Saturday, September 02, 2006
Man's First Sin - The "Mystery" Solved
In the link at the bottom I argued that Adam's first sin was not a choice but rather his nature the moment it became fallen. By way of review, I argued that if Adam's first sin was the action of taking and eating the forbidden fruit, then the act of sin would have come from a nature and inclination not to sin, which in turn would have made the act an unintended act, which of course is not consistent with an act being morally relevant. Accordingly, the first sin was the nature upon becoming fallen. Adam, in other words, had concupiscence prior to acting sinfully. To deny that Adam's first sinful choice came from a nature that had already fallen is to affirm that a sinful action came from a non-sinful nature, a monstrosity indeed.
God is not a legalist, a reductio:
If Adam intended to act sinfully and was tackled prior to acting upon his intention, wouldn't he have sinned just the same? Moreover, had Eve abstained from eating the forbidden fruit solely because she was concerned for her figure, would she not have sinned just the same in the eyes of God? Certainly God is not a legalist who overlooks the intentions of the heart!
Mystery, mystery when there is no mystery:
The reason people call the first sin a mystery is because they begin their reasoning with the false premise that the action of taking and eating the forbidden fruit was the first sin. If we get back to first principles and focus on what precedes any action, whether sinful or not, we can begin to recognize that the first sin was the desire to be like God and not the action that proceeded from that desire. The question that we should be concerned with is not how did an unrighteous act spring from an upright being (which is a question that proceeds from a false premise), but rather how did an upright being acquire an intention to act sinfully? The answer is no different than the answer to the question of how does any intention and subsequent action come into existence. Doesn’t God providentially orchestrate circumstances that come before the souls of men thereby moving them by secondary causes to act in accordance with new inclinations that are brought into existence according to God’s providence that He decrees? By God's pre-interpretation of the otherwise brute particulars of providence, the intentions of men and their subsequent actions fall out as God so determines.
For Calvinists to argue that an act of sin proceeded from an upright nature is to assert a contradiction – and no amount of mystery can save a contradiction! The only thing I find mysterious is that so many Calvinists find the entrance of sin into humanity so mysterious. Note well that I am not pretending to know how God pre-interprets particulars or how the mind of man relates to the movement of the body. That’s not in view at all. My simple point is that Calvinists do not generally find it mysterious that actions necessarily follow from intentions and that God’s orchestrating of circumstances are an ordained means by which intentions come into being. Why, therefore, should we not apply the same theological reasoning to the first sin as we do to God’s sovereignty over the intentions of fallen men?
Counter since: 9/6/2006