The Great Commission Creation Mandate?

How the Creation Mandate and the Great Commission Intersect | It Is Written.

Continuing Calvin and going along with the fact that he didn’t believe that the federal headship of Adam included Adam’s ability to secure eternal life to himself and to his progeny, there are other things Calvin would not have agreed with:

…Adam’s commission included a kingly, priestly, and prophetic calling.

Where is that found? It is an inference. And not one from Scripture, but one from the presupposition that a covenant of works was extant in the garden’s Creation Mandate (if it can even be called such a thing), which must be extended in both directions historically, inclusive of all God’s dealings with his creation. Calvin understood the “mandate,” not as a covenant, but as simply God’s provision:

He confirms what he had before said respecting dominion. Man had already been created with this condition, that he should subject the earth to himself; but now, at length, he is put in possession of his right, when he hears what has been given to him by the Lord: and this Moses expresses still more fully in the next verse, when he introduces God as granting to him the herbs and the fruits. For it is of great importance that we touch nothing of God’s bounty but what we know he has permitted us to do; since we cannot enjoy anything with a good conscience, except we receive it as from the hand of God. And therefore Paul teaches us that, in eating and drinking we always sin, unless faith be present, (Romans 14:23.) Thus we are instructed to seek from God alone whatever is necessary for us, and in the very use of his gifts, we are to exercise ourselves in meditating on his goodness and paternal care. For the words of God are to this effect: ‘Behold, I have prepared food for thee before thou wast formed; acknowledge me, therefore, as thy Father, who have so diligently provided for thee when thou wast not yet created. Moreover, my solicitude for thee has proceeded still further; it was thy business to nurture the things provided for thee, but I have taken even this charge also upon myself. Wherefore, although thou art, in a sense, constituted the father of the earthly family, it is not for thee to be overanxious about the sustenance of animals.’

Adam’s federal headship is then limited to being the first man, not that he was a king, a priest, or a prophet above his peers, but as the genealogical head, or we might say, the root, of the human race. It was not left to him anymore than any of his progeny to take care of the garden, be fruitful, and multiply, or to be a king, priest, or a prophet. Adam, is, as we shall see from Calvin, the archetypal human, the first of a kind and by fiat of that mankind’s father, but not its head in any other forensic sense than that.

Dominion was the condition into which Adam was created, it was his by fiat of being man, and being the representative or archetypal man, his offspring would likewise be in dominion also. And all equally responsible. All the provisions of all things, including dominion and the subjugation, for they are but two sides of the same thing, is by fiat of God’s providential care, and that for all mankind in Adam. So also, in God’s providential dealings with Adam as the root of mankind’s tree, all the fruit of that tree is corrupted through him.

Dominion and subjugation were not works to be accomplished, a covenant to be failed, according to Calvin. All that man could accomplish, and would have, is given by providence, not works merit. Man was created in dominion, Calvin tells us, as a condition, in other words according to nature. He was not created to take it he was it, God’s regent image on earth. The confirmation of what is meant to subdue and have dominion is reflected in the statement:

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15

Man was put to work in the garden of the Lord’s making, not to bring it under his control, but to tend it and keep it under control. For it was “good,” and already under God’s control, and man was in that image created. He was not created so as to become God’s image, but already its bearer. As Calvin so stipulates, man was made in this condition and the world was made for his provision. In it he lacked nothing and there was nothing left to be made “good.” The bearing of children, as Calvin remarks is also a work of God and God’s intended outcome was that mankind bear children to fill and replenish as God’s image bearer, also. That too, though, was fulfilled in the first Adam couple for all mankind was accounted in them. Not only is Adam the father of all, but Eve is the mother of all, the two both being the image bearer of God. All of the children would be Adam’s equals. It was not that Adam must fill a quota before he could be deemed righteous enough to take of the tree of life. He was already righteous. And so also, all his children would have been, and would have a share in the same image equally.

As Calvin has noted elsewhere, man could freely take of any tree but one, so that there was not ever a time when Adam could not have eaten of the tree of life. Indeed, Calvin more or less concludes the tree of life as symbolic of the whole of God’s permissions, that it could not any more than any other tree covey life. Calvin exercises his interpretive freedom making the tree of life perhaps a sacramental offering, a memorial to the source of all life, for man does not live by only bread but by every word of God. Calvin attenuates the tree in the garden further in noting that the true Tree of Life which gives eternal life was not yet incarnated. The first tree being symbolic of the source of life should humble man such that he realizes that nothing, no work that he can do, could ever convey or secure life to himself. And if not to himself, then not to others.

Where Gonzales quotes Fesko:

The dominion mandate cannot be fulfilled simply by procreation or by having large families.

This, as noted above, is exactly the opposite of what Calvin concluded was the case. And what was Calvin doing? Well for the most part, except where he cites other Scripture, he was simply going on the information provided by the text without a covenant hermeneutic informing him as to what he must understand it to mean. It was not just that Calvin didn’t find the word covenant in Genesis 1-2, it was that he knew there was no covenant of works expressed there. And it is not as if Calvin was ignorant of the covenants of Scripture.

Calvin nowhere in the creation comparisons in Romans 5 makes Adam the type of Christ such that Christ fulfills the Creation Mandate of works. In fact, he goes the opposite way and says that Christ is the fulfillment of the type in an antitypical way. Christ is of a different kind. He is one who can grant life. Adam could only bring death. Indeed, where Calvin says that Jesus fulfilled a work, John 17, it was not the Creation Mandate. There too, Calvin is correct to note that it is the work of The Kingdom that Christ has accomplished. It is a new work, of a different kind, it is of a New Kingdom, and not the fulfillment of a previous one left unfulfilled.

Gonzales adds:

Adam and Eve were created to fill the earth with worshipers of God who would extend the boarders of God’s Edenic garden-sanctuary to the ends of the earth at which time they, in imitation of their Creator-Lord, would enter into their eternal Sabbath enthronement at God’s right hand.

Assumptions: First, that the inherent dominion existing in Adam’s creation was not at first over the whole of the earth’s land mass as it was then. The distinction being made between the earth and the garden is confounded in Genesis in that the trees and plants from which man is to eat exist outside the garden of Eden as well as in it. There are rivers that run out of Eden to water the garden, which is textually equivalent to the whole earth, and the GARDEN of Eden sounds as if it is a special area within a more expansive garden. Indeed, Eden may be the name of the whole earth landmass with the various regions being named:

And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Another version says:

And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.

And thus, Eden is the name of the land, where a garden was, into which man was placed. Or, Eden is only being distinguished as the name of its location, wherever that was, connoting that garden wasn’t there but outside it. The word garden is used for the whole, and then, also for a distinct area within the whole, the garden eastward in Eden. Is Eden in the east of the land mass? Or, is Eden the name of whole landmass into which the garden was placed? Is Eden the name of the landmass, and the regions named only regions within it? The rivers flowed out of Eden to water the garden and they encompassed the division. Were those divisions within the GARDEN?

That there is a gate and that there are Angels protecting against reentrance to the garden may then be considered at least in a spiritual sense, symbolic, since we have no garden today to which we can look to say it is a place distinct, and no real garden specifics in the text to say just what is meant by “a garden.” “In Eden” may designate one region as such were Havilah, Cush and Nod(?) and so on. On the other hand, if only a partial area was also called Eden and the whole Eden was all the land mass where the rivers were which flowed out of Eden to water the garden, which rivers also had reference to other regions of the garden, then what we are dealing with cannot be said to not be symbolic with any more force than saying it is actual descriptive language since it cannot be determined just what Eden is or what if any real distinction as a matter of Adam’s attendance can be made between the garden which is outside the GARDEN, the GARDEN which God had prepared to the east into which he placed Adam.

Never the less, and with all Genesis’ confounding aside, as Calvin noted, all provisions were from God, not from man. Man could secure to himself nothing new. So it does not matter of what the geography was, except to say that there just isn’t any border which can be made known by the text between the garden and the earth at large as is presupposed by Gonzales. Extending the boarders of the garden then is read into the text. Even if there were a physical rather than a spiritual distinction, Calvin says, it was not that man was improving on anything, for all was done, and all was good, and Adam had dominion over all.

The second assumption is that Adam had yet to enter into the sabbath. The fact is, though, that man was placed in the GARDEN, and so ended the sixth day. Unless we make the fall to happen on that very day, then when the Scripture says that creation was completed on the sixth day and there was morning and evening the sixth day, then Adam and Eve awoke into God’s rest on the seventh. They weren’t placed not at rest. But as Calvin insists, God had provided everything for man’s contentment. It was not to work, so to speak, but to be at rest in their labor for the Lord. And since we don’t have a first day again mentioned, the sabbath cannot be said to be concluded at the end of it. There is an absence of the morning and evening designation for the sabbath, so it cannot be said then there was then an eighth day. In fact, the idea of perpetual rest, that is God’s rest, is indicated and later texts confirm it as a type of the eternal rest to come. In other words, Adam and Eve were placed into the sabbath to keep it perpetually.

The assumption is that a Covenant of Works was to be completed by sometime, a covenant to be kept that would provide rest so that man was not at rest in his labors prior to it. That simply doesn’t exist in the text. It flows whole cloth from the Covenant hermeneutic. The glaring fact is that where we find the imposition of works is as a part of the curse, after the fall. As I said, unless the fall happened on the sixth day, man could not be said to have failed to enter into it. Man was to have dominion over creation which was completed “good,” keep it, not gain it, subdue it, that is, work the earth, or as Genesis states, tend the Garden, without breaking a sweat. It wasn’t debilitating, draining labor, but life given as tender. The natural reading of the texts only makes sense if we conclude that Adam entered into God’s rest when he awoke that seventh day. And it was from that, that he and Eve fell. What we find in the curse is surely not rest, so we must conclude that prior to it man was at rest with God with whom he used to commune in that restful cool of the day. Or, we need another word for the opposite of rest.

