Romans 5:12 and Universalism: Applying My Take on Romans 5:12 to the Problem

Posted By on August 24, 2009

I’m actually surprised at how brief this one turned out to be! (I’m sure you all are as well). Here’s the passage:

12 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 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, follow my thinking here:

5:12  death (not guilt) passes to ALL humans

One man (Adam) = sin entered the world = death

5:15 – the free gift is not like the trespass – Paul sets up a contrast, but he’ll also be making comparisons.

5:15 – If many died . . .

I take this to refer not to physical death, but the second death, which not all will suffer (see earlier posts on that)

. . . grace abounded to many – i.e., the ones not suffering the second death

Take the above to 5:16

5:16 – the one trespass brought condemnation (to many, not all), and so the free gift brought justification (to many, not all)

5:17 – by the one man’s sin, death reigned (not guilt), but that sin brought many under condemnation, and so how much more will those who receive grace (not all will, but many will)

To this point, things extend from my view in a pretty straghtforward way. Then Paul appears to throw a monkey wrench into it.

The toughest verses (for everyone) are the next two, because they use the “all” language on both sides of the equation. BUT (and this is critical) note that the “all” language used in verse 18 CHANGES BACK to the earlier “less than all” (i.e., the “many”) language in v. 19:

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

My take on vv. 18-19:

1. The one trespass put all humans under the condemnation of death (there’s the “all” note that the condemnation in v. 18 is not specified or defined). It does NOT mean sinfulness since that is brought up in v. 19 in connection with the “many” – NOT in connection with the all.
2. Many of the all who are under the condemnation of death were made sinners (here’s v. 19 and Paul’s “many” noting that Paul goes back to “many” language).

So that:

The one act of Adam that affected all actually led to a subset of many. All were put under the curse of death and, theoretically, all would sin; not all do, though, because they don’t all get to live. The many who do sin are then rightly called sinners.

* IN THEORY, THEN, the “all condition” COULD produce the same outcome for ALL, but the reality is that only MANY will “partake.”

3. The one man’s act of righteousness (here’s the Jesus part of v. 18) leads to justification and life for all humanity. How to avoid universalism here? (and it’s important since universalism is denied elsewhere in Romans 5 and many other places, Pauline and not). I think there are ways to parse this, using my view of Romans 5:12 as a starting point.

a. On one hand, the “life” part is easy, since it could refer to eternal life, which is actually shared by all (unless there is annihilation), the unsaved and the saved. But that’s a bit forced and doesn’t address the justification part. You’d have to redefine justification, which is also self-serving. Better . . .
b. One could simply apply what was said about the first Adam:

The one act of Jesus affects all IN THEORY but actually leads to a subset of many. All could have eternal life and justification, but not all do. Why take it this way? Because it resolves what looks like a contradiction in Paul. In verse 18 Paul says what Jesus did “leads to justification and life for all humanity, but then he turns around and limits it (creates a subset) in the next verse: “so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” My proposal has Paul make sense here and not appear schizophrenic.

*IN THEORY, THEN, the “all condition” COULD produce the same outcome for ALL, but the reality is that only MANY will “partake.”

The main contrastive point in all this, of course, is that of death vs. life being the outcome of what the two Adams did.

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24 Responses to “Romans 5:12 and Universalism: Applying My Take on Romans 5:12 to the Problem”

  1. Jonnathan Molina says:

    **sorry this post is so’s a 3 A.M. ramble**

    In light of your view of Rom 5:12, it seems the problem of sin has to do with the fact that it’s not about being born a sinner (inherited sin) as it’s iving with the aftermath of what it means to be ‘outside the garden’. Your view does some good things (puts the blame squarely on us; gets to the bottom of sinless Jesus, e.g.). However, it’s hard to think of an alternative that sufficiently explains our condition. Ok, so if we’re not born sinners…then we sin simply because we can? Or (theoretically) have no other choice…why? Is it the bondage of the will thing that Luther preached (ugh, Luther)?. What I”m trying to say is: if your position is, “if we live long enough we are going to sin because we lost what Adam had, the Manifest Presence of God In The Garden. That’s the curse of the fall” it still could be argued that God is still punishing us with ‘the ability to sin’ (inherited or not) and we can still end up laying blame at His feet (He didn’t have to take His presence outside the garden. Adam’s children were born innocent, why did they have to know of the story of sin at all…to tempt them to do the same? It could have died with Adam and Eve theoretically. But I see where if you can’t stop humans from sinning even in a perfect environment then it makes sense to put them ALL subject to death, to prevent them from continuing in their folly (in much the same way the tree of life was taken from Adam and Eve) as that still gives them time to repent and, through His grace, get a chance to beat the ‘whatever mechanism of sin’ exists in the world and live forever with Him once again.

