Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Imputation of Sin

Imputation basically means “to transfer to”. In reference to salvation, Christ’s righteousness is imputed, or transferred, to the convert. In reference to sin, Adam’s sin is imputed to all men in what is called his sinful nature.

There are three ways people have looked at the imputation of sin throughout history – the Pelagian view, the Semi-pelagian view, and the way the Bible portrays it. The Pelagian view says that sin is not imputed. Each man commits his own sin and nothing is passed to him. It is possible for a man to live a perfect sinless life, so it is possible for a man to enter Heaven based on his righteousness alone. Semi-pelagians hold insufficient views of sin similar to Arminians.

Among Bible believing Christians, there are primarily two views of how Adam’s sin was imputed to his posterity. The first is the Federal headship view. This view basically states that Adam as the first man represented all men when he sinned. As such, he cast the sin vote for them by proxy when he ate of the fruit. The second is the Seminal Headship view. This view states that all men were in Adam when he ate of the fruit. His genetics contained the information for all men, thus making all men responsible and accomplices in his sin. Just as creation was marred by Adam’s sin, so was his posterity through his gene code.

Although I tend to agree with the latter view, biblical proof-texts can be made for either. Regardless of one’s view of Adamic headship, the bottom line is what Paul stated in Romans – for by one man sin entered the world.


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