The truth is plain: we were all born sinners because of Adam’s sin. Apart from any act of sin on our part, we are heirs to Adam’s sin -and his sin-nature.

Even if we had never once sinned, we would still be sinners. By the offense of one, judgment came upon all. “By [one] man came death… for … in Adam all die” (1 Cor 15:21,22).

In Adam we all sinned; in Adam we all died. This concept or idea of being “in Adam” is an important truth to understand. As we shall see, the same thought carries over to our relationship of being “in Christ,” and will be one of the truths by which we will come to understand our great salvation much better.


This idea of being “in another” can also be seen in an example from nature. In trying to produce better rice, agricultural scientists expose rice seeds to high energy rays. Such radiation is able to change the genetic make-up of the seed. By this high-energy radiation, the nature of the rice seed is changed. The way it grows and survives is altered. Most changes made by radiation of genes (heredity material) are harmful, but sometimes the changes turn out for the better. What changes come from the radiation can be known only by planting the seed and seeing what the harvest it produces is like.

One seed will produce a stalk with many seeds. Each of those seeds will carry the genetic changes -whether they are for better or worse. This will hold true for all the generations of rice that will follow.

As the seeds are planted, and planted again, there can come forth in a few years a great harvest of rice. Each plant will have the same character and quality as was “fixed” in that first radiated seed.

If the genetic changes were for the better, where did the great harvest of higher-quality rice come from?

That first seed! Many bushels of better rice were all “in the one seed”.

The same is true if the genetic change was for the worse. In that one bad seed are many bushels of poor-quality rice. The results of radiation will be passed on to all the following generations.

No further radiation is needed to carry on the harmful results produced in the first seed. The nature of the rice has been changed for all future generations’


Now we can better understand what Paul meant when he said that “in Adam” we were all made sinners. When Adam sinned, we were in the loins (body) of Adam. The seed of humanity from which you and I came was potentially in Adam from the very beginning. What then happened to you and me when Adam sinned? We became sinners! “Through one man’s offense judgment came to all” (Rom 5:18).

David was very aware of this truth. He clearly stated the idea in one of his Psalms: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps 51:5). David is confessing that he was born a sinner. He was made a sinner -as every other human being is made a sinner in Adam.  He knew he needed a clean heart and a new spirit not only because of his sins, but because of his inborn sin­ nature.