Natural Man before the Fall: Ability and Grace

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by Saiph, Oct 26, 2005.

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  1. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Clark,

    God created us, but He has no obligation to us because of that mere act creation.
    Therefore, as contingent beings, even in a biological and natural sense, we depend on His common grace for every movement. I seriously do not see any contradiction with what Augustine taught and the Covenant of Works.

    Why is it so heretical to say that Adam was able to obey God because of supernatural grace from God ?

    There is no equivocation on human nature. God simply gave man over to disobedience at the fall. God ordained the fall of Satan and man because the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.

    The problem is the fallacious logical order of infralapsarianism. supralapsarians have always understood the need for common grace.
  2. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    WHen I asked:

    You replied:

    I have read those documents countless times. I am still wanting.

    I have read Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Locke, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Bahnsen, on this mind-body question and still am not satisfied.

    I was hoping a doctor of philosophy like yourself could help me out.

    My specific question would be is the mind/soul biological, some spiritual substance tethered to the biological, or some entity wholly other than the body but caged within ?

    I am trying to understand problems like catatonic states, mental retardation, Alzheimers, comas, and demonic posession. Does lack of motor function effect the soul ? Do mentally retarded or autistic people feel like a soul trapped inside a body they cannot control ? Are they coherent and conscious within, looking out at a worl that does not understand them ? How does a demon possess a person ? Do they merely control their body, or can they somehow infiltrate some immaterial substance of the human soul ? Are they like a virus in the bloodstream to the soul ? Does Christianity even come close to having an answer for any of these questions ?
  3. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Aren't you satisifed with the language of the WCF and the HC that I have cited previously? What is there exactly about the confessional language with which you disagree?

    Why, when the WCF speaks of "voluntary condescension" do you insist on other language?

    What is the virtue (no pun intended) of injecting grace into the prelapsarian covenant?

    Mark, go back and re-read my earlier posts. I didn't say "heretical." I do think it's an error. You tell me why I think it's an error and we'll see if we're communicating. It isn't help for an endless cycle of demands for the same arguments.

    It is possible that the traditional proofs don't satisfy you. I understand that. I don't agree, but I understand. It happens.

    You're not accounting for the radical difference in human nature post lapsum.

    Please give a concrete historical example where a confessional supralapsarian Reformed theologian before Herman Hoeksema or Gordon Clark argued for prelapsarian grace. Why exactly is this logically necessary? The debate between supralapsarians and infralapsarians wasn't about the historical fact of the fall or its effects. All the orthodox (of which tiny handful were actually supra) affirmed that in the fall our faculties were entirely corrupted. Before the fall we were uncorrupted and able to do what God commanded. What changed was not the law but our ability.

    Mark, if I may say, it seems to me that your theology tends to rationalism. You might give the possibility some thought.

  4. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Have you understood the confessional doctrine?

    What is it exactly that leaves you wanting? You may be asking for things Reformed theology cannot and will not supply? I don't know.

    This isn't a philosophical question -- or at least that's not how I do theology -- and I'm most definitely not a philosopher. In my doctrine of God course I find it's the philosophical theologians who cause the most trouble (open theism, social Trinitarianism).

    Have you thought about seminary? I know a really good school! :eek:

    I teach historical theology. I know a lot more about what was than about what "is" according to the philosophers. I tend to sort of modified common sense epistemology and I'm Van Tillian in my apologetics, but that's about it.

    I taught theological anthropology at Wheaton a couple of times, but I can´t reproduce the course here. It´s been a few years. In short, what I know about body/soul relations is what the Scriptures say as they've been interpreted by the Reformed confessions and theologians.

    To go much beyond that, for me, tends to rationalism.

    I can't tell you in any great detail what the soul is; just that we are a soul and that we have one. We are capable of being separated from the soul and in that case we, according to Paul in 2 Cor, "naked."

    There is a body/soul dualism -- not all dualisms are Platonic -- but as I say, that's an unnatural state induced by the fall.

    The soul is a way of describing our faculties. I guess I'm old fashioned in that way. I still think we have a mind, a will, and affections. As I used to tell my children, "the soul is who we are without our bodies."

    It isn't some gassy bubble that escapes at death to be absorbed into the ether or into the deity. It isn't the sole residence for the image, but it is a residence for or closely connected to the image.

    We shouldn't shy away from the traditional Protestant language emphasizing the soul´s relation to the image, but we should also understand that the body is part of the image. I think this is the implication of Gen 9. We are body and soul. To inflict damage on the body is to inflict damage on the image.

    We should also be very suspicious of some Doyeweerdian attempts to deny the existence of the soul per se by identifying it wholly with the body.

    These are all difficult cases of different kinds. Difficult cases make for bad theology.

    There may not be entirely satisfactory answers (depending upon what counts for proof).

    My answer, For what it's worth, is that these are all humans made in God's image. The image does not reside in any one faculty or ability so that to lose one faculty does not disqualify one as an image bearer. These are humans and as such they are and have souls. The existence of the soul is not contingent upon ability or rationality, even though we have historically described humans as "rational souls."

