Monday, February 02, 2004

Death through sin...

Drew posted a comment to a comment I posted at Evangelical Outpost - got all that? Here's what Drew posted:
You posted a comment on EO: The Bible does not state that death came as the result of sin but that human death came as the result of sin. From Romans 8, I get the impression that creation also reaped the consequences of the human sin. At what other point in time would creation have been subjected to the "slavery of corruption" other than the Fall? Just asking, and wondering.
Let's first take a look at Romans 5:12-17:
So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. But the gracious gift is not like the transgression. For if the many died through the transgression of the one man, how much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one man Jesus Christ multiply to the many! And the gift is not like the one who sinned. For judgment, resulting from the one transgression, led to condemnation, but the gracious gift from the many failures led to justification. For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ! (all NET)
It should be clear from this passage that the issue being discussed is justification by the gift of righteousness through Jesus. Note that the point of the passage is not that death entered the world but that death through sin entered the world by Adam and spread to all people because all sinned. Paul clarifies that this is about sin - not about animal death. Now let's cross-reference to chapter 8, beginning with the last verse in one paragraph and continuing through to the next; verses 8:17 - 25:
And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly but because of God who subjected it—in hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.
Notice how the creation was subject to futility by God; there is no reference to it being the result of Adam's sin. Also note how this bondage of decay will be liberated into freedom as we ourselves will be liberated by the redemption of our bodies. A difficult question now arises, which Drew addressed above... when was the creation subjected to decay? Was it at the time of Adam's sin (as it seems to imply in chapter 5)? Or was it at the beginning (as the laws of physics seem to imply)? One way of looking at this is to look at each passage and note what each is about. Chapter 5? Justification. Chapter 8? The Believer's relationship to the Spirit. The justification spoken of in chapter 5 has to do with man's sin and the fact that condemnation for all people came through one man's sin. But the issue of creation being subjected to futility, in chapter 8, has to do with Godly living, hope, and assurance. Another way of looking at this is to ask the question: Was God surprised by Adam's sinning? A plausible explanation is that from the very beginning, God's Sovereign Will accounted for the sin of man and He subjected the creation to futility as part of His plan to conquer evil at His timing.

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