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October 23, 2007 / Daniel

Original Sin

For my Christian Theology class, we recently went over Jonathan Edwards’ work on the original sin.   As a Calvinist, Edwards believes that we not only inherit a sinful nature from Adam, but also we receive the imputation of his guilt.   This kinda strikes me as overkill.  Does the Bible teach that we are guilty of another man’s sin?  Here’s a helpful article by Paul Copan on the subject. 



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  1. Dennis / Oct 24 2007 2:49 am

    Hey Daniel,

    First of all, happy 1st to Mae. I’m sure it was wonderful. I hope she had family (aside from you and Shelley) to celebrate with. If not, I’m sure she was in their prayers and there’s always next year.

    Reading your Original Sin and different views is interesting as it differs from my understanding.

    For me, the best way to understand Original Sin is that we are not guilty of Adam’s Sin but rather we are stained by it. Without Adam’s original sin, we would be perfect but because of his sin, we are dirty and need to be washed clean.

    That cleansing occurred at Calvary when Christ suffered and died. We are cleansed individually at Baptism when we are “Baptized into His death” per Romans. Through the water of Baptism, we are united with Christ and made clean.

    We have however inherited from Adam concupiscence. Although we are made clean by Christ’s work on the cross, like Adam, we can still be tempted and made dirty by sin. We inherited that “inclination toward sin” from Adam as we are all descended from him.

    Fortunately, because of Christ’s death and Resurrection, we can come back to the Cross and reconcile ourselves to His body through repentance; thus making ourselves clean again.

  2. Steve Bradley / Feb 23 2008 12:07 am

    Just a quick note to encourage you to read Romans 5 in light of this subject.
    The section about sinning in the manner of Adam points to the federal nature of Adam’s standing in the covenant of works. He represented all of mankind in that covenant. We’re born in sin, not by anything we have done personally, but as a result of the sin of our first covenant head, Adam. His sin was imputed to us, and we sinned in him by our union to him as our head, and that sin is passed onto us by ordinary generation.

    WSC 1:16 The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.

    True, we didn’t actually eat the forbidden fruit ourselves, yet we still sinned in Adam by our union to him as our covenant head and we also suffer the same consequence of that sin.

    WLC 1:22 WLC 22 Did all mankind fall in that first transgression? A. The covenant being made with Adam as a publick person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation,(1) sinned in him, and fell in that first transgression.(2)

    (1)Acts 17:26.
    (2)Gen. 2:16,17 with Rom. 5:12-20 and with 1 Cor. 15:21,22.

    Paul’s point then is that even though all haven’t sinned exactly as Adam did, we’re still sinners by fact of our union to him and we’ve inherited our sinful natures from him by which we commit our own actual sins that we’re guilty of as well.

    Later in Romans 5, Paul goes on to contrast Adam as our first covenant head with Christ our new head. Like original sin, our salvation isn’t based upon our works, but upon the works of the last Adam, Jesus Christ; as our covenant head, His righteousness is imputed to us and we’re therefore counted righteous in Christ by grace through faith in the person and work of our Savior.

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