    I have no biblical or extra-biblical evidence to suggest, e.g., that the retarded are anything other than humans with diminished mental and physical abilities. They often have enormous emotional capacity however. There are few humans willing to love and be loved like the retarded.

    To be diminished in mental or physical ability does not impair the soul fundamentally. If the older faculty psychology is correct, that "œsoul" describes cognition, affection, volition etc, then to the degree one´s cognition is affected, one could say that the soul is to the same degree affected. I wouldn´t press this. The soul was certainly affected by the fall, and these would be extreme examples of the result of the fall.

    The soul is not, however, a thing. It isn't material. Your questions seem to presuppose or imply that it is material. We've never described the soul as you suggest. We usually take soul and spirit as synonyms hence the doctrine of the immateriality of the soul.

  5. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    I take that as a compliment. I would hate to have an irrational theology.

    And I am not saying the soul is material, I am asking if it is substantial in a non-empyrical (epiphenomenal?) sense, like the angels are supposed to be. Are angels made of matter ?

    The resurrected Christ said he was not a ghost, but the substance of His body was certainly not like ours. And I am not even sure we can relate the material of our souls with His resurrected body.

    You are correct in saying I do not find the reformed confessions satisfying. They leave far too many questions unanswered that the medieval scholars at least thought about and proposed ideas for, even if they are wrong. (Like God's sustaining grace before the fall) How can a contingent being ever do what God commands without God's help ? ? The WCF idea that adam could obey in some strength of his own is beyond my comprehension. (I believe perfect and personal obedience is the exact phrase)

    Could you explain the danger of rationalism ? Because at the end of the day all I have is my mind. My emotions, thoughts, memories, ideas, and dreams. I can never turn it off. I was reading in Locke about what the objects of the mind are when they are not unconscious. That didn't make sense to me. I have never been unconscious. Even in sleep I dream and my mind is still set on something.

    The soul is used as the whole man in scripture, but it is also spoken of apart from the body. I am trying to understand the coinherence of the two. Some of your responses have helped. It seems like Christians of all people, should know more about the mind than anyone else. Our Lord went aroung casting out demons, and the apostles followed that miraculous work. Today we see many afflictions of mind and soul but seem to not offer anything but "read your bible and pray" remedies. (Not to downplay those things, but I feel helpless when faced with people like this)

    I have never considered seminary, because, as you can see, I would probably be wasting the teacher's time all day with what they deem to be inane questions like these. I also do not hear some inner voice calling me to be an elder or pastor either.

    Your idea of the imago dei not residing in one faculty is interesting. So our body as well as our soul bears the image ? When we say God is spirit that accounts for our soul I guess because He breathed into us some ontological essence and we became life giving spirits. (traducianism ?) But does God have a form ? Since our bodies are matter and form.

    [Edited on 12-23-2005 by Saiph]
  6. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    Mmmmmm....RTS Jackson....:lol:
  7. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Mark, did God create Adam good? If so, then he was intrinsically equiped to do good. It was not a withdrawal of grace but Adam's free choice which caused his fall. To say that Adam fell because of a withdrawal of grace, implies, to me at least, that man was created sinful and only God's gracious hand restrained him from falling.

    I think you would also find it interesting that Augustine agreed with Pelagius that Adam, before the Fall, had the ability to obey God "naturally." Their differences arose on the effects of the Fall. Pelagius felt man retained his ability to do good. Augustine argued that as a judgment upon man, all his faculties became intrinsically corrupt. Unfortunately, I can't provide you the exact reference for this because I turned the book back into the library and it has been a couple months since I read it, but I believe it was in Augustine's book On Nature and Grace. You may want to browse through it again.

    [Edited on 12-23-2005 by puritansailor]
  8. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Patrick, God's grace and adam's freedom are not incompatible. Adam fell by his own free choice. And Adam obeyed up until the point of lapse by his moral upright ability and the efficacious power of God's grace.

    Ecc 7:29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

    So ALL reformed christians believe in prelapsarian pelagianism ? ?

    Obviously, if Adam's good nature was enough to sustain him, he would not have fallen.
  9. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior


    There's a distinction between "rationalism" and "rationality." We must use our rational faculty. Rationalism, however, is another thing. It refers either to the identity of the human intellect with the divine (this was Thomas' problem and that of G. Clark) or it can describe the attempt to use a single (perhaps collective) universal principle by which all other things are explained or levered, e.g., Modernist autonomous rationality. "If I can't understand x comprehensively, I can't accept it."

    To be best of my knowledge the soul is not empirically verifiable. It is not quantifiable, but it is.

    Perhaps you have Lutheran tendencies here. We´ve always said that Christ´s humanity is consubstantial with ours. There are differences since his humanity is glorified and ours is not, but it is still local, physical, true humanity.

    The Reformed symbols weren´t a dialogue with medieval theology! They did consider and reject some medieval ideas. The symbols serve as a starting point in Reformed theology. They aren´t comprehensive and it´s not to say that we can´t discuss things outside them, but on fundamental issues such as you´re raising, they contain our basic convictions.

