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Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Fall of Man

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The loss of those perfections and that happiness which his Maker bestowed on him at his creation, through transgression of a positive command, given for the trial of man's obedience, and as a token of his holding every thing of God, as lord paramount of the creation, with the use of every thing in it, exclusive of the fruit of one tree. This positive law he broke by eating the forbidden fruit; first the woman, then the man: and thus the condition or law of the covenant being broken, the covenant itself was broken. The woman was enticed by an evil genius, under the semblance of a serpent, as appears from its reasoning the woman into the transgression of the law, of which a brute beast is incapable. Hence the evil genius is called a murderer and a liar from the beginning, John 8:44 . Romans 5:12 , the old serpent, Revelation 12:9 ; Revelation 20:2 . Moses relates this history, from what appeared externally to sense; both, therefore, are to be conjoined, the serpent as the instrument, and the devil as the primary cause.

Man suffered himself to be seduced by perverse and confused notions of good and evil, prompted by a desire of a greater degree of perfection, and swayed by his sensual appetite, in contradiction to his reason, Genesis 3:6 . And thus it appears possible, how, notwithstanding the divine image with which man is adorned, he might fall; for though included in it knowledge, it did not exclude from it confused notions, which are those arising from sense and imagination, especially when off our guard and inattentive, blindly following the present impression. From this one sin arose another, and then another, from the connection of causes and effects, till this repetition brought on a habit of sin, consequently a state of moral slavery; called by divines a death in sin, a spiritual death, a defect of power to act according to the law, and from the motive of the divine perfections, as death in general is such a defect of power of action; and this defect or inability, with all its consequences, man entailed on his posterity, remaining upon them, till one greater man remove this, and reinstate them in all they forfeited in Adam. In the fall of man we may observe,

1. The greatest infidelity.

2. Prodigious pride.

3. Horrid ingratitude.

4. Visible contempt of God's majesty and justice.

5. Unaccountable folly.

6. A cruelty to himself and to all his posterity. Infidels, however, have treated the account of the fall and its effects, with contempt, and considered the whole as absurd; but their objections to the manner have been ably answered by a variety of authors; and as to the effects, one would hardly think any body could deny. For, that man is a fallen creature, is evident, if we consider his misery as an inhabitant of the natural world; the disorders of the globe we inhabit, and the dreadful scourges with which it is visited; the deplorable and shocking circumstances of our birth; the painful and dangerous travail of women; our natural uncleanliness, helplessness, ignorance, and nakedness; the gross darkness in which we naturally are, both with respect to God and a future state; the general rebellion of the brute creation against us; the various poisons that lurk in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world, ready to destroy us: the heavy curse of toil and sweat to which we are liable; the innumerable calamities of life, and the pangs of death.

Again, it is evident, if we consider him as a citizen of the moral world; his commission of sin; his omission of duty; the triumph of sensual appetites over his intellectual faculties; the corruption of the powers that constitute a good head, the understanding, imagination, memory, and reason; the depravity of the powers which form a good heart, the will, conscience, and affections; his manifest alienation from God; his amazing disregard even of his nearest relatives; his unaccountable unconcern about himself; his detestable tempers; the general our-breaking of human corruption in all individuals; the universal overflowing of it in all nations. Some striking proofs of this depravity may be seen in the general propensity of mankind to vain, irrational, or cruel diversions; in the universality of the most ridiculous, impious, inhuman, and diabolical sins; in the aggravating circumstances attending the display of this corruption; in the many ineffectual endeavours to stem its torrent, in the obstinate resistance it makes to divine grace in the unconverted; the amazing struggles of good men with it; the testimony of the heathens concerning it; and the preposterous conceit which the unconverted have of their own goodness. Dict. of the Bible; Fletcher's Appeal to Matters of Fact; Berry Street Lectures, vol. 1:180, 189; South's Sermons, vol. 1: 124, 150; Bates's Harmony of Div. Att. P. 98; Boston's Four-fold State, part 1:


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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Fall of Man'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/cbd/f/fall-of-man.html. 1802.

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