Shedd on the probation of Adam

“The object of this probation was that Adam, by resisting Satan’s temptation and persevering in holiness, might secure by his own work indefectibility or immutable perfection. This was to be an infinite reward for standing the trial of his faith and obedience. God did not place Adam in a state of probation from mere curiosity to see if he would fall or from malevolence to cause him to fall, but from the benevolent desire that Adam, in the exercise of the ample power with which he was endowed, might merit and obtain as the recompense of his fidelity a final and everlasting deliverance from the possibility of sinning” (W.G.T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, p. 536).

If I say that God DID cause Adam to fall — not out of “malevolence,” but out of a desire to demonstrate His power, wrath, justice, mercy, love, and grace (cf. Romans 9:18-23; Ephesians 1:3-4) — what will be the response of those who love to hate the sovereign God of Scripture? Will it not be, Why does God find fault with Adam, for how could he resist His will? Of course that will be the mutinous reply. Shedd’s extreme blindness is clearly manifest in his assertion that God out of a “benevolent desire” desired that Adam might possibly rob Jesus Christ of His redemptive glory in saving His people from their sins (cf. Matthew 1:21).

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