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Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this pages FAQ And Objections Page
We talked very briefly in the last unit about a very common doctrine which called “original sin.” What is original sin? Is it in the Bible? Sometimes it is also called “the sin nature” to make it sound less catholic. Or at least it seems like that may be a reason. This doctrine has been taught for centuries in the church. That doesn’t necessarily make it true, though. The church is made up of many people. Each one holds a different belief on some things. So while this doctrine may have the majority opinion, that does not mean it is necessarily true.
First, let’s define what we mean when we speak of original sin.
Original sin – the belief that all humans are born already guilty of sin, even without ever having personally committed a sin. This belief stems from the thought that we were all in Adam when he sinned. It is asserted, therefore, that we are under the guilt of his sin.
Notice: I said the doctrine is the belief that we carry the GUILT of the sin of Adam. I am not speaking of the NATURE OF MAN TO FALL into sin. These are two different things. One (guilt) means we are seen by God as if we were the one who committed the sin. If we are guilty then we must pay the price as though we were the one who committed the sin.
The other (nature of man to fall) does not mean the same thing. The nature of a man, which makes him able to be tempted and to fall into sin, does not mean he HAS fallen into sin. It does not mean he is GUILTY of sin. So when we are talking about “original sin” in this unit we still acknowledge that a man is prone to sin by his very nature. We are not saying that he does not suffer the consequences of another man’s sin either. We are speaking only about the GUILT of sin which some believe is passed down to all humans.
Now, we are told in the Bible that God does not change. What He believed in the Old Testament is what He still believes in the New Testament. So what does God say about how He views the idea that the children bear the guilt of their father’s sins?
Ezekiel 18:1-20 tells us exactly how He feels about the idea.
Ezekiel 18:1-20 But specifically 17-20
17 That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. 19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
This seems very simple to me. God is saying that the children do not bear the guilt of their father’s sins.
The belief that children are guilty of their father’s sins contradicts God. So no, a baby is not guilty of sin just because he is the son of a sinner. In fact, according to these scriptures, no one is found guilty of sin because of the actions of anyone else. We all bear our own sins.
This is also seen in Deuteronomy.
16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.
Obviously, according to scripture, it is clear that children are not born guilty of sin. We only become guilty of sin when we actually commit sin ourselves.
Does that contradict Hebrews 7:7-10?
7 And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. 8 And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9 And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. 10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.
This set of scriptures never says that Levi was righteous because of the action of his father. It only shows that Levi was less than his father Abraham and even lower than Melchisedec. When Paul says that Levi paid tithe it is because a part of that tithe would have been his through inheritance. But, because his father had given tithe off of the inheritance that Levi would have had it had an effect on Levi. Levi gave up a 10th without even having a say in it.
Again, this doesn’t show that the guilt or innocence of the father is passed down. It only shows that what the father does affects the children (innocent or not). So there is no contradiction unless we wrongly assume that Levi had some choice in the matter.
Note that Paul says, “as I may so say” in Hebrews 7:9. That can be a way of saying “metaphorically.” For example, if I said, “The mountain, as I may so say, is a tower of iron.” Iron is a metaphor for how strong the mountain is.
Even if this were not a way of Paul speaking metaphorically he still says, “In Abraham” at the end. Thus he removes Levi from having a part in the action other than that he is the son of Abraham.
Just as you are not guilty of my sins, but my sins may still have an effect on you. This is how it works with Adam. We are not guilty of his sin, but we do still suffer the result of his sin.
Romans 5:12-14 – Paul says that sin entered the world because of Adam, death entered the world because of sin, and all men die because they are all sinners. I have covered chapter 5 of Romans verse by verse for a more detailed explaination which you can see by clicking this link.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
If we are going to understand how Romans 5 and Ezekiel 18 do not contradict each other we will have to ask some questions.
What is a sin?
1 John 3:4
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Let’s break this down. The law brings us the knowledge of sin (remember the tree of knowledge). We know right and wrong because we have the law. The Bible also records in another place that even without the 10 commandments we still have the law written in our hearts. That’s why we have a conscience.
Sin is breaking the law. Since the law says to do good we become sinners when we do evil. BUT if you do not break the law then you are not a sinner. Since sin is the breaking of the law.
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
Babies have not had a chance to know the law, have a knowledge of sin, nor have they even had a chance to break the law. Especially having not yet come to an understanding of right and wrong.
If sin is the breaking of the law and babies have not broken the law then how can they be guilty of breaking the law? The only way to reconcile this is by saying that not all humans are guilty of sin. Humans are guilty of sin when THEY PERSONALLY commit a sin.
Paul says in Romans 5:12, “death passed upon all men” but then he says, “for that all have sinned.” Does Paul mean ALL men or ALL MEN WHO HAVE SINNED? In fact, in the very next verse (v.13) Paul says that without the law, or knowledge of the law, there is no sin counted against man.
So no, Paul was not saying that every human being has already sinned before they were even born. But he is saying that every human being who has had the knowledge of the law has made the choice to break that law. The word “all” is not all inclusive of every human being. But, it IS all inclusive of every human being who is capable of knowing the law, and therefore have sin counted against them.
Otherwise Jesus Himself must be included in the “all” who have sinned seeing as He is 100% man as well as 100% God. So when the Bible says all have sinned it is speaking only of those who CAN and HAVE sinned, because they know the law. Therefore they have the guilt of sin laid to their charge since they personally sin. So when the Bible uses the word “all” it could either be talking about all as in every single person or it can be talking about all as in everyone of a certain group.
It’s like telling a person at your dinner table, “Get all you want” and then seeing them grab the pictures and television off of your wall. You did tell them to get ALL they want, but did you mean ALL THEY WANT or ALL OF THE FOOD THEY WANT? So know the context of the word all.
