Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5,7,18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18,23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11.
This article first tells us of the origins of mankind, that is, that we are the ‘special creation of God’. This language is used in order to set humanity apart from the rest of creation as unique. Not that the rest of God’s creation isn’t unique or special, but that man has certain qualities given to him that other parts of Creation do not receive.
This uniqueness of man is found in the facts (1) that man is created in God’s own image, (2) that man was given the gift of freedom of choice, and (3) that the Son of God became man and died as a substitute for man. These three points are closely related. Because man sinned by his own free choice, a God-man must redeem man from his sin. Because God had previously made man in His own image, then the way for the God-man was ready. These truths point us to the fact that God in His sovereignty had already planned His actions from the beginning. Neither sin nor salvation are a ‘Plan B’. They are parts of ‘Plan A’, which is being fulfilled in history, that is, that God will have a redeemed humanity as part of the ‘saints’ that will worship Him for eternity.
Although man was originally created in innocence, Adam fell into sin, and in so doing, has brought sin upon all his posterity. All of Adam’s children have a sin nature.
One sentence that is troubling for me, is, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”
It is fairly clear to me that better language could have been used in this instance. Note the language of the BF&M 1925, “…whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.”
In the BF&M 1925 condemnation is connected to our sin nature, while in the BF&M 2000 condemnation is connected to our actions. This language was no doubt adopted in order to give hope for those who have had children who died in infancy. It is unfortunate language, but it is language we must deal with. Here’s how I deal with it. There is nothing in the statement that negates what I believe about man being under condemnation because of his sin nature. It is simply omitted. And, as soon as we are capable of moral action, we do become transgressors. And we will be condemned for our own personal sins. We are under condemnation outside of Christ, but we are also under condemnation for our own sinful actions. While our condemnation in Adam is not stated, our condemnation for our own sins is stated.
The good news, amidst all of this talk of condemnation, is that God in His grace redeems condemned sinners. He does this by sending His Son into the world to live the life of righteousness that Adam (and all of us) did not live, dying the death that Adam (and all of us) deserved, and exchanging our sinfulness for His righteousness.