    Before you reject them, you should spend some time reading classic Reformed theology, such as Wollebius (it´s in English) in the Beardslee vol. You need to read Turretin and Owen and the other fellows available. Have you read Richard Muller´s work or the Trueman/Clark vol on Protestant Scholasticism.

    The Reformed orthodox did comment on these questions. Could it be that you just don´t accept the assumptions on which the Reformed operate?

    The problem is the "˜ism. The human intellect is necessarily finite, fallible, and dependent upon divine revelation for knowledge of God and for salvation. This is a catholic affirmation. I think we may be talking past one another here.

    Yes, it's true (as I think I've said) that both things are said. We agree here. As to explaining the coinherence of them in detail, well, there are mysteries in the faith!

    I quite agree that Pietism is no answer to serious problems! You need to read some orthodox Reformed theology. Don´t convict RO for sins it hasn´t committed!

    I rememnber J. Laidlaw, The Biblical doctrine of man being useful. You might also see A. Hoekema, Created in God's Image (Grand Rapids, 1986). He had some training in psychology and tried to address some of the questions you're raising. See also Sherlock, Charles. The Doctrine of Humanity. Edited by Gerald Bray. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996. See also: Cooper, John W. Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting. 2nd ed. Vancouver, BC: Regent College, 1995. Reprint, 1996. I found C. Plantinga's Not the Way It's Supposed to Be... stimulating also.

    These aren´t inane but perhaps beyond the ability of an internet discussion board. I´ll tell you when the questions get inane.

    Well, we have students on campus who are not headed for pastoral ministry. One intends to go into medicine. Another intends to go into law. Another wants to be a teacher. Another wants to get a PhD. To be sure, these account for about 30% of our students. Most of our students are MDiv and headed for pastoral ministry, but sorting out vocation is long and difficult business. No one should imagine that it is automatic or magical or easy.

    Yes, that´s my reading of Gen 9:1-6.

    Not quite! We are analogues! You need to give this notion serious consideration. Try M. Horton´s Covenant and Eschatology"¦. An analogue/analog is something that is like things but isn´t those things.

    We have no divine essence or substance in us. God is said to have breathed life into us, but he didn't deify us. Because of God's gift of life, we are said to have become a living being, but that principle, the soul, isn´t a divine spark or principle. Divinization (in creation, redemption or glorification) is not in the biblical scheme of divine-human relations

    We´re not Mormons. We´re Christians.

    Reformed Christianity has not typically accepted the form matter dualism. Plato does not help us here. The soul is not the "œform."

    The body/soul dualism is not Platonic dualism. The human problem (once again) is not ontological. We do not lack being. We are not broken because we are finite or creatures. We are broken because we are sinful, because we broke the law in Adam and that sin was imputed to all and we all experience its effects. The matter is legal, not ontic.

    To posit a body of God is to reverse the relations between original and analogy. We are analogues of God, he is not an analog of us. There are always disanalogies between the original and the analogue and all the more when the original is God and the analog is a creature.

    As to the transmission of the soul, I understand traducianism, but I tend to creationism with Thomas and most of the Reformed. It´s not a matter of orthodoxy, however.

  10. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Clark, I will consider your book list. I will have to see if I can get them through the Prospector library system here.

    That was a very useful statement that helped me understand where you are coming from. I tend to view every aspect of anthropology from the ontological perspective, and maybe I shouldn't. You are correct in saying that contingency does not necesitate corruption I suppose. I have read Owen, Calvin, Hoeksema, Berkhof, and A.A. Hodge. I do not remember them getting to this level of understanding when writing about anthropology.

    Christ dwelling "in" us is what then if not ontological ? I know when Jesus said we will be one as He and the father are one it cannot be ontological but covenantal, but what about the indwelling of the Spirit. How does that work ?

    And how is it different from the influence of the Spirit in the O.T. ?

    The answer to that might also answer my demon posession question.

    P.S. I appreciate your patience with me here. I have been reading J.S. Romanides, Aquinas, and Augustine trying to figure this all out. And by God having a form I was not trying to be mormon. It is one of those paradoxes like the limitations of omnipotence. God shaped the world out of the formless and void because He is not tohu or bohu Himself, the created three dimensional world has symmetry and beauty. God must have some type of eternal order, logic, and symmetry that is not bounded by time or space. Maybe that sounds eastern, but all creation shows His glory, but no one seems to talk about how, and in what way ? He does reveal Himself as Trinity, and that three is a finite number of distinct persons, but also unified in one being. (I hope to afford Lethams book soon)
  11. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Pelagianism is imputing (no pun intended) to Adam AFTER the fall abilities he had only before the fall.

    The mystery of the fall is that, despite the fact that Adam was righteous and holy he fell anyway.

  12. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Now we're making progress. Salvation is not a change in ontological status. It is justification, a legal declaration, sanctification, a gracious process, and glorification, the consummation. At no time do the saved ever become anything other than the saved.

    Well, I learned my theology from them so...

