Philip wrote:I'll be interested to see K's thoughts.
Since I haven't read all your linked articles, I'll comment on Jac's response
. I'm sure he's covered much. While he is quite forceful in Jac style, I think he is right on many things. If there's anything in particular I might miss you'd be interested in a further response to Phil, please draw my attention to it.
First up, re: "world" in Romans 5:12. This is the world we're within. I think it is a false-dichotomy, perhaps influenced by the YEC/Day-Age debate, to say "world" here refers to the living world. It seems clear to me that neither are the case i.e., it doesn't refer to "humanity" or "all created life". YECs/OECs might be motivated to try use this either way, but both are unjustified. Rather, the most plain reading is simply kosmos
and we all know what that means -- the world we find ourselves within, our universe. Sin entered into the world, our world. We should draw the line there, rather than read anything further into this one verse alone.
So then, Romans 5:12 that "sin entered into the world
" (not death, or even "sin and death" entering the world which I see a tad significance to!), and then
we have added, "and death through sin
" -- "sin entered into the world, and death through sin
". Then on the other side a parallel statement, "[even] so death spread to all men, because all sinned"
Note that the comparison the Apostle Paul draws, especially in the later verses that follow, always has "Adam" in mind in the first comparative. For example, "the transgression of one [Adam]" v.15, judgement arising form Adam's sin resulting in condemnation (v.16), the transgression of one and death reigning through Adam's sin (v.17), one transgression (Adam's) resulting in condemnation to all men (v.18), one man's disobedience resulting in the many made sinners (v.19). So then, Paul is dealing with our relationship to God here, specifically arguing for our being saved and made righteous in Christ just like we were all condemned and made sinners in Adam.
I think we should be clear, that Paul's goal here is to justify our being made righteous in Christ and saved via Him. To do this, he draws parallel comparisons with all receiving the consequences of sin due to Adam's transgression. If such was true of Adam, that we've all sinned in Adam and receive condemnation and death (even those who have not sinned in Adam's likeness [Rom 5:14]), then it is equally true that by one man's act (our Lord Jesus Christ's) that we receive righteousness and are justified on His account. (this Paul also similarly reasons in 1 Cor 15:21-22)
Now some things should be said about "death" itself, since I'm sure Heiser doesn't like death being a consequence of sin. Scripturally, there is no way around it, all death is a result of sin. That doesn't lead to no death pre-fall, for such ignores the fact God well planned rescuing us via Christ prior to creating. (Ephesians 1:4-5; 1 Peter 1:20) Had we not sinned, the world would be very different, and there wouldn't have been this temporary world which is a "stepping stone" into the next, and Jesus wouldn't have been predestined before creation. Death isn't necessarily a punishment, though it is, but is more so a consequence -- AND it represents a spiritual message about God and us.
As Christians, we believe the spiritual was first, then the physical. Various structures and things in physical as I see it, are often a manifestation of some spiritual truth/s. We understand that God is the source of life, source of everything that exists. Without God, if God withdrew, we'd not have life, in fact we'd have nothing. Sin necessitates God's withdrawal since such is opposition to God's good and righteous nature. Even further, when we sin, righteousness demands God's judgement. And when judged, found guilty and condemned, we're separated from God. Being separated from God, we're left spiritually dead. If there is no solution to such, then that death remains forever. So it is more permanent death, and something each of us should fear. Physical death is a manifestation of the spiritual death that can happen and will happen to many, a signpost to those who read and understand the spiritual truths behind the physical.
Moving onto the next issue, I agree with Jac and don't think it needs much answering the question which goes something like, "why does Jesus get off the hook?
" It does seems obvious as Jac points out, that Jesus is an exception, especially considering He is also fully divine. Further I'd add that "all" doesn't always mean all, not in our everyday use, and not in Scripture. No Christian would believe "All sin and fall short of the glory of God
", including Jesus. If we do believe even Christ sinned, then our hope in Christ is in vain. We'll all end up righteously condemned by God at judgement and receive everlasting death -- there is no other known remedy. Further, Paul clearly makes an exception for Christ, and so, we disqualify Him from being read into the "all" even though Scripture really does say "all".
Now whether we must question Jesus' full humanity, if humanity has original sin yet Jesus didn't. Again, I agree with Jac. We have a broken image, a fallen human nature that will be fully restored and more hereafter due to our baptism in Christ. We were made in God's image, and then we became broken and needed healing. Human nature wasn't made sinful, but became sinful. It's not within human nature to have sin, even if we do sin. One may as well equally argue that because Jesus didn't sin, He's not fully human because humans sin. Hopefully we can all see that's just nonsense. Jesus is also fully divine.
The fact Jesus experienced death, some might argue was due to human sin. He should not have. Yet, there is something more in play here, for that the Law put Him to death when it shouldn't have, rightousness is now His to be had and not the Law. It seems to me the Law, God's righteous standard, is now in debt to Christ and indeed righteousness which belongs to God, demands Christ be recompensed. What did Christ say while dying? Forgive them. He knew He had that right, because He'd been forsaken to die a sinner's death. Jesus unjustly paid the wages of sin (death), not because he a sinful human nature, but rather as part of a grand plan to give Christ power over the Law and redeem those who sin and would otherwise need to pay their own wages.
In any case, some may not agree with everything I wrote there, but bottom line is Christ can very well have full human nature, and not be tainted by original sin. It is easier for Jac, because he simply believes we have a broken nature, whereas I see "original sin" is indeed taught in Scripture. Especially in the verses after Romans 5:12.
Moving on again, I have no idea what Augustine or Aquinas really said without looking into it, so... However, it is to me absurd to think "original sin" is had because all were in Adam's loins. Such is just wrong, as we didn't exist, not in physical form. And, if we did in non-physical form, then our spirits would have more been with God as I see matters while awaiting our embryonic vessel to arrive in. And yet, I believe in traducianism, that "genetics" or one's makeup doesn't just include biology but also our spiritual "DNA". Therefore, Adam's broken humanity, could equally be passed on.
I do believe that since the Fall we have been in need of a way in which we can be made righteous, and our natures be restored in relationship to God. I see Paul argues quite forcefully that we are made sinners on account of Adam. This is more than a mere "broken nature". We are condemned (v.18), we are made sinners (v.19) and clearly we all experience death -- "even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam.
Paul's logic is that that we are saved by grace in Christ, by the same reasoning we are all made sinners and condemned in Adam. It we wish to accept Paul's good news that we are all saved in Christ, then we must equally accept the bad news that we all stand condemned in Adam. To deny one, is to deny the other. We often freely want to accept the good news about Christ and our forgiveness, yet we can't just pick and choose what sounds good and reject what doesn't.
The implication of "original sin", hidden in the background, is what then about infants? We must simply leave such in the hands of God, though I have faith in God to make a way, find some other loophole, so they too can be in Christ or minimally given a choice akin to us and angelic beings. So here I just rest, and leave it to the good grace of God, and Christ as such. Paul's logic in his argument is clear, we are forgiven and saved on account of one man Christ, in the same way we were condemned and made sinners on account of one man Adam. In this way, Adam was a type of him (Christ) who was to come (v14), only he was at the opposite end.