Article 3: The Fall and State of Man Left To Himself
Of the Fall of Man We believe that man was created in holiness, under the law of his Maker (1); but by voluntary transgression fell from that holy and happy state (2); in consequence of which all mankind are now sinners (3), not by constraint, but choice (4); being by nature utterly void of that holiness required by the law of God, positively inclined to evil; and therefore under just condemnation to eternal ruin (5), without defense or excuse (6).
Summary of Biblical Support: Genesis 1:27, 31 illustrate the genuine goodness that God created man in, that is: “His own image”. This is what man has indeed fallen from. It is pertinent for the NHC to address that man was at one time perfectly reconciled to God. Perfect harmony, relationship, communion, and fellowship with God: this was the atmosphere of the garden, and reiterating, the state that did man exchange for the lesser. Romans 5:12 then completed the necessary correlation to all of mankind’s torment from fallen Adam.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—
The fall of man narrative would certainly not have the same degree of importance if its detriment were not expressed across all of mankind. Adam brought death to all men; it was not just his failure, it was the failure of the whole of human nature. Adam’s sin echoes into the very spiritual DNA of every man since the fall, and this is not a mere hint, but an overwhelming intruder that controls all of human inclination.
Support for this article would have been stronger if the article had also cited Psalm 16:2, “I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’” God is the author of good; nothing that is good comes apart from His presence or power. We, in natural opposition towards God, are inclined, and only inclined towards evil and sin. Our depravity and sin is only a perversion of this goodness, we cannot create anything, only an absence of a reality (ex. darkness, cold, etc). This view, although mildly depressing and somewhat nihilistic, should stir humanity closer to the true source in search of hope. Goodness will come by no means of one’s self; a valid perspective of one’s own empty wickedness paves the road for God’s filling.
Biblical Citation of the NHC:
- Gen. 1:27, 31; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 16:26; Gen. 2:16
- Gen. 3:6-24; Rom. 5:12
- Rom. 5:19; John 3:6; Psa. 51:5; Rom. 5:15-19; 8:7
- Isa. 53:6; Gen. 6:12; Rom. 3:9-18
- Eph. 2:1-3; Rom. 1:18, 32; 2:1-16; Gal. 3:10; Matt. 20:15
- Ezek. 18:19-20; Rom. 1:20; 3:19; Gal. 3:22