"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Gospel in Genesis Adam: The Doctrine of Representation

In the mid-1940's Arthur W. Pink told my grandfather that one of the most neglected doctrines in evangelical Christianity was the doctrine of Federal Representation. Later in his book "The Sovereignty of God," Pink made the same observation in the form of a footnote.

I don't think things have changed much in the last sixty years. It is rare to hear a message on representation in our modern day, which is unfortunate, because it forms the heart of the good news as revealed in Scripture.

The Doctrine of Representation simply means that Adam stood before God in the place of, and on behalf of, every human being. Because of Adam's one act of disobedience against God, every human being is condemned by God.

I. Adam’s represention of mankind in the garden is clearly Biblical . . .

The main emphasis of Romans 5 is to prove that God judges us all for Adam’s sin. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

Grammatically, the Greek verb “sinned” in verse 12 is in the aorist tense. This tense normally refers to an act that took place in the past at a single point in time. Grammatically, then, “all sinned” most naturally refers to a single past historical event (Adam’s sin). In other words, Adam’s sin was my sin because I was "in Adam," both physically (his loins) and spiritually (as my representative before God).

“Adam’s sin is as truly ours as it was his, but not sin in the same sense. It was his sin personally; it is our sin because we were in him,” Robert Haldane.

This is why every person dies --- Because of Adam's sin. This is easily seen in the death of infants. Infants who have never had any actual personal sin will sometimes die in infancy. They die, as does anyone else who dies, as a result of God's judgment for the sin of the first man.

II. Adam’s representation of mankind in the garden is hardly radical.

Remember, representation means “to act or stand in the place of.” Our political structure in this great country is built on representation. We elect people to “act or stand in the place of us in Washington” (we call it “The House of Representatives”). When our representatives make a decision, we live with the consequences.

Adam gives death to those he represents. “When Adam sinned, we were all constituted, classified, and condemned as sinners” A.W. Pink.

There are some who object to Adam's representation by saying:

(1). I don’t like the very concept of representation!

Response: You do too! You use representation all the time. You use people with skill and knowledge to represent you in medicine, in the courtroom, in
politics, and in sports. You like representation when it works! People don't like Adam representing them before God because he failed, which leads them to say. .

(2). I don’t like God’s choice of Adam as my representative!

Response: Do you think you could have done better? God is not like King George. When the colonists cried, “No taxation without representation” the king gave them a representative --- his brother.

God gave us the absolute best representative possible, with every circumstance in his favor. “This only have I found, God made man (Adam) upright” (Ec. 7:29). To think we could have done better the first Adam is a sign of our pride.

(3). I don’t like that I'm punished with physical and spiritual (death) for the sin of Adam! The severe punishment does not seem to fit Adam's one act of disobedience. It's way too severe of a punishment.

Response: What makes a sin serious is the nature of the person against whom the sin is committed. For instance, you can lie to your neighbor and receive an angry letter, but if you lie to the President you can go to prison for treason. You can kill a deer and be praised as a good hunter, but if you kill a man you will be put death. The consequences of Adam's one act of disobedience against God should reveal to us the transcendent and supreme nature of God as compared to man.

The Bible teaches that in addition to the consequences of Adam's sin (death) being passed to every descendent of Adam, so also is the corruption of Adam's nature passed down. William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies , a story about Britain’s “best and brightest” boys being stranded from youth on an island during WWI, gives us a good understanding of Adam's corruption in his descendents. No one taught the boys how to sin against each other even to the point of murder; they were sinners and their sins naturally flowed from their hearts where no grace was restraining them.

We are sinners, condemned by God to death (both physical and spiritual), because of the disobedience of the first man --- Adam.

Now for the Good News . . .

III. Adam’s representation of mankind in the garden is certainly typical.

By typical I mean it is certainly a "type," for Adam (the first man) is a type of Christ (the last man). Why does the Bible call Adam and Christ the first and the last man respectively (I Cor. 15)?

In the courtroom of heaven there stands only two official representatives before God. The first Adam (Hebrew for ‘man’ ) --- “made by God from the virgin earth” and the last Adam (Jesus Christ) ---“who entered the world by the virgin birth.”

This is the gospel. God relates to man on the basis of only two representatives --- the first Adam and the last Adam.

Compare the two Adams:

(1). The uniqueness of their births --- both bodies formed by God without a human father.

(2). Their temptations from Satan in the garden and in the wilderness --- the first Adam had it all going for him. He had a lush world, a helpmate, a heart inclined toward righteousness, and a world to enjoy. The last Adam was tempted in a barren wilderness, all alone, with the weight of the sinful world on his shoulders.

(3). The sin of one first Adam brought death to all he represented, but the obedience of the last Adam brought life to those He represented (believers, the church, the elect, the redeemed, etc . . .).

(4). The first Adam died because he deserved it, but the last Adam died without sin --- as the representive for His people, "Who who knew no sin became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21).

Just as I am condemned for the disobedience of the first Adam, I am given eternal life because of the personal obedience of the last Adam.

The power of the gospel is seen in the doctrine of representation. Without an understanding of representation, we lose the good news. Pelagius and Augustine were theologians who lived in the 5th century AD. Pelagius said that we are “sinners because we sin," whereas Augustine said, “we sin because we are sinners (by the sin of Adam)." Pelagius taught that people sin by imitating Adam’s example and people are made righteous by imitating Christ’s example. Augustine proclaimed the gospel --- we are condemened by one man's disobedience and delivered by another Man's obedience.

Charles Hodge wrote about the importance of understanding representation when he said in his Commentary on Romans, "To teach that we are condemned for our inherent depravity, to the exclusion of Adam’s sin, necessitates that we are justified for our inherent goodness, to the exclusion of Christ, which destroys all hope of heaven.”

We are called "believers" because we believe God has delivered us through the representative work of His Son on behalf of sinners.


(1). To deny the historicity of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve is ultimately a denial of the gospel itself, for the gospel is only understood in terms of representation.

(2). To preach the gospel is not so much preaching what it is we are to do, but rather, what it is we are to believe. The good news is something proclaimed, not something created.

(3). On your death bed, representation will be your only hope. No man has ever reviewed his life and found complete satisfaction. Every man has failed with multiple shortcomings. Christ's representation of us before God is the good news. To understand you are condemned for the sin of one man will only help you comprehend that you are saved by the obedience of another man.

The question may be asked, "But whom did Christ represent?" That question can be answered one of two ways. From the divine perspective He represented the people whom God the Father had given Him (John 17), but from the human perspective He represents only those who will trust in Him. Only the divine answer will bring comfort to parents whose children die in infancy, trusting that God gave to Christ those infants who die in infancy, and that Christ represented them in His life and in His death, for they never had personal faith in Christ. Nevertheless, they are still judged for the first Adam's sin (this is why they die). It is my personal belief that all infants who die in infancy are part of the elect of God and receive the blessings of Christ's obedience (this was also the view of Gill, Spurgeon, Whitefield, and other 18th and 19th Century Baptist theologians).

