Dr. Adam Harwood, 2013 John 3:16 Presentation, Part 2/4

May 21, 2013

Below is a portion of a March 21-22, 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentation.
Read the Baptist Press article about the conference here: http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39992
A free e-book containing the 2013 John 3:16 Conference presentations is scheduled to be released at SBC Today on May 30, 2013.
For audio CDs of the 2013 John 3:16 Conference, click the banner below/right.

Biblical Theology: For what does God hold people accountable and under condemnation, their own sin or the sin of Adam?

            Let’s affirm what the Bible affirms and resist any theological system–even our own–which demands we affirm more than the Bible clearly reveals. Throughout the Bible, people give an account to God. He judges their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions–with no mention of Adam’s guilt

In Genesis 3, God judges the serpent, Adam and Eve for their own sins. Because of Adam’s sin, the ground is cursed and our bodies return to dust (vv. 17-19). But there is no mention that future generations would be judged guilty or personally held accountable for Adam’s sin.

In Genesis 4, God judges Cain for killing Abel–no mention of Adam’s guilt.

In Genesis 6, God judges humanity minus one family. Why? “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (v. 5)–no mention of Adam’s guilt.

In Genesis 11, God judges tower-builders.

In Genesis 19, God judges Sodom and Gomorrah because of sexual sin.

In Genesis 19, God judges Lot’s wife for looking back.

In Exodus 12, God judges the firstborn to deliver His people.

In Exodus 32, God judges the Israelites for their idolatry at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

In Leviticus 10, God judges Nadab and Abihu for offering “strange fire” (v. 1 KJV).

In Numbers 14, God judges the older generation of Israelites for believing the ten spies rather than God–but no mention of Adam’s guilt.

In Joshua 7, God judges Achan and his family because he stole from God and thought God couldn’t see through dirt.

In 1 Samuel 3, God judges Eli’s sons for dishonoring the Temple.

In 1 Samuel 13, God judges Saul–ending his kingdom–because he didn’t keep God’s command (v. 13).

In 2 Samuel 12, God judges David’s adultery and murder. His baby son dies and his family declines–but there is no mention of Adam’s guilt.

The Psalmist says the Lord “will render to a man according to his work” (62:12).

In Proverbs 24:12, we hear: Will the Lord “not repay man according to his work?”

In Ezekiel 18:20, neither righteousness nor wickedness is shared from father to son. God judges the one who sins.

Hosea is the only prophet to mention Adam. In 6:7, he writes of Israel and Judah: “But like Adam they transgressed the covenant.”

All of the prophets, major and minor, address the sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions of individuals or nations. Typically, God’s people have broken covenant with the Lord by their idolatry, injustice, or empty religion. None of the prophets mention Adam’s guilt.

In Matthew 12, Jesus says: “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (vv. 36b-37).[1]

In Mark 7, Jesus explains: “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person” (vv. 20-23). Jesus failed to mention Adam’s guilt. Instead, each person is defiled by his own sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions.

In Romans 1, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (v. 18). When Paul indicts humanity for sin, he could have declared universal guilt because of Adam’s sin. But he doesn’t. Instead, Paul lists ungodly and unrighteous actions, such as: suppressing the truth (v. 18), failing to honor God (v. 21), claiming to be wise (v. 22), and worshipping created things rather than the creator (vv. 23 and 25). The result? God gave them up to their passions (v. 26).

In Romans 2, people will be judged for their deeds (v. 6).

Peter says we call on a “Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds” (1 Peter 1:17).

James notes the progression of personal responsibility. One “is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Then desire conceives and “gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (1:14-15).

And in John’s vision of judgment at the great white throne, “the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Rev 20:12b).

The inherited sinful nature view better accounts for the Bible’s teachings on the nature of God’s judgment. I cited as evidence dozens of biblical passages from Genesis to Revelation. Did I isolate and eisegete these texts? Employ the grammatical-historical method. Employ a plain reading of Scripture. Be like the Bereans and search the Bible. This is what you’ll find: God’s judgment and wrath falls on people for their own sin, not the sin of Adam.

