April 14: School & Family Catechist, WSC Q. 15-16

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 15-16.

Q.15. What was the sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created.

A. The sin whereby our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, was their eating the forbidden fruit.


The forbidden fruit.—The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which God commanded our first parents not to eat.


In this answer we learn,

That the first actual crime committed by our first parents was the eating of the forbidden fruit.—Gen. 3:6. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.

Q.16. Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?

A. The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.


The covenant made with Adam.—The agreement which God made with Adam, in which he promised to give him everlasting life, if he continued to keep all his commandments without sinning.

His posterity.—Adam’s own children, and the children to the end of the world.

Descending from him.—Proceeding or coming from him.

By ordinary generation.—In the natural or usual way, in which all mankind come into the world.

First transgression.—Adam’s first sin.


The doctrines contained in this answer, are three in number:

  1. That the covenant made with Adam, was intended both for himself and his posterity.—Rom. 5:13-14. Sin is not imputed, when there is no law. Nevrtheless [sic] death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.
  2. That all mankind descending from Adam by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him.—Rom. 5:12. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.—1 Cor. 15:22. In Adam all die.
  1. That it was only in Adam’s first transgression that mankind sinned and fell.—Rom. 5:18. By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.


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