To quote the man from Tarsus:
Because of this, just as through one man sin entered the world and death through sin and thus death was transmitted to all men, upon the fact that all have sinned; Because sin was in the world even before the law, but sin was not ascribed [to people], there not being a law. But death ruled from Adam until Moshe, also over those who hadn’t sinned in a similar fashion to the transgression of Adam who is a symbol of the one to come. But likewise, the gift is not like the fall, because if many died by the lapse/mistake of one, much more the grace of God and the gift in grace abounded to the many by the [act of] one man, Jesus Christ. And [likewise] the gift is not like through one that sinned. Because, on one hand, the judgement [which was] out of one [led] to condemnation, on the other hand, the gift [which was] out of many lapses/mistakes [led] to justification. Because if by the lapse/mistake of one death ruled through the one, much more those receiving the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness with rule in life through the one, Jesus Christ. Therefore then, as through one lapse/mistake to all men to condemnation, in the same way also through one righteous act to all men to acquittal of life. Because just as through the disobedience of one man, the many were designated sinners, in the same way through the obedience of one, the many shall be designated righteous.Romans 5:12-19
For me, that was a great experience. I love attempting to read and translate ancient Greek. Of course I needed a lot of help, the experience is wonderful. I know my translation is clunky, not a flowing type of English. For me, it reflects a hint of the structure of the underlying code. When you see the flowing English, it does make the text more understandable. But something is always lost in translation.
I was confronted by this text, read in the King James Version, and parts of it caused me to tilt my head, and screw my face, partly from disgust and partly from concentration, wondering if the conman from Tarsus really meant what he wrote. Thinking about it more after, it struck me how ignorant the conman appeared, how opposed to the narrative of the Jewish Bible he was.
Now I know I’ve written a book about the guy, going through all the books he’s supposed to have written. But what’s to stop me writing a bit more when it hits me?
In verse 12 of chapter 5, the conman makes a strange statement. He writes,
Because of this, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin and thus death was transmitted into all men, upon the fact that all have sinned;
Does this make sense to a person reading Biblical history? Death passes through every person and is transmitted to all men in that we all sin. It sounds like Paul’s conclusion that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). It’s as if the reason we die is because we sin, and if we didn’t sin, we wouldn’t die. But the conman has misrepresented the story.
The first man and woman were not created immortal. How can I know this? In the garden of Eden there were two trees of note, the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, and the tree of life. The tree of life would bestow immorality, everlasting life. When the first couple made their error, they were evicted from the garden with God saying, “now, so that he doesn’t stretch his hand and eat from the tree of life and live for ever …” (Bereshith [Genesis] 3:22). Man would have only lived forever if he had eaten from the tree. Therefore he was not innately immortal. He needed an external supplement, the fruit of the tree of life, to give him immortality. Mortality is our default state.
So humans do not die because we sin. Sin is not the cause of death. Instead, we were always naturally mortal and limited in lifespan.
The conman has committed and promoted the fallacy of mistaking association with causation. Yes, humans sin. Yes, humans die. But the concept that sin is the cause of our individual deaths is fallacious and not in accordance with the Jewish Bible.
In addition, “sin entered the world through one man?” What does that mean? Sin is not some spirit, some abstract entity that wanders the world. Sin, in the Jewish Bible, generally is something more concrete. It’s the act of disobeying God or go contrary to his commands and principles. We have a choice in life: to live in compliance with God’s expressed will concerning morality; or not to live such a life. If God gives a command, we can either obey it or disobey it. And from the beginning, God has given that choice. The only way to make righteousness meaningful is for there to be a choice.
In light of this, the notion of disobeying God did not occur when the first couple ate from the tree. The very act of God giving a choice between obedience and disobedience is the introduction of the notion or possibility of “sin.” Adam’s act wasn’t like some permission that we all can do it now. Some people are ignorant of Adam. Adam didn’t open some floodgate. Adam didn’t make sin real. As I’ll show later, there is always a moral choice in front of a human being, and we all have the choice to make, regardless of Adam.
