“Parents may not be put to death for their children nor children for their parents, but each must be put to death for his own crime” (Deut24:16)
The Torah was not man’s law but God’s and certain universal principles may be drawn from it. We have already considered the finite, proportional and humanity-focussed nature of final judgement; here we see that neither guilt nor righteousness can in its essence be transferred from one person (or Person) to another. That is more clearly and contextually affirmed in Christ’s own teaching on final judgement in Matthew 25. Neither Adam’s guilt nor Christ’s righteousness is taken into consideration in that definitive passage, merely the actions of the individuals being judged (vv31-46).
Many will struggle to reconcile that with their particular understanding of the teaching of Paul, a matter I deal with in detail in chapter three of my book*.
This is not to say that Adam’s guilt and Christ’s perfection do not impact upon humanity; nothing could be further from the truth. The former has resulted in an inherent deprivation of spiritual life and physical mortality whilst the Latter provides the ultimate remedy for both, not as a direct result of the Life itself but through its expenditure. Likewise the former resulted in “original sin” which (as the Eastern Church better understands) is not an imputation of Adam’s guilt as such but the transference through procreation of what Paul refers to as “the body of this death” (Greek: somatos tou thanatou toutou) – this death being the current experience of the concupiscent “law within the bodily members” processed through the physical brain revolting against the law (and light) that God has implanted within the human psyche referenced by the conscience (Rom2:15; 7:23). That in turn results in “dead works” of the flesh that prevent the natural man from fulfilling the ultimate purpose of human life: to know and serve the living God in spirit and truth (Heb9.14). Likewise again, the perfect life, selfless death and sacramental body and blood of the Righteous One enables His personal disciples to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed so as to become “free indeed” to participate in the divine life even whilst in mortal flesh (Jn8:36).
• A free PDF of the e-book version is available HERE