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This site is for thoughtful Christians learning how to answer the hard questions people are asking today

Original Sin – Part B

Deep Bible study of Romans 5 & I Corinthians 15
PURPOSE: Helping Christians engage in intelligent conversations with doubters and unbelievers


What happens here

Confident Christian

The doctrine of original sin is a church tradition from the fourth century that says everyone is born guilty FOR ADAM'S SIN and that, without Jesus as Savior, everyone is going to burn in hell forever as punishment, even people who never heard about Adam or Jesus.

This doctrine portrays God as an unjust monster and is driving people from God and the Bible. It's so horrific that few Christians dare talk about it in full and raw form with unbelievers.

Many Christians don't believe that the Bible teaches this doctrine and that it's a contradiction to the basic gospel message of love, justice, and free will. For sixteen hundred years, there has been heated theological argument about it.

This page will help you arrive at a confident personal decision about what to believe regarding original sin.

Informed Christian

Nearly everyone in the western world knows about 'the fall.' Literature, music, art, and church tradition over the centuries have been so replete with this narrative and its consequences to humanity that most people never bother about investigating what the Bible says about it if anything.

The Bible clearly teaches that everyone has a sin nature and needs the Savior (Jesus) because of personal sin. But the doctrine of original sin adds to the Bible by saying that everyone is fully guilty at birth for Adam's sin and ruin of God's perfect creation.

This page lays out all relevant Bible verses and issues to help you recognize the differences between the Bible and tradition regarding inherited sin.

Interesting Christian

This topic is usually a contentious conversation stopper when Christians try to explain it to doubters and unbelievers without good preparation. It's essential to maintain an interesting and intelligent dialog without letting it turn into an argument.

This page equips you to discuss this topic thoroughly and confidently, based on scripture, with people who are troubled by it.


Romans 5:12-21

Time to read and think

Most Christians give mental assent to the doctrine of original sin because it's what they have been taught, but few have ever studied it for themselves directly from the Bible or prepared themselves to discuss it with others.

This may be a good time to start a personal study.

All the verses quoted on this site are from the New International Version (NIV) version of the Bible.

To facilitate deeper study, you can go to a site that shows how each verse is translated in 29 different English versions of the Bible, displayed in parallel comparisons with each other on a single page.

To go really deep, for the most thorough Bible study method, you can go to a site that shows the Greek-to-English Interlinear translation of the original text. There you will find precise English words for each Greek word-character, together with an explanation of each word-character, plus links to other portions of scripture where that same word-character is used.

A deep study will show objectively what the Bible actually says (or doesn't say) about original sin.