    Our union with Christ is both legal and vital, but never ontic. We are "in Christ" by virtue of God's decree. For infralapsarians, we were elected "in Christ," from eternity.

    As a consequence of the decree, as a consequence of the covenant of redemption, as a consequence of God's efficacious call and sovereign regeneration wrought through the Word by the Spirit, we are, by faith, "in Christ."

    Legally this union means we are justified before God on the basis of Christ's obedience. This union works life in those who are united, sola gratia, sola fide, but this union doesn't deify (contra the Finnish School and lots of other folks, incl. Andreas Osiander!)


    The Spirit (not baptism!) is the agent of our union with Christ. The Spirit operates through the Word to bring to effect the union that God decreed.

    I may not understand the question, but as I understand Abraham, he was united to Christ sola gratia, sola fide. He looked foward to the incarnation and we look back.

    We should distinguish soteric work from common operations of the Spirit, including those peculiar to the typological, temporary, national covenant with Israel and the theocracy thereof.

    I doubt that one can be possessed by a demon and united to Christ. In the Gospels, they seem to be mutually exclusive. I'm not sure if this is what you mean, however.

    Try some Witsius, Olevianus (Firm Foundation is really a wonderful work), Calvin and the lot.

    Don't go there. 1. Non sequitur. 2. Analogy is not continuity. Don't reason back from us to God. Whatever order, and it surely exists, there is in God far transcends our categories.

    See the recent thread on divine accommodation.

  13. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    What you call mystery, I call God's ordained will carried out through Adam.

    Ok, then what is "eternal life", is it not a better "reality", and a sort of apotheosis ? (though not ultimate) I assumed it was life restored to something better than Adam had. And what is a level higher than walking with God ?

    What does David mean here:

    Psa 51:11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

    Since he was an author of part of the Old Testament, a literal and typological king, and according to some (not me) one of the only authorized hymnwriters for all ages. Is he hinting at some fall from grace ? Or was the work of the Spirit different under the old covenant ?

    :detective: interesting point, but how does any human reason other than subjectively from himself outward ? (not advocating solipsism, but even if I read the bible, I have to use reason to understand it, the Spirit gives enlightenment but how I do not know, and it still does not happen outside my mind)

    I will look for that other thread.

    [Edited on 12-24-2005 by Saiph]
  14. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    That God sovereignly ordained the fall does not remove but rather heightens the mystery.

    Mystery cannot be avoided in the faith. I was just reading Thomas Boston (Fourfold State) on this very thing. He says the whole faith (on union with Christ) is shot full of mystery. One God, three persons; 1 person in the incarnation but two natures; divine sovereignty and human responsibility.

    To eliminate mystery from Christianity is to eliminate Christianity.

    We don't confess apotheosis. We're categorically opposed to it. We don't have to be divinized to be glorified. Consummation does not mean overcoming our humanity. In Pauline terms, in 1 Cor 15, it is conformity to the will and presence of the Holy Spirit (See G. Vos, Pauline Eschatology).

    I understand him to be speaking as a typological messianic character. That is, he was speaking out of his office not from or about his person per se. Saul had "lost" the Spirit. David feared, perhaps, the same thing. There are other, perhaps better, ways of reading this text, but they don't fundamentally change the unity in the ordo salutis under Moses and under Christ.

    By beginning with divinely authorized analogies in Scripture. Yes, our senses must perceive revelation, but they do this because God is and has first revealed himself to us. Revelation works, our senses work because God is and has willed things to function as they do.

  15. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. But for me, there seems to be no mystery in the fall. God had it all planned out because the crucifixion is the crux (no pun intended) of creation.

    There is plenty of mystery everywhere else though.

    Now you are sounding like Aquinas. Which I better understand.
    What you are calling analogies are what I mean by forms, I think.

    Do you think this fits with your accommodation idea ?

    Have you read "God And Other Minds" by Alvin Plantinga ? ? Is it helpful regarding these ideas ?
  16. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for your time!
    It seems to me we are making man absolutely responsible before the fall as an argument for the doctrine of total depravity after the fall. We are also saying that man is absolutely responsible after the fall. We are saying that God is absolutely soveriegn after the fall in relationship but He is not in relationship to man before the fall (in the absolute post fall sense). We are using the word "covenant" like a door to barr any one from entering and prying into the nature of that relationship in the garden. What is wrong with saying that God is absolutely soveriengn before the fall and preserving the relationship in a supernaturalistic way in that mystery between Gods soveriegnty and mans responsibility instead of hiding it behind the unbiblical usage of the word covenant? I think Murray would go only as far as using the concept of a "Test" to define the garden experience. Isnt this the defintion of a passive decree? And in a sense isnt all sin a passive decree?
  17. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    God can withhold the power of temptation now yet we are fully responsible.
  18. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    [448] Gen. i. 2. "œAnd the earth was without form and void." Tohu, Bohu, which last are words signifying vanity and emptiness. Thus God was pleased in the first state of the creation to show what the creature is in itself; that in itself it is wholly empty and vain, that its fulness or goodness is not in itself, but in him, and in the communications of his Spirit, animating, quickening, adorning, replenishing, and blessing all things. The emptiness and vanity here spoken of, is set in opposition to that goodness spoken of afterwards. Through the incubation of the Spirit of God, (as the word translated moved, signifies,) the Spirit of God is here represented as giving form, and life, and perfection to this empty, void, and unformed mass, as a dove that sits infuses life, and brings to form and perfection the unformed mass of the egg. Thus the fulness of the creature is from God´s Spirit. If God withdraws from the creature, it immediately becomes empty and void of all good. The creature as it is in itself is a vessel, and has a capacity, but is empty; but that which fills that emptiness is the Spirit of God.

