Why Jesus? Adam Proved Sinfulness - He Didn't *Make* us Sinful

Some participants on this board cite Romans 5 as proof that there was an Adam who brought sin to all of Humanity - - if not to the whole Cosmos!

Here are the relevant lines:

Romans 5:11-14:
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 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 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 them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

So is Paul really arguing that if Adam hadn’t sinned, the rest of humanity would have been spared? It seems disputable. Certainly the ambiguities of what he writes explains why the doctrine of The Fall (as opposed to Original Sin) was not articulated until a few centuries the Bible was written . . . . and why The Fall is NOT a doctrine that all branches of Christianity agree to. The Orthodox churches, no insignificant fraction of the world’s faithful, don’t agree to the doctrine.

What if Paul was merely making dramatic rhetoric about Adam’s role - - not as the CAUSE of humanity’s sinfulness, but as the EXEMPLAR who first DEMONSTRATED the sinfulness of Humanity. As Paul says:

“…death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…”

Creationists love to attribute the sinful nature of humanity as a TAINT … a CORRUPTION we received from Adam. But does that even make sense? Did Adam’s disobedience CORRUPT his chromosomes … and thereby passed it on as a genetic trait to the rest of his descendants?

Or did Adam’s disobedience create a PSYCHIC corruption … which mentally was passed on to each new generation … from the psychic engrams of the parents to the psychic engrams of the children?

The ideas above are WORD MAGIC. They aren’t plausible… especially when we find a MORE plausible explanation.

Adam’s disobedience was the PROOF to God that Humanity was sinful. And thus he evicted humanity from access to the Tree of Life.

He specifically WORRIED that if Adam, even as a sinner, ate from the Tree of Life, he would become immortal and like the Elohim. Was there anything about Adam’s “fall” that would keep him from eating from the Tree of Life? Apparently not … because God even had to equip Eden with a flaming sword … to make sure it didn’t happen.

So… setting aside a re-planting of the Tree of Life, what is the CURE, the RENOVATION of Humanity, that will bring all humans Perfection or Eternal Life with the Father?

WHY was Jesus necessary? To ritually wipe us clean of sin … and to prepare the way for the General Resurrection, when we are LITERALLY made incapable of sin.


**WHY was Jesus necessary? To ritually wipe us clean of sin … and to prepare the way for the General Resurrection, **

The process of the final Resurrection is when humans are LITERALLY made incapable of sin.


Jesus fills an important role in God’s plan.

Hi George; Hi Deborah
This is the type of exegesis of Genesis 2-4 that began to disturb me in high school and still does today. As we become more aware of the magnificence of the Universe that God created–billions of galaxies, each with billions of suns, and who knows how many earths–can we postulate that God actually felt threatened by Adam’s access to the Tree of Knowledge? Does this “explanation” of Original Sin help us appreciate the almost incomprehensible Gift of God sending His Son to show us the way to Him? I find that replacing Original Sin with Original Blessing is more efficacious.
Al Leo

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"Adam proved sinfulness- he didn’t make us sinful.

Then to follow Paul’s analogy with Jesus as the second Adam, Jesus proved righteousness, he didn’t make us righteous. That’s problematic.

I don’t share the view of original sin you described. But I do think a concept of the communal accountability for sin and rebellion and the idea that we are “born sinners” by identity is theologically important in the New Testament. We are identified with Adam and his community until we are identified with Christ and his community through faith in his death and resurrection. We are offered communal redemption through Christ, not just individual purification and forgiveness.


You think there is a disconnect between Adam and Jesus?

Well, let’s compare the two versions of this comparison:

Adam demonstrates our sinful nature, while Jesus demonstrates our capacity for righteousness.

Adam MADE humanity sinful, while Jesus MADE humanity righteous.

Does it really make more sense that Jesus MAKES humans righteous? Does it even make any sense that
Adam RUINED the righteousness of humanity? Both of these ideas seem peculiar to me …

To me it makes much more sense that Jesus shows how humans can be “divinized” into companionship of God.

Is it a better universe if Adam RUINED humanity … and Jesus flips the other switch and SAVES humanity?

Where is human volition in all this … where is human choice?

It makes sense to me. That is the whole point of justification as I understand it.