Calvin wrote in his commentary on Romans: “Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive him.”

I encourage you to place your trust in Christ alone, to only trust Christ, and to realize that your deliverance is solely by God's grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

Sola fide, sola Christos, sola gratia.

When Satan tempts me to despair,and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look, and see him there, who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; for God the just is satisfied, to look on him and pardon me.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


jasonk said...

Is it acceptable, in your opinion, for a Christian to view Genesis as metaphorical?

Wade Burleson said...

Great question Jason.

I would argue that the power of the gospel is lost through a metaphorical view of Genesis.

However, since what saves a person is the representation of Christ, and not one's view of the representation of Christ, I leave it up to God as to whether or not it is "acceptable."

I can say this about myself. I will love any professing Christian who sees Genesis as metaphorical, will lovingly seek to show him the error of his way, but would in no form or fashion denigrate his person, his intellect or his faith.

I would say that the power of the gospel to set a man free is lost in that person's life and ministry.

Hope that answers your question.

TruthOfActs said...

I agree with you 100%, BUT for one thing. See, the “but” cancels out the 100% just like James did to Peter and Christ teachings in Acts 15. I really don’t mean to get off topic and I hope people let that slide.

The ‘one thing’ is about a ten tier doctrine, but I believe it gives a better view of what Jesus did at Calvary.
Can we look at Genesis the same as Paul? There were two trees that God named. They each had a purpose. One was death and one was life.
How many people will die today? Not many are worried as they don’t know it’s going to happen. It may be you or me. The same with Adam. That’s why Adam never thought of eating of the Tree of Life.

Is the Tree of Life a mystery? Or is it exactly what it says? If Adam did not eat of it, he was NOT going to live forever (on this earth.)

God’s purpose was (and still is) to raise man up to heaven and make him higher than the angels. (This was the devil’s concern—Not higher than ME!)

(Genesis 2:17 Holman) “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for ON THE DAY you eat from it, you WILL CERTAINLY DIE.”
Adam died only a SPIIRITUAL death that day as shown by him hiding from God. Adam’s sin did not change the food chain of animals and fish. God set that up when he made them. The shark’s and lion’s teeth were never made for eating grass.

If the punishment of sin was physical death and Jesus took that punishment as far as the East is from the West, then Christians would never die. Christians are BORN AGAIN SPIRITUALLY and not physically.

Wayne, I hope I’m being nice.
Rex Ray

T. D. Webb said...

Great post, Wade! This Okie agrees with you on this issue. . .no "if's, and's, or but's!

In His Grace and Peace,
T. D. Webb

Scotte Hodel said...

Thanks for writing this. I'm in the midst of correspondence with a Mormon who objects to my on-line lecture notes on cults - (1) that they exist at all and (2) that my characterization of the Mormon faith is, in his view, inaccurate. It's been a useful interaction so that I can more precisely state an opposing position. [I haven't updated the notes yet; we're still in the middle of correspondence.]

My "pen-pal's" most recent note back to me discusses one of Joseph Smith's teachings that is contradicted by this longstanding Christian doctrine of federal representation. An important part of the Mormon view of man is that man dies for his own sin, not that of Adam. That is, in their doctrine of free agency, man, at birth at least, is morally neutral, capable to choose good or bad at will. While we haven't discussed it yet, I suspect that the concept of unregenerant man, in desperate need of redemption, unable to choose the good apart from the grace of God, is not acceptable to that particular faith, and so their teachings rob Christ of a significant part of his redemption.

Your post here provides a useful resource to present the Christian view (perhaps I should say a Christian view). I bought Pink's book The Sovereignty of God as a download from the iTunes music store. I especially appreciate that it was written just after World War I and is asking questions that are asked to this day - "where is God when these horrors happen?" However, I don't think that footnotes were read, so I didn't get to hear the name of this doctrine.

Thanks again.

Scotte Hodel said...

Drat, I wish I could edit comments. I should have written above "robs Christ of a significant part of his glory."

Perhaps I should read and write blogs when I am more awake.

jasonk said...

Thank you Wade. I really appreciate your comments, and you did answer my question.
I have a client who is a scientist. He loves Jesus, and sees Genesis as a metaphor. If his salvation was tied to a literal belief in Genesis, he would likely be written off. I think its just the way he's wired up. Thanks again. Great stuff.

Roger Ferrell said...

Great post, Wade. And you quoted one of my all time favorite hymns. For those who do not know it, the hymn is "Before the throne of God above" and has many beautiful lines of rich doctrine, written by Charitie Bancroft in 1863. Here is the complete song:

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

brad reynolds said...



Do you think CP funds should be given to M’s who believe Genesis is “metaphorical?” Do you think one should be allowed to serve as a Trustee if he views Genesis as “metaphorical?” Thanks. Just curious to your thoughts.

Also, I am finally back from El Salvador and have found time to respond to your post last week "We must not be side-tracked from Issues." I have posted about it on my blog.

JDinSTL said...

Long time "listener," first time "caller," and this is the best post in the 3-4 months of my reading this blog. No personalities, no arguing over third tier. Simply sharing how a man can be justified and how to avoid the wrath of God. We're all aware of how Bibles used to be chained to the pulpit but it seems like we need to do that once again. Not so the common man can't have access to the Scriptures but so the Elder/Overseer/Pastor/Bishop will stay true to the Scriptures!

Chief of Sinners for this Century,
John in the STL

Les Puryear said...


Good post. I certainly agree with everything you wrote today.

Your comments reminded me of a quote from Martyn Lloyd-Jones who said, "When I see myself as I really am, nobody can insult me. It is impossible because they can never say anything that is bad enough about me. Whatever the world may say about me, I am much worse than they think."

Thank God for His merciful grace through Jesus Christ.


Wade Burleson said...


I would encourage you to read Debbie Kaufman's blog.

peter lumpkins said...

Brother Wade,

I think your focus on the Gospel is outstanding. Thank you, my Brother for the post. I have a couple of comments, however.

First, I remain curious, my Brother, why there is such an enormous effort in your post--at least, from my perspective--to focus so heavily on what has been dubbed "Federal Theology."

You write: "The main emphasis of Romans 5 is to prove that God judges us all for Adam’s sin."
And again: "Just as I am condemned for the disobedience of the first Adam...Augustine proclaimed the gospel --- we are condemened by one man's disobedience..."

In my reading, I find the BFM2K emphasizing differently. It says: "Man is the special creation of God...[and]In the beginning man was innocent of sin...[but]...fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature...inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation..."

I very well may be wrong and will happily stand corrected, my Brother Wade, but it seems the BFM2K implies that a person, though fallen, is not under condemnation until he/she personally transgresses. If I have read both you and our document correctly, I sense a tension between the two. Am I mistaken?