    As the Spirit of God here is represented as hovering or brooding as a dove, so it is probable, when the Spirit of God appeared in a bodily shape, descending on Christ like a dove, it was with a hovering motion on his head, signifying the manner in which not only he personally was filled with the fulness of God, but also every individual member of his mystical body. So that this that we have an account of is one instance wherein the old creation was typical of the new. (See note on Eph. iii. 19.)J Edwards

    Here is the other question i have. What exactly is the work of the Spirit in the goodness of man? Here is His renewing work over creation at the very outset of scripture. If His renewing work was exibited in creating all things isnt it more evident in the creation of man? How can man do good unless it was a spiritual good, that is infused with all the holy desires that the Holy Spirit renews in man. Here you have the work of the Spirit in the growth of the fruit of the two trees and that whole process of renewing the fruit to its adult hood. And yet man only had a moral goodness in his being? Yes i agree there is a concern with the problem with the arminist and socians etc. but what of the problem with those who hold to deism.

    MAN was created in the image of God, a self-conscious, free, responsible, religious agent. Such identity implies an inherent, native, inalienable obligation to love and serve God with all the heart, soul, strength, and mind. This God could not but demand and man could not but owe. No created rational being can ever be relieved of this obligation. All that man is and does has reference to the will of God.

    But man was also created good, good in respect of that which he specifically is. He was made upright and holy and therefore constituted for the demand, endowed with the character enabling him to fulfil all the demands devolving upon him by reason of God´s propriety in him and sovereignty over him. J. Murray

    He was made upright and holy and therefore constituted for the demand.
    Was this a work of the Spirit in man?
    No created rational being can ever be relieved of this obligation.
    Could Adam rationally come to obedience in every action apart from an action in him from the Spirit?

    [Edited on 12-26-2005 by mybigGod]
  19. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    That is what has been troubling me since I understood and embraced reformed theology.

    From everything I have read, it is God working in and through us,somehow that is never fully explained, but not us on or own. It is a mystery. But I really would like to know more about the mystery of sanctification. Every writing out there just merely touches on the liminal meridians of spiritual psychology.

    I want something deeper. I know we do not need to understand the mind in order to use it, but I think there is much more that we can comprehend about it, and I am looking for Christian authors that have come to a better understanding of the soul, while still remaining theologically orthodox.
  20. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

    I wonder too. There is an awareness of our inward parts that can only be increased by being able to peer into them by work of the Spirit through the word. But a psychological peering is not a personal peering thats why its effects are only felt on a surface level. For example we know that the Holy Spirit indwells us by that being taught us as a universal indwelling of all believers. Yet what the effects in that indwelling are dependent apoun how personal we understand in that relationship to Him in the faculties of our soul and that ordered process that effect our disposition.So the peering into ourselves has a pondering renewal effect that increases our awareness of our corruption in that ordered process.This is the begining of understanding with spiritual awareness of the state of our souls in a dispositional way.

    Sorry if it is confusing but i am trying to describe to you what happens to me in meditation.
  21. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor


    Incorrect. We believe God is absolutely sovereign the whole time. God was absolutely sovereign even when Adam was free and able to choose good and evil before the Fall.

    The question really is, did God create Adam good? What does that mean? The traditional Reformed answer to the question (WCF 9) is that God made Adam good, upright, and righteous. He intrinsically desired to do good. He was holy. Only such a creature can dwell with God (Ps. 15).

    To argue that Adam was created defective, that he would simply wander into sin without a restraining hand means that God did not create him holy and Adam didn't really fall. He simply acted naturally when God abandon him, and the loss of communion and favor with God did not result from Adam's sin, but from God's own withdrawal of favor from his righteous servant before he even sinned. Is this where you really wish to go? God blesses obedience, and loves righteousness. He does not withdraw his favor until sin stains the creature.
  22. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior


    Adam was created with infused righteousness ? But now, after the fall, our righteousness must be imputed ?
  23. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    He was created with "original" righteousness. Sinners need sanctification (I think this is what you mean by "infused") after imputation to counteract the pollution of our nature and make us practically righteous. Adam had no such pollution. He was without sin. He was created good and upright and already practically righteous. He related to God as a righteous and holy man, without a Mediator, before his rebellion. He enjoyed the blessing of God until he sinned, in which communion was lost and wrath merited.
  24. canuk

    canuk Inactive User

    I am trying to find the verses that tell us that Adam was righteous and holy.

    I see the verse that he was created good. He was created peccable, he was not perfect.

