Summary of passage: Sin entered the world through Adam and death as a consequence. Death and sin has been in the world ever since.
3) Adam. In Genesis (not in this passage in Romans), God warns Adam not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because he will die if he does. God curses man because of this sin, initiating death to all of mankind and enmity (the devil) into the world. Pain in childbirth came and man was cursed to work for his food. Man was banished from the Garden of Eden forever and under sin forever.
4) That people are born good. We are all born sinners. I believe this because we are told so in the Bible multiple times (like verse 12) and because of man’s nature–selfish, prideful, greedy, lustful, etc. After Original sin of Adam, all were born sinners.
Conclusions: I realize we gotta spread 16 chapters of Romans out over 30 weeks, but this was another “duh” day (as evidenced by the number of extra passages BSF had to send us to). If you’re a Christian, question 4 was dumb. Everyone wants to think they’re good, but deep down we’re evil. Only Christ makes us good. I fail every day and I readily acknowledge that. It’s a good way to stay humble.
End Notes: Romans 5:12-21 is a contrast between Adam and Christ. Adam introduced sin and death into the world; Christ brought righteousness and life. These two verses sum up the comparison that ends in verse 18. Furthermore, these two men also sum up the message of the book up to this point: Adam stands for humanity’s condemnation (1:18-3:20) and Christ stands for the believer’s justification (3:21-5:11).
pattern Note both are one act: biting the apple (universal ruin), dying on the cross (universal blessing). What a lesson for us on how powerful (and consequential) our actions can be!
Significantly, Adam is responsible for the fall of the human race, not Eve. Eve was deceived when she sinned, but Adam sinned with full knowledge (1 Timothy 2:14). Death entered through Adam and has never left. And it won’t until the Second Coming.
All men are subject to death and therefore subject to sin–even babies–through Adam.
Is this fair? No. But is it fair to be made righteous by the work of another man? Yes! Since we are made sinners by the work of another man. If we aren’t made sinners by Adam, then it isn’t fair for us to be made righteous by Jesus.
Most people don’t want to admit babies and kids are sinners. But think about this: did you teach your child to be bad? No. By nature, they just are.
If babies are sinners, does that mean that they go to hell if they die? Not necessarily. First, we know that the children of believers are sanctified by the presence of a believing parent (1 Corinthians 7:14). Secondly, David had the assurance that his baby would meet him in heaven (2 Samuel 12:23). Finally, we know that at the end of it all, God, the judge of the entire world, will do right (Genesis 18:25).
If there are children of unbelieving parents in heaven (we don’t know), it is important to understand that it is not because they are innocent. It’s because of God’s grace and mercy that He let them in. We are are guilty and undeserving of salvation. It’s all God!
Sin and death were in the world before the Law was given–even to those who didn’t sin. However, the Law cannot save us–people still died. Death still reigned.
Paul says Adam is like Jesus because both were sinless and both brought eternal consequences to the world!