Re: Romans 5:12

From: Alan Simons (
Date: Mon Oct 04 1999 - 03:57:20 EDT

--- George Goolde wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> Thank you, Al, for this post. It is a good and
> important question. As
> Carl accurately observed sinned is an aorist
> indicative. This means that
> most exegetes would see it indicating past time and
> undefined aspect. The
> idea that the aorist indicative shows a past action
> in a point of time is
> an inaccurate summation. What the aorist indicative
> DOES show is that the
> aspect is not defined. (The word aorist itself
> comes from horizo with the
> alpha privitive. Horizo means to mark out a limit;
> with the alpha
> privitive it means unlimited.)
> Carlton's post shows that he, too, understands the
> aspect to be undefined,
> or at least uncertain. Here is where we ought to
> realize, as we struggle
> to be honest with ourselves and our own
> presuppositions, that we
> unconsciously read our presuppositions and/or our
> theology into our
> exegesis. We cannot make the text mean something it
> does not say, such as
> making this verse a present tense; that would be
> eisegesis. But as we work
> to select an appropriate description of which use of
> the aorist indicative
> we believe this to be, we will probably make a
> selection that is
> "influenced" by the above factors.
> I myself would understand that the three aorist
> indicatives happened at
> the same time. Sin entered the world through Adam.
> At the same time death
> passed to all men (in a positional sense; some men
> weren't even born yet so
> they didn't die yet temporally). The reason for
> this is that, at the same
> time, these same all men sinned. This is, in my
> opinion, the most natural
> way to understand the aorists. It is clearly not
> possible to understand
> the first aorist imperative (entered) as gnomic.
> I would like to think that this particular exegesis
> informs my theology,
> but I must also wonder if my theology does not
> prompt me to interpret these
> aorists as I do. I do not see this as a statement
> that explains that men
> always do sin (although I agree that we habitually
> do!). I see this as a
> statement that Adam's sin was imputed to the entire
> human race so that all
> die physically as a result. The reason for this is
> that all sinned (in the
> person of their substitute, Adam), The passage goes
> on to explain that we
> receive the imputation of God's righteousness,
> thereby leading to
> justification, because of the gift of the Second
> Adam, Christ. I'm not
> intending a theological discourse here, but am
> trying to show evidence in
> the passage for interpreting the aorist indicatives
> of verse twelve as
> simple, cotaneous actions in past time, with no
> emphasis on or definition
> of aspect.
> Hope this helps.
> George A. Goolde
> Professor, Bible and Theology
> Southern California Bible College & Seminary
> El Cajon, California

Dear George,

Your post is what I was looking for. I'm the type that
understands a concept the best when it is applied to a
concrete example. I also was greatly helped by the
other posts.

I would like to explore this verse a little bit

In one of Carl Conrad's post from tht archives, he

"Re: "EF' hWi" in Rom. 5:12
Carl W. Conrad (
Mon, 18 Nov 1996 11:23:13 -0600 (CST)
    Previous message: Johnny Felker: "Re: "EF' hWi" in
Rom. 5:12"
    In reply to: Johnny Felker: "Re: "EF' hWi" in Rom.
    Next in thread: Johnny Felker: "Re: "EF' hWi" in
Rom. 5:12"
At 11:23 AM -0600 11/18/96, Johnny Felker wrote:
>Dear Mr. Conrad,
>I have noted and appreciate your active participation
in the B-Greek
>Archives. I am learning a great deal by reading the
posts from day to day
>for nearly a year now. In addition I have explored
your home page and
>enjoyed the Bible and language study links on it. I
was hoping you might
>comment on my recent question on B-Greek, if you have
time and see fit. Any
>ideas for me on this?
>Thanks for your consideration,
>>Greetings to all. I could use some help on how this
phrase might best be
>>translated ("because"?, "whereupon?") and therefore
how it affects the
>>relation of the statements "death passed to all men"
and "all sinned".

Okay, I read the EF' hWi as an abbreviated version of
understand it fundamentally as "because": I translate
the whole sentence thus:
"For this reason, just as through the instrumentality
of one human being Sin
entered into the world and, through the
instrumentality of Sin Death [entered
into the world], even so Death extended to all human
all (human beings) sinned." EPI TOUTWi = "on the basis
of this", and hOTI =
"namely, the fact that ..." This is a common
compression into the antecedent
clause of the relative word introducing the
subordinate clause. This, at any
rate, is how I understand it. I hope that helps; if
you still find it
problematic, let me know what you see as particularly

Regards, cwc "

Earlier, Carl called the last aorist resultive. Here,
he appears to caled it causative. I have no problem
with it being a combination of the two.

It appears that this understanding would require a
sequence. i. e. Adam's sin caused two things, death to
enter the world and all to sin which caused all to

I'm a learner and not a debater, so is there a
different way of looking at this verse or did I miss

Thanks for the help,

Al Simons

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