These and other such questions center around a doctrine known as "original sin". As central as this doctrine has been to post-Biblical historic Christianity, it is debatable whether the Bible itself is particularly clear and explicit about these issues. Is the knowledge of the first few chapters of Genesis necessary for a person to be saved? Can a person come to know Christ without coming to know of Adam?

There are only a few places in the New Testament where Adam was mentioned with any relevance. A few of these have to do with marriage and the proper role relationships of men and women. But concerning the effect that Adam had on the judgment of the human race, there are two main passages. Romans 5:12-21 and 1Cor 15:21,22,42-50Allow me to present a thesis first followed by supporting arguments.


Supporting Arguments

Because Adam sinned, everyone physically dies. People are more than just physical beings,
they have a soul which is distinct from their flesh. The flesh may be reckoned guilty while the soul innocent.
And this is the state into which people are born. The flesh and the soul are treated distinctly.
Sin dwells in the flesh. (Which is the "sinful nature" innate within people) The sinful nature was inherited from Adam The soul is reckoned guilty
when it makes a conscious decision to cooperate with the flesh in sinning.

Paraphrase of Romans 5:12-21

The sinful nature which we see innate in people had originally entered the world through Adam. Physical death was the result of his sin, and since people are reckon to be "in Adam" according to the flesh, everyone is subject to death. Notice that people died even before they were aware of violating God's explicit commands. This implies that their deaths were not necessarily associated with a sin they had committed in their lifetime.

On the other hand, Christ may be likened to Adam in that the gift of eternal life became available through him as death became available through Adam. Only much more so. For death is temporary, but life is eternal. Consider the outcome of each. In Adam's case, the judgment found in Genesis 3:14-19 was the outcome. But in Christ's case, justification was the outcome in despite of people's sinfulness.

People are subject to physical death because of Adam's sin. But then again, those who receive God's grace - the gift of eternal life - will be the ones who rule in life, upon their resurrection from the dead, through Jesus Christ.

To summarize:

What about the Law?

It was added so that people might become aware of their sinfulness. But this was in order for God to also reveal his graciousness much more, to the end that as sin revealed it's dominance through physical death, so grace might reveal its dominance through the manner in which God has provided the gift of righteousness bring us eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Answers to the first four questions

What relevance does Adam have to you personally? If Christians have been forgiven and justified, why do they still die? Are babies born innocent or guilty? Where do they go when they die? Why is it that people seem to be innately sinful?

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Jul 29,2015