Question 16b – Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?
“Then the LORD God said to the woman, ‘What is this that you have done?; The woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.'” – Gen 3:13 ESV
And the Lord God said unto the woman, Who was first in the transgression, and drew her husband into it, and upon whom he seemingly casts the blame of his eating the forbidden fruit:
what is this that thou hast done? dost thou know how great an offence thou hast committed in breaking a command of mine, and how aggravated it is when thou hadst leave to eat of every other tree? what could move thee to do this? by what means hast thou been brought into it, and not only hast done it thyself, but drawn thine husband into it, to the ruin of you both, and of all your posterity? so heinous is the sin thou hast been guilty of:
and the woman said, the serpent beguiled me, and I did eat; that is, a spirit in the serpent, which she took for a good one, but proved a bad one, with lying words and deceitful language imposed upon her, told her that the fruit forbidden was very good food, and very useful to improve knowledge; even to such a degree as to make men like God; and this God knew, and therefore out of envy and ill will to them forbid the eating of it; nor need they fear his menaces, for they might depend upon it they should never die; and thus he caused her to err from the truth, and to believe a lie; and by giving heed to the seducing spirit she was prevailed upon to eat of the fruit of the tree, which was forbidden, and which she owns; and it is an ingenuous confession that she makes as to the matter of fact; but yet, like her husband, and as learning it from him, she endeavours to shift off the blame from herself, and lay it on the serpent. [Gill]
“See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.” – Ecc 7:29 ESV
Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright, The first man Adam, as the Targum and Jarchi interpret it; and not Adam only, but Eve also with him; for these were both made by the Lord, and on the same day, and in the same image, and had the same common name of Adam given them, Gen 1:27; And they were both made “upright”; which is to be understood, not of the erectness of their bodies, but of the disposition of their minds; they were
“right and innocent before him,” or in the sight of God, as the Targum; which is best explained by their being made in the image and likeness of God, Gen 1:26; and which, according to the apostle, lay in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Eph 4:24; agreeably to which Plato make likeness to God to be righteous and holy, with prudence: for this likeness of Adam and Eve to God; lay not in the shape of their bodies, for God is a spirit, and not a corporeal being, as the Anthropomorphites imagined, and so fancied men to be made like unto him in this respect; but in their souls, and it consisted of knowledge; of the knowledge of the creatures, their nature, use, and ends for which they were made, and put under their government; and of God, and his perfections, as made known in the creatures; and of his mind and will, and manner of worshipping him, he revealed unto them; and they might know the trinity of Persons in the Godhead, who were concerned in the making of them, though they seem not to have known Christ, as Mediator and Saviour, which was not necessary previous to their fall; nor evangelical truths suited to a fallen state:
also this image lay in righteousness and true holiness, which was original, natural, and created with them; it was with them as soon as they were; not acquired, but infused; not a habit obtained, but a quality given; and this not supernatural, but natural; it was perfect in its kind, and entirely agreeable to the holy, just, and good law of God; it had no defects in it, yet was but the righteousness of a creature, and loseable, as the event showed; and so very different from the righteousness of Christ, man is justified by. Likewise, this uprightness is no other than the rectitude of human nature, of all the powers and faculties of the soul of man, as they were when he was created; his understanding clear of all errors and mistakes, either about divine or human things; his affections regular and ordinate, no unruly passion in him, no sinful affection, lust, and desire; he loved God with all his heart and soul, and delighted in him, and communion with him; the bias of his will was to that which is good; the law of God was written on his heart, and he had both power and will to keep it; and, during his state of integrity, was pure and sinless; yet he was not impeccable, as the confirmed angels and glorified saints are; nor immutable, as God only is; but being a creature, and changeable, he was liable to temptation, and subject to fall, as he did. Now Solomon, with all his diligent search and scrutiny, could not find out the infinity of sin, the boundless extent of it among mankind, the exceeding sinfulness of it, which he sought after, Eccl 7:25; yet this he “found” out, and this “only”, the fountain of all sin, the origin of moral evil; namely, the corruption of human nature through the fall of Adam: this he found by reading the Scriptures, the three first chapters of Genesis; and by consulting human nature he found some remains of the image of God, and of the law that was in man’s heart; whereby he perceived that man was once another man than he is now; and that this corruption is not owing to God, who is not the author of any thing sinful, he made man upright; but to himself, his own sin and folly: and this he found confirmed by sad experience; in himself and others, and by observing the history of all ages, from the times of the first man; and as this was notorious, it was worth knowing and observing, and therefore he calls upon others to take notice of it; lo, behold, consider it, as well as what follows;
but they have sought out many inventions; that is, Adam and Eve, not content with their present knowledge and happiness, they sought out new ways and means of being wiser and happier than God made them, or it was his will they should be. “They sought out the inventions of the many”, or “great things”, or “of the mighty and great ones”, as it may be rendered, the eternal Three in One; they sought to be as wise as God himself; or, however, as the great and mighty ones, the angels, who excelled them, as in strength, so in knowledge; see Gen 3:5; or they sought out thoughts of sin, as Jarchi says it is interpreted in the Midrash. Sins are the inventions of men, and these are many and numerous; they sought to gratify their senses, on which followed innumerable evils; and then they sought for shifts and evasions to excuse themselves; the man shifting it from himself, and throwing the blame upon the woman, and the woman upon the serpent: and so sinning, they lost the knowledge they had; their righteousness and holiness, the rectitude of their nature; the moral freedom of their will to that which is good, and their power to perform it; and they lost the presence of God, and communion with him: and so their posterity are not only inventors of evil things, of sins, but of new ways of happiness; some placing it in riches; others in honours; others in pleasures; and some in natural wisdom and knowledge; and some in their own works of righteousness; the vanity of all which Solomon has before exposed. [Gill]
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.
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