Why Do Babies Die?
Let’s look at the last phrase in verse twelve,
“…for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12e, KJV)
This phrase is connected with Paul’s previous statement,
“…and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12d, KJV)
This last phrase, “…for that all have sinned…” is probably the most important phrase Paul has written yet. We need to know exactly what Paul said. We need to diligently discover the correct translation of this phrase. I don’t think we have it with either the Revised Standard Version or the King James Version.
Later translators who carefully exegeted this phrase saw that the previous translations had mistranslated this phrase and they corrected it. A better translation of this phrase reads,
“…because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12e, NKJV)
Most of you are thinking, “What difference does it make?” I think it makes a great deal of difference. When you say, “all have sinned” you are really making a general observation or general statement. It is true that eventually all men will have sinned prior to their death. Paul is not making a general observation or statement in this paragraph. Paul is saying definitively that all men sinned.
Paul used an aorist tense, active voice, and an indicative mood. In doing so Paul portrays the idea of an act completed once and forever in history at a particular point and time. Paul is not making a general observation. Paul refers to a specific action that took place at a particular point of time.
The reason why this is important is as follows: if you state that “all have sinned” you can imply that they sinned now, or yesterday, last week, or at any time. Paul used a word, and a tense of the Greek verb to refer to a specific one definite completed action – all sinned.
Therefore, death passed upon all men because all men sinned. You must understand Paul’s purpose in this paragraph. Paul is explaining the comparison between Adam and Jesus Christ. Don’t forget that Paul says that Adam is a figure of him (Jesus) that was to come. Paul is showing the reason for this comparison is to emphasize the fact that our relationship to one (Adam) is the same to the other (Christ.) In other words, what is true of us while we are in Adam is true of us while we are in Christ.
God pronounced death upon all men because all men sinned. This is why death is universal. Death is universal even on infants. Why? Because all sinned. All sinned in Adam. Death is always part of the punishment for sin and death presupposes guilt and condemnation. Death is universal, even in the case of babies who have not been born yet nor committed any actual sin. However, because babies do die they must be guilty of a specific and particular sin. They have not sinned by a personal act or action, but they would never die if they were not guilty of some particular and definite sin.
The questions you must ask is, when did infants sins? What sin did they commit? How did they sin?
Don’t forget, Paul’s contention is that death has come upon all men proving that all men have sinned. All men sinned in the original sin of Adam. In verses fifteen through nineteen Paul repeats his position five (5) times with the words, “one offense”, the “one offense of Adam”, or “the offense of one man.”
This is why Paul compares Adam and Christ. One man’s (Adam’s) sin brought death upon all men. Christ’s one action brings life to all believers. Adam’s one act of sin made all men sinners; the death of Christ makes all who believe in Him righteous. Adam’s sin is imputed to us and Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us.
So when did infants and babies sin? In Adam – when Adam sinned, every human being that would ever be conceived sinned. How did infants sin? In Adam – Adam as their representative sinned resulting in the sinning of each and every human being. Babies in the womb sinned. Even before birth they sinned. They sinned in Adam.
Lord, willing Monday we will look at exactly how all men sinned in Adam.