THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created?

ANSWER: The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.


Q. 1. Why is the fruit called forbidden fruit?

A. Because the eating of it was forbidden, under the severest penalty, Gen. 2:17 -- "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die."

Q. 2. Why did God forbid the eating of this fruit?

A. To try the obedience of our first parents, and to manifest his dominion over them as Lord of all.

Q. 3. Were not our first parents guilty of sin before eating of the forbidden fruit?

A. Yes; they were guilty in hearkening to the devil, and believing him, before they actually eat it.

Q. 4. Why then is their eating of it called their first sin?

A. Because it was the first sin finished, James 1:15, and an express violation of the positive precept, Gen. 3:11.

Q. 5. Where was this first sin committed?

A. In Paradise, where God had placed the man, and created the woman, Gen. 2:8, 22, and 3:6.

Q. 6. Was there any aggravation of this sin, arising from the place where it was committed?

A. Yes; for, in Paradise, our first parents had abundance of other fruit, and of every thing necessary and delightful: and, that place being a type of heaven, should have even put them on their guard against this, and all other sins.

Q. 7. When did our first parents eat the forbidden fruit?

A. It is certain from Psalm 49:12, that it was done very soon after they were created: "Man being in honour, abideth not."

Q. 8. Why did the devil make such haste in tempting man to sin?

A. Because he did not know how soon man might be confirmed in a holy and happy state; and, in that case, become impregnable against all his temptations.

Q. 9. How did Satan lay his train for enticing our first parents to eat the forbidden fruit?

A. He attacked the woman, in the absence of her husband; endeavoured to make her doubt of the truth of God's threatening; presented the object, fruit pleasant to the eye; pretended a greater regard and concern for them, than God himself; and laboured to persuade them, that they should be like God, in the largeness of their knowledge, upon their eating: all which may be gathered from Gen. 3:1-6.

Q. 10. Did the enemy prevail by this stratagem?

A. Yes; "the woman took of the fruit, and did eat: and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat," Gen. 3:6.

Q. 11. What was the nature of this first sin?

A. However light and trivial it may appear in the carnal eye, to eat of a little fruit; yet, if weighed in God's balance, it will be found to be a most heinous sin, and to incorporate many other sins, against the law of God, Hos. 6:7 -- "They like Adam, (margin,) have transgressed the covenant."

Q. 12. How does that appear?

A. From our first parents being guilty of manifest unbelief, the highest ingratitude, the most intolerable pride and ambition, unaccountable inadvertency, most unnatural rebellion, and most cruel murder, in their eating the forbidden fruit.

Q. 13. How is unbelief included in that sin?

A. In their giving more credit to the devil, than to God, respecting the truth of the threatening, Gen. 2:17; 3:4.

Q. 14. How were they guilty of ingratitude?

A. In contradicting the orders of their bountiful Lord and Creator, who had allowed them the use of all the other trees of the garden besides, Gen. 2:16.

Q. 15. What pride and ambition was there in the first sin?

A. In aspiring to equality with God in his inimitable attributes, particularly in infinite knowledge, Gen. 3:5, 6 -- "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good, -- and a tree to be desired to make one wise."

Q. 16. What inadvertency were our first parents guilty of in eating the forbidden fruit?

A. In entering into communication with a creature of any kind, and however much disguised, about violating the express inhibition of their Creator.

Q. 17. How were they guilty of rebellion in the commission of this sin?

A. By entering into a confederacy with Satan against God, and thus virtually choosing him for their god and sovereign, instead of the true God, who made them, and all other creatures besides.

Q. 18. What murder were they guilty of in eating of this fruit?

A. They were guilty of their own death, and the death of all their posterity, Rom. 5:12.

Q. 19. How was this Sin, of eating the forbidden fruit, aggravated?

A. In being committed when man had full light in his understanding; a clear copy of the law in his heart; when he had no vicious bias in his will, but enjoying perfect liberty; and when he had a sufficient stock of grace in his hand, to withstand the tempting enemy; in being committed after God had made a covenant of life with him, and given him express warning of the danger of eating this fruit.

Q. 20. What may we learn from our first parents being seduced by Satan to eat the forbidden fruit?

A. To resist the first motions of sin in the heart, and the temptations of Satan to it, Psalm 66:18; James 4:7; that since man, in innocence, fell before the temptation, how easy a prey must fallen man be, if not kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation! Psalm 39:5, 1 Pet. 1:5; and therefore to be strong only "in the Lord, and in the power of his might," Eph. 6:10.


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