Romans 2:14-16 (CSB) So, when Gentiles, who do not by nature have the law, do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts either accuse or even excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.
Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures.
Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil
Genesis 2:17 (CSB) but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
I know sometimes when we think of sin entering into the world, we can laugh and think, "Adam had one job! Why did he eat the fruit?" Truth be told, Adam and Eve's existence was to worship God and enjoy him. The one commandment was not the totality of the law of God for he had written all of the law on their hearts so that they would not sin against him.
which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures
Genesis 1:26–28 (CSB) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
This is what we call the Covenant of Works. The covenant of God to Adam, "do this and you shall live" was in perpetuity. So long as both God and Adam held up the covenant, we would enjoy the benefits of the covenant forever: live in perfection, righteousness, holiness, love, worship--in perfect community--unto God forever. And in addition, we would hold complete dominion over all the creatures of the earth.
Romans 5:12-13 (CSB) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law.
Adam did not succeed. He failed in upholding his end of the covenant. And thus, he died. And all of his descendants, including you and me, will die.
Where is our hope? Only found in the one we call the Second Adam, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Romans 5:14 (CSB) Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a type of the Coming One.