Adam and the 10 Commandments

Law, Quote, Theology

forbidden-treeTo understand the fall of creation, and specifically what Adam did in the garden to bring all of creation into a state of sin and misery, we must identify what law(s) Adam actually broke. Was it just that God told Adam to not eat of the fruit, but he did, and therefore all of creation fell? To be sure, that’s enough – but it’s much more than that. In Edward Fisher’s classic work The Marrow of Modern Divinity he identifies through the interlocutor Evangelista how Adam broke all 10 commandments (which he was obligated to obey in the Covenant of Works):

1. He chose himself another god when he followed the devil.

2. He idolized and defied his own belly as the apostle’s phrase is, ‘He made his belly his god.’

3. He took the name of God in vain, when he believed him not.

4. He kept not the rest and estate wherein God had set him.

5. He dishonored his Father who was in heaven; and therefore his days were not prolonged in that land which the Lord his God had given him.

6. He massacred himself and all his posterity.

7. From Eve he was a virgin, but in eyes and mind he committed spiritual fornication.

8. He stole, like Achan, that which God had set aside not to be meddled with; and this his stealth is that which troubles all Israel – the whole world.

9. He bare witness against God, when he believed the witness of the devil before him.

10. He coveted an evil covetousness, like Amnon, which cost him his life (2 Sam. 13), and all his progeny.

The 10 commandments/Moral Law of God did not begin in Exodus 20. The Moral Law of God was written on the hearts of Adam and Eve and in full effect, rendering an obligation upon them to keep God’s Law perfectly lest they die.

Want more? Check out what I consider one of the most important books for Christians to read. The Marrow of Modern Divinity by Edward Fisher (Marginal notes from puritan Thomas Boston).

(By: Nick Kennicott)

11 thoughts on “Adam and the 10 Commandments

  1. This is absolutely fascinating Pastor Nick.

    I’ve heard many times, “if only Eve hadn’t eaten that apple” (I won’t comment on their poor exegesis :)), What they are trying to say, is that was such a tiny little sin, and how much better would “our” lives be if she hadn’t done that.

    This was out and out treachery and the highest form of rebellion to God. This really brings it home for me and I’m grateful for this article.


    1. Thanks Kevin. This is a huge issue and really translates significantly into how we read our Bible from beginning to end. I’m convinced that most Christians don’t really know what to do with the Law of God, thus reducing everything to a rather simplistic formula and shallow reading of the text. I cannot emphasize enough how important a right understanding of the relationship between law and gospel is, and The Marrow is a great book to get the thought process going. I don’t think it can be overstated that were the church to understand law/gospel properly, there would be far fewer false conversions, unbiblical practices, and unholy lives.

  2. Two thoughts. A.) It is a HUGE assumption that the Decalogue = The Moral Law. Do you know who is the first person to make that assumption (of which there is a credible record) and when? (Hint – it was a Roman Catholic bishop) B.) How could Adam have known all ten components in the Decalogue before the Fall? He gained knowledge of good and evil by eating of the forbidden tree, not before. Paul tells us the Law brings knowledge of sin. Now I believe the moral law shines through the Decalogue, which wears clothes of ceremony meant only for national Israel. But It appears that Adam had not that knowledge, nor did he have need of it, until he sinned.

      1. Rather than address the issues I brought up, you assume something tangentially related and project your assumption on me. How quaint. I will be polite and answer you: No, I do not deny a covenant of works. I have a Baptist view of covenant theology, with a very healthy perspective on the covenants God gave man. You can see nifty charts as well as listen to my sermon on this topic here:

        Now, please address the two issues I brought up.

        1. I’m not sure how the covenant of works is only “tangentially related” to the moral law in creation, nor did I project an assumption – I asked a question. That being said, I’m not interested in addressing the two issues you brought up. Perhaps in the future I will write on it further. If you’re really curious about the reasoning behind the assertion, I would suggest reading The Marrow of Modern Divinity where the quote is pulled from. Samuel Petto’s The Covenant of Grace has a similar quote as well.

          1. So rather than explore foundational issues related to your position, you are content to stand firm without regard to what the Scripture says (about when Adam gained the knowledge of good and evil) and what history reveals (about the definition of the moral law). That is your choice, but it is a sad situation.

            1. That, my friend, is called a logical fallacy. Who’s projecting assumptions on another here?

              I’m always interested in “foundational issues related to [my] position” and certainly have an opinion about them… and I’m certainly concerned about what Scripture says and what history reveals. However, I’m not interested in having the discussion via blog comments in the midst of a busy season with a guy I don’t know. There’s a vast difference between that and being “without regard to what the Scripture says.” That may be unfathomable to you, and that’s fine – I don’t feel compelled to respond to every comment and question that comes to me via the blog articles I have posted.

  3. “That” is a logical fallacy? That’s not very specific. You have the right and privilege not to address every comment, but I think it impolite to reply to a comment and say nothing about the comment – which is what you did with your tangentially related question.

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