Did we all inherit sin from Adam and Eve?

Question: "Did we all inherit sin from Adam and Eve?"

Yes, all people inherited sin from Adam and Eve, specifically Adam. Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, the “shining star, the son of the morning,” the most beautiful and powerful of the angels. Not content to be all this, he desired to be the most high God, and that was his downfall and the beginning of sin (Isaiah 14:12-15). Renamed Satan, he brought sin to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where he tempted Adam and Eve with the same enticement, “you shall be like God.” Genesis 3 describes their rebellion against God and against His commandments. Since that time, sin has been passed down through all the generations of mankind and we, Adam’s descendants, have inherited sin from him. Romans 5:12 tells us that through Adam, sin entered the world and so death was passed on to all men because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This is the condition known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam.

Adam and Eve were made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26-27). As a result, all human beings are also in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 9:6). However, we are also in the image and likeness of Adam (Genesis 5:3). When Adam fell into sin, that resulted in every one of his descendants also being “infected” with sin. David lamented this fact in one of his Psalms: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). This doesn’t mean that his mother bore him illegitimately; rather, his mother had inherited a sin nature from her parents, and they from their parents, and so on. David inherited sin from his parents, just as we all do. Even if we live the most perfect life possible, we are still sinners as a result of inherited sin.

Being born sinners results in the fact that we all sin. Notice the progression in Romans 5:12: Sin entered the world through Adam, death follows sin, death comes to all people, all people sin because they inherit sin from Adam. Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) we need a perfect, sinless sacrifice to wash away our sin, something we are powerless to do on our own. Thankfully, Jesus Christ is the Savior from sin! Our sin has been crucified on the cross of Jesus, and now “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided the remedy for the sin we inherit, and that remedy is available to everyone: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Recommended Resource: Basic Theology by Charles Ryrie.

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Did we all inherit sin from Adam and Eve?