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Thread: The Most Misunderstood Passage in the Bible--Romans 5:12-18

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    TOL Legend Jerry Shugart's Avatar
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    The Most Misunderstood Passage in the Bible--Romans 5:12-18

    Without a doubt Romans 5:12-18 is the most misunderstood passages of the New Testament and a false understanding of this passage provides the very foundation for the myth that Adam's spiritual death was imputed to all his descendants. Let us look first at Romans 5:12:

    "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" (Ro.5:12).

    From this we can understand the following: (1) Sin entered the world when Adam sinned and that sin brought about spiritual death. (2) Adam's sin was somehow responsible for bringing spiritual death to all men. (3) This death came to all men because all have sinned.

    What this verse does not tell us is exactly "how" Adam was responsible for bring death to all men. However, the verse which follows was written in order to explain how that came about:

    "...even as by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death; and thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for until law sin was in the world; but sin is not put to account when there is no law" (Ro.5:12-13).

    These verses are speaking of "law" in a "universal" sense because the "deaths" being considered are also "universal" in nature: "death passed to all men." The only universal law that has been in effect since Adam is the law which is written in the heart of all men, the same law of which the "conscience" bears witness:

    "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness"
    (Ro.2:14-15).

    When Adam ate of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" he had the knowledge of the law written in his heart and his "conscience" bore witness to that law. His very nature had changed. The Lord said: "Behold,the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen.3:22). Man now had a "conscience" of the law written in his heart.

    All of Adam's descendants would thereafter be born in Adam's likeness and image, also having a "conscience", or an inborn knowledge of God's law:

    "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth"
    (Gen.5:3).

    So Adam was responsible for death coming unto all men because he was responsible for bringing "law" unto all men. When all men after Adam sinned against the law written in their hearts they died spiritually--"and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

    If Adam would have obeyed the Lord then he would have remained in a state of "innocence" and "law" would not have come upon his descendants: "when there is no law, sin is not imputed." This principle is illustrated in the following verse:

    "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin"
    (Jas.4:17).

    God will not impute sin into a person's account unless that person first knows the difference between what is good and what is not.

    Therefore we can understand that if sin is not imputed into anyone's account then there would be no spiritual death. Therefore, we can understand that Adam's sin of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil resulted in all of his descendants having a knowledge of law. And when his descendants sinned against that law they died spiritually.
    Last edited by Jerry Shugart; April 10th, 2017 at 08:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Without a doubt Romans 5:12-18 is the most misunderstood passages of the New Testament and a false understanding of this passage provides the very foundation for the myth that Adam's spiritual death was imputed to all his descendants.
    Good topic, Jerry.

    The thing that will have to settled in folks minds is whether the "death" sentence to Adam for eating the fruit was a physical death sentence or a spiritual death sentence.
    And yes, some will say it was a sentence for both spiritual and physical death.
    Until one can get a firm grip on that, going forward might be a waste of time (as everyone will be using "death" differently).
    So I'm glad you brought it up!

    For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Without a doubt Romans 5:12-18 is the most misunderstood passages of the New Testament and a false understanding of this passage provides the very foundation for the myth that Adam's spiritual death was imputed to all his descendants. Let us look first at Romans 5:12:

    "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" (Ro.5:12).

    From this we can understand the following: (1) Sin entered the world when Adam sinned and that sin brought about spiritual death. (2) Adam's sin was somehow responsible for bringing spiritual death to all men. (3) This death came to all men because all have sinned.

    What this verse does not tell us is exactly "how" Adam was responsible for bring death to all men.
    Check out "traducianism."



    When Adam ate of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" he had the knowledge of the law written in his heart and his "conscience" bore witness to that law. His very nature had changed. The Lord said: "Behold,the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen.3:22). Man now had a "conscience" of the law written in his heart.

    All of Adam's descendants would thereafter be born in Adam's likeness and image, also having a "conscience", or an inborn knowledge of God's law:

    "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth"
    (Gen.5:3).
    Check out "traducianism."

    So Adam was responsible for death coming unto all men because he was responsible for bringing "law" unto all men.
    Nope. The Law is holy and good.

