This is our final post addressing some of the more common objections brought against what is often called the Doctrine of Original Sin.
Objection #5 – The theory of evolution does not allow for an historic Adam, therefore there is no connection to a concept of original sin.
This is the appeal to science that the authors of Adam and the Genome attempt to make. Some make the argument that Adam wasn’t an actual historical person, but it is instead simply a shorthand designation for all of mankind. This however destroys the One to Many representation argument that Scripture develops in both Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 – Adam to many, Christ to many. Just as Scripture states that there was a historical Jesus, so too does it state that there was a historical Adam and their relationship is clear.
Objection #6 – Real sin is only committed through an act of the will or volition. Since we were not in the Garden with Adam, it was not our choice to sin and thereby we do not share in his guilt.
This is true, the actuality of sin is committed by an act of the will or volition, as we saw in the Ezekiel 18 objection. However, that will has a natural bent towards sin. It is not morally neutral and certainly not morally good. It’s natural inclination towards sin is a direct result of the corrupting influence of Adam’s original sin in the Garden. As was already mentioned, the case with Adam was unique in his representation of mankind. In this respect, we were there with him.
Objection #7 – If Adam is the natural progenitor of all mankind, and Christ was born into mankind, wouldn’t this make Him guilty and polluted for being “in Adam”.
Christ is commonly understood to be the Second Adam. By means of His divine, miraculous conception, He assumes the full human nature of mankind, but not the fallen nature of mankind, thus the importance of both the Doctrine of the Virgin Birth and the Doctrine of the Incarnation. Additionally, we must remember the uniqueness of Christ, not merely human, but divine-human, distinguishing Himself from Adam and all other mere humans.
As to His humanity, in a sense, he was made human in a similar way as Adam, that by direct divine intervention (His divine nature is eternal and uncreated). Adam was formed from the dust of the ground by the hand of God. Similarly, Christ was formed, humanly speaking, by the power of the Holy Spirit and conceived in the womb of Mary. Here too it is important to clarify that the Holy Spirit did not have intercourse with Mary, as some erroneously assert. The purity of the conception of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit stops the corruption of human nature from passing on to Him. Simply stop and wonder at the majesty of God and the sinlessness of Christ through His miraculous birth.
Though the doctrine of original sin may be unpalatable to some people, it nevertheless must be wrestled with, as Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord. We must not let go of Scripture til we have been blessed by it through a clearer understanding of this teaching. Otherwise, there are grave consequences.
Though we have looked at the consequences for denying the resurrection as defined in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19, let’s briefly expand on that for our subject of original sin.
Consequence 1 – Denying original sin denies the need for Christ’s obedience and death on the cross. If people are born innocent, unstained by their relation to Adam, then we would do well to usher them to an isolated island ensuring their ultimate salvation apart from the corrupting influence of the world. Christ’s death then would be for only those for whom Plan A, isolation, had failed.
Cons. 2 – Denying the relationship of Adam, his original sin, and his posterity, undercuts the necessity for Christ’s virgin birth. Consequently, Christ would have no need to be the product of divine conception, because the corrupting influence of Adam would be non-existent. The doctrine of original sin explains the necessity for Christ to be born of the Spirit through the vessel of Mary, apart from the seminal influence, i.e. Adam, of Joseph.
Cons. 3 – Denying the relationship of Adam to his posterity undermines the parallel relationship between Christ and His posterity. In other words, if there is no “in Adam” then there is no “in Christ”.
Cons. 4 – Simply stated, if there is no “in Christ” then we are doomed.
Cons. 5 – Denying the relationship of all mankind “in Adam” leads to a logical conclusion of evolution and the denial of a historical Adam. This consequence works from both directions, either starting with a denial of the historical Adam and working forward or a denial of original sin and working backwards. In any event, the consequence is grave and one would not be surprised if the next shoe to fall is the doctrine of inerrancy.
The concept of union with Adam, as a result of our birth, places all men under condemnation and God’s wrath, worthy of eternal punishment. Likewise, it explains our need for a Savior and the necessity of Christ’s virgin birth, thereby establishing Him alone as sinless and apart from the original sin of Adam, i.e. outside Adam’s seminal line and federal headship. Additionally, original sin magnifies God’s grace. Truly Christ is our only hope and the only name under heaven by which man may be saved.
In the context of 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul brings union with Adam and original sin into his argument of Christ’s resurrection and it’s benefits for the specific purpose of introducing the concept of death, namely that all men die as a result of being in Adam. The reason for this is to assert the supremacy of Christ over death and the glorious resurrection for all those who are in Him. But that is a subject we’ll take up yet another future post.