Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. (Rom. 5:12)
Question 15: Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression?
Answer: The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression. (1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12)
The Bible makes clear that because of the sin of Adam, because he disobeyed the command not to eat from the forbidden tree, all people suffer the consequences of his actions. Adam and Eve were designed to live eternally in the presence of God and in harmonious relationship with God. But sin changed all that. Not only did Adam and Eve begin to age and eventually die physically, they first died spiritually (Eph 2:1, 5). These consequences were passed down to all their posterity, not via DNA but via the imputed guilt of Adam. In Romans 5:15-21, Paul will go on to explain just how and why Adam’s sin and guilt are passed on to all humanity. He does so by drawing a point of comparison between Adam and Jesus (the second Adam, cf. 1 Cor 15:45) and explaining that the manner in which justification and life come to those who are in union with Christ by faith is the same manner in which condemnation and death come to those are in union with Adam by birth. In other words, what Paul discusses is the idea of federal representation. Adam was the federal representative for all humanity. Thus, we reap the consequences of his actions. All humanity is imputed (credited) with his guilt, and thus inherit a corrupted soul. There are some who might think that is simply not fair. Why should we reap the consequences of Adam's actions? Should we not each be given the same opportunity as Adam had in the garden? First, do we really think we would have done better, given the same circumstances? Second, if we say we disagree with God imputing Adam’s guilt to us, then we must also be willing to say we disagree with God imputing Christ’s righteousness to us and that God should judge us based on our own merit. I, for one, am not willing to say that. Thank God we are imputed with Christ’s righteousness at the moment we place faith in him!
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