Questions to Ask Pelagians when they bring up Romans 5:12
March 13, 2013 by SLIMJIM
I typically avoid facebook debates. This was an exception. The topic was on Original sin and there was one individual who insisted on denying the doctrine of Original sin, camping out on the biblical passage of Romans 5:12. He asserts:
Technically speaking, the man born evil thesis, does not have a good basis.
The Pelagian critic quoted from the Revised Standard Version, in which Romans 5:12 states:
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned –
He insisted that Romans 5:12 is contrary to Original sin since death spread to all men because all have sin. But those who embrace the doctrine of original sin would not deny this, that all men have sinned. The question should have been focused on the relationship if any, there is between Adam, sinners, sin and God.
The “debate” that went on avoided actually looking at Romans 5:12 more clearly according to it’s context. Pressing the Pelagian to look at the context was like getting a cat to a bath. Finally, to make things easier I fielded some yes and no questions concerning the relationship of Adam and all sinners in light of Romans 5:12 and it’s context. These questions were never answered but nevertheless I thought they might be helpful if you have to deal with someone who denies original sin and wanted to look at Romans 5:12 (though I might add, my position on Original Sin does not rest on Romans 5:12 as a stand alone, but verses following it in Romans 5).
These questions are not intended to be “silver bullet” but I hope they clarify differences and challenge one to think about the relationship of Adam and sinners more carefully.
Here are the yes or no questions:
1.) Is there any relationship between Adam and all sinners?
2.) Are all human sinners descendants of Adam?
3.) Was Adam a sinner?
4.) Was Adam’s death an eventual consequence for Adam’s sin?
5.) Assuming all things being equal will all sinners die?
6) Do babies die?
7.) Do you believe it is Biblical that one man’s disobedience many were made sinners?
Here would be my answer to these questions:
- Yes (Cf. James 1:15).
The last question was rather intentional. If the Pelagian were to say “no,” that question 7 is unbiblical, it would be quite ironic: Question 7 is a quotation word for word from Romans 5:12 (in this case, the RSV, but substitute the translation the Pelagian happen to be using).