initial sin is immediately and directly imputed to
each member of the race."
The student of the
Scriptures should consider the estate of Adam (1) before the
fall, and (2) after the fall, and (3) the effect upon the
race of Adam's fall.
BEFORE THE FALL
In words of peculiar simplicity, the
Bible introduces the ﬁrst man and the woman whom God
provided to be his helpmeet. These two were joined as one
and in the divine consideration the unit is that which is
formed by this union. Both the man and the woman sinned and
fell, but this combined fall is referred to in the Bible as
the fall of man. No calculations are possible as to the
length of time in which the ﬁrst man and ﬁrst woman remained
unfallen; but they remained unfallen long enough, it is
evident, to become accustomed to the situation in which they
were placed, to regard carefully and name the living
creatures, and to have experienced fellowship with God. It
is said that man as created, like all the works of God, was
"very good"; that is, they were well pleasing to the
Creator. This implies no more than that they were innocent,
which is a negative term and suggests that they had not
committed sin. Holiness, which is the primary attribute of
God, is a positive term and indicates that He is incapable
While man was made in the image of God in respect to
personality and spiritual capacity, he was and is a
creature. And though the Creator, being holy, cannot sin,
the creature, whether it be angel or man, is by the divine
plan in creation made with the ability to sin. Among the
angels, Satan sinned (Ezk. 28:15; Isa. 14:12-14), and many
other angels sinned, of whom it is written that they
kept not their ﬁrst estate
(Jude 1:6). We should also observe that, in reality, man did
not originate sin; it was recommended by Satan and adopted
by man (Gen. 3:4-7). By this action, the moral nature of man
-- intellect, sensibilities, and will -- is manifested, and,
hearing the voice of God, his conscience prompted him to
hide from the divine presence. It is therefore clear that at
the beginning man was in possession of these faculties as he
II. ADAM AFTER THE
By sinning, the ﬁrst man
lost his blessed estate as he was created and became subject
to certain far-reaching changes:
1. He became subject to both spiritual and physical death.
God had said, In the day that thou
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen. 2:17);
and this divine declaration was fulﬁlled. Adam and Eve
passed immediately into spiritual death, which means
separation from God. In due time they also suffered the
penalty of physical death, which means the separation of the
soul from the body.
2. The very creation itself was changed by the sin of man.
Briars and thorns were introduced, labor and sorrow were
added, and the enjoyment of Eden was withdrawn.
III. THE EFFECT UPON THE RACE OF
In contemplating the
effect upon the race of Adam's sin, we are confronted with
the doctrine of "Imputation," which is one of the most
profound doctrines in the Scriptures. It is an advantage to
consider this doctrine in general before any particular form
of the imputation of sin is studied.
Three imputations are set forth in the Scriptures:
(1) The sin of Adam is imputed to his posterity (Rom.
(2) the sin of man is imputed to Christ (2 Cor. 5:21); and,
(3) the righteousness of God is imputed to those who believe
(Gen. 15:6; Psa. 32:2; Rom. 3:22; 4:3, 8, 21-25; 2 Cor.
5:21; Phm. 1:17, 18).
It is obvious that there was a judicial transfer of the sin
of man to Christ the Sin-Bearer.
Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all
(Isa. 53:6; John 1:29; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18). So, in like
manner, there is a judicial transfer of the righteousness of
God to the believer (2 Cor. 5:21); for there could be no
other grounds of justiﬁcation or acceptance with God. This
imputation belongs to the new relationship within the New
Creation. Being joined to the Lord by the baptism with the
Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17; 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27), and
vitally related to Christ as a member in His body (Eph.
5:30), it follows that every virtue of Christ is extended to
those who have become an organic part of Him. The believer
is "in Christ" and thus partakes of all that Christ is.
In like manner, the facts of the old creation are actually
transferred to those who by natural generation are "in
Adam." They become possessed of the Adamic nature and
themselves are said to have sinned in him. This is as real
in constituting a sufﬁcient ground for divine judgment as
the imputation of the righteousness of God in Christ is a
sufﬁcient ground for justiﬁcation, and the result is the
divine judgment upon the race whether they have sinned after
the similitude of Adam's transgression or not. Though men
contend, as they do, that they are not responsible for
Adam's sin, the divine revelation stands that because of the
far-reaching effect of representation through the federal
headship, Adam's one initial sin is immediately and directly
imputed to each member of the race with the unvarying
sentence of death resting upon all (Rom. 5:12-14). Likewise
by the fall of Adam the effect of the one initial sin is
transmuted in the form of a sin nature mediately, or by
inheritance, from father to son throughout all generations.
The effect of the fall is universal; so, also, the offer of
Men do not now fall by their ﬁrst sin; they are born fallen
sons of Adam. They do not become sinful by sinning, but they
sin because by nature they are sinful. No child needs to be
taught to sin, but every child must be encouraged to be
It should be observed that, though the fall of Adam rests
upon the race, there is evident divine provision for
innocent infants and all who are irresponsible.
The holy judgments of God must rest upon all men out of
(1) because of imputed sin,
(2) because of an inherited sin nature,
(3) because they are under sin, and
(4) because of their own personal sins.
Though these holy
judgments of God cannot be diminished, the sinner may be
saved from them through Christ. This is the good news of the
The penalty resting on
the old creation is
(1) physical death, which is separation of the soul from the
(2) spiritual death, which (like Adam's) is the present
estate of the lost and is the separation of the soul from
God (Eph. 2:1; 4:18, 19); and
(3) the second death, which is the eternal separation of the
soul from God and banishment from His presence forever (Rev.
2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).
1. Into what three-fold classiﬁcation
does the Bible teaching concerning Adam divide?
2. To what extent does God evidently consider the man and
woman to be one?
3. a. What is implied by the words that man was created
b. Contrast this estate with the holiness of God.
c. How is it that unfallen man can sin when God cannot?
4. What faculties did man as created evidently possess?
5. a. What effects immediately followed the fall?
b. What is spiritual death?
c. What is physical death?
d. What was the effect upon creation?
6. Name the three acts of imputation as set forth in the
7. What passages state the imputation of man's sin to
8. To what extent and by what means is the merit of Christ
imputed to the believer?
9. Is it equally reasonable to believe that the demerit of
Adam is imputed to his posterity?
10. Since men are not responsible for their fallen natures,
is it reasonable for them to seek God's provided remedy?
11. Do men become sinners by sinning?
12. Do you believe that God in grace has made provision for
the salvation of innocent infants and the irresponsible?
13. Why must divine judgment fall on all men out of Christ?
14. Name the three kinds of death mentioned in the