    I see that Adam was a human and with a human nature whether fallen or in the garden would do what a human naure would do outside of God's grace. The act of God covering Adam and Eve with animal skins was gracious, they were to surely die for disobedience, but mercy and grace were given.

    Thomas Watson makes this statement in his work The Body of Divinity:

    Adam´s Sin

    A: That sin was eating the forbidden fruit.

    'She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband.´ Gen 3: 6.

    Here is implied, 1. That our first parents fell from their estate of innocence. 2. The sin by which they fell, was eating the forbidden fruit.

    I. Our first parents fell from their glorious state of innocence. 'God made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.´ Eccl 7: 29. Adam was perfectly holy, he had rectitude of mind, and liberty of will to good; but his head ached till he had invented his own and our death; he sought out many inventions. 1. His fall was voluntary. He had a posse non peccare, a power not to fall. Free-will was a sufficient shield to repel temptation. The devil could not have forced him unless he had given his consent. Satan was only a suitor to woo, not a king to compel; but Adam gave away his own power, and suffered himself to be decoyed into sin; like a young gallant, who at one throw loses a fair lordship. Adam had a fair lordship, he was lord of the world. 'Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth.´ Gen 1: 28. But he lost all at one throw. Soon as he sinned, he forfeited paradise. 2. Adam´s fall was sudden; he did not long continue in his royal majesty.

    How long did Adam continue in paradise before he fell?

    Tostatus says, he fell the next day. Pererius says, he fell the eighth day after his creation. The most probable and received opinion is, that he fell the very same day in which he was created. So Irenaeus, Cyril, Epiphanius, and many others. The reasons which incline me to believe so are,

    (1.) It is said, Satan was a murderer, 'from the beginning.´ John 8: 44. Now, whom did he murder? Not the blessed angels, he could not reach them; nor the cursed angels, for they had before destroyed themselves. How then was Satan a murderer from the beginning? As soon as Satan fell, he began to tempt mankind to sin; this was a murdering temptation. By which it appears Adam did not stay long in Paradise; soon after his creation the devil set upon him, and murdered him by his temptation.

    (2.) Adam had not yet eaten of the tree of life. 'And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat; the Lord sent him forth of the garden.' Gen 3: 22, 23. This tree of life, being one of the choicest fruits in the garden, and being placed in the midst of Paradise, it is very likely Adam would have eaten of this tree of life one of the first, had not the serpent beguiled him with the tree of knowledge. So that I conclude, Adam fell the very day of his creation, because he had not tasted the tree of life, that tree that was most in his eye, and had such delicious fruit growing upon it.

    (3.) 'Man being in honour, abideth not.' Psalm 49: I2. The Rabbis read it thus, 'Adam being in honour, lodged not one night.´ The Hebrew word for abide, signifies, 'To stay or lodge all night.' Adam then, it seems, did not take up one night´s lodging in Paradise.

    Use one: From Adam´s sudden fall learn the weakness of human nature. Adam, in a state of integrity, quickly made a defection from God, he soon lost the robe of innocence and the glory of Paradise. If our nature was thus weak when it was at the best, what is it now when it is at the worst? If Adam did not stand when he was perfectly righteous, how unable are we to stand when sin has cut the lock of our original righteousness! If purified nature did not stand, how shall corrupt nature? If Adam, in a few hours, sinned himself out of Paradise, how quickly would we sin ourselves into hell, if we were not kept by a greater power than our own! But God puts underneath his everlasting arms. Deut 33: 27.

    He uses the word holy which I don't see in scriptures, but the use of innocence and in the state of integrity are words that aren't found in the bible neither.

    I find it interesting concerning the time frame of the fall of lucifer and the fall of Adam. Adam did not spent that much time in the garden. He was just freshly created. God knew that man in his human nature would not be able to obey God. That is why we needed a redeemer and His grace.

    Now I am far from being a student of the word, I am only member of a church and do not attend a seminary so my theological muscles are slim!
  25. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman


    You are correct. To choose is to act according to one´s intention or strongest inclination at the moment of choice. All choices, being rational, are intended; but intentions are not chosen. If intentions were chosen then each choice of an intention would require a more primitive intention that would also need to be chosen ad infinitum. Consequently, Adam´s action to choose contrary to God´s law was preceded by a sinful intention to act that was not chosen. Adam did not choose this (sinful) intention to act contrary to God´s law; for if he had, then that supposed choice of the first sinful intention would have required an even more primitive sinful intention, which as you see would lead us down the path of an infinite regress.

    This matter is somewhat involved but it is not conceptually difficult. It will take time to internalize, which is not a bad thing! :scholar:

    Necessity and how it applies to the will of man given God's immutable decree and future tense truth propositions:

    Please bear with me through this section and it should all come together when we get to the section below on Adam. Lord willing.

    Obviously Adam needed something additional to sustain him because given the circumstances presented to the soul he fell. Could Adam have defied the eternal decree anymore than Pilate? For Adam not to have fallen he would have needed to possess libertarian free will (LFW). Adam certainly possessed liberty, which is simply the ability to act according to one´s intention; he also possessed moral ability, which is the natural propensity or moral nature to act in a manner consistent with what is pleasing to God.