Second, my Brother Wade, you write: "To deny the historicity of the Genesis account of Adam and Eve is ultimately a denial of the gospel itself..." I too affirm the historicity of the early Genesis chapters.

Yet I am a little confused, Wade, in your response to Jason's question arguing that "the power of the gospel is lost through a metaphorical view of Genesis."

For me, there seems to be a grand difference between a "denial of the gospel itself" and the loss of the "power of the gospel" that you indicate about folks like Jason's friend. And this especially so in light of your assertion that "To preach the gospel is...preaching...what it is we are to believe...something proclaimed, not something created."

I trust your day goes very well. Shalom. With that, I am...


irreverend fox said...

you need to copywrite these Wade.

this is EXCELLENT material and great timing for me at least. I'm preaching a revival right now and we are centered on Judges 2…a godless generation. We're talking about how to be missionaries outside the four walls of the church. It’s hard to believe that a traditional church like this would let a young guy like me, who does not dress like a preacher, preach, but they are excited about new ideas of reaching their postmodern kids and grandkids…

Last night I preached on the need of missionaries to pray, before-during-and after engaging the culture and community surrounding the church building. Tonight I'm preaching on clarifying what the gospel actually is… what is the actual message to deliver to these postmodern pagans and heathens...and this material will help me tweak my notes immensely for tonight.

Thanks Wade

Wade Burleson said...


You ask some good questions.

It sounds as if you are asking, "Can you deny representation and still be considered a Christian?"

My response is simply this --- the act of representation saves, not the understanding of representation.

Christ surely represented people who never understand it.

There are those today who believe in Christ, but deny that we die because of Adam's sin, or live because of Christ's obedience. They say, as did Pelagius and to a small extent Arminius, that we live by what we do for God.

I probably take the position of Dr. Gerstner who said that a true believer, when taught representation, will never deny it, because it is his only hope.

As to your point about tension between the BFM and representation: I find it amusing that people (not you) wish to talk more about the BFM than they do the Bible. I don't believe there is tension between the BFM and the Bible regarding representation, but I'll let those who seem to be BFM experts answer that question :).



Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks for a super post. I shall steal several points and use them as my own.

Daddy told me to use all the brains I had, and all I could borrow, too.

The point about the penalty for an offense being linked to who is it you've offended is a real eye-opener. Particularly when we get to the airport two hours early for a vacation flight, but routinely show up late for an appointment to worship the Living God at church.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade and others:

Oh yes.. how better to (try to) cut the legs out from under God's word, than to think we have the right to assign "metaphorical" to the passages we don't agree with.

IN HIS NAME said...

We were anxiously waiting for your post and You delivered a HOME RUN. I agree with this post 100%, as I was born in sin, the Sin of Adam, I do not deserve forgiveness in any way, but by the Blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ I am Saved. Thank You Oh My Father For Giving Your Son. Thank you Brother Wade for sharing this Post.

Rex, try being a good Boy or we shall put you on a leash.

In His Name

Wayne Smith

sailorman said...


This post is so very helpful in firming up my beliefs, but it sparks a question in another doctrine I'm trying to understand. (If this is too off track, let me know since I would like to pursue this farther.)

You quoted Calvin in his commentary on Romans: “Paul makes grace common to all men, not because it in fact extends to all, but because it is offered to all. Although Christ suffered for the sins of the world, and is offered by the goodness of God without distinction to all men, yet not all receive him.”

How am I misunderstanding his language or what context am I missing since this sounds "Arminian". Is the offering to all not a valid offer since they really can't respond?

How does his use of the word "suffering" fit with the concept of actual payment for penalty vs. suffering only - not an actual payment?

Wade Burleson said...

I believe that Calvin says the gospel is offered to all men without distinction to emphasize the fact that the good news is to be proclaimed to the world.

People from every nation, every tongue, every tribe, every kindred: rich people, poor people, princes and paupers, kings and commoners, men and women, etc . . . are to hear the gospel.

However, the life of God is not implanted into the soul of every man without exception. It is only this life that regenerates a dead heart and causes the blind sinner to see his need.

All other sinners hear the gospel and reject it because of their spiritual deadness --- and their love for self and sin.

So, as Calvin says, (saving) grace is not extended to all, but common grace (the preaching of the good news) is offered to all.


irreverend fox said...

there Wade goes, spreading the greatest cancer facing the SBC today: HYPER-CALVINISM!!!

Wade Burleson said...

Irreverend Fox,

I was explaining what Calvin meant, as requested by sailorman.

I do not know what you mean by hypercalvinism, much less calvinism.

I know what the Bible teaches, and that's enough for me.

I do all I can to spread the good news!


peter lumpkins said...


Thank you for your reponse. Just one point for me to clarify, Brother Wade: while I find the same intrigue as do you in those who "wish to talk more about the BFM than they do the Bible", my interests, as you rightly assume, lie not there.

But I think you may have gleaned the wrong impression from my little post. You write: "As to your point about tension between the BFM and representation...I don't believe there is tension between the BFM and the Bible regarding representation"

Actually, I was not pointing to tension between the BFM and the Bible nor representation per se. Indeed, I do not even know if the BF&M addresses the subject, at least in a "Federal Theology" grid. I more think the BF&M possesses rubbery language than that--here, anyways.

Rather, I was pointing, for this very reason, to the tension between your reading of representation as you see it in Scripture and the BF&M when it specifically states that humans, though fallen already, "as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation..." That is what seems, to me at least, to ooze a tad of tension with the "federal" reading of representation you appear to embrace.

Peace for this afternoon & Rest this evening is my prayer for you, Brother Wade. With that, I am...


TruthOfActs said...

Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a dead telephone. Can we agree on the basics?
1. All men have eternal life—either heaven or hell.
2. Adam died spiritually and hid from God as soon as his eyes were “opened.”
3. All men are condemned to hell because of the sin of Adam.
4. Jesus accepted God’s punishment for that sin in the pits of hell.
5. Man is born again spiritually by believing in Jesus and will go to heaven when he dies.

Wade wrote: “We are sinners, condemned by God to death (both physical and spiritual), because of the disobedience of the first man --- Adam.”
This is not off topic when I ask, “If Adam was going to live forever, what was the purpose of the Tree of Life? Is the Tree of Life not in the Bible?

Did God ever break his law of punishment to Adam? No. Christ became our substitute or representation when we accept him.

But Enoch did not die a physical death which shows a physical death was NOT part of “On the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” God was talking about a spiritual death—plain and simple.

Thanks for replying even if it wasn’t a lot. I’d be interested in your reasons for your belief.

I copied this and started to paste it, but I read Wayne Smith’s warning about being put on a leash.

I feel like Red Skeleton’s little boy saying, “If I dude it, I get a whipping—I dude it.”
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...


You make an interesting point.

Hmmm. I'm thinking.

I wonder if it is possible for poor theology to be in the BFM 2000?

