Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | December 9, 2007

Lord’s Day Quote: Francis Turretin

(b) He speaks of the sin which “entered into the world” and “by which death passed upon all men.”  This cannot be referred to the original, inherent sin (which the actual already supposed), but to the first actual sin by which death in fact pervaded both Adam and his posterity.  This is evident from 5:18 where the answering clause of the similitude is given and mention is made of “that one sin.”  (c) That sin ought to be understood concerning which it can be said that all have sinned, since sin entered by one man into the world (and by sin death, which is the force of Paul’s reasoning): “As by one man sin entered into world, and so death passed upon all men” eph’ ho pantes hemarton, “in whom” or “because all have sinned.”  Now the word hemarton cannot properly be drawn to a habit of sin or to habitual and inherent corruption, but properly denotes some actual sin and that, also, past (which can be no other than the sin of Adam itself).  For it is one thing to be or to be born a sinner; another, however, actually to sin.  Therefore since they did not yet exist in the nature of things, they are said to have sinned in another and must undoubtedly be considered (he committing sin) to have also themselves committed it.  Now Paul says of all (while not yet in existence) that they have sinned in Adam.  Therefore, he sinning, they are considered also themselves to have sinned (which could not be said without the imputation of sin).  (d) Paul not only speaks of sin, but of “the one sin” and “the offense of one” whose guilt has spread over all (5:17, 18); “As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one grace came upon all men unto justification of life” (5:18);  “As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (5:19).  Why should the apostle so often mention the one man sinning (and the offense and disobedience of one in the singular) whose guilt passed upon all men unto condemnation, not once, but five times in a few verses, unless this one disobedience (which can be no other than the actual transgression of Adam) was imputed to his posterity?  For if we are guilty not by the imputation of Adam’s sin but only by his propagation of corruption, not now from one sin can guilt and condemnation be said to have passed upon all, but from innumerable inherent sins.  (e) This is more strongly confirmed by the comparison between Adam and Christ, instituted here by the apostle with respect to justification, of which he treats, for the sake of which he calls “Adam the figure of him that was to come” (typon tou mellontos, 5:14).  We are constituted sinners in Adam in the same way in which we are constituted righteous in Christ.  But in Christ we are constituted righteous by the imputation of righteousness; therefore we are made sinners in Adam by the imputation of his sin; otherwise the comparison is destroyed.

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology

Ps. we received some positive and negative responses to last week’s quote.  We thought it would be appropriate to continue Turretin’s thought on this subject to help assist in responding to the negative responses.


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