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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XVI. Ques. Did all mankind fall in Adam's first transgression?
Ans.
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. Did all mankind, without any exception, fall in Adam's first transgression?
A. No; for our Lord Jesus Christ, who was one of Adam's posterity, did not fall with Adam, but was perfectly free, both from original and actual sin. "For such an high priest became us, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners."—Heb. 7:26. "Who did no sin"—1 Pet. 2:22.

Q. 2. How was it that the Lord Jesus Christ escaped the fall with Adam?
A. Because our Lord Jesus descended from Adam by extraordinary generation, being born of a virgin. "Now the birth of Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." —Matt. 1:18.

Q. 3. Did all the posterity of Adam, besides Christ, fall inhis first sin?
A. All the posterity pf Adam, besides Christ, descending from him by ordinary generation, did fall in his first sin. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."—Rom. 5:12.

Q. 4. How could all the posterity of Adam, being then unborn, fall in his sin?
A. All the posterity of Adam were in him before they were born, and so they sinned in him, and fell with him. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."—1 Cor. 15:22.

Q. 5. How were all Adam's posterity in him when he first sinned?
A. 1. They were in him virtually—they were in his loins; and as Levi is said to pay tithes in Abraham, when only in his loins (Heb. 7:9), so Adam's posterity sinned in his loins. 2. They were in him representatively; Adam was the common head and representative of all mankind.

Q. 6. What reason is there that the posterity of Adam should fall with Adam their representative?
A. Because the covenant of works, wherein life was promised upon condition of obedience, was made with Adam, not only for himself, but also for his posterity; therefore, as if Adam had stood, all his posterity had stood with him; so Adam falling, they all fell with him.

Q. 7. How could Adam be the representative of all his posterity, when there was none of them in being to make choice of him for their representative?
A. 1. It was more fit Adam should be the representative of his posterity than any one else, being the father of them all. 2. Though they did not choose him for their representative, yet God did choose him; and God made as good a choice for them as they could have made for themselves.

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