Adam is the one who started all of this. When Adam sinned, sin entered the world and affected the entire human race. With the sin, death entered the world and it too affected the entire human race. Therefore, through the one man sin entered into the world and death caught a ride, both affecting the entire human race. Adam’s sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die (for sin entered into the world and death followed sin into the world).
We know that it was Adam’s sin that caused this because according to the scriptures, people were sinning from the time of Adam until Moses and God did not judge them guilty of death for breaking his laws, because he had not yet given his laws to them, nor had he told them what he wanted them to do. We also know from the scriptures that when their bodies died it was not for their own sins since they themselves had never disobeyed God’s special law against eating the forbidden fruit, as Adam had.
We have come to a point in our discussion that we have several things that we need to carefully consider. We guess we could say that we have some things to ponder. We know that everyone from the time of Adam until Moses who died were not guilty of sinning after the similitude or likeness of Adam’s transgression. We know that everyone from the time of Adam until Moses who died were not judged guilty for breaking God’s laws because he had not yet given them nor told what he wanted to be done. And we know that the assumption has always been that everyone has sinned because of the passage that says, for all have sinned and all have fallen short of the glory of God. If all have sinned, then they that did not sin after the similitude or likeness of Adam’s transgression must have sinned somehow as well. This became somewhat of a dilemma for us. How could they have sinned, especially since God did not judge them guilty for breaking his laws because he had not yet given his laws nor told what he wanted done? What was their sin?
This was becoming something that would require some revelation knowledge to completely understand. We had heard the phrase, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God numerous times before, but never really examined what it was trying to convey. We finally decided that we needed to examine this passage a little closer. First, we needed to define that word sin. According to the Encarta dictionary, sin is defined as a transgression of theological principles. It is an act, thought, or way of behaving that goes against the law or teachings of a religion, especially when the person who commits it is aware of this. In Christian theology, sin is defined as the condition of being denied God's grace because of a sin or sins committed.
The word sin is usually defined as personal sin, which may be one of commission (doing something that is prohibited) or one of omission (failing to do what is required of you). This sin may also express itself in either an act or attitude, for example, going astray like a wandering sheep doing one’s own thing, by transgressing or overstepping the law, or by trespassing. By now, we believed we had a handle on this thing called sin, but we still could not relate it to those who died from the time of Adam until Moses that were not judged guilty for breaking God’s laws because he had not yet given them nor told what he wanted to be done. We could not see where they had done anything that could be considered a sin of commission or one of omission. To us, sin was defined as doing something that was or had been prohibited by God and it was clear, through the scriptures that this was not the case for them during that time.
And to make matters worse, we got to thinking about the age of accountability. The concept of the age of accountability is the belief that a child is not held responsible or accountable by God for his or her sins until they reach a certain age. This concept was contrary to the passage that continually conveyed the fact that all had sinned, without exception. As we continued our examination of this concept, we discovered that children, including infants, were actually considered guilty because of something called inherited and imputed sin. Inherited sin is the belief that the sins of the parents are actually passed down to their children. Imputed sin is the belief that sin can be attributed to someone else. In this case, the sins of the parents could be attributed to those of the children.
This was a belief that was share by King David who said; Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5 – NIV). And as we pondered this age of accountability idea, several more questions came to mind. For example, What sin does a baby who is born, takes one breath, then dies commit? What did the baby do that was prohibited? What did the baby fail do that was required of him or her? What sin did this baby commit? Then it dawn on us that there could be another definition or meaning for this word sin. (to be continued…)
Enjoy your blessings - KW