded by the flesh. Satan’s work today is to stir up man’s soul and develop the latent power within his soul, so that he can deceive people and cause people to believe that this soulish power is spiritual power. The reason I mention this is to show you the special relationship between man’s soul and Satan’s work in this last age.

We have seen that Adam had a special or supernatural power. Actually, this power was not anything extraordinary. But to us today, it seems special and supernatural. Later, when Adam fell, the power fell with him as well. Before his fall, Adam could very spontaneously exercise this power. It was in Adam’s soul. When Adam fell, the power was concealed by the shell of the flesh. In the beginning, when Adam’s soul possessed this power, the body was his helper. When the soul fell, this power was suppressed and surrounded by the shell of the flesh. What Satan is trying to do now is break the shell of the flesh and develop the power within man’s soul. In this way he will control man’s soul. Many people do not understand this and think that this power is from God. As a result, they are deceived.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 10: The Present Testimony (3), Chapter 9, by Watchman Nee)