Brother Beebe: - I wish to call your attention to an idea which I find near the bottom of the last column of page 187, No. 24, Vol. 31, which reads thus, - ”By the offence of one man sin has entered into the world, and death by sin.” etc. I cannot see, by the light I have, how that can be. I read that “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” I know it is a generally received idea; but there seems to be something in it that is not altogether clear to me; and, I therefore wish you to take up the subject as soon as may be convenient, if in your judgment the request is worth noticing; otherwise lay it aside and all will be right with me.
Yours in the best of bonds,
Jan. 12, 1864.
REPLY: Any scriptural subject on which our brethren desire to be enlightened, we deem worthy of notice; and when in our power, to afford any light, it is a pleasure to do so. In this case however, we are unable to comprehend the difficulty in the mind of our brother. The words which he refers to were used by us in our article on the end of Volume thirty first; and were used as an argument to sustain the position assumed that, as the creatures of God, we, (the human family) have all sinned. We did not mark the argument as a literal quotation; but used it as a generally conceded deduction from the scriptures, especially from several declarations of Paul, in Rom. 5:12,17,18,19. “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.” This text brother Foutch refers to as being clear; but our deduction from it, that by the offence of one man sin has entered into the world, and death by sin, is obscure to his mind. We may be wrong; let us examine.
It is then understood and admitted that, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin - and so death passed upon all men,” etc. Now how did sin enter by one man? Was it not by that one man’s offence? The words, sin, offence, and disobedience, are used as interchangeable, and in their bearing on this subject, of synonymous signification. In verse 12: He says that death came upon all men by sin, and that sin entered into the world by one man: in verse 16, he says by one that sinned, in verse 15, he says, “For, if through the offence of one many be dead,” etc., inverse 17: “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one”: and in verse 18: “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” We have misapprehended the meaning of these scriptures if they do not justify the conclusion, that, by the offence of one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. That death entered by sin, and by the sin of one man, is positively affirmed by the apostle, and that the sin by which death entered, is called the offence of one man, is equally clearly stated. Sin entered by one man; that is by one man’s offence, and brought condemnation and death upon all of his then unborn posterity; for as they were all in him undeveloped at the time of the offence, they were in him partakers of the transgression, and consigned to death as the consequence.
Observe, in this fifth chapter of Romans, Paul was comparing and contrasting the two Adams, the one of the earth earthy; the second is the Lord from heaven. The earthy Adam, Paul says, is the figure of him that was to come. The earthy Adam then embodying all his undeveloped posterity. The whole human family were a unity in him; consequently they all acted in him, sinned in him, and were made sinners by his transgression, and in this way, sin, and judgment to condemnation, and death entered into the world.
The second Adam, the spiritual progenitive head of the spiritual family or posterity, or seed, embodied them all in himself before the world began, and as sin, condemnation and death came by the one earthly Adam, so justification unto life and immortality came by the second, or anti-typical Adam; to all his seed. The seed of the earthly Adam embraced all who are born of the flesh, his whole posterity. The seed of the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, embraces a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation; a peculiar people, who shall show forth his praise. “A seed shall serve him, it shall be counted to the Lord for a generation.” (Psalms 22:30) “And he shall see his seed.” (Isa. 53:10)
March 1, 1864.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 5
Pages 468 – 470