Gonzales concludes:

But wherein the First Adam and Eve failed, the Second Adam and Eve shall succeed. And when all enemies are put under their feet, they shall together enjoy the fullness of Sabbath rest, ruling and reigning together in the New Heavens and New Earth.

But the enemies have already been put under His feet, Ephesians 1:22, though we do not see it yet. It fails the test of Hebrews 4, also, where the writer says we have entered it. Though we do not yet see it, that same writer cautions his readers by his writing so that no one fails to enter that rest. In Chapter Six he says:

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Notice the type of the curse which speaks of the unyielding ground that is the  frustrative exhausting of works. It produces no rest. But, as the writer is convinced, his readers have entered the rest promised. Labors in the kingdom work full assurance and the writer is drawing closed the circle begun in Chapter Four. Those who have entered through Christ entered God’s rest unless they fail the test of God’s perfect provision, just as it was in the Garden. It is not that God has failed in providing all that is necessary so that man must work to attain it. He couldn’t in the Garden, and he cannot now.

At the end of the previous quote Gonzales states a third assumption: that Adam wasn’t at rest in God’s first sabbath and further, that a future sabbath for him to enter into, an eternal one, was yet for him achievable. But the fact is that this is to conflate two different sabbath’s into one. It is obvious that the first sabbath rest wasn’t eternal. And Adam was already enjoying God’s rest if the curse is to mean anything. Scripture teaches a second sabbath (see the feast of Tabernacles; Hebrews 4:8-10). Those who have died in Christ have ceased from their labor, and that kind of rest was not available until after the fall. That there are two rests, the first from which Adam could fall and did, and the second from which man cannot fall, Hebrews 4:11, because it is secured by Christ, is irrefutable.

The fourth assumption is to make Jesus out to be just another Adam. The text in question reads:

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Jesus is a different kind of man, Calvin concludes. Man though he is, he is not as Adam, who was a mere mortal, and could not bestow life on any. As said, the only thing that Adam could procure for his progeny was death. And that is exactly the knowledge Romans bequeaths. Adam was a living soul, who brought death. Jesus was the life giver. Scripture further concludes that Jesus is the Firstfruit of a different generation who through a new and living way gives eternal life to whom he chooses. And that, not by propagation of any humanly sort or effort, but through the new generation, that is, a new creation bestowed by grace. It is not an old creation order which has been fulfilled in Christ, or reconstituted, but an entirely new work which has been accomplished by Christ in restoring man.

Gonzales concludes correctly it is a New Heaven and a New Earth which we will occupy. Though, what Scripture indicates is that Heaven and Earth are one and the same in the New Creation. It is not an old creation, an old Eden filled with first adam’s, with a fulfilled covenant of works that Christ’s work accomplishes. It is a new work, a new creation that Christ has fulfilled.

Recalling Calvin:

Now as to his calling Christ the last Adam, the reason is this, that as the human race was created in the first man, so it is renewed in Christ. I shall express it again, and more distinctly: All men were created in the first man, because, whatever God designed to give to all, he conferred upon that one man, so that the condition of mankind was settled in his person. He by his fall ruined himself and those that were his, because he drew them all, along with himself, into the same ruin: Christ came to restore our nature from ruin, and raise it up to a better condition than ever. There are then, as it were, two sources, or two roots of the human race. Hence it is not without good reason, that the one is called the first man, and the other the last… “It is necessary,” says he, “that before we are restored in Christ, we derive our origin from Adam, and resemble him.

The work which Christ accomplished is not the “Creation Mandate,” according to Calvin, it is the restorative recreation of mankind from a second source. But as Calvin says, to a distinctly different, that is, “better condition than ever.” In short, a new creation. And notice, Calvin doesn’t make Adam king, priest and prophet any more so than any of his progeny would have been: “whatever God designed to give to all, he conferred upon that one man, so that the condition of mankind was settled in his person.”

We read Jesus’ words that the first prophet was Abel, not Adam. Adam’s status was not to be any different than his progeny. In other words, he wasn’t a king, he was a commoner. He wasn’t a priest, for in his native state there was no need for men to mediate between God and man. Beside, as Calvin rightly notes, even when man becomes a mediator he is only one in type, never having any means other than the One Mediator by which he could ascend to God.

Beside, the fulness of the elect is not a matter of some goal to be accomplished by Christ yet with the aid of the Church. Recalling again Calvin from his commentary on John 17:

The amount of his request, therefore, is that the Father would put him in possession of the kingdom; since, having completed his course, nothing more remained for him to do, than to display, by the power of the Spirit, the fruit and efficacy of all that he had done on earth by the command of his Father…

He is making that in reference to the children who he has secured to himself by his work as those that the father had given him from before time began. The similarity of the first type of Christ, Adam, is in having been given all so as to fulfill all that had been given. Adam was placed in the Garden, Calvin says, in possession of all that God had provided. So also, Christ was not gaining what provision was mere possibility. Rather, he was fulfilling what the Father had provided.

As we note, it is not a kingdom of the first Adam that is what Jesus had in mind, but that Kingdom of Heaven of which he had been made King Eternal. His kingship is not a temporal one, it is from all eternity. For the first Adam could not only not have accomplished bringing Christ down, as Calvin also says elsewhere, but because of his inherent weakness could never have risen to Christ in the first place. So the parallel between Christ and Adam is broken. What Adam could never do, Christ did. Because of who Adam was he could never have procured anything. As man, every provision was given to Adam. On the other hand, Jesus was given everything, not because he lacked anything, but be cause of who he was, all things were his by nature, he being through whom all things exist. There is no renewed kingdom of Adam, or a first covenant of works to have been completed by him. To the contrary, Jesus Kingdom is and everlasting one, without beginning and without end, because he is without beginning and without end the King of Glory. As was the case with Melchizedek, Jesus has a kingship, a priesthood, and a prophetic office which is not earthly. That is, it is not of the flesh as it was in Abraham and his descendents by covenant with man, rather it is of the New Covenant which is of the promise by the Eternal Word. There is only the New Heavens and New Earth to look forward to, a New Creation, not of the old order, one which could only be fulfilled in Christ. It was not ever one which could have failed for Christ’s Kingdom has no beginning nor an end. It is nothing like the first creation order which by nature can and did fail. Christ comes, not to make up for past mistakes, but by taking away the old and issuing the new.

Christ is not a second Adam picking up the broken pieces of a shattered plan A and finishing it off. Neither is he the champion of a plan B as presented by Gonzales. He is a new man, not at all of the creation order of Adam, though Christ derives his likeness to us from that stock. Jesus is the Firstfruit of a New Mankind, a new creation, as Calvin so rightly observes. The covenant that was made with him is not the completion of a so-called Creation Mandate, but the fulfillment of the New Creation already accomplished by Christ on Calvary and not waiting for the eschaton to be fulfilled with the aid of the last Eve.

Born Of A Woman: Ge No My Goo Nay

3. The passages in which Christ is called the seed of Abraham, and the fruit of the loins of David, those persons, with no less folly than wickedness, wrap up in allegory. Had the term seed been used allegorically, Paul surely would not have omitted to notice it, when he affirms clearly, and without figure, that the promise was not given “to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ,” (Gal. 3:16). With similar absurdity they pretend that he was called the Son of David for no other reason but because he had been promised, and was at length in due time manifested. For Paul, after he had called him the Son of David, by immediately subjoining “according to the flesh”, certainly designates his nature. So also (Rom. 9:5), while declaring him to be “God blessed for ever,” he mentions separately, that, “as concerning the flesh, he was descended from the Jews.” Again if he had not been truly begotten of the seed of David, what is the meaning of the expression, that he is the “fruit of his loins;” or what the meaning of the promise, “Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne?” (Ps. 132:11). Moreover their mode of dealing with the genealogy of Christ, as given by Matthew, is mere sophistry; for though he reckons up the progenitors not of Mary, but of Joseph, yet as he was speaking of a matter then generally understood, he deems it enough to show that Joseph was descended from the seed of David, since it is certain that Mary was of the same family. Luke goes still farther, showing that the salvation brought by Christ is common to the whole human race, inasmuch as Christ, the author of salvation, is descended from Adam, the common father of us all. I confess, indeed, that the genealogy proves Christ to be the Son of David only as being descended of the Virgin; but the new Marcionites, for the purpose of giving a gloss to their heresy, namely to prove that the body which Christ assumed was unsubstantial, too confidently maintain that the expression as to seed is applicable only to males, thus subverting the elementary principles of nature. But as this discussion belongs not to theology, and the arguments which they adduce are too futile to require any laboured refutation, I will not touch on matters pertaining to philosophy and the medical art. It will be sufficient to dispose of the objection drawn from the statement of Scripture, that Aaron and Jehoiadah married wives out of the tribe of Judah, and that thus the distinction of tribes was confounded, if proper descent could come through the female. It is well known, that in regard to civil order, descent is reckoned through the male; and yet the superiority on his part does not prevent the female from having her proper share in the descent. This solution applies to all the genealogies. When Scripture gives a list of individuals, it often mentions males only. Must we therefore say that females go for nothing? Nay, the very children know that they are classified with men. For this reasons wives are said to give children to their husbands, the name of the family always remaining with the males. Then, as the male sex has this privilege, that sons are deemed of noble or ignoble birth, according to the condition of their fathers, so, on the other hand, in slavery, the condition of the child is determined by that of the mother, as lawyers say, partus sequitur ventrem. Whence we may infer, that offspring is partly procreated by the seed of the mother. According to the common custom of nations, mothers are deemed progenitors, and with this the divine law agrees, which could have had no ground to forbid the marriage of the uncle with the niece, if there was no consanguinity between them. It would also be lawful for a brother and sister uterine to intermarry, when their fathers are different. But while I admit that the power assigned to the woman is passive, I hold that the same thing is affirmed indiscriminately of her and of the male. Christ is not said to have been made by a woman, but of a woman (Gal. 4:4). But some of this herd, laying aside all shame, publicly ask whether we mean to maintain that Christ was procreated of the proper seed of a Virgin. Latin, “An dicere velimus ex semine menstruali virginis procreatur esse Christum.” I, in my turn, ask whether they are not forced to admit that he was nourished to maturity in the Virgin’s womb. Justly, therefore, we infer from the words of Matthew, that Christ, inasmuch as he was begotten of Mary, was procreated of her seed; as a similar generation is denoted when Boaz is said to have been begotten of Rachab (Mt. 1:5, 16). Matthew does not here describe the Virgin as the channel through which Christ flowed, but distinguishes his miraculous from an ordinary birth, in that Christ was begotten by her of the seed of David. For the same reason for which Isaac is said to be begotten of Abraham, Joseph of Jacob, Solomon of David, is Christ said to have been begotten of his mother. The Evangelist has arranged his discourse in this way. Wishing to prove that Christ derives his descent from David, he deems it enough to state, that he was begotten of Mary. Hence it follows, that he assumed it as an acknowledged fact, that Mary was of the same lineage as Joseph.