    Adam spread sin.

    Check out "traducianism."



    God will not impute sin into a person's account unless that person first knows the difference between what is good and what is not.
    Check out "traducianism."

    Therefore we can understand that if sin is not imputed into anyone's account then there would be no spiritual death. Therefore, we can understand that Adam's sin of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil resulted in all of his descendants having a knowledge of law. And when his descendants sinned against that law they died spiritually.
    Knowledge of the Law does not cause death. Failure to obey the commands of God is the cause of death, which Adam started.

    Check out "traducianism."
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tambora View Post
    Good topic, Jerry.

    The thing that will have to settled in folks minds is whether the "death" sentence to Adam for eating the fruit was a physical death sentence or a spiritual death sentence.
    And yes, some will say it was a sentence for both spiritual and physical death.
    Until one can get a firm grip on that, going forward might be a waste of time (as everyone will be using "death" differently).
    So I'm glad you brought it up!
    Sin caused spiritual death, which is evidenced by physical death.

    God allowed Adam to live spiritually dead for hundreds of years, before Adam suffered physical death . . for the purpose to populate the earth and bring forth the elect sons of God. (e.g. Abel, Seth, and that entire lineage, up to Noah.)
    "The immutable God never learned anything and never changed his mind. He knew everything from eternity."

    " The difference between faith and saving faith are the propositions believed."
    Gordon H. Clark

    "If a man be lost, God must not have the blame for it; but if a man be saved, God must have the glory of it."
    Charles Spurgeon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tambora View Post
    Good topic, Jerry.

    The thing that will have to settled in folks minds is whether the "death" sentence to Adam for eating the fruit was a physical death sentence or a spiritual death sentence.
    And yes, some will say it was a sentence for both spiritual and physical death.
    Until one can get a firm grip on that, going forward might be a waste of time (as everyone will be using "death" differently).
    So I'm glad you brought it up!
    It is neither of those two.

    The actual sense is that of alienation; the sense is that of one who is an enemy, or at enmity.

    Note my use of OTHER Bible words to bring that out.

    All else is human viewpoint.

    (By the way; I'm merely pointing that out in general)

    Anyway, the sense is that of - "That's it! We're through! From here out on you're dead to me! Don't try to call me; don't try to write to me - we're THROUGH!"

    Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
    Last edited by Danoh; April 2nd, 2017 at 10:06 PM.

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    What is the misunderstanding and who does it?
    All Lives Matter --Marcus Sanford, youtube.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danoh View Post
    It is neither of those two.
    All the more reason to settle what "die" means when GOD gave the death sentence for eating the fruit.
    Until it is, everything else will become an argument because not everyone is using the meaning in the same way.

    For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Sin caused spiritual death, which is evidenced by physical death.
    Huh?
    Plants and animals die and they were never 'spiritual', so their physical death cannot be the result of their spiritual death.

    For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Interplanner View Post
    What is the misunderstanding and who does it?
    you
    1 Corinthians 15:1-2 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 KJV -


    Colossians 1:13-14 KJV - Colossians 1:15-16 KJV - Colossians 1:17-18 KJV -

    Colossians 1:19-20 KJV - Colossians 1:21-22 KJV - Colossians 1:23 KJV -

    Colossians 1:25-26 KJV 27, 28, 29 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Ephesians 1:12-13, 14 -



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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Shugart View Post
    Without a doubt Romans 5:12-18 is the most misunderstood passages of the New Testament and a false understanding of this passage provides the very foundation for the myth that Adam's spiritual death was imputed to all his descendants. Let us look first at Romans 5:12:

    "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" (Ro.5:12).

    From this we can understand the following: (1) Sin entered the world when Adam sinned and that sin brought about spiritual death. (2) Adam's sin was somehow responsible for bringing spiritual death to all men. (3) This death came to all men because all have sinned.

    What this verse does not tell us is exactly "how" Adam was responsible for bring death to all men. However, the verse which follows was written in order to explain how that came about:

    "...even as by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death; and thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for until law sin was in the world; but sin is not put to account when there is no law" (Ro.5:12-13).

