In contrast with Romans 7:20:

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. [NASB]

Genesis 4:7 states:

“If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

Are these Scriptures contradictory, and how does mainline Christianity interpret each?

  • Welcome to the site! This next has nothing to do with the quality of your question, it's just standard to help new visitors avoid misunderstanding the site (as I did at first.) As a new visitor, I'd recommend checking out the following two posts, which are meant to help newcomers "learn the ropes": help page and How we are different than other sites? Jan 5, 2014 at 4:27
  • @ed flom, Welcome to the site. What exactly is your question here? The title has a good question, but content of your question is not very clear. how you would respond does look like a discussion which this is not the right site for. Could you please clarify your question?
    – 2pietjuh2
    Jan 5, 2014 at 12:29
  • I reworded your question in hope of aligning it with the site guidelines.
    – BYE
    Jan 5, 2014 at 14:39
  • 2
    I see the two verses are both talking about personal struggles with inward sin. Paul in the Romans verse struggles with mastering the sin; God in the Genesis verse is telling Cain that he must master the sin in himself. I don't see a contradiction.
    – Steve
    Jan 5, 2014 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


There is no contradiction, however it should be noted that in Genesis 4:7 that is an intentional sin, and in Romans 7:20 it concerns unintentional sin.

The difference between the two is whether or not the perpetrator knows that it is a sin and commits it anyway, or does so out of ignorance or deception as in the case of Eve who was beguiled.

  • So if Eve was not intending to Sin, why did God kill her and Adam? That seems unfair to me. Does somebody really deserve to be killed for simply unintentionally disobeying an order? That's basically like saying, "I'm going to kill my co-worker for not doing something I asked of him." And whatever happened to forgiveness? Surely he could've found a way to forgive people before He came to us as Christ? Maybe punch them, or take away one of their elbows? Without a local anaesthetic back then, I sure the pain would be enough to ensure they wouldn't disobey him again. Mar 5, 2014 at 20:03
  • @12506 I did not say Eve did not intend to sin, even though she was fooled by Satan she did know before she ate that it was against what Godhad said, she even said that they would die even if they touched it, which is not what God had said. So her sin was intentional. In Romans Paul is saying if he does something he unintentionally.
    – BYE
    Mar 5, 2014 at 21:35
  • Sorry Cecil, my bad. I misread. :) Mar 8, 2014 at 21:33

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