Calvin doesn’t agree that the text makes a medical (i.e. biological) statement, or even a philosophical one. It is merely the Holy Spirit covering the bases concerning the progeneration of Jesus. Calvin makes quick work of the fanciful speculations simply noting that both Mary and Joseph are from the same family lineage. If Jesus is said to be born of Joseph, then Jesus is the heir. If not, but another of whom we have no genealogy, he is still the heir, for Mary carries the right of progenitor. And, the point that is being made concerning the seed should not be missed. If Jesus could be the seed of Abraham, or of David, the connection is not a medical one, anyway, nor a social one, nor a philosophical, it is one of revelation by the Spirit through the Word of God. It is one Seed promised by and provided by the Spirit, not human convention. The genealogies provided stop naysayers, true, but more importantly, they demonstrate for those appointed to salvation that Christ has fulfilled the Promise.

4. The absurdities which they wish to fasten upon us are mere puerile calumnies. They reckon it base and dishonouring to Christ to have derived his descent from men; because, in that case, he could not be exempted from the common law which includes the whole offspring of Adam, without exception, under sin. But this difficulty is easily solved by Paul’s antithesis, “As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin”—“even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life,” (Rom. 5:12, 18). Corresponding to this is another passage, “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven,” (1 Cor. 15:47). Accordingly, the same apostle, in another passage, teaching that Christ was sent “in the likeness of sinful flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,” distinctly separates him from the common lot, as being true man, and yet without fault and corruption (Rom. 8:3). It is childish trifling to maintain, that if Christ is free from all taint, and was begotten of the seed of Mary, by the secret operation of the Spirit, it is not therefore the seed of the woman that is impure, but only that of the man. We do not hold Christ to be free from all taint, merely because he was born of a woman unconnected with a man, but because he was sanctified by the Spirit, so that the generation was pure and spotless, such as it would have been before Adam’s fall. Let us always bear in mind, that wherever Scripture adverts to the purity of Christ, it refers to his true human nature, since it were superfluous to say that God is pure. Moreover, the sanctification of which John speaks in his seventeenth chapter is inapplicable to the divine nature. This does not suggest the idea of a twofold seed in Adam, although no contamination extended to Christ, the generation of man not being in itself vicious or impure, but an accidental circumstance of the fall. Hence, it is not strange that Christ, by whom our integrity was to be restored, was exempted from the common corruption. Another absurdity which they obtrude upon us—viz. that if the Word of God became incarnate, it must have been enclosed in the narrow tenement of an earthly body, is sheer petulance. For although the boundless essence of the Word was united with human nature into one person, we have no idea of any enclosing. The Son of God descended miraculously from heaven, yet without abandoning heaven; was pleased to be conceived miraculously in the Virgin’s womb, to live on the earth, and hang upon the cross, and yet always filled the world as from the beginning.

This second point is likewise important. Some speculate that it is the flesh that is inherently corrupt. But here Calvin points out that Christ is born from above. And that whenever the holiness of Christ is mentioned the flesh of Christ is accounted, also. Ergo, flesh is not inherently sinful. That Christ is just enveloped by flesh is also laid to rest in that God is omnipresent, so it is unnecessary to speculate that by some physical means does he remain separated from his creation. To that he adds, that since there was no man, as some speculate, then, unholiness is resident in the male. But this ignorance is laid aside with deftness in remarking what is said above, namely that it is the miraculous source of the holiness, (or unholiness for that matter) that is at issue. That is, the curse was upon Adam and all his progeny as due penalty for the sin of Adam, and is miraculously effected. But, when Christ is incarnated, he is said to be holy, and the curse is not implemented in his case. Instead, as it was in the original creation, miraculously, Christ is by nature, in human form, holy. In short, the curse produced noetic effects as federally administered because of Adam, but that curse is demonstrated by Christ’s incarnation as being individually applied by the Spirit. In the case of Christ, no curse is found, but he is found as a man. Now, the case is that Jesus being found in the form of a man is at once man and at once divine. But it is not from his deity that his holiness as a man is derived, there is no confusing of natures. Instead, it is because he is born from above, and not below, from God, and not from Adam. His generation is traced directly to God, not, “as it was supposed, the son of Joseph.” Jesus is not the son of God as Adam is in the same sense. But, according to both the flesh at his incarnation, and in accordance with his eternal generation, he is the Only Begotten of the Father. A unique man, a discrete individual. And therefore, he is not, as it was supposed by natural generation the son of God, which is the lineage remarked by Luke. By Begotten in the flesh, then, it is not meant as in the common sense of a man with a woman, but as in a new creation, ex nihilo, wherein the first man was the son of God in the flesh formed of the ground, and Jesus, the last man, was created from above in some way, a mystery unrevealed. Namely, as it was in the beginning so it is in the end. The last man is a new creation, though of a different means from the first man. Adam, being from below was conceived of the earth, but Christ of the woman. But since a woman doesn’t have seed, it can only mean that in some miraculous way, she conceived, or that is to say, Jesus was conceived in her, for it also says what she had in her belly was out of (from) the Holy Spirit. Now, that does not mean that he did not derive his flesh from her in any way, it simply means that he did not derive his flesh from the same generation as Adam, nor by that means common to man. He may not have derived his flesh from Mary at all, as Calvin notes in the section above, as it is not necessary, this being a supernatural birth, all provision being of the Spirit. Indeed, if we follow the miraculous reasoning, then, he didn’t derive his flesh from the woman, at all, for she also was from below, and instead the conception was truly immaculate, without any intervention of the first mankind at all. Instead, though Christ is fully man, human in every sense, he is wholly a new generation. The first born of (the) creation of all his brothers, in a new generation of mankind, like Adam, yet totally unlike him at the same time. And so we can make sense of the prophecy that says “this generation will not pass away …,” as meaning that which was from Adam to Christ. Jesus is of a new generation, and as Peter informs us, this current creation, this generation, is slated for destruction, and with the second advent of Christ, he will usher in a new creation, a new heavens and a new earth, populated by a new mankind, sown in corruption raised incorruptible, the first earthy, the second heavenly, the first bodies are fleshly which are different in some way from new bodies which are spiritual, where mankind is neither married, nor given in marriage, a new generation of children given of the Father, to the Son, as John 17 says, not of this earth, but from above.

Calvin’s quotes via Institutes of the Christian Religion | Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Sola Reasons For Reformation Day

The Protestant Reformation is one of the most important developments in the history of the Christian church, the most important in civil Western history, and perhaps the most formative event in all of modern world history. Though he was not alone in the efforts to reform, traditionally the Reformation is deemed to have been begun early in the sixteenth century by a German monk named Martin Luther who believed that the church of his day, the Roman Catholic Church, was not faithful to the teaching of Scripture. After failing reform from within, Luther publicly posted a series of 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg castle church on October 31, 1517. The blog of its day. For that act and his refusal to recant, he eventually faced excommunication. In the years that followed, Luther translated the Bible into the native language of the people. By doing so, he exalted the authority of the Scripture and rejected the authority of the papacy.

Luther’s work was crystalized in The Reformed movement which arose out of the work of such figures as Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, and John Knox, Luther’s contemporaries. This movement, which spread throughout much of central Europe was characterized as a reformation. Their goal was to go farther than most in changing the church to be faithful to Scripture and return it to its original form. In that sense, they were not separatists, rather, they believed in the catholic church, small case. What they were about was the consolidation of all churches under biblical confessions of faith. Their motto thus became Semper Reformanda.

According to Michael Horton:


Our forebears who invoked this phrase had in mind the consolidation of catholic and evangelical Christianity embodied in the Reformed confessions and catechisms. There is a reason that this wing of the Reformation called itself “Reformed.” Unlike the Anabaptists, Reformed churches understood themselves as a continuing branch of the catholic church. At the same time, the Reformed wanted to reform everything “according to the Word of God.” Not only our doctrine but our worship and life must be determined by Scripture and not by human whim or creativity…

This perspective keeps us from making tradition infallible but equally from imbibing the radical Protestant obsession with starting from scratch in every generation. When God’s Word is the source of our life, our ultimate loyalty is not to the past as such or to the present and the future, but to “that Word above all earthly pow’rs,” to borrow from Luther’s famous hymn. Neither behind us nor ahead of us, but above us, reigns our sovereign Lord over His body in all times and places. When we invoke the whole phrase — “the church Reformed and always being reformed according to the Word of God” — we confess that we belong to the church and not simply to ourselves and that this church is always created and renewed by the Word of God rather than by the spirit of the age.

