In Adam All Die

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, March 10, 2016 0 comments

by Steve Risner

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next one is here.]

I really enjoyed the study for this week’s blog post. It gives me a chance to further solidify sound doctrine in my own mind and be reminded of things that are essential to Christian doctrine. This week I am hoping to clearly answer a question that Tyler Francke poses in his blog post called “10 Theological Questions no Young-earth Creationist Can Answer.” This is question 3. What I’ve found so far is that the questions are not only not unanswerable, but they’ve been answered by many people for hundreds of years or longer. But it is fun to study up and learn a bit. This week’s question is actually a good one and I’ll give Tyler credit for asking a great question, although we find in the body of his reasoning as to why it’s an unanswerable question that he really is Biblically illiterate and doesn’t want the question answered. Let’s take a look at this question and see what the Word has to say.

“If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?” This seems like a legitimate question from our theistic evolutionist today. However, since I know he’s not asking because he’s curious but because he doesn’t understand Scripture and he thinks he’s got the Biblical creationist in some sort of “gotcha” moment, I’m a little too eager, perhaps, to get into it. I don’t think he wants an answer, but I’m happy to give one since he asked. Perhaps you’ve wondered the same thing—honestly and inquisitively rather than with your arms folded and your hips cocked.

In regards to Romans 5:12, Tyler thinks the whole thing is a misunderstanding. He believes “that this passage is talking about something different entirely: spiritual death — which is a pretty common theme in scripture as well.” Well, let’s start by saying that the Bible does talk about “spiritual death” on occasion, but the overwhelming majority of the time death is mentioned, it’s talking about the soul leaving the body, aka physical death. You generally know the meaning by the context. I think the only reason he would suggest spiritual death is the only punishment for sin is that he needs it to be the only punishment for sin. He has accepted humanism and its origins story but wants to be a Christian too. There’s really no other reason I can find anywhere for this. The striking thing here is that Tyler has inadvertently shown us all his lack of understanding of Christianity. He thinks this is simply some young-earth creationist issue. But in asking this question, he’s essentially wiped away 2000 years of apostolic teaching as recorded in the Bible—and that doesn’t have to have anything to do with origins. Christ came to defeat sin and its consequences—separation from God, yes, but also slavery to sin and freedom to live and the defeat of death. This is so intimately connected to the resurrection it’s astounding he doesn’t see this.

So he quotes Romans 5:12 as saying, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” He then goes on to tell us what that means (incorrectly): “It clearly implies that we don’t become capable of physical death until after we sin, which makes absolutely no sense.” He’s partially correct—this makes no sense. The Apostle Paul is pretty thorough in explaining that we all—every last one of us—is born with a sin nature because we all sinned in Adam. It doesn’t say we sin because Adam made it possible.

Adam and Christ are similar (and are compared to each other by Paul) in that they pass on something to all of those that are under them. Adam passed on sin to all mankind. Jesus passes resurrection life on to all those who follow Him. They are two opposing heads of humanity. Adam brought condemnation upon us all—every last one of us. But Christ brings salvation, redemption, and sanctification through His resurrection. It’s not Christ’s death that is so excitedly celebrated on Resurrection Sunday. It’s obviously His resurrection! His death is clearly of importance as it pays the penalty for our sin. But the life that is possible because of His resurrection is of unspeakable importance to humanity. We are dead to sin but we are alive to our heavenly Father! This is important for a couple reasons: 1) we need to understand the hope we have in Christ Jesus in eternal life once we pass on into the next life, but 2) right here and now we need to understand that because of the newness of life through the resurrection, we are free to seek growth and a rich relationship with our Maker. We focus on the forgiveness of sins, which is bought by the blood of Christ, and this is very important. But we’re not dead anymore! We are alive in Christ through the power of His resurrection! I don’t think Tyler gets this, but I hope I’m wrong. The trouble here, then, is this half message results in a shallow, superficial sort of Christian who fails to look different from the world. This is a sickness we see in the Church all over America. Or, we find Christians who actually want to look like the world and makes friends with the world. This is not good. All mankind is, from the mother’s womb, created with a sin nature. We are, therefore, incapable of pleasing Christ or even obeying Him. It’s only by the saving grace of Christ as a result of the call of the Holy Spirit that we can avoid the 3 natured offense we carry from conception—we are born sinners, we live our days filled with acts of sin, and we live an unholy and unproductive life without Christ in us.

This is all part of the result or consequence of sin being heaped on all people through Adam’s rebellion. But praise Jesus Christ we are freed from that HERE AND NOW and not just freed from the second death. Many atheists or skeptics of whatever variety claim Christians are just Christ-followers because they want to avoid hell. Sure, that’s a great thing for my future plans—not going to hell. But the deal is I can experience true life in Christ Jesus right now as I allow Him to work in my life and become more like Him every day. From his writings, perhaps Tyler only feels that getting a ticket to heaven is the only benefit for the Christian. But we know that’s only a piece of the prize!

Tyler explains, “Either Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient to cover all the consequences of our transgressions… or death just isn’t one of those consequences.” Or death is a consequence of our sin and, as 1 Corinthians 15:26 says, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.” This defeat of death is through the resurrection and then death is thrown into the Lake of Fire, according to Revelation 20:14. But, again, he implies that the penalty is for our acts of sin that we commit daily. That’s not really the whole truth. We are born in sin. We live in sin and commit sins. We die in sin if we never find Jesus Christ. This is because in Adam we all sinned. In his statement that says we can’t die until after we sin, that sort of tells me he’s getting at infants and children can’t die. They’ve not sinned—especially a child in the womb. But they do die—millions have died at the hands of abortion clinics around the country. My wife and I had two miscarriages—one before and one after our son Judah was born. It was difficult. We look forward to seeing these children in heaven since, as we are discussing here, death has been defeated. This sort of thing was talked about by Matthew Henry quite some time ago: “In proof of our union with Adam, and our part in his first transgression, observe that sin prevailed in the world for many ages before the giving of the law by Moses. And death reigned in that long time, not only over adults who willfully sinned, but also over multitudes of infants, which shows that they had fallen in Adam under condemnation, and that the sin of Adam extended to all his posterity.” Everyone! That’s the point. It’s pretty straight forward, isn’t it? I’ve run out of space and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of this wonderful thing in Christianity we call the resurrection. As a result, next week we’ll go into some of the implications of the resurrection and how it impacts us as believers and how it truly means death has been defeated. Exciting since we are approaching Resurrection Sunday!

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