Survey of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter 6)

Survey of the Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter 6

Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and the Punishment thereof

(Part  1)

I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.

This chapter begins with the statement of the sin of Adam and Eve. This constitutes the fall of man. As we have already remarked, God permitted this event to happen. This act of disobedience resulted in a disruption of the relationship that existed between our first parents and the Creator.

II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.

Before the fall, Adam and Eve were sinless; their act of disobedience, however, destroyed that innocence. The corruption that first manifested itself in the broken communion with God was such that every part of man—emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical—was defiled.

Scripture’s testimony to the fact and effects of the fall is considerable. Perhaps one of the clearest passages describing the effects of the fall on God’s creatures is Rom. 3:10 ff. The Bible also teaches that the sin of Adam and Eve had consequences for the whole human race because they were, in reality, our first parents.

III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.

The guilt of Adam’s transgression, a guilt that is passed to all of his descendants, is called “original sin.” All men are, therefore, condemned from the moment of their conception. The disrupted relationship between creature and Creator is inherited by one generation after another. Paul’s contrast between the work of Adam and the work of Christ in Rom. 5 explains what happened (cf. vv. 12-19).

(To be continued)