The Realistic View of Imputation of Sin

After reviewing the mediate view of imputation on sin and evaluating it, we now turn our attention to a more popular view on the Realistic view of Imputation of sin.


The earliest explanation for the sin of Adam and the guilt of all his descendants was the realistic theory which states that human nature constitutes both generically and numerically a single unit.[1] The same substance which acted in Adam and Eve, having been communicated to us, their act was as truly and properly our act, being the act of our reason and will, as it was their act.[2] It is imputed to us therefore not as his, but as our own. This means humanity literally sinned in Adam, and consequently the guilt of that sin is our personal guilt and the consequent corruption of nature is the effect of our own voluntary act.[3] “The total guilt of the first sin, thus committed by the entire race in Adam, is imputed to each individual of the race, because of the indivisibility of guilt.”[4]  This means that each individual nature is guilty and corrupt for the whole of the first sin or “offense” against God because even though the common nature is divisible by propagation, the offense and the guilt are not divisible.[5]

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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.

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.

Examination of Imputed Sin pt. 2

Today’s post will finish the brief examination on what is sin, what is imputed sin, and how does it fit into a representative model. What role did Adam have in this? How are we connected with Adam? These questions will be examined in this section. The first part of this discussion can be found here.


There are three main explanations on the word sin or “hēmarton” in this passage [Romans 5:12-19]:

(1) It is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of Adam and his posterity as a unity: his posterity being one with him by natural union or else by representation or by both together; (2) it is active in its meaning and denotes the first sin of each individual after he is born; and (3) it is passive in its meaning, signifying, either “to be sinful” or “to be reckoned as having sinned.”[1]

Paul, unless he departed from the invariable Scripture us of the word hēmarton when he asserts that death as a just punishment, passed on to all men “because all sinned,” employs the word sinned actively.[2] But if he did depart from the usual meaning of hēmarton, he would be the only inspired writer to do so; and this would be the only instance in his writings in which he does.[3] Initially, man was created as enduring as the angels. Though some angels sinned, God did not impose the judgment of death upon them. Their judgment was of another form. The first angel to sin was not a federal head of the angels, nor is there among them any procreation with its problem of heredity.[4] Therefore, there could be no parallel experience with respect to judgments from God for sin set up between the human race and the angels. No other man, not even Abraham, stood first in the generations of humanity nor did any other receive a divine commission to this unique responsibility.[5] However, there is a perfect headship in the resurrected Christ over the New Creation. All typology in Adam respecting Christ is built on the fact of the two perfect headships. Nevertheless, the most illuminating passage (Heb 7:9-10) on the fact of federal headship concerns Abraham; which implies not only headship but that the offspring are seminally represented in the federal head and are divinely reckoned as having acted in the federal head.[6] No one would claim that Levi consciously or purposefully paid tithes to Melchizedek, yet God declares that he did pay tithes. Likewise, no one will claim that each individual in Adam’s race consciously or purposefully sinned in Adam; yet there can be no doubt that God reckons that each member of the race sinned in Adam’s transgression.[7] The same federal coaction asserted in the words “all sinned” is implied in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die.”[8] Therefore, God sees only two men and each member of the race is either in Adam (the unregenerate) or in Christ (the regenerate).[9]


 

[1] William G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, ed. A. W. Gomes, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub, 2003), 558.

[2] Ibid, 559.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, 313.

[5] Ibid, 302.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid, 303.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

A DEFINITION OF SIN

The next couple of posts will focus on sin, what it is and its effect on Creation. These posts will attempt to integrate and synthesize a wealth of information into a smaller 700 word article. Books upon book have been written on sin and its adverse impact on a beautiful world. Countless volumes could be written on it and have been. Sin affects everything. It changed the world and us as creatures. We deal with its affects daily. Each day there is something in our lives that is vying for the throne of our hearts. There is sin that has lingered and festered in our lives for years. It has reminded us of our brokenness. It is a reminder of our almost constant rebellion against God.

Sin is the opposite of our holy and perfect God. This post will briefly introduce our topic and provide a working definition. The next post will show sins effect on Creation and how we respond or recognize our own sin and the awesome work of Christ in His perfection. There is much to be said on this topic, but little space and little time. Continue reading

Spirit of the Rainforest: Strengths, Weaknesses, and Culture

This post will finish the summary of Spirit of the Rainforest by looking at the strengths and weaknesses of the book. We will also introduce the next part of this book review by looking at the Yanomamo culture and my own Western culture. The next post will give an expanded look at the positives of their culture and after that, the weaknesses of their culture compared to the West.


