Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin (Part 19)
Did God, in Adam, deal with mankind in general, specifically regarding the consequences of sin?
I. Though God does not explicitly say, in His warning to Adam concerning the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that Adam's posterity are included in the threat of death, it should be noted "that there is scarcely one word that we have an account of, which God ever said to Adam or Eve, but what does manifestly include their posterity in the meaning and design of it."
A. The commands and blessings in Geneis 1:28-29 obviously regard the whole human race.
B. God's recorded intention for creating Man in Genesis 1:26 obviously regards the whole human race.
C. The curse upon Man recorded in Genesis 3:19 obviously regards the whole human race.
D. If the curse pronounced upon Man-- the curse that is a consequence for sin-- regards the whole human race, then we must assume that the warning against sin regarded the whole human race.
E. That Adam understood God's words to him to apply to his posterity as well is indicated by his naming the Woman Eve (Gen 3:20), in the hope of the Tempter being defeated by her seed, as God had indicated.
II. OBJECTION: Adam could not have understood the threat of death as the consequence of his sin to refer to his posterity as well-- for the threat seems to preclude Adam having any descendents-- since God seems to say that Adam will die on the day he eats of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
A. The phrase, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," is not [primarily] intended to indicate that God would kill Adam within 24 hours of eating the fruit, but rather:
1. This phrase signifies "real connexion between the sin and the punishment." [Edwards seeks to prove this assertion through an appeal to Eze 33:12-13.]
2. This phrase signifies that "Adam should be exposed to death by one transgression." [Edwards seeks to prove this assertion through an appeal to 1 Kings 2:37.]
B. The phrase, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," does not indicate "that God obliged himself to execute the punishment in its utmost extent on that day," but rather:
1. Adam died spiritually in the moment he sinned, and he began to die physically.
2. Adam "immediately fell under the curse of the law, and condemnation to eternal perdition."
Labels: Reformation Theology