Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.
Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.
“They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room, and stead of all mankind; the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation,...“
1 Corinthians 15:21,22,45,49
“Legacy” is a popular term nowadays. People are concerned about what kind of legacy they will leave after they are gone. What deeds will they be remembered for? What family life did they establish? Adam and Eve did leave a legacy behind them, but it is safe to say that what they left, imputation of guilt and a corrupted nature, is not something anyone would desire to have. Yet our first parents definitely had a profound impact on all the generations that have come after them.
Adam represented the human race when he disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the fruit. This standing in our stead is sometimes referred to as Adam being our “federal head”. He was in covenant with God, and failed to keep that covenant. As our representative, when he fell, we fell with him. His guilt is imputed to us. We are declared guilty due to his transgression, much like how when a leader of a nation declares war, the residents of that country are now considered at war with the opposing nation as well.
Not only are we declared guilty because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the corrupted nature they possessed after they sinned has been transmitted down to us. Every child conceived normally with human parents has this corrupted nature. Notice, though, that the Confession makes note that it is all of Adam and Eve’s posterity who descend from them by ordinary generation that receive this fallen nature. Was there anyone who was a descendant of Adam and was not born by ordinary means? Yes – Jesus! As a descendant of Adam, yet conceived miraculously, Jesus did not have the corrupted nature conveyed to Him.
Questions to Consider
- If corrupted nature is conveyed by ordinary generation, then is the virgin birth an important doctrine?