Where the ideas of the reformers caught on, typically, the people enjoyed profound changes in their lives. Entire systems of governance were changed and whole societies were affected, and in the process the modern era was born. The United States and its form of governance is the direct result of this history. During the time of the Revolutionary War, the rebellion was often characterized as the Presbyterian revolt, or the Calvinist conspiracy. The freedoms we have today can be clearly traced to those 95 Theses tacked on the door of Wittenburg’s Schlosskirche (Castle Church).

The solemn cry of Reformation Day is captured in what is called the five solas:

Faith alone (Sola Fide) means that justification comes through faith only, not good works, though in the classical Reformed scheme, saving faith will always be accompanied by good works. Faith alone is best summarized with “Faith yields justification and good works.” In opposition to it is the form of religion that formulates any scheme, “Faith and good works yield justification.” The faith alone doctrine is sometimes called the material cause of the Reformation because it was the central doctrinal issue for Martin Luther.

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) means that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative Word of God and is accessible to all (that is, perspicuous and self-interpreting). This doctrine is directly opposed to the teaching of the Catholic Church that Scripture can only be authentically interpreted through Holy Apostolic Tradition by the “Magisterium” (that is, the teaching authority of the Pope and bishops at church councils). Neither is any philosophical rationalism, nor any other scheme of man to take precedence above Scripture. This doctrine is sometimes called the formal cause of the Reformation because it was the underlying cause of disagreement over sola fide.

Christ alone (Solus Christus) means that Christ is the exclusive mediator between God and man. Neither Mary, the saints, nor priests can act as mediator in bringing salvation. Nor can any action by anyone intervene. There is no means, no sacrifice that can be made by man which can stand in the place of Christ. Through him and his works alone can anyone approach the throne of grace. This doctrine is contrasted with the Catholic doctrines of the intercession of saints and of the mediation of the priests and the offerings of sacrifices on behalf of the people in any form.

Grace alone (Sola Gratia) means that salvation comes by grace only, not through any merit on the part of the sinner. Thus salvation is an unearned gift. It is purely monergistic, a work done by God in man who is given faith so that he might receive all that Christ has done. This doctrine is a response to the Catholic synergistic doctrine whereby acts of man become meritorious, even the act of faith, by cooperating with God’s grace.

Glory to God alone (Soli Deo Gloria) means that all the glory is due to God alone, since he did all the work. It was not only the atonement on the Cross, but even granting the faith, purchased by that work on the cross, by which men will, without fail, repent and believe on Christ so as to be saved by that atonement. The Reformers believe that human beings, all their works, and all their organizations are not worthy of the glory that was bestowed on them. After all has been said and done, the faithful consider themselves unworthy servants, and that to God alone belongs the glory.

Reformation Day doesn’t get the press it deserves. It is overshadowed by All Saints Day Eve. But which holds the greater importance? This year, RD comes just a few days before a major election and will make it more of an obscurity. As Protestant Christians, at least, we shouldn’t forget that on Sunday we will attend a church that exists because of the Reformation. On the following Tuesday, we will vote as participants in a government that without the Reformation would not have existed to protect us so that we might attended a church on Reformation Sunday.

On Sunday, let us remember the sola reasons, and be thankful that we can do any of this.

Original Sin: Sin Nature

1. Westminster Confession: “Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of the law of God.” This is a good definition and includes both sins of commission and of omission. The moral law of God—the eternal standard of right and wrong is summed up in supreme love to God and to our neighbor as ourselves.

2. A.H. Strong: “Sin is any lack of conformity to the law of God, whether in act, disposition, or state.” This is a better definition, since it recognizes sin as a condition of human nature. Sin resides in the heart; it is quality of being.

3. The Apostle John: “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4b). Or more literally: “Sin is lawlessness.” There can be no sin where there is no law. If there is no Lawgiver to Whom we must give account, then there can be no sin, for sin is lawlessness.

So sin had its origin in the withholding of that grace necessary to sustain moral beings in a state of holiness…God punishes men for what they are and in proportion to what they do….

Isaiah says:

You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

Jeremiah writes:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

To which Jesus added: “the good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil….”

And echoes Proverbs 23:7:

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

In Jude 6 Scripture says: And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode

Exactly how such dissatisfaction and rebellion could arise in beings whom God created is not revealed by the sacred writers. We assume that they possessed personality and freedom of will and thereby had the capability of making right or wrong choices.

That leaves us little with which to work. The terms idios and oikētērion make the head hurt. Did the angels leave their natural home? The two words share a commonality in reference to the body, that is, the person. Did they leave off their natural appearance? Or, did they inhabit bodies not their own? We see the expression of all three in Scripture. Whatever is the case we wonder: just where did the choice to do so arise? Sin, as we will see is not an external thing, a substance alone, an object alone, rather, it is a native attribute, the very substantial reality of an unnatural existence, as was noted above. When I say unnatural, I am making the reference to the fact that a natural man does not have within him this aspect or attribute. And when I speak of natural I am speaking of the original creation. And that is not to be confused with original sin. So then, just how does the natural become unnatural? Perhaps, how did the fly get in the ointment and maketh the whole thing stink?

Shedd gives a very nuanced explanation:

“As opposed to what is natural in the sense of created by God, man’s inability is moral, not natural; but as opposed to what is moral in the sense of acquired by habit, man’s inability is natural. When “natural means innate, we assert that inability is “natural.” When natural means “created” we assert that inability is “moral,” that is, “voluntary.” Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 2. 219

Sin may be comprehensively defined as lack of conformity to the law of God in act, habit, attitude, outlook, disposition, motivation, and mode of existence…
…(a) sinfulness marks everyone from birth, and is there in the form of a motivationally twisted heart, prior to any actual sins; (b) this inner sinfulness is the root and source of all actual sins; (c) it derives to us in a real though mysterious way from Adam, our first representative before God. The assertion of original sin makes the point that we are not sinners because we sin, but rather we sin because we are sinners, born with a nature enslaved to sin.

Nearly as true as it goes. But as we will see, its appearance in Adam and his posterity is not so great a mystery, to some.

First, people tend to think of sins in the plural as consciously willed acts where one was aware of and chose not to do the righteous alternative. Sin, in this popular misunderstanding, refers to matters of conscious volitional awareness of wrongdoing and the ability to do otherwise. This instinctive view of sin infects many Christians and almost all non-Christians. It has a long legacy in the church under the label Pelagianism, one of the oldest and most instinctive heresies. The Bible’s view of sin certainly includes the high-handed sins where evil approaches full volitional awareness. But sin also includes what we simply are, and the perverse ways we think, want, remember, and react.

Most sin is invisible to the sinner because it is simply how the sinner works, how the sinner perceives, wants, and interprets things. Once we see sin for what it really is – madness and evil intentions in our hearts, absence of any fear of God, slavery to various passions (Eccl. 9:3; Gen. 6:5; Ps. 36:1; Titus 3:3) – then it becomes easier to see how sin is the immediate and specific problem all counseling deals with at every moment, not a general and remote problem. The core insanity of the human heart is that we violate the first great commandment. We will love anything, except God, unless our madness is checked by grace.

People do not tend to see sin as applying to relatively unconscious problems, to the deep, interesting, and bedeviling stuff in our hearts. But God’s descriptions of sin often highlight the unconscious aspect. Sin – the desires we pursue, the beliefs we hold, the habits we obey as second nature – is intrinsically deceitful. If we knew we were deceived, we would not be deceived. But we are deceived, unless awakened through God’s truth and Spirit. Sin is a darkened mind, drunkenness, animal-like instinct and compulsion, madness, slavery, ignorance, stupor. People often think that to define sin as unconscious removes human responsibility. How can we be culpable for what we did not sit down and choose to do? But the Bible takes the opposite track. The unconscious and semiconscious nature of much sin simply testifies to the fact that we are steeped in it. Sinners think, want, and act sinlike by nature, nurture, and practice.

Sin is far more than the actions it begets, just as the tree and its roots are far more than the piddly fruit seasonally ripened. We need to keep the statement, “If we knew we were deceived, we would not be deceived,” in the light of what we know about sin coming into the creation and how it was that Eve was deceived and then deceived Adam, yet they were held responsible. “Father forgive them for the know not what they do.” And more than that, firstly, we also, being deceived from conception are responsible for who we are. Sins, that is volitional actions, which are secondary, we are also condemned for, but before that, condemnation comes to each according to their nature: we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.


Surely that corruption is ingrained in our hearts, interwoven with our very natures, has sunk into the marrow of our souls, and will never be cured but by a miracle of grace. Now such is man’s heart, such is his nature, till regenerating grace change it. God that searches the heart saw man’s heart was so. He took special notice of it: and the faithful and true Witness cannot mistake our case; though we are most apt to mistake ourselves in this point, and generally do overlook it….

…Consider the confession of the psalmist David (Psa 51.5), ‘Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.’ Here he ascends from his actual sin, to the fountain of it, namely, corrupt nature. He was a man according to God’s own heart, but from the beginning it was not so with him. He was begotten in lawful marriage: but when the lump was shapen in the womb, it was a sinful lump. Hence the corruption of nature is called the ‘old man;’ being as old as ourselves, older than grace, even in those that are sanctified from the womb.

