Adam’s Infidelity

Wedgeworth writes:

John Calvin writes of Adam’s condition prior to the Fall.  Rather than only contrasting Adam’s task and duty with our own after the fall, Calvin draws a fairly close parallel:

We must, therefore, look deeper than sensual intemperance. The prohibition to touch the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a trial of obedience, that Adam, by observing it, might prove his willing submission to the command of God. For the very term shows the end of the precept to have been to keep him contented with his lot, and not allow him arrogantly to aspire beyond it. The promise, which gave him hope of eternal life as long as he should eat of the tree of life, and, on the other hand, the fearful denunciation of death the moment he should taste of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, were meant to prove and exercise his faith.

~ Institutes 2.1.4

Calvin certainly mentions obedience, but we must notice that this obedience is directly tied to the exercising of Adam’s faith.  Adam was not to attempt to work his way beyond the initial state, but rather to trust in God’s provision.  Again Calvin writes:

At the same time, it is to be observed, that the first man revolted against the authority of God, not only in allowing himself to be ensnared by the wiles of the devil, but also by despising the truth, and turning aside to lies. Assuredly, when the word of God is despised, all reverence for Him is gone. His majesty cannot be duly honoured among us, nor his worship maintained in its integrity, unless we hang as it were upon his lips. Hence infidelity was at the root of the revolt. From infidelity, again, sprang ambition and pride, together with ingratitude; because Adam, by longing for more than was allotted him, manifested contempt for the great liberality with which God had enriched him.

So, the root of the revolt was infidelity.  Only after faith departed could Adam live contrary to his original righteous nature.

One last reference will suffice to make Calvin’s view plain:

In fine, infidelity opened the door to ambition, and ambition was the parent of rebellion, man casting off the fear of God, and giving free vent to his lust. Hence, Bernard truly says, that, in the present day, a door of salvation is opened to us when we receive the gospel with our ears, just as by the same entrance, when thrown open to Satan, death was admitted. Never would Adam have dared to show any repugnance to the command of God if he had not been incredulous as to his word.

What we hear and believe controls what we do, and so in order for us to be most like the original human state, we must listen to the gospel.

{HT: Steven Wedgeworth}

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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