The way some speak the BFM is inerrant and infallible. :)

Is it possible that the Bible teaches we are condemned for the sin of one man, and the BFM 2000 says we are not condemned by God until we personally sin?

Just asking.

Peter, you open a proverbial can of worms my friend.

B.L. said...

wow...25 comments already and by my clock it's only 12:31...you're a popular man wade burleson.

Wade Burleson said...


You ask an interesting question about the tree of life.

I hope to answer your question in the next post on propitiaton.

But for now, I will simply say that every creature is dependent upon His Creator for sustenance and life, and if there is rebellion toward Him, he will bar anyone from "life eternal."

The tree of life, of which they were to eat freely, was the tree which spoke of their dependence upon God for the sustenance of life.

When they rebelled they were "barred" from the way to the tree of life and "banished" from the Garden where the tree of life is located.

Propiation opens the gate to the tree of life, as I will try to show with the story of Abel in the next post.



SBC Layman said...

Thanks Wade for the post.

There is a thought that I would like to discuss regarding representation, that I have read before.

In your post "Adam's one act of disobedience against God, every human being is condemned by God."

As our representatives, when does the imputation of guilt from Adam and righteousness from Christ happen?

Is the imputation of guilt and righteousness conditional?

For example, is the imputation of Christ's righteousness by representation conditional until we are regenerated (regardless of the order of faith one ascribes to). Then made actual at our conversion?

Is the imputation of Adam's guilt by representation conditional and made actual when one sins?

Thanks for the comments,

Wade Burleson said...

Great question Troy. I would propose that since "Salvation is of the Lord" it is impossible to speak of imputation in terms of anything other than eternal. In other words, "before the foundation of the world" would best describe the timing in terms of God since He transcends time and he created time for us.

However, from our perspective, I would say it is impossible to be confident of Christ's representation for us, or the imputation of His righteousness, UNTIL we believe.

It is our faith in Christ that brings us the assurance of our salvation --- it is not the basis of our salvation, nor is it the reason for our salvation, but it is the means through which we come to an understanding of our salvation.

Our salvation is based on the obedience of Christ. The reason for our salvation is the grace of God toward sinners.

We receive an understanding of our salvation through faith in Christ.

This is why justification by grace through faith is sometimes shortened by the Apostle to "justification by faith."

God justifies.

Our faith grabs hold of the knowledge of justification.

William Madden said...

Hey guys,

Isn't it correct to say that one can assign a metaphorical meaning to some passages of scripture without deviating from a view of the Bible as inerrant? A good example would be the parables of Jesus, especially the parables of the kingdom. Aren't all of the parables metaphors or allegories and communicate their divine truth in that way? If Jesus himself used metaphors freely, they can't be all bad. To recognize a Biblical passage as metaphorical doesn't release us from responsibility to the truth or principle that the scriptural passage represents. You could say that metaphors, like Adam himself, are representational :)



John Moeller said...

Wade et al,

More needs to be said about the BFM2000 because it does state;

III. Man

Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God's creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

It seems this disagrees with what you are stating. It may be too that the BFM is somehow trying to skirt around the issue of a small child dieing and what happens to them if they die before accepting Christ. If so, they ahould have a seperate statement about infant death and what the Bible states about that.

What do you think?

Greg P said...

Thanks for the post, Wade.

It's interesting to think about the way Paul uses the illustration of Adam in Romans 5. He doesn't try to *prove* the imputation of Adam's sin to the rest of mankind. Instead, he *assumes* it (much like he does in 1 Timothy 2:13-14) and uses it for the basis of his claim that through Christ grace would abound to many.

5:19 is an incredible verse. The contrast of two natures is amazing. Not that through one man's disobedience many were made *to sin*, but that many were made "sinners". Any issue someone might have with that is soundly defeated if they desire to keep the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness, as the second half of the verse says that many will be made not *to act righteously*, but rather made "righteous".

I'm very glad you brought this subject up. As you can tell, it's already made me do some thinking on it.

Wade Burleson said...

Good thoughts Greg.

Wade Burleson said...


My only difficulty with your question is that Adam is never said to be a parable --- it is given in Scripture as historical narrative. When Jesus spoke in parables the Bible says, "And he spake a parable unto them."

I think we do a disservice to the word of God to assign as metaphorical or parabolic that which is obviously historical from the perspective of the writers of the sacred text.

Wade Burleson said...

John Moeller,

You raise a very interesting question.

You definitely have pointed out something that I missed in the BFM, but that's not unusual, since I only memorize Scripture and not the BFM :).

I wonder how those who have hernias when people sign the BFM with written caveats would answer your question?


William Madden said...

In case there was any doubt, I should have made clear that recognizing the metaphorical nature of certain Biblical passages does not mean that one excludes the role of the Holy Spirit in communicating Biblical Truth.

I strongly affirm that it is the activity of the Holy Spirit that enables a believer to receive divine and life-giving Truth from a metaphorical Biblical passage such as one of Jesus' parables of the Kingdom, by grasping it through the eyes of faith as well as the intellect.

I think it's a two-step process. First, the intellect grasps the truth of the metaphor/parable that represents the Kingdom of God; then, faith calls out for the hearer (or reader's) agreement and obedience to that truth.

However, the critical stage is the obtaining of saving faith which is born as the new believer begins to understand and believe that the parables of the Kingdom of God are not, in the end, merely poetic passages or beautiful moral ideas, but are instead expressions of the reality of the living Christ as King. As saving faith takes hold, what was first understood as "word" becomes Living Word.

John Moeller said...


I don't ever read the BFM either, but went and read it because of the question posted.

The 1925 version states; He (man) was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

hmm, a totally different meaning than the 2000 version.

I point this out only to say; If the foundation of the Baptist faith has been corrupted, shouldn't it be fixed? aka, shouldn't someone bring section 3 back to it's true meaning.

If left, Baptists now state that they believe that everyone is born without sin.........

a slippery slope

Wade Burleson said...


As my favorite actor on "Hogan's Heroes" used to say . . .

"Very, very interesting."

SBC Layman said...

Let me rephrase the question in light of others posts.

The condemnation of man to physical death based on Adam's representation is actual from conception.

Is the condemnation of man to spiritual death conditional because of Adam's representation and then made actual when as sinners we commit sin.

John Moeller added this from his BFM comment:
"Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation."

It would assume that the BFM thinks so.

But is that what Romans states? Or is man actually condemned to spiritual death from the foundations of the world?

Just trying to figure out Adam's Representation.


SBC Layman said...

Or is it better just to say,

I am a sinner!

It doesn't matter how I got to that point. (actual or conditional)

The consequences of sin is spiritual death. (among other things)

So I need a remedy from God who created me in the first place.

Wade Burleson said...

David speaks of being 'conceived in sin' and Paul writes of being "children of wrath by nature."

You ask some difficult questions, but it seems to me that Adam, through his own FREE WILL as the Federal Representative for all mankind, rebelled against His Creator.

