One of the benefits Christianity derives from the Genesis creation story is the straightforward explanation it provides for the origin of sin. In that story, the first humans that God created disobeyed his command to refrain from eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That act of disobedience constitutes the original sin and it follows that all their human descendents on Earth are therefore born into a condition of sin, by virtue of the consequence associated with the failure of their predecessors.15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Genesis 2:15-17 (King James Version)
It is predominant in Christian theology that all people are understood to be defective and in need of a transformation toward the perfection illustrated by that religion’s namesake.
If the Biblical creation story is accepted as some form of mystical symbolism, rather than a literal account; to what extent, if any, does the embrace of the theory of evolution challenge the Christian principle that mankind is born into a condition of sin?
If the process of evolution is embraced, but understood to have taken place under God’s guidance, does this in any way advocate the likelihood that early mankind may not have been afforded a fair distinction when making his choice between obedience to God or an arguably less perfect alternative?
12 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:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 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.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:12-21 (King James Version)