In Adam All
Doctrine of: Adam
The Federal Head of All Mankind
There is a
biblical doctrine referred to as the "doctrine of
federal head-ship." This doctrine teaches that when Adam
was in the garden of Eden and was given the "covenant of
the law of sin and death" that he represented not just
himself in that covenant, but stood as the covenant
representative of all mankind. Thus the effects of
breaking that covenant applied not just to himself, but
also to all that he represented. The covenant of the law
of sin and death is stated in Gen. 2;16, 17 as follows:
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every
tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not
eat of it: for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt
surely die." The "doctrine of federal head-ship" is
alluded to in 1 Cor. 15:22, "For as in Adam all die,
even so in Christ shall all be made alive." From this,
of course, we gather that all that were in Adam, die.
Just as we gather that all that are in Christ are made
alive. The most comprehensive teaching on the "doctrine
of federal head-ship" is found in Rom. 5:12-19.
Rom. 5:12 reads,
"Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and
death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that
all have sinned." Paul wrote this nearly two thousand
years ago, long before any of us existed except in the
mind and purpose of God. Thus none of us alive today had
ever personally sinned when Paul wrote this epistle. Yet
Paul affirms that death passed upon all mankind for that
all mankind had sinned. Since we had not personally
sinned, then how had we sinned? The answer is "we sinned
in Adam" as we were seminally in Adam and Adam was our
representative before God. Thus when the sentence of
death passed upon Adam as a result of his sin, that same
sentence of death passed upon us.
Rom. 5:13, 14
reads, "For until the law sin was in the world: but sin
is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not
sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who
is the figure of him that was to come." Simply stated
the above teaches us that God does not impute sin to us
when there is no law. A law must be given in order to
have sin imputed against us. From Adam to Moses no
additional law, besides the "law of sin and death," had
been given to mankind. Furthermore, God had driven man
from the garden and fixed it so that man couldn't return
to the garden. Thus none of the subsequent offspring of
Adam could return unto the garden and eat of the
forbidden fruit. They could not sin after the similitude
of Adam's transgression. Notwithstanding, death reigned
over all mankind from Adam to Moses even though they had
not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression
and even though no other law had been given by which sin
could be imputed to them. What caused this reign of
death? Though they had not personally sinned, yet they
sinned in Adam, as he represented them in the garden of
Next, Rom. 5:15
teaches us that by the offence of Adam, the many in Adam
are dead. Furthermore, in Rom. 5:16, we are taught that
God's judgment was, as a result of Adam's transgression,
to condemn all mankind. Again in Rom. 5:17 we are taught
that as a result of Adam's offence death reigns over us.
Rom. 5:18 reads, "Therefore as by the offence of one
judgment came upon all men to condemnation...". Finally,
verse 19 says in parts, "For as by one man's
disobedience many were made sinners..."
The results of
all this can be summarized as follows:
represented all mankind in the garden.
2. When Adam ate
of the forbidden fruit, because he represented us, it
was as though all mankind had eaten of the forbidden
sentence of death upon Adam because of sin was also a
sentence of death upon all mankind because of the sin of
4. Death in all
its aspects not only reigned over Adam, it reigned over
all mankind which were seminally in Adam and sinned in
5. When Adam
transgressed, his nature fell to a sin-cursed state. We
were made sinners because of Adam's disobedience and our
nature is the same as Adam's sin-cursed nature.
The bible says,
"The wages of sin is death..." God told Adam "...in the
day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The
marginal reading for "die" is "dying thou shalt die."
This indicates an immediate death followed by a later
death. Thus we know the bible teaches more than one kind
teach at least five deaths. These deaths are:
1. Death of the
body or corporeal death.
2. Death in
trespasses and sins.
3. Death to
4. The second
death or eternal death.
