Romans 5 – Against Original Sin

Rom. 5:12, 18-19: ”Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

 

This passage is supposed to teach that all men are born sinners, and born under the condemnation and wrath of God because of Adam’s transgression.

But this passage does not teach that men are born sinners. It does not teach that they are born under the condemnation and wrath of God. It does not teach that they inherit a sinful nature from Adam. It does not teach that sin is transmitted physically or any other way from Adam to his descendants. It does not teach that the sin of Adam was imputed to his descendants. And it does not teach that men have sinned “in Adam.” On the contrary, Romans 5:14 teaches that Adam’s descendants did not sin ”in him.”

“Them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Romans 5:14

The fact that Paul says there was a body of people “that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s sin” shows that Paul did not consider Adam’s sin to be their sin.

It is true that Paul connects the sin of Adam with the sin and condemnation of all mankind. But it is also true that he connects the obedience of Christ with the salvation and righteousness of all mankind:

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18″For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

To interpret the phrase “made sinners” to mean that men are born sinners and become sinners involuntarily and necessarily by receiving a sinful nature from Adam, is a forced and inconsistent interpretation of this passage, for this passage not only says that all men are “made sinners” because of Adam’s transgression, it also says that all men are “made righteous” by the obedience of Christ, and that the free gift of life “came upon all men” by Christ Jesus. So for the advocates of the doctrine of original sin to arbitrarily give to the phrases “made sinners” and “came upon all men” the meaning of physical force when these phrases refer to Adam’s sin, without giving the same meaning of physical force when they refer to Christ’s righteousness, is an example of a forced and inconsistent interpretation of this passage dictated by a prepossessed belief in the doctrine of original sin.

Paul does not affirm an involuntary, necessary, or irresistible connection between either the sin of Adam and mankind or the righteousness of Christ and mankind. Otherwise, Romans 5:18 would teach the universal salvation of mankind:

“The free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18

We know that universal salvation is not taught in the Bible. Men are not saved involuntarily, automatically, and necessarily because of the obedience of Christ. Nor are they “made sinners” involuntarily, automatically, and necessarily because of the transgression of Adam. But the context of Romans 5:12-21 (and the context of the whole Bible) shows that men are “made sinners” in the same way they are “made righteous,” that is, voluntarily or willingly.

Paul did not teach that men are “made sinners” involuntarily, by an act of physical force; because he would have been teaching at the same time that all men are “made righteous” involuntarily, by an act of physical force. In other words he would have been teaching that every human being upon the face of the earth is saved involuntarily and necessarily whether he believes the gospel of salvation or not!

“By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Romans 5:18

It is true that Adam brought sin and death into this world by his transgression; but his sin and his death did not pass upon his descendants. The Bible (Romans 5:12) says that “death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Men are sinners because they have sinned. Sin is an individual, voluntary choice. No human being can sin for another human being. Adam did not sin and could not sin for anyone but himself.

The purpose of the Apostle Paul in this passage is to show that, although the transgression of Adam has been a powerful force to bring sin, death, and condemnation upon all men, the righteousness and obedience of Christ in his work of atonement for sinners has been much more powerful to bring grace, reconciliation, righteousness, and eternal life upon all men. (See the overall context in Romans 5:6-21). The following Scriptures show that no man can be guilty or condemned for the sin of Adam–Adam could sin only for himself:

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” Ezekiel 18:20″The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Deuteronomy 24:16

“But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin.” II Chronicles 25:4

“He shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.” Ezekiel 18:17-18

“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” Ezekiel 18:4

“I will judge…everyone according to his ways, saith the Lord God.” Ezekiel 18:30

“That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Gen. 18:25.

(From 100 passages against Original Sin)

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Posted in Against heresies., Doctrine, Original sin.
4 comments on “Romans 5 – Against Original Sin
  1. While I agree with this, I wonder if part could be expanded upon or clarified to avoid a particular misunderstanding or perceived “weakness” in the explanation. It is as follows: If Adam’s sin and death does not pass on to all men, then why do things die? In the instance of animals, plants, and infants, it is not because of their sin (they don’t have the ability to do so yet), yet they can still die. Clearly, something did take place as a result of the fall, but an impartation of moral depravity was certainly not it.

    I think one or two sentences to this effect would be a good contribution.

  2. The Pilgrim says:

    Hi, I hope this helps a little.

    In Genesis 2 God establishes the Garden of Eden. In its center he plants two trees: ‘The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. (Gen 2:9)

    God tells Adam that he is free to eat of any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16-17). This command implies that it is alright for Adam and Eve to eat of the tree of life. Also it shows in Genesis that access to the tree of life provided immortality. Thus as long as Adam and Eve have access to this tree, they enjoy immortality.

    However, after Adam and Eve disobey God and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God banishes them from the garden, removing them from access to the tree of life, thus taking away their immortality and introducing the human race to death. God then places cherubim to guard the way back into the garden, stating explicitly that the cherubim are to keep them from accessing the tree of life (Gen 3:24).

    The truth – The human race is now exluded from access to the tree of life and that all people, therefore , will experience death.

    The tree of life emerges again in Revelation, where access to it once again represents eternal life or immortality. In Revelation 2:7, God tells the church at Ephesus that “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God”

  3. Dan says:

    Original sin is FALSE, but a TINY problem. Don’t major on minors, please.

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