Question:

Hello,

I am a baptized believer. I often use your web site, so a big thanks to you all for the great work being done. I have one question about the doctrine of the sin of Adam. Mostly we hear that we do not suffer for the sin of the father. However, Adam sinned and we lost paradise. How is that not the consequence of the first sins? Respectfully, do you have any insights. Many times we are looked at strangely by denominations who seem to see this rather more clearly than ourselves.


Answer:

"The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

What is typically stated among the denominations is that mankind inherited Adam's sin or his sinful nature. That is not taught in the Bible, but that doesn't mean that when someone sins, that those not involved in the sin do not experience the consequences of another person's sins. When a drunken driver plows into the car of a family going down the highway, the family shares in the consequence of the drunk's sins, even though they are not guilty of that man's sins. When David committed sin with Bathsheba, the child of that adulterous relationship died as a consequence of David's sin -- not his own sin. "However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die" (II Samuel 12:14). Yet, that child was innocent and David looked forward to being with the child in heaven one day. "But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me" (II Samuel 12:23). The nature of sin is that its consequences often extend far beyond the sphere of the person committing the sin.

"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-- For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come" (Romans 5:12-14).

Paul states that one man, Adam, opened the door to sin and death. But Paul does not state in this passage that sin and death is inherited; instead, he describes sin as spreading like a disease. He even states the reason why: "because all sinned." The belief that sin was inherited would require "because all were born." Further, Paul states everyone since is not necessarily guilty of the same sins as Adam. But if sin was inherited, we would be all guilty of the same sin. Further note that verse 13 states that sin is imputed because of law -- not inheritance. That is because sin is the breaking of law (I John 3:4). 

Often the word "imputed" is misunderstood. People treat it as if it means something is passed from one person to another; yet, that is not its definition. Impute means to consider a person as having some attribute even though he does not possess it.

Thank you very much, and especially for the meaning of "imputed."

All the best.