  2. Jonnathan Molina says:

    And, wow, 3 am grammar is bad. First sentence should read: In light of your view of Rom 5:12, it seems the problem of sin has less to do with ‘being born a sinner’ and more to do with ‘living with the aftermath of ‘being outside the garden’. Thanks.

  3. cwmyers007 says:

    I like how you dunk universalism. Although it escapes me how you can admit that Adam’s one transgression brought the CONDEMNATION of death to all humanity and yet you deny that all humans are condemnable (“innocent” infants). You believe that the infant’s human nature makes it unclean so that it needs Christ, but you do not think that it deserves condemnation on that account–since condemnation is for guilty sinners (and according to you the infant is not guilty, nor a sinner). Yet would that not contradict what you say when you admit that by Adam’s one sin CONDEMNATION comes to ALL? Am I the only one that sees this as contradictory?

    • Ed Roberts says:

      No this is not contradictory… the condemnation is “of death”… so what humans “inherited” was mortality, they die… so you can die as an infant without having sinned… that death came because Adam sinned… he passed death on to humanity… innocence that you are speaking of is “without sin”… so you can be an infant and innocent, yet still die, because Adam passed that on to all men… condemnation in this verse does not mean you are unrighteous before God… it just means something bad was passed on to you… that does not mean (necessarily) that you are bad or a sinner….

      • MSH says:

        I’m not sure you are reading me correctly, as a lot of what you say in response is what I think, and the point of several of these posts – ? In all these posts I say the issue is mortality, but your responses don’t seem to catch that for some reason, in that they read like you’re positing that view as distinct from my post.

  4. cwmyers007 says:

    Since when does the condemnation of death come to those who do not deserve it?

  5. papillionkiller says:

    I haven’t replied to this until now, for the reason I agree with you, good reason? maybe not.

    How I point to this argument is by the (led) and (leads to).
    The one man’s (Adam) act ‘led’ to death for all humanity.
    The one man’s (Jesus) act ‘leads to’ justification and (Eternal) life.

    I understand “led” as something that happen, is active and “leads to” something that can happen, act upon.

    Both acts encompass all of humanity.

    So Paul gives us a hard reading here with the ‘many’ and ‘all’. I have found people just don’t think past the “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”

    And Paul says “the many were made sinners” leaving some not sinners – so, we have to ask the question – who isn’t a sinner or who hasn’t sinned but still under the penalty of sin (death) to reconcile this.

    I think you intend to cover this soon so I will stop here.

    Getting one to understand sin or not sin is a personal thing between each person and God.

    Acting upon the one’s act to justification and life is a personal action between one person and God.

    Enjoying this,

  6. MSH says:

    @cwmyers007: all humans will die (barring deliverance at the eschaton).

  7. MSH says:

    @Jonnathan Molina: we’re born sinners (we will sin and cannot not sin), but we aren’t born guilty.

  8. cwmyers007 says:

    Mike, yes, all humans die, but that also means that all human are condemned, as Paul said, “by the offense of one man came condemnation upon all men” (Rom. 5:18). If a infants dies… that death is nothing short of condemnation. Your view must explain how the infant can be both innocent and yet condemnable.

  9. cwmyers007 says:

    Mike, Looking at your response to Jonathan Molina…..I thought you argued that we are NOT born sinners? (remember your dealing with Eph. 2:3 and Psalm 51:5). How is it that sinners can be innocent? This is contradictory. Sinners are condemned to death. It is scandalous (as was Christ’s crucifixion) to condemn innocents to death. In addition going back to your main contention…if you admit that we are born sinners, how do you not make Jesus born a sinner?

