Human sin and death before the fall, The image of God, original sin and genealogical descent

After reading the book of Dr. Swamidass (The Genealogical Adam and Eve) I was thinking about the theological implications on human lives before the fall.
Did humans sin before the fall, what was the origin of their sin, were they humans in the image of God?
I came up with some answers, I hope it makes some sense from a theological perspective.

The important thing to realize is that all humans were ignorant of God’s commands before the fall. Not ignorant of God’s presence, but ignorant of His commands.
Moreover humans before the fall were ignorant of their calling to live in the image of God.
Therefore the textual humans are only different from the people outside the garden in the sense that they had knowledge of their calling, whereas people outside the garden did not.
When there’s knowledge of this calling and knowledge of God’s commands, it is possible to violate against those, that’s the point where sin comes alive.

I’d like to summarize it in a few points:
Before the fall, knowledge of good and evil was subjective (human conscience). After the fall it would be objective (God’s commands).
Before the fall, sin was done in ignorance. After the fall sin could be done wittingly.
Before the fall, humans had to bear the natural consequences of ignorant sin. After the fall, humans could be punished by God for sinning.
Before the fall, humans were ignorant of them being created in the image of God. After the fall, being image carriers became apparent.
Before the fall, human behavior (their selfless genes) was driven by natural selection. After the fall, human behavior became driven by (original) sin.
Before the fall, human death was a natural consequence and part of a good creation. After the fall, human death became a result of a sin done wittingly (by Adam).
Before the fall, sin was dead. After the fall, sin came alive.

Here’s the theological back up for it. I didn’t write out all the bible verses but pointed to the location in the bible as the explanation would otherwise become really long.

Before the fall
Before the garden, there was one command from God, the command to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28-29).
So far, human kind had followed this command, as God saw what he created and God saw that is was good (Genesis 1:31).
Therefore human kind didn’t sin purposely against a command from God, as they obeyed God’s first command (Genesis 1:28-29).
Nonetheless, all men sinned (Romans 3:23) because all men knew God from creation (Romans 1:18-20) and therefore all were lost (Romans 2:12).
For example if Göbekli Tepe was built before the fall, the images of animals on the stone pillars at Göbekli Tepe could be seen in the light of Romans 1:23.
All men are convicted by the combination of their works (1st witness), and their conscience (2nd witness), see Deuteronomy 19:15, Romans 2:15 and 1 John 3:18-24.
However they had no way to identify sin because God had not given his commands (written or spoken), Romans 7:7, so they sinned in ignorance and therefore sin didn’t have dominion over them.
This is also why God didn’t held them accountable or even punish them for their sins (Romans 5:13) but instead left them in their sin to bear the natural consequences (Romans 1:24).
I believe the source of this ignorant sin in humans prior to Adam are their selfish genes (Romans 7:18 & 8:3, James 1:14-15) that every human inhabits and is necessary for natural selection.
Because there was no command from God, sin itself was dead as it had not entered the world through Adam to dominate it (Romans 5:12), the point at which sin came alive (Romans 7:9).
Humans prior to Adam were naturally mortal and I believe natural death is a good part of God’s creation (John 12:24), since it functions as a way to bring about evolution of life as well as to limit the effects of reproduction.
Also we know that Adam was mortal, otherwise the tree of life and banning Adam and Eve from this tree served no purpose.
Humans prior to Adam were also spiritually dead, a consequence of their ignorant sinning, Romans 5:14.
However as said before, in the past God purposely overlooked ignorant sinning (Acts 17:30). Instead it was God’s purpose that humans would search and find Him (Acts 17:27-28).
All sin is mortal sin (spiritual death), only by believing in Jesus Christ can sin become venial, which should’ve been possible for humans prior to Adam since I believe God revealed Himself to them in their ignorance (Romans 10:20).
Also God chose humans and gave them mercy in Christ even before creation began (Ephesians 1:4, 2 Timothy 1:9) and as such Jesus became the spiritual genealogical Adam of all believers, even those living prior to Adam (Romans 8:29).
For sure there were humans prior to Adam that looked for God’s wisdom to attain eternal life and I believe they did (Proverbs 3:13-18 and also 1 John 3:20 counterbalancing Romans 2:15).
All sin prior to Adam was ignorant sin but the consequence was not only natural death but also spiritual mortality. A high priest was necessary to bring them into a relationship with God (Hebrews 5:1-2).
To give all of humanity a clear chance, God specially created Adam De Novo to perform this task.
We know that Adam was a priest since he had to keep and work in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), just as the priests had to keep and work in the tabernacle (Numbers 18:4).
Through Adam’s service, all humans outside the Garden of Eden could come to the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
The ignorant mortal sin of all humans was intended to become venial by gaining wisdom resulting in obedience to God and they could attain eternal life by eating from the tree of life.
The De Novo creation of Adam had to bring them all to spiritual life with God, however it left all spiritually dead, because of Adam violating God’s command by which sin came alive (Roman 7:10-11).
But God cares about humanity and didn’t intend to leave them this way (Acts 10:34-35). Where sin increased when humanity started to willfully violate God’s commandments, God’s mercy increased as well (Romans 5:20).

