R.C. Sproul on Original Sin
The Federal or Representative View of the Fall
I. "Adam acted as a representative of the entire human race."
II. "The curse of the Fall affects us all."
III. The curse of the Fall affects all of creation (Rom 8:20-22).
IV. "[W]e suffer as a result of Adam's sin" (Rom 5:12-19).
V. An analogy of guilt due to representation from our own legal system:
A. If a person hires a contract killer to assassinate someone, and the killer carries out the homicide, that person may be charged for murder even though he or she did not actually pull the trigger; the hitman's action, performed while acting as a representative of his client, is imputed to the person whom he was representing.
B. Admittedly, this analogy is not absolutely perfect, and some will object that we did not choose Adam as our representative, but the analogy does demonstrate how the actions of one person may be justly imputed to another.
VI. An objection cleared: we did not choose Adam as our representative.
A. Generally, people object to someone else choosing a representative for them because they feel that if they do not choose their own representative, then the representative will not accurately represent them; the founding fathers of the United States would have thus objected to King George choosing representative for them rather than their being allowed to vote for themselves.
B. However, the One who appointed Adam as the representative for the human race was not King George but Almighty God, who cannot err.
C. In this regard, we must acknowledge that even when we choose our own representatives, those representatives do not necessarily act in accordance with our wishes; when we vote someone into office, that person often governs in a manner contrary to his or her campaign promises.
D. God is more capable of choosing a representative for us than we are of choosing a representative for ourselves.
E. People falsely assume that if they had been in the Garden of Eden, then they would have made a different choice than Adam made.
VII. There is no unrighteousness in God: God never performs an unjust act; the fact that people commonly assume that God did wrong in appointing Adam as our representative only emphasizes "how accurately we were represented by Adam."
VIII. The Fall and Predestination
A. "God's decree [of predestination] was made both before the Fall and in light of the Fall" [emphases in original].
B. "When God predestines people to salvation he is predestinating people to be saved whom he knows really need to be saved."
C. "Adam [sinned] by his own free will, not by divine coercion."
D. "[God's] predestinating grace is gracious precisely because he chooses to save people whom he knows in advance will be spiritually dead."
Labels: Reformation Theology