5. Death to sin.
Adam sin began to work in the lives of every man to
bring forth the death of the body. These corruptible,
mortal bodies are headed to the grave as God told Adam,
"for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Second, to be
dead in trespasses and sins speaks of the state or
condition of our carnal nature. This death is
characterized as rendering us incapable of fearing God
(Rom. 3:18), of seeking God (Rom. 3:11), of
understanding the things of the Spirit of God (Rom.
3:11; 1 Cor. 2:14), of knowing the way of peace (Rom.
3:17). Under this death we only seek after the world
(Eph. 2:2), the spirit of Satan (Eph. 2:2), and to
satisfy fleshly lust (Eph. 2:3). Furthermore our carnal
mind is enmity with God (Rom. 8:7) and we cannot please
God (Rom. 8:8). All of our works are verily wickedness
(Gal. 5:19-21). David described this death as beginning
at conception in Psalms 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in
iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Furthermore, he said we begin to portray this sin-cursed
death nature at birth as stated in Psalms 58:3, "The
wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as
soon as they be born, speaking lies." Under the law of
sin and death according to David we will not even think
about God, Psalms 10:4, "The wicked, through the pride
of his countenance will not seek after God: God is not
in all his thoughts. In addition, a person dead in
trespasses and sins is incapable of delivering himself
from that condition. The prophet Jeremiah illustrated
this truth through question and answer in Jere. 13:23:
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his
spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to
do evil." Paul described us under the law of sin and
death in Rom. 5:6-10 as being "without strength,"
"ungodly," "sinners," and "enemies of God."
The third death
is "death to fellowship." The story of the prodigal son
in Lk. 15:11-32 illustrates this death. When the
prodigal had left his father's house to go waste his
substance with riotous living and then later returned,
the father described this son thusly, "For this my son
was dead, and is alive again..." Likewise he said to his
other son, "For this thy brother was dead, and is alive
again..." Please notice that the prodigal when wasting
his substance with riotous living did not lose his
relationship to his father or brother, but he lost his
fellowship to them. He was dead to their fellowship.
Paul, also describes this death to fellowship in 1 Tim.
5:6, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she
liveth." I guess we could safely call her a living
"dead" person. I wander how many of God's people are
dead to the fellowship of God and to the fellowship of
the saints as a result of seeking worldly pleasures?
The fourth death
we will consider is called in Rev. 20:14, the "second
death." This is God's eternal punishment for sin. Those
who suffer the "second death" are "cast into the lake of
fire" to suffer the eternal vengeance of God. They are
described in Rev. 20:12 as being "the dead, small and
great" and they are "judged every man according to their
works." Verse 15 tells us, "And whosoever was not found
written in the book of life was cast into the lake of
fire. Paul describes these in II Thes. 1:7-9 thusly,
"And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord
Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty
angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that
know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord
Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting
destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the
glory of his power."
is a good death taught in God's word. Rom. 6:2 asks us,
"How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer
therein?" What does it mean to be "dead to sin?" It
means to be dead to the condemning affects of sin and to
be dead to the bondage of the law of sin and death. Heb.
2:14 speaks of Christ thusly, "Forasmuch as the children
are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself
likewise took part of the same; that through death he
might destroy him that had the power of death, that is,
the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death
were all of their lifetime subject to bondage." When
Jesus died on the cross for us he delivered us from the
wrathful judgment of God (second death) and when he
arose the third day he established our hope in the
resurrection of our mortal bodies. Also in Rom. 8:2,
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath
made me free from the law of sin and death. This is in
harmony with Eph. 2:1 which states, "You hath he
quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins."
Likewise the Lord said in John 5:25, "Verily, verily, I
say unto you, the hour is coming and now is when the
dead shall hear the voice of the son of God and they
that hear shall live." When Christ speaks to us in that
still small voice giving us spiritual life we become
"dead to" the condemning effects of sin and its bondage
over us. We now, in spirit, fear God, seek after Him,
understand spiritual things, believe that he is, bear
good fruit, seek to please him, etc. Thanks be to God
for his unspeakable gift.