Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Facts as to Adam’s Descendants

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on September 30, 2013 at 1:36 pm

James Petrigu Boyce

The facts as to the descendants of Adam show that they have universally partaken of his corrupted nature, and that, not even in their earliest years, have any had the innocent nature, with its strong proclivities to holiness, which constituted his original condition. 1. They are born with the corrupted nature which he acquired, together with all the other evils set forth as the penalties of his sin. This was true even of his first children, Cain and Abel, as it has been also equally true of all others even to the present time. 2. No one of these descendants has been able to recover the nature possessed by Adam before the fall. In each of them the same inability has existed which fell upon him. 3. No one has been able to escape the complete fulfilment of the penalty of death, in all its meanings, except through the work of Christ. 4. No other reason for this universal condition has been assigned than the one sin by which Adam fell, and it has, consequently, been generally recognized as, in some way, the result of that one transgression. 5. The conscience of mankind has universally taught that this condition of their natures is sinful, and is as fully worthy of punishment as the personal transgressions which proceed from it. 6. The Scriptures plainly assume and declare that God righteously punishes all men, not only for what they do, but for what they are. Men are indeed represented as more guilty and sinful than they know themselves to be, because, through the restraints with which God surrounds them, their natures have not been fully developed into all the sin towards which they tend. This is the argument of the first part of the Epistle to the Romans, the turning point of which is Rom. 2:1. It is also illustrated in the case of Hazael. 2 Kings 8:12, 13. 7. It follows from the facts in these last two statements, that a corrupt nature makes a condition as truly sinful, and guilty, and liable to punishment, as actual transgressions. Consequently, at the very moment of birth, the presence and possession of such a nature shows that even the infant sons of Adam are born under all the penalties which befell their ancestor in the day of his sin. Actual transgression subsequently adds new guilt to guilt already existing, but does not substitute a state of guilt for one of innocence. 8. Not the judgement of God only, but that of man also, regards a sinful nature as deserving punishment equally with a sinful act. The law of man is necessarily confined to the punishment of the acts, because these alone give such testimony to the condition of the heart as man can correctly apprehend; but the character of any act is regarded as alleviated, or aggravated, by the character of the actor; and men are shunned or courted as they are deemed to be good or bad, without any other reference to their acts than as they testify to character. From the above points it will be seen that men, as descendants of Adam, are invariably born, not with his original, but with his fallen nature, and, more than this, not only receive that corrupted nature which was a part of the penalty of his sin, but with it, all the other penalties inflicted because of that sin. It is also plain, that a condition of sinfulness is regarded worthy of punishment, not only by the Scriptures, and by personal conviction of conscience, but by the universal sense of mankind; and consequently that men may be punished for the corrupt nature thus inherited, although they may not have been personally guilty of a single transgression. This naturally leads to the inquiry into the nature of the connection between Adam and his posterity through which such sad and serious results have occurred.[1]

[1] James Petigru Boyce, Abstract of Systematic Theology, 249–250.
  1. “Actual transgression subsequently adds new guilt to guilt already existing, but does not substitute a state of guilt for one of innocence. ”

    What is the second part of this above sentence stating? Is it stating that infants are not innocent, as some assume?

  2. To teach from this text that babies are born with a sinful nature, and that they come into this world under the awful wrath of God because of that nature is a perverted doctrine! Do we really believe that God is really ready to let loose the terrors of his anger and the consuming fires of his wrath upon innocent little babies for the nature with which they are born? If the church is teaching such an abominable, God-dishonoring doctrine, may God forgive us!

  3. If babies were born without sin, then it would be abominable for God to punish them as if they were sinful. But the teaching of Scripture is clear that all are born in sin. Instead of thinking of it being awful for God’s wrath to be upon them, think of how glorious His mercy is that He should provide a way out for people who are sinful and rebellious against Him from the moment we are conceived!

  4. Joseph, yes, it is stating that infants are not born innocent. A paraphrase of the second part of the sentence would be, “but actual, active sins committed do not make someone guilty who had been previously innocent prior to committing those sins.” It is to argue against Jolene’s position.

  5. […] Facts as to Adam’s Descendants via Reformed Baptist Fellowship […]

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