God in HIS OMNISCIENCE, knew of Adam's fall outside of time, and provided for the redemption of sinners through His Son --- so that God is glorified in the plan and accomplishment of redemption, and as the Apostle states, "he remains just, and the justifier of the ungodly."

So . . .

Both His grace and His justice are to be praised.

Wade Burleson said...


Good point.

I think you speak brilliantly regarding the heart of a sinner, and I would say,

"Any sinner who is in need of a Savior and cries out to the only Savior given to men SHALL be saved."

Of course, I believe God gave to him His Son and all the gifts associated with Him (faith, repentance, forgiveness, justification, righteousness . . .), but all a sinner needs to know is his need and that there is a Savior.

Well done.

Keith said...

Wade you wrote, "It is my personal belief that all infants who die in infancy are part of the elect of God and receive the blessings of Christ's obedience (this was also the view of Gill, Spurgeon, Whitefield, and other 18th and 19th Century Baptist theologians).

Just wondering what is your belief based on? Any Scripture that states that?


Wade Burleson said...


Great question.

No Scriptural support except in the instances the Bible speaks of small children dying there are no examples of them being in judgment, including David's son born out of wedlock where David cries upon his death, "You will not come unto me, but I will come to you."

In addition, Jesus said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven." I realize that he soon draws an analogy between little children and believers, but I still thing there may be concrete substance to his statement.

I also understand that some would argue that when the Midianites, Canaanites, Hittites and other nations were wiped out by Israel, the sword of judgment fell on every man, woman and child. Some believe that this means these children are in hell.

I have chosen to believe, from the silence of Scripture, that all infants who die in infancy are chosen by God, given to Christ to redeem, and regenerated by the power of the Spirit --- in essence saved by the grace of God. Their death is not unknown to God, and I am of the opinion the grace of God will never be outdone by the sin of man.

By the way, this is one of the reasons I agree with Jonathan Edward's view that heaven will be MORE populated than hell.

The elect outnumber the reprobates. Of course, not EVERYONE will be in heaven --- that is universalism and the Bible never comes close to teaching that doctrine, but there will be a multitude that no man can number.

Heaven is compared to a palace.
Hell is compared to a pit.

Heaven is called a vast sea.
Hell is called a lake.

Heaven is a palace.
Hell is a pit.

'God's grace shall shine for eternity.

Of course, if I am wrong, you will not hear one complaint from me toward God.


Who am I to talk back to Him?

In His Grace,


P.S. Folks, I have tried to respond to most questions today. I have had counseling appointments, a funeral, a luncheon,, and have sucessfully written two articles and prepared my Wednesday night outline and a portion of next Sunday morning's outline while responding.

Now I am on my way to watch my youngest son play football about an hour away from Enid!!

Will not be able to respond to any more questions. Have a great evening.

Christopher Redman said...

I love A.W. Pink! I appreciate your posting that draws attention to his work.


irreverend fox said...

come on Wade, don't you know your favorite commentor by now? I was being sarcastic...

Like, let's say I was a bombastic president of a, oh, let's say of a seminary or something and lets say I liked to toss bombs left and right without thought to logic or consequence. Let's say I had an agenda to squash reformed soteriology in the sbc...

if all that were the case...wouldn't that be the type of thing I would say or the type of accusation I'd make?

Ok...it's funny in my head, my wife always tells me that most people don't "get" my humor...you know what I tell her? "Honey, that's cause most people are WEIRD!"

TruthOfActs said...

I really don’t understand why you must go to Abel, the first murderer to define the purpose of the tree of life. Abel is chapter 4 where nothing is mentioned about the tree of life. Genesis 2: 9 says God caused the tree of life to grow out of the ground in the midst (middle) of the garden. That doesn’t tell much about its purpose except its name.
If the fruit of the tree of life is eaten, Genesis 3:22 tells the outcome or fate of that person, “The Lord God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he MUST NOT reach out, and also take from the tree of life, and EAT, and LIVE FOREEVER.”

God’s words indicate one action—“also” means like Adam ate the fruit that produce knowledge of good and evil. Whether Adam ate ‘the whole thing’ or just one bite—it doesn’t matter.

Now then, can God or would God make a law that breaks or over rides another law? In other words, can God or would God make two laws that conflict with each other? I believe the obvious answer is no. Therefore, if Adam ate of the tree of life and lived forever he would overpower the law of God that said he would die a physical death—IF—IF that was God’s law.

It’s easy to connect the dots here, as God made man to die whether he sinned or not to be taken to heaven. But if he sinned, it would take the death of his Son and man accepting that death for the reconciliation of man to God.

I hope some would not say the tree of live had vitamins for fruit and a one-a-day would keep you alive forever. Like Fox said: “Give me strength.”
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...


You make a good point.

I think you will see we are not far off in our understanding of Scripture.

Death only means separation, and when Adam and Eve died, they were separated from God.

peter lumpkins said...

Brother Wade,

You are too kind, Wade. You write: "Peter, you open a proverbial can of worms my friend." Hurray! :)

As for "poor" theology being in the BF&M, I am not so sure. I could not muster the energy to say so. Though I do think if we continue to "fix it" to match us, then we are really saying Baptists do not possess a confession. And, eventually the screws will be so tight, hardly any of us today will avoid the squeeze out.

In the end, while "not poor" theology is in the BF&M, I do think we could say "not perfect" theology either.

The really interesting point in all this, Wade, is how you personally juggle this given your role as trustee. If the BF&M possibly, in your view, does contain poor theology, how does one not only promote "poor theology" but also require missionaries to embrace "poor theology" before they can serve on the mission field?

And, given your past insistence that other doctrines not found in the BF&M should not be imposed upon missionaries (a.k.a., speaking in tongues. I hope I have correctly understood you at that point), how it is one could take the BF&M to school and teach it a thing or two? It was the standard in your other points but now it may not be able to fulfill that role. Oh, my! The horrible postition being in position positions us! But I have confidence you will figure it all out :)...

Have a great day. With that, I am...


TruthOfActs said...

Yes, you are correct when you said, “when Adam and Eve died, they were separated from God.”

When they hid from God they were separated from him because they had died a spiritual death which fulfilled God’s word. “…on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
BUT when they died physically they were united with God just as Christians when they die. So a physical death did not separate them from God, and your statement justifies them only dieing a spiritual death and not a physical death.

You say, “we are not far off in our understanding of Scripture.” Let’s identify that “far off” which is the disagreement of what “on the day” means. I believe it means ‘the day, the hour, the minute, the second Adam’s eyes were opened, he died.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but you say it also means 900 years later.

Why must you say this? Let’s put all the cards on the table. You are ‘stuck’ with Paul’s belief that man would die physically because of Adam’s fall. I say ‘stuck’ because to believe different than Paul would deny inerrancy.
The truth of the Bible is revealed by the Holy Spirit. You take what Paul says and what God says and He will teach us truth. Paul even agreed with Adam in saying, “It was not Adam who was fooled by Satan, but Eve, and sin was the result.” (1 Timothy 2:14) I believe God rejected Adam’s excuse, and did not change his mind by agreeing with Paul.

