Did Adam’s sin cause him to stop being the “son of God,” and thus all descendants of his since?
In a word, no. But that isn’t the only word on the topic. Being created by God, the first Adam and his descendants are rightly called God’s offspring (Acts 17:28). Adam’s sin caused him to lose his full, intimate relationship with his Creator Father. It would require the Only Begotten and last Adam, Jesus, to restore the sonship that had been lost (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:45).
To be clear on this topic, we first need to better understand the fatherhood of God. Then we need to recognize that God’s plan includes all necessary steps to reach His desired will of an intimate relationship with His creation.
The first point is the most obvious: God was Adam’s Father. Adam did not come from any human but directly from God himself, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. God is the Father of all that is — a testimony of His eternal nature and identity (Isaiah 63:16; Malachi 2:10). But the temporal nature of the first Adam and his descendants is in stark contrast to the eternal nature of the last Adam and those made the “sons of God” through Him. The first Adam, having the breath of life, is a reflection of the true God, and so a son of God. However, the reflection should not be compared to or confused with what causes the reflection.
This gives us insight into being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). It is in some way the reflection of the Father God. But the last Adam as Son of God is different. He is from eternity (Hebrews 8:1-5; 9:23, 24).
Adam’s sin cost him his privileged status as the son of God. He exchanged God’s Spirit for “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2, ESV). Through willful sin, Adam lost his relationship with his true Father, and the devil became his father (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). This devastation affected not only Adam, but as humanity’s representative, his offspring also.
However, God’s plan of salvation predated the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:19, 20). Elements of God’s salvation involved the incarnation of the eternal Son of God in order to become the last Adam, humanity’s new representative. Most notably, even as the eternal Son of God provided the basis for the first Adam to be a son of God, so the incarnate Son of God provides the basis for those who believe in Him to become “sons of God” indeed (Galatians 3:26—4:6).
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).
This birth is not of physical progeny but of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:1-16). It is also called adoption (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). Thus, born or adopted, we are being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
The wonder of God’s majesty is unmatched. We worship for many reasons, but His mercy in redeeming children, who first forsook their relationship with their Father, motivates us to worship God in view of His mercy in making us His children again (Romans 12:1).
— Elder Chip Hinds
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