The Doctrine of Original Sin

(What is means to be “in Adam”)


COPYRIGHT ©2019 - James M. Frye


All scripture quotations are taken from the Authorized King James Bible. Any deviations are not intentional. All underlines, bold and words within brackets are the author's.


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The doctrine of original sin teaches us that when Adam sinned, all of mankind sinned with and in him. His sin, affected not only himself, but as the representative of mankind (He and Eve were all of mankind at that point), his sin, and the results of that sin (the fallen nature of man) passed upon his offspring and in turn all of humanity. There are two parts to this doctrine:

A. Original Guilt - all mankind is guilty of having sinned in Adam.

B. Original corruption - Adam's fallen nature is passed on to his posterity through natural generation.

All men are born spiritually dead and with an inherited sinful nature. Think about it, if we cannot be lost by having sinned "in Adam", neither can we be saved "in Christ". Both involve one person's sins being imputed to another. Romans chapter 5 sets up a contrast between the two.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

God told Adam that IN THE DAY he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would DIE (Gen. 2:17). He didn't die physically that day, but lived on hundreds of years afterward (Gen. 5:5). He died spiritually (was separated from God because of his sin). The same was true of Eve. (They both also began to age and would eventually die physically as well.)

Because of this, all men (mankind) are born sinners.

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:

That is, all have sinned in Adam.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were MADE SINNERS ...

As it is often truly said, men are not just sinners because they sin. They sin because they are sinners.

Psalms 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

All men (mankind) are born spiritually dead (separated from God because of their fallen sinful nature). This is why Jesus said that people must be born again.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be BORN AGAIN.

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS;

Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were DEAD IN SINS, hath quickened [made alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

[words in brackets above added by me for clarification]

Being born again, or quickened, is refering to regeneration.

The proof which Romans 5 gives for the doctrine of original sin (in addition to the fact that the passage outright teaches it) is the universality of physical death (everyone dies).

Romans 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression...

The point is that God only told Adam that he would die (spiritually immediately, plus physically thereafter) when he sinned. But God had given no other like commands which would result in physical death to anyone all the way from Adam until Moses. Why then did these every single person who lived during that time die? They died because the judgment upon Adam came not only upon Him, but also upon all of mankind. That is proof of the doctrine of original sin. God punished the entire human race for having sinned in Adam.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as BY THE OFFENCE OF ONE judgment came upon ALL MEN to condemnation...

Romans chapter 5 explains that to overcome this condemnation “in Adam”, men must be saved “in Christ”.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

For more on this, please see my article explaining what it means to be “in Christ” at the link below.