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In my opinion, Adam and Eve, by their original disobedience to God's command, corrupted their natures, and made themselves subsequently no longer capable of fellowship with God and perfect compliance with His will. This corruption was then passed on as an inborn characteristic to every subsequent human being (as David, for example, noted in Psalm 51:5). This was not a punishment from God, but a consequence of their own actions and decisions. They were simply incapable of producing children with a nature other than their own. All subsequent humans (except Jesus, due to the unique manner in which He was conceived, and the fact that He was true God as well as true man) were (and are still to this day) separated from God by following the desires and inclinations of this fallen, corrupted nature through committing sinful acts of their own will, decision, and choice. However, as with Adam and Eve, the sins that they commit are actions for which they themselves are fully accountable in the eyes of God, rather than an ongoing punishment from God for Adam and Eve's initial disobedience.
The children of Adam and Eve are not being punished; they are, as said so well by Tim Maas, the unavoidable result of natural generation. No other religion believes in Original Sin other than Christianity. The reason is that Christianity has the highest revelation of true morality and what sin really is of all religions on the earth. What Adam lost - the domination of all living creatures on the earth - will be uniquely restored only in Christianity, which promises crowns for all those who overcome. The moral standard for kings and queens is (or should be) always higher than for their subjects, as an example of how to live correctly. We do look forward to the Resurrection (after the Great White Throne Judgment) where Original Sin will no longer be in effect for everyone living at that time.
If a mother stays drunk on alcohol the whole time she's pregnant with a child, and the child is born with multiple complications related to alcohol poisoning, are the child's problems the result of the irresponsible behavior of the mother? Of course they are! Is it punishment? Is the newborn being punished simply for being born to an ignorant parent? To say that the child is just beginning a lifetime of suffering for the sins of a parent is to slyly accuse God of an injustice. That seems to be the issue here. I don't think Jesus would agree to that assessment. When asked who was to blame for a man being born blind, whether the man's parents bore the blame, or if it was his sin that caused it, Jesus said it was neither due to the parents' sins nor his sin (John 9:3), "but that the works of God might be displayed in [the man]." For the "God accuser" I don't believe Jesus' answer clears God's reputation, I think it validates their claim that God doesn't seem to care about the pain and suffering He has exposed us to when He gave us life in this broken and battered world. The fact that Jesus healed the man of his blindness does nothing to excuse God for having allowed the man to go without his sight just so God can have the opportunity to "display His works." Life is broken... It didn't get that way during halftime, it got off track in the beginning of the game. This is life! A few years ago there was a Superbowl between the Broncos and Seahawks. On the first play from scrimmage the Broncos' center hiked the ball over Peyton Manning's head. The handwriting was plain. It would be a long day for the Broncos. That's how it went for Adam and Eve. It began badly. The ball got hiked over Adam's head and the long day began. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).This was said to His followers to get them ready for His departure from this broken and battered world. It's a play on words. He'd told them He was going to a place and get it ready for them to come to be with Him. He said to them, 'And you know the way to where I am going.' To which Thomas responded, 'Lord, we don't know where you're going. How can we know the way?' The way, the truth, and the life is the essence of life. Jesus is the reason for our lives. He's the forgotten innocent defendant in the story of life here on this broken and battered rock. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). I have a question: Was God's only begotten Son, a man who didn't sin, who was punished by crucifixion, killed because of His Father? Who sinned that Jesus was born into the world to die on a cross? "For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth..." John 18:37 Was Jesus punished for the sin of His parent? That's a better question!
Great question, Peggy! God let the sinful nature pass along to Adam’s descendants. Does it seem harsh? Remember that the Bible says: "Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him." (Hebrews 7:9–10) Levi was in the loins (body) of his ancestor Abraham when he paid tithes to Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18-20). If this applies to each person being “in” their ancestors, then, we were all in Adam when he sinned! This explains why we inherit a sinful nature. When Adam (and Eve) sinned, a sinful nature came over them, and since we were in them and our life came from them, we inherit this nature as well. BH
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