The other day I mentioned the importance of hearing the Adam-Christ juxtaposition through the Epistle to the Romans and not just in 5.12-21 where it is made most explicit (see comments on 8.2 here). If we keep Adam-Christ in view as we read the epistle we are more likely to notice nuance that will impact our understanding of the message. The first important passage where the reader should be aware of Adam’s “presence” is 1.18-25. This is what Morna Hooker says (From Adam to Christ: Essays on Paul, 77-78):

“…the sequence of events outlined in Rom. 1 reminds us of the story of Adam as it is told in Gen. 1-3. Of Adam it is supremely true that God manifest to him that which can be known of him (v. 19); that from the creation onwards, God’s attributes were clearly discernible to him in the things which had been made, and that he was thus without excuse (v. 20). Adam, above and before all men, knew and allowed his heart to be darkened (v. 20). Adam’s fall was the result of his desire to be as God, to attain knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3.5), so that, claiming to be wise, he in fact became a fool (v. 21). Thus he not only failed to give glory to God but, according to rabbinic tradition, himself lost the glory of God which was reflected on his face (v. 23). In believing the serpent’s lie that his action would not lead to death (Gen. 3.4) he turned his back on the truth of God, and he obeyed, and thus gave his allegiance to a creature, the serpent, rather than to the creator (v. 25).”

In v. 25 τῷ ψεύδει (“the lie”) seems to indicate that this is referring to a particular lie due to the definite article. If Hooker is right in hearing a Pauline exposition on Adam in these verses then it is very likely that “the lie” is that of the serpent in Gen. 3.4 just as she observes. This would not be odd since it is not the only Genesis-echoes in this passage. The statement φθαρτοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πετεινῶν καὶ τετραπόδων καὶ ἑρπετῶν derives its creational-categories from the LXX of Gen. 1.20-27 where humans are placed in relation to the created order. So not only does Paul see humanity as reenacting Adam’s failure to subdue creation when he obeyed the voice of the serpent, but he sees all humans as following Adam into what is essentially the root of idolatry—forsaking the glory of God in order to worship the creation instead. For Adam this took place when he obeyed the serpent; for Adam’s descendents it takes place when we make idols out of created things.