Paragraphs 2 and 3 speak of the solidarity of the human race in sin. Paragraph 2 reads as follows:
Our first parents, by this sin, fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and we in them whereby death came upon all: all becoming dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
The account of the fall in Genesis 3 is not a little Bible story which deals with a snake, a man and a woman. No! It is the big story of the origin of sin in human history. It gives an account according to the Confession of the fall of the whole human race. All of us, it teaches, were one with Adam and Eve in their sin. This is, of course, how the Apostle Paul understood this story. In Romans 5:12, he says this: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The old hymn, Immortal Invisible, has a verse which gives an apt analogy for our solidarity in Adam. It runs as follows: “To all life Thou givest, to both great and small; In all life Thou livest, the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish, but nought changeth Thee.” We are all leaves on the tree of the human race and as part of that tree infected by the sin of Adam, we wither and perish.
Paragraph 3 informs us that there are two distinct results of the sin of Adam which are passed to all his descendants. Here is what it says:
They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation, being now conceived in sin, and by nature children of wrath, the servants of sin, the subjects of death, and all other miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.
As our covenant head, Adam sinned representatively. Thus, his sin is accounted as ours and imputed to us. Paul makes the representative character of the sin of Adam clear in a couple of places.
- Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men
- 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die
As our natural head, Adam with Eve, infected the human race with the corruption of sin. Thus, Ephesians 2:3 tell us that we are by nature children of wrath just like the rest.
It is this solidarity in Adam that explains so much that otherwise would be inexplicable. Why does every human sin without exception? What are the odds of that? Why does the Scripture say that men are born sinful and go from the womb speaking lies? Why do even babies die? Why, on the other hand, can we be saved from sin, justified, and sanctified on the basis of the work of Christ? All of this requires the doctrine of our solidarity in Adam to explain. We must repent of the individualism of our modern way of thinking and return to the corporate way of thinking taught in the Bible if we are ever to make sense of the indisputable realities of human existence.
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.