You said you would answer my question (what was the purpose of the tree of life) in your post on ‘propitiation’, but you skipped its definition in Genesis 3:23 and started with verse 24 which kept Adam out of the garden.

I believe in some ways ‘inerrancy’ does more harm than good in knowing the truth of the Bible.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

I can respectfully say I do not agree with your last sentence, but I am grateful for our common faith in Christ Jesus, "the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

In His Grace,


craig from Georgia said...

What exactly is spiritual death? I see instances in the OT which refer to the spirit of man so their spirit isn't dead (and this is prior to the new birth). I'm also having a hard time seeing Federal Headship in scripture. I'd always thought:
1. Adam (and Eve) sins.
2. Adam is removed from the Garden of Eden and therefore no longer has access to the tree of life therefore he is now subject to physical death. Now removed from the Garden of Eden he no longer has the same fellowship with God.
3. We come into this world reaping the consequences of Adam's sin which is physical death as we don't have acess to the tree of life.
4. We come into this world without God and unable to resist the world, flesh, and the devil and sin.
5. Each person is judged for their sins, not Adams.

Just some thoughts.

Wade Burleson said...


Good thoughts.

I guess all I would say is simply this:

If the Scripture teaches that you are condemned by the sin of one man (the first Adam), which I believe it does (Romans 5:12), then you can come to the realization that salvation must be accomplished by another in order to deliver you from condemnation. That deliverer is Jesus Christ (the second Adam) and your faith in His representation of you is what delivers you from the consequences of sin and death.

If you believe that you fall from God's grace because of your personal sins, then you should logically believe that you are restored by your personal acts of righteosness. Scripture, as you know, denies both.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother John Moeller,

Good job comparing the 1925 with the 2000 to see the change. If you'll check the 1963, though, you'll see that the change was made in that version, and simply carried over into the 2000.

I know Dr. Hobbs was the chairman of that group. Was he the one who suggested that change?

Dear Brother Wade,

Thank you for this excellent post. I believe the truth of federal representation in Adam is a big part of the power of the Gospel message.

Love in Christ,


Love in Christ,


T. D. Webb said...

Kudos, Wade! Your patience in enduring the "inquiring comments" regarding your post (superceded only by the on point answers you provided) deserves something more than a "Waddie Badge". :^)

As for our effusive friend. . . Peter, your attempts at using Socratic interrogatives to catch Wade up in a contradiction or inconsistency have, thusfar, failed miserably in this Okie's opinion. One is curious as to whether you have asked corollary questions of B.R. and his ilk in the SBC blog world?

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Brother T.D.,

Another Okie! Sweet Heaven! Are there more than one on the net? Just a little funny, T.D.

Why, my brother! I do not know if ever in my several lifetimes I have been referred to as "effusive." And, believe me...I have been referred to as quite a lot. Though it really is hard to believe that such few questions I have asked has endowed me such an honor so quickly.

As for socratically asking questions in the blogging world, I realize one can get into similar trouble that the old gadfly of Athens himself garnered. "Prepare to meet thy God!", Amos thundered.

I can only say I ask questions when I feel questions need asking or when the post interests me. Indeed, in doing so, I feel I am only travelling the Interstate route Wade has been on for sometime now. In essence, Baptists were born, like their Radical Reformation fathers, out of dissent. I believe we agree on this, do we not Brother T.D.?

As for catching Wade in a contradiction, I assure, twas not at all in my radar. But he is a better judge of that than you or I. Personally, I know how it feels to have contradictory jaws slam shut on one's position. Even if no one else knew, I knew it within...

Have a great Okie evening, my T.D. With that, I am...


Wade Burleson said...


I asked you to read Debbie Kaufman's Blog, not the comments! :)

I hope you heard Debbie's heart.

Someone emailed me and told me that you did indeed read her post, but you still feel your questions have not been answered, so desiring your curiosity to be satisfied I will do so here.

You ask:

(1). Do you think CP funds should be given to M’s who believe Genesis is “metaphorical?” Answer: No.

(2). Do you think one should be allowed to serve as a Trustee if he views Genesis as “metaphorical?” Answer: No.

Hope that helps. I also urge you to also reread my private message to you. I shall abide by my words to you and I desire for you to do so as well.

In His Grace,


TruthOfActs said...

I should have given more background before I said, “In some ways ‘inerrancy’ does more harm than good in knowing the truth of the Bible.”

Our BFM states: “We believe the Bible has…truth, without any mixture of error for its matter, and that all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

One thing you emphasize is we should not go beyond the BFM with beliefs that are not covered by the BFM. Why is ‘inerrancy’ an exception to this thinking?

I asked the presiding lawyer for the 2004 SBC what was the purpose of having “mixture of error” in defining the truth of the Bible. I asked why didn’t they just say, ‘truth without any error for its matter’ if that’s what it means?

He replied, “Because that’s not what it means. It means the truth of the Bible is true and the untruth of the Bible is untrue. That’s why we added, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.”

Wade, with his definition, I agree wholeheartedly with what the BFM 2000 says about the truth of the Bible. Do you?

For temptation to be tempting is must be possible or true. If I told you I’d sell you the moon for $10 you would not be tempted to buy it. The devil saved his strongest temptation till last when he offered to give Jesus the souls of mankind. It was true or Jesus would not have been tempted. The devil became the ownership of spiritual dead men when Adam fell.
Jesus said that we must be born again. When a child is accountable is a fine line. Was John the Baptist ‘saved’ by recognizing Jesus before he was born? I don’t know.

Being spiritual dead is to be un-reconciled to God.
Rex Ray

craig from Georgia said...

Wade Burleson said...

Good thoughts.

I guess all I would say is simply this:

If the Scripture teaches that you are condemned by the sin of one man (the first Adam), which I believe it does (Romans 5:12), then you can come to the realization that salvation must be accomplished by another in order to deliver you from condemnation. That deliverer is Jesus Christ (the second Adam) and your faith in His representation of you is what delivers you from the consequences of sin and death.

If you believe that you fall from God's grace because of your personal sins, then you should logically believe that you are restored by your personal acts of righteosness. Scripture, as you know, denies both.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Doesn't Romans 5:12 say that death, not sin, passed to all men? This must mean the death of the body as the Bible makes no mention of spiritual death. There is physical death and there is the second death, which is when lost people are cast into the lake of fire.

We don't fall from grace. We come into this world separated from God because of Adam's sin. Sin entered the world through the one act of one man ("one man's offense; one that sinned; one man's. Death (physical)came into the world because of the one sin of the one man (death passed upon all men; death reigned; all died; many be dead; to condemnation).All sinned later as a result of their estrangement from God (sin abounded; sin reigned; many offenses). A man is damned only on the basis of his personal and willful violation of truth-----truth understood. Until he is made consciously responsible, he is not held accountable. The death penalty passes on all men because the race was in Father Adam when he sinned. Understand there is a great difference between imputing someone else's sin, with its guilt, and imputing the consequences----death. In consequence of Adam's sin, the whole world has in fact actually and personally sinned. One man sinned, all died, and it resulted in all sinning.

