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Theology > Salvation > Salvation's Necessity >  Legacy of Adam


The legacy of Adam is the legacy of sin (see: Adam's Rebellion). It is Adam’s legacy because of God’s determination that the deed of Adam would be identified with the race such that the consequences that came upon Adam would be the consequences attributed to his descendants (see: The Principle of Identification). The act of Adam was a solitary act of disobedience and rebellion that brought culpability not only to the first man but also to all men, meaning that mankind became guilty before God because of the act of Adam, who both in his person and in his act was identified with the race.

The sin of Adam was and is the sin of the race, with the penalties imputed to Adam for his sin also being the penalties imputed to the race. Most thinkers simply dismiss such teaching as  fundamentally unfair and totally incomprehensible; for them it is the height of foolishness to suggest that accountability for one’s deed can be visited upon another individual. But it is impossible to extricate the present despicable plight of man from the single past offense of Adam. While a mindset divorced from Biblical Theism will vigorously oppose such a concept (see: Interpretations of Adam’s Act), the Scriptures plainly teach this to be the case, especially in the classic passage dealing with the close association of Adam and the race: Rom. 5:12-21.

Death, in both its spiritual and physical manifestations, is true of all men because of Adam; Paul writes: “in Adam all die” (I Cor. 15:22). Through the identification of the race with Adam the consequences incurred by Adam became the consequences applied to the race (see: Two Men: Adam and Christ). And the consequences can be stated in one word—death. The death is twofold: spiritual death and physical death. The spiritual leads to the physical; the physical is because of the spiritual. The two are intricately related.

Spiritual death implies that man is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), and can do no good thing (see: Rom. 3:9-18); spiritual death means that man is separated from God. Physical death is ahead for every individual and brings separation from physical life and separation from earthly affairs, family, and friends. With death comes separation, separation from life, spiritual and physical.

With sin and the resulting death come condemnation and judgment, and into this state each individual is born. Man is not by nature good or neutral; man is by nature sinful, sinful in disposition and, therefore, sinful in acts. Because he is comprehensively sinful he is in need of a full salvation.

Since man is a sinner by nature and by act, he is in need of deliverance, a deliverance without which he will not enter into the presence of God: “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jo. 3:3) and “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Jo. 3:5). Because of Adam man needs to be delivered from the penalty, pollution, and power of sin.

It is amazing that the two areas in which all people are equal (Creation—all are made in the image of God; and the Fall—all partake of a sinful state from Adam) are rejected by secular thinkers, who consider these recorded events to be non-historical. Yet, on the other hand, these same thinkers affirm the solidarity of mankind, even while denying the only two valid areas of similarity and identity. If Revelation is rejected, then where is the normative basis for equality of the members of the race?

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