21 July 2009

"Adam's headship isn't fair" dodge (NEXT! #17)

by Dan Phillips

Challenge: It isn't fair that Adam would be tested and judged on my behalf. I should stand my own test.

Response: Okay, then — oops! FAIL! (Wow, that was quick.)

(Proverbs 21:22)

Dan Phillips's signature


DJP said...

1. Just finished first draft of my whole book, and sent it off to some to read it over and give feedback. So this is what I have for you.

2. This "Next!" is a bit subtle; but I'm confident of our thoughtful readers "getting" it.

Tim Bushong said...

Well, the first thing that came into my mind was "If you don't like Adam as your representative in that sense, then you must not like Jesus as your representative in the 'resurrection' sense".

Jerry said...

I am Augustinian enough to believe that we were actually in Adam and thus sinned along with him.

However, regardless of one's view of original sin, none of us last 5 minutes without engaging in sin, thus the validity of Dan's post.

Bob said...

Yes, the fairness issue came up on a number of occasions when I was bringing our church into the doctrines of grace. I was always surprised that they wanted things to be fair. I thought it was fairly immature. Well, eventually, the church failed.

Eric Kaminsky said...

I just attended a beat on your chest "You Can Do It!!" Men At The Cross event.

Rick Rigsby said that Jeremiah 17 was the most misinterpreted section of scripture that we know of. He claimed that the heart is not desperately wicked, only the sin of Judah is desperately wicked. We however can be heroes, and are hearts are generally good.

My helpful, sanctifying shepherd, made it clear to me that he didn't agree with Rigsby, and then he encouraged me to be happy in the Lord, which isn't always easy for me.

I wonder if these people really have strong reasoning from the text for the assertions that they make about non-depravity, or if they just read it in enough commentaries that it has to be true even without real biblical evidence.

DJP said...

I pick... B!

Brad said...

I second Tim; Romans 5:11-21 comes to mind.

It was gracious of God to allow Adam to represent me, I would have sinned long before Adam did.

Boerseuntjie said...

Romans 5:12
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, BECAUSE ALL SINNED..."

Romans 3:23
"...for ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God..."

Isaiah 64:5-7
"... You are indeed ANGRY, for we have sinned— In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. But we are ALL like an UNCLEAN thing, And ALL our RIGHTEOUSNESSES are like FILTHY [Used Menstrual] RAGS; ... And THERE IS NO ONE who calls on Your name, Who STIRS HIMSELF up to take hold of You; For You...And have consumed us because of OUR INIQUITIES."

The reward that ALL men have from their OWN works... IS DEATH...

Isaiah 64:6
"But WE ARE ALL like an unclean thing, And ALL[EVERY] OUR righteousnesses are like filthy[MENSTRUAL in the Hebrew] rags..."

Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

James 1:15
"Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."

1 John 1:10
"If we say that we have NOT SINNED, we MAKE Him A LIAR, and His word is NOT IN US."

Galatians 2:16
"..a man is NOT JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and NOT BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW; for BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW NO FLESH SHALL BE JUSTFIED."

Genesis 6:5
"Then YAHWEH saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY INTENT of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY."

1 Kings 8:41-53
46 "When they sin against You (for THERE IS NO ONE who DOES NOT SIN), and You become angry..
53 For YOU SEPERATED THEM FROM among all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance...O Lord YAHWEH."

Galatians 3:10
"For as many as are OF THE WORKS OF THE LAW are UNDER THE CURSE; for it is written, CURSED IS EVERYONE who DOES NOT CONTINUE IN ALL things which are written in the book of the law, TO DO THEM.

1 John 3:15
"Whoever HATES his brother IS a MURDERER, and you know that NO MURDERER HAS ETERNAL LIFE abiding in him."

James 2:8-11
"If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well; but IF YOU SHOW PARTIALITY, YOU COMMIT SIN, and ARE CONVICTED BY THE LAW AS TRANSGRESSORS. For whoever SHALL KEEP THE WHOLE LAW, and yet STUMBLE IN ONE POINT, he IS GUILTY OF ALL. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder.Now IF YOU DO NOT commit adultery, BUT YOU DO murder, YOU have BECOME A TRANSGRESSOR OF THE LAW."


Your fellow bondslave begotten of the sure unmerritted merciful grace of our Triune Almighty God Alone,

Boerseuntjie said...

