The law placed upon Adam in the Garden of Eden revolved around a tree from which he was forbidden to eat - The tree of knowledge of good and evil. God specifically told Adam that in the day he ate of the tree, that "dying thou shalt die." "Dying thou shalt die" is the word for word translation of the words in the King James version, "thou shalt surely die." It indicated a process: that Adam would not die an immediate death, but would live a life dying, and ultimately, he would die.
Adam and Eve elected to ignore the teachings of God, and succumbed to the teachings of the serpent. The serpent told them the lie: "thou shalt not surely die." (Gen. 3:4).
When Adam and Eve broke the law in Eden, three things happened to them.
Their eyes were opened to the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 3:22).
They realized they were naked and made coverings for themselves out of leaves. (Gen. 3:7). And
They came to know fear, and were afraid to stand in the presence of God and His angels. (Gen. 3:8).
Upon examination and judgment of Adam (by God following Adam's sin), three more things were sentenced upon him. God said to Adam:
GEN 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
The three things sentenced upon Adam were
The curse on the ground.
That he would live life in sorrow and through hard and difficult work. And
That he would ultimately die.
The change to a dying creature which took place as a result of this sentence, changed Adam from a nature which was described in Scriptures as "very good" to a nature that was later described as "sinful" or "sin that dwelleth in me" or "the law of sin which is in my members."
ROM 7:18-20 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
ROM 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
These great changes in human nature took place as the result of sin and the sentence placed upon Adam in the Garden of Eden. It can best be seen when comparing Adam before his fall, which, as we have already seen was called by God "a body of life" (Gen. 2:7) with the Apostle Paul who lamented his "body of death."
ROM 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death? (King James margin rendering.)
The changes which took place in Adam were permanent changes. All of Adam's descendants have experienced the same, identical things because they inherited all these things from Adam. We all labor for our living. We all live our lives subject to various sorrows. We all die. These changes soiled, or defiled the "very good" nature with which Adam and Eve had been created.
Therefore, the Christadelphians believe:
V. That Adam broke this law, and was adjudged unworthy of immortality, and sentenced to return to the ground from whence he was taken--a sentence which defiled and became a physical law of his being, and was transmitted to all his posterity.