Imatges de pÓgina

the sin or actual disobedience of the first human being. It came by his guilty self-determination, corrupting the powers and bent of his nature, and allying them with evil. And this depravation sustains the relation of a penal consequence of his sin upon the moral constitution of humanity and is expressive of the ill-desert of the alienating transaction. So, it is argued, we not being the authors of the bad condition or inborn evil-not haying created this "sin of origin," whatever it may be—its "guilt” can in no just sense be ours. This guilt, it is thought, can be regarded as predicable only of Adam's own act of sin and the depravity which he established in his own moral life. It is claimed, especially by those who deny the term "sin" to everything but voluntary acts, that to assert "guilt” of the human infant in its unconscious incapacity for rational and moral action, confuses and overthrows the very foundation ideas and principles of moral responsibility. This reasoning has won wide acceptance in rationalizing theology.

But it is not conclusive. Rather, a better reasoning and closer logic may, and indeed must, assert guilt as well as sin for this immoral attitude or state of the soul. For as, according to the Scriptures and reason, "sin" is predicable of it, on the principle that right and wrong have their character by virtue of their nature, and not by their cause, so "guilt” belongs to sin, not by reason of the contingency of the authorship, but by the real existence or quality of sin itself. The demerit exists in the sin. The ill-desert, per se and primarily, is due to the evil as something wrong and condemnable. Wherever sin is, there is that which is condemnable and intrinsically ill-deserving. So it“condemns " in its language to the conscience and before God. The wrong-doer, indeed, falls under the responsibility for his relation to the thing of bad merit, but because the thing calls for condemnation. In this case, too, as in that of applying the term sin to tempers of soul back of acts, the definition must be made broad enough to cover the twofold or double application of the term guilt to either the voluntary acts of moral agents or to the sinful state of human nature. Of course, as theology universally makes a distinction between original sin and actual sin, between sins of voluntary act and the sin of an evil nature, so, too, it must distinguish between the guilt or types of guilt in the two cases. The guilt of original sin is not the same as of actual sin. And the further affirmation of the sin: 'It works eternal death to those who are not recovered through Christ,' is consequent upon the nature of the sin. For in its essence it is incipient “death," a state of actual spiritual deadness to the true life in God, love, and holiness.

The question whether it was right in God to permit the race to come into this state through the solidarity of our humanity and the law of hereditary transmission, is altogether a different question from the intrinsic guiltiness of the state itself. On this question of the divine justice or goodness in the system of a race propagating a continuously depraved nature, we must acknowledge that we are not competent to sit in judgment. The problem is too large. Nothing short of omniscient intelligence, in survey of the infinite bearings of moral forces and the possibilities of the divine administration, is adequate to give the answer. God must be trusted in the order which His wisdom and love have established, assured as we are that His ways will be eternally justified.

But the entirc doctrine on this subject will be best understood by a reminder of the speculative theories that have been offered of the “imputation ” of Adam's sin to all the race. A widespread effort has been made, through the use of this designation, to explain the mode or philosophy of all the race being, in each individual, held as guilty by reason of Adam's transgression. In the earlier period of the Church, and down to the reformation times, theology was satisfied with accepting the general truth of original sin, as that truth has been already marked out, without forming a philosophy of the way in which men are involved in its consequences. It was maintained, in general, that through an actual unity or solidarity of the race, as starting in Adam, human nature fell in him and, through the vitiation thereby of generic humanity, every individual, by the law of heredi. tary transmission, is involved in the consequences and corruption of the fall. This general view was adopted and set forth by the reformers. Nothing beyond this is found in the Augsburg Confession or any of the reformation symbols of the sixteenth century. But in the seventeenth century the doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin to each and all of his descendants was elaborated and pressed forward as necessary to the orthodox truth. "The doctrine of the imputation of the guilt and punishment of our first parents was fully developed only by the later theologians, from about the time of Calovius ” (1612-1688).'

This doctrine of imputation is presented in two leading forms:

(a) Immediate Imputation.The word imputation is


Schmid's “Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church," p. 249; Schaff's “Creeds of Christendom,” I., p. 484; Sheldon's History of Doctrine," II., pp. 340-343.

used as equivalent to on, or Loyiseo Dai, to reckon or put something to the account of any one, crediting him with and holding him to responsibility for it. Immediate imputation reckons Adam's transgression or sin directly to every individual of his posterity as his sin and guilt, regarding each one responsible as fully as if he had personally committed it. The meaning of the word "immediate ” is that Adam's sin is imputed, not through or by reason of any depravity consequent in human nature and existing as sin in each man personally, but directly and antecedently to any question of inherited corruption. It means that the imputation is not because of the fact of this corruption, but irrespective of it, and in the order of sequence prior to it. This immediate imputation is explained upon two different bases. (a) Some give it a realistic basis, taking the suggestion of Augustine's statement on Rom. v. 12: “Omnes enim fuimus in illo uno, quando omnes ille unus." This asserts that all humanity was really and actively in Adam. generic spiritual substance it corrupted itself by its own apostatizing act. Every man was a guilty co-agent. Quenstedt explains “Not only our first parents were the subjects ” (i. e., grammatical subjects, doers) “ of the first sin, but all their posterity to be propagated by natural generation. For Adam and Eve were in the place of the whole human race." All sin, viz., in Adam. Baier says, “ All sinned in one."' 2 Dr. Shedd, who adopts this view, explains : “The first sin was a common, not an individual sin." “All men were in Adam when he disobeyed.” “The psychophysical human nature existing in Adam and Eve” is represented as not yet distributed

“Doctrinal Theology," pp. 247-248. : Ib., p. 247

As a

1 Schmid,

and individualized—the “human nature as it was in
Adam, prior to any division and individualization of it.” 1
This explanation is grounded specially on Rom. v. 12,
where è$'y is translated in the Vulgate "in quo omnes
peccaverunt," and not as in our English version, "be-
cause that all have sinned.” “The first man,” it is
asserted, “had the wills of all his posterity gathered up,
as it were, in his will, whence freely for himself and all
his posterity he declared his will and that of posterity
against the law that had been given.” As far as the
Lutheran dogmaticians adhered to immediate imputation,
they adopted this realistic explanation. But (6) another
explanation has been offered—the Federal Theory, de-
veloped by Cocceius, of Leyden (1603-1669), and fully
elaborated by Turretin (1623-1687). According to this,
Adam was constituted by God's sovereign appointment
the legal representative of all mankind, God entering
into a covenant of works with him, that he should stand
a moral probation for himself and all his descendants, and
that his obedience or disobedience, with all its conse-
quences, should be held as theirs. The idea is grounded
in the principle of covenant obligation and responsibility.
This theory of Federal Headship, in legalistic way, has
largely characterized the Calvinistic, or Reformed the
ology as over against the Lutheran. Under both the
realistic and the federal explanations the doctrine of im-
mediate imputation has often been carried into very
extreme representations. How far it has been pressed is
seen, for instance, in Quenstedt's declaration : “As we are
made righteous by the imputation of the righteousness
of Christ, so we are made unrighteous by the disobedi-

Dogmatic Theology,'' pp. 186-192.
* Schmid, “Doctrinal Theology," p. 248.

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