Romans 5:12-21
Verse-by-verse study
This is the primary scripture used to justify the doctrine of original sin
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,
Sin is not a thing. It is not created or made. It is a condition.
Sin is violation of God's command (law). It is disobedience, which is nothing by itself but is rather a depravation of obedience. Disobedience is lack of obedience, just as cold is lack of heat, dark is lack of light, rot is lack of health, evil is lack of good, etc.
Because sin is not a thing – not something that literally moves – the word 'entered' in this context obviously means first appearance or first identified.
Therefore, the phrase 'sin entered' in this verse should be understood to mean when the condition first occurred.
The phrase 'entered the world' obviously means the world of humanitynot the first occurrence of sin ever – because the next verse and other passages say that Satan and his angels (demons) had already sinned. Satan was already in the Garden telling lies before Adam sinned.
This verse says that sin entered the world 'through one man' – NOT BECAUSE of one man. It does NOT say that sin and death began with one man. It says only that this man was the first human to sin, the first to violate God's law.
The word 'through' in this phrase is the English translation of the Greek word δι’ (pronounced dee-ah') found in the original Bible manuscripts. It is a preposition and means, literally, across to the other side, back-and-forth to go all the way through, successfully across.
Here are examples of how this same word δι’ (through) is used elsewhere in the New Testament: 'Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath' (Matthew 12:1); 'when an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest' (Matthew 12:43); 'This was written to fulfill what was written through the prophet Isaiah' (Matthew 8:17). None of these verses even imply any causation. 'Through' is not the same as 'because.'
This entire Romans 5 passage speaks of 'one man' without ever naming him, but it seems obvious from the context that the man is Adam. Emphasis is on man, not on Adam; emphasis on humanity, not on a person.
The following verse, verse 13, says that sin was in the world BEFORE the first law (don't eat this fruit) was given to man (Adam).
So what did Adam do that made him the first sinner? The answer is in verses 15-20: He was the first person to commit 'the trespass'replacing God; with full knowledge trying to take God's place discussed in panel below.
and death through sin,
The word 'through' in this phrase is the English translation of the Greek word διὰ (a slight variation of the same word defined in the previous phrase) found in the original Bible manuscripts. The technical linguistic definition of this word is: A primary preposition denoting the channel of an act; through.
Examples of this same word διὰ used elsewhere in the New Testament: 'Enter through the narrow gate' (Matthew 7:13); 'it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of the needle' (Matthew 19:24); 'We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God' (Acts 14:22). These verses are about route, not about cause. 'Through' is not the same as 'because.'
There was death on earth long before Adam sinned, ever since creation. Death is not God's design flaw. God knew exactly what He was doing when he created a universe of constant change and humans with free will. See Bible study here on topic of sin and death.
This verse does NOT say that sin CAUSES death but rather that death (final end of existence) now comes 'through sin;' i.e., final death now comes through resurrection, judgment and punishment. It's not like simple death to all other living creatures. Since God began giving law, people will pass to final eternal death (in hell) through (at end of) dealing with their personal sin.
For humans, death is no longer like it was originally – and still is for all the rest of God's creation – when physical death and final death were one and the same. Before sin, that distinction was meaningless. Now there's a new route: death is through sin, by way of sin ... must deal with sin first.
'death through sin'
after resurrection, judgment, and hell

The four words 'and death through sin' are not clear and need to be understood from more than quick surface reading, especially when those four words are the foundation for the doctrine of original sin.

Deeper study is provided by other Bible studies on this site, including:

✦ SIN BEFORE ADAM. There was sin in the world BEFORE Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Satan was already in the Garden telling lies and tempting Adam and Eve, and Eve had already eaten the fruit. (See Topic 1.4)

✦ DEATH BEFORE ADAM. God placed Adam in the Garden 'to work it and take care of it.' That would have been unnecessary unless the birth-aging-death cycle was already operating. (See Topic 1.3.2)

✦ MAN DIDN'T RUIN EVERYTHING. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, it is blasphemous to say that God created a world so flawed that one man could ruin it by causing things to start dying. God knew exactly what would happen, and He intentionally designed life and death into the world. Continuous life and reproduction without death and decay would result in overcrowding and suffocation. (See Topic 1.3.2)

✦ SCIENCE. Bible genealogies say that Adam lived approximately BC 4000 (see Topic 1.3.3). Science, the accumulated knowledge of God's world, has shown beyond doubt that there has been death in the world for considerably more than 6,000 years (see Topic 1.2), and a concocted theory of 'apparent age' cannot change it (see Topic 1.2.3).