  10. […] Alan Bandyreflects on differentinterpretations ofRom 1:17and Michael Heislerlooks at what Rom 5:12might say about universalism. And if you think Paul’s use ofioudaismos (usually Judaism) and euangellion […]

  11. MSH says:

    @cwmyers007: Every human being is born with the propensity to sin and will sin, if allowed to live. Maybe I should just keep using that one phrase. I don’t spend any time comparing my phrases in posts; just don’t have that kind of time.

  12. MSH says:

    @cwmyers007: I just don’t have the time to keep repeating lines from other posts; this is already addressed.

  13. Kevin says:

    I get really confused when any teaching of Paul occurs. I look at him as the father of legalism, more than the title he normally is given, which is the “father of Christianity.” In my research, I stumbled upon this website. I don’t know about this fellows legitimacy, but he seems to have his info in order. I am posting the link in hopes that you will address this, as I have come to like your humility and honesty on the topics I ask. Is Paul really a contradiction to Jesus’ message?

    Keep chipping up the babble,

  14. WoundedEgo says:

    >>>…In verse 18 Paul says what Jesus did leads to justification and life for all humanity…

    The problem is that this verse is mistranslated. The genitive is “justification OF life.” Paul says in chapter 3 that the purpose of Jesus’ death was not to justify men (because, as he says in chapter 8, “God is the justifier” of men) but rather to justify *God*:

    Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his [God’s] righteousness [despite winking at sin]: that he [God] might be just[ified], and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

    The “Satisfaction Theory” has it all back-Assward.

    The debt that had to be paid was God’s own debt:

    Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine [to fulfill]; I will repay [my obligation to do so], saith the Lord.

    So, God was not free to forgive, say Hitler, because he owed it to the Jews to avenge their blood. But by setting forth Jesus, he, in some sense, participated in victimization at the hands of the wicked, so when he forgives sin and forgoes punishment, he does so with honor, rather than with negligence. Hence John can say:

    1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    In other words, he is inclined to forgive and justified in doing so because he had set forth a propitiation for the sins of the whole lost world. This was the “justification of life for all men” needed in order to free God to loose the pains of death from those who [repent and] believe.

  15. Joseph Ludvigson says:

    I hope that this comment being a year and a half after the last comment does not make it inapplicable. All the discussion about man’s sin/death problem, and your one answer being that it is possible for all men to be saved potentially by the death of Christ, makes me wonder how those who believe in double predestination deal with your view of the 5th chapter of Romans?

  16. Rick Owen says:

    Dear Dr. Heiser,

    Thank you so much for your research on many interesting topics, as well as your clear and thoughtful writing and speaking that has been recorded for many to enjoy.

    Even though I’ve just skimmed your series on Romans 5:12, I believe I have grasped the gist of what you are saying and why you are saying it. Here are some thoughts and observations I hope will edify. This is a little lengthy since I saved up my comments to respond to your entire series. Please forgive me for any parts which seem to repeat what you or others have posted.

    1. “All’ and “many” in Romans 5 appear to be synonymous in meaning (pertaining to all in a group comprised of many people, echoing Isaiah 53:6, 11) and used interchangeably but applied in a contrasting way to two groups related to either Adam or Christ.

    2. Paul expresses the same theology elsewhere in terms of two Adams — the first Adam, or the first man, and the last Adam, or Christ, also called “the second man” (1 Cor. 15:45, 47). These are special expressions that suggest unique roles filled in similar but contrasting ways.

    3. The two groups in Romans 5 are the same two groups described in 1 Corinthians 15 – i.e., people who are either “in Adam” or “in Christ” (1 Cor. 15:22). This language (of being “in” Adam or Christ) seems to describe a connection, relationship, identification and solidarity with either Adam or Christ. Hence, ‘representation’ by either Adam or Christ, or legal union with either Adam or Christ, seems to be a helpful and biblical motif.

