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The Imputation of Adam's Sin [Paperback]

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Item Number 130682  
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Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.44" Width: 5.48" Height: 0.25"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1992
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  0875523412  
EAN  9780875523415  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A comparative study on the different views of the imputation of Adam's sin.

Buy The Imputation of Adam's Sin by John Murray from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780875523415 & 0875523412

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More About John Murray

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Murray was born in Scotland, was educated in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Princeton, and spent most of his distinguished career teaching systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

John Murray was born in 1898 and died in 1975.

John Murray has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Collected Writings of John Murray
  2. New Testament Commentary

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology   [0  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Very difficult book, maybe the summary below will help  May 13, 2005
This is an extremely dense book which is definitely worth reading. It contains the standard articulation of the Reformed view of man's relationship to Adam. If you purchase the book, or would just like to read a decent summary instead of buying it, perhaps the review below will be helpful. The paragraph breaks correspond with the chapter breaks.

In the opening pages Murray concerns himself with the parallelism contained in Rom 5:12. He argues that the surrounding section is a sustained argument that draws a strong analogy between the work of Adam and of Christ and the Christian's relationship to each. He begins by discussing the syntactical construction of 5:12 and then surveys and refutes the Pelagian and Roman Catholic views. He also surveys Calvin's view and while Murray agrees with Calvin's general conclusions, he believes Calvin's exegesis is inaccurate. He is critical of the Pelagian and RC views in that they do not seem to reflect the one man and one sin terminology with which Paul connects humanity with the first and second Adam. What Paul is arguing according to Murray is that all of humanity stands with Adam as their representation to the extent that both his guilt and his corruption are imputed to them. And thus those who stand with Christ as their representative receive both forgiveness and righteousness by imputation.

Murray then examines more deeply the nature of man's solidarity with Adam. He interacts with the realist view and the representational view. These two views attempt to explain the specific ground of the imputation of Adam's first sin with humanity that goes beyond the simple fact that there exists genealogical solidarity between Adam and humanity. The realist position, it seems is looking for a way to remove the difficulties regarding the punishment of someone for a sin in which he did not participate. The realist argues that human nature was present in its entirety in Adam and that each person thereafter is an individualization of this human nature and is therefore guilty of Adam's sin. But since they were really present in seed form in Adam, it is just to hold them guilty for there participation in Adam's sin. Adam's sin is therefore imputed to humanity in an immediate way. In the representational view, Adam's sin is imputed to humanity in the very same way (parallelism again) that Christ's righteousness is imputed to the believer.

Murray says that mediate imputation emphasizes the hereditary corruption as the medium or means by which Adam's sin is imputed to his posterity. This is to say that man sins because he is born corrupt, but he is only guilty in that he himself sins as a moral agent. Murray characterizes the immediate position as God looking on posterity as being one with their father Adam and their sin coexisting with his just as if it were theirs. He then argues for immediate imputation in four extended arguments. The first seems to me to be the most compelling and easiest to summarize. Murray's basic exegetical point stemming from Romans 5 has been that Paul's "one sinned" and "all sinned" language refers to the same sin viewed from the participation of Adam and his posterity. In other words, there is exact correlation between the manner and nature of sin of Adam and his posterity. Thus, since there is not any medium between Adam's sin and the death inflicted upon him, neither should we interject any medium between the sin and punishment in the case of Adam's posterity.

Chapter Four is probably one of the more difficult to comprehend and summarize, especially because of his use of Latin terminology which he does not define. But with the use of a Latin dictionary, Murray's critique of Hodge on imputation and his alternative position become clearer. Hodge argues that the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity consists simply in the obligation to satisfy justice, i.e., the exposure to punishment on account of Adams sin - the reatus poenae. Murray responds that the reatus poenae, may be imputed only if the reatus culpa is also imputed. In other words, the demerit, or guilt of Adam's sin must also be imputed as possession of his posterity before any obligation to satisfy justice can also be imputed. The guilt is the ground of the punishment. So, Murray contends that the biblical teaching on imputation is hung delicately between two poles. On one hand, it is more than judicial liability, but it is less than considering posterity to have eaten the fruit in the same way that Adam did - it was his action not theirs. The biblical position is that in Adam's sin, humanity was constituted sinners in the same manner that the elect are constituted as righteous - parallelism again.
Still nothing but a theory  Oct 2, 2003
I know there are many individuals who will disagree with my assessment of Murray's work, but the idea of the imputation of Adam's sin is still a framework constructed to account for humanity's sinfulness, and is one that is not defended by overwhelming amounts of Scripture. That being said, I do agree with Murray on several points. His development of the concept of corporate solidarity is well needed and is a concept that is common to Old Testament Judaism. By examining the books of the Old Testament one will quickly come to realize that Israel was often dealt with as a corporate identity by God; In other words if one individual sinned, then that sin was treated as the sin of the whole nation. The best example I can think of in the Old Testament is the story of Achan's sin that is described in Joshua chapter 7.