To summarize
Prior to the fall, humans sinned. It was mortal sin in ignorance and God purposely overlooked it. However the humans had to carry the natural consequence of sin which was natural and spiritual death.
Sin and death didn’t have dominion yet because there was no willfull violation of God’s commandments.
Mortal sin could become venial through faith in God and a search for wisdom.

The image of God, the fall, original sin and genealogical descent
Sin itself is a malfunction, not caused by God but by human violation of God’s law.
Original sin therefore was not in the world before the fall, since humanity had not purposely violated God’s spoken or written commandments.
They did sin, but their sin was committed in ignorance, even though they had to bear the consequence for it (mortality) they were not dominated by sin yet.
In contrary to humans outside the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hadn’t done sin in ignorance yet.
They were De Novo created, living in the presence of God.
The fall was then caused by their human desire to be like God, deceived by lies from satan.
When Adam ate from the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, his soul became dominated by sin and he spiritually died.
From that point on, Adam’s natural death was no longer a good thing (part of God’s creation) but a consequence of his spiritual death (Romans 5:12).
When Adam first sinned by violating God’s commandment, sin came alive.
The function of the selfish genes that had been part of humanity to let it evolve and prosper would now be misused by humans willfully violating God’s commandments. Their genes no longer became directed by natural selection, but by original sin.
In the same way, humanity so far was ignorant of it’s important calling, that they were the image carriers of God.
Since the De Novo creation of Adam their calling became apparent and from the fall it became possible to do harm to the image of God, so also in this respect original sin came alive.
In this way, one could say that original sin is not only inherited from Adam, but also from people outside the garden.
But this isn’t true, people outside of the garden hadn’t purposely violated God’s command yet, Adam did. Original sin really started with Adam.
The human body and the selfish genes descended from Adam but the human body in itself is not where original sin resides, it’s in the soul where the malfunction starts.
Since Adam’s soul became dominated by sin and as he was the the first spiritually alive human, he was also the first human to die spiritually. And he couldn’t undo this by himself (Isaiah 43:11).
When he got children, their God given pure soul became instantly dominated by sin and so they were spiritually dead from the moment of conception.
For the human soul is created by God (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Isaiah 57:16, Hebrews 12:9). The body is dead without a soul (James 2:26) which means the soul is there from the moment of conception.
At the same time the soul is given to the body by God, it becomes dominated by sin inherited from the parents (psalm 51:7, Jeremiah 17:9, psalm 58:4, Job 15:14, Genesis 8:21).
Genealogical descent therefore became the way by which sin started to dominate the earth.
Since Jesus also genealogically descents from Adam, one could argue that Jesus got infected by original sin.
This is isn’t true because The Holy Spirit specially conceived him (Luke 1:35), without sin (1 John 3:5 & 9) and he couldn’t be tempted as He never had an ignorant humanly soul (James 1:13, John 1:1-5), He is God.

After the fall
All sin was still mortal, but now humanity had to deal with original sin and with spiritual attacks.
Mortal sin done by believers becomes venial, not due to it’s own nature but through the mercy of God by which they obtain pardon through purification in Christ (Ephesians 1:7-8).


I’d never seen this expressed quite like that before. Thank you for sharing. :slight_smile:

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What’s your thoughts @jongarvey ?


So which is it? Is Jesus the Savior or Adam? Why doesn’t the Bible refer to “faith in Adam” then if he can/could have obtained some form of righteousness for them?

I guess my thoughts also criticize Catholicism in general.

P.S. There is no need to posit a first (and also second Savior the Bible never speaks of). The more I learn of science, the more ignorant I learn we are. Modern science really isn’t impressive enough to add “epicycles” to traditional understandings of doctrines that also diminish Christ.

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Adam’s intended function was to serve like a priest, Adam himself wasn’t the Savior.
Like in the tabernacle, where Israelites could worship God through the service of priests.
So Adam’s intended role could’ve been teaching the wisdom of the faith in God.

Priests had to have the highest level of moral integrity and the highest level of ritual holiness, which could be a reason for Adam to be De Novo created as well.

I don’t disagree that Adam was a priest. But you have his work actually atoning for sin, and not just pointing to Christ’s atonement or representing people before God. He’s a mediator and a savior in your example/explanation.

Obedience and faith in God would lead to reconciliation with God (Romans 1:17).
Similar how Israelites in the old testament had to put their faith in God, not put their faith in the priests themselves or their work.

Ok, but is that what you’re actually saying? Instead your description seemed to indicate Adam performs a role as a mediator that is separate and distinct from Jesus’ work and that it was a separate way to reconcile with God until Adam fell.

Atonement requires a sacrifice.
Jesus Himself was both the priest and the atoning sacrifice.
Adam could only serve as a priest, he had nothing to sacrifice.
I’m just saying that Adam could’ve helped in bringing people before God.
Adam’s work itself couldn’t atone for anything.
It would’ve been God’s own decision how ignorant sin would’ve been atoned.
However, based on what we know about God, it always requires obedience and faithfulness to God.
Faith is a gift from God by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), so it’s always God’s work atoning for sins.

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