    4. Sin, death, condemnation and judgment compose an interrelated and powerful matrix of bondage – a “reign” or “domain” of slavery and darkness (Rom. 5:14, 21; 8:6-8; cf. Col. 1:13; Heb. 2:14-15) – which Adam brought not only upon his own self but the whole world (Rom. 5:12) – i.e., all “in Adam.”
    • This appears to involve more than exposure to mortality or liability to personal sin.
    • Can we really biblically separate ‘mortality’ (humanity’s exposure to death) from sin (either Adam’s, ours, or both) and inherent human sinfulness?

    5. The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Since babies who have not yet committed personal sin still die, it appears they incur death due to someone else’s sin, namely, Adam’s one act of disobedience, which brought the entire matrix of death, condemnation and judgment to all men (Rom. 5:18).

    On a personal note, I believe it is possible for ‘elect infants’ (infants chosen for salvation) to be saved even if they die in infancy. Salvation occurs via legal (objective) and spiritual (subjective) union with Christ. Both are affirmed only for conscious, responsible persons who live by faith in Christ, but they are still possible for infants (such as John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb). We don’t know if all infants who die in infancy are ‘elect infants,’ but I wouldn’t put this method past God as one way to populate a future earth with a multitude that no man can number (Rev. 7:9).

    6. Bondage and slavery to sin, death and judgment can only be broken and overcome by Christ, who did not do this for himself (since he did not need to be rescued), but for all “in him.” God made (legally reckoned) Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we (who believe) might become (legally reckoned) the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

    7. Paul’s parallel in Rom. 5 seems simple: what Adam incurred (sin, death and judgment) was conferred upon (attributed or reckoned to) all in him; likewise, what Christ achieved (obedience, life and righteousness) is conferred upon (attributed or reckoned to) all in him.

    8. The many whom Adam affected – i.e., all people – are “made sinners” in the same sense and in the same way that the many whom Christ affects are “made righteous.”
    • People are judicially (or ‘positionally’) constituted, declared, regarded and treated as either sinners or righteous people based upon the actions of another person, either Adam or Christ.
    • This seems to be the point of Paul’s analogy in this chapter: “You were saved the same way you were lost. Just as you became a sinner (judicially, forensically, ‘positionally’) based upon Adam’s one act of disobedience, likewise, you were made righteous (judicially, as a declaration, not an infusion – notwithstanding the new birth and sanctification as coterminous realities addressed elsewhere) based upon Christ’s one act of obedience.”
    • The argument and analogy of Rom. 5:12-19 relates to the chapter as a whole in extolling the blessings of justification, reconciliation, and the gift of righteousness and eternal life. Our explanations should harmonize with this.
    • If we posit that Adam merely made us mortal so that we might incur guilt and judgment by our own personal sins, would the other side of this equation be that Christ made us ‘immortal’ so that we might merit righteousness and acceptance by God based upon our own personal obedience? This obviously misses the genius of grace and justification by faith in Christ alone under the New Covenant.

    9. Like most of God’s works, the bestowal or transference of the natural and spiritual components, and related ‘merits,’ of either Adam or Christ are not fully explained in Scripture.
    • We are not told how bondage to sin (as a power or force) or the guilt and condemnation associated with it, both of which constitute what it means to be “under sin” (Rom. 3:9), are passed from one generation to the next.
    • The general idea is simply that “death passed to all men” (Rom. 5:12) – that is, all men in Adam.
    • Death continued between the time of Adam and Moses (before the law), when people did not disobey a specific command (like Adam) or transgress the law given later through Moses (Rom. 5:13-14). Why? The answer seems to be because of Adam’s sin. But this doesn’t really explain how this all works.
    • Forgiveness and acceptance by God (justification) and the bestowal of eternal life, which passes to all men in Christ, is not really fully explained either. We are told this was achieved through and is based upon the obedience of Christ, and that it is bestowed upon all who believe via the sovereign and supernatural activity of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). But this doesn’t really ‘explain’ anything that we can truly comprehend. Rather, it announces a mystery – a supernatural reality which we accept by faith.

