I see a couple of ways of explaining this, which are different than what I have seen offered so far. God has foreknowledge and when he created the world He knew what would happen, which is why Peter describes Jesus and our salvation like this:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, "
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., 1 Pe 1:18–20). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Revelation 13:8 says the same thing:
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Re 13:8). Belemphasized textlingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
There is no way Christ could be the lamb slain from the foundation of the world if God didn’t know what was going to happen. This is the first way and the one I like best, but there are some other issues that need to be discussed. I don’t like them as much, but what I like is not important, it is what the Bible says that is important.
Psalm 51:5 says Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
So we are all sinners from birth? This is the doctrine of original sin which is somewhat out of favor but I do believe. How can that be? Well, believe it or not, science shows that we humans have some ability to change the past, or affect the past. Most will go apoplectic at the last sentence but listen to the data. From my page on the Quantum Soul.
Theoretical physicist John Wheeler further elucidates the role of the observer with what are called “delayed-choice” thought experiments. (See Fig. 2.)
" Wheeler noted that it is possible to devise a double slit experiment at the cosmic level using light coming from quasars and a galaxy which operates as a gravitational lens on the way to Earth, bending the light inwardly as it passes by massive objects (as predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity). This light would generate an interference pattern showing that light has travelled as waves. But if a measurement would be performed before the screen on which the interference pattern takes form, the pattern would dissolve and the photons would change from waves into particles. In other words, our choice on how to measure the light coming from a quasar influences the nature of the light emitted 10 billion years ago. According to Wheeler, this experiment would show that ‘retrocausal effects operate at the quantum level. " 13
The light’s passage by the massive light-bending galaxy occurred long before there were any people or multicellular life on earth. Yet our decision today determines what happened to that light 2 billion years ago. To paraphrase Weinberg and Wigner, “Human beings are in the cookie jar at the beginning of the laws of QM.” Matter is obeying consciousness. Matter, at its most fundamental level, is NOT master of consciousness; consciousness is master of the matter!
[GRM note for this reply: One can also do a retrocausality experiment with the double slit experiment]
Another retrocausality experiment done by Kim et al, allows the observer to change the equipment after the particles have gone through the double-slit apparatus but before they have hit the screen. Amazingly, the observer’s choice still rules over what nature does"
“Wheeler eventually changed his mind, opting for another interpretation of delayed-choice experiments, taking the view that particles don’t get their properties until they are observed, meaning, they are neither waves nor particles until the observer decides what equipment he wishes to use. Clearly, this is even a more radical position than that of most 19th century idealists. Such a view places the observer/soul as the creator of the universe and its past. (Move over, God!) Matter is not creating consciousness through biological evolution, but consciousness is creating matter and its history by observation. To paraphrase Descartes famous quote, the observer can say, “I observe; therefore I create; therefore I am [like God].” Hyperbole aside, Christian readers are likely to recall from Genesis 1 that “God created mankind in his own image.” Perhaps we see tangible evidence of this in delayed-choice experiments.”
Now here is the other possibility. If we are guilty with Adam, then perhaps we via our first conscious sin participate in Adam’s decision to sin. That would explain Ps 51:5, it would explain why God cursed the earth, and why things died and decayed prior to Adam’s actual sin. We think in terms of causality and think Adam’s sin would only have impact from the time of the sin forward. That may not be the case. It very well may be that sin propagates both direction and all at once through creation and thinking in causal temporal terms is not correct. Just a thought that matches up with the scientific data.