Messiah Yeshua says in:

Matthew 5:22
"But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment...But whoever says, You fool! shall be IN DANGER OF HELL FIRE."

Messiah Yeshua says in:

Matthew 5:22
"But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment...But whoever says, You fool! shall be IN DANGER OF **** FIRE."

Matthew 5:27-29
"You have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has ALREADY COMMITTED adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into HELL."

Luke 18:9-14
"Also He spoke this parable to some who TRUSTED IN THEMSELVES THAT THEY WERE RIGHTEOUSS...Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I THANK You that I AM NOT LIKE OTHER MEN—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess...And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but BEAT HIS BREAST, saying, GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER! I tell you, THIS MAN WENT DOWN TO HIS HOUSE JUSTIFIED RATHER THAN the other; for everyone who exalts himself WILL BE HUMBLED, and HE WHO HUMBLES HIMSELF WILL BE EXALTED."

Romans 3:10-12
"As it is written: [Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20]

They have ALL turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;

Isaiah 12:2
Behold, GOD IS MY SALVATION, I will trust and not be afraid; For YAH, YAHWEH, is my strength and song; He also HAS BECOME MY SALVATION.

Romans 5:8
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that WHILE WE WHERE STILL sinners, Christ died for us."

Galatians 2:16-20
17 But if, WHILE we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also ARE FOUND SINNERS, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? CERTAINLY NOT! 18 For ID I BUILD AGAIN those things which I destroyed, I MAKE MYSELF A TRANSGRESSOR. 19 For I through the law DIED TO THE LAW that I might LIVE TO God...and THE LIFE which I now live in the flesh I LIVE BY FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and GAVE Himself FOR ME."

Your fellow bondslave begotten of the sure unmerited merciful grace of our Triune Almighty God Alone,

Bob said...

What in the world was all that about??

Chris Brauns said...

“By Adam sin-condemnation-death, by Christ righteousness –justification-life. A way of thinking that makes us aloof to solidarity with Adam makes us inhabile to the solidarity by which salvation comes. Thus the relevance of the Adamic administration to what is most basic, on the one hand, and most necessary on the other, in our human situation appointment (John Murray, Collected Works, Volume 2, page 59).”

David said...

Funny. I was just writing a song about this. Got a rhyme for "Federal Head"?

DJP said...

"Shoulda been dead"?

David said...

I'll give you 10%.

Assuming a song about federal headship goes straight to the top of the charts.

Mike Riccardi said...

Dan, this was pretty clever.

By denying federal headship, which the Bible clearly teaches (Gen 3, as you cite), the objector is despising/rejecting the word (Prov 13:13; Jer 8:9), thereby demonstrating his own sin and guilt before God (1Jn 3:4).

DJP said...

Bingo, Mike.

You are the first to get my real, hidden-dagger point — at least out loud.

There is some more that could be (in the popular expression) teased out, but you've got the heart of it. I'll wait and see if anyone totally wrings the sponge.


Matt said...

Got a rhyme for "Federal Head"?

"Another TeamPyro comment thread"?

Dan, I might really be missing the boat, because this "Next" seems fairly straightforward to me, even though you suggest it's "subtle".

Here's what I'm picking up:

People often object to Adam's federal headship because it seems unfair (i.e. - why am I guilty for what Adam did?). Yet, there's two problems with this view:

1) I have plenty of my own sins, which were committed by me, not Adam. Therefore, even apart from Adam's federal headship over his race, we still all stand condemned on our own merit.

2) Christ's federal headship for believers is equally unfair. Why should I be gloriously clothed in a righteousness that I did not live out? I have no part in the righteousness of Christ, so if it's unfair for Adam's guilt to be imputed to me, then it's equally unfair for Christ's holiness to be imputed to me.

So, in actual fact, if we drop the concept of imputation, all I am left with is my own sin. Now I'm condemned and without hope.

Matt said...

Thanks for providing a more pithy answer while I was typing, Mike!

[assumes jealousy is a result of both Adam's sin and his own]

DJP said...

Matt, what you said is true; and yes, you did miss the (intended) beauty of this Next.

Matt said...

Makes more sense now that I went back and clicked on the "FAIL" to see all the Scripture references. Makes sense now. Clever. Like a ser....

Frank Turk said...

We are sinners by nature, I am sure, but we are also sinners by will. It's this congruence that most people simply cannot grasp: that while we are rightly judged to be sinners in Adam, the truth is that we don't do better than him -- and we don't want to, really.

