Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Fall of Our First Parents

Q. 13: Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
Answer: Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God. (WSC)
Our first parents, Adam and Eve, began in a state of innocency and blessing, enjoying communion with God, his favor and gifts, and the promise of eternal life. Yet, this situation would not last.

Our first parents had free will in two respects. First, like us, they were able to make free choices, doing what they wanted. As our confession explains, “God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil” (WCF 9.1). Second, God had made them as good people, able to obey God perfectly. Not only were they able to choose what they wanted, but they were able to want what was good. This is a freedom that they lost when they fell from their original estate and were alienated from God.

Our first parents fell from their original estate by sinning against God (Gen. 3). The devil came to Eve as a crafty serpent and tempted her with deceptive words. Eve chose to sin against God, and Adam followed her. In his case, he sinned against knowledge, not being deceived like his wife (1 Tim. 2:14).

Why did good people chose to sin? Why did they rebel against the God who had been so good to them? Yet we are not in a place to feel superior to Adam and Eve. There is some mystery to why they sinned, but at least it is a mystery we can relate to. Why does anyone sin? It doesn’t make sense to sin, whatever the circumstances. As Herman Bavinck wrote,
“Sin started with lying (John 8:44); it is based on illusion, an untrue picture, an imagined good that was not good. In its origin, therefore it was a folly and an absurdity … The impossibility of explaining the origin of sin, therefore, must not be understood as an excuse, a refuge for ignorance. Rather, it should be said openly and clearly: we are here at the boundaries of our knowledge. Sin exists, but it will never be able to justify its existence. It is unlawful and irrational.” (Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 3, p. 70)


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