Please don’t reply to these biblical texts by quoting from a systematic theology. Will my Calvinistic brothers appeal to the writings of Calvin, Bavinck, Berkhof, Hodge, Frame, Grudem, and Horton? Or will they embrace the Reformers’ cry of Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) and look instead to the words of these men I cited: Moses, David, Solomon, the prophets, Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jesus?[2]

 

Systematic Theology: For what, according to the doctrine of General Revelation, will God hold people accountable?

            God reveals His existence and His law through creation and conscience (Rom 1:19-20; 2:15). And God will hold people accountable for this knowledge. Systematic theologians refer to this as General Revelation. Romans 1:20 declares that people are “without excuse.” Some people may claim God doesn’t exist, but they know He exists. They try to suppress that truth and fail to worship Him (vv. 18 and 21), but the Creator reveals His existence through creation. Also, the law-giver reveals His law through the human conscience. Paul argues in Romans 2 that Jews and Gentiles are sinners. Then, he anticipates an objection: Can the Gentiles be considered innocent of law-breaking since they were not given the law of Moses? No, because their conscience demonstrates that God’s law is written on their hearts (Rom 2:14-15). Knowing an action violates God’s law doesn’t prevent one from committing the action. But knowing this and doing it anyway brings God’s wrath. That is the bad news which makes the gospel such good news.

The result? Every person who recognizes the existence of a creator and law-giver is accountable to that creator and law-giver, which excludes infants and the mentally incompetent. To make my case for this interpretation of Romans 1-2, I appeal to the most popular Calvinist of our day, John Piper. When asked: “What happens to infants who die?” Piper doesn’t answer with Adam’s guilt; he answers with Romans 1 and 2. Again, Piper is asked: “What happens to infants who die?”

(VIDEO CLIP)

I think they’re all saved. In other words, I don’t buy the principle that says that children born into “covenant families” are secure, and children born into “non-covenant families” aren’t. I don’t go there.

My reason for thinking they’re all saved is because of the principle in Romans 1 where Paul argues that all people know God, and they are “without excuse” because they do not honor him or glorify him as God.

His argument is that they are without excuse because they know things, as though accountability in the presence of God at the Last Judgment will be based, at least partly, on whether they had access to necessary knowledge.

And God says they’ve all got access to knowledge, because they can look at the things he has made and see his power and deity. But they suppress that knowledge instead of submitting to it, therefore they’re all condemned.

So I ask the question: OK, is the principle being raised there that, if you don’t have access to the knowledge that causes you to be held accountable, therefore you will not be accountable? And I think that’s the case.

I think babies and imbeciles—that is, those with profound mental disabilities—don’t have access to the knowledge that they will be called to account for. Therefore, somehow in some way, God, through Christ, covers these people.

So that, in a nutshell, is why I think all children who die in infancy are elect and will be, through Jesus Christ, saved in ways that I may not know how, as God honors this principle of accountability.[3]

 

I’m not suggesting John Piper affirms the inherited sinful nature view. He teaches TULIP; and the “T” includes inherited guilt. My point is this: When asked about the eternal destiny of infants, Piper appeals to Romans 1-2 and explains that infants and the mentally incompetent are not accountable to God. Precisely! If that’s the case, then in what way are they ever guilty of Adam’s sin?

Piper appeals to the atoning work of Christ to cover those who die in this unaccountable state. So do I. The difference is this: I don’t insist they are guilty of Adam’s sin. Such an affirmation creates a problem. Why?

The Bible is clear: Guilty people must repent of their sin and believe in Jesus in order to be saved. Because I don’t add the guilt of Adam’s sin, I don’t insist that infants and the mentally incompetent are guilty. They are sin-stained, not guilty. This condition can be covered by a passive application of the atonement. But when one insists that they are guilty, then the Bible requires them to repent and believe. Piper acknowledges this in a footnote of his recent book titled Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? How does Piper think the work of Christ is received by these unaccountable people? He speculates that infants who die will mature after death and confess Christ.[4]

Why does Piper offer extra-biblical speculations regarding post-mortem confessions of Christ? Perhaps this results from his commitment to inherited guilt. When Piper allows Romans 1 and 2 to guide his thinking, he regarded infants to be not yet accountable to God. But when he inserts the extra-biblical notion called inherited guilt, his view of infant salvation morphs into post-mortem confessions of Christ. Inherited guilt is problematic because it requires one to say more than the Bible plainly reveals about the time of accountability and guilt.