and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned
This is the way – through resurrection, judgment and hell – that final death (end of existence) eventually comes to all people (without salvation), not because Adam sinned, but because ALL SINNED.
The big point here is that 'all sinned.' If everyone has sinned, it is meaningless to contrive a theory (original sin) about inheriting our guilt from another person.
Death is – and always has been – the default condition throughout all of God's creation. Everything and everybody dies. Life-and-death is the way God designed the universe. The only exception is that some people (Adam was first) receive an offer from God that, if accepted, can get them out of the default condition and into eternal life. (Everyone reading this page has this offer!)
The 'because' does not mean that sin causes death but rather that sin blocks access to eternal life, confining people to the default condition of everything on earth, which is death, just as Adam's sin blocked him from the Tree of Life.
Sin is not the cause of death but is the reason why a person's life can't move beyond death (to eternal life) without Jesus.
Many Christians use this verse to assert that the guilt for Adam's sin is placed on everyone individually because he is federal head (who says?) of the human race and therefore (why therefore?) all of his billions of descendants are also guilty. As discussed in section above on federal head, this is reading into the verse something that it doesn't say or even imply.
Actually, Adam probably was NOT the first human on earth (see Bible study here on people before Adam) ... the Bible does NOT say that God appointed him federal head of the human race ... and the Bible states clearly elsewhere that people are NOT guilty for the sins of others, only for their own sins.
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given,
This passage is speaking about Adam and his violation of God's law. In this context, 'the law' refers to the law (do not eat the forbidden fruit) given to Adam.
Some people think that 'the law' means the Ten Commandments given at a much later time. This passage, however, is all about Adam and his violation of the law given to him. We should not arbitrarily change the person, time and subject to another person, time and subject. This passage is clearly about Adam, not about Moses.
Furthermore, the next part of this verse says that 'sin is not charged against anyone's account where there is no law.' Sin WAS charged against Adam's account, so therefore the law referenced here had to PRECEDE the law given to Moses; i.e., it had to be the law given to Adam (do not eat this fruit).
This verse says that there was sin in the world BEFORE Adam, before God had given any commandment (law) to anyone. What kind of sin was that? Were there people before Adam? This raises a different subject too lengthy to discuss here, but it doesn't matter, because the next part of the verse says that such sin is 'not charged to anyone's account.'
Adam was the first person ever to receive a clear and unmistakable law directly from God. Adam was the first culpable sinner.
God's first law was specifically for people in the Garden of Eden, not for the whole world. The first law and punishment (see original sin) never applied to anyone other than Adam and Eve because, after God evicted them from the Garden, He prohibited anyone from having access to the Tree of Life (eternal life).
As far as we know from the Bible, the next time God gave any commandment (law) to any group of people was approximately 2,500 years later when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That Law was known and applicable only to the Israelites, a nation that accounted for less than 6% of the world's population at that time (see ancient population statistics).
This verse seems to say that, except for the brief law applying only to Adam and Eve and their offspring while living in the Garden, there WAS SIN in the world but NO LAW until time of Moses.
but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.
Sin is violation of God's commandment (law). There can be no culpable sin without law because there would be no law to violate. Sin and law are intrinsically linked.
This verse seems to say that any volitional action we call sin because we have the law is not sin when and where there is no law.
Modern analogy: Driving on the left side of the road in the United States is a violation if there is law prohibiting it, but not a violation if there is no law.
Or back then: Worship of multiple gods (sun god, harvest god, fertility god) is sin if God has made himself known and commanded worship only to himself, but is not sin if there is no law and people worship in primitive ignorance.
The words 'charged against anyone's account' is a way of saying that sin is individual and situationalnot corporate. This is contrary to the concept of original sin, contrary to saying that guilt for Adam's sin is placed on everyone.
This verse seems to say that God does NOT hold people accountable for things they know nothing about. Unlike the doctrine of origin sin, this is consistent with other portions of scripture which describe God's character as just and loving.
14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses,
'Death reigned' during that time apparently means that death (final death, no resurrection or punishment) was the default condition, the way it was ... people just died, period ... no knowledge or opportunity for eternal life ... no resurrection, no judgment, no heaven or hell. [There may have been some notable exceptions, as for Enoch, Noah, and Abraham, but apparently this is the way it was – death reigned, death was normative – for virtually all people during that time.]
The time from Adam (about 4000 BC) to Moses (about 1500 BC) was about 2,500 years – longer than the time from Jesus to now! God did not offer eternal life to anyone during that time.
Because of Adam's sin, God cut off all access to the Tree of Life during that time. Genesis 3:22 indicates that the Tree of Life was then God's only offer of eternal life. The result is that people of that time died (end of existence) without knowing about or being able to choose eternal life. In verses 15-19 those people are called 'the many.'
even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam,
Proponents of the doctrine of original sin (every person is born guilty for Adam's sin) say that the word 'death' really means just the opposite: life forever, in hell. They have contrived an accommodation doctrine called 'spiritual death' (not really death, see Bible study here on spiritual death) and a doctrine of unimaginable unjust torture (see Bible study here on burning in hell forever), which go far beyond the simple concept of eternal separation from God (death).
