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ORIGIN 1.4.4
Romans 5:12-21

Original sin?

Black text from New International Standard Version (NIV)
Following is a section of a letter of instruction written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Rome. This section assumes his audience has heard about Adam, and it makes a comparison – a juxtaposition – between Adam and Jesus. Paul wrote this approximately 58 AD, about 4,000 years after Adam died and 20 years after Jesus' resurrection.
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,
SAYS sin entered the world through one man [Adam] – entrance, appearance
DOES NOT SAY sin entered the world because of one man [Adam] – causal, source
Adam eating forbidden fruit was not the first sin, because Eve ate before Adam, and before that Satan lied to Eve about God.
NOTE: Many Christians interpret this verse to mean that Adam's sin is placed on us as individuals because Adam was head of the human race and therefore all of his billions of descendants are personally guilty for his sin of eating forbidden fruit. However, nowhere else in the Bible is there even a suggestion that people are individually guilty for the private sin of their leader or that every child is guilty for the sin of a parent. Furthermore, Adam was not the first human; millions of people lived before him.
The final phrase of this verse makes it clear that every person is responsible for his and her own sins and that our guilt is individual 'because ALL sinned.'
NOTE: Since ALL have sinned, sin is thus not inherited from Adam because not all people are descendants of Adam. Some people lived and died before Adam [see Origin 1.3] and their descendants are also part of the human race.
So what was there about Adam that opened the world to sin? Verses 15-20 call it 'the trespass.' (New American Standard Version calls it 'transgression.' King James and Catholic PD versions call it 'offense.') Sounds like something specific and critically important. What was it?
NOTE: The most amazing part of the Garden of Eden story is that God came to man ... talked to man ... wanting a personal relationship with man! For nearly fourteen billion years [see Origin 1.1 and Origin 1.2], the earth was being prepared for this!
This was the first time that God ever talked to man. It was the start of something totally new!
The trespass (transgression, offense) was that Adam exercised his free will against God after an encounter with God. People already had free will, but Adam was the first to have an encounter with God and be given a command from God. There was no sin before an encounter and a law, and Adam was the first to experience both.
The trespass consisted of these elements:
  • God showed up
  • God spoke personally, unmistakably, gave a law
  • Man yielded to temptation, chose what he knew was wrong
  • Worst sin, Adam wanted to be his own god
SHOWED UP. Not everyone has a personal encounter with God – e.g., people who were outside of the Garden, and people today who have never heard about Jesus. This raises questions about the 'chosen' and the 'elect.' Why does God chose to reveal himself to some people but not to others? Will some people be punished for Adam's trespass even though God never came to them? [See Destiny 3.2]
SPOKE. Adam was the first person in human history who God encountered personally with a clear command and penalty – the world's first law: 'You are free to eat of any tree in the Garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.' – i.e., can't have eternal life.
CHOICE. 'When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took it and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.' Adam ignored God's explanation and violated God's law.
WORST SIN. Earlier Satan had said, 'When you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God ...' Adam wanted to be his own God. That's the trespass, moving into God's position. And that's the main theme of the Bible: 'You shall have no other gods before me' (Old Testament first commandment); 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' (New Testament greatest commandment). No idolatry. Good looks beyond the sin to the motive.
This opened the door as God has encountered billions of people since, and now with Holy Spirit.
Seems like sin entered – i.e., the spiritual door was opened – when God appeared, talked to man, and gave him free will, first time ever! By definition, this will result in sin because, inherently, free will means options and contrary choices.
Man is now a sinner because of his free will. If free will did not lead to decisions contrary to God's command, then it would not be real free will. Actions would be compelled,
Gave a command (not to eat from a certain tree), and when Adam did it anyway.
Adam is the first sinner because he is the first human that had a personal encounter with God and a command.
and death through sin,
Doesn't say that sin causes death but that death now comes through sin.
There had been death ever since first life on earth, long before Adam [see Origin 1.3 and Origin 1.10]. But the new kind of death for people is not simply death as it had been before (like all other death in God's creation); now death is through sin – by way of sin. In other words, before a person dies (not just bodily death, but end of existence) each person must face judgment and punishment for sin. The new order is that hell intervenes before death.
When the body dies, the soul still lives. As used here, the word 'death' probably refers to more than bodily death; it seems to mean end of existence [see Origin 1.3]. Many Christians change the meaning to 'spiritual death,' but it's unlikely that Adam would have known what that meant. And how can anyone experience spiritual death without first having experienced spiritual life?
and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
This is the way – through sin (judgment and resulting punishment) – that death now comes to all people. Death doesn't come in this way to an individual because Adam sinned, but because ALL sinned. Don't blame it on Adam. Everyone is guilty of his or her own sin.
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.
The first law was the commandment given to Adam. And there was sin even before that. Must have been natural law. So Paul taking about a particular sin here – more than just natural law and conscience – but breaking a covenant-law.
But bad things done violating conscience done by people before Adam not held agains them because God had not yet put it into law. Conscience is awareness and guidance, but turns to sin what codified by God.
Conscience is a guide, for ruling, but not the law. Sin in a sense, but not punished by God.
14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!
'Trespass' (NIV) is a key word in this passage. New American Standard Version translates the original Greek word as 'transgression.' King James as 'offense.' Catholic Public Domain Version as 'offense.'
Contrast is between Adam (sin nature) and Jesus (holy nature). Even if say sin came into world BECAUSE of Adam, that does't mean because he ate fruit, but in contrast because he has sin nature.
Worst possible sin – and worst possible fate – is to reject or ignore God's offer of free eternal life.
Who were the many who died? Those who could have been born in the Garden and eaten from the Tree of Life, but instead died because Adam and Eve driven from garden protected by angels.
Regarding Jesus, the many are those who have opportunity.
16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 12 says that sin entered the world through one man, Adam.
How did he sin? Disobeyed God's law and ate forbidden fruit.

