Adam as Representative of Humanity

Why did Adam's sin have such terrible consequences for humanity and creation?

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Well, when God created Adam and Eve, he did so in such a way that they were to be representative for the entire human race. In retrospect, from Romans 5, Paul gives a theological twist on that, that as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. The point that he is alluding to, among others, is that Adam was a representative for the human race. So, all of us, all of humanity — in the words of a Puritan — hangs on Adam's belt. He put it in a more 17th century way than that, but that's basically what he entailed. And therefore, the curse, the judgment that came, not just upon Adam but upon creation itself, so that labor became more difficult — the sweat of one's brow and productivity, thorns and thistles and so on, the metaphors that are used in the book of Genesis, plus man's own personal fall, Adam's fall and consequently humanity's fall — making it impossible for man to save himself. His will fell, his affections fell, his mind and thinking fell, the way he postulates a worldview fell with it. So, there were consequences for the entirety of mankind and for the entirety of mankind's faculties as a result of that first transgression.

Answer by Dr. Derek Thomas

Dr. Derek W. H. Thomas is Senior Minister at The First Presbyterian Church of Columbia: Columbia, South Carolina.