THE

SHORTER CATECHISM

EXPLAINED


QUESTION 16. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?

ANSWER: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression.


Q. 1. How many public persons, representing mankind before God, do we read of in scripture?

A. Of two; the first and the last Adam, 1 Cor. 15:45.

Q. 2. Of what covenant was the first Adam the head?

A. Of the covenant of works, Gen. 2:16, 17.

Q. 3. Of what covenant was the last Adam the head?

A. Of the covenant of grace and promise, Psalm 89:3, 28.

Q. 4. Whom did the first Adam represent in the covenant of works?

A. He represented all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, Rom. 5:12, 14.

Q. 5. Whom did the last Adam represent in the covenant of grace?

A. All his spiritual seed given him of the Father, John 17:6.

Q. 6. Is there any similitude between the first and last Adam?

A. Yes; the first Adam was the "figure of him that was to come," Rom. 5:14.

Q. 7. In what did that figure, or similitude, consist?

A. It consisted chiefly in their being, each of them, a representing head of their respective seed, 1 Cor. 15:22.

Q. 8. In what consists the dissimilarity, or disparity, between these two public persons?

A. It is infinitely great beyond all conception: the "first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit: the first man is of the earth, earthy, a mere man; the second man is the Lord from heaven," "Immanuel, God with us," 1 Cor. 15:45, 47; Matt. 1:23. The first Adam, in his best estate, was only a mutable creature; the last Adam, is the unchangeable God, Heb. 13:8.

Q. 9. What relation has the first Adam to all mankind?

A. A twofold relation; that of a covenant head, and of a natural root.

Q. 10. How does it appear that he was a covenant head; or, that the covenant of works was made with him, not only for himself, but for his posterity?

A. From the imputation of his first sin to his posterity, Rom. 5:12; and the sentence of death passed upon all mankind on that account, ver. 17.

Q. 11. Was it reasonable, that Adam should represent his posterity in the covenant of works?

A. Nothing could be more reasonable, seeing he was to be the common parent of all mankind, and was created perfectly holy, with full power to fulfil the condition of the covenant, and thus to entail happiness upon himself and his posterity.

Q. 12. What happiness would Adam have entailed upon himself and his posterity, if he had stood?

A Eternal life would have become due to him and them, by pactional debt.

Q. 13. Would not the title of every one of his posterity to life, in that case, have been founded upon their own perfect and personal obedience?

A. No; their title to eternal life would have been founded upon the perfect obedience of their covenant head; and their own personal obedience would have been the fruit of the promise of the covenant.

Q. 14. How does this appear?

A. Since Adam's disobedience is imputed to his posterity for their condemnation, Rom. 5:18, it necessarily follows, that his obedience would have been imputed to them for their justification and life.

Q. 15. Why is the first Adam called the natural root of his posterity.?

A. Because all of them, descending from him by ordinary generation, are as so many branches sprung out of him, as their root and stock.

Q. 16. Did all Adam's natural offspring fall in his first sin?

A. Yes; "death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," Rom. 5:12.

Q. 17. How could Adam's posterity, being then unborn, fall in his first sin?

A. Because they were considered as IN HIM, 1 Cor. 15:2 2 -- "In Adam all die."

Q. 18. How were they in him when he first sinned?

A. They were in him virtually, as a natural root; and representatively, as a covenant head.

Q. 19. Why is it said, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him, in his first transgression?

A. That Christ might be excepted, who descended, as to his human body, from Adam; but not by ordinary generation.

Q. 20. What was there extraordinary in the generation of Christ's body?

A. It was conceived in the womb of a virgin, by the power of the Highest overshadowing her, Luke 1:35; on which account she is said to be "found with child of the Holy Ghost," Matt. 1:18.

Q. 21. What was the reason of this extraordinary gene ration?

A. That the human nature of Christ might not be stained or tainted with original sin which is conveyed from Adam to his posterity, by the way of ordinary generation; hence, what was born of the virgin, is called "that holy thing," Luke 1:35.

Q. 22. Was ever the human nature of Christ represented in the first Adam as a federal head?

A. By no means: Christ's human nature was never in Adam as its representative, but he derived it legally, after Adam ceased to be a public person.

Q. 23. How did he derive it legally?

A. In virtue of his being considered as one in law with his spiritual seed, whom he represented as their surety, according to his undertaking from eternity, Prov. 8:23; and therefore behoved to assume the same nature with them, Heb. 2:11, 14.

Q. 24. Was ever any exempted from Adam's first sin, except Christ?

A. No; for all others descended from Adam by ordinary generation, and were represented by him, as their covenant head; and therefore sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression, Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22.

Q. 25. What may all this teach us?

A. That "as by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous," Rom. 5:19; and that as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Adam, 1 Cor. 15:49.


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