Keith Miller writes, in response to Adrian Teo"
> How is Christ's righteousness imputed to us? - by grace through faith.
> There is some act of the will on my part involved. I must willingly
> that offer of grace. What if we make a parallel with the transmission of
> sin? When I am born I am innocent (I do not mean righteous). However, at
> the first opportunity I choose to be disobedient - I sin and come under
> curse of Adam which is spiritual death. Thus, Adam's curse is imputed to
> me by my sharing in his sin, just as Christ's righteousness is imputed to
> me by faith. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man
> and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all
> sinned" (Rom 5:12). My reading is that there are none who are without sin
> except Christ, thus there are none who are morally righteous yet still
> condemned by Adam's sin. We are condemned because we sin. Therefore I do
> not understand that sin itself is something that is passed on thru direct
Keith's reading and interpretation of Rom. 5:12 on this matter interests me
in light of the fact that this passage has been the focus of some scholars
who have examined the debate between Julian of Eclanum and Augustine of
Hippo on original sin. The conflict between the two centered in large part
on the way Augustine read and interpreted Rom. 5:12. Several scholars,
according to Elaine Pagels, have argued that Augustine's translation was not
accurate according to the original Greek (_Adam, Eve, and the Serpent_, p.
143). Not having read her sources I'm puzzled by this assertion in one
respect, that it is my understanding that Augustine could not read Greek. I
do not know it for a fact, but most likely he would have used one of the Old
Latin recensions as his text for Paul. Perhaps these scholars are referring
to the Latin text he used as "Augustine's translation."
Jerome's Vulgate version of the NT was practically identical to the Old
Latin, so my analysis is based on editions of his version. The English
version Keith cites accurately conveys the meaning of the Greek of Rom.
5:12; and so does the Latin version adopted in some editions of the Vulgate.
The crux is with the phrase translated, "because all have sinned" [the verb
"hemarton" is aorist]. The preferred reading of the Latin is "eo quod,"
meaning "in that [i.e., because]," to correctly render the Greek "eph' ho."
There are, however, manuscripts of the Latin text that give an alternate
reading, which has been adopted in at least one modern edition of the
Vulgate: "in quo" for "eo quod," and "in quo" means "in whom." Augustine
might well have had a copy with this variant, and so he read Romans 5:12 as
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through
sin, and in this way death came to all men, IN WHOM all have sinned." He
naturally interpreted the "whom" to be Adam. And he interpreted this text
to mean that sin, and the death that issues from sin, was passed down from
Adam through his descendents. Julian vigorously objected to this reading
and interpretation. I don't have access to his Latin text to verify, but he
might have had a recension of the Latin with "eo quod." In any case, I
think that Julian would have agreed entirely with Keith that the passage
does not mean "that sin itself is something that is passed on thru direct
We're all aware of how differing doctrines arise over differences of
interpretation of a text of Scripture. Here's a critical difference in
doctrine that may well have arisen because of a variant in the recension of
the text itself.
Grace and peace,
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