    10. It seems from the witness of Scripture as a whole regarding God’s creative power in nature and grace that we should recognize and be content with His ability to simply ‘speak’ any reality, cosmic laws, and set of moral rules He desires into existence. This applies not only to the original creation of the world and Adam’s relationship to his posterity, but to His new creation in Christ Jesus and his unique relationship to his redeemed posterity (2 Cor. 4:6). Divine activity of any kind leaves us with many unanswered questions.
    • We know that Christ was appointed heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). In a similar way, simply by God’s divine appointment, He was assigned his role as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to rescue those whose names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Matt. 25:34; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20; Rev. 13:8; 21:27).
    • The virgin birth had nothing to do with Christ avoiding a sinful nature, as you have pointed out. It was a miraculous sign, among many others, that validated Jesus as the Messiah. God prepared a flesh-and-blood body (humanity) for Christ to do His will – as an appointed human priest representing other humans and spotless, human, substitutionary sacrifice (“Lamb”) offered up in the place of others – to save sinners and preserve the world of humanity (John 3:17; Heb. 2:14, 17; 10:5-10; 1 Pet. 2:24).
    • Inherited guilt extends to all in Adam – i.e., all mankind. But this excludes Jesus Christ. Jesus was never “in Adam.” He stands separate from Adam and his posterity as the second man and last Adam. He came into the world in a unique way as the Word taking on human flesh (John 1:14).
    • Jesus took on flesh and blood only “in the *likeness* of sinful flesh” – without any sinful nature (Rom. 8:3). Jesus’ humanity was real in every way (Heb. 2:17), and he was tempted like we are, but he did not give into temptation – he overcame it “without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
    • The ‘locality’ or ‘medium’ of Jesus’ entrance into the world (Mary’s womb) created no potential problems (such as ‘sinful contamination’) for the Son of God — not because no such inherited contamination exists for normal humans (however it might be transmitted), but because of who Jesus was, is and always shall be. The incomparable, unique, eternal and perfect nature of Christ’s personhood extends in like manner to all he does. Salvation is what it is because He is who he is.

    11. Concluding thoughts on Romans 5 from Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” (p. 494, Zondervan):

    “Paul explains the effects of Adam’s sin in the following way: ‘Therefore . . . sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned’ (Rom. 5:12). The context shows that Paul is not talking about actual sins that people commit every day of their lives, for the entire paragraph (Rom. 5:12-21) is taken up with the comparison between Adam and Christ. And when Paul says, “so [Gk. houtos, “thus, in this way”; that is, through Adam’s sin] death spread to all men because all men sinned,’ he is saying that through the sin of Adam ‘all men sinned.’ [9]

    [9] The aorist indicative verb hemarton in the historical narrative indicates a completed past action. Here Paul is saying that something happened and was completed in the past, namely, that ‘all men sinned.’ But it was not true that all men had actually committed sinful actions at the time that Paul was writing, because some had not even been born yet, and many others had died in infancy before committing any conscious acts of sin. So Paul must be meaning that when Adam sinned, God considered it true that all men sinned in Adam.

    This idea, that ‘all men sinned’ means that God thought of us all as having sinned when Adam disobeyed, is further indicated by the next two verses, where Paul says:

    Sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Rom. 5:13-14)

    Here Paul points out that from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, people did not have God’s written laws. Though their sins were ‘not counted’ (as infractions of the law), they still died. The fact that they died is very good proof that God counted people guilty on the basis of Adam’s sin.

    The idea that God counted us guilty because of Adam’s sin is further affirmed in Romans 5:18-19:

    Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

    Here Paul says explicitly that through the trespass of one man ‘many were made [Gk. katestathesan, also an aorist indicative indicating completed past action] sinners.’ When Adam sinned, God thought of all who would descend from Adam as sinners. Though we did not yet exist, God, looking into the future and knowing that we would exist, began thinking of us as those who were guilty like Adam. This is also consistent with Paul’s statement that ‘while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8). Of course, some of us did not even exist when Christ died. But God nevertheless regarded us as sinners in need of salvation.”

    • MSH says:

      Honestly, none of this harms my view or makes me think otherwise. Being “made a sinner” is part of my view. The issue is semantic. We are all “made” sinners because we are mortal (we aren’t deity, and so we will all sin). One doesn’t need to be “made guilty” to be a sinner.

      • Rick Owen says:

        I agree that one doesn’t need to be made guilty to be (or become) a sinner (as in the case of Adam and Eve before their first sin), but is it possible for one to be made (or become) a sinner without guilt?

