McKnight on Romans 5:12-21
“… he is
not saying that all have sinned in Adam and therefore die but instead that each person, like Adam, sins and
therefore dies because of that sinning
. Humans somehow inherit something
from Adam, but they do not die because of the inheritance but because they sin.
Perhaps all Paul means when he says “so death spread to all” is that death
spread because, like Adam, everyone sins.
Yes, there is a sense of corporateness in Romans 5:18-19, which needs to be
repeated here so that we can see that corporateness:
Therefore just as one man’s
trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads
to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s
disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many
will be made righteous. (NRSV)
“… Paul’s meaning must in any case be both that an entail of
sinfulness has spread throughout the human race from its first beginnings and
that each individual has contributed their own share to it. Paul offers no
further clue as to how the first of these actually works or how the two
Both quotes are taken from pages 185 and 187 of Adam and the
(Venema and McKnight, 2017, BrazosPress).
I look forward to hearing McKnight in person at the BioLogos
2017 Conference in Houston, Texas. Perhaps I will have an opportunity to ask
some of my theological questions. 

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