But Verse 13 says that sin was in the world before the law was given, before God told Adam not to eat the fruit.

Verse 13 is confirmed by the Eden story: The serpent was first to sin. Eve was second. Adam was third.

Therefore, sin entered the world through Adam, but Adam was not the first sinner.

So Adam's 'trespass' (Verses 15-20) must not have been the act of eating the fruit. Then, what was it?


The changed nature of one man, moral nature, capable of right and wrong action, a person's inherent character, susceptible to sin

The capacity to say no to God.

Satan already there.

God gave man a free will and then a command. Changes everything.

Federal headship .. but then the sins of another. Flaw because each responsible for own actions and only Christ bears sins of another. Otherwise, Lot would have been personally guilty for sin of his wife when fleeing Sodom, Moses would have been personally responsible for all sins of Israelites, and fathers today would be personally responsible for all sins of their wives and children.

Can't avoid it by saying not guilty, but suffer consequences of. Same thing, just different labels. With that approach, Eve would be the first sinner and Adam suffered the consequences.

Did not have knowledge of good and evil before committing the sin.

Sin was yielding to Satan's temptation to be own God.

Natural law and covenant law

This was first covenant law.

  • Sin was not eating the fruit, but disobeying God's command. Symbolism tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  • Sin was not eating the fruit, but disobeying God's command. Symbolism tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  • Not a physical thing, as passed on in genes.
  • REASON: Result of free will.
  • Of course, with free will, everyone will sin.
  • In fact, disobedience (sin) is inherent in free will. If no one ever sinned, there would be no free will. God knew that man would disobey.
  • Free will is necessary for love.
  • A careful reading of the Bible text shows that Adam was not the first to sin. Satan sinned first by convincing Eve to eat. Eve sinned second by eating. Then Adam third. Sin entered the world before Adam sinned.
  • So we can't blame Adam. We sin, too. True, everyone coming from Adam's line is a sinner because everyone since has moral and free will. Only way God can be just.
  • Bible does not name original sin as concept, one that sin is traced back to Adam.
  • Because Bible names Adam as first sinner rather than Eve, go back to Adam first having instructions and free will. Adam got spiritual nature first.

I Cor 15:22

The contrast instituted here between Adam and Christ refers to death and life, but great difficulty turns on the interpretation of the two "alls." "As in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." Dods (Expositor's Bible, 366) interprets it of Adam as the source of physical life that ends in death, and of Christ as the source of spiritual life that never dies. favors the view of Meyer and Ellicott that "all" is to be given the same interpretation in each clause, and that the reference is to all who are to rise, whether for life or condemnation, and that this is to be "in Christ"

Restate in modern English

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Adam was not the first human in the world,


Satan (serpent) sinned before Eve,


Eve sinned before Adam,


Adam was not the world's first sinner.


The Bible (Romans 5) says SIN ENTERED the world through Adam,


What was there about Adam – if not eating forbidden fruit – that opened the world to sin?

A primary focus of this study of Romans 5 is to answer this pivotal question and to see if everyone carries his guilt

Seeking answer to this question:

Is there original sin?
Better term is Sin Nature.


  • Hell is a real placeand/or condition. There will be horrific punishment in hell for the sins of those who have ignored or rejected God's offer of salvation.
  • This punishment will last for a period of time, depending upon judgment for sin committed, but will ultimately end. The wicked will not be tormented forever. They will pass out of existence.
  • Hell fire is forever.