When trying to think of a title for this study, I wanted to come up with something that would be really blunt. I didn't want to hold any punches. I wanted the title to anger and upset people so much, that they would have no choice but to give it a read. I understand that this may not be the best way to get people to openly consider a different view but hey, it's worth a shot.
So I came up with "Adam sinned BEFORE the fall". What do you think?
Is that blunt enough? That might upset some people. If it does, it is called "cognitive dissonance" and the definition is the mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.
When we come across a position or a view that doesn't go smoothly with our dearly held long time view, we get uncomfortable. The easiest way to react is with anger and hostility towards the challenging view. This is an unfortunate situation because most times it also prevents the person with the long held traditional view to ever honestly even hear or consider that there could be a better and more sound way to understand the scriptures in that particular area.
But enough about that. I want to take a closer look at Adam in this study. I want to look briefly at a few of the things that we've heard about or been told about Adam and see if they are actually true when held up to the clear things we read about him in the bible.
This topic has earned me many labels amongst Christians. Particularly in the Preterist camp (where I would fit in for the most part) I have come up against some resistance here. Preterists are a funny bunch sometimes. Most of them are 100% down with challenging just about any long held traditional belief when it comes to the New Testament and the end of the story. BUT, (and this is a gigantic BUT) when you ask them to consider that perhaps the start of the story needs to be re-worked a bit...
no. NO. NO. NO. NO!!!
Not happening. Just not possible, they say.
So in this study I plan on demonstrating why the following 3 things about Adam may not be exactly what you've been told by your Sunday School teacher, but they are totally true none the less.
1) Adam sinned BEFORE the fall
In order to really understand how this conclusion is so easily obtained through the scriptures, we must be able to allow Paul to explain it for us. If we have any reservations or if we have trouble trusting that what Paul says about the matter is completely true, then we won't ever be able to come to any clarity on whether or not Adam sinned before the fall in the garden.
In order to find our answers, we need to first look closely at Romans chapter 5 and read what Paul says here. He writes..
"Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned--(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law" Romans 5:12-13
So Paul takes his audience back to Adam. There can be no argument here. The "one man" by who sin entered the world, was Adam.
Paul says that UNTIL the law came, sin was IN THE WORLD. BUT Paul says, sin is not imputed to anyone when there is no law to hold a person accountable.
Now, here is where people get held up. They believe that "the law" that Paul is speaking of there is the Mosaic Law. It's a safe nestling place for people to say that the Mosaic Law was what Paul meant here. But there is a major major problem if this is true. Paul says this about the sin that was in the world UNTIL the law came.....
"SIN IS NOT IMPUTED WHERE THERE IS NO LAW"
Paul says that YES, sin was present in the world. BUT that sin was not imputed to anyone yet. The reason was that the Law hadn't been given yet. The command hadn't been yet spoken. Therefore they had no "knowledge" of breaking any command and therefore could not be held guilty.
But the person who disagrees will say that this is false and that it was the Mosaic Law which was being spoken of by Paul. Well, if that is the case, then your entire bible narrative changes. What do I mean by that?
Well Paul is abundantly clear that sin is NOT IMPUTED where there is no law.
So if Paul is speaking of the Mosaic Law here, then this means that EVERYONE from Adam alllllll the way to Moses and the giving of the commandments, had ZERO sin imputed to them.
Think about it. Paul is taking us to a time in history when SIN WAS PRESENT.....BUT WAS NOT IMPUTED.
So that is either Adam, or it's Moses. If it's Moses, then that means there was NO IMPUTATION from Adam to Moses. If that is the case you might as well just start over because everything changes. That means Adam wasn't a sinner in the garden because he wouldn't have had any sin imputed to him. That means that in the day that he ate of the fruit, he DID NOT die, contrary to what God told him.
The consequences of wrongly applying Paul's words to the Mosaic Law in Romans 5 are tremendous. Paul is no doubt, taking his audience all the way back to Adam, BEFORE the Law (the command) came to not eat of the certain tree.
Consider this powerful tidbit that we read from Paul just 2 chapters later in Romans 7. He writes this...
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." Romans 7:7-9
So can we see what Paul is doing here? He is again taking us all the way back to the garden. When he says "I was once alive without the Law", he is not speaking of himself. He is speaking of Adam as the headship of God's people. Why was he doing this?
Well because just 2 chapters earlier, Paul was explaining that Adam was alive until the law came. Even though sin was present, it wasn't imputed because there was no law yet. So again Paul is just building on the same concept here. He says "but sin, TAKING OPPORTUNITY BY THE COMMANDMENT"...
Think about that for a moment. It was actually the commandment that gave the opportunity for sin to kill. Think about that. Sin was already present. But there was NO COMMANDMENT given yet so sin had no power. But sin, TAKING OPPORTUNITY BY THE COMMANDMENT which was given by God, produced in Adam that evil desire. Do we see how this works now?
Paul, taking his audience back to Adam, says that apart from the law sin was dead. It had no power. It couldn't kill. BUT, when THE commandment came, sin lived, and he died.