So I believe Paul’s reasoning here to be fundamentally flawed. But, of course, he doesn’t stop there.
Because sin was in the world even before the law, but sin was not ascribed [to people], there not being a law.
The law Paul is referring to is the law God gave to Moshe. I know this because he mentions that death ruled from Adam to Moshe (v.14), the time when there was, according to the conman from Tarsus, no law.
The question could be asked what is sin if there is no law at all, no righteous principle, sin necessarily being the act of going against God’s laws and principles. There is something inherently nonsensical about what Paul is saying, especially when one considers the history in Bereshith (Genesis) before the Mosaic law existed. I believe this written history will show that there must have been an unwritten divine code of morality before and external to the law of Moshe. This written history in Bereshith will also show that, contrary to the liar of Tarsus’ claim, sin was ascribed to, “imputed to,” charged against people before the law of God through Moshe.
It should be noted that if people can’t been ascribed with being sinners before the law God gave to Moshe, then the opposite is true as well: people cannot be called “righteous” without a standard to live up to as well. So in the worldview created by this conman, no one can be called righteous or wicked with no law.
Let’s put that to the test in Bereshith.
Firstly, Qayin (Cain) is judged for murder in Bereshith chapter 4. The people of the Catastrophe (the worldwide flood) are charged with wickedness and violence in chapter 6. Noah is called righteous in chapter 6. The thoughts of man are judged to be wicked from or because of his youth at the end of chapter 8. The people creating the tower of Babel were judged in chapter 11. The people of Sedom was called wicked and sinners in chapter 13. Avraham in chapter 18 has a conversation with God that I’ll bring up a little later, but I can say that God says that he knows that Abraham will command his household in the ways of righteousness and judgment, but with what law? Avimelech knew, as was confirmed by God in a dream, that having sex with someone else’s wife was wrong in chapter 20. Avraham is praised in chapter 26 with God saying Avraham had listened to his voice, obeying God’s judgments, commandments, statutes and laws. Wait, but there was no law, right? According to conman Jones from Tarsus, right?
I know that isn’t exhaustive, but there should be enough examples to show that .. Oh yes! Avraham’s discussion with God in Bereshith 18.
So in this chapter, God has declared to Avraham that He’s gonna wipe out the region of Sedom because of the outcry of evil coming from it. The argument that Avraham gives to this must be set in contrast to Paul’s notion of “no law before Moshe” and sin not being attributed to people without law.
And Avraham drew near, and said: ‘Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there be fifty righteous within the city; will you indeed sweep [them] away and not forgive the place for the fifty righteous that are within it? Far be it from you to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked! Far be it from you! Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do justice?’Bereshith 18:23-25
So here Avraham recognises the existence of good and bad people, righteous and wicked. There must be a standard, a law, a principle to distinguish one from the other. And take note, God was using his messengers to go and inflict his judgment on the place due to its wickedness, again necessitating a law, and not just a law, but a law that they must have been in the position to be responsible for upholding. God attributes guilt and sin to them, sins worthy of death. But the worst part is at the end. “Shouldn’t the judge of all the earth do justice?” How can there be a judge and justice without law??? Paul’s logic is nonsensical!
On a side note, this also necessitates that there was and is an unwritten law or code of righteousness for the world, an expectation of behaviour that humanity must fulfil. This may put a dent in the notion of “sola scriptura,” that all of God’s revelation is only in written form if the passages pre-Moshe refer to a law code or a moral code not codified in the text of the Jewish Bible. Some code must have been extant even before Qayin killed his brother, before the people during the age of the worldwide Catastrophe or Deluge took place. But it’s not expressed in the written text.
Anyway, so far, Paul’s attempt at providing compelling reasoning has been undercut by the Jewish Bible. The history of the first man and woman and the tree of life undermines the idea that an individual dies because that individual does an act of disobedience. The record in Bereshith undercuts in idea that sin was not imputed upon or ascribed to people before Moshe and Israel received their law from God, or that there was no divine law before Moshe.
