The moral law and Adam

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Jimmy the Greek

Puritan Board Senior
I had assumed the moral law was written on Adam's heart at creation (in a positive sense), ala Bavink and Berkhof. Please evaluate the following for me.

Proposition: The moral law was given to man at the Fall, not at Creation.

Argument: Before the Fall, Adam and Eve had fellowship with God and knew the goodness of God. It was not until after Adam sinned that they had knowledge of both good and evil (Gen 3:7 and 22). As Paul wrote in Romans 7, knowledge of the law (here, he is talking about the Decalogue, which applied the Moral Law to the Hebrews) brings knowledge of sin. Adam knew not sin until he sinned. Since he sinned, he had need of the Moral Law. God wrote His Moral Law on Adam’s soul and Eve’s when He banished them from the Garden.


Staff member
Except Gen 2:17 was pre-fall. If you eat of the tree of knowledge, "you shall surely die."

I think that qualifies as a moral commandment. Even if Adam did not know first hand what death was, he knew there was a death penalty.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Nom. But, sir, how could the law of the Ten Commandments be the matter of this Covenant of Works, when they were not written, as you know, till the time of Moses?

Evan. Though they were not written in tablets of stone until the time of Moses, yet they were written in the tablets of man’s heart in the time of Adam: for we read that man was created in the image or likeness of God, Gen. 1.27. And the Ten Commandments are a doctrine agreeing with the eternal wisdom and justice that is in God; in this he has so painted out his own nature, that in a way it expresses the very image of God, Col. 3.10.1 And does not the apostle say (Eph. 4.24) that the image of God consists in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness? And is not knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, the perfection of both tablets of the law? And indeed, says Mr. Rollock, it could not well stand with the justice of God, to make a covenant with man, on condition of holy and good works and perfect obedience to his law, unless he had first created man holy and pure, and engraved his law in his heart, from which those good works should proceed.

Nom. Yet I cannot but marvel that God, in making the covenant with man, made mention of no other commandment than that of the forbidden fruit.

Evan. Do not marvel at it: for by that one species of sin, the whole genus or kind of sin is shown; just as the same law, being more clearly unfolded, expresses, Deu. 27.26; Gal. 3.10. And, indeed, in that one commandment consisted the whole worship of God, such as obedience, honour, love, confidence, and religious fear; together with outward abstinence from sin, and reverend respect for the voice of God. Indeed, in this also consists his love, and so his whole duty to his neighbour;2 so that, as a learned writer says, “Adam heard as much (of the law) in the garden, as Israel did at Sinai, only in fewer words, and without thunder.”3
From the Marrow of Modern Divinity
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