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Adam created holy, so how could he fall?

Posted By: PerpetualLearner

Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:04 PM

Why was it impossible for Jesus Christ to sin, called impeccability? Was it his lack of a sinful nature, holiness, hence there was no contact point for a temptation to cause sin? Yet, Adam had no sin nature either and was created holy, yet he sinned. The 19th century Baptist theologian James P. Boyce has a good discussion on this point, and it involved man's fallibility. Jesus as the God-man was infallible, being truly God, so could not sin. Dr. Boyce's discussion is found in two places:

The end of chapter XX, part VI -

Then more fully discussed in chapter XXII -

A verse that comes up opposing the impeccability of Christ as found in 3 modern translations:

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15, ESV2011)

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15, NRSV)

"For we do not have a high priest not being able to sympathize with our weaknesses but One having been tried in all respects according to our likeness, apart from sin." (Heb 4:15 Jay P. Green LITV)

tempted? tested? or tried? To my mind "tempted" seems to include the idea that the subject has a quality where a temptation can connect, where "tested" or "tried" seems better. Thoughts?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:22 PM

Originally Posted by PerpetualLearner

tempted? tested? or tried? To my mind "tempted" seems to include the idea that the subject has a quality where a temptation can connect, where "tested" or "tried" seems better. Thoughts?

1. This topic has been discussed here many years ago. There have been lots of upgrades of this board since then and some of the contents of the database have been lost in one or more of those upgrades. Thus, I am not sure if a search would find those discussions.

2. However, in brief, my view is that it was not impossible, i.e., not possible that the Lord Christ was unable to sin... theoretically. Why? Because if for whatever reason that He could not sin, then He would not have been a legitimate representative of the elect who were predestined to be saved. Christ was the "second Adam" (1Cor 15:45). He came to accomplish which the first Adam failed to do, i.e., to live a perfect life in regard to the holy law of God. The fact that He did by personally and willfully resisted the transgression of that law thus provided the righteousness needed to redeem those whom the Father gave Him.

3. "tempted, tested, or tried" in my view are basically synonymous. The temptations were real, which were tests and which were trials He had to endure. Whatever word of the three choices given one chooses to use as a translation of peirazo, the result is the same. So, I would relegate the question as one of symantics given the actual events that the Lord Christ experienced which are enumerated throughout Scripture.
Posted By: PerpetualLearner

Re: Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Fri Dec 15, 2017 5:33 PM

Pilgrim, I was surprised to find you did not believe in the doctrine of the impeccability of Christ. I respectfully offer a different view on this subject for consideration.

From Clinton Lockhart, Principles of Interpretation -
"If a translation be used, it must be an exact equivalent of the original, or the difference must be noted by the interpreter."

I find semantics an extremely important perspective or approach when understanding the truth of God's word, semantics being "the branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning."

The Roget's International Thesaurus, 7th Ed., 2010 indicates "tested" and "tried" are synonyms; but nowhere could I find in this thesaurus "tempted" shown to be synonymous with "tested" and "tried". It does indicate that "tested" and "tried" are synonymous.

The first and best presentation I've seen on the impeccability of Christ was in the theology of Robert L. Dabney in chapter 34, online you'll have to use "Find on Page" to locate "impeccability".

For what is's worth, from the BDAG -

"2 to endeavor to discover the nature or character of someth. by testing, try, make trial of, put to the test" ...

"B of God or Christ, who put people to the test, in a favorable sense (Ps.-Apollod. 3, 7; 7, 4 Zeus puts τὴν ἀσέβειαν of certain people to the test), so that they may prove themselves true J 6:6; Hb 11:17 (Abraham, as Gen 22:1). Also of painful trials sent by God (Ex 20:20; Dt 8:2 v.l.; Judg 2:22; Wsd 3:5; 11:9; Jdth 8:25f) 1 Cor 10:13; Hb 2:18ab; 4:15 (s. πειράω); 11:37 v.l.; Rv 3:10 (SBrown, JBL 85, 66, 30814 π.=afflict). Likew. of the measures taken by the angel of repentance Hs 7:1."
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Fri Dec 15, 2017 6:40 PM

