Archive for the ‘Fall’ Category

Why Did Adam Sin? Objections Answered

April 1, 2008

“Orthodox” has objected to my previous post (here) as follows:

You’re totally ignoring the issue.

Adam had a non-corrupt nature. But he defied that nature and sinned.

People today have a corrupt nature. But they can defy that nature and repent.

If you deny the latter, then you cannot wave away the theological problem of Adam and say he was “tempted”. If a person with a good nature can be tempted to sin, then a person with a corrupt nature can be tempted to repent.

You were pushing the line with that video that we are total slaves to cause and effect and our nature. But if that was the whole story, Adam with his good nature would not have sinned.

There are several answers that need to be given:

1) As to “totally ignoring the issue,” that hardly seems reasonable. In any event, since the objections are now being answered, even if they were ignored before, that particular criticism is moot.

2) Orthodox’s claim “Adam had a non-corrupt nature. But he defied that nature and sinned” doesn’t represent the matter well.

Adam had a nature that was not corrupt, yes. Nevertheless, as repeatedly pointed out and apparently overlooked by “Orthodox,” Adam had a fallible nature. Adam was acting within that nature (not in defiance of it) when he sinned and fell.

4) Orthodox’s argument from analogy (“People today have a corrupt nature. But they can defy that nature and repent.”), therefore, collapses. Furthermore, we have direct Scriptural evidence that Orthodox’s conclusion is incorrect.

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

5) Orthodox continued with the argument that, “If you deny the latter, then you cannot wave away the theological problem of Adam and say he was “tempted”.” Orthodox’s justification for this claim was that, “If a person with a good nature can be tempted to sin, then a person with a corrupt nature can be tempted to repent.” The “wave away” comment is just rhetoric. Adam in fact was tempted by the tempter, Satan, through the voice of the deceived Eve.

Orthodox’s justification is wrong for similar reasons to those already discussed above. Orthodox appears to have wrongly imagined a symmetry between Adam’s not corrupted nature and our corrupted nature.

If human nature had not been corrupted by the influence of the fall, the symmetry between temptation to sin and “temptation” to repentance might be fair. The problem is that human nature was corrupted. As a result, there is a lack of symmetry.

Adam was not constrained by his nature either to do good or ill. His nature permitted him to sin.

Our natures (prior to regeneration) are corrupt and constrain us (internally) to sin. In fact, our wills delight to sin, and sin (not righteousness) is appealing to us. Our natures do not permit us to do righteousness, because it is antithetical to us. We are not born neutral to God, but as His enemies.

This is not symmetrical to Adam’s condition. Adam was not created with a nature that was only capable of loving God. Instead, he was created with a nature that was capable of falling – of loving the creation above the Creator.

6) Orthodox’s final argument is this: “You were pushing the line with that video that we are total slaves to cause and effect and our nature. But if that was the whole story, Adam with his good nature would not have sinned.” “Slaves” again is rather rhetorical than substantive. Since all that is not God is subject to cause and effect, “slaves” is an inappropriately pejorative term. To say that the only choices are to be gods or to be slaves is rather akin to Satan’s delusion than to the reality of the matter.

Furthermore, Orthodox’s argument relies on the already-debunked theory that Adam’s nature was symmetrical to our fallen nature. It is not. However, rather than just repeat that an umpteenth time, perhaps it is easier to draw the lines of symmetry:

State 1 – Adam before the Fall
Posse Peccare – Able to Sin. Adam had a fallen nature that was capable of sinning.

State 2 – All men in Adam before Regeneration
Non Posse Non Peccare – Not Able Not to Sin. To phrase it more positively: unable to avoid sinning. As a result of Adam’s fall, all mankind descending from him naturally have a corrupt nature that hates God and loves sin. As a result of his nature, fallen man is unable to love what is good.

State 3 – Regenerate Men before Death
Posse Non Peccare – Able Not to Sin. As a result of regeneration, men are enabled to what is good in God’s sight, though men still have a war in their members. Thus, regenerate men still sin, but are able to do such things as repent and believe.

State 4 – The Elect in Glory
Non Posse Peccare – Not Able to Sin. As a result of glorification, the souls of believers (and later their bodies, if they die) are made perfect, so that they become naturally (i.e. as to their nature) unable to sin.

States 1 and 3 are roughly symmetrical and States 2 and 4 are roughly symmetrical.

Thanks be to God, who saves us by grace alone from the condemnation that we deserve,

-TurretinFan

Advertisements

Why Did Adam Sin?

March 29, 2008

One reader (“Orthodox”) asked:

So why did Adam sin? Because God made him bad?
Adam ate the forbidden fruit because he listened to his wife, rather than God.

Genesis 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Adam did not take it because he was deceived by the serpent (though the woman was deceived by the serpent):

1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Adam explained his own action this way:

Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

So, in the end, what is the easiest answer we can give?

Adam loved the gift more than the giver. He loved his wife more than he loved God.

Adam was placed in a situation in which he was tempted to sin, and Adam did not resist the temptation.

God made Adam good, but God also made Adam fallible. At the appointed time, Adam fell – and in him all those whom he represented: his wife and all his natural descendents.

Then, in the fullness of time, God sent His only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to be the second Adam. All those who obtain life from Adam, die with Adam, but those who die with Christ from him receive life everlasting.

Praise be to God!

-TurretinFan

P.S. As an aside, it’s worth noting that philosophically we understand Adam as having a free will that was not bound by a corrupt nature. That is to say, while Adam might have had certain external constraints, he had different internal contraints than Cain, Abel, and Seth had. His will was not a slave to sin until he fell. Adam before the fall is not similar to us before grace. We are born in bondage to sin, slaves to sin. We are born not as the sons of God, but as enemies of God. It is only by the exceeding mercy of God that any of us are saved.

The Real Turretin on: the Fall

March 18, 2008

The Reformed Reader has some very brief excerpts from the real Turretin on the faith of Adam before compared to after the Fall (link).

-Turretinfan

The Real Turretin: Covenant with Adam

January 20, 2008

Those studying the covenants may be interested to check out what the real Turretin had to say about the Covenant made with Adam (not only for himself, but for his posterity) here: (link, courtesy of “A Puritan’s Mind”).

-Turretinfan


%d bloggers like this: