WCF 6.3 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on Dec 4, 2018 by admin

6.3 They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed;1 and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.2

1 Gen 1:27–28; 2:16–17; Acts 17:26; Rom 5:12, 15–19; 1 Cor 15:21–22, 45, 49. 2 Ps 51:5; Gen 5:3; Job 14:4; 15:14.

Adam and Eve fell from their state of original righteousness, lost communion with God, and became totally corrupt in their whole person. They were driven from the place of fellowship with God, and they lived the rest of their lives outside the Garden. It was in such a state that they had their children. The question we might ask is, “Did their children inherit the sad state and condition of their parents?” Sadly, the answer is “Yes.”

Our confession describes Adam and Eve as the root of all mankind. This means that every single human being in history, with the exception of one man, is connected to Adam and Eve not only physically but spiritually and morally as well. And because of that, all humans receive from them their state of fallen-ness. Or as one writer wrote, “when the poison of disobedience was absorbed into the root of mankind, it could not help but spread that decay to the furthest branches of the human race.” (Van Dixhoorn, Confessing the Faith, p. 87)

The phrase “descending from them by ordinary generation” is included for the purpose of excluding Jesus Christ from the category of those infected by original sin. Jesus did not descend from Adam and Eve by ordinary generation in that He was uniquely conceived and preserved in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. As such, He was not imputed with the guilt of Adam’s first sin and He did not inherit a corrupt nature.  

In Luke 1:35, the angel Gabriel said to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

However, since no one else was conceived in such a miraculous and unique way, no one else is innocent and sinless. Instead, all are guilty, dead in sin and totally depraved, and that includes you and me.

Do you truly believe that? And have you sought salvation from the only Person who did not descend from Adam and Eve by ordinary generation, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God?  

Extracted and translated from:
Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments
© 2018 by Pilgrim Covenant Church
Translation and posted with permission
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