Westminster Confession 6.1-3

westminster2We all know things aren’t as they are supposed to be.  Our conscience witnesses to the fact we are sinners, the wrath of God is being revealed in Creation through sickness, disease, disasters of various sorts and death.  As Christians we know that things were not originally like this.  At Creation, as we have seen, we were created holy and happy in our communion with God, in our relationships with each other, and we lived in a creation that God pronounced “very good”.

Chapter 6 of the Confession sets forth the biblical teaching about what went wrong.  It speaks of the original fall of man, the state of sin that resulted, and of the guilt and punishment that sin deserves.

Section 1 – Reminds us that God permitted the first sin of Adam and Eve as he had decreed having purposed to order it for his glory.  We also see however that the sin came about through the temptation of Satan together with the sinful choice of man.

The confession makes no mention here about where Satan came from just as the bible doesn’t in Genesis.  Later on in the Scriptures we learn that Satan is an angel and that he and all other angels were originally created good but also somehow rebelled and fell (see Larger Catechism Q. 16 and 19, Jude vs. 6).  Since that time Satan and the fallen angels have set themselves against the purposes of God yet are unable to do anything beyond what he permits.

So God permitted the temptation of Adam and Eve and through that temptation of Satan they were drawn away by sin and rebelled against God by eating of the fruit which God had commanded them not to eat.

Section 2 – Tells us of the change which occurred in Adam and Eve because of their sin.  They “fell” from their original righteous condition and their enjoyment of God and became dead in sin.  They were no longer able to understand or respond to God or the things of God of themselves.

John 3:3, “…unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:12,14, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.”  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

Had God not made Adam and Eve alive again, renewing them by his Spirit (as he now renews us – Ephesians 2:1, 5-8) enabling them to believe his promise of the Savior they would have continued in unbelief and rebellion.

So the condition of Adam and Eve immediately after the fall was completely unresponsive to God, and unable to be so.  But they not only lacked something positive they were also defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body IN THEIR FALLEN CONDITION.

We see a clear statement of this in Genesis 6:5, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

The teaching of man’s fallen condition in himself is repeated again and again.

We read in Titus 1:15, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.”

One last thing to mention is that the Confession includes “the body” as being defiled.  That is because sin effected Adam and Eve’s bodies.  There was an immediate change so that they would now grow old, be susceptible to disease, and have genetic corruption.  It was not only their souls that would now be disposed to sin but their bodies as well.  Their genetic corruption was such that they may have suddenly had a predisposition to gluttony and obesity (their bodies having inordinate cravings and being unable to process food properly) and similarly genetic corruptions resulting in other predispositions may have been introduced such as a predisposition to alcoholism or even possibly homosexuality.  Whatever genetic corruption was introduced does not make the resulting sins acceptable.  It is a testimony to the fact that the result of sin is the defilement of soul and BODY such that our bodies are now more fit for a life in sin then for a life of righteousness.  That is why Christians look forward to new resurrection bodies which will be willing instruments of righteousness, uncorrupted and undefiled by sin and its effects (Romans 8:24).  Until then we need forgiveness for the corruption of our flesh and the power of the Spirit to fight against it.

Section 3 reminds us that there has been some measure of covenantal connection between parents and children sense the Creation.  Adam and Eve were the root of all humanity, the first parents.  And the confession will go on to teach that God made Adam the covenant head and representative of the whole human family descending from him.  When he sinned, he sinned as a representative and that sin and the guilt of it were credited or as the confession says, “imputed” to his descendants.  And because each person born descending form Adam comes to share in the guilt of his sin they also share in the consequences including, “the same death in sin and corrupted nature”.  Therefore everything that we said in Section 2 about Adam and Eve in their fallen condition in both body and soul now also applies to all humanity in their “natural” condition.

Our only hope is Sovereign Grace!