The Imputation Of Adam’s Sin Second Article -- By: John Murray

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 19:1 (Nov 1956)
Article: The Imputation Of Adam’s Sin Second Article
Author: John Murray


The Imputation Of Adam’s Sin
Second Article

John Murray

III. The Union Involved

THE principle of solidarity is embedded in the Scripture and is exemplified in numerous ways. It is not necessary to enumerate the instances in which the principle comes to expression. It is a patent fact that in God’s government of men there are the institutions of the family, of the state, and of the church in which solidaric or corporate relationships obtain and are operative. This is simply to say that God’s relations to men and the relations of men to one another are not exclusively individualistic; God deals with men in terms of these corporate relationships and men must reckon with their corporate relations and responsibilities.

There is also the institution of the individual, and to discount our individuality is to desecrate our responsible relations to God and to men. The principle of solidarity can be exaggerated; it can become an obsession and lead to fatalistic abuse (cf. Ezek. 18:2). All such exaggeration is evil. But it is also evil to conceive of our relations to God and to men atomistically so that we fail to appreciate the corporate entities which to such a large extent condition our life and responsibility. Solidarity works for good and for evil. It is scarcely necessary to be reminded of the beneficent influences which have emanated from its application in the realm of grace. Redemption in its design, accomplishment, application, and consummation is fashioned in terms of this principle. And in the realm of evil it is a fact of revelation and of observation that God visits “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate” him (Exod. 20:5).

It is consonant with these facts of the biblical revelation and of our human experience that the principle of solidarity

should come to its broadest and most inclusive expression in racial solidarity and we should not be surprised to find in this case the prototypal solidarity. Racial solidarity is the only possible construction of the various data which the Scripture brings to our attention. Paul bears pointed witness to this fact when he says that “in Adam all die” (I Cor. 15:22). And it is this same solidaric relationship that forms the background of his thought when he says, “The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving Spirit” (I Cor. 15:45).

If we appreciate this fact of racial solidarity and therefore the solidaric rel...

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