So the commandment. The SINGULAR commandment (THOU SHALL NOT EAT!) came and gave sin a perfect opportunity to kill. And it did just that.
When we consider the name of the Tree that they ate from, we should really see this laid out even more clearly for us. The Tree was called, "The Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of Good & Evil."
Why do we suppose that God called it that? Why wouldn't He just called it the "Tree of Good & Evil"?
Well, because again, the Tree did NOT create the good and evil. The Tree just gave KNOWLEDGE of already existing good and evil. Sin was already in the world remember?
Eating of that Tree only brought knowledge of it. It did not create it. This is crucial and undeniable.
Furthermore, Adam and Eve were "naked and unashamed" before they fell. Why?
Well again, they had NO IDEA about their nakedness. They had no guilt. Why?
Sin was already in the world remember? But yet they had no clue. They were "naked" but yet they were unashamed because they were not yet guilty. They had no consciousness of their sinfulness.
But when THE commandment (thou shall not eat!) came, sin took that opportunity and broke the commandment and they died. It was at THAT point that they KNEW they were naked and they were ashamed. They knew of their guilt now because the Law had showed it to them.
By the way, were they really literally "naked" and did they really literally eat from a tree that made them aware of evil? Most likely not. These seem to be symbols and pictures of greater truths. They represent something greater. Just like the Tree of Life represents Jesus Christ. We don't suppose that Jesus turned Himself into an actual Tree that they could have eaten off of. Symbols.
In conclusion of #1, there is boatloads of scriptural proof to prove that sin was in the world BEFORE the command came in the garden, but yet sin was not imputed where there was no command yet. So they were alive UNTIL they broke that command at which time, they died.
2) Adam was NOT created immortal
Another tough pill to swallow for many. Most people believe that God created Adam perfectly sinless and perfectly immortal and his sin caused him to fall and caused mortality.
But at the very surface of this argument there are some very obvious and fatal problems.
The first being that if God created Adam sinless from the beginning, then how did Adam sin? That just doesn't work.
The second problem is that if Adam was "immortal" from the beginning, then that means God created Adam "UNABLE TO DIE". This is the very definition of the word "immortal". So this doesn't work either.
The third problem is that we just demonstrated in point #1 that sin was clearly in the world BEFORE the command not to eat of the tree came to them. But it wasn't imputed to them because there was no command yet. So this shatters the idea that Adam was perfect prior to the fall. Paul flat out says that sin was around.
But perhaps the most fatal blow to the idea that Adam was created immortal from the start is what we read in Genesis 3:22.
Adam and Eve had sinned and eaten of the fruit. God had just finished placing them under the curse of bondage. He then says this..
"Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” Genesis 3:22
First thing to note there is the fact that the result of them eating the fruit was that they now KNEW good fro evil. They didn't CREATE evil by eating the fruit. They simply understood it now. They were illuminated to something that was already there just non-active. Now though, it had gained power and become active.
The second and more important point here is that Adam and Eve could have taken of the Tree of Life. But when? THIS WAS AFTER THEY HAD FALLEN.
God says that if they would have taken of the Tree of Life and eaten, they would have what?
So clearly they had not yet possessed immortality prior to that point. God was stating that He would ban them from the garden so that they wouldn't be able to eat and live forever. Meaning clearly that they DID NOT possess eternal life or immortality in any way prior to that.
3) Adam was in Covenant with God
It's funny to me how you can show someone something plain as day and yet sometimes it isn't good enough for them. Their traditional beliefs are too strong for them to ever let go, so they refuse to submit to what is plain as day.
For instance the fact that "Adam" both the man, and the people, were in Covenant with Yahweh.
Hosea 6:7 when speaking of Israel and her adulterous behavior says...
"But like Adam, they (Israel) transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me."
Adam was both the first Covenant man and Adam was also a people. "All those in Adam" said Paul.
Adam was the very start of the first Covenant lineage. It would be through those forthcoming generations, that Israel would come, and eventually the Lord Himself as well.
We see God give Cain and Abel commands to sacrifice on an altar. These are Covenant practices given to Covenant people. God did not command pagan nations to abide by His laws and statutes.
We see God command Noah to build an altar and sacrifice to Him on it as well after the flood subsided. God was establishing or continuing His Covenant with Noah after wiping out all of His former Covenant people for their wickedness. Which is why God says to Noah...
"I will establish MY COVENANT with you."
This wasn't a new Covenant. This was a Covenant of old. A Covenant that was made with Adam just like Hosea referred to when he said that "Adam transgressed the Covenant".
It only takes a little bit of work and a bit of humble honesty to see clearly that the following is true:
1) Sin was in "the world" before the commandment was given to Adam in the garden but it wasn't imputed to them until that commandment was given.
2) Adam was NOT immortal and perfect before the fall.
3) Adam was in Covenant with God.
Imagine what these 3 key points do to traditional Christianity and the long held Genesis theories held by millions upon millions of people?
Thanks for reading guys. If you've enjoyed it please give it a like and feel free to share.