If we think about it for 5 seconds, being judged in Adam is not unjust but in fact a form of the Gospel. If Adam, who saw God and spoke to Him face to face, would disobey God -- and notice that Adam's disobedience is not some high-falutin' problem like adultery or murder but simply a question of doing what God said to do -- what chance do I have? I mean, I'm not just supposed to avoid the Tree of Knowledge: I have to avoid the lust on Cable TV and the internet; I have to live in a world where I can see my own son freak out over a video game he's never played but just has to have. I have to not covet and not lie.

The Gospel is preached to us through Adam because if he didn't obey God in a world which was "very good", what's my hope in a world which is, frankly, broken?

I don't have any hope in me, do I? How can I say such a thing? We need to turn to God, who put Adam in the skins of an animal, and the hope in the promise that God will destroy the offspring of the serpent, and save me from who I really am.

Adam's headship maybe isn't 'fair', but it's intended to be far more than fair. It's intended to be gracious.

stratagem said...

Dear Boertsjlkbkljeidue:
Too many words. Too weird. Too many words. TOO many CAPITALS. Please STOP doing THIS all the TIME.

trogdor said...

So you're protesting your innocence before God by accusing God of being unjust? Good luck with that.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz said...

God made him to so-Romans 5;12. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU SAY OR THINK.

chopstickschan said...

(Choking on jellied sheep's head as there is no coffee to spew)--subtle, yes, subtle.

Dan, have you been working on this book for months already?! Or have you done away with sleep? Or are there two of you?

DJP said...


DJP said...

Trogdor wrings another drop or two out of the sponge, but there's still a bit more left.

Lynda, I've been wanting this (publication) for decades. It was a matter of giving me a concrete target and letting me loose.

Like a pastorate. When and if God wills that to happen, watch out!

David said...

Frankly, Dan, I don't think there's even time to say "Okay, then -- oops!" It's more like, "I should stand -*POOF* *crackle*."

Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
(Nahum 1:6 ESV)

If we're not found in Adam, there's no way we can be found in Christ.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
(1 Corinthians 15:22 ESV)

Boerseuntjie said...

Sorry fellas and fello Pyromaniacs - I have a thing for Scripture and for EMPHASIS on certain points of doctrine - when writing (And I am IT illiterate when considering fonts etc; thus CAPS for emphasis).

I cannot get enough of Scripture, reasoning ranks second bestfor me.

I alos have just come of the back off a discussion regading Mormonism and Works Righteousness at the following:

Yours by the sure mercies and grace of our Great I AM and His Messiah our LORD Jesus,

CR said...

If it isn't fair that Adam would be tested and judged on my behalf then shouldn't this same person say that it shouldn't be fair that Christ was tested on my own behalf and punished on my own behalf and that His righteousness is imputed to me on my behalf. Is that where you are going?

Rachael Starke said...

Well, speaking as a woman, I absolutely agree. Creating a system where I, as a woman, am held accountable for the behavior of a gender not my own, and then punished for that behavior by being held under lifelong subjection and submission to the perpetrators on top of it, is just mysogynistic sexism of the worst kind.


CR said...

I other words, if we want to stand on our own test and not be judged for what Adam did, fine. Let's stand on our own test and obey Christ perfectly and love Him perfectly or at least love Him how we ought to love Him...oh wait, ooops. We can't.

Chad V. said...


I do hope you aren't serious.

VcdeChagn said...

"But in the garden Adam was our representative
So when the Judge executed the sentence Adam’s guilt was imputed to his descendants

Global calamity Major debt, pain, regret, the reign of death- total depravity

And yes, I’m aware that cats were not there Which opens the door to charges of 'that’s not fair'

But God is not subject to fallen notions of fairness"

Credit to Shai Linne

Rachael Starke said...

Chad V.




LOVE that song. Brother gets it.

Chad V. said...

What on earth does "/s" mean?

DJP said...


1. It's Rachael!
2. /s means "sarcasm tag off"

CR — what you say is true but nope, it's not the angle I was taking.

Nobody has squeezed the sponge dry yet.

kee kee kee

Chad V. said...

I see.....

I know it's Rachael, that's why I was so surprised.


rebecca said...

Nobody has squeezed the sponge dry yet.

Oh please! Just go ahead and wring it for us or I'm going to die of suspense.