When arguing that Jews and Gentiles are guilty before God (Romans 1-2), Paul doesn’t point to Adam’s sin. Instead, he points to their willful rejection of their Creator and their willful transgression of the God’s law. Paul makes no mention of Adam’s guilt.

Click HERE to read part 3

 Adam Harwood, PhD
Assistant Professor of Christian Studies
Truett-McConnell College
Cleveland, Georgia

 

 



                  [1]Emphasis added.

                  [2]If my Calvinistic brothers insist that they also affirm that God holds the non-elect accountable for their sins, then I would remind them of their self-contradictory view. In their system, the non-elect are judged for thoughts, attitudes, and actions which they committed, but they had no choice to act otherwise.

                  [3]Transcript is from John Piper, “What Happens to Infants Who Die?” http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/what-happens-to-infants-who-die–2 (accessed January 14, 2013).

                  [4]John Piper, Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2010), 77 n. 6. Surprisingly, Piper cites in support of his claim Ronald Nash, When a Baby Dies (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), who argues in chapter 3 against precisely the view to which Piper is open, salvation via post-mortem faith.

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rhutchin

“Throughout the Bible, people give an account to God. He judges their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions–with no mention of Adam’s guilt. “ This is an argument from silence and carries all the weaknesses of such arguments.

The verses cited deal with sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions of people, so the question we may ask is whether people would be condemned in the absence of these sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Romans 5 was the focus in Part 1 and there, God explains that “…by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;” Here, there is no mention of the “sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions” of the people; there is only reference to Adam’s sin. Are we to read this as, “…“…by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation to judge them for their own sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions;”? You seem to want to argue, Yes.

You are correct to conclude, “God’s judgment and wrath falls on people for their own sin,…” but your addition, “…not the sin of Adam,“ is unwarranted because the verses you cited were not concerned with that aspect of the issue. You need to look elsewhere to support that conclusion and Romans 5 seems to argue against this unless you can pull an opposite conclusion from it (which I did not see you do in Part 1).

You say, “The inherited sinful nature view better accounts for the Bible’s teachings on the nature of God’s judgment.” This conclusion cannot be derived from the verses you cite. The better conclusion would be, “The inherited sinful nature view better accounts for the Bible’s teachings on the nature of people and explains their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions.” It is also true that God will judge people based on their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions. These verses tell us something about the nature of God’s judgment but do not tell the whole story about a person’s “inherited sinful nature” or the basis for God’s judgment.

    Norm Miller

    rhutchin:

    Without intending to sound unkind, I wonder if you read all of Dr. Harwood’s article(s), as well as your Bible.

    Unless God’s questioning of Adam in the garden, Moses’ confrontation of Korah’s sons, Joshua’s questioning of Achan, etc., ad infinitum (almost) are not in your Bible, I daresay Dr. Harwood offered an argument from silence as you erroneously claim in your first paragraph.

    Your claim that Dr. Harwood made an “unwarranted” addition is made moot, at least, by the plethora of other Bible verses he cites that support his position.

    There are a few other problems with your comment that I won’t take the time to address.

    I am happy for you to continue commenting at SBCToday. However, I am responding to you in this way in hopes that you will be more judicious in your comments. — Norm

    Dean

    rhutchin, for the life of me I can see how you can call Dr. Hardwood’s conclusion an argument from silence. I didn’t count the passages but it was an ample enough number to reach a conclusion. They all state that the guilty mentioned were condemned for “their” sins. The Bible is not silent at all; it is screaming, man is guilty for sins they commit.

      Dean

      sorry, should read, “I can’t see how you call Dr. Hardwood’s conclusion an argument from silence.”

      rhutchin

      The issue is not whether a person is guilty of his personal sin – we both agree that the person is guilty of such. I see Dr. Harwood’s citations supporting that conclusion.

      The real issue, however, is whether a person is guilty of Adam’s sin (not AH, of course) before having committed any sin and thereby excluded from heaven. The issue breaks down to whether babies are included in the “all” of “…all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” and must be saved.