Consider Psalm 139: 13-16:

For You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.

It is God who forms the inward parts, that is, the fallen nature of man. As Boston, above, explained, it was a sinful lump.

Let us listen to Turretin on the source of man’s nature:

XI. God is said to have rested from all his work (Gen. 2:2), not by retiring from the administration of things, but by ceasing from the creation of new species or individuals (which might be the principles of new species). Thus he works even now (Jn. 5:17) by administering the instituted nature and multiplying whatever was; not, however, by instituting what was not. Now the souls which he creates every day are new individuals of species already created.

XII. Although the soul is not propagated, the divine blessing given at first (Gen. 1:28) does not cease to exert its power in the generation of men. For God always cooperates with the generators and the generation, not only by preserving man’s prolific power, but also by infusing the soul into the disposed body.

XIII. It is not necessary in order that man may be said to generate man that he should generate all natures or essential parts of the compound. Otherwise, the blessed virgin did not beget true God and man. Rather it suffices that he prepares and works up the material and renders it fit for the introduction of form and attains the union of the soul with the body (by which man is constituted in his being as man and is made such a physical compound). For generation tends to the compound, not however to the production of both parts. As man is said to kill a man (who dissolves the union of the soul with the body although he does not even touch the soul), so man generates man because he joins together those parts from which man springs although not a soul-begetter (psychogonos). Nor ought he who generates the whole man to be forthwith the producer of the whole of man.

XVII. The propagation of original sin ought not to cause a denial of the creation of souls and the adoption of propagation because it can be sufficiently saved without this hypothesis (as will be demonstrated in its place). Although the soul is not materially from Adam (as to substance), yet it is originally from him as to subsistence. And as man is rightly said to beget man (although he does not beget the soul), so an impure progenerates an impure, especially (the just judgment of God intervening) that by which it was established that what he had bestowed upon the first man, he should at the same time have and lose for himself as well as his posterity. Now although it is curious to inquire and rash to define why God infuses a soul tainted with sin and joins it to an impure body, it is certainly evident that God did not will (on account of the sin of man) to abolish the first sanction concerning the propagation of the human race by generation. Thus the order of the universe and the conservation of human nature demanded it.

And thusly, Turretin explains that God creates the fallen soul, but by the means of generation through man, is the taint assigned. It is Adam our federal head, and we on his account, who remain responsible for the conditions of the unrighteousness, which is the curse for Adam’s being deceived. That curse was imposed upon him, originally by God. But through generation, God holds all mankind, as being in Adam, accountable for the origin. So, as to the original sinner, it was Adam, as to the origin of sin in each individual, the soul is created by God under the curse in each man, such that by one man sin entered into the world and by that each and every man sinned his own sin. So we might say that sin in the individual is ab-original. That is, beginning, as if at first, in each one individually as cursed.

On another note concerning sin as a “thing.” It is an error not designating sin as substance. As Turretin noted, as this discussion has emphasized, it is the soul which is sinful, and is substance, though it exists as subsistence, that is, it is derived from Adam. As said before, sin does not exist as a thing external, it is the soul in fallenness.

There is a confusion about what it means to speak of something having substance…

The challenge of language should clue us in to the fruitlessness of speaking of a thing as no thing. For A cannot be non-A. It either is, or it is not. And being is the very definition of thingness. A thing cannot both not be and be at once. All things display properties as necessary, such as a cube having six sides. These properties are considered substance even though attributes. On the other hand there are attributes that are subjects of events such as a cube’s rotation which will produce a cylinder when rotated upon one axis. The latter is considered a transitory property that is produced by events in which the thing either operates or is operated on by the environment. But, it is only the first kind of attribute which is properly called a property. For it doesn’t change. It cannot. A property always exhibits attributes, but attributes do not necessarily have property, i.e., substance. When the attribute cannot be separated from its property we call it nature, and by nature we mean it is the thing. Such being the case we separate the unrighteousness from the righteousness. Each possesses nature and that nature, or substance, by the fact of its existence displays properties necessarily. The effect is not the mere result of acting or of being acted upon, rather, the effect exists essentially with the thing which displays it.

Some Christian formulations of Original Sin’s imputation do not consider God as having much at all to do with it. Contrary to the thinking of men like Turretin, the Formula of Concord makes the distinction that sin is not a substance:

Now, then, since it is the indisputable truth that everything that is, is either a substance or an accidens, that is, either a self-existing essence or something accidental in it, as has just been shown and proved by testimonies of the church-teachers, and no truly intelligent man has ever had any doubts concerning this, necessity here constrains, and no one can evade it, if the question be asked whether original sin is a substance, that is, such a thing as exists by itself, and is not in another or whether it is an accidens, that is, such a thing as does not exist by itself, but is in another, and cannot exist or be by itself, he must confess straight and pat that original sin is no substance, but an accidens.

This doesn’t necessarily deny what I wrote above (a cube with out one side we might call a box, but it is a box, and has substance nonetheless). In any case, the Concord neglects the fact that certain properties are not mere accidens, but necessary and proper to essence. In other words, with essence, the properties of it is substantial. One cannot exist except the other is. Transitory realities such as the light of the Sun that fades with the sunset is one kind of accidens subject to its being stopped by the earth’s rotation, but the light of the Sun proper is another kind of accidens as is made clear to our understanding when the sunrise reveals the Sun has never been without its essential attribute, light. Infantile thinking, as Piaget established, believes that a thing no longer exists when it disappears from sight. Modern space travel has established beyond doubt that there is no suspension of the Sun’s light at night. Simply because the soul is without righteousness, doesn’t make the soul to no longer be a thing, just as the Sun’s light being blocked doesn’t make it any less the Sun. And it is the soul, not an aspect beside it, or a thing in it, which is considered sinful, whether we consider sin as a positively or a negatively effected attribute. Jesus makes the same claim when speaking of Satan and his children. Their actions are one with their natures. Sin is sin and has attributions, accidens, which cling by necessity to the soul because of its substance, even if we describe it as that which lacks something else, i.e, a box which is a cube without a top.

Though the Concord will not allow the identification of sin with the essence of the soul as positive substance necessary to it as nature, other confessions do. Indeed, the WCF following the likes of Calvin did not so separate the nature from its actions, but concluded that they were one. When speaking of accidens, or properties of essences, then, there is no actual separation for the first depends upon the nature of the second and are not the effects of environmental, transitory change, either external or internal. Calvin makes this clear in calling the odiousness of the sin nature sin. So also, as I noted above, it is not the fruit of the nature only which is designated sin, but the nature itself. So as the Sun, the sinful soul is always sinning from the beginning even when it cannot be observed.

The Concord goes on:

But if it be further asked what kind of an accidens original sin is, that is another question, of which no philosopher, no papist, no sophist, yea, no human reason, however acute it may be, can give the right explanation, but all understanding and every explanation of it must be derived solely from the Holy Scriptures, which testify that original sin is an unspeakable evil and such an entire corruption of human nature that in it and all its internal and external powers nothing pure or good remains, but everything is entirely corrupt, so that on account of original sin man is in God’s sight truly spiritually dead, with all his powers dead to that which is good.

What cannot be missed is that the authors of the Concord must admit something that their reason cannot grasp, that is, that the kind of accidens is peculiar to the substance itself and cannot be separated from it by events much like the light of the Sun. They cannot escape using the term thing to describe the no thing of which they are speaking. They simply equivocate and make it a forbidden subject of inquiry. As they cannot find a means to reconcile the case with a God who can do no evil, just so they equivocate, and state no one else can. But, that does not mean that there is no way, as Turretin’s discourse shows.

I understand the implication of the fall of the angels, that they were created without sin but became sinful. That is, it is an explicitly stated change from one estate to another. We do not have information concerning how sin came to be “found” there. We might ask, can a righteous creature by nature sin? That being said, is the beginning in John 8:44 the beginning of creation, or some time after, namely the beginning of transgression? It is the same language used in Matthew 19:8. True enough Jesus could just have been indicating from the beginning of the fall of man. On the other hand, we cannot say for certain. In either case, what we cannot say is that God does not create the soul. Neither can we say that it is not one with the fallen nature, and that, one with the man. Calvin didn’t agree with those who would say, “No, God does not create the sin nature.”

What is the sin nature if it is mere negation? Is man a mere negation? Where does that negation find expression if not in man? Can mere negation even express itself? Can the accidens exist without the substance of the thing which is less than another by negation? Is the soul without righteousness not a thing with necessary accidens? Are we who we are by nature, or are we not who our nature is? Is it the nature of man simply defective or necessarily so? Surely it doesn’t exist separately from the individual: Proverbs 23:7. That is, there is no separation between a man and his nature. As Jesus did in reference to Satan, he makes the one the same as the other, namely that the heart is the man such that a bad tree brings forth bad fruit, or in reference to Satan, that as he was, is he, so he does. He makes no allusion to sin in man as a separate unentity, or unreality, or negation, rather, he acknowledges man and his sin, one as an active, positive force, “you are of your father… he lies.” To wit, it is individuals who are condemned for who they are- for they are one with their nature. It is not the nature itself as separate which is condemned. And certainly not nothing in man to which Christ was referring.

Now in the creation man was made upright and holy, but in the fall he became without righteousness and holiness and aware of his nakedness. Yet nothing observationally changed. Man was naked before, but in righteousness. And it is not the sin nature as something negated, but man himself that is lacking righteousness who is considered, now even by God, as naked. It was not the nature, per se, but the man that man sought to cover and hide from the presence of God. And it is God who by providing covering acknowledges a positive change in the man’s status. So then it is consistent with Scripture that the man is what his nature is, that he is the one who stands condemned, it is man and not a “no-thing” which is deserving of condemnation. It is man’s nature, that is man, in which guilt, the lack of righteousness, inheres. It is the whole man God covered. We, in respect to the holistic framework of salvation do not look merely to the recreation of the inner man, but of the resurrection of the body so that the whole of man and not an attribute is saved.

