Arminian Today

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What Fell in “the Fall”?

F. Lagard Smith in his book Troubling Questions for Calvinists (and all the rest of us) asks 15 questions about the Fall in Genesis 3:1-7.  I will post his questions here without comment.

1.  What do you think?  Were Adam and Eve free moral beings, fully able to decide between obeying and disobeying God without any predetermined secret eternal will of God preempting their freedom to choose right from wrong?

a) If not, is there any way that God Himself is not responsible for their sin and “the Fall”?
b) If so, were they simply exceptions to an otherwise universal rule of predestination and sovereign causation?

2.  Were Adam and Eve either totally or partially depraved before “the Fall”?

3.  What about immediately after “the Fall”?

4.  By virtue of their created nature as human beings, were Adam and Eve:

a) innately inclined more toward evil than good; or
b) innately inclined more toward good than evil; or
c) simply given a neutral capacity for moral choice between good and evil?

5.  Were Cain and Abel (and, more crucially, are we ourselves) “constitutionally different” from Adam and Eve in respect to any innate inclination to sin?  If so, in what way?

6.  Is there anything in the Genesis account or in the whole of Scripture specifically stating that some “constitutional change” in human nature took place between the first created generation and the first procreated generation?  (We’re not talking here about any imputed sin, but a fundamental difference in human nature itself).

7.  Is there any passage suggesting Adam and Eve, themselves, were “constitutionally different” once expelled from the Garden?

8.  If you believe they were inclined toward good before “the Fall,” or created morally neutral, do you believe that as they left the Garden they were from then on inclined toward evil?

9.  If the so-called “Fall” (replete with its assumed implications regarding original sin, depravity, and the lack of free will) is the supposed cause of our sins, what explains Adam and Eve’s sin prior to “the Fall” when (presumably) they had free will unfettered by either original sin or depravity?

10.  Was “the Fall” predestined by God’s eternal secret will in order that mankind would be innately depraved and sinful for whatever purpose God intends?  Or did “the Fall” occur without God’s foreknowledge and foreordination?

11.  In the “penalty clause” of Genesis 3:16-19, we are given the specific consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin, including the woman’s pain in childbirth and the man’s having to earn his living by the sweat of his brow.  Why do you suppose there is no mention in this passage that everyone born from that point forward would be condemned from the moment of conception?

12.  Accepting that by the “curse of Adam” mankind was reduced to struggle and pain in a way never experienced in the Garden, is there anything in Scripture necessarily implying that mankind thereafter was innately more inclined toward evil or sin?

13.  Even granting that ejection from the Garden put distance between God and man as compared with the close communion Adam and Eve had shared with Him, is there anything in Scripture suggesting that a fundamental change in human constitution also resulted?

14.  Acknowledging the obvious, that Adam’s sin introduced condemnation for sin into the world for the first time, is there anything in this fact which necessarily implies that each and every person in Adam’s loins would thereafter be born innately condemned?  Is there any reason that sin’s condemnation could not apply, instead, to each person’s sins, just as with Adam?

15.  In Genesis 4:6-7, God says to Cain: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  Was Cain’s ability to do right and to master sin limited in any way either by God’s eternal secret will or by some effect of “the Fall”?  If you believe that Cain’s ability to do right would have required a prior act of regeneration, what biblical passage indicates this?

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/25/2012 at 1:34 PM

One Response

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  1. It’s not that we are born sinners or any different than Adam and Eve were created. It’s not that we are born broken, but it’s more like we are born incomplete.
    The only thing that changed in about man after Adam’s sin was that they were like God, knowing good and evil. So to say knowing both good and evil equates to being born sinners or with a sinful nature is to say God is a sinner and has a sinful nature and that just is not so!

    Dell Russell

    10/26/2012 at 9:30 PM


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