      So, which of the above verses do you see addressing the real issue here? Maybe Ezekiel 18? Why not present a listing of verses in this sense?

        holdon

        “whether a person is guilty of Adam’s sin (not AH, of course) before having committed any sin”

        How can one be guilty of a sin before having committed one?

        If you say that babies are included in the “for all have sinned”, then how will they get saved? To be consistent with Scripture you must say: Because they believe. See the previous verse in Rom 3:22 and the further context as well.

        How can babies believe?

    Johnathan Pritchett

    What I see here is you making an argument from silence. You assume the judgment and condemnation on everyone is the imputation of Adam’s sin. Paul says nothing of the sort here in verse 16, and verse 17 speaks against this idea. The idea of judgment and condemnation in verse 16 speaks to the judicial sentence of death through Adam (and Norm is right that we must account that Adam’s sin here in Romans 5 echoes Genesis 3, and must take what that passage says into account…nowhere does God say He will impute Adam’s guilt to his offspring). Verse 17 speaks of the reign of death by Adam’s sin, and that through Christ, the overflow of grace and righteousness reigns in life. Verse 15 is not silence on our view, since Paul specifically states “For if by one man’s trespass the many DIED…” Hence, the (singular) judgment and condemnation is to death through Adam, not for the imputed guilt of Adam’s sin.

    As such, your complaints against Dr. Harwood here are empty. Wrath and judgment on individuals is for their individual sins, as the Scriptures testify. Wrath and judgment are not given to people for Adam’s sin, and Adam’s sin provides no basis of judgment for anyone other than Adam himself. Adam’s sin introduced death to everyone else because of God’s judgment and condemnation of Adam. In a world where death reigns, sin reigns in death (5:21). It does not follow from this, as you assert, that people are judged and condemned at the judgment for Adam’s sin, but, as the Scriptures testify, because of their own. Romans 5:12-21 says Adam’s sin impacted and affected everyone, it does not say it was imputed to everyone.

    Your argument is the one from silence, not Dr. Harwood’s argument.

Adam Harwood

rhutchin,

Thanks for your note.

My essay asks, “Who is guilty of Adam’s sin?” In part 1, I established that Romans 5 does not require one to affirm that all people are guilty of Adam’s sin. You have disagreed with my conclusion but have not overturned my supporting claims.

In part 2, I expanded the survey of biblical data. I reject your statement that I have made an argument from silence. My question is: “For what does God hold people accountable and under condemnation, their own sin or the sin of Adam?” After survey dozens of biblical passages, it is clear that *none* of them requires one to affirm that we are accountable to God for the sin of Adam. Instead, as I wrote above, “God’s judgment and wrath falls on people for their own sin, not the sin of Adam.”

You write in paragraph two: “…the question we may ask is whether people would be condemned in the absence of these sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Romans 5 was the focus in Part 1 and there, God explains that ‘…by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.'”

I explained in part 1: “But Romans 5 does not say Adam’s guilt and condemnation are imputed to all people. Rather, we see in verse 12 that sin enters the world, death enters through sin, and death spreads because all sinned. In this way: ‘…one trespass led to condemnation for all men…’ (v. 18) and ‘…the many were made sinners…’ (v. 19). In other words, verses 18 and 19 should be read in light of verse 12.”

You may not agree with my conclusions, rhutchin, but I won’t allow you to distort my claims.

Blessings, brother.

Adam

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Yup. Verse 18 should also be read in light of 15-17 as well, as I pointed to above, so that verse 19 (which begins “for”) is understood by verses 12-17.

    Johnathan Pritchett

    Even though imputation, as Paul speaks of it, is not really considered in this passage, and verse 13 seems to suggest against imputation, if there is, and I will use quotes here to make the point, “imputation” anywhere, it is the “imputation” of death, not Adam’s sin or guilt.

      rhutchin

      Don’t stop there. Deal with the elephant in the room. Why is death imputed to any other than Adam? Shouldn’t people die for the same reason that Adam now dies: because they also sin?

        Johnathan Pritchett

        What elephant?

        “Why is death imputed to any other than Adam?”

        Genesis 2:17 “…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”

        Genesis 3:22 The LORD God said, “Since man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil, he must not reach out, take from the tree of life, eat, and live forever.”