So I ask again, who is it that creates man? We see from Turretin that indeed as to materiality, man derives that from man. But there is more to man than that. He has a soul. However, Scripture makes no separation between the man and the heart of man, the man and is depraved nature, the man and his soul. We as living souls look forward to the redemption of our bodies. They are always spoken of as one, though they may be referenced individually, in just the same manner in which Scripture speaks of God’s attributes while making no separation between God and his divine nature. Some reformers have taught that it is Satan who creates the sin nature. But that ascribes to him too much God-likeness and powers he does not have. Others that God through Satan creates man, but that eliminates the Federal head, Adam, our responsible progenitor. In the light of Scripture God does use means to bring about sin in man in the Garden, viz a viz, Satan’s deception. May it be said, then, that the instrumental cause was Satan while it is God who brings it about by such means? Indeed we must if we believe that God and God alone is the determiner of all things and yet is without sin. And we may also say that Adam is the instrumental cause of sin in his posterity, but it is God who brings it about by certain means.

As I have said, it is a curious definition of substance if sin is not being, that is a thing. If it has no being, it has no existence, for the definition of existence is a thing and a thing has being. To define it as not being is nonsensical. To say it is not spirit, again, is to say something that cannot be sustained. It is not matter, no doubt, but is it not properly said to be thoughts which exalt themselves against the knowledge of God? Well, things like thoughts are spiritual substance. No one would say that he thinks nothing. Further, its curious how one can keep sin in mind as not being a thing? A no thing cannot even be thought. Then, when it is discussed, by what language? It is always spoken of as a thing. One cannot begin to even discuss it without considering it to have existence as a thing. That it exists as the attributional aspect of another does not necessarily make it a non-thing. Again, a non-thing, by definition, does not exist. But attributions, or accidens, do exist. Some as transitory, but others exist as necessary and must be considered essential and therefore substance.

What does Calvin say? He doesn’t hesitate to say that sin is the derangement of the nature. But it is nature nonetheless. Nor does he hesitate to say that man is responsible for that derangement. What he doesn’t do, however, is to call it a negation as if it had no existence. To the contrary he says:

Let us have done, then, with those who dare to inscribe the name of God on their vices, because we say that men are born vicious. The divine workmanship, which they ought to look for in the nature of Adam, when still entire and uncorrupted, they absurdly expect to find in their depravity. The blame of our ruin rests with our own carnality, not with God, its only cause being our degeneracy from our original condition.

And let no one here clamour that God might have provided better for our safety by preventing Adam’s fall. This objection, which, from the daring presumption implied in it, is odious to every pious mind, relates to the mystery of predestination, which will afterwards be considered in its own place, (Tertull. de Prescript., Calvin, Lib. de Predest.). Meanwhile let us remember that our ruin is attributable to our own depravity, that we may not insinuate a charge against God himself, the Author of nature. It is true that nature has received a mortal wound, but there is a great difference between a wound inflicted from without, and one inherent in our first condition. It is plain that this wound was inflicted by sin; and, therefore, we have no ground of complaint except against ourselves. This is carefully taught in Scripture. For the Preacher says, “Lo, this only have I found, that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions,” (Eccl. 7: 29.) Since man, by the kindness of God, was made upright, but by his over infatuation fell away unto vanity, his destruction is obviously attributable only to himself, (Athanas. in Orat. Cont. Idola.)

11. “Natural” corruption of the “nature” created by God

We say then that man is corrupted by a natural viciousness, but not by one which proceeded from nature. In saying that it proceeded not from nature, we mean that it was rather an adventitious event which befell man, than a substantial property assigned to him from the beginning. We, however call it natural to prevent any one from supposing that each individual contracts it by depraved habit, whereas all receive it by a hereditary law. And we have authority for so calling it. For, on the same grounds the apostle says, that we are “by nature the children of wrath,” (Eph. 2: 3.) How could God, who takes pleasure in the meanest of his works be offended with the noblest of them all? The offence is not with the work itself, but the corruption of the work. Wherefore, if it is not improper to say, that, in consequence of the corruption of human nature, man is naturally hateful to God, it is not improper to say, that he is naturally vicious and depraved. Hence, in the view of our corrupt nature, Augustine hesitates not to call those sins natural which necessarily reign in the flesh wherever the grace of God is wanting. This disposes of the absurd notion of the Manichees, who, imagining that man was essentially wicked, went the length of assigning him a different Creator, that they might thus avoid the appearance of attributing the cause and origin of evil to a righteous God.

Calvin adds the statement about the Manichees, because theirs was a claim that man in the original creation was corrupted as opposed to being corrupted when in a created state of righteousness. We must halt here to understand that the conflict is not between what our nature as it was naturally as created, that is what it was in Adam as natural, and it being sin as what it is now, unnatural. That would be absurd. God didn’t create Adam’s nature originally sinful. The conflict comes in what is generally not considered Original Sin, or that thing which Calvin calls the deranged nature. We might then call the fallen nature the unnature for it is unnatural. Meaning that it is not native to man as kind originally created in Adam. The term Original has reference to both Adam’s sinning, and our native conception. But more so in the latter, in that it is original as an innate condition. That is to say, the state in which we are found at conception. Originally Adam was without sin. When he was deceived he became sinful. Then in the conception of his offspring, he does not transmit his original condition, but that condition which is under the curse. Such that our original condition is properly called Original Sin because it has its beginning in us. But that condition is of a spiritual nature, something which Adam cannot reproduce in his offspring.

That being said. Calvin is explicit in denouncing the Manichees when they sought to exculpate God as not the creator of the sinful nature. To those who are uneasy about this still, it should be noted that Calvin also acknowledges that God has through means brought this about such that, as Edwards has rightly noted, that God is neither the immediate efficient cause, nor is he the doer of sin. But through the means of Adam, we by inheritance receive the deranged nature. By that, God is not its author, for it was by the fault of man that sin came into the world. The sin nature, however, is the penalty exacted. So that man by his own faultiness is charged with guilt. Ultimately, God is the final causal agent of all that exists. But as a Judge who imposes a penalty is not charged with the maleficence of a crime for imposing the penalty, for it is the criminal who has brought it about on his own accord, neither is God guilty for exacting the penalty upon man for his own crime. We must then focus on the penalty. For sin and its condemnation was what Adam brought upon mankind, even though that penalty comes directly from God.

When Calvin says that sin is not our nature but its derangement we must be careful not to say that sin is something other than a nature, either. So that Calvin draws from Augustine to show that nature is also the proper term for that which is not the condition man is in. We must be careful not to say that it is a nothing either. Rather, we must maintain that it is something which is deranged. For it is man’s sin nature that is deranged yet it is man who is held accountable and not merely sin in man that is responsible. Neither would there be any thing left but irrationality to say that God punishes nothing as if sin were a mere negation. We must keep in mind that when the term nature is used by the likes of Calvin, he is in the first speaking of its orignal state in creation, and not what eventuated by the fall. But secondly, we must consider that the deranged nature, though unnatural in reference to the original creation, is a thing with natural attributions that cannot be other than properly called substance.

In the end we find a mystery about the origins of evil in the creation. The mystery is not of Adam’s fall, per se, but of Satan’s. Namely that the Scripture gives no detailed explication of it except to say that the angels kept not their original habitation, or form, or nature. Indeed it was they who acted upon some alternative, for they left their native estate, though Scripture leaves us wondering just what that means. With our first parents, we have a far clearer revelation of the alternative presented by Satan, and not by God. It was Eve and then Adam who acted upon the deception presented to them. But deception itself is a derangement of nature be it by corruption or negation. It was not God who deceived, nor did he give the pair alternatives for their free choice, for he cannot be tempted nor does he tempt. Nay, the reality is that he forbid choice. Yet, the sin nature exists, and we dare not say that it does not for that would land us in the camp of illusionists. On the other hand, we cannot deny that God alone is the creator of all that begins to have existence. There is no doubt, at least among believers, that sin exists.

The Immediated Mediate Or Mediated Immediate

With regard to “(1)” in this sequence, Edwards argues that “the first evil disposition or inclination of the heart of Adam to sin, was not properly distinct from his first act of sin, but was included in it. The external act he committed was not otherwise his, than as his heart was in it, or as that action proceeded from the wicked inclination of his heart” (p. 390). Therefore, there was no double guilt in Adam, as if for two different sins, one for the evil disposition and one for the sinful act that followed. Rather, “his guilt was all truly the act of his inward man; exclusive of which the motions of his body were no more than the motions of any lifeless instrument. His sin consisted in wickedness of heart, fully sufficient for, and entirely amounting to, all that appeared in the act he committed” (p. 390). Edwards is simply saying that, although Adam’s sinful inclination preceded the overt act of rebellion, the two aspects are united in that the sin for which he is declared guilty cannot be conceived except in terms of both parts.

via Enjoying God Ministries.

