TH 513 Systematic Theology II Dr. Mark E.


Systematic Theology II
Geisler, Norman, Vol. 3
Chapter Five

“The Effects of Sin”
pp. 122-151

God created the first humans in a state of perfection. One of the perfections was the power of free choice. Adam and Eve exercised this freedom to disobey God. What followed was a state of human sinfulness that we cannot reverse.

The disobedience of the original humans brought death into the world. There are three kinds of death: spiritual, physical and eternal. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned. They began to die physically that very day. Had Adam and Even not accepted God’s provision of salvation, they would have died eternally, which would have meant everlasting separation from God.

Spiritual Death
Death is separation from God, and spiritual death is spiritual separation from God. Isaiah said, “Your iniquities have separated you from your God: your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:2) Ever descendant of Adam is spiritually dead as well. The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:1, 5) “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins . . . [We who are saved have been] made . . . alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

Physical Death Physical death was the inevitable result of Adam’s sin (Gen. 2:16-17), not only for himself but for all of his natural descendants (except Christ). (See Romans 5:12, 14) Eternal Death Also called “the second death,” it is eternal separation from God. “The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name [is] not found written in the book of life, he [will be] thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:14-15), “where they are and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).

The Judicial (Legal) Effects of Adam’s Sin Adam had power of attorney for the whole human race. His sins were directly “imputed” to all of his posterity—which is all of us (Rom. 5:18-19). Transmissional Effects of Adam’s Sin Not only imputed, but also transmitted to us indirectly and immediately. We are sinner both because we sin, and because we are born sinners (Eph. 2:1, 3)

The Relational Effects of Adam’s Sin Spiritual Separation (Eph. 2:1) Guilt and Shame (Rom. 5) Loss of Fellowship (1 John 1:6-7) With other Human Beings (Gen. 3:12; 4:1-8) With the Environment (Rom. 8:20-21)

The Effects of Adam’s Sin on Free Will (Volition) Before the Fall the fact of free will is implicit in the demand of God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After the fall, free will remains, but is inclined toward evil (Rom. 1:18-19). This is the current state of unredeemed humanity.

The General Effects of Sin and Common Grace The effects of sin on humanity is so great that without God’s common grace (nonsaving grace that is available to all persons), society would be unlivable and unattainable. God common grace is provided through: Natural revelation (Rom. 1:19-20); moral law (Rom. 2:12-15); His image (Gen. 9:6, Ja. 3:9); marriage (Heb. 13:4); the family structure (Eph.6:1-4); government (Rom. 13:1-7); and many other nonredemptive means.

Pelagianism The view of the British monk Pelagius, this view maintains that only our own sins are imputed to us and not Adam’s. We are born innocent and salvation can be attained by our unaided free choice. Arminianism (Wesleyanism) Named after Joseph Arminus a Reformed theologian from Holland, later adapted and popularized by John Wesley. Maintains that all people are born with inherited original sin and cannot on their own power obey God. God’s grace does not work irresistibly, but sufficiently, awaiting their free cooperation before it becomes salvifically effective. This cooperation continues after salvation or one can forfeit salvation.

Moderate Calvinism Holds that we inherit a judicial guilt from Adam’s sin and we are legally connected to him. God’s grace is not merely sufficient for all; it is efficient for the elect. In order for God’s grace to be effective, there must be cooperation by the recipient on whom God has moved. God’s grace is irresistible on the willing. One being saved, one’s salvation is no longer an issue of cooperation, but is irresistible. Strong Calvinism Affirms that we are not only born depraved but that we are also totally depraved. The image of God has been destroyed. God must by irresistible grace regenerate the sinner (no free will involved) and God’s irresistible grace also maintains salvation. The sinner has no ability to respond to God’s invitation to salvation. God takes the initiative and God elects those who will be saved.

The Image of God is Effaced but Not Erased The image though marred continues (Gen. 9:6; James 3:9-10) Total Depravity is Extensive, Not Intensive This means that every part of the human being has been stained/effected by sin, but not that every human is as evil as is possible. Even relatively “good” people are permeated by total depravity.