Carrying on. Paul in verse 19 of Romans 5 says,
Because just as through the disobedience of one man, the many were designated sinners, in the same way through the obedience of one, the many shall be designated righteous.
Paul here makes it seem as if, because of Adam’s failure, we’re all deemed sinners. I’ll put together clues to decipher what Paul means here.
The word translated “designate” is kathistemi (Strongs number 2525). According to Thayer’s Greek Dictionary, it means the following.
If you can’t see that, it says,
c. “to set down as, constitute (Latinsisto), equivalent to to declare, show to be”: passive with ἁμαρτωλός, δίκαιος, Romans 5:19 (cf. Prof. T. Dwight in New Englander for 1867, p. 590ff; Dietzsch, Adam u. Christus (Bonn, 1871), p. 188).https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g2525/kjv/tr/0-1/
Now the conman from Tarsus is using the second part of the sentence, that through one man’s obedience many are designated righteous, to reflect the first half. So knowing what the second half means will shed light on what the first half means. By that I mean, in what way are people designated sinners because of one man’s disobedience? Is it because of what they’ve done or is it just the category they’ve been put in?
One of Paul’s messages in Romans is a righteousness that one attains without doing any, without works. He calls it righteousness by faith in Jesus as opposed to righteousness by deeds. Simply believing in Jesus and his death grants you the status of being righteous without any obedience to law. Here’s the evidence.
Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to them who are in [the jurisdiction of] the law: that every mouth may be silenced, and all the world may be guilty before God. Therefore no flesh shall be declared righteous by the deeds of the law, because through law is the knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God separate from law has been made known, testimony having been given by the law and the prophets; and the righteousness of God [is] through faith of Jesus Christ to all and upon all the believers, because there is no difference, because all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God, being declared righteous freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has determined [to be] an atoning sacrifice through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness for the dismissal of sins previously committed, in God’s patience, for a demonstration of his righteousness, in this time, so that he might be righteous, and the one who declares him righteous who [is] of the faith of Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded! Through what law? Of deeds? No, rather by the law of faith!
Therefore we conclude that a man is declared righteous by faith separate from deeds of law.Romans 3:19-28
So, it becomes apparent that, for the man from Tarsus, a person is declared righteous not from his deeds, not from his obedience, not from how much he obeys God. No, for Paul, belief in Jesus, in his alleged obedience, in his sacrifice, simply puts a person into the category of “righteous.”
Paul confirms this in the following chapter, chapter 4, where he tries to put forth the notion that Avraham was … Let me just quote the man. His words are clearer than mine when it comes to his reasoning (or lack thereof).
Because if Avraham was declared righteous by his works/deeds, he has reason to brag but not to God. Because what does the scripture say? And Avraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness. And to the one who works a reward is not counted according to kindness but according to obligation. But to the one who doesn’t work but believes on the one who declares the wicked [are] righteous, his faith is counted as righteousness.Romans 4:2-5
So, without going to the contradictions Paul has with the Jewish Bible about God declaring wicked people righteous (he does not, see Shemoth [Exodus] 23:7, compare with Septuagint), it can be seen here that this conman has God simply declaring people righteous without deeds, without works. They are merely put into that category of righteous because of belief.
So, when Paul says, in the following chapter, chapter 5,
Because just as through the disobedience of one man, the many were designated sinners, in the same way through the obedience of one, the many shall be designated righteous.Romans 5:19
speaking of the alleged obedience of Jesus, in the second half of the verse, Paul can only be talking about people being put into the category of “righteous” because of Jesus, faith in his sacrifice. They are not designated righteous because of their own deeds, but because of that of Jesus. So they are declared righteous without deeds.
So, for the man of Tarsus, in the same way, because Adam disobeyed, everyone after him was designated sinners regardless of any deeds that they had done or not done. They are designated sinners without deeds.
Now, biblically, based on the Jewish Bible that is, what Paul teaches is utter falsehood. Also, rationally and experientially, Paul teaches absolute nonsense.
