The first thing I think we need to understand is the difference between sin and Transgression. Some would have you believe that there is in fact no difference at all, however there is. Adam could not of sinned for a few reasons. The first of which is that being in a state of complete pure innocense and having no knowledge of right and wrong he was not capable of sin. Because he was not capable of sin his act was not sin but in fact trasngression. Meaning he did something he was asked not to do, but was not actually sin.
I think Elder Dhallin H Oaks put it best when he said
This suggested contrast between a sin and a transgression reminds us of the careful wording in the second article of faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression” (emphasis added). It also echoes a familiar distinction in the law. Some acts, like murder, are crimes because they are inherently wrong. Other acts, like operating without a license, are crimes only because they are legally prohibited. Under these distinctions, the act that produced the Fall was not a sin—inherently wrong—but a transgression—wrong because it was formally prohibited. These words are not always used to denote something different, but this distinction seems meaningful in the circumstances of the Fall.
This article of faith refers to the fall of Adam and Eve. Some in the christian world refer to this fall as a result of Open rebellion by Adam and Eve against God. Adam and Eve were not in open rebellion against God. The fall was neccessary part of the plan in order that man could be. 2 Nephi 2:25 a“Adam bfell that men might be; and men care, that they might have djoy.“ This was an essential part of the plan. Adam and Eve had no knowledge of how to create children nor an ability to before they left the Garden. Adams transgression was vital. God Knowing that the devil would tempt Adam and Eve arranged as part of his plan to forbid the fruit that they might be tempted so the fall could be set up. The devil thinking to thwart Gods plan tempted Adam and Eve but was in reality playing into the God`s hand. Man could not of come to be if not for Adam`s Transgression.
There are many within the christian world that believe in the concept of orginal sin. An idea that all men are born guilty of sin because of the choice that Adam and Eve made in the Garden. Often referred to as Adam’s rebellion against God. This is why many christian churches practice infant baptism lest the child dies and suffers eternal torment in hell as they would suffer for “Orginal sin” that Adam committed. As if the child or infant somehow has full respoonsibility for the choices that Adam made thousands upon thousands of years ago.
This idea of Orginal sin in all of us contradicts the doctrine of free agency that is God given to all of us. If we are all responsible for Adam’s transgression, then by default Adam is not responsible for his own choices, and if Adam has no liability for his own transgressions then there is no free agency. If there is no free agency for mankind as we must suffer for the sins of others, who then is responsible for our choices. Some would argue and have argued with me at least, that Christ takes the responsibility of our sins. If he does; as we take the blame for Adam, then where does our free agency come it. Some would have us believe that we simply have to confess that we believe in christ and we are saved. Simple as that. Funny that in the same breath they would argue that we dont have free agency while proclaiming we can choose to believe or not believe. How is it that we are free to make our own choices while at the same time can escape responsiblity for our choices simply by confessing Jesus is the Christ. What purpose then does repentence have in our lives, if all it takes a confession that we believe in Christ to be saved and absolved of our sins.
All of us sin and makes mistakes and transgressions. Adam received his punishment which in reality was a blessing as he would not of been able to progress otherwise. We too will be punished for the sins which we have commited in this life without proper repentence. Those punishments may not come in this world or life, or they may come to us in mortality. That however does not mean that if we fail to repent we will not recieve our punishment for the sin in the afterlife.
This article of faith indicates that not only that we will be punished for our own sins but hints at our free agency to make those choices. That is one of the greatest blessings of the gospel. We are free to choose for ourselves. That free Agency however comes with a price. While we can choose for our selves to do or say anything, we cannot choose the consequences of our choices.
For example we can choose to go cliff diving at a unfamiliar location without testing the depth of the water, but you cannot choose whether or not you get hurt hitting the rocks under the water you did not check for.
You can choose to neglect your responsibilities to your employer but cannot choose whether you will still have a job there or not.
We can choose to incurr debt and not pay it back but we cannot choose whether we suffer severe financial ruin and penalitys for refusing to pay the debt we incurred.
I could really go on and on with examples but I think I have explained the point.
Christ suffered so that we may not have to. We have the oppurtunity to allow our savior to take our burden of sin upon us but that does not mean that we will not suffer in the mortal world as a direct result of our choices. The Atonement of Christ cannot remove the secular consequences of our choices. For example if you live a life of promiscuity and contract a sexually transmitted disease, your repentence cannot remove the disease and sickness from you, but you can have the eternal burden of that sin taken from you through repentence and faith in Christ.
We will all be punished for our own sins as it is vital to our growth, Imagine for a moment if you can, you have many children. As each new child comes to your family you punish them for a transgression made by your first born child. Would you do that? Does that make sense? would you consider that fair and proper parenting? how would your other children feel about this? This kind of thinking is no different than stating everyone is guilty of orginal sin. You are the only one who can be held repsonsible for your sins. Christ is willing to pay the price for our sins but that does not take away our responsiblity for those choices. You can only be held accountable for your choices, not anyone elses. That`s the beauty of the gospel, choice, accountability and suffering for our sins not the sins of others.