        Two things to consider here. The first is there are consequences for all of us being born outside the garden. The second is the “legal precedent”, so to speak, established in the garden for sin and its consequences.

        “Shouldn’t people die for the same reason that Adam now dies: because they also sin?”

        They do.

        Ezekiel 18:20 “The person who sins is the one who will die. A son won’t suffer punishment for the father’s iniquity, and a father won’t suffer punishment for the son’s iniquity. The righteousness of the righteous person will be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked person will be on him.”

        Which is what Dr. Harwood and I have been arguing all along.

        Note I didn’t say Adam’s death was imputed. I said death was “imputed” (note the quotes), so to speak.

        You didn’t ask me, but you asked Dr. Harwood the question of why babies die. The answer is simple, we live in a world of death, and sin reigns in death. In Romans 5:12-21 specifically, Paul speaks of sin and death as ruling powers, as he does elsewhere as well. This is why Dr. Harwood uses the “sin-stained” language.

        This is the same Paul that also says what he does in Romans 4:15. I’ll defer you to Schreiner’s commentary on why infants are not in view in Romans 5:12-21 and simply state that there is no reason to think, given data found both here and all throughout Scriptures, which Dr. Harwood references in both his book and presentation, that infants are sinners in the sense of “transgressors” for which they will be held to account at the judgment. As we argue, Adam’s sin and guilt is not on their record, nor is any personal transgression, and thus are “safe” in Christ’s redemptive work of the cosmos, to use Adrian Rogers language. We don’t take bare conception and mere existence as being a sin.

        1 John 3:4 “Everyone who commits sin also breaks the law; sin is the breaking of law.”

        Unlike people such as James White, we just don’t come to the conclusion that Yahweh is the most efficient and effective practitioner of Molech worship in existence.

        All of this is why the Al Mohler approved Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states “Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

        You do not have to agree, nor do you have to like it, but unless and until you can offer Biblical data to overturn our position, I think the issue is settled here.

    rhutchin

    Your basic argument seems to be summarized in “But Romans 5 does not say Adam’s guilt and condemnation are imputed to all people. Rather, we see in verse 12 that sin enters the world, death enters through sin, and death spreads because all sinned. In this way: ‘…one trespass led to condemnation for all men…’ (v. 18) and ‘…the many were made sinners…’ (v. 19). In other words, verses 18 and 19 should be read in light of verse 12.”

    You need to follow your statement, “…verses 18 and 19 should be read in light of verse 12,” with a sentence something to the effect of, “We conclude x from verse 12 and render 18-19 in this manner and provide an amplified rendering of the verses to make your point. Otherwise, I am not sure what you really mean.

    The issue here is the relationship between death and sin. v12 says that “sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” Then, “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” You conclude that death passed to all because all are born with an inclination to sin. OK. So add some more analysis to explain how you go from “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” to “death passed upon all men, for that all are born with an inclination to sin:” and explain why Paul cannot really be linking death to “the requirement that “all have sinned” which he seems to be doing.

    If your position is true, then you have to be able to answer the question, “Why do babies die?” Following your line of argument, it appears to me that there is no basis for any person to die until they have personally sinned if “”death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” If Paul had written, ‘death passed upon all men, for that Adam sinned:” we would have less of a problem here. He doesn’t.

    If I am distorted your claims, it is not intentional, and only means that I am having difficulty sorting out exactly what you claim.

Britt

By claiming the idea of being “sin stained” and the use of ” passive application of atonement”, Mr. Harwood is offering extra biblical speculations that he claims Mr. Piper uses. How is being “sin stained” biblical when Romans 5:12 tell us:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-

And 18, 19

Therefore,, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

The comparison between the first Adam and the Second Adam, who is Christ, is made in this verse. If humans did not receive complete guilt and were only “sin stained”, then Christ’s atonement would only be needed in some amount, but not completely. If a person only had a small amount of guilt, then they would only need a small amount of atonement. A person with much guilt would need much more atonement. This doesn’t line up with scripture.

I believe that we all have need of full atonement. A perfect lamb to fully take my place, not meet me half way. My guilt is complete, from the inside out. By Adam’s sin come death to all, but through the Second Adam’s atonement, all who believe are atoned for. Praise God!

