Q15 // What was the sin by which our first parents fell from the state in which they were created?
A // The sin by which our first parents fell from the state in which they were created, was their eating the fruit that God had forbidden.
Q16 // Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first disobedience?
A // Since the covenant of life was made with Adam for his descendants as well as for himself, all mankind descending from him in the ordinary manner, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.
Genesis 2:16-17; James 2:10
Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:22
There is no prison like our slavery to sin. To truly understand the burden we are under, we must have an idea of where it came from and what it did to us.
In the garden, God set Adam and Eve up to thrive; He gave them everything they needed. Satan came to them and offered them the one thing that God seemed to be holding back: independence. The great lie of Satan in the garden was that truth and God exist apart from one another; that you could somehow find a truer and better reality apart from Him. Adam and Eve took the fruit God had told them not to and plunged all creation into sinful destruction.
It all seems a bit much doesn’t it? It was a piece of fruit for goodness sake. In order to grasp the significance of the act we must recognize two things about their sin:
It was the first. One reason why the Fall was so significant was simply the fact that this was the first sin. As the first it opened up the door and paved the way for all sin that followed. It’s magnitude is not measured in the size of the offense but its importance in human history.
It was representative. God gave Adam and Eve the great task of representing all people who would come after them. In their failure, all people were found guilty of sin and condemned to death. By placing human beings in opposition to God, every person find themselves deserving of death even before they consciously sin.
Which just seems so horribly unfair, doesn’t it? We want to think of ourselves, living in the land of opportunity, as not weighed down by anything. We want to assume that we are a blank slate, capable of rising and falling on our own merit. The idea that we are condemned because of the actions of someone else is a very anti-modern view. The question we should be asking is not one of fairness, but the question: WHY? Why would God set the world up to operate on representational headship? We get our answer in Jesus. Allowing people to be represented by a ‘head’ is what allows us to reap salvation based on the perfect life and sacrifice of Jesus. We want someone else’s act to represent us. As 1 Corinthians 15.21-22 tell us:
For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
This world was set up for God’s glory (through the revelation of Him), not for our benefit. In the gospel, we see Jesus sacrificially dying so that we can be cleansed from sin and brought back into the perfect relationship with God that we were created for. Everything else matters less in the light of His glory.