Romans 5:12-21

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9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Or, in whom – ἐφ’ ᾧ
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.


12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14 Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16 And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17 If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19 For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

NET Bible

12 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— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law.

Christadelphian Views

This passage was referenced in our response to the AACE discussion question 3 (3.1.7, 3.4.1 and 3.6.1) and discussion question 5 (especially 5.3.1, 5.3.5, 5.4.7, 5.4.8, 5.5.2)

Bro Ken Gilmore writes about his own views and cites L G Sargent's and Alan Fowler's at Adam in Innocence. LGS rejected the idea that Adam was ever "amortal"; bro Fowler rejected the idea that the Tree of Life conferred immortality, and "the concept that we all die because of Adam’s sin".

Bro Ken Drage, who was a member of Watford Ecclesia during the time of the controversy about Bro Ralph Lovelock's views, gives his conclusions in this essay.

Colin cited verse 12 in his response to our first "reconciliation challenge".

What does ἐφ’ ᾧ mean?

There's an age-old question about what Paul is referring to by ἐφ’ ᾧ when he writes ἐφ’ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον ("? ? all have sinned"). It is well known that Jerome translated this phrase wrongly in his Latin Vulgate translation, as in quo omnes peccaverunt,in whom (i.e. Adam) all have sinned — as seen in the margin of the King James Version.

According to the Greek-speaking experts of the Greek Orthodox tradition, Western Christians still have not fully corrected Jerome's error with for that all have sinned, or because all have sinned, and it should be translated in which all have sinned, i.e. in death. In other words, the fact of death in our mortal lives leads us to sin.

Misreading when we're looking back for the antecedent of a pronoun is an easy mistake for readers to make who are not native speakers of a language. — BP

Original Sin in the Byzantine Tradition

The Orthodox understanding is outlined in an extensive blog post "Original Sin in the Byzantine Tradition" here also archived here — it is cited by bro Stephen Palmer with apparent approval in the Genesis Foundations series, chapter 10, "Creation or Evolution – implications for the atonement".

"A number of Byzantine authors, including Photios, understood the eph ho to mean "because" and saw nothing in the Pauline text beyond a moral similarity between Adam and other sinners in death being the normal retribution for sin. But there is also the consensus of the majority of Eastern Fathers, who interpret Romans 5:12 in close connection with 1 Corinthians 15:22 — between Adam and his descendants there is a solidarity in death just as there is a solidarity in life between the risen Lord and the baptized. This interpretation comes, obviously, from the literal, grammatical meaning of Romans 5:12. Eph ho, if it means "because," is a neuter pronoun; but it can also be masculine referring to the immediately preceding substantive thanatos ("death"). The sentence then may have a meaning, which seems improbable to a reader trained in Augustine, but which is indeed the meaning which most Greek Fathers accepted: "As sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, so death spread to all men; and because of death, all men have sinned..."

— Fr. John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology,
NY, Fordham University Press, 1983, pp. 143-146

See less formal discussion here for example. This is also interesting. Also relevant: The faithful creator.

The Origin of Mortality