Born In A Manger: A Clean Room For The Reception Of A King

Many do not realize that Micah further prophesied that kingship would come to the “Daughter of Jerusalem” at Migdal Eder: Micah 4:8 “As for you, O watchtower of the flock [Hebrew Migdal Eder], O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” Migdal Eder was a watchtower located in the northern part of Bethlehem built to protect the Temple flocks.1 “During lambing season the sheep were brought there from the fields, as the lower level functioned as the birthing room for sacrificial lambs.” Priestly shepherds “would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes” and place them in a manger “until they calmed down” to keep them “without defect”, suitable to be sacrificial lambs for the sin of the Israelites. Bethlehem was special because the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem raised lambs for the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The shepherds who heard the angelic choir and came to see the baby Jesus were certainly familiar with the technique to birth a sacrificial lamb, and were likely puzzled by why a baby was birthed in the manner and location of a sacrificial lamb. In fact the angels did not have to tell the shepherds precisely where to go in Bethlehem to find Jesus, because there was only one manger where sacrificial lambs were birthed, the cave under the watch tower of Migdal Eder.

With hindsight we can clearly see that the manner of Jesus’ birth foreshadowed the purpose for Jesus coming into the world:

John 1:29 “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!””

1 Peter 1:18-20 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Before Jesus had taken his first breath God had decided that his life was to be given as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. God testified to his intent by having Jesus be born in the manner and location of the sacrificial lambs of the temple just as the prophet Micah proclaimed.

I like this version. Is it true to the advent? Who knows? Scripture confirms some of its historic facts of the birth. One of the things this version does is to remove the traditional blinders so that we might see that the fulfillment of OT prophecy is elemental in Christ’s advent as all things that he historically did fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.

Some try to explain the birth place by a focus upon the inhospitable owner of the inn. The problem there is that there no indication in Scripture of such any more than there is for the fullness of the tradition above. There is no conversation that takes place between the innkeeper and the pair. In all likelihood the owner was a relative. And perhaps he kindly directed them to the manger scene described above. It may well be that the innkeeper offered his own birthing stall. If so, as a man of wealth and having set aside the stall for the paschal’s birth, this was quite a gift to give the pair. In any case, most things said about the innkeeper are traditional trappings of the holiday and not the revealed word of God.

The obvious fact is that the census was well under way accounting for the crowded conditions. The time of year was most likely in the spring as is indicated in the article above. Why? If we stick with the idea of complimenting the prophetic picture, it is the time of lambing. This would also place the birth around the time of the early barley harvest, the primary bread grain, a time known as the season of firstfruit, a name for Christ. Also, in Ruth we have the statement that after a long famine the Lord visited Bethlehem with bread. We see the kinsman redeemer take into his house Naomi and Ruth, Jew and Gentile. Bread we commonly know as the Word of Life. Bethlehem is the city of the house of bread. After so long a time without the word of the Lord, he speaks to his people much in the same way as when Moses was sent to be a deliverer. In the advent, the deliverer is bread which comes down out of heaven. It would make sense that it was in the spring, after the cold winter’s silence is broken by the cry of the new-born lamb. The time would fit for several reasons. The main reason, of course, the prophetic word revealed demonstrates a sovereign Lord over against a tradition unfounded that depicts the haphazardness of a lowly stall being hastily made ready for the lamb of God in mid-winter.

God anticipates all things necessary. We can reflect upon the circumstances of the Last Supper and how it is that a place for it was prepared beforehand. Like other things that Christ does, there is every sense of prophetic expectation and fulfillment and a precision that boggles the mind in his birth.

We find certain facts left unspoken, such as there are no animals mentioned. Which makes sense for the reasons stated above: the lamb without spot or blemish was to be born. The scrupulous Jews would have spared no expense so as to have nothing corrupt the purity of the birth of the paschal lamb. They would have taken no chances to risk contamination or injury. This was a special time, a special birth, to be heralded by angels and published by men, accommodations fit for the paschal lamb who was born to be king and presented before His Father’s throne in the manner of the absolute predestining sovereignty of God. Only the most pure sacrifice was to be groomed, for only the perfect was acceptable. For the next year perhaps, but less than two according to the Law of Moses, this lamb would be under the watchful, meticulous, caring eye of those who hoped that the perfect redeeming sacrifice of the atoning paschal would be accepted by the Temple Priests to whom it was presented in the first month of the year as an offering to the Lord.

By the time of the wise men Christ had moved from stable to a house. By what means Joseph secured a house, we have no idea, but it belies the fact that he was poor. Jesus had already been presented at the Temple, if we accept the timeline given as unbroken. Now one must consider just how a poor craftsman and his young bride moved into a house. The turtle doves that were offered were indeed the symbol of poverty, however, sojourners who did not have the right sacrifice with them, regardless of their finances, could purchase the substitute. The law simply stipulates that if the right sacrifice could not be obtained, the substitute was acceptable. Whatever their financial state, they offer Christ at tje Temple, then move into a house, and that before the gifts are given by the wise men. We must reconsider the traditions handed to us then.

We are forced to think of the fact that Bethlehem is their family city in a family province. Though Joseph may have worked to provide for a house, one must guess as to what accommodations he found in the interim. The reality is, he may have simply moved into a house that was part of the family’s holdings, was gifted one by someone, or had sufficient finances to afford one of his own. And why stay in Bethlehem? Perhaps they knew of the coming events and were told to remain there? We should think back to the pronouncements of the angels as to just who this one conceived of the Holy Spirit was, the fact that Mary and Joseph knew, that Elizabeth knew, that there was likely great expectation among their relatives considering the events surrounding the birth of John, and the prophecies made about the child of Mary by Mary and Zechariah, that prophecies concerning Bethlehem would be fulfilled. And most of all, we must understand the providential, unfailing hand of almighty God controlling every event and every motion of man. This was no secret birth. It was one much expected in these parts, at least among his own clansmen, as it was just months before foretold by God to them.

The sense is that soon after the birth they moved into a house. Perhaps after they came back from the sacrifice of purification and the presentation at the Temple, they rented or purchased one. But how does that fit with the picture of a destitute couple? Even if it were a relative’s house or a gift, it doesn’t. The presentation at the Temple had to have happened during the passover month. Again, unless the pair waited for months, (we have only the indication that they went up immediately) this birth happened in the spring. They may have assumed a residence gifted them soon afterward. But, where and from whom? If they rented or bought, from where do the finances come? Weren’t all the houses filled with census signers? Perhaps that same innkeeper granted them a house he owned that came open, or rented it to them. Who knows? But the facts don’t line up with the traditions we hold so dear that these were two destitute people. What is known about the census historically is that they could take up to two years or more to complete. So Joseph may have worked and earned after the birth, but the town probably remained quite crowded during at least part of two years and we do not know just when during the census Jesus was born. We have no idea just how long they were there before Jesus was born, either, just that while they were there it came time for her to give birth. The Scripture is silent upon these issues and leaves many questions unanswered.

One thing that we can take from this is that Mary and Joseph were welcomed to Bethlehem, not shunned. Though not rich, Joseph was a craftsman in a time of widespread Roman public works. Typically, he was what we today might think of as middle-class. Though unorthodox, the marriage arrangement is completed soon after the pregnancy is made known, and in Bethlehem as she was his betrothed when they arrived but Matthew indicates that before Christ was born the marriage was consummated. And the marriage was accepted, and as we know from the later texts, Mary’s and Joseph’s relatives offered no complaint in welcoming Jesus and Mary into their households as members of an extended family. There is every indication that many of those who were Jesus’ acquaintances during his ministry were family. He was known as the craftsman’s son and not an obscure figure who suddenly appears when he assumed his ministry. So it is highly likely that the innkeeper was family, or at least a family friend, also. That would account for much that is unsaid.

Some speculate there might not have been an innkeeper. We do know that Mary and Joseph didn’t find room at the inn. How would they have known not to go there? Because we don’t even know that they went there at all. We only know that there was no room for them at the inn. There is no conversation with an innkeeper. Again, revelation? Possibly. But then we must question also how they knew where to go. A person who was not the innkeeper could have told them. Or, it simply could have been the owner of the inn. We don’t know, we speculate and create tradition. In any case, if we argue, or present by assumption that there was someone who was a stranger, innkeeper or not, and that he might have been uncaring, then we must also answer the other questions raised by the paucity of the information given.

There are a lot of speculations and little that we know. However, we can glean some things and by that eliminate much of the error that is found in traditions. Some traditions are blind and when they are used to teach doctrine the doctrines tend often to fall into error. Traditions that are speculations are never the right way to teach doctrine because they are not known to be the truth. Our stories, no matter how emotionally appealing, are after all is said, only our stories. They are not the Gospel.

For another break-down of the birth narratives: Pursuing-Faith

The Bullogic Of BioLogos’ Theology Rejects Theology

Dr. Sprinkle kindly invites me “to come and see what I see in the hearts and lives of people in the BioLogos community.” I am willing and eager to enter into any conversation that serves the cause of the gospel. But a conversation that serves the cause of the gospel cannot avoid talking about what the gospel is — and that requires theology.

via AlbertMohler.com – No Pass from Theological Responsibility — The BioLogos Conundrum.

Dr. White points out that the heresy of the rejection of the inerrancy and authority of the Scripture is shared by BioLogos and Doug Pagitt.

The Grace Of Vital Union With Christ In Regeneration Precedes And Secures All

III. The Gracious Cause of Union with Christ

A. The Father’s eternal counsels of redemption planned the salvation of sinners (Eph 1:4). The Son was sent to seek and to save that which was lost (Lu 19:10). “Christ did not come to represent a disjointed conglomerate of people – He came to die for those who would be saved by union with Him” (Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 448).

B. The sovereign grace of God alone puts us in union with Christ (1 Cor 1:30-31; James 1:18). The Father poured out His infinite grace IN the One He loves – that means that all of God’s grace comes to us in Christ (Eph 1:6; 1 Cor 1:4). This was a planned union by God’s own decision. It was not conditioned upon what God saw that you would do (see 2 Tim 1:9; Eph 1:11, 13; Gal 2:20; faith is the instrument 3:26). Even saving faith is traceable to God’s grace (see Phil 1:29; Eph 2:8, 9).