Once a person is saved through belief in the gospel, their sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus, Jesus' righteousness is imputed to them and they are indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption.

TruthOfActs said...

Was God’s punishment of death to Adam spiritual, physical, or both? Does God ever make laws that contradict each other? If Adam was to die physically, he could have over ruled that law if he could slip past the angels and eat of the tree of life. Right? But that would mean God had two laws that contradicted each other.
Therefore, Adam’s only death was spiritual and that was the only death that Jesus paid for on the cross. If he had paid the penalty of physical death, Christians would never die physically on this earth.

Jesus died that we may have eternal life in heaven. He did not die for use to have eternal life because the people in hell have eternal life.
Rex Ray

GeneMBridges said...

For temptation to be tempting is must be possible or true.

I take it you affirm the peccability of Christ then. If so, then welcome to the wonderful world of Nestorianism.

Doesn't Romans 5:12 say that death, not sin, passed to all men? It says that the wages of sin is death. It says that through the sin of one man, death came to all.

Incidentally, the fact that Adam and Eve were not exterminated on the spot is proof of God's mercy, not proof of the limited extent of sin, viz. spiritual death. The implication of the text is that, had God not been merciful, which He was under no obligation to be, He could have rightfully destroyed them both. So, yes, physical death is part of the original warning. The fact that they died later and not on the spot is solely a matter of God's plan and His mercy.

I'm also having a hard time seeing Federal Headship in scripture.

To answer that I would suggest you ask whether or not there was a covenant broken here or not. If so, then federal headship is in view. Let's see:

A. 1:18 - 30 and 2:16 - 17 go together the way 12: 1 - 3, 15, and 17: 1- 22 do. The command to be fruitful and multiply of our own kind is part of the narrative unit and thus inclusive of the command structure and iteration of the covenant here. The cultural mandate is also reiterated in Gen. 9. I would add that all of the administrations/covenants involve this element, including the New, and let's not forget the New is the exemplar for the Old in particular and by extension the Covenant of Grace itself.

B. The Theme of Inheritance: "Who will inherit the earth God created and why?" is hovering in the background of the whole Bible (the answer is "the covenant people," / "the sons of God"). Moses is writing to a people poised to enter the promised land. Why is the land theirs? Because God has a covenant with them, going all the way back to Adam. Adam is not just the father of all people, but the father Seth, who fathered Enoch..Noah...Shem...Terah...Abraham...
Isaac...Jacob...the sons of Jacob (and the 2 of Joseph)...the recipients of the book. This presumes a covenant relation going back to creation, because the geneaologies retell redemptive history, which presumes a covenant to underwrite it It isn't just redemptive history, this is their history, the history of God's covenant people. Likewise why do believers as a whole "inherit the earth?" Because Christ is the Second Adam, and we find that He succeeded where Adam failed. This presumes a covenant relation in eternity among the Godhead and the breaking of a covenant by the first Adam, and gets us to imputation issues in Romans 5, for example.

C. Tabernacle Imagery: Note once again the environment. The Garden of Eden itself is structured in a manner that reflects the 3 tiered structure of creation but this is also carried forward in the minds of the readers to the Ark of Noah and then Tabernacle. Cf. G. Beale, The Temple and the Church's Mission (IVP, 2004) (I would add that this too is reflective of the Trinity as well). Now, let's widen this out a bit more. Let's start with the flood and move back and then move forward to the Tabernacle and Trinity. In the flood account we have a triple-decker ark with a window and a roof (6:16; 8:6,13). The animals occupy different decks. During the deluge the ark has water above (rain) and below (floodwaters). Now, let's compare this to the world. In the creation account, the world has windows (7:11) and a roof (1:6-8; 14-16). It has water above and below (1:2,7). The world has three decks: sky, earth, water (cf. Exod 20:4). Animals occupy different "decks." Now, let's compare this to the Garden. It is in the world, surrounded by the rivers (waters), in Eden there is a garden (earth) and in the center (sky) are the two trees, one to life or death. Now, let's compare this to the Tabernacle. We have the camp surrounding it. It is set at the center of the camp (earth/the world), there is a court (Eden) with a laver (water, the rivers), a Holy Place with bread and light (earth/the garden) and a most holy place where God dwells (sky/the center of the garden) with the mercy seat (the tree of life/God's mercy) over the Ark of the Covenant containing the Law, staff of Moses, and manna (the tree of knowledge/God's justice). This is even more explicit by the time we get to the construction of the Temple and the way it was decorated as well as structured. The point here is that man and God are together in the Tabernacle and with the "mercy seat" (the tree of life) and the ark of the covenant (the contents, the Law, the staff, the manna) represented by the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (In fact, it is because the first couple break the Law that they are cast out and that the Law was given in Moses day to reveal sin). This assumes, from the standpoint of the original recipients of the book, that they are engaging in a covenant relationship.

D. Structure: The covenant includes a stipulation and sanctions. A negative presupposes a positive. But that is not the ground for asserting that there is a promise of life here, because the only tree prohibited for eating is the tree of knowledge. The tree of life is not prohibited until after the fall. They are cut off from the "sacramental" source of life, but they had access to it beforehand. The sanction, death for eating the tree of knowledge presupposes a promise, bliss, the state in which they were already living, and in which, it would seem from 3:24, they could have continued had they eaten from that tree and not the other. We also have in this text a preamble, parties, as well as stipulations, and sanctions. This is all in the context of a relationship between God and man. That's all we need.

E. Sacrifices and Signs: Other covenants between God and man have sacrifices and sacramental signs besides the tabernacle/tent of meeting/Temple. The New has the work of Christ and then the ordinances. The Davidic is an extension of the Old and the Abrahamic, but it has the seed culminating in Christ, who is the outward sacramental sign (He is the water and bread of life) and the ultimate once for all sacrifice for sin (Hebrews). The Old has circumcision (from Abrahamic) and the sacrifices and the Ark of the Covenant. The Abrahamic has circumcision and sacrifice. The Noahic has sacrifice and the rainbow. The Adamic has the clothing from animals killed by God, the naming of Eve, mother of all living, anticipating children and “the seed.”. This one pre-Fall has no sacrifices (they are unnecessary) but a sacramental sign, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge would be eaten so it becomes the reason we require sacrifices. F. Lawsuit presumes covenant: We know a covenant was here because God comes looking for them after they eat the fruit. He comes and judges them. He also asks them questions prior to rendering a verdict and He gives them time to respond. He's bringing a lawsuit and this is the typical procedure in a covenant lawsuit under the Law. This presumes a law was broken, and this in turn presumes a covenant, because the Law supplies the supporting material for the covenant lawsuit (Isaiah-Malachi), returning an indictment against Israel while pointing towards the final redemption, and through Jesus, God the Son incarnated as man now comes Himself just as God came in the Garden. In fact, His ministry often puts Him in the position of examining Israel's leaders with questions. In the Passion Week, He recapitulates the role of God in the Garden, by entering the Temple and, though they believe they are examining Christ, He examines the religious leaders, brings the final phase of the lawsuit, and pronounces His judgment, and ultimately the Old Covenant terminates into the New. "The world" has already been judged according to John (John 3), He comes to examine the covenant people, since they are His representatives to the world, and in the end He goes to their representatives before God, the religious leaders, after walking among the people, ministering, and yet examining them and finding them unbelieving (John 6 for example). In the same way, we have Satan here as the serpent, already fallen and judged, then Eve is interviewed, then last Adam her head who represented her and us before God.

