Federal Headship (Imputed Sin)

Even infants, who have no personal sin of their own, suffer pain and death. Now the Scriptures uniformly represent suffering and death as the wages of sin. It would be unjust for God to execute the penalty on those who are not guilty. Since the penalty falls on infants, they must be guilty; and since they have not personally committed sin, they must be guilty of Adam's sin.

("Reformed Doctrine of Predistination" by Lorraine Boettner)

I've never seen "imputed sin" in Scripture, but I'm starting to see how they get there.

The "wages of sin is death" - did that mean spiritual death, or temporal death? (Note: there is a whole different topic of whether or not physical death was on earth before the fall)

anyway, if human beings did not die on earth before the fall, and the wages of sin is (including) temporal death, we are suffering the wages of Adam's sin.

If a Just God would not punish a person (save Jesus, who voluntarily stood in our place) for the sin of another, does this logic place the guilt of Adam's sin on us, since we are paying the penalty?

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2 thoughts on “Federal Headship (Imputed Sin)

  1. I think federal headship and imputed sin is probably correct, I haven't thought about it in depth; but I think Boettner's argument for it is fallacious. Substitute cattle, or rabbits, or God, or Jesus, or angels for infants. Yes man is head over creation (though not current the angelic realm), but I don't think there is a good argument for imputed sin in animals. They do not descend from humans. Spiritual beings certainly don't. Yet they all suffer pain, and some of them death. Does this make God unjust as the quote would imply? No, just Adam guilty.

  2. MzEllen

    Thanks for the thoughts - I almost edited the post yesterday, after a thought hit me on the way to work.

    Boettner *cannot* be correct in this thought, because, if we still are affected by the fall after salvation, then God is still continuing to punish us for Adam's sin, even after Jesus paid the price to forgive us.

    I'm comfortable with all humans being sinners be ause of Adam. Every time I think invade the key to us all being guilty of Adam'ssin, as well as our own, it ends up falling flat.

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