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Is ‘the ultimate curse’ the result of ‘the sin of Adam and Eve’?

Published: 11 January 2014 (GMT+10)
Illustration by Caleb Salisbury 8096-temptation
Was it Adam and Eve’s sin that brought ‘the ultimate curse’ upon the whole world? See main text for commentary on what the Bible tells us. (Picture taken from Russell Grigg’s book for children, Adam and Family.)

USA correspondent Michael I. submitted the following comment in response to Dr Kathy Wallace’s two articles on transsexualism (Male and female He made them and George Jamieson /‘April Ashley’: A ‘model’ life for the ‘gender reassignment’ brigade?):

Hello Dr. Wallace,

I very much enjoyed reading the articles you recently wrote about gender reassignment. They are very informing articles to an issue that quite frankly is nearly never mentioned and is a real problem.

I wanted to write you however to mention something I noticed in your feedback article. I don’t know why I thought about it so hard but I thought it best to share with you.
Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin—Romans 5:12.

In the seventh paragraph you said “…and is a direct consequence of Adam’s sin.” I believe this sentence is a little flawed in the fact that the ultimate curse on mankind is a direct result of both Adam and Eve’s sin. Obviously each of them was cursed differently as man and woman. I feel that curses of “…death, mental turmoil and disease…” as you said in the same paragraph, which both man and woman face the same, are a result of both and not one or the other. I guess it becomes important because if only one of them had sinned what would have been the outcome?

I don’t know why I feel so strongly about this, but I felt it a good reason to share with you. It is not necessary to post or reply to this comment. God bless you and everyone working for our Lord Jesus Christ.

CMI’s Russell Grigg, who often writes on these theological matters, responds:

Illustration by Caleb Salisbury 8096-the-fall-2
At first temptation seems irresistible, but oh! … the consequences! (See: ‘The Fall—a lesson never to forget!’ in Russell Grigg’s book for children, Adam and Family.)
Actually, it is very important that we clarify this key issue for you and the benefit of other readers. Here’s why.
The Bible says that death is the result of Adam’s sin, not Adam and Eve’s sin, and in doing so it compares the act of the one man, Adam, to the salvation that came through the act of the one man, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:12 states that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin,” and in the following verses 13 to 20 this is reaffirmed no less than a further seven times. The one man is identified in 1 Corinthians 15:22 as being Adam.
The reason for this is that Adam, the first human created by God, is the federal (or responsible) head of the human race—all human beings, including Eve, have descended from him. It was to Adam that God gave the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16–17), and this was before God made Eve from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2:21–22). Eve was aware of this command, so it appears that Adam passed this command on to Eve, possibly with his own admonition, something like, “So don’t you even touch it, do you hear now”, which Eve misconstrued as coming from God. (Genesis 3:2–3).
Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor—1 Timothy 2:14.
1 Timothy 2:14 says: “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” This suggests that Adam made a deliberate choice to disobey God. Jesus said that arrogance comes out of the heart of a man (Mark 7:21–22), which further suggests that Adam already had this attitude toward God before Eve handed him a piece of the fruit to eat.
The last question: “if only one of them had sinned, what would have been the outcome?” is one of those delightful thought puzzles, “What would God have done if … ?”
Answer: God has not told us ‘what He would have done if …’!

Helpful Resources

Adam and Family
by Russell Grigg
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The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
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Please Nana ... What is death?
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One Big Family
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Creation, Fall, Restoration
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