Lastly, what commandments were broken? According to the 2nd London Confession, the same Law as in Moses was trangressed in Eden. Is this true?

Well, let's see. 1. Adam and Eve both broke a covenant with God. It's obvious they broke the first commandment. This goes without saying. All sin violates the first commandment.

2. Eve listened to the serpent and enticed Adam to join her. In terms of the Pentateuch and Israel's history his foreshadows, among other things, the actions of the Moabite/Midianite women after Balaam's curse and the donkey in Balaam's discourse. So the serpent in the Garden becomes the idol they obeyed rather than God, and man was enticed to idolatry by woman, and the serpent spoke like the donkey. All of these are sure indications they broke the second commandment. Satan of course is the personality behind the serpent.

Incidentally, the Abomination of Desolation, corrupt priests, and other such images in Scripture are all a riff on this same theme: The serpent is in the Garden, and not just the Garden as a garden but the Garden as the Tabernacle and in the center of the Garden among the trees. Ergo, they communicate idea that the serpent is in the Holy of Holies they way he was among the trees in the Garden, but I digress. Follow that image in Scripture and you get a very strong picture of false teacher in the church, they are serpents in the temple of God, and if they are elders, they're in the "holy of holies" (the position of greatest authority teaching the Word of God). What God thinks of the serpent he thinks of these false teachers, but again, I digress.

3. Did they break the 3rd? From a narrative standpoint, Adam had assented to the commands themselves since he named the animals and accepted his wife. So, what we have here is the breaking of an oath/vow. If marriage vows were broken, we can also say that God's name is taken in vain, as they are made before God. That's the framework of the 3rd commandment.

4. Notice that Eve is gathering fruit on the narrative Sabbath. Strictly speaking, this is work, but we already know work was allowed on the Sabbath the way it was allowed for priests. What happened, however is that she broke the Sabbath by disobeying the Lord, not by working, but by taking the forbidden fruit. Ditto for Adam

Moreover, God's verdict states that man will toil and his labor will end in death, not life (the Sabbath). Christ will have to bring us work that ends in life. A life of work is in the OC is thus rightly disanalogous with worship, because worship = life. The Sabbath is revealing sin; how? By reminding us that our work ends in death. In the NC, we're on a perpetual Sabbath, so our work does not end in death but in life. Ergo work and worship are back to where they were in the Garden in the NC. Also, the verdict gives man what he wanted. It's as if God is saying, "You want to do the work you want to do instead of the work I told you to do? Okay, go ahead, do it, and do it in the toil from which I was keeping you and do it ending in death until the seed comes to redeem you from the curse."

5. Father and mother? It's tempting to say, "No," but Luke 2:38 says that Adam is the son of God. So, Adam is disobeying his father, God, and Eve, one flesh with him in marriage does the same through the marriage covenant as well as her own sin.

6. Murder? Remember the penalty for eating the tree? In the day you eat of it, you will surely die. Eve knew this. She ate the tree. She committed "suicide." Not only that, she gave the fruit to Adam. Adam ate it and committed suicide too. What's more, he did it knowing full God had said, "You will surely die," and he appears to have allowed his wife to go first anyway. The first murder then is not really Cain killing Abel. It's here, where our First Parents sought to kill each other and Adam in particular, knowing the most, chose to kill his wife and, as we know from Romans 5, all of their children in him.

7. Adultery? We have here as unseemly as it sounds a threeway. The serpent is also an image associated with sexual sin in ancient culture. Women are associated with serpents when they are involved in temple prostitution. This is a common idea. Eve goes along with the serpent instead of Adam. She is violating her marriage covenant (thus violating the 3rd commandment as well). Then, she lured Adam to eat too. The image generated is that of a pagan prostitute (like a Midianite woman) luring an Israelite man (of the covenant people) into a sexual act to worship the idol, as they did at Peor. Peor's sin cut off an entire generation. Let's not forget also that the covenant relation between Israel (and the church) and God (and Christ) is that of a husband and wife. So, Adam commits adultery against the Lord, and joins his wife in a threeway of sorts with the serpent. Notice that Adam totally fails on his marriage vows here too.

8 and 10. Stealing and coveting go hand in hand. God had forbidden them to eat of the fruit. Thus, they are stealing His fruit in His own garden in the holiest place in the Garden. They may as well have decided to take the manna out of the ark of the covenant. Notice also the description of the fruit. It was appealing to the eyes. The tree was desirable to make one wise. She coveted the fruit and the tree. Adam, who was with her, joined her.

9. Bearing false witness. Yep, they broke this one too. When the serpent asked questions, Eve didn't exactly give the right answers. Now, we could chalk that up to innocence and ignorance. But what about Adam? And notice that before God gives His verdict, He interviews them. Each blames another, and neither Adam nor Eve tell the whole truth. "Yeah I ate, but...." False witness, obviously.

So, in that one sin, they broke the whole Decalogue. So, can we deduce these commandments from Gen. 1 and 2 alone? I think we can. We've already established the first table of the Law. 1 and 2 are in the prologue identifying God. The Sabbath is established either by 2:1-3 (the traditional method) or by the image of the Tabernacle and the narrative day (the 7th). Obedience to God and the marriage covenant answer to the commandments on adutery and family. It answers to the command vs. lying too as the marriage covenant presumes truth between spouses. A commandment against lying is also indexed to the idea of fellowship with God. Stealing, coveting, and murder are bound up in the warning not to eat of a the tree of knowledge.

Ergo: Federal Headship must be here, or it makes no sense to the original recipients who viewed themselves as being "in Adam" and having a divine right by right of primogeniture to the Promised Land going back to Adam through a series of covenants.

JRW said...

Wade, in your response to Troy you seem to be saying that in the same way that Adam's sin condemns us, Jesus' death saves us. Just as we do not have to believe that Adam's sin condemn's us,we do not have to believe Christ's death saves us. You seem to indicate that our belief in Him simply gives us assurance of our salvation. Did I completely misunderstand your explanation or is this what you meant to say?