The people who lived between Adam and Moses did not sin like Adam sinned – by breaking a direct command from God – because they had no personal encounter with God and no law from God. So what happened to them? Based on preceding verses, they lived, then died (end of existence), the normal cycle of life on earth.
who is a pattern of the one to come.
THIS IS A TRANSITION POINT (from sin-and-death to Adam-vs-Jesus). The teaching now shifts into a series of five contrasts between Adam (sinner) and Jesus (Savior).
In the remaining verses of this chapter, Adam is a pattern (a particular kind of life: human, disobedient) and Jesus is a pattern (a particular kind of life: divine, obedient).
The contrasting patterns are summarized succinctly in 1 Corinthians 15:22: 'For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.' This is the central Christian message: Eternal life through Jesus Christ, God's gift, our Savior.
15a But the gift is not like the trespass.
This is the first use of the word 'trespass' in this chapter, and it is used frequently to end of the chapter.
The word 'trespass' is the English translation of the Greek word παράπτωμα, which literally means to fall away after being close beside. Some English versions translate this Greek word as offense, transgression, fall, debts and sin. Some, like the NIV version, use these English words interchangeably for this same Greek word παράπτωμα, e.g., 'Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors' (Matthew 6:12) and 'the gift is not like the trespass' (Romans 5:15).
'the trespass'
taking God's place
This is an explanation of the term 'trespass' as used in verses 15-20, referring back to the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:4-3:24. 'The trespass' is Adam's sin, which is much more than just eating forbidden fruit.
There were two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. See Bible study here on Garden of Eden.
God said to Adam, 'You are free to eat from 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.'
God gave Adam a clear personal choice: either certain death or opportunity for eternal life. And Adam told Eve about the commandment.
But Satan said to Adam and Eve: 'You will not surely die ... For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'
We don't know how much time elapsed between the time Satan said this and the time the actual sin was committed. We can assume it was enough time – perhaps days, weeks or maybe even months – for Adam to process the situation and set his motivation.
We know the essence of the sin was not eating forbidden fruit, otherwise Eve would be named as the first sinner. The essence was a willful rebellion in Adam's heart and mind occurring BEFORE eating the fruit handed to him by Eve, who had eaten first.
Here we see the motivation. This was more than a minor infraction. It was revolt, rebellion! Adam wanted to eat the fruit so he could be like God, so he could set his own rules.
People ever since have been making decisions to be their own god and/or worship other gods.
Approximately 2,500 years passed before God again gave another law –the Ten Commandments – to Moses for all Israelites. The first commandment was: 'You shall have no other Gods before me' (Exodus 20:3).
Another 1,500 years passed before God (Jesus) made it crystal clear for everyone: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.' (Matthew 32:37-38).
God first and only has always been the fundamental commandment (law) from God; violation is 'the trespass.'
Another word for this sin is idolatry – when a person puts self and/or things in the place of God.
This is more than just ordinary sin; it is rebellion against God, wanting to be one's own God. It is still the critical sin for people today.
15b For if THE MANY [not everyone]died by the trespass of the one man,
VERSE 15 IS CONTRAST #1 (trespass vs. gift):
'THE MANY' in this verse are all those in Adam's immediate family and extended families over several thousand years who could have had the opportunity for eternal life if punishment for Adam's sin had not denied them access to the Tree of Life.
Linguistic technical: The Greek word πολλοὶ translated 'the many' in this phrase is an adjective referring to the verb ('died') which is in the past tense, so it means a large but indefinite number of people who have died already, not people in the future. Therefore, it does not mean all mankind. This verse does NOT say that ALL PEOPLE die because of Adam's sin.
VERY IMPORTANT: This verse says only that THE MANY (a particular group of people in the past, not all people past and present) DIED because of Adam's sin.
Most Christians overlook the qualifier – THE MANY – and stretch the verse to mean ALL people at ALL times and places. By definition, 'many' means some but not all.
God gave Adam free will and offered him eternal life from the Tree of Life, but said all he would get from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is death.
Penalty for the trespass was expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden and permanent closure of the Garden. This penalty denied 'THE MANY' the opportunity to choose eternal life from the Tree of Life, and thus they all died, no possibility of eternal life.
This verse says that the many died because of Adam's sin, but this is NOT the same as saying (original sin) that they and ALL PEOPLE THEREAFTER are condemned to burn in hell forever because of Adam's sin. That goes far beyond what the verse actually says. The verse says simply that they 'died' (end of existence, the default condition for life on earth).
15c 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 [THE MANY after Christ]!
Paul contrasts Adams 'trespass' with God's 'gift.' Adam's trespass is death (end of existence); God's gift is eternal life (no end to existence).
Adam's sin denied eternal life to many people, but God's gift (Jesus) gives eternal life to a far greater number of people ('much more') all over the world. The gift 'overflows' – or as other translations say, abounds, exceeds and showers – so that the effect of Jesus on the world is so 'much more' than the effect of Adam.
16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin:
The magnitude and effect of God's gift relative to Adam's sin is incomparable! In fact, so incomparable that, in scripture, Jesus and the New Testament writers (other than a few references by Paul) never even mention Adam. In the big picture, Adam has little effect – it's all about Jesus!
The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation,
VERSE 16 IS CONTRAST #2 (condemnation vs. justification):