The Noetic Effects of Human Sin The mind of humanity was darkened by sin (Rom. 1:28; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 5:8) The Volitional Effects of Human Sin Sin affects not only the mind, but the will. After sin humanity is inclined toward sin, and will not, without God’s initiative, seek salvation (Rom. 3:11; John 1:13;)

Having a fallen nature means. . . 1. we are born this way (Ps. 51:5) 2. that it is natural for us to sin. 3. one will inevitably sin. 4. we are incapable of saving ourselves. Having a fallen nature does not mean . . . 1. that we are as sinful as we could be. 2. that sin is excusable. 3. we‘re unable to avoid sin. 4. that any particular sin is inescapable. 5. we have not choice in our salvation.

Geisler’s theological perspective what he calls, “Moderate Calvinist.” Most “Mainline Pentecostals” would not consider themselves Calvinist in any form. There are some Charismatic groups in Calvinist denominations, but the vast majority of Pentecostal groups would be Armenian. In the following slides I offer an overview of Wesleyan/Armenian perspectives.

The founder of the Methodist revival in England, and of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, was John Wesley, a priest of the Church of England. John Wesley was a brilliant theologian and preacher, a professor at Oxford University and an open-field evangelist, who had a deep and abiding interest in applying theology to the everyday life. Early on in his ministry Wesley became an Arminan in his theology of salvation, modifying it some as he applied it to his own life and to the life and faith of his Methodist Societies. This theological understanding has generally become known in Systematic Theology as "Wesley's Order of Salvation" and can be outlined as follows:

© 2000, Gregory S. Neal

1. Prevenient Grace: Human beings are totally incapable of responding to God without God first empowering them to have faith. This empowerment is known as "Prevenient Grace." Prevenient Grace doesn't save us but, rather, comes before anything that we do, drawing us to God, making us WANT to come to God, and enabling us to have faith in God. Prevenient Grace is Universal, in as much as all humans receive it, regardless of their having heard of Jesus. It is manifested in the deep-seated desire of most humans to know God.

© 2000, Gregory S. Neal

2. Justifying Grace:
After we are drawn to God and enabled to respond, with faith, to the offered gift of Salvation, and -- most importantly -- when we actually say "yes" and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are given "Justifying Grace," which wipes away our sin and incorporates us into the Body of Christ. This is the point of "Full Regeneration," in which humans are returned to the state of Adam and Eve in the Garden. It is sometimes referenced as that point and time in one's life when they are "saved." In Justifying Grace we are judged to be "not guilty" of sins, even though we are VERY guilty and even though we STILL commit sins. Jesus nevertheless forgives us our sins and, through His Grace ,we are viewed by God as being as IF we were as righteous as Christ.
© 2000, Gregory S. Neal

3. Sanctifying Grace:
Justification by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior doesn't end one's walk in Grace, however. One hasn't "arrived" when one is saved. Justification is the point at which God judges us "As IF we were Christ." The Perfection, the Righteousness, of Jesus is not yet PART of who we are, even though we are viewed by God as IF we were righteous. Sanctifying Grace comes to make the outward judgment of "Righteous" PART of who WE are. The Righteousness of Christ is, through our openness to God's Grace, made an increasing part of WHO we are. We become MORE and MORE like Jesus. In other words, the Love and Will of God in Jesus Christ is grafted into our lives and we become more and more like Jesus.

© 2000, Gregory S. Neal

4. Perfection: While none of us can be perfect by our own ability or will, nevertheless we believe that through Sanctifying Grace we are transformed into a greater and greater likeness of Christ Jesus. As we grow in Sanctifying Grace, we approach the Will of God for us and, in Glory, we can trust that we will be in total conformity with God's Will for us. We also believe, however, that through Sanctifying Grace we are blessed by occasional moments, fleeting instances, of knowing and living in God's perfect Will. This is what Wesley means when he says that we are all to be "Moving on toward Perfection."

© 2000, Gregory S. Neal

Prerequisites of God’s Plan
God knew how everything would turn out from the beginning. God was never caught by surprise at man’s sin. Jesus is called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8 ), which means that before there was a problem of sin, God had the answer. God had a plan that not even Satan, sin, or human disobeience could thwart.

Alternatives to God’s Ultimate Plan 1. Not to have created . 2. To Have Created a Non-Free World 3. Create a Free World Where No One Ever Chooses to Sin 4. To Have Created a World Where No One is Allowed to Sin 5. To Have Created a World Where Sin Occurs but Where All Are Eventually Saved. Be aware of Geisler’s responses to these unsatisfactory alternatives (pp. 155-158)

The very nature of God assures us that evil will eventually be defeated. 1.God is all-loving and wants to defeat evil. 2.God is all-powerful and can defeat evil. 3.Evil is not yet defeated. 4.Hence, evil will yet be defeated (in the future.) This present world is not the best of all possible worlds, but it is a means to the best possible world.