 

The strength of this book is the personal and intimate account of an actual Yanomamo shaman. Jungleman describes the Yanomamo life in graphic detail and gives the reader reasoning to understand their culture and lifestyle. Spirit of the Rainforest shows how God can truly make a difference in a community. The book beautifully shows a village of new believers struggling between their old traditions and new beliefs. It describes how they become different and standout from other villages by treating women and children appropriately and by not seeking revenge.

The weakness of this book is primarily with the verifiability of the stories. It seems that Ritchie did all he could to verify the stories and research, but many anthropologists seem to differ with him due to the negative impact and experiences described in the book. Also, since Jungleman was not physically present for every account or event described, the accuracy of the stories is questionable: information could have been missing or altered through second hand accounts. Ritchie however does state repeatedly that the events are true and that “truth is stranger than fiction.”[1]


Compare and Contrast Cultures

Spirit of the Rainforest provides the reader with a glimpse into a different culture, a different way of life, and the impact of true Christianity. The heavy reliance on the spiritual world is more neutral for the Yanomamo’s when compared to an American worldview. The Yanomamo’s loyalty and community is a positive aspect compared to an American society, while the revenge mentality and poor view of women is a negative in comparison.


[1] Mark Andrew Ritchie, Spirit of the Rainforest, 2nd ed. (Chicago: Island lake Press, 2000), 8, 245-48.

Compare and Contrast Angels and Humans: Part 2

Continuing this brief series on the similarities and differences between angels and humans, this post will focus mainly on what makes up a human and how God created them. This section has a little bit of contrasting between angels and humans, please see the previous post on what makes up an angel. The next post will give a broader overview on the major differences between the two created beings.


 

Humans

Only humans were created in the “image of God” according to His purpose, plan, and good pleasure (Gen 1:26-27). With this privileged position, “humanity was the only part of creation addressed by God,” told to procreate and have dominion over it (Gen 1:28; Ps 8:4-8).[1] Genesis stresses that being made in the image of God is of fundamental importance to what it means to be human (Gen 1:26-28; 5:1-2; 9:6-7).[2] Mankind, created of both material and immaterial substances (Gen 2:7; Ezek 37:6, 8-10, 14), is so adapted to the purposes and functions of the immaterial man that he is not conscious of any separation between the body and the soul.[3]

Like the angels, mankind was also led into disobedience to God by Satan (Gen 3). As a consequence of sin, mankind became a “dying creature” and dead in sin (Eph 2:1)[4]; that spiritual death has been transmitted to all humanity (Rom 3:10-19, 23; 5:12), except Christ (1 John 3:8).[5] Whereas the angels who sinned are awaiting the judgment day (Matt 25:41), humanity is able to be forgiven (2 Cor 5:21). While man was made lower than the angels, the incarnated Christ took this lower place for a short time to conform the believer to His own image (Rom 8:29; Eph 1:3-4) and lift them up to His own sphere far above the angels (Heb 2:6-10).[6] Therefore, redeemed humans will eventually judge the angels (1 Cor 6:3).


 

[1] Charles Sherlock, “The Doctrine of Humanity,” (Downers Grove, InterVarsity Press, 1996), 36.

[2] Ibid, 31.

[3] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 146.

[4] Ibid, 149. Also see Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen,” internet, 2015, accessed February 21, 2015, http://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement.

[5] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article IV, Man, Created and Fallen.”

[6] Dallas Theological Seminary, “Full Doctrinal Statement, Article III, Angels, Fallen and Unfallen.”

A Conclusion to The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels

This post brings to an end the series on: “The Holy Spirit: His Work and Ministry in the Gospels.” As we started this series we focused our attention to how the Spirit worked in the life and ministry of Jesus. From there, we moved on to what Jesus specifically taught about the Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is vast in a believer’s life. It is one that empowers us to live, work, minister and worship. He enables us to do more things that we could ever imagine. It is a reminder that every single breath we take is a gift of our Father. The Spirit helps us in every aspect of our lives. He encourages us and will lift our prayers up to be in perfect harmony with the Father.