The judgment and punishment for Adam's trespass – one sinbrought condemnation to many people. The judgment closed the Garden and denied further access to the Tree of Life. Those who otherwise could have eaten from the Tree of Life were instead condemned to death (denied eternal life) because at that time there was no other way to move beyond ordinary death, no other way (yet) for eternal life.
but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
The sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the gift brought justification for many trespasses; i.e., brought huge numbers of trespassers with huge numbers of trespasses into a forgiven and eternal relationship with God.
17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man,
VERSE 17 IS CONTRAST #3 (death vs. life):
For those generations of Adam's family denied eternal life because of Adam's sin, death reigned (was normative). The people just died, the default condition of life on earth. There was no alternative. Eternal life was not available to them because God did not offer them any means to eternal life.
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!
Now on a much larger scale ('how much more'), Jesus is the way through the barrier of personal sin, the roadblock to eternal life. Jesus – God's free undeserved gift – is the way to escape the default condition of death (end of existence). Those who receive God's gift (Jesus) will reign in life (have eternal life).
18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people [of that time],
VERSE 18 IS CONTRAST #4 (one sin vs. one righteous act):
This verse is the primary proof-text (without the brackets, explained below) used to support of the belief that, because of Adam's sin, everyone without Jesus as Savior will burn in hell forever (original sin).
so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people [now].
THERE ARE THREE PROBLEMS with using this verse to support the doctrine of original sin:
PROBLEM 1. This verse is also the proof-text used by people who believe in universal salvation. If we say that Adam gives sin to 'all people,' then we must treat the second part of the verse the same way and say that Jesus gives eternal life to 'all people.' It is contradictory and meaningless to say that everyone has both original sin (hell) and eternal life (heaven); they cancel each other. Therefore, the broadest interpretation of 'all people' (no qualification) must be incorrect and is contrary to the main theme of the Bible.
PROBLEM 2. There were people on earth before Adam (see Bible study here on people before Adam). So if the broadest interpretation of 'all people' is used, then this would have to include the people who lived before Adam. But verse 13 says sin is not charged against those people. It's an unwarranted stretch to say that Adam's sin is placed retroactively on people who have already lived and died or that Jesus died as a substitute for people who were not guilty of sin. Therefore, the broadest interpretation must be incorrect.
PROBLEM 3. If 'all people' is interpreted to mean everyone, without any qualification, this verse is out synch with the surrounding verses which say 'the many,' a limited number meaning less than all. Therefore the broadest interpretation must be incorrect.
Three words of qualification – for all people [of that time], added in brackets to the translation above – eliminates all three problems. This clarification is justified because, in context, the passage is referring to people who lived in the time period between Adam and Moses (verse 18 'time of Moses to Adam' through verse 20 when 'the law was brought in').
We know that the 'righteous act' of Jesus did not automatically bring eternal 'life for all people,' so in parallel interpretation, we can confidently say that the 'trespass' did not automatically bring 'condemnation for all people.'
19 For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made [to remain as] sinners,
VERSE 19 IS CONTRAST #5 (disobedience vs. obedience):
Many people who lived between Adam and Moses (2,500 years) – the time period in which this verse is set – did not have opportunity for eternal life because of Adam's sin, and thus 'the many' remain as sinners because 'all sinned' (verse 12).
Verse 12 is confirmed by Romans 3:23 ('all have sinned') and many other passages in scripture. People become sinners individually, their own sin. Brackets have been added to the text above for clarification to indicate that, without a means of salvation, people cannot get out of the sinner's condition.
The phrase 'were made sinners' does not mean that people would be without sin if Adam had not sinned because Verse 12 tells us that we have made ourselves sinners. Therefore, a clarification (brackets above) is to say that 'the many were made to remain as sinners;' i.e., because of Adam's sin, they were denied the means of salvation which could have saved them from their sinful condition.
This verse and preceding verses say that Adam's disobedience affected 'the many,' unlike the doctrine of original sin which says it affected 'all.'
so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
THIS IS A TRANSITION POINT (from past to present):
Universal salvation is not taught in the Bible. People are not made righteous involuntarily, automatically and necessarily because of the obedience of Jesus. Nor are people made sinners involuntarily, automatically and necessarily because of the disobedience of Adam. The wording is parallel, so what we say of the one we must say of the other – neither hell nor heaven are forced upon anyone by an act of another. It is by personal choice. That is a main theme throughout the Bible.
20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
God has since brought in new commandments (law): Ten Commandments to Moses for the Israelites and the teachings of Jesus for everyone.
First of the Ten Commandments is: 'You shall have no other Gods before me' (Exodus 20:3). Violation of this commandment is 'the trespass.'
Jesus said: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment' (Matthew 22:37-38). Violation of this commandment is 'the trespass.'
This commandment – one God only – has been given to a rapidly growing world population, so of course the incidence of the trespass (taking God's place) has increased. But God's grace increased 'all the more' by world-wide knowledge of His offer of salvation to everyone through Jesus.
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.
The key point of it all: We are no longer constrained to death (end of existence after judgment and punishment). Now everyone can have 'eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.'
See Bible study here on death and hell.


