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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : for all that have sinned / because all sinned

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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


Globachio writes:

If that's true, then as an evangelical Lutheran I have to say that it's the wrong question because there's no "when." Sin comes with conception. e.g., Psalm 51:5.

I thought this might draw you deeper into the conversation. ;-)

I want to make it clear that I too strongly disagree with Finney and Forster, although I am not sure that I would go as far as Wesley in calling them 'heathen'! :-o In the interests of honest exegesis can I open out the verse a little?
“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:” (Rom. 5:12, KJVS)

This begins what I think is one of the most important passages in Romans. If we follow the line of thought the 'as' of this verse is looking for its partner 'so'. In that sense the verse is saying that the parallel of the 'as' and 'so' is as follows;
"as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin" This is revelation. Nowhere does the Bible express so plainly that Sin and Death are older than the human race. Sin 'entered' through Adam's disobedience, and Death followed Sin in its entrance into the race. Sin and Death here are not speaking primarily about a transgression or the absence of life; these are 'cosmic' terms. Paul uses the definite article to each term; they become personified in his teaching from this point.

This clearly happened to Adam. The Aorist tense is used; Sin 'entered' and Death by sin. Paul now links to his 'so' which is that 'The Death passed through to all men' Up until this point the 'as' and the 'so' are in clear balance but he now adds the word 'epi' translated by the KJV as 'for' and this is where the difference of opinion rests. Is this a summary of all that has passed before in this verse, or is this the way in which death always passes to men, because they commit an act of sin? In other words is the word 'for' to be understood as 'in that' and hence a summary, or is it saying that all die because all sin?

I have wrestled with this verse for years. I have just spent a whole conference study day working through the implications of the verse. So what is my opinion? IMHO (as they say) If this verse stood alone I would have to say that it is not decisive but it doesn't stand alone; it flows sweetly into the next verse where Paul illustrates his point by saying that even where sin was not 'imputed/counted' because of the absence of law nevertheless Death reigned. So Death is present even when there has technically been no transgression which shows that Death (with the article) is not the consequence of my personal sin but the consequence of something which passed through to the race through Adam. The rest of the chapter underlines the fact. See how many times the phrase 'by the one' or something similar is used; eleven times in all in the next few verses. Of these eight instances refer to Adam as 'the one' and three instances they refer to Christ as 'the one'. The whole point of this passage is to show that we have a problem that is not the consequence of our own personal sin but of Adam's transgression.

sins are my own responsibility entirely, but Sin had its entrance in Adam. I think this post is long enough so I will pause for comment. However, I want to emphasise one point again; Sin did not originate with Adam; it entered through him, and through him has infected the whole race.

Ron Bailey

 2005/5/6 13:36Profile

Joined: 2003/12/30
Posts: 297
Connecticut, USA


Nasher asks:
“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

”"for that all have sinned", what does this mean?”
“I was asking what that phrase meant in the verse in Romans”

In the context in which Paul writes it, the statement means:
“Death passed upon all men because all [mankind] sinned [in Adam}”.

Paul is about to begin a great comparison between Adam and Christ. We {all men] died in Adam’s own life; we (Christians) shall be saved IN Christ’s own life. (This refers back to verse 10).

[12] “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death [entered into the world] by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned [in Adam]: ….
[14] [Since all sinned in Adam], “Death reigned [over all men] from Adam to Moses even though sin was not imputed to them.” (Sin was not imputed to men—it couldn’t be—because there was no law given during the time period from Adam to Moses.)
Moreover, death reigned from Adam to Moses even though men did not sin in the same, particular, way that Adam did by disobeying God and eating the fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil..


Roger P.

 2005/5/6 14:25Profile

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