In closing his third essay in the series entitled “The Sovereignty of God in Predestination as Held by Many Representative Calvinistic Theologians,” G.W. Northrup asked and answered two specific questions.
Below is a partial entry answering the first of the two questions:
1. Are mankind, at birth, under condemnation—”liable to the pains of hell forever,” on the ground of the fall of Adam?
The utter absence of any reference to the Adamic guilt as among the grounds of the sentence of condemnation to be pronounced at the day of judgment, the language of Christ respecting little children— Luke xviii. 15,16; Matt. xviii. 10,14; and especially the teaching of Rom. iv. 25 and v. 18,19 —seem to justify the position that, prior to personal action, men are, through the atonement, free from condemnation; that the judgment which through the one offense of Adam came upon all men to condemnation, was removed, absolutely and forever, by the one act of righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Dr. W. Lindsay Alexander, A System of Biblical Theology, 389-392: “Nothing can be clearer than this: As is the condemnation so is the justification; the one is co-extensive with the other; as the offense of one brought all men under the former, so the righteousness of one has brought all men under the latter. . . . As taught by the apostle it (universal justification) stands clear of the doctrine of baptismal regeneration and the doctrine of universal pardon. It means simply that through the grace of Christ the sentence of attainder under which the sin of Adam brought men has been repealed in the case of every man, whether baptized or unbaptized; but for the sins which men actually commit, they must each one seek pardon for himself or perish. … .”
It’s clear Northrup does not see in Scripture the view most favored by the classically Reformed pertaining to original sin; namely, imputed Adamic guilt.
In Part IV, Northrup’s full application of his critique of strict Calvinism’s view of predestination as it applies to infants dying in infancy will conclude this series.