That being said, just because the idea of corporate solidarity can be derived from the Old Testament it does not mean that that principle is valid in the case of Adam. I think there are many dissimalarities between the two situations that would mittigate against strictly comparing the two. For instance, Israel was a nation that was called and chosen by God and that contained millions of citizens that defined it's existence as a nation. When Achan sinned against the Lord, it was said that Israel sinned and the whole nation suffered punishment. It was the people contemporaneous with Achan who were treated as trangessors and punished by God. In the case of Adam we are separeted by a vast expanse of time, and yet his sin is still somehow reckoned to be ours. The two situations just aren't similar enough to warrant a strict comparison.

Second, using Romans 5 as a proof text to support the imputation of Adam's sin is interesting, but does suffer from some serious weaknesses. First, Paul's whole insistence on discussing the period from Adam to Moses in vs. 13-14 is unintelligible to Reformed exegetes. This digression from his starting point in verse 12 makes no sense, and the fact that he focuses on this group of people is even more disturbing. Reformed scholars have been unable to deal with Paul's references to sin that is "not like the sin of Adam" and the absence of law in this period. Another point that weakens this view is that Paul is constantly stressing the one act of obedience to the one act of disobedience. Reformed scholars say, well Paul's reference to Christ's obedience and our being made righteous by it must be referring to the imputation of Christ's righteousness to our account; They then say since he is comparing Adam to Christ, Adam's disobedience must be reckoned to our account just like Christ's righteousness.

Yet, they overlook that Paul is referring to Jesus's one act of obedience and not to his lifelong, perfect obedience to the law. The traditional Reformed position is that Christ's perfect, lifelong obedience to the law is reckoned as our righteousness and thus we can stand as sinners justified before God. In Romans 5, Paul isn't speaking about Christ's perfect obedience to the entire law, but his one act of obedience that made the many righteous. Therefore, this verse can't be speaking about the imputation of Christ's righteousness in the standard Reformed sense, and thus the idea of the imputation of Adam's unrighteousness falls with it. I think John Chrysostom's view of this passage makes sense, in that he saw Paul trying to defend the effects of Christ's death against Jewish attacks. The Jews would ask, how can one man's obedience upon a tree make anybody righteous? Paul's answer to them was simple; He resorts in this passage by responding with a question to Jewish critics asking, how could one man's disobdience at a tree make many unrighteous. Since the Jewish critic obviously believed in the fall of Adam and it's disastrous effects on humanity, he would then have to recognize that Christ's obedient death on the cross could function in the way Paul said it does. Second, Paul's use of Greek terminology that speaks of being made righteous or made sinners does not facilitate a classic Reformed view. Murray tries to get around this by translating the Greek as constituted, thus playing off the double entendre; Constitute could describe the actual inner condition of something, or say something about how one perceives something to be. Nevertheless, the more accurate Greek rendering is made righteous and made sinners, and therefore Paul seems to be talking about something more than just a legal status.

Lastly, this whole viewpoint stands or falls upon the assumption that Adam and God were both parties in a covenant of works in the Garden of Eden. There is absolutely no Scriptural proof that such a covenant even existed, and to read one into Genesis 2-3 requires some serious eisegesis. If there was no covenant of works than this theory falls flat on it's face. This book is a nice defense of the classic Reformed view of immediate imputation, but when the theory is examined under close scrutiny one discovers that it is nothing more than just that, a theory.

summary of original sin  May 5, 2003
In some ways one could use the word "transmission" instead of "imputation" for those who can't get their heads around the legal terminology common in Reformed theologians. This book attempts to examine how Adam's sin is credited to the entire human race, thus imputation. The book is dry and a lot of work to read. The theological concepts themselves are not so difficult to grasp as Murray's wooden prose. Unless you're willing to navigate hard-core Reformed theological writings in a stuffy mid-20th century academic style I'd recommend Henri Blocher's scholarly but far more readable Original Sin as a primer for Murray's ideas and for a thoughtful critique of some of their limitations.

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