    Rick Patrick

    Britt,

    I disagree with your interpretation of Adam’s term “sin stained.” I believe he is referring to a QUALITY of sinfulness (namely, a “nature and environment inclined toward sin”), rather than a QUANTITY of sinfulness (as suggested by your notion of “some amount” or a “small amount” or an atonement that meets you “half way.”) I hope you realize that Dr. Harwood most definitely believes in an atonement that is both general and full.

    Norm Miller

    Britt:

    I believe we all have need of full atonement, too. And, I believe John 1.29; 3.16 and 1 John 2.2 make it clear that such an atonement has been made for all.

    If you will allow me to conflate a few verses on the same theme: “For God so loved the world that he gave … the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world … [and who] is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

    I recognize that some Calvinists claim this line of biblical interpretation and reasoning necessitates universalism, but it does not.

    The atonement already has been made for all. It is up to all to respond to a God who would be so gracious toward all.

    I know that my position denies “total inability” and “limited atonement” and “unconditional election” etc., but I hold my position on good authority — the Word of God as cited in my first sentence above.

    Further, unless and until someone can explain why God the Holy Spirit “breathed-out” cosmos instead of eklektos, then I will understand that the universal atonement makes it possible for all to be saved. The atonement is universally available to all, but not all will choose to believe. As has been stated many time before, the atonement is efficient universally, but efficacious only to those who believe. — Norm

    Adam Harwood

    Britt,

    Thanks for your note.

    1. It is true that “sin stained” is extra-biblical language and speculation on my part. However, this differs from Piper’s speculation which is not only extra-biblical but *contrary* to the clear teaching of Scripture regarding the nature and timing of judgment. Must I establish a case that post-mortem salvation is contrary to Scripture, or are we in agreement on this issue?

    2. The term “passive application of the atonement” simply describes a view in which the work of Christ on the Cross is applied to infants in order for them to enter heaven. Spurgeon, MacArthur, Mohler, and many other Calvinists make such an argument. Infants are saved by God’s grace through Christ’s work on the Cross. Do those infants repent of sin and place their faith in Christ? If not, then what is happening? Some kind of passive application of the atonement.

    Blessings, brother.

    In Him,
    Adam

volfan007

Once again, a very good and enlightening article. Thanks, Dr. Harwood, for bringing these great truthes to such scholarly light….but moreso, for simply showing what the BIBLE says, rather than what a SYSTEM says and teaches. Thank you, Brother. I thank God for theologians, who have such a high view of Scripture.

Also, to go along with what you’re saying about inheriting a sin nature from Adam, but not the guilt of Adam….that we’re all guilty of our own sins…. and that man is born with a sin nature; have you checked out Isaiah 59:2? It says, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” And, I’m no Hebrew scholar…not by a long shot…lol…but, what I learned from a man, who is a Hebrew scholar…is that the Hebrew word for “iniquities” means a “bent towards sin”….it means to be like a crooked stick, instead of a straight one. In other words, man is born with a bent towards sin(sin nature). We’re all born with this bent towards sin….not guilty of Adam’s sin…not so totally depraved that we’re totally unable to respond to God’s calling…but certainly born with a bent towards sin. So, we sin, because we’re sinners.

I dont know…and I’m sure that a bunch of you can set me straight…but, even this verse seems to carry the idea that we’re born with a bent towards sin due to Adam’s fall…but, we’re not guilty of sin, until we knowingly, willfully choose to sin…..Dr. Harwood, am I reading too much into this verse?

David

    Adam Harwood

    David,

    Thanks for your note.

    Whatever is happening in Isaiah 59:2, it should be clear to everyone that particular things “have separated you from your God.” The text could have stated that it was “Adam’s sins” that separated them from their God. Instead, the Bible tells them it was “your iniquities.”

    I agree that the verse should *not* be used to support inherited guilt.

    Blessings.

    In Him,
    Adam

Rick Patrick

Adam,

Thanks for yet another example of clear, concise, accurate and logical discourse. I especially enjoyed the following challenge:

“Did I isolate and eisegete these texts? Employ the grammatical-historical method. Employ a plain reading of Scripture. Be like the Bereans and search the Bible. This is what you’ll find: God’s judgment and wrath falls on people for their own sin, not the sin of Adam.”

