Question 20 – Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” – Rom 5:12 ESV
Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, The design of these words, and of the following, is to show how men came to be in the condition before described, as “ungodly”, Rom 5:6, “sinners”, Rom 5:8, and “enemies”, Rom 5:10; and to express the love of Christ in the redemption of them; and the largeness of God’s grace to all sorts of men: the connection of them is with Rom 5:11, by which it appears that the saints have not only an expiation of sin by the blood of Christ, but a perfect righteousness, by which they are justified in the sight of God; and the manner how they came at it, or this becomes theirs, together with the necessity of their having such an one, are here declared: by the “one man” is meant Adam the first man, and parent of mankind, who is mentioned by name in Rom 5:14; sin which came by him designs a single sin, and not many, even the first sin of Adam, which goes by different names, as “sin” here, “transgression”, Rom 5:14, the “offence” or “fall”, Rom 5:15, “disobedience”, Rom 5:19, and whatever was the first step or motive to it, which led to it, whether pride, unbelief, or concupiscence, it was finished by eating the forbidden fruit; and is called sin emphatically, because it contained all sin in it, was attended with aggravating circumstances, and followed with dismal consequences.
Hence may be learnt the origin of moral evil among men, which comes not from God, but man; of this it is said, that it “entered into the world”; not the world above, there sin entered by the devil; but the world below, and it first entered into paradise, and then passed through the whole world; it entered into men by the snares of Satan, and by him it enters into all the inhabitants of the world; into all men that descend from him by ordinary generation, and that so powerfully that there is no stopping of it. It has entered by him, not by imitation, for it has entered into such as never sinned after the similitude of his transgression, infants, or otherwise death could not have entered into them, and into such who never heard of it, as the Heathens; besides, sin entered as death did, which was not by imitation but imputation, for all men are reckoned dead in Adam, being accounted sinners in him; add to this, that in the same way Christ’s righteousness comes upon us, which is by imputation, Adam’s sin enters into us, or becomes ours; upon which death follows,
and death by sin; that is, death has entered into the world of men by sin, by the first sin of the first man; not only corporeal death, but a spiritual or moral one, man, in consequence of this, becoming “dead in sin”, deprived of righteousness, and averse, and impotent to all that is good; and also an eternal death, to which he is liable; for “the wages of sin is death”, Rom 6:23; even eternal death: all mankind are in a legal sense dead, the sentence of condemnation and death immediately passed on Adam as soon as he had sinned, and upon all his posterity;
and so death passed upon all men; the reason of which was, for that, or because “in him” all have sinned: all men were naturally and seminally in him; as he was the common parent of mankind, he had all human nature in him, and was also the covenant head, and representative of all his posterity; so that they were in him both naturally and federally, and so “sinned in him”; and fell with him by his first transgression into condemnation and death. The ancient Jews, and some of the modern ones, have said many things agreeably to the apostle’s doctrine of original sin; they own the imputation of the guilt of Adam’s sin to his posterity to condemnation and death; “through the sin of the first man (say they) מת אתה, “thou art dead”; for he brought death into the world:” nothing is more frequently said by them than that Adam and Eve, through the evil counsel of the serpent, עלמא ולכל לון מותא גרימו, “were the cause of death to themselves and to all the world”; and that through the eating of the fruit of the tree, ארעא דיירי כל מותא אתחייבו, “all the inhabitants of the earth became guilty of death”:
and that this was not merely a corporeal death, they gather from the doubling of the word in the threatening, “in dying thou shalt die”, Gen 2:17 (margin); “this doubled death, say they, without doubt is the punishment of their body by itself, עצמה בפני ולנפש, and also of the “soul by itself”.” They speak of some righteous persons who died, not for any sin of their own, but purely on the account of Adam’s sin; as Benjamin the son of Jacob, Amram the father of Moses, and Jesse the father of David, and Chileab the son of David, to these may be added Joshua the son of Nun, and Zelophehad and Levi: the corruption and pollution of human nature through the sin of Adam is clearly expressed by them; “when Adam sinned, (say they,) he “drew upon him a defiled power, עלמא בני ולכל ליה וסאיב, “and defiled himself and all the people of the “world”.” Again, “this vitiosity which comes from the sin and infection of our first parents, has invaded both faculties of the rational soul, the understanding by which we apprehend, and the will by which we desire.”
This corruption of nature they call הרע יצר, “the evil imagination”, which, they say, is planted in a man’s heart at the time of his birth; and others say that it is in him before he is born: hence Philo the Jew says, that συμφυες το αμαρτανον εστι, “to sin is connatural”, to every man that is born, even though a good man; and talks of συγγεγηνηνον κουκον, “evil that is born with us”, and of συγγενεις κηρες, “spots that are of necessity born with” every mortal man. And so his countrymen often speak of it as natural and inseparable to men; yea, they represent Adam as the root and head of mankind, in whom the whole world and all human nature sinned: descanting on those words, “as one that lieth upon the top of a mast”, Prov 23:34; “this (say they) is the first man who was אדם בני לכל ראש, “an head to all the children of men”: for by means of wine death was inflicted on him, and he was the cause of bringing the sorrows of death into the world.” And in another place, speaking of Adam, they say, that “he was עולם של בריאה עיקר, “the root of the creation”, or “of the men of the world”; and death was inflicted upon him and on his seed, because he sinned one sin in eating of the tree.”
And it is observed, “that הידיעה הא, the “He” demonstrative is not prefixed in Scripture to proper names, which yet is to the word “Adam”; the reason is, (say they,) because in Adam all his posterity are pointed at, and the whole human species designed.” [Gill]
Answer – The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
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