So again, this set of verses does not teach the doctrine of Original Sin.
The obvious question now comes up. If Babies have no sin then why do they die?
In verse 14 Paul tells us that even without sinning personally, death happens to us all.
This should not be surprising, though, since Jesus had no sin and yet He died. The animal sacrifices were without sin, and yet they died. All of the creation suffers under death with or without sinning. The question, though, is why?
Even Jesus suffered without having sinned. So yes, even the innocent can and do die. Job is also a good book to read on the subject. It shows that not all suffering is the result of personal sin.
To sum up the information on Romans 5:12-14, it shouldn’t be that hard to see that Paul was not saying all are guilty of sin without ever even committing sin. The thought itself is double talk.
It’s like saying you are guilty of sin even though you have not sinned. In fact, that is exactly what the doctrine of original sin wants us to believe.
1 Corinthians 15:22
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
This is very simple. Because of the sin of Adam death entered the world, so people die (with or without sin). BUT because of the gift of Christ, there is redemption for the soul that sins. This is because the blood of Jesus clears us of sin, as though we had never committed it.
So again, do Christians who are clean from sin die? Do babies who have never sinned die? This verse is not a simple “you will die because you come from Adam” verse. It is a “death came by Adam and so you will die” verse. The guilt of the father isn’t on the children, … but the consequences of his actions will still affect them. The consequence is that we have a world where death reigns.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
This is another common verse that is used to explain why we are already sinners the moment we are born. But it does not say that he bears the GUILT of his mother’s sin. It doesn’t say that he was created with GUILT already assigned to him. Being shaped in iniquity simply shows that he came from a line of immoral events.
If you remember from unit 2:3, iniquity is, “Immoral or grossly unfair behavior. This word is often used in addition to the word wicked which means twisted. An example of iniquity is calling something that is evil good and calling good evil.” So David says he was shaped in immoral or grossly unfair things. It does not that he himself was guilty or seen as guilty for those things.
The next reason people will claim this doctrine is true is because of the nature of the birth of Jesus. It is believed by many that He was born of a virgin so that He would not have original sin. Or in other words, so that He would not be born a sinner as all other men (supposedly). But again, this would be saying Jesus was not 100% man. That is what the Bible calls the spirit of antichrist.
There is another reason for why Jesus was born of a virgin. Jesus already existed before being born as a man in the flesh. Jesus is God. If Jesus were to be born of both a man and woman then He would be a man, … and only a man. He would not be the eternal God. He would have a beginning. But we see Jesus as BOTH 100% man in the flesh because he was born of a woman and 100% God in spirit.
The real reasons for the virgin birth:
1. Jesus could not be created since He is the creator. So if God were to become a man He would not do so through a man and woman. If He did then the human child would have to be “possessed” like a demon.
2. The virgin birth was a sign that God had given in the Old Testament.
3. By being born of a woman He took on Himself our nature, … 100% of it. This is perhaps the most important reason the doctrine of Original Sin is wrong.
Because if we were to believe it then that would mean Jesus was born guilty of sin. Therefore, He could not be the perfect sacrifice for us. But if we claim that He was born of a woman but did not have the same flesh, or nature of a man then we would be guilty of the spirit of antichrist.
1 John 4:3
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
So He became a man to taste of death for all men.
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
He became a man because He felt it was only right that the one who sanctified us should also be on of us. Consider how much more worth a man is than a bird, … should our sacrifice not at least be of equal worth to us?
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Being born fully of the flesh and not at all of the spirit is why men could never keep the law. Jesus said we had to be born again of spirit. In another place we see Jesus say that the spirit is the willing part, but that the flesh is weak.
Jesus was born of both Spirit of God and flesh. 100% of both. We are born of flesh but our spirit is not the spirit of God. We must be born again of the Spirit of God. Some may try to point out that Jesus was only 50% flesh and 50% God. Again, they deny both His coming in the flesh as a man (as men are 100% flesh) and His deity (as God is 100% God). Such is the word of the doctrine of devils.
So Jesus, being born of both, was as we Christians should be now. He was able to mortify the deeds of the flesh. He could bring it into subjection from day one through the spirit. But He was not free from the flesh that would fight against Him, and us.
So you see that this doctrine of Original Sin is actually false. Because again, it would mean either Jesus wasn’t worthy to be our sacrifice. Or that He didn’t come in the same flesh as us, which is the doctrine of the spirit of antichrist.
Continue To Unit 2:7 – What Is Death OR
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October 6, 2015 at 10:11 pm | | 4 comments
May we be lead by Holy Spirit and not by man……….
You omitted all the important points. Did Jesus inherit man’s fallen nature or was he like Adam. It was possible for Adam not to sin, but his offspring were prone to sin.
If we did not inherit Adam’s guilt, why did death reign between Adam and Moses even though no one could be judged guilty of sin?
The wages of sin is death.
Hi Richard, the questions you speak of were actually addressed in the page itself. At the very beginning of the page I said (addressing the nature of man) “The nature of a man, which makes him able to be tempted and to fall into sin, does not mean he HAS fallen into sin. It does not mean he is GUILTY of sin. So when we are talking about “original sin” in this unit we still acknowledge that a man is prone to sin by his very nature.”
Later I said “By being born of a woman He took on Himself our nature, … 100% of it.”
And I addressed the issue of the reign of death here “The guilt of the father isn’t on the children, … but the consequences of his actions will still affect them. The consequence is that we have a world where death reigns.”
Please read the page again. It seems like you didn’t read it at all.
I enjoyed this in depth post. I know we are cursed due to Adam’s sin. I know I am not guilty of Adam’s sin. Thanks God for Jesus!