Interestingly, Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters, but only three of the sons are mentioned by name in the Bible. Cain was the firstborn, and he murdered his little brother Abel. We don’t know how old Adam was when either of them was born, but we do know how old he was when Seth was born. Genesis 5:3 says, “When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.”

Adam was created in both the “likeness” and “image” of God as was recorded previously in Genesis. This was how God created him and placed him in the Garden of Eden with his wife Eve. But when he chose to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, either the likeness or the image was permanently marred, and that marred “likeness” was transmitted to all generations that followed. Sarna observed, “What constituted ‘the image of God’ in the first two human beings was transmitted through procreation to all future generations.”[1] All human life is sacred and is created in the “image” of God. But, since all human life proceeds from Adam, the marred “likeness” or “sinfulness” of Adam has been passed on to all humanity as well. Thus, Paul teaches us that “in Adam, we all sinned.” But Christ was born of a virgin. He was not conceived in the “likeness” of Adam but by the Holy Spirit and did not inherit original sin. Augustine argued that the virgin birth broke the bond of “sexually transmitted original sin.”[2]

Guzik makes this relevant to you and me. He writes, “Even as Seth was in Adam’s fallen image and likeness, so also is every one of us. We are all sons and daughters of Adam, born fallen even as Adam was fallen. It would be redundant to say it, but every other person has been born in Adam’s image and likeness except Jesus.”[3] This is why Paul gives us all hope in Romans. Paul explains our plight regarding original sin by explaining the role of the second Adam, Jesus. In Romans 5:18-19, Paul writes, “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For 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.” It’s no wonder Paul is “not ashamed of the Gospel.” It is the power of God for salvation for all who believe!

[1] Sarna, Nahum M. 1989. Genesis. The JPS Torah Commentary. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society.

[2] Ferguson, Sinclair B., and J.I. Packer. 2000. In New Dictionary of Theology, electronic ed., 643. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Guzik, David. 2013. Genesis. David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible. Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik.