Welcome back, hardy reader! ;)We are nearing the end of our current series, so hang in there!
Englightened 18th Century thinkers did not believe there was any “justice” in holding the entire human race guilty for sin they had not personally committed. Edwards countered with the Biblical doctrine that sin involved a person’s inclinations, NOT just their isolated acts of sin. [the Sin vs Sins issue] Reusing the acorn and oak analogy, he illustrated how man’s corrupt propensity to sin was itself a fault, a “blight”, even before any specific sinful act might occur. Every new branch on a tree would partake of the tree’s disease, even before the “blight” might become visible.
Edwards departed here from the Westminster Confession of Faith (Chapter 6:3) which regarded the imputation of sin as a judicial act distinct from the corrupted nature. Edwards wrote, “They [our first parents] being the root of all mankind, the guilt of [Adam’s] sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature (was) conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.” Acorns will always produce oaks. A tree diseased with “blight” will only produce infected branches.