        The Greek words for sinner and associated words in this passage (such as sin, sinned, trespass, disobedience, offense) convey the idea of crossing the line, missing the mark, committing wrong and thus incurring guilt and its consequences (death and condemnation).

        The strong statements made by Paul in Romans 5, especially when taken with his other statements throughout the same letter, as well as his other NT writings, seem to describe much more than mortality and the inevitability that each of us will sin personally if we live long enough.

        • Christ died for the ungodly (v. 6)
        • while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (v. 8)
        • while we were enemies we were reconciled to God (v. 10)
        • one trespass led to condemnation for all men (v. 18)
        • by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners (v. 19)
        • sin reigned in death (v. 21)

        Consider how verses 18-19 summarize the main point Paul started to express in verse 12: namely, we are saved the same way we were lost — through the action of another person.

        Just as we were “made sinners” (subject to death, condemnation and judgment) through the action of one man (Adam), we are “made righteous” (and receive the gift of life, justification and enjoy peace with God — going back to v. 1) through the action of one man (Jesus Christ).

        • MSH says:

          All of these verses work in my view.

          – we are ungodly (of course; we sin)
          – while we were yet sinners ((of course; we sin)
          – we were enemies (of course; we sin)
          – why are we condemned? (because we sin); Adam’s sin brought death on us (mortality), removing us from God’s presence and the Edenic environment. What else would we do but sin?
          – ditto the above
          – it sure did

          I don’t think you really grasp what I’m saying completely. If you did, you’d have known how I’d answer these verses. None of them do any damage to what I’m saying here. You still have to account for why Jesus, a son of Adam per his geneaology (and his mother comes from Adam, too) did not inherit Adam’s guilt. I’m saying that isn’t even a problem. Jesus, by virtue of being truly human, inherited the result of what Adam did – he was mortal as all humans are. But he didn’t sin, because he was also God, which no other humans are.

  17. Ryan Scott says:

    I agree with you and wish people would get their predetermined views out of the streets scripture is driving on. Honestly, the issues of the traditional views are pretty scary.
    1. God’s claim of being just is at stake–how can a baby who has not committed any crime be judged and held accountable for someone else’s crime? That is not what I would call a just judge.
    2. This would also mean that since Adam’s fall, God (since it is He that creates us) actually installs in us this preset default (or disadvantage might be a better word) to sin, let alone holds us guilty for sin we have not even committed. This puts at stake all kinds of God’s attributes–justice, integrity, love. People can miss the heaviness of what this suggest– that God created us since Adam’s fall to sin (and actually already guilty of it). This would mean that we as carnal beings would actually have to take the higher road than He and turn to Him to escape the evil effects of Him! It’s not even logical.
    3. This would almost completely do away with sin in a sense, because if our Creator has given us now this default, we are actually not missing the mark He set, we would simply be following the mark He programmed us for. We would have to rebel against our Creator in order to avoid “sin”.
    4. We would have to conclude that God makes us in a completely different fashion than He did Adam (of course apart fromthe obvious birth process and being created grown thing). Adam was created perfect and we are created flawed (by a flawless Creator no less).

    I believe we are formed just as Adam was formed, innocent before God and we, just like Adam all choose sin (as scripture and your many comments have said–we can do no other). The blame falls squarely on us, not Adam. The advantage that Adam had was environment , he was in the garden in perfect fellowship with God (tree of life), which won’t be restored to us until we are with Him. “Well, death then is still punishing the innocent”, I don’t necessarily see that it has to be a “punishment”, but rather that our father Adam got kicked out of a good neighborhood and therefore doesn’t get the full benefit of that neighborhood (in this case immortality on this earth); as his children we are not being punished because that neighborhood is no longer our dwelling place, matter of fact God is making a way that we can get back to that neighborhood and begin to enjoy the benefits that we haven’t had access to.
    Could you imagine judgement day with the traditional view–Adam made me do it. Just logically why would we only be responsible for Adam’s first sin? Why not all of them? Why not every sin of everyone that has gone before us? So many issues.
    Thank God He did not set us up to fail and actually created us with a conscience that goes contrary to the “nature” this sinful world (not God) creates in us!

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