    These verses are speaking of "law" in a "universal" sense because the "deaths" being considered are also "universal" in nature: "death passed to all men." The only universal law that has been in effect since Adam is the law which is written in the heart of all men, the same law of which the "conscience" bears witness:

    "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness"
    (Ro.2:14-15).

    When Adam ate of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" he had the knowledge of the law written in his heart and his "conscience" bore witness to that law. His very nature had changed. The Lord said: "Behold,the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen.3:22). Man now had a "conscience" of the law written in his heart.

    All of Adam's descendants would thereafter be born in Adam's likeness and image, also having a "conscience", or an inborn knowledge of God's law:

    "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth"
    (Gen.5:3).

    So Adam was responsible for death coming unto all men because he was responsible for bringing "law" unto all men. When all men after Adam sinned against the law written in their hearts they died spiritually--"and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

    If Adam would have obeyed the Lord then he would have remained in a state of "innocence" and "law" would not have come upon his descendants: "when there is no law, sin is not imputed." This princle is illustrated in the following verse:

    "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin"
    (Jas.4:17).

    God will not impute sin into a person's account unless that person first knows the difference between what is good and what is not.

    Therefore we can understand that if sin is not imputed into anyone's account then there would be no spiritual death. Therefore, we can understand that Adam's sin of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil resulted in all of his descendants having a knowledge of law. And when his descendants sinned against that law they died spiritually.
    How did you come up with all of this?
    Oh how I love the Word of God!
    Do not just read the word do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tambora View Post
    Huh?
    Plants and animals die and they were never 'spiritual', so their physical death cannot be the result of their spiritual death.
    The whole world is cursed because of Adam.
    Oh how I love the Word of God!
    Do not just read the word do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nang View Post
    Nope. The Law is holy and good.
    Yes, it is holy and good. But those who break the law die spiritually:

    "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away"
    (2 Cor.3:6-7).

    Here the Apostle Paul is contrasting the New Testament with the Ten Commandments (written and engraved in stones). In regard to the New Testament he says that "the spirit giveth life" so this is obviously referring to "spiritual life."

    We are told to compare "spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Cor.2:13) so in order to maintain a logical consistency we must understand that the "ministration of death" refers to "spiritual" death. This idea is reinforced by the words of Paul at Romans 7:9-11 where he states that he died when he broke one of the Ten Commandments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by God's Truth View Post
    The whole world is cursed because of Adam.
    Who has said differently?

    For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tambora View Post
    All the more reason to settle what "die" means when GOD gave the death sentence for eating the fruit.
    Until it is, everything else will become an argument because not everyone is using the meaning in the same way.
    Well know Calvinists spokesman R.C. Sproul says this:

    "To be sure, spiritual death set in the very day that Adam and Eve sinned. But the fact that they did not experience physical death that day was not a result of God being lax regarding His warnings and judgments...Since the fall, every human being born into this world as a natural son of Adam arrives “DOA.” He is “dead on arrival” in a spiritual sense when he is born. But this spiritual death is not the same as biological death, though biological death is also the inevitable destiny of every sinning person. So, though we arrive “DOA” in a spiritual sense, we nevertheless arrive biologically alive"
    (R.C. Sproul, Death Does Not Have the Last Word).


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    Quote Originally Posted by God's Truth View Post
    How did you come up with all of this?
    I first got the idea when I read this in The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy:

    "The Edenic covenant is tied to the dispensation of innocence, whereby God tested man to see if he would live by God's conditions. God told man not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). The dispensation ended in man's failure--Eve was deceived (1 Timothy 2:14) and Adam deliberately disobeyed. As a result, the first man had personal and experiental knowledge of good and evil. What seemed like a simple, limited act of eating fruit ended in a broad, conscious knowledge of right and wrong. In the next dispensation, the descendants of Adam were responsible for this new awareness of sin" [emphasis added] (The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy, ed.Tim LaHaye & Ed Hindson, [Eugene: Harvest House, 2004], 86).

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