Why the surprise?? shrug There are notable people on both sides of this matter of Christ's impeccability. My view is grounded in The Creed of Chalcedon, in particular that one must not and cannot confuse the two natures of Christ; divinity and humanity. Thus I believe that Christ in His humanity was grievously tempted by Satan and the world... yet He CHOSE to reject all those temptations vs. Adam who gave in to the temptation of Satan via Eve. Further, as I stated above, the Lord Christ was fully human no less than Adam who by creation possessed posse peccare (ability to sin), non posse peccare (ability to not sin) but not non posse non peccare (not the ability to never sin). If Christ was incapable of sinning, then it would render any alleged temptation, test, or trial mute. In short, temptation would be akin to water running off a duck's back and thus such texts as Matt 26:38,39; Lk 22:44; Heb 4:15 would be virtually meaningless. The Lord Christ accomplished for me which I would not nor could not do having been born with a corruption of nature; aka: Total Depravity/Total Inability.

FYI, I am more than familiar with the basic tenets of hermeneutics. Further, I most assuredly understand the matter of semantics. And, I have most all of Robert L. Dabney's works in my personal library. And lastly, I have my own copy of Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich which is well worn. wink
Posted By: PerpetualLearner

Re: Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:24 PM

Pilgrim, I think sometimes our viewpoint and understanding of matters can be influenced by contacts and discussions with other Christians of differing understandings. Years ago I was working with a Pentecostal man who had been to a Pentecostal Bible school and he was telling me that we Christians by faith could do everything Jesus did because He did it by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have the same power of the Holy Spirit, so since Jesus was man just as we are we can do the same. He then asked me if I knew about the Theory of Kenosis, which was a new one on me. I therefore had to do some research and study up on kenosis and found it unbiblical or heretical. Maybe I am strongly inclined to the impeccability of Christ in reaction to the Theory of Kenosis. Our sin nature is never fully eradicated in this life so we can't do everything Jesus did for he had no sin nature so just from that view alone it is in error. Therefore, he had no part of his Being that could connect with a temptation, enticement or allurement such as we can. I know that is stated very clumsily, but maybe it can be understood.

Knowing Greek you can use the hardcover BDAG, I can't since I don't know Greek. So, with my computer Study Bible from I can have the BDAG paid module which is keyed to the Strong's numbering system. That way a layman such as myself can have access to it. As a layman with no formal theological training, I feel it is necessary to back up my statements or beliefs by authoritative sources, hence the links. I did not mean that as a challenge to you as to your scholarship, I used the link because I do recognize you are scholarly and I must appeal to authorities to relate to you and others here. But I see if I am going to quote from the digital version of the BDAG, I see I better pass it through "Notepad" first. grin
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Adam created holy, so how could he fall? - Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:39 PM

The actual subject of this thread is "Adam created holy, so how could he fall?", but no one seems to have addressed it. grin However, I will now. Adam had no sin nature so the question is quite difficult and I would say, along with Jonathan Edwards... it is impossible to answer. Since Adam had no sin nature, then even with the external temptation of Satan and Eve, without the propensity to sin, it does not logically appear that it would have had any real influence on him. As I stated above, Adam was created with the ability to sin, the ability to not sin, but not the ability to never sin. And, Scripture does not specifically answer the question other than it was God's eternal purpose that he would fall. Most do want to bring up the fall of Adam and offer myriad speculations as to how it happened, but again, Scripture offers no specific answer. We therefore must rest upon Deut 29:29 and leave it there. What rarely is addressed, which is far more difficult a question yet is how Satan fell. Satan was a perfectly created spirit being AND there was no external influence/temptation present that might have influenced him to rebel against God. Edwards again insisted that the answer is not to be found in man's inventions but rather one must simply accept the fact as true and God ordained it from eternity, yet without forcing Satan, nor Adam for that matter, to do that which was contrary to their nature/will. What Edwards did write was that he thought Satan was the biggest blockhead that ever lived (paraphrased by me). giggle
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