C. We are God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10; 2 Cor 5:17). The believer is “complete” in Christ (Col 2:10). Christ is our life (Col 3:3, 4).

D. The believer’s union with Christ was planned in eternity (Eph 1:4). It was objectively actualized in Christ’s death and resurrection (Rom 6:5). It was subjectively realized in the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13). “The flesh of Christ is like a rich and inexhaustible fountain that pours into us the life springing forth from the Godhead into itself” (Calvin’s Institutes, IV. 17.9.). Calvin’s point is we cannot share in Christ’s saving benefits without possessing Him.

E. The Holy Spirit unites the believer to Christ (1 Cor 12:13). Union is coincident with regeneration – it takes place at the moment of the new birth (Gal 3:27). The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner (Titus 3:5-7). There can be no new life UNTIL the bondage of sin and self is broken (Rom 6:2-7; 2 Cor 5:14-15, 17). Christ’s death and resurrection is the basis for imparting new life to the believer. His death was the judgment of our old life (Rom 6:6). Who and what we were before we met Christ was judged at the cross – it is slated for demolition, not improvement. (Note that false forms of “Christianity” major in attempts to patch up and fix up the “old man” – Rom 6:6 teaches us that victory over sin’s power is by the crucifixion of the “old man” by co-crucifixion with Christ.)

APPLICATION: The Spirit’s regenerating work unites us to Christ. An unbreakable union ensues. Because of the believer’s union with Christ, final resurrection is assured (Rom 6:5; 1Cor 15:22; Rom 8:17). We will always be with Him (1Thess 4:17, 18). He who has the Son has the life (1 Jn 5:12).

Being united with Christ saves us from the PENALTY of sin, the POWER of sin, and, ultimately, the PRESENCE of sin. If a person is only interested in being delivered from the penalty of sin, what does it say about the lack of evidence that they are in union with Christ? (Note the passages which teach that Christ purchased the believer’s consecration – 2 Cor 5:14, 15).

APPLICATION: There is nothing that man can do to command or control the new birth. Neither baptism, nor a religious formula, or membership in a church can eternally unite a person to the Son of God. Being united with Christ is an act only God Almighty can perform – it is not even triggered by man’s action (Jn 1:12, 13; Matt 11:27; Eph 2:1-10; James 1:18). (See quote from The Cross and Salvation, by Bruce Demarest on the erroneous view of Catholicism, p. 317.)

Union With Christ by Augustus Hopkins Strong

The consequences of union with Christ may be summarily stated as follows:

(a) Union with Christ involves a change in the dominant affection of the soul. Christ’s entrance into the soul makes it a new creature, in the sense that the ruling disposition, which before was sinful, now becomes holy. This change we call Regeneration. 

Expositor’s Greek Testament on 1 Cor. 15:45, 46—“The action of Jesus in ‘breathing’ upon his disciples while he said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ (John 20:22 sq.) symbolized the vitalizing relationship which at this epoch he assumed towards mankind; this act raised to a higher potency the original ‘breathing’ of God by which ‘man became a living soul’ (Gen. 2:7).”

(b) Union with Christ involves a new exercise of the soul’s powers in repentance and faith; faith, indeed, is the act of the soul by which, under the operation of God, Christ is received. This new exercise of the soul’s powers we call Conversion (Repentance and Faith). It is the obverse or human side of Regeneration.

(c) Union with Christ gives to the believer the legal standing and rights of Christ. As Christ’s union with the race involves atonement, so the believer’s union with Christ involves Justification. The believer is entitled to take for his own all that Christ is, and all that Christ has done; and this because he has within him that new life of humanity which suffered in Christ’s death and rose from the grave in Christ’s resurrection,—in other words, because he is virtually one person with the Redeemer. In Christ the believer is prophet, priest, and king.

(d) Union with Christ secures to the believer the continuously transforming, assimilating power of Christ’s life,—first, for the soul; secondly, for the body,—consecrating it in the present, and in the future raising it up in the likeness of Christ’s glorified body. This continuous influence, so far as it is exerted in the present life, we call, Sanctification, the human side or aspect of which is Perseverance.

(e) Union with Christ brings about a fellowship of Christ with the believer,—Christ takes past in all the labors, temptations, and sufferings of his people; a fellowship of the believer with Christ,—so that Christ’s whole experience on earth is in some measure reproduced in him; a fellowship of all believers with one another,—furnishing a basis for the spiritual unity of Christ’s people on earth, and for the eternal communion of heaven. The doctrine of Union with Christ is therefore the indispensable preparation for Ecclesiology, and for Eschatology 

Union with Christ and Conversion

This doctrine is another way of saying, “Christ alone!” All spiritual blessings in heavenly places are found in him. Even the gifts of the Holy Spirit are through and for the ministry of Christ the Mediator. No one is baptized in the Holy Spirit, but baptized bythe Holy Spirit into Christ.

Regeneration, or the new birth, is the commencement of this union. God brings this connection and baptism even before there is any sign of life–”while you were dead…he made you alive” (Eph.2:1). The first gift of this union is faith, the sole instrument through which we live and remain on this vine. But this is a rich vine, pregnant with nourishing sap to produce an abundance of fruit. Though we are not attached to nor remain attached to this vine by the fruit (what branch depends on the fruit?), those who are truly members of Christ inevitably produce fruit. Through union with Christ, we receive his righteousness imputed (justification) as well as his righteousness imparted (sanctification)….

…2. Confusing Indicative and Imperative
Everywhere the Scriptures provide both the declaration of who we are in Christ (indicative) and the command to respond to that particular declaration in a certain way (imperative). For instance, Paul does not simply issue an imperative like, “Stop living with your boyfriend.” He says, “How should we who have died to sin live any longer in it?” Paul does not call people to die to sin; he does not invite them to enter into a higher level of abundant life; there are not appeals to become something which the believer is not already. The believer has died, is buried, is raised, is seated with Christ in the heavenlies, and so on. These are not plateaus for victorious Christians who have surrendered all, but realities for every believer regardless of how small one’s faith or how weak one’s repentance.

Thus, we must stop trying to convert believers into these realities by imperatives: “Do this,” “Confess that,” “Follow these steps,” and so on. Union with Christ ushers us into conversion and conversion ushers us immediately into all of these realities so that, as Sinclair Ferguson writes, “The determining factor of my existence is no longer my past. It is Christ’s past” (Christian Spirituality: Five Views, Zondervan, p.57).

For those who speak as though the filling of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, justification, the new birth, and union with Christ are things to be attained by obedience to imperatives, Paul insists, “But of him[God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption–that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’” (1 Cor.1:30-31).

Did Adam Blame Eve?

I have quoted Calvin often at length and here again is a quote from his commentary on Genesis 3:12:

12. The woman whom thou gavest to be with me. The boldness of Adam now more clearly betrays itself; for, so far from being subdued, he breaks forth into coarser blasphemy. He had before been tacitly expostulating with God; now he begins openly to contend with him, and triumphs as one who has broken through all barriers. Whence we perceive what a refractory and indomitable creature man began to be when he became alienated from God; for a lively picture of corrupt nature is presented to us in Adam from the moment of his revolt.

‘Every one,’ says James, ‘is tempted by his own concupiscence,’ (James 1:14;)

and even Adam, not otherwise than knowingly and willingly, had set himself, as a rebel, against God. Yet, just as if conscious of no evil, he puts his wife as the guilty party in his place. ‘Therefore I have eaten,’ he says, ‘because she gave.’ And not content with this, he brings, at the same time, an accusation against God; objecting that the wife, who had brought ruin upon him, had been given by God. We also, trained in the same school of original sin, are too ready to resort to subterfuges of the same kind; but to no purpose; for howsoever incitements and instigations from other quarters may impel us, yet the unbelief which seduces us from obedience to God is within us; the pride is within which brings forth contempt.

Please go to Chrisitan Classics Ethereal Libraray and read the rest of Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis 3. What you will notice about the pronouncements and condemnations of Adam by God is that He does not say a single thing concerning any shifting of blame or of blasphemy. Calvin who was obviously quite a student of Hebrew makes no attempt at justifying his conclusions. Nor have I found any commentary anywhere that takes Calvin’s approach which does so either.

I would be interested in a Hebrew scholar’s view or any commentary references which might shed some light upon this verse. Until I find other compelling evidence, though, I must conclude that Calvin’s comments on Genesis 3:12 are tradition rather than statements of knowledge.

The pattern that is revealed in Adam’s response is not one of challenging God, but one of confession. To wit, God does not condemn his response. No, the sequence is confession and God’s judgement upon the sin’s committed and God’s provision for covering them. And the one thing that is missing in Adam’s curse which is made clear in Eve’s is that God doesn’t condemn Adam for setting the facts before God. But He does in the case of Eve, condemn her actions for having taught and given to her husband just as Adam had said.

Your thoughts?

I really would like to find the justification for Calvin’s commentary about this, including how it is that he comes to find “concupiscence” in Adam. It after all could not have been in him from the creation. So just how did it get there except through Eve? And that being the case, Adam was fully justified in what he said and it was not blaming God, nor was it blaming Eve as in some attempt at avoiding the truth. Adam does what a repentant heart does: he confesses to having listened, taken, and eaten. After all, The Truth who knows what is in the hearts of men stood before him. And, just as it was in the case of Isaiah- his sin exposed to the bright white radiance of the righeousness of God- I am convinced Adam was a man whose heart was laid bare before his maker and he simply, humbly, spoke the truth.