When Adam disobeyed God as our representative, all humanity became infected by sin. Today, R.C. Sproul explains the devastating consequences of Adam's fall and our need for a new representative: Jesus Christ.
Death is the result of sin, and the reason why everybody dies is because everybody’s tainted by sin. You say, “Wait a minute. What about babies that die within six weeks after they’re born or within six hours after they’re born? Are they killed for their sins?” No, they’re not killed for committing actual sin, but that child is born in sin. He’s born infected and blemished with the fallenness of the race from which he has been brought. The Bible teaches that. We may not like it. And some of the natural historians and philosophers say, “Well, all this is, is nothing but a myth or a fable or parable.” We talked about that one other time.
But again, we have to account for the fact that everybody in the world sins. Why is it that everybody sins? Why is everybody a sinner? Do we sin because we are sinners, or are we sinners because we sin? We sin because we are sinners, which is to say that every human being has a sin nature, a nature that has fallen. And out of this sin nature flows sins. I am a sinner with a capital S. That’s why I am a sinner with a little “s.”
Now, where people get confused is that people will ask me often, “Do you believe in original sin?” Well, of course I believe in original sin. And I just might add, even though that concept is under much attack today, the idea of some notion of original sin is part of the heritage of every single church in the world council of churches. The Roman Catholic Church has a doctrine of original sin; the Lutheran Church has a doctrine of original sin; the Presbyterian Church has a doctrine of sin; Episcopalian Church has a doctrine of original sin, Methodist Church, Baptist Church, you name it, they all have some doctrine of original sin. Now, they may debate about the extent of man’s fallenness and what remains in terms of man’s natural powers, but everyone recognizes that man has fallen.
Now when we talk about original sin, we do not mean the first sin. That’s where people get confused. Original sin is not the original sin, or the first sin that was ever committed. Original sin refers to the result of the first sin. What original sin refers to is this fallen sin nature that is part of the punishment for the first sin. When Adam and Eve acted against God, they didn’t act as private individuals. Adam’s very name, Adam, means what? Man. Eve, woman, the mother of the living. These two stood as our supreme representatives before almighty God.