Did Adam have the power to believe in Christ?
I. This question lies between us and the Arminians who, to defend their hypothesis concerning the necessity of a certain universal sufficient grace, have introduced this opinion—that Adam never had the power of believing in Christ and so could not have lost it by sin. Nor, as a consequence, can God now in the gospel demand faith in Christ from us, unless he had previously bestowed sufficient grace for it because no one is bound to an impossibility. Hence they maintain that God either gives or at least is prepared to give to all the power of believing if he will. Thus they endeavor to prove two things at the same time: first, that we falsely assert that Adam lost the power of believing in Christ because he never had it; second, that the grace of faith ought to be universal from the justice and equity of the new covenant. Arminius says, “I say and affirm, asseverate, profess and teach that Adam before his fall had not power to believe in Christ because there was no need of faith in Christ; and therefore that God could not have demanded this faith from him after his fall (to wit, by this right) because Adam had criminally lost that power to believe” (“Apology or Defence … Against Certain Theological Articles,” 19 in The Writings of James Arminius , 1:333). Corvinus maintains and labors to prove the same thing against Tilenus and Molinaeus.
FRANCIS TURRETIN, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, ed. James T. Dennison Jr., trans. George Musgrave Giger, vol. 1 (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1992–97), 8.2.1 (p. 572).