The question ‘is it moral to punish everyone for a sin committed by Adam and Eve sometimes comes up in conversations with sceptics. Does it appear to be an excessively harsh punishment? I mean if someone stole some bread from you would it be fair to put him in prison for life? Surely the sins people commit in their life are not worthy of eternal damnation. Does it seem right that God would create man imperfect and then punish him forever for not having the ability to be perfect? The issue that is begged in these types of questions is the absolute moral standard which is greater than God, where does this standard come from? The entire idea of morality requires a standard to appeal to, otherwise you are merely giving your personal opinion/preference, which really has no authority. So anyone who claims not to believe in God, but still appeals to moral absolutes, which God should be subject to, is being inconsistent with their own relativism. This really goes back to Paul point in Romans 1 and 2 that deep down everyone knows there is a just God. Furthermore, it does not follow that if God created man with the ability to make voluntary choices that He “created man imperfect.” God declared his creation of Adam and Eve to be “very good”.
Regarding excessive punishment … if you sin against an infinitely holy God by your rebellion against Him then you are working with an entirely different idea than if you merely sinned against a man. Eternal damnation is not the result of man merely stealing a loaf of bread but of putting ourselves in the place of God as the ultimate authority. All sin is a direct challenge to the first commandment as Luther pointed out. Sin is a rejection of Him as our parent and His authority. And we continue to sin and rebel against God’s authority – as if we were cheering Adam on in his sin against God. Our sinful actions demonstrate that we are sons of Adam and uphold solidarity with him.