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Two Views of Adam’s Sin

Two Views of Adam’s Sin

Excerpt
The Greek past (aorist) tense occurs in all three verbs in this verse. So the entire human race is viewed as having sinned in the one act of Adam’s sin (cf. “all have sinned,” also the Gr. past tense, in 3:23). Two ways of explaining this participation of the human race in the sin of Adam have been presented by theologians—the “federal headship” of Adam over the race and the “natural or seminal headship” of Adam. (Others say that people merely imitated Adam, that he gave the human race a bad example. But that does not do justice to 5:12.)
The federal headship view considers Adam, the first man, as the representative of the human race that generated from him. As the representative of all humans, Adam’s act of sin was considered by God to be the act of all people and his penalty of death was judicially made the penalty of everybody.
The natural headship view, on the other hand, recognizes that the entire human race was seminally and physically in Adam, the first man. As a result, God considered all people as participating in the act of sin which Adam committed and as receiving the penalty he received. Even adherents of the federal headship view must admit that Adam is the natural head of the human race physically; the issue is the relationship spiritually. Biblical evidence supports the natural headship of Adam. When presenting the superiority of Melchizedek’s priesthood to Aaron’s, the author of Hebrews argued that Levi, the head of the priestly tribe, “who collects the 10th, paid the 10th through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his… More
Witmer, John A. “Romans.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 458. Print.
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