DJP said...

Now now, Rebecca, no need for sarcasm. You'll hurt my feelings.


rebecca said...

You think that's sarcastic? Nope. I'm dead serious.

I'm working outside today and the constant running indoors to check this comment thread is going to kill me if the suspense doesn't.

trogdor said...

OK, I think I got another drop or two. In making this charge, the objector is failing essentially the same test Adam did.

That is, in both cases the creature is regarding his own judgment as more trustworthy than his creator's.

Jugulum said...

Tim Bushong said,
Well, the first thing that came into my mind was "If you don't like Adam as your representative in that sense, then you must not like Jesus as your representative in the 'resurrection' sense".

And CR said,
If it isn't fair that Adam would be tested and judged on my behalf then shouldn't this same person say that it shouldn't be fair that Christ was tested on my own behalf and punished on my own behalf and that His righteousness is imputed to me on my behalf. Is that where you are going?

And I think you should be careful if you try to use that line of attack. If you make Adam and Christ parallel in every sense, you end up somewhere you probably didn't intend to go.

When we are represented by Christ, we are not being treated as we justly deserve. It's not "fair" to us. It's decidedly unfair to us. It's merciful.

So if you're trying to draw a parallel to the fairness of headship in Adam... Are you going to say that we're not being treated as we justly deserve, when we're judged in Adam?

If you do intend to say that, what precisely do you mean?

DJP said...

Well okay, then, Rebecca; you overcame me.

The point is:

1. The objector is saying that the way it went down is unfair; therefore, it is unjust; therefore, it is unrighteous

2. The premise is that he would have a chance of doing a better job of it than Adam did

3. HOWEVER, the way that it went down is the way God ordained and established that it would happen.

4. THEREFORE, the objector is saying that God Himself was unfair, unjust, unrighteous in the way that He established events

5. AND the objector is saying that his judgment is superior to God's judgment

6. And what, again, was the issue in the temptation, if not that (A) Satan challenged the justice of God's arrangement with the couple, and (B) Eve and then Adam decided to impose their judgment over against the judgment of God as superior and preferable to His judgment?

7. So therefore, before he's even lifted his #2 pencil, the objector has failed the test.



CRUD. Now I've written that all out, I glance at my Inbox and see Trogdor nailed the rest of it, in about 1/10 of the words.

Oh well, now you have both versions. Mine, and the Trogdorized.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Brass said...

Even if Adam wasn't our federal head, we'd still fail miserably.

Is THAT what you're saying, Dan?

(I didn't read the other 45 comments, just responding directly to the NEXT!)

DJP said...

No; I'm saying that the challenge qua challenge IS a FAIL.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

In other words, we thumb our nose at God and say "I know better than you do!"

chopstickschan said...

I thought it was like this: "I wouldn't have sinned; it's not fair."

"FAILED! A long time ago!"
But maybe I oversimplified.

Dan, they need some pastors over here... You know, at the Lutheran churches in town, they have two priests each, and they take turns, so that you get every other Sunday off, and in the summer, they have one service every week on Sunday evening.

DJP said...

Yeah! That's it! I could be a Lutheran pastor!

Except for the, you know, everything.


rebecca said...

DJP (and Trogdor, too),

Okay, I've got it. I hadn't thought of it that way, but of course, you're right.

Now I can finish painting the foundation in peace.

DJP said...

See? "Subtle."

Thanks for caring so attentively, and enjoy your day.


Sir Brass said...

DJP, OH, I see it now. Yes, you're absolutely right. The challenge itself is an automatic fail according to the conditions of the challenge.

CR said...

I guess it pays, huh, to read all the links including your "Fail" link which has the passages where you were going with this.

DJP said...

Mmm hmmm.


CR said...


Where Dan was going with the "It's Rachael" was to let you know you initially spelled her name wrong.

DJP said...

Thanks, CR, but actually in this case I just meant Hey! It's Rachael!

(Though you're right, also. Tsk. Two counts of Chad-fail.)

Chad V. said...


DJP said...

But we still love you.


Chad V. said...

aawwww.... I feel so warm and fuzzy...

Rachael Starke said...

Well my goodness. I dashed off that last comment to Chad quickly because I was getting my girls ready for another daycation trip (car soundtrack provided by Shai Linne's "Atonement", thankyouverymuch), and haven't had a chance to read the comments until now. Glad to see my little offering helped push Dan's comment count over fifty, yet again.

