an expression probably borrowed from the Apocryphal Book of Wisdom, to express the fact of the revolt of our first parents from God, and the consequent sin and misery in which they and all their posterity were involved.
The history of the Fall is recorded in Gen. 2 and 3. That history is to be literally interpreted. It records facts which underlie the whole system of revealed truth. It is referred to by our Lord and his apostles not only as being true, but as furnishing the ground of all God's subsequent dispensations and dealings with the children of men. The record of Adam's temptation and fall must be taken as a true historical account, if we are to understand the Bible at all as a revelation of God's purpose of mercy.
The effects of this first sin upon our first parents themselves were (1) "shame, a sense of degradation and pollution; (2) dread of the displeasure of God, or a sense of guilt, and the consequent desire to hide from his presence. These effects were unavoidable. They prove the loss not only of innocence but of original righteousness, and, with it, of the favour and fellowship of God. The state therefore to which Adam was reduced by his disobedience, so far as his subjective condition is concerned, was analogous to that of the fallen angels. He was entirely and absolutely ruined" (Hodge's Theology).
But the unbelief and disobedience of our first parents brought not only on themselves this misery and ruin, it entailed also the same sad consequences on all their descendants. (1.) The guilt, i.e., liability to punishment, of that sin comes by imputation upon all men, because all were represented by Adam in the covenant of works (q.v.). (See IMPUTATION.)