I don’t think humans are righteous because they follow Jesus example. I think they are counted righteous (justified) by identifying with Christ, just as they are counted sinful by identifying with Adam, even when they are innocent babies who haven’t done anything yet and don’t have the moral accountability to know right from wrong. And humans in Christ are counted righteous even though they clearly aren’t. They are empowered to actually be more righteous (sanctified) by the Holy Spirit (which they only have access to by identifying with Christ) and that at the final resurrection they will be recreated wholly righteous.

All Christians I know are screw-ups to varying degrees. If Jesus isn’t actually making us righteous before God, and if the Holy Spirit isn’t actively working in our lives to increase our capacity for righteous behavior, if I’m just supposed to look at Jesus and be inspired to know that I have a capacity for righteousness on my own, that is bad news.

I think Paul was very concerned with group identity. And much of his rhetoric about Adam and Jesus speaks to this focus on identity. Trying to make his arguments speak about the genetic transmission of the corruption of sin misses his point.

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It sounds like word magic to me.

So what, you are advocating the “plain meaning of the text” interpretive school now? Why should we be able to perfectly understand Paul without taking into consideration his Jewish context, social and theological?


Actually, I don’t think “plain meaning of the text” is what i’m advocating. I’m saying NOT to take the plain meaning of the text … but to look at the LOGIC of the text.

Romans 9’s PLAIN TEXT meaning pretty much puts God in the driver’s seat of making people choose ungodly paths. But this can be understood and put in context by looking at the overall LOGIC of Christianity.

The plain text meaning of the Eden story is virtually INEXPLICABLE!!! Would you think it is normal to test a man’s morality BEFORE you have taught him the difference between Good and Evil? Would you hand a machine gun to a 4 year old and tell him - - whatever you do… don’t pull that trigger.

The Eden story takes an AWFUL lot of analysis to find the relevant context.

The PLAIN text meaning of Paul’s understanding of Adam sure sounds like Adam is “to blame” - - but does that actually make sense? The Orthodox communion apparently doesn’t think so.

Right, but you can’t flesh out the logic unless you understand the meaning, and you can’t understand the meaning unless you understand the context. I’m not pretending to be a Paul expert, but I’ve read enough NPP and anti-NPP articles to know there are LOTS of different ways to take his arguments other than the caricature you presented above.

No. Which is why I don’t think the Eden story is meant to be understood as a literal historical narrative. Obviously, there is a lot of symbolic imagery. I don’t think the intended takeaway is that Adam and Eve failed a rigged test and doomed humanity. I think the main takeaway is that Adam and Eve failed as righteous representatives of God on earth among humanity. Not because they ate forbidden fruit, but because they (like every other human after them, and there are other key archetypes throughout redemption history, none of whom succeed in faithfully imaging God) chose to try to rule themselves instead of submitting to God’s rule. Jesus, on the other hand, was a faithful representative. Who we align ourselves with matters. By default we are aligned with Adam until we choose faith in Christ. I think Christ’s death atones for all our actual personal sins, but beyond that, I think it gives us a new identity, as members of a new community of humans. Even though we still sin, we are no longer identified with Adam’s community of sinners. I don’t see why you have to throw out the concept of inherited communal human guilt entirely, even if you throw out a literal forbidden fruit.


My site name is named after the medieval Franciscan philosopher John Duns Scotus. One of Scotus famous arguments is that God ordianed the Incarnation prior to Adam;s disobedience. Quite simply the union of the eternal Word with the flesh of Jesus was the greatest thing that can ever exist. He is the most perfect expression of God within creation. (You can look him up by searching for Scotus Primacy of Christ)… Scotus was not the only Franciscan to take this stance but he is the most famous.

Of course Scotus and the other Franciscans believed that Christ came as a neccessary saviour, its just that it was not God’s primary reason.

In relation to “inherited” sin from Adam or the transmission of this “original sin” to us, I interpret this symbolically as our wayward self willed deviations from God’s purpose. We just keep perpetuating the mistake of Adam and Eve to refuse God’ plans for us in favour of what pleases us. We can live non-selfishly and with a higher regard to God’s goodness and justice, except we are still too often bound to do our own self willed thing instead. That;'s what makes us like Adam and Eve.

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I have never heard of this approach before … VERY interesting !!!

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