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Verse 22. For as in Adam. en tw adam. By Adam; by the act, or by means of Adam; as a consequence of his act. His deed was the procuring cause, or the reason, why all are subjected to temporal death. See Ge 3:19. It does not mean that all men became actually dead when he sinned, for they had not then an existence; but it must mean that the death of all can be traced to him as the procuring cause, and that his act made it certain that all that came into the world would be mortal. The sentence which went forth against him (Ge 3:19) went forth against all; affected all; involved all in the certainty of death; as the sentence that was passed on the serpent (Ge 3:14) made it certain that all serpents would be "cursed above all cattle," and be prone upon the earth; the sentence that was passed upon the woman (Ge 3:16) made it certain that all women would be subjected to the same condition of suffering to which Eve was subjected; and the sentence that was passed on man, (Ge 3:17)—that he should cultivate the ground in sorrow all the days of his life, that it should bring forth thistles and thorns to him, (Ge 3:18,) that he should eat bread in the sweat of his brow, (Ge 3:19)—made it certain that this would be the condition of all men as well as of Adam. It was a blow at the head of the human family, and they were subjected to the same train of evils as he was himself. In like manner they were subjected to death. It was done in Adam, or by Adam, in the same way as it was in him, or by him, that they were subjected to toil, and to the Necessity of procuring food by the sweat of the brow. See Barnes "Ro 5:12, also notes on Ro 5:13-19. See 1 Co 15:47,48.

All die. All mankind are subjected to temporal death; or are mortal. This passage has been often adduced to prove that all mankind became sinful in Adam, or in virtue of a covenant transaction with him; and that they are subjected to spiritual death as a punishment for his sins. But, whatever may be the truth on that subject, it is clear that this passage does not relate to it, and should not be adduced as a proof text. For

(1.) the words die and dieth obviously and usually refer to temporal death; and they should be so understood, unless there is something in the connexion which requires us to understand them in a figurative and metaphorical sense. But there is, evidently, no such necessity here.

(2.) The context requires us to understand this as relating to temporal death. There is not here, as there is in Ro 5, any intimation that men became sinners in consequence of the transgression of Adam; nor does the course of the apostle's argument require him to make any statement on that subject. His argument has reference to the subject of temporal death, and the resurrection of the dead; and not to the question in what way men became sinners.

(3.) The whole of this argument relates to the resurrection of the dead. That is the main, the leading, the exclusive point. He is demonstrating that the dead would rise. He is showing how this would be done. It became, therefore, important for him to show in what way men were subjected to temporal death. His argument, therefore, requires him to make a statement on that point, and that only; and to show that the resurrection by Christ was adapted to meet and overcome the evils of the death to which men were subjected by the sin of the first man. In Ro 5 the design of Paul is to prove that the effects of the work of Christ were more than sufficient to meet ALL the evils introduced by the sin of Adam. This leads him to an examination there of the question in what way men became sinners. Here the design is to show that the work of Christ is adapted to overcome the evils of the sin of Adam in one specific matter—the matter under discussion; that is, on the point of the resurrection; and his argument therefore requires him to show only that temporal death, or mortality, was introduced by the first man, and that this has been counteracted by the second; and to this specific point the interpretation of this passage should be confined. Nothing is more important in interpreting the Bible than to ascertain the specific point in the argument of a writer to be defended or illustrated, and then to confine the interpretation to that. The argument of the apostle here is ample to prove that all men are subjected to temporal death by the sin of Adam; and that this evil is counteracted fully by the resurrection of Christ, and the resurrection through him. And to this point the passage should be limited.

(4.) If this passage means that in Adam, or by him, all men became sinners, then the correspondent declaration, "all shall be made alive," must mean that all men shall become righteous, or that all shall be saved. This would be the natural and obvious interpretation; since the words "be made alive" must have reference to the words "all die," and must affirm the correlative and opposite fact. If the phrase "all die" there means all become sinners, then the phrase "all be made alive" must mean all shall be made holy, or be recovered from their spiritual death; and thus an obvious argument is furnished for the doctrine of universal salvation, which it is difficult, if not impossible, to meet. It is not a sufficient answer to this to say that the word "all," in the latter part of the sentence, means all the elect, or all the righteous; for its most natural and obvious meaning is, that it is co-extensive with the word "all" in the former, part of the verse. And although it has been held by many who suppose that the passage refers only to the resurrection of the dead, that it means that all the righteous shall be raised up, or all who are given to Christ, yet that interpretation is not the obvious one, nor is it yet sufficiently clear to make it the basis of an argument, or to meet the strong argument which the advocate of universal salvation will derive from the former interpretation of the passage. It is true literally that ALL the dead will rise; it is not true literally that all who became mortal, or became sinners by means of Adam, will be saved. And it must be held as a great principle, that this passage is not to be so interpreted as to teach the doctrine of the salvation of all men. At least, this may be adopted as a principle in the argument with those who adduce it to prove that all men became sinners by the transgression of Adam. This passage, therefore, should not be adduced in proof of the doctrine of imputation, or as relating to the question how men became sinners, but should be limited to the subject that was immediately under discussion in the argument of the apostle. That object was, to show that the doctrine of the resurrection by Christ was such as to meet the obvious doctrine that men became mortal by Adam; or that the one was adapted to counteract the other.

Even so. outw. In this manner; referring not merely to the certainty of the event, but to the mode or manner. As the death of all was occasioned by the sin of one, even so, in like manner, the resurrection of all shall be produced by one. His resurrection shall meet and counteract the evils introduced by the other, so far as the subject under discussion is concerned; that is, so far as relates to temporal death.

In christ. By Christ; in virtue of him; or as the result of his death and resurrection. Many commentators have supposed that the word "all" here refers only to believers, meaning all who were united to Christ, or all who were his friends; all included in a covenant with him; as the word "all," in the former member of the sentence, means all who were included in the covenant with Adam—that is, all mankind. But to this view there are manifest objections.

(1.) It is not the obvious sense; it is not that which will occur to the great mass of men who interpret the Scriptures on the principles of common sense; it is an interpretation which is to be made out by reasoning and by theology—always a suspicious circumstance in interpreting the Bible.

(2.) It is not necessary. All the wicked will be raised up from the dead, as well as all the righteous, Da 12:2; Joh 5:28,29.


(3.) The form of the passage requires us to understand the word "all" in the same sense in both members, unless there be some indispensable necessity for limiting the one or the other.

(4.) The argument of the apostle requires this. For his object is to show that the effect of the sin of Adam, by introducing temporal death, will be counteracted by Christ in raising up all who die; which would not be shown if the apostle meant to say that only a part of those who had died in consequence of the sin of Adam would be raised up. The argument would then be inconclusive. But now it is complete, if it be shown that all shall be raised up, whatever may become of them afterwards. The sceptre of death shall be broken, and his dominion destroyed, by the fact that ALL shall be raised up from the dead.

Be made alive. Be raised from the dead; be made alive, in a sense contradistinguished from that in which he here says they were subjected to death by Adam. If it should be held that that means that all were made sinners by him, then this means, as has been observed, that all shall be made righteous—and the doctrine of universal salvation has an unanswerable argument; if it means, as it obviously does, that all were subjected to temporal death by him, then it means that all shall be raised from the dead by Christ.

{*} "in Christ" "by Christ"

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