We have seen how Cain was affected by Adam?s sin; weak worship, ignoring God?s word, giving himself over to the sin that awaited him and then lying about it. But that event was pretty close to Adam?s sin. We?ll have to cover a broader time span to figure out how Adam?s sin affects mankind and what it means to God?s promises.
Genesis seeks to prove that God?s promises stands. It is a study in His word. But we?re met with obstacles. God looks at the created world, declares it good but then it falls?becoming not-good. God tells Adam that if they eat of a specific tree he would die and yet when Adam eats he does not die. In fact, the serpents? words seem to come true.
We?ve already noted that Adam?s sin and subsequent punishment didn?t make him or his immediate children morally dead. Cain could still understand his options, consider them, was told by God that it was within his power to decide and then act. We?ve also noted that Cain?s ability to hear God or even respond to Him was not limited. In fact, upon Cain?s complaint, God put the murderer under his protection.
God?s punishment also didn?t affect man?s ability to be technological advanced or culturally astute. Cain?s descendants were on the forefront of metallurgy, agriculture and the arts. So much so that God felt it important to record this fact. These men were excelling in God?s mandate of subduing and populating the Earth.
But we have Paul?s haunting words: ??through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned?? There was a sin that was being propagated and through sin came death for all sinned. Later Paul would state that through one man?s sin came the condemnation for all?but that still allows for the concept that man was being held responsible for each decision on an eternal scale: specifically how does man, acting as God measure up to the actual Living God.
Problems arise. Firstly, man is not eternal. A finite being falls short of an infinite being every time. Secondly, Creation was also subjected to a sickness that rendered it unwieldy to the finite being (Gen 3). It was, after all God?s sovereign prerogative to take what man was head over and subject it to such a condition. It adequately reflects man?s stewardship squandered. Thirdly, man himself carried signs of a serious sickness.
For instance, Cain knew his options and still went off and did the wrong. Later in Cain?s line we?re introduced to a certain Lamech who took two wives (against Genesis 2). Note the horrifying product of Lamech?s outstanding and perverse imagination. There is the head of the house, standing as Lord of his Living Room, reciting:
?Adah and Zillah, listen to my voice; My wives, listen to my speech!
For I have killed a man for wounding me; A boy for striking me;
If Cain is avenged sevenfold; Then I, Lamech, seventy-sevenfold!?
In his excessive anger Lamech killed a young man for striking him and then in his blanket disregard he writes a song in his defense. The only reason there was ever a sevenfold vengeance over Cain?s death was because God spoke it?not a man. A sickness that perverts God?s words ignores His providence and suppresses His knowledge.
Genesis 5, with the Romans text nagging at the back of our heads, shows us a constant result of sin: men dying. In Genesis 6:5 God shows us that ?every intent of man?s heart was continuously evil??and they were acting on it. The world was filled with wickedness. Like Cain, the men of Genesis 6 were active participants in their thoughts?more than merely complying but outright reveling in sin?s embrace.
I think I can reach a fair conclusion at this point. Man is capable of choosing to do good or evil but that in no way makes him able to stand on an eternal scale and measure up to the goodness of the eternal God. Man is also sick with sin?it was not part of his created nature?but was a weakness that came about after being the decider of his own moral decisions without the oversight of The Moral Being who is the eternal Living God. That Moral Being may intercede by speaking to men, by disciplining men, by protecting men and by \destroying men?it is His sovereign prerogative as creator?but men are still culpable for their own decisions. Men stand on a scale of condemnation weighed against that eternally moral being because of the precedent set by the first man. Adam made condemnation available for all men. Steeped in futility men could revel in that futility or dabble in it?but they were still under that eternal judgment.
Well that?s the end of the article: you can stop reading now. I plan to offer blatant opinions. These opinions are by no means a creed nor are they a definition of what I think is heresy. It?s just a general sense of my thinking to date and limiting most of my words to these chapters of Genesis and the Romans study that?s also going on the archive. (878 words)
Still here, you controversy lover? If anything you?re a fan of contortionists since I plan to pigeonhole myself while inserting a foot into my mouth.
- Catholicism falls short because no mere man?s action, as intercessor or conferrer, can remove the onus of original sin be it with water, acid, dolls, candles, prayers or balefire. Adam introduced men to a system by which individuals would be judged on a scale versus the eternal God. Man?s punishment consisted of separation from God, a subjected creation, and the sickness of sin thus leaving him only one option at the end of the judgment: condemnation. God is the only one who has the sovereign choice to intercede on His creations behalf. Therefore any intercessor must be both God (able to intercede) and man (to satisfy God?s righteous demand on the eternal scale).
- Pelagianism is wrong because man is not born a blank slate where he could do good or evil and with the proper focus can lead a sinless life. Because of Adam, sin is in the thoughts of men and expressed in action. No matter the amount of right actions, when measured on an eternal scale the individual man or the collective race through time still falls woefully short against the infinite Holy God. The fruit of an individual?s labors are not eternal and thus useless on that scale. God?s intercession is the only means by which men find hope.
- Augustinianism overshoots because man (as a whole) did not share in Adam?s sin locking in man?s will to only do evil. Cain was judged on his own merit, not Adam?s, and it was within his power to decide to do right or wrong. Men, like the antediluvians, can choose to fully suppress God in their minds and God can therefore choose to let them ?enjoy? a completely separated position as slaves to their passion.
- Semi-Pelagianism (or Semi-Augustinianism?whatever you want to call it) is wrong because it stands on a false principal that men had to make the first move. Men don?t come up with a solution off the scale?they?re on it. God is the one who has to decide if He will intercede.
- Calvinism and Arminianism both fall short when they place man?s state from original sin as a blind, deaf, walking corpse that can?t hear or respond to God unless (a) God saves him from that condition first (Calvinism) or (b) God opens his eyes with some form of earlier grace (Augustinianism and Arminianism). Everyone can hear and is held responsible as part of the fearful position on that aforementioned scale. Calvinism is right in that God doesn?t have to intercede to remain just. Justice is satisfied if man dies?unfortunately the man is left dead. Both are right in that if God didn?t intercede man would remain under the rule of condemnation. But God reveals Himself to everyone (in some shape or form) and everyone can understand and act accordingly. If not, they can become an advertisement to others: be they marked (Cain), killed (antediluvians), confused (Babel), recorded (all of the events mentioned are in the Bible), or forced to stand (Pharaoh).
And if you’re wondering about God’s intercesion and salvation, go here.