For the record, I am 100 thankful for being counted sinful in Adam; that's where the qualifications start for being counted righteous in Christ.

And also for the record, I am completely okay with my name being misspelled. Happens all the time. Frank used to do it a lot. :)

Now if you mispronounce it, then we're going to have words.

bossmanham said...

So does this mean babies are under Adam's sin as well?

Sir Brass said...

Heh, that'll teach me to not gloss over the links next time :P.

Gary said...

"So does this mean babies are under Adam's sin as well?"

It depends on what you mean by "under" and who you ask...

If you mean, "are babies sinful at heart because they are children of Adam?" Then yes.

If you mean, "are babies under the wrath of God because of Adam's sin?" Then depends on who you ask. Scripture never, to my knowledge, shows anyone who is sinful and IS NOT under the wrath of God. But few want to come out and declare that dead babies are condemned to hell. It's not exactly a popular position.

Piper at one point said that he does not believe babies/small children are under the wrath of God because in Romans 1 God condemns those who clearly see and understand his divine attributes through creation. An infant in the womb or small child would not, he argues, see or understand fully and therefore not be under the wrath of God.

I don't know if I agree with Piper, but it's certainly more scriptural than most who hold the "babies are saved" position. I would be interested in hearing other scriptural support, but of course don't want the thread hijacked...

Johnny Dialectic said...

MacArthur teaches that infants who die go to heaven, and also an "age of accountability." He writes:

"But, I also believe, that up until that point of real saving faith, God in His mercy, would save that child, should that child die. I have been doing some study on that very issue, because when I was at a conference recently, and that question was asked of a panel of very astute theologians — no one gave an adequate answer. And I thought, “How can we have theologians who don’t know the answer to that question? What about the children before the age of accountability, when they die, do they go to heaven?” I think the answer is “yes,” and I think it is a strong “YES,” based upon the confidence of David who said, when his little baby died: “He cannot come to me, but I shall go to him.” And David knew where he was going; David knew he was going to heaven — he knew that. There wasn’t any question in his mind about that."

Mohler teaches that infants are actually innocent, through Christ. "The accomplished work of Christ has removed the stain of original sin from those who die in infancy. Knowing neither good nor evil, these young children are incapable of committing sins in the body – are not yet moral agents – and die secure in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ."

DJP said...

Enough on that.

Back on topic, please.

Johnny Dialectic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Did I stutter?



Johnny Dialectic said...

OK, I'll put it in my own words and hope I make the cut!

We are not judged through Adam, but for our own sins done in the body. Christ expiated the sin of Adam.


DJP said...

Still off-topic. The challenge is premised on recognizing what Scripture (such as Romans 5:12-21) teaches, but objecting to it . Evidently you simply reject what Scripture teaches.

That's a conversation for another day.

Johnny Dialectic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DJP said...

Real reading issues today, Johnny.

Yeah, there are LOTS of false doctrines, dodges, heresies and just plain nutty ideas this post ISN'T about.

There have been sixteen before this one. The concept isn't really all that difficult.

I identify a way that some Scriptural truth is dodged. I do my best provide a deft, focused response TO THAT DODGE.

You've found another way around Scripture. Whatever. Your blog readers can luxuriate in it all they want. This isn't that.

Phil said...

Normally I pass these over because as puzzles they are easy, but this one was really fun Dan.

And I got the bonus of seeing trogdor burninating on a pyromaniac site. Oh the irony!

Kirby L. Wallace said...

So... you wanna be judged on your own deeds, not those of Adam?


So far as we know, Adam committed one sin, in the Garden of Eden. And a really pretty benign and simple sin, at that. He disbelieved God. That's pretty much it. ONE SIN, and "party's over - everyone... out of the pool. Now!"

We don't have much other than that recorded. One little "Oh, God wouldn't mind..." and "buh-bye!"

So... YOU think you're better? If we examined YOUR life, I think we'd turn up a whole lot worse than one incident of disbelief.

If you were to stand judgment on only that which YOU have done, you would fare much, much worse than Adam did. You are WAY further off the mark than he was.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

I've always like St. Siluan: Precisely in saying that you make his sin your own.

DJP said...

Really? Whatever.

Saint Dan has always (since his conversion) liked Saint Paul:

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myth" (2 Timothy 4:1-4)