    If it was true, prior to Adam falling, that he would fall, then it was philosophically false that he "œmight" (or might not) fall. Now we must be careful here lest we upset any Molinists who might be lurking. A few words on foreknowledge might be in order. Foreknowledge itself does not necessitate the occurrence of what is foreknown. Foreknowledge is receptive, not creative or causal. It presupposes but does not cause what will occur. This is easily recognized by the fact that Christians know that Christ will return to earth one day. The Christian´s knowledge of this fact does not ensure the consummation of what the fact contemplates. So in principle we can readily see that foreknowledge has no power. Although foreknowledge does not necessitate an event or ensure its occurrence, foreknowledge is only possible if the choices that are foreknown are determined and necessary. This too needs some elaboration.

    Non-Calvinists and Calvinists agree that it is necessary that if God foreknows that Jones will choose X, then Jones will choose X. Only Calvinists believe that foreknown choices will occur by necessity as opposed to freely or purely contingently. Non-Calvinists believe that morally relevant choices although foreknown are not necessary but rather purely contingent and free. Furthermore, non-Calvinists are quick to point out that it can be fallacious to argue from the premise of God´s foreknowledge of outcomes to the necessity of those outcomes. The fallacy in view is that of transferring the necessity of the inference to the conclusion. That Jones will necessarily choose X is not implied by the premise that necessarily, if God foreknows that Jones will choose X, then Jones will choose X. Accordingly, the Calvinist must establish that contingent choices are not feasible and that necessary choices do not destroy human accountability but are in fact the grounds for it. It is quite valid to argue: Necessarily, if God foreknows that Jones will choose X, then Jones will necessarily choose X; God foreknows that Jones will choose X; therefore, Jones will necessarily choose X -- if the necessity of Jones´ choices is a necessary precondition for God´s foreknowledge of them.

    All that needs to be established to vindicate determinism, given that exhaustive foreknowledge is biblical, is that God cannot foreknow a choice that is purely contingent... If it is true that Jesus will return to earth one day, then it is false that Jesus might freely choose not to return. It is necessary that he choose to return since God cannot know that he might when while knowing full well that he will. The reason that God´s knowledge of future choices presupposes the necessity of those choices is because something that might occur is contradictory to something that will occur and contradictions are not knowable. For if God could know both that a choice might not be made while knowing it will be made, then things that might occur would require a probability equal to that of things that will occur, which would require that "œmight" mean "œwill!" If it is true that X might not occur then the current state of affairs that entails this truth cannot also entail either contradictory truth that X will or will not occur. What does it mean after all to say that something will happen that might or might not happen? If something is properly deemed possible, then it is believed that it might or might not occur. Are there any possibilities from God´s perspective? Are there any true possibilities after all!

    It was true five hundred years before the crucifixion of our Lord that God knew 700 years before the crucifixion of the Lord that Jesus would be crucified at the hands of morally responsible persons. Consequently, it is not hard to understand that there exist future tense truth propositions that are necessary because the truth proposition exists yesterday yet that which it contemplates is still future. Assume that it was true in eternity that on April 25, 2023 I will go to Italy with my wife. Accordingly, the truth that I will go to Italy on that date was true prior to that date. Being true yesterday that I will go to Italy at a still future date, the truth proposition about the future is necessary because the proposition existed in the past and everything from the past is now necessary! That the proposition is necessary means that what the declarative statement contemplates, namely my choice, is also necessary. It cannot be simultaneously true that I might go to Italy since it is necessary that I will since the truth that I will is past and, therefore, necessary. Moreover, might and will are semantically antithetical, as has already been shown.


    At this juncture it has been established that if God has exhaustive foreknowledge, then choices must be necessary. God cannot know a choice that might or might not occur. The question that is now before us is what made the proposition about Adam´s future action true in eternity. For God to have known that Adam would choose X three things must have been true. God must have believed Adam would choose X; it must have been true that Adam would choose X; and God must have had warrant for believing that Adam would choose X. The reason that God believed Adam would choose X is because it was true that he would. The reason it was true was because God had determined that Adam would choose X. What else can be the source of the truth of the proposition that Adam would choose X? Certainly not Adam, since it was true that Adam would choose X prior to creation, was it not? If such truth exists outside of God and his determination, then something other than God and his will is eternal, which is heretical. God would be constrained by something other than his being and his desires. If such future tense truth propositions such as Adam would choose X are not according to God´s determination, then God must be informed, if he is to foreknow, by some entity other than his own determination. For the Arminian such truths are not determined, so they must exist in and of themselves. They must be ontologically necessary and, therefore, exist externally apart from God's attributes and eternal determination, which undermines the sole eternality of God and, therefore, the uniqueness of the ontological Trinity.