I’ll get the rational and experiential bit out of the way first. I believe it should be easy to understand that if someone else does a crime, then a different individual who did not do that crime cannot be guilty of it. In that way, one man cannot be called a sinner – which means someone who is doing the act of sinning – based on the acts of someone else. Why? Because “sinner” is not just some category. The word refers to someone actually doing something, something bad.
Again, experientially, rationally, the word “sinner” doesn’t just refer to someone who does one mistake, in the same way that being a golfer doesn’t mean someone hits a golf ball with a golf club one time in their life. In life, doing one thing wrong in life, or even a few things wrong, doesn’t make a person an evil entity. For example, one can be called a loving parent even if a few times relatively they do unloving things. So the term “sinner” refers to something habitual and significant.
Unfortunately, Pauline Christianity has the twisted notion that, because God is perfect, he demands perfection from the imperfect. Put one foot wrong and you are just a sinner. This is not what the Jewish Bible says. So let me deal with things biblically now.
Dealing with the notion that Adam’s sin put everyone in the category of “sinner,” the Jewish Bible says a good number of times that everyone is responsible for their own actions, their own sins.
Parents shall not be put to death for children, neither shall children be put to death for parents; a man shall be put to death for his [own] sin.Devarim [Deuteronomy] 24:16
The sinning soul, it shall die. A son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.
But the wicked one, when he turns from all his sins that he has done, and keeps all My statutes, and practices justice and righteousness, he shall definitely live; he shall not die. None of his transgressions that he has done shall be remembered against him; he shall live in his righteousness that he has done. Do I take any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should return from his ways and live? But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and does iniquity, he does according to all the abominations that the wicked man did, shall he live? None of his righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; in his trespass that he trespassed, and in his sin that he sinned, he shall die in them.Yehezkel (Ezekiel) 18:20-24
In the Jewish Bible, the category one finds oneself is not based on the deeds of someone else, but one’s own deeds. Adam’s disobedience was his own, no one else’s. And, reflecting on Jesus’ alleged obedience, it was his alone, no one else’s. The good deeds of a good man is his own. And the bad deeds of a bad man is his own. There is no transfer or imputation of good or evil based on someone else’s deed. As God’s law states as a principle, everyone is responsible for his own actions.
Moreover, the Jewish Bible mentions righteous people numerous times. Noah was righteous in God’s eyes. David was a man after God’s heart. Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes), Mishlei (Proverbs) and Tehillim (Psalms) speaks repeatedly of good people. But the principle of what makes a righteous person is not this monster created by christians where God only accepts perfection.
Qoheleth does not teach “There is no righteous person.” Instead it says,
… there is not a man righteous in the world which does good and doesn’t sin.Qoheleth [Eccl.] 7:20
There is no righteous man who doesn’t make a mistake. So there are righteous people, but no one is perfect.
Seven times a righteous man will fall and get back up …Mishlei [Prov] 24:16
A righteous man isn’t the man who never falls, never fails, never sins, but is one who, after falling, gets back up.
That’s the proper biblical principle of a good man. God doesn’t give men unrealistic goals, a law that can never be kept. That’s why the Law of Moshe itself gives numerous ways of returning to God, because repentance can be just as powerful as obedience.
So, to conclude this part, the conman would have us believe that someone else’s mistake damns us all, condemns us all, consigns us, inescapably, to God’s condemnation and negative judgement. He also makes it seem as if someone else’s righteousness makes us righteous. This is a lie and a falsehood. Each individual is responsible for his own relationship with God and truth. And disobedience isn’t some one-way journey where you can never be righteous again. As God’s own word says, not the words of Paul, “Return to me, and I’ll return to you” (Malachi 3:7). As Yehezkel (Ezek.) taught leaving bad ways and turning to God to do good deeds grants forgiveness.
I call Paul a conman for good reason. He preaches falsehood which has captured many. And because they put more faith in Paul than all the prophets before, more faith that even in Jesus who is said to have directed Jews to keep the commandments to find life (Matthew 19:17), many fall for his deceptions. If only they spent more time even learning the first book of the Bible, they’d see the fabrications in Paul’s words and cut the deadwood loose.