Monday, May 01, 2006
Adam's First Sin Not A Choice
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. 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.
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.
Adam’s first sin was his un-chosen fallen nature, from which a specific intention to act sinfully proceeded. To deny this is to argue that Adam acted sinfully with a propensity and inclination to act uprightly! If Adam acted sinfully when his strongest inclination at the moment of choice was to act uprightly, then he could not be held responsible for his action of sin. It would have been a purely contingent act and, therefore, not one that he intended.
Options were presented to a man who was upright. The action was made in accordance to an intention, as all actions are if they are real choices made in accordance with liberty, the ability to choose as one wants. The choice was sinful. The question is whether a sinful action of choice can proceed from a pure intention. Can a choice to sin proceed from a strongest inclination that is not sinful? Can morally relevant choices be contrary to the strongest inclination at the moment of choice? If not, then the choice to sin must have proceeded from an inclination to choose contrary to God's precepts; and a sinful inclination toward a particular sinful choice can only come from a nature that is already fallen. There’s no mystery here. There are only two possibilities. Either the strongest inclination to act sinfully was a sinful inclination or it wasn’t. If it wasn’t, then the strongest inclination to act uprightly was followed by a sinful action, which would destroy the moral relevancy of the action since it would not have been according to what was intended at the moment of choice. If the strongest inclination was sinful, then the first sin was Adam’s inclination to act sinfully and not the action that followed from the sinful inclination. It’s not any harder than that folks. 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.
Counter since: 9/6/2006