As we conclude this series, I posed this question earlier and will restate it: Think of the the ways you not living dependently on the Spirit. Ask God for wisdom to lead you and reveal those areas. But also ask for wisdom to start living a more dependent life on the only thing that can truly help us.


 

It is only by this Holy Spirit that Christians can conduct their ministry of witnessing to all people about Jesus. Just as the disciples received the Holy Spirit, so believers receive “power from on high” (Luke 24:49) to spread the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel writers show the Holy Spirit is the identifier in both Christ and believers, is vital for proclaiming and understanding the gospel, is given on faith in Christ, and will guide believers into all truth. His ministry to unbelievers includes conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. Luke emphasizes the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ ministry more sharply than the other Gospels; in it, Luke “reveals the reality of the Spirit’s power and presence as he is poured upon Jesus. He traces the Spirit of Christ in his public ministry: from his baptism to the cross; from his transfiguration to his resurrection; to the glorious portrait of Christ ascending into heaven.”[1] John provides evidence of the Spirit’s filling by bringing the one in whom He abides to an ever increasing understanding of the Scriptures with all their sanctifying power (John 17:17).[2]

The Gospel writers show that the Holy Spirit was involved in Jesus’ life from conception, while in the womb, in others like Simeon, Zechariah, and Elizabeth, and in His baptism. The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted. The Spirit empowered Jesus for His earthly ministry to preach, teach and do the miraculous signs and wonders.

The Gospels provide the reader with Jesus’ own teaching on the divine Person and work of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit empowered Jesus for ministry, Jesus taught that the Spirit will empower the believers to preach the good news to all nations and baptize them. He taught that the Counselor will guide believers into all truth and strengthen them to speak in times of trial. The Spirit will reveal the Scriptures and remind the believers of Christ’s teachings. Jesus taught them that the Spirit will indwell the believer as Jesus goes to the Father to intercede for them. The Spirit will make known the message to the believer that originated with Christ. Jesus told us that the Spirit’s work is in glorifying the Son and will lead believers to greater worship of the Father. The Gospels show that the Spirit is an answer to Jesus’ prayer and reveal how the believer needs the Holy Spirit every day, in every way, and in everything.


[1] R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke, (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999), 14-15.

[2] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 222.


Bibliography

Blum, E. A. “John.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2, 266-348. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992.

Chafer, Lewis Sperry. He that is Spiritual. Moody Press: Chicago, 1918.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 5. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

______. Systematic Theology, vol. 6. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993.

Constable, Thomas. “Notes on John.” Sonic Light. 2015. Accessed 25 January 2015. http://soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/john.pdf.

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013.

Harris, W. Hall “A Theology of John’s Writings.” In A Biblical Theology of the New Testament, edited by Roy B. Zuck, 167-242. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.

Huffman, D. S. “Luke, Gospel of.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “The Holy Spirit.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software.

Manser, Martin. “Holy Spirit,” Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies, section 3200. London: Martin Manser, 2009. Logos Bible Software

Martin, J. A. “Luke,” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, vol. 2., 198–266. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1985.

Mathews, S. H. “The Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.” American Journal of Biblical Theology. Accessed 25 January 2015, http://www.biblicaltheology.com/Research/MathewsSH01.pdf.

Schweizer, Eduard. The Holy Spirit. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1980.

Sproul, R. C. A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke. Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999.

White, J. E. “John.” In Holman Concise Bible Commentary, edited by D. S. Dockery, 463-492. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998.

Wiersbe, W. W. “John.” In The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996.

Zoccali, C. “Spiritual Gifts.” In The Lexham Bible Dictionary, edited by J. D. Barry et al., section “Gospel Accounts.” Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014. Logos Bible Software

The Holy Spirit in the Gospels: Worshipping in the Spirit

What does it look like to worship in the Spirit? How does one worship in the Spirit? How does one worship God? Is there something that I must do? 

As we look at what Jesus taught on the Spirit, what the Gospel writers included, we are left with what do we do with this information? We are reminded that when Jesus went away, He sent the Holy Spirit. Believers are indwelt by the Spirit. The Spirit is seen as the Comforter or Advocate. The teachings and advantages of the Spirit and what He does is numerous. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit are some of the incalculable riches of God’s mercy and grace. As we finish this section of what Jesus taught on the Spirit in the Gospels, we conclude this section by looking at what it means to worship the Father, living for His glory, all in the power of the Spirit. This section is to think about what it looks like to depend on the Spirit. What a beautiful thing it is to live dependently on the Holy Spirit. 


