“After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, endued with knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness after his own image, having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject unto change. Besides this law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; which while they kept were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures” (IV. 2.).
Adam was under a “possibility” of transgressing? Just under a “possibility,” and not under an absolute necessity and certainty of transgressing? If Adam’s transgressing was just a mere possibility, then according to this peculiar logic of the WCF, Adam could have possibly NEVER transgressed and fulfilled the law since he was supposedly “left to the liberty of [his] own will.” Implicit in this assertion is that there was a “possibility” that Adam had the power to merit what Christ alone could merit. Since they say that Adam was “left to the liberty of [his] own will,” then they implicitly assert that Adam could have merited life for his posterity, thus robbing Jesus Christ of His redemptive glory by rescuing people from a “hypothetical fall.”
It is amazing that these WCF theologians would say that Adam and Eve—and Adam in particular since God has made him, and not the woman, the first representative of the human race—were just under a “possibility” of transgressing since it is so clear throughout the Bible that God from eternity had desired to glorify Himself through the effectual work of Jesus Christ.
Adam and Eve did not have the power to fulfill the law of God—only Jesus Christ had the power to fulfill God’s holy and inexorable law. Further, because God is sovereign, Adam and Eve were NEVER “left to the liberty of their own will” as if their wills were independent of God’s active control. Adam and Eve were NOT under a “possibility of transgressing,” but under an omnipotent and inevitable necessity of transgressing since God, from eternity, had purposed to glorify Himself through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ:
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20).
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:4-6).
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:11).
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior” (Titus 1:2-3).
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).
The salvation that is found exclusively in Jesus Christ is according to God’s eternal purpose. God made the fall of Adam—and in him his posterity–an inevitable certainty by ordaining and causing it to happen. But why did God ordain and cause the Fall to happen? Because it is through the fall of man into sin that God fulfills His holy desire to make known His power to the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and to make known the riches of His glory to the vessels of mercy, afore prepared unto glory (Romans 9:22-23). The vessels of wrath are those for whom Christ did not die. They are actively hardened by God throughout their entire lives here on earth. The vessels of mercy are those for whom Christ did die. And though they come into this world under the same wrath as the vessels of wrath do, they are graciously and mercifully delivered from this wrath.