Rom 5:12 Death spread... because all sinned - How?

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Tue Mar 03 1998 - 23:52:15 EST

I just read Cranfield's six possibilities for Romans 5:12. However, I
wish to put forth the following for feedback from the list.

Some have explained this as meaning that all of Adam's future offspring
shared in Adam's initial act of sin because, as their family head, he
represented them and thereby made them, in effect, participants with him
in his sin. I find this explanation wanting for three reasons:

First, The verse speaks of death as having DIHLQEN 'spread' 'pass on'
to all men, which implies a progressive rather than a simultaneous
effect on Adam's descendants.

Secondly, verse 14 goes on to speak of death as ruling as king "from
Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the
likeness of the PARABASEWS "transgression" by Adam." Thus, the type of
"sins" from Adam to Moses was not quite the same as the type of sin
committed by Adam. This fact seems out of harmony with the view that
'when Adam sinned, all of his as yet unborn descendants sinned with

Thirdly, verse 19 points to this conclusion when he says that "just as
through the disobedience of the one man [Adam] many were constituted
sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one person [Christ
Jesus] many will be constituted righteous." Those to be "constituted
righteous" by Christ's obedience were not all immediately so constituted
at the moment of his presenting his ransom sacrifice to God, but they
progressively come under the benefits of that sacrifice as they come to
PISTEUW in that provision and become reconciled to God. (Joh 3:36; Ac

Given this line of reasoning, the evidence, I believe, points to a
"passing on," or DIHLQEN of sin from Adam to succeeding generations as a
result of the recognized law of heredity. Sin, along with its
consequences, "entered" EISELQEN and "spread" DIHLQEN to all the human
race not merely because Adam was the family head of the race but because
he, not Eve, was its progenitor, or human life source. From him, as well
as from Eve, his offspring would inescapably inherit not merely physical
characteristics but also personality traits, including the inclination
toward sin.-Compare 1Co 15:22, 48, 49. Perhaps this is what was meant
when the psalmist says: "With error I was brought forth with birth
pains, and in sin my mother conceived me." (Ps 51:5)

Feedback is welcome since I am translating Romans 5 this week with a
group and I wish to see what merit the "participation" option has in
weight against the above.

Wes Williams

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