Worshipping in the Spirit

In order to worship the Father, the teachings of Christ in the Gospels not only show the deity of the Spirit, but that the Spirit is worthy of worship because He is just like the Father and Son. At numerous times throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches remarkable concepts about the Spirit, including His deity, His Personhood, and His procession. It is important to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is a Person and the third member of the Trinity as Jesus teaches throughout the Gospels. Jesus in fact referred to the Spirit as “He” and not “it” thereby insinuating the Spirit was some type of force. The Holy Spirit has a mind (Rom 8:27), a will (1 Cor 12:11), and emotional feelings (Gal 5:22–23).[1] The Spirit is also linked with the Father and the Son in various events of Jesus’s ministry. All three persons of the Trinity were present at Jesus’ baptism (Matt 3:16–17). Jesus said his casting out of demons was related to the Father and the Spirit (Matt 12:28). In the two blasphemy passages (Matt 12:32; Luke 12:10), the deity of the Holy Spirit is once again taught by Jesus. The conjunction of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son in these events is an indication that He is personal, just as they are.[2] It is also important to notice that in John 14-17, the Spirit is sent by both the Father (John 14:16, 26) and by the Son (John 16:7). This section of John “records the central truth relative to the Person and work of the Spirit in this age.”[3]

The new Advocate was to be to men more than the bodily presence of Christ had been. It was better that Christ should go away and that the Spirit should come.[4] The Spirit would come on believers in a new way, namely: to baptize, seal and indwell them.[5] Apart from the help of the Holy Spirit, we cannot live the Christian life as God would have us live it. He is the “the Spirit of Truth” (John 14:17; 15:26) and the “Comforter” (parakletos). As “Comforter,” a term only used by John (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7), meaning to come “alongside to assist,” shows that the Spirit works in and through the believer.[6] The presence of the Spirit in this world is actually an indictment against the world, for the world rejected Jesus Christ.[7] The Spirit replaced Jesus’ physical presence and mediated God to believers providing a much more intimate relationship than before.[8] The Holy Spirit reveals the Savior in the Word and in this way glorifies Jesus (John 16:13-14).[9] The Spirit teaches, encourages and reminds the believer of the words of Jesus so that they may obey and have peace in times of trial (John 14:25-27; 16:13). John 4:23-24 not only asserts the full divinity of the Spirit (“God is Spirit”), but shows that the human spirit is able to have meaningful communication with God as spirit.


 

[1] W. W. Wiersbe, “John,” in The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1996), 359.

[2] Erickson, Christian Theology, 785-86.

[3] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 5, 151-155.

[4] Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6, 151.

[5] Constable, “Notes on John.”

[6] Wiersbe, “John,” 352.

[7] Ibid, 353.

[8] Blum, “John”, 323.

[9] Wiersbe, “John,” 362.

The Work of the Spirit in the Conception of Christ

As we continue to look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Jesus, today we start with the conception of Christ and how the Spirit was involved in that event.


 

Jesus Christ Conceived by the Holy Spirit

The very beginning of Jesus’ incarnate existence was a work of the Holy Spirit as described in the conception narrative (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).[1] “The one great generating act of the Holy Spirit occurred when He brought the humanity of Christ into being…. The Spirit caused the humanity of Christ to originate and that is His act of generation.”[2] Luke’s narratives of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus contain many references to the Spirit’s work (Luke 1:15, 35, 41, 67, 80; 2:25–26). Luke details the inspired Spirit filled statements of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Simeon (Luke 1:41-42, 67; 2:25-28). Both, Luke and Matthew, emphasize the Spirit’s role in the virgin conception of Jesus (Matt 1:20; Luke 1:35). Jesus is proclaimed to be the fulfillment of the Davidic messianic hope (Matt 3:17; Luke 1:31–33; John 1:34; see also Mark 8:27–30; Matt 16:13–16; Luke 9:18–21), and will be the agent of Israel’s promised deliverance and restoration (Mark 1:15; Matt 1:21; Luke 1:67–79; 2:30–32).[3]


[1] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 3rd ed, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 793.

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 6 (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1993), 33.

[3] C. Zoccali, “Spiritual Gifts”, in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, ed. J.D. Barry et al., (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014), under sec., “Gospel Accounts,” Logos Bible Software.