Intro: The Three Major Views on Imputed Sin

Today’s post gives a brief introduction into the three major views on imputed sin. There are a couple of views that will not be looked at because they are either deemed heretical or are no longer held. Over the next few posts, each view will be described in greater detail and an evaluation of that view will be provided.


 

In the mediate view, the imputation of the first sin follows hereditary corruption and is reckoned to be the effect.[1] In immediate imputation, the imputation of Adam’s first sin precedes corruption in the order of nature and is reckoned to be the cause of corruption.[2] The realistic view states, “The first sin of Adam, being a common, not an individual sin, is deservedly and justly imputed to the posterity of Adam upon the same principle upon which all sin is deservedly and justly imputed, namely, that it was committed by those to whom it is imputed.”[3] The representative view declares that since Adam was the representative of the entire human race; once he sinned, God imputed that sin to all humanity so that each person is guilty of Adam’s sin. The attention now must turn to examining each of these three views in further detail to understand the differences in belief, as well as the positive and negative aspects of each.


 

[1] John Murray, The Imputation of Adam’s Sin (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1959), 43.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 561.

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