“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 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. The WCF cite Ecclesiastes 7:29 and invalidly deduce from it that since God made Adam upright, therefore Adam is equal with Christ as far as meriting eternal life for all whom he represented goes.
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 causation. 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:
“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).
“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” (2 Timothy 1:9).
“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 verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Peter 1:20).
Salvation is exclusively found in Christ according to God’s eternal purpose. God made the fall of Adam inevitable and certain because He desired to make known the riches of His glory to the vessels of mercy. Many who adhere to the WCF speak of things like the fall of Adam and especially the fall of Satan as the “greatest mystery” in all of Scripture. To them, the most profound and perplexing mystery is the origin of sin in created beings. To those who submit to the clear testimony of Scripture, it is not a mystery at all. God ordained and caused the fall so that He might be glorified in the Person of His Son. There must be a fall so that God can justly damn reprobate sinners and can glorify Himself in the hearts of His elect people by regenerating them and revealing to them that He is a just God and a Savior. He makes the riches of His glory known by causing His elect to know and believe that it is the cross-work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the ultimate difference between those who have been unconditionally chosen to be vessels of God’s mercy and those who have been unconditionally chosen to be vessels of God’s wrath fitted out for destruction. Jesus Christ died for the vessels of mercy; He did not die in any sense whatsoever for the vessels of wrath (cf. Romans 3:25).
“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Romans 9:18-23).
God has the right to unconditionally choose to damn certain people before the foundation of the world. God has the right to actively harden whom He will. The God-haters respond by saying that God cannot find fault if God actively hardens them, for they cannot resist His will to actively harden them. Now since the haters of the elementary and basic teaching of the Godhood of God, assert that God cannot find fault with them, to whom do they wish to shift the blame of their sin to? To God, of course. The God-haters believe that if God actively hardens them, then God is the author (i.e., committer) of their sin—hence the carnal objection, why does He yet find fault? They wrongly think that the fault lies with the Almighty. This objection is raised by the those who are rebelling against the razor sharp, crystal clear Creator/creature distinction. They are rebellious pots, telling the Potter what He can and cannot do.
But what God is saying through the apostle Paul is that He has the right to make certain people for damnation and certain people for salvation and to have mercy on whom He desires and to harden whom He desires (Romans 9:18). Some people are formed—created—for the purpose of hardening and damnation. Some people are formed—created—for the purpose of mercy and salvation. This is what it means to affirm a true doctrine of creation as it relates to the gospel of Christ and God’s purpose of creating a peculiar people to proclaim His praises and a pernicious people to pay lip service to the doctrine of creation.