I Corinthians 15

I Corinthians 15
Study of applicable verses
This is additional scripture used to justify the doctrine of original sin and should be read together with Romans 5
Like Romans 5 above, I Corinthians 15 is a contrast between a human man (Adam) and a divine man (Jesus).
In Romans 5 we learned that humanity can bring only death, but divinity can bring eternal life.
21a For since death came through a man,
Death as we now experience it came 'through' the human man, Adam, the first sinner. We understand the meaning of 'through' from study of Romans 5:12-21 above.
Before Adam, death was simply dying like every other living thing. But ever since God gave 'law' to humans, death takes a new route. Humans now must first deal with sin – resurrection, judgment and hell – before final death in hell. People without Jesus as Savior will be punished for their own sin in hell and, depending upon time and degree of punishment, they will eventually die in hell, as Jesus said, 'destroyed ... consumed ... burned up ... perish.'
21b the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
Resurrection (dealing with our sin after physical death) comes through the divine man, Jesus Christ.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made alive.
This is a stark contrast between humanity ('as in Adam') and divinity ('so in Christ'). We get death from Adam. We get eternal life from Jesus Christ.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
The default condition of life on earth has always been death. Nothing on earth has ever been immortal, not even Adam. Death is the fate of being human, with only one exception: eternal life through Christ.
Death is the enemy of eternal life. The only way to have eternal life – i.e., the only way to defeat death – is through Christ.
45 So it is written, The first Adam became a living being; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.
Where was it written? 'And the Lord God formed man [Hebrew hā·’ā·ḏām, mankind] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being' (Genesis 2:7).
This is a reminder that even physical life is from God, the life-giver.
Obviously, Jesus was not the 'last' man on earth because other men have lived after him. Likewise, Adam was not the 'first' man on earth for reasons given in Bible study here on people before Adam and verse 13 in the above Romans 5 study.
First and last refer to the two men in this comparison, not the first and last humans on earth.
46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
Natural life (physical life) came first (when God created mankind), and after that (time of Adam) God introduced spiritual life. Adam was the first human with spiritual life and accountability.
47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.
The first man in this comparison (Adam) was human. The second man (Jesus) is divine.
48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven.
All people are like Adam, earthly humans destined to death, except for people who have Jesus as Savior, destined for heaven.
None of these verses say that we inherit the guilt for Adam's sin.
 Is concept of 'spiritual death' in the Bible?


Topics of interest

Helping Christians engage in intelligent and persuasive conversations with doubters and unbelievers