The Mediate View of Imputation of Sin

The Mediate View of Imputation of Sin

Joshua Placaeus, perceived as the founder of mediate imputation, taught that we derive a corrupt nature, or inherent depravity, from Adam, and it is corrupt nature, and not Adam’s sin, that is the ground of mankind’s condemnation. [1] Placaeus did not deny the imputation of Adam’s sin, but simply made it dependent on our participation of Adam’s corrupted nature.[2] We are inherently depraved, and therefore we are involved in the guilt of Adam’s sin because we inherit a corrupt nature from him. It is described as an indirect or mediate imputation of sin, because it is founded on the fact that we share his moral character.[3]

The soul is immediately created by God, but it becomes actively corrupt as soon as it is united to the body. Inborn sinfulness is the consequence, though not the penalty, of Adam’s transgression.[4] This theory sees depravity as the cause of imputation. Thus, it renders Romans 5:12, “death passed unto all men, for that all sinned,” as signifying: “death physical, spiritual, and eternal passed upon all men, because all sinned by possessing a depraved nature.”[5] Advocates of this perspective have maintained that guilt is strictly personal, rising out of individual freedom, and is not reckoned apart from human participation in sin.[6] Humans are thus subject to God’s judgment for their own sinful exercises, because their corrupt capacities are not a result of God’s judgment. By participating in Adam the race is born with a bent or propensity toward sin, but with no accompanying liability. It is the actual sin that activates negative potentiality.[7]

This view sought to resolve the issue of justice, yet it does not provide an adequate answer. Placaeus viewed immediate imputation of Adam’s sin to all of his offspring that counts all humanity guilty as being a severe injustice.[8] “The inheritance of the common depravity under a law of propagation could not constitute any ground of responsibility for the sin of Adam; and its imputation simply as mediated by that depravity would as fully violate justice as immediate imputation.”[9] Native depravity and inherited corruption are the consequence of Adam’s fall, not the penalty for it. This implies the denial of original guilt.


[1] Hodge, Systematic Theology, 205.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 206.

[4] A.H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), 617.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Reid et al., “Sin.”

[7] Ibid.

[8] J. Miley, Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (New York: Hunt & Eaton, 1892), 469.

[9] Ibid.


4 thoughts on “The Mediate View of Imputation of Sin

  1. Pingback: Evaluation of Mediate Imputation | Seeking Our God

  2. Pingback: Evaluation of Mediate Imputation | Seeking Our God

  3. Pingback: The Realistic View of Imputation of Sin | Seeking Our God

  4. Pingback: The Representative View of Imputation of Sin | Seeking Our God

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s