Of course, your ability to persuade is greatly enhanced by the simple fact that you are right!

Norm Miller

Dear Friends:
We have isolated the recent problem with our blog and believe the matter is resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Some of your comments actually survived the ordeal, and we have successfully re-submitted them.
Thank you for your patience. — Norm

Robert

This is yet another situation where it is helpful to keep in mind Augustine’s error concerning Romans 5:12. Augustine made a mistake in his interpretation of the Greek text of Romans 5:12.

As James DeFranciso states in his paper, Original Sin and Ancestral Sin- Comparative Doctrines:

“Augustine seems to have relied mostly on Latin translations of Greek texts. liii (Augustine, 1956a, p. 9) and this was a liability for him. His misinterpretation of a key scriptural reference, Romans 5:12, is a case in point. liv In Latin, the Greek idiom eph ho which means because of was translated as in whom. Saying that all have sinned in Adam is quite different than saying that all sinned because of him. Augustine believed and taught that all humanity has sinned in Adam lv and that the result is that guilt replaces death as the ancestral inheritance. lvi From this comes the term original sin conveying the belief that Adam and Eve’s sin is the first and universal transgression in
which all humanity participates. This misinterpretation is even more evident when
one views New Testament texts from a Semitic viewpoint, e.g. from a view of the
Peshitta and other Syriac texts.”

Robert

Donald

rhutchin,
I suffered a public school education and so never formally studied logic until I majored in mathematical logic in college. However, my kids are being homeschooled in a Classical manner and I have picked up a few things from their quality education.
Let’s say that an argument from silence was used. Contrary to common opinion, this is not in-and-of-itself a bad thing. An argument from silence may apply to a document if-and-only-if the author was expected to have the information, was intending to giving a complete account of the situation and the item was important enough and interesting enough to deserve to be mentioned at the time. In your opinion, does the Bible meet this criteria? I say it does. Does the text being referenced meet this criteria? Once again, yes!

Donald

Dean

Dr. Hardwood and Norm, I have been away from my study this afternoon and evening doing some pastoral duties. I was convinced when I looked at Voices again this stream would have blown up with discussion concerning what Dr. Hardwood states that Piper speculates on.

“Piper acknowledges this in a footnote of his recent book titled Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? How does Piper think the work of Christ is received by these unaccountable people? He speculates that infants who die will mature after death and confess Christ.[4]”

When we try to put together a belief about what happens to infants and mentally challenged we must deal a great deal in speculation. However, when such speculation is contrary to so much Bible teaching that clearly teaches whatever state spiritually you are in when you die you remain one wonders if such a teacher can be taken seriously. I was blown away by that speculation attributed to Piper. This speculation, if accurate and I assume it is because it is cited, is a great example of a person willing to elevate their system of belief above the Bible. In this instance the belief that man has Adam;s imputed guilt requires that something happen to the infant that is expressly contrary to the Bible – man dies in one spiritual condition (for Piper this condition is guilty of Adam’s sin) and that condition is changed after death. My favorite verse that teaches this is impossible is Ecclesiastes 11:3 that teaches wherever a tree falls that is where it lies.

I want to be kind and fair, but unless I am missing something this is about as bad of a theological thought a supposedly serious Bible teacher can have. We have all had moments of speculation where we realize our theological thought is off the mark and we correct it. However, this comment is in print!!!

    Norm Miller

    Dean: Thx for your comments. The verbiage attributed to Piper was transcribed from a video of Piper making the assertions noted by Dr. Harwood. — Norm

    Adam Harwood

    Dean,

    I agree that it’s a shocking claim. And no one has refuted my assertion.

    Anyone who is interested can check the citation for themselves. For those who don’t own the book, the relevant page can be accessed from Google Books’ preview section.

    See John Piper, Jesus: The Only Way to God: Must You Hear the Gospel to be Saved? (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2010), page 77, footnote 6.

    Blessings.

    In Him,

    Adam

Donald

rhutchin,

BTW, while I did try to show that an argument from silence might be appropriate where Scripture is concerned, Dr. Harwood did not make an argument from silence as he was arguing FOR the fact that God “…judges their sinful thoughts, attitudes, and actions…” based on what is actually stated in the Bible. This is not silence.

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