Dispensation, “divine order of affairs” Some perspectives argue for seven distinct “dispensations” during which God acted in specific way with respect to a specific period of time (dispensation). Most typologies (such as Geisler’s) propose seven such dispensations.

Seven “dispensations” 1. Probation (Innocence) 2. Conscience (Moral Sense) 3. Human Government 4. Promise 5. Law 6. Grace 7. Kingdom

The word “dispensation” is used by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:10 “. . . in that the dispensation of the fullness of time He might gather together . . . all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth in Him.” Notice, however, the singular, dispensation, not dispensations.

The problem with the dispensationalist view is that it imposes an artificial interpretational grid over scripture and tends to needlessly divide and disconnect the Word into philosophically contrived divisions. Instead of a dispensationalist view, biblical theology sees more continuity and a natural progression throughout the unfurling of God’s plan for humanity.

Without embracing full-blown dispensationalism, one can agree with Geisler that the progression of God’s plan was moving toward the coming of the Messiah, the Savior and that that plan is continuing to move toward an ultimate fulfillment in the new heaven and new earth.

Incarnation of the Savior Christ is anticipated in the OT and realized in the NT (Gal. 4:4-5) Christ’s substitutionary death (Mk. 10:45; John 10:10) Christ’s physical resurrection (Matt. 12:39-40; Rom. 4:25) Christ’s bodily ascension into heaven (John 20:17; Luke 24:49-51; Acts 1:9-11)

Christ’s Present Session (the Church) Christ remains indescribably important as the High Priest of the church and for individual believers (Heb. 4:14-15; 7:17, 22-26; 1 John 2:1-2; Rev. 12:10, cf. also 1 Cor. 10:13).

The Return and Reign of the Savior Christ as King: one day He will be (actually, physically) the King over his people (Matt. 12:28; Rev. 20:4) Final Judgment: After the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Millennium) Satan will be released from prison for a season, those born and living during the Millennium will have to choose good or evil. After that the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev. 20:7-10). This is followed by the Great White Throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire, this is the second death.

New Heaven and New Earth Described by John (Rev. 21:1-4, 912, 18-22). Also described by Peter (2 Peter 3:10-13; cf. Isa. 65:17-25)

Official and Actual Victories over Sin The Official defeat of sin was at the Cross (Col. 2:14; Heb. 2:14) Three stages to the overall battle to defeat sin in the lives of God’s children: 1.Justification—deliverance from the penalty of sin, a past action for all believers, accomplished at the cross. 2.Sanctification—deliverance from the power of sin, is a present and continuous process of believers become Christlike. 3.Glorification—deliverance from the presence of sin, will take place at Christ’s return, the dawning of the eternal kingdom.

The actual defeat of sin will be at the Second Coming.

Eventual (Ultimate) Defeat of Sin We speak of defeat not destruction of sin, because sin, in the sinner will continue forever in hell. Defeat does not mean that God will annihilate sinner. Annihilated sinners would no longer feel pain. There are degrees of punishment in hell (Rev. 20:12-13). There is everlasting torment for sin against the Eternal demands eternal consequences. Evil is defeated because the good is actually victorious over it. Evil is proven to be wrong in time and eternity.

The Creation of the Devil God did not create evil, rather He created spiritual beings, and some of them rebelled, becoming “the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41; cf. also Col. 1:16). The Fall of the Devil (Geisler offers Ezek. 28:12-17; Isa. 14:12-15) The Fall of Demons (Rev. 12:3-4; 7-9)

The Plan of the Devil and His Demons He opposes God, he opposes God’s plan and God’s people (Rev. 12:10) His tactics are to cause doubt, denial, disobedience, and deception and the destruction of God’s people and plan. Paul said, “No wonder, for . . . Satan diguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) The Defeat of the Devil and His Demons This defeat has been progressing from the day God cursed the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It continues in salvation (Col. 2:14-15)

The final stage of salvation is the final stage of the defeat of Satan. First, the wheat and the tares are seperated (Matt. 25:32-34, 41) Second, Satan will be quarantined from spreading evil (Rev. 20:10)