    To sum this up, if Jones´ (or Adam´s) choice of X is free, then it is possible that Jones choose X or not choose X. If it is true that Jones will choose X, then it is not possible that Jones will not choose X. Consequently, if it is true that Jones will choose X, then Jones´ choice of X will not be free. If Jones chooses not X (or X) freely, then it was not true that Jones would choose X, in which case God would not have known Jones´ choice. To refute Molinism all that needs to be established is that if it is true that Jones would choose X, then it must be false that he might not choose X. That´s a piece of cake due to the antithetical semantic relationship between would and might. Every bit of this applies to Adam, for Adam did not lose LFW when he fell; he merely lost is moral ability to choose Godward.

    In sum, Adam was no less a slave to his strongest inclination at the moment of choice than an unconverted man. The issue is not whether Adam was created upright, which he was, but whether Adam possessed a radical freedom of the will that would have enabled him to choose contrary to how he intended. Such freedom, however, would destroy moral accountability for with such "freedom" one could end up intending to praise and end up cursing instead.

  26. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Prayer, Word (preferably preached) and Sacrament. Partake often, by faith, with thanksgiving. Through these means of appointment God will work in you both to will and, thereofore, do of His good pleasure. By grace, we grow in grace, seeing more and more clearly that we have been baptized into Christ's work, thereby gaining more confidence that we are truly accepted in the Beloved as true sons - solely on the basis of our union with Christ, who is our righteousness and our sanctification. Mere words? No, my brother. True, blessed realities... May we get as close to Christ as possible. Although scary at times, may we know him most deeply, even in his sufferings.

    Unworthy but his, Amen.

  27. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Good stuff Ron. Thank you for those two posts.
  28. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you SemperFidels! I hope the first one wasn't too long winded.


  29. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    That's all very rational, very neat. And once, I would have been happy to embrace the package. I'm sorry, but now I must disagree.

    I have to point out that the criticisms leveled by Reformed theology (see the many posts above by Dr. RS Clark) to this donum super additum view need to be answered, and they are not. It is not sufficient to show that a philosophically rational case for additional support (grace) for unfallen Adam exists. The theological objections must also be met and adequately addressed, for they are built upon Scriptural support. The case must be made against it by an exegetical/biblical/systematic argument. And this just hasn't been done here.

    I am not arguing that properly conducted theology is ever irrational either. Merely pointing out that, as good as the case appears--and certainly you have set it forth ably--nevertheless, there are strong theological arguments against the position, none of which have been examined above.

    This means that even if the philosophical case seemed impregnable, and withstood many a seige, not only would it be foolish to accept it as "true, because not (yet) falsified;" but it will not ultimately stand nor be proved rational in the end, even if that end is the Final Judgment, if it is unbiblical. "Let God be true, and every man a liar."

    Now a rationalist might object, decrying the historic Reformed position as "irrational" solely because an air-tight rational case has not been marshalled against it, or enough holes knocked in your argumentation to sink it. You may despise an appeal to "mystery". But nevertheless, that is what I, and Dr. RSC, and a constellation of greater and lesser Reformed lights from the past and the present are going to do.

    Man was made upright and inclined to obedience to the will of his Maker, endowed with all the natural ability he needed to maintain his state. Yet he fell. God did not "take away" the proposed sustenance (grace) that supposedly kept him in the right way. And still Adam fell--not "from grace" but from righteousness. That is mystery. And it is the Bible's testimony.

    [Edited on 3-2-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
  30. Ron

    Ron Puritan Board Freshman


    Please produce a theological argument in the in form of a syllogism, taking your premises from the Scriptures, that refutes my position and does not undermine your Calvinism! In order to argue against my position, you must affirm libertarian free will, which would undermine your Calvinism. That´s your dilemma. No amount of mystery can save your contradictory views. If libertarian free will is false, then Adam did not have the ability not to fall. What Adam had was liberty, the ability to choose as he wanted. If you wish to argue that he had more than that, namely the ability to choose contrary to how he would, then you will unwittingly forego the only grounds for moral accountability and affirm Arminianism! Do you know why I say this?

    I´m all for mystery. Our faith is built upon it. Let´s just not confuse mystery with arbitrariness and inconsistency.

    Could Adam have chosen contrary to his strongest inclination at the moment of choice? If not, then he could not have kept himself from falling. If Adam could have chosen contrary to his strongest inclination at the moment of choice, then it could not have been eternally true that Adam would fall, and Open Theism is correct doctrine!

    Moroever, I'm sure you affirm that concupiscence is sin. If so, then the sin nature is sin. If sinful choices / actions must come from a sinful nature, then obviously Adam's choice to sin was preceded by a nature and inclination that had already fallen and had a propensity to act sinfully. Can you deny this progression? It uses your theology, after all. Consequently, Adam transitioned to a fallen state not by choice but by first having a fallen desire to sin, for which he was responsible for since it was his sinful desire. Adam's choice to disobey God came from a tree that was already corrupt but not created that way. Tell me after all, did Adam's choice to disobey God proceed from a desire that was inclined to obey God?!

    My brother, these are independent assertions but they do not comprise an argument. If you wish to interact with my arguments, I will be more than pleased to engage you on this matter.

    Kindly intended,

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