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                     "Original Sin" - Fact or Fiction?

 

PART I of V

 

 

The doctrine of “Original Sin” is widely espoused across the spectrum of Christianity, but broad acceptance has never been the guarantor of truth.  Every doctrine practiced by the church must pass the threshold of inspired revelation confirmed by God.  It is with this critical standard in mind that we will proceed to examine the doctrine of Original Sin.


From the outset of consideration, let the reader be aware that the term “Original Sin” is not citable from the Bible.  In no passage of Scripture is the phrase ever used.  It is only in the speculations of uninspired men that one encounters the term “Original Sin” or its equivalent, “Hereditary Total Depravity.”   Of course, this does not necessarily militate against the theory as to render it palpably false, but the conspicuous absence should raise the eyebrows, provoking serious investigation.


For the precious few who have not been exposed to the doctrine of Original Sin, a brief explanation is warranted.  Although several variations of the theory have evolved across the centuries, the most popular tenets of the doctrine include:


  1. The whole of humanity sinned in the actions of Adam. When Adam rebelled against God, all mankind sinned with him.

  2. When Adam sinned, human nature was corrupted, resulting in all mankind being born with a sinful nature that irresistibly issues in uncontrollable sinful indulgence by every person born of woman.

  3. On the basis of Adam’s transgression alone, all humans are guilty and are accounted as sinners.  The punishment for Adam’s sin falls upon every human.

  4. Even newborn babies are not exempt, but are condemned sinners from birth.


The term “original” hearkens to Adam’s initial sin, indicating an association of the whole of humanity in the original transgression of Adam in the garden.  The theory is more clearly understood through the alternate nomenclature of “Hereditary Total Depravity.”  Accordingly, every human offspring has inherited a corrupt nature resulting from Adam’s rebellion.  The inherited depravity is total in that no part of the person (i.e. body, soul, spirit) remains unaffected by Adam’s original sin.  The depraved condition is the direct result of having contracted the transgression of Adam.


In other words, similar to a genetic disease, Adam sinned, but the whole of his posterity inherited the original sin committed by Adam.  The claim is that every human, beginning from birth, is accounted a sinner without choice.  Freewill expressed through the option to sin or not sin was taken away from humanity by the determined will of Adam who chose to sin, involving his posterity, not only in the physical consequences brought on by sin, but also in the guilt and punishment of his original sin even though personal sin has not been committed.  Succinctly stated, the doctrine teaches that the sin of the parent (i.e. Adam) is borne in full by every child.


The Origin of Original Sin


The seeds of this theory within established Christianity appear in the writings of men from the late second and early third centuries.  Tertullian (160-220), Origen (185-253), and Cyprian (200-258) all professed varying degrees of the theory, wrestling with myriads of concepts which were derived, not from biblically stated doctrines, but from philosophic speculations.  Again, the Bible never speaks in clear, unmistakable, and unambiguous language what is commonly taught concerning Original Sin.


Although others initiated the discussion, it is the teaching of Augustine (354-430) on Original Sin that has propagated the theory into formal church doctrine.  In his dialogue on Adam’s sin, Augustine wrote, “Our nature, there transformed for the worse, not only became a sinner, but also begets sinners” (Newman, p. 366).  He further states, “From this condemnation no one is exempt, not even new-born children” (Seeburg, 1954, p. 343); “Unconscious infants dying without baptism are damned by virtue of their inherited guilt” (Newman, p. 366).


The teachings of Augustine greatly affected the belief and practice of the emerging Catholic Church, and the acceptance of Original Sin initiated a tide of additional changes required to undergird the theory.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church declares: “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called (1994, p. 1250).  


The infant church of the 1st century knew nothing of baptizing infants; and this for the very good reason that the apostles of Christ taught nothing about the need for infants to be baptized.  Those who were commanded to repent and be baptized unto the remission of sins were of the age to “hear”  (Matthew 7:24) and “believe” (Mark 16:16) the gospel message, making the personal choice to “repent” of their own sins (Acts 3:19), to “confess” Christ with their own mouth (Romans 10:9-10), and to subject their own body to burial in baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Colossians 2:12).  A newborn baby can do none of these things, and was, therefore, divinely excluded from the call of the gospel.


The theory of Original Sin has spawned a medicinal cabinet full of concocted doctrinal remedies to bolster and boost its acceptance.  Doctrines such as the “Immaculate Conception” (which claims Mary was acted upon by God in her mother’s womb to avoid the taint of original sin in Mary), the claimed perpetual sinlessness of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the baptizing of infants, and the “Limbo of Infants” are all directly related to the theory of Original Sin.  Does the truth really require as many non-biblical doctrines to support it as those aroused by the doctrine of Original Sin?


The Reformation Age did little to stem the tide as men like John Calvin and Martin Luther failed to extirpate the theory, but brought it into Protestantism along with a host of other Popery baggage.  John Calvin was a student of Augustine’s writings.  One authority says Calvin “often read the Biblical text through the eyes of Augustine” (Westminster Dictionary of Church History, p. 148).  And so, while it is true that, to some degree, Calvin was a reformer, it is likewise the case that he carried a considerable amount of unscriptural baggage borrowed from Catholicism, perverting the reformed church from its very inception.


Although the men cited above may be credited with ushering the idea of Original Sin into the church, various philosophic speculations concerning human wickedness was rampant long before any in the church began teaching the concept of Original Sin.  The first and second epistles of John deal with the dogma of certain proto-Gnostic cults who were denying that Christ actually appeared in the flesh of humanity.  The allegation was that human flesh (as well as all matter) is intrinsically evil, and thus Christ could not have literally come in the flesh.  John strikes hard at this unscriptural heresy, condemning such practitioners as “the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).  


If Original Sin is a true concept, the warnings from John concerning these false teachers would certainly have been an appropriate arena to explain the difference between the births of Mary and Christ without the taint of original sin compared with all others born under condemnation of Original Sin.  Those addressed by John were claiming the same condition as alleged in the theory of Original Sin – that all humanity is intrinsically evil.  However, these early false teachers were arguing that if Christ really became human, He would also have been corrupted from His mother’s womb, thus Christ did not really come in human flesh.


John’s refutation does not include any mention of Mary being conceived untainted by the original sin of Adam; neither does it mention any of the explanations concocted through the passing centuries to explain why Christ, a fleshly human in every way that all men are human, was born without Original Sin.  In fact, not one point of discussion involving Original Sin is introduced by John even though he is addressing the allegation that all human flesh is intrinsically corrupt.  John simply affirms that belief in the humanity of Christ is an essential doctrine of salvation.  


If Original Sin is a necessary doctrine of Christianity, why didn’t the apostle John (or any other inspired writer) ever mention any of the key phrases or explain the exemptions of Mary and Jesus from the taint of Original Sin?  These legitimate questions demand answers.  Although the doctrine of the resurrection was confirmed by the citation of Old Testament passages (cf. Acts 2:22-32), not one proof-text from the Old Testament that is appealed to today to support the theory was ever quoted by the New Testament writers to prove the doctrine of Original Sin.  Why not?


Answer: The theory is rooted in heathen philosophies and was introduced into Christianity in the early third century where it continued evolving until formulated by Augustine in the fifth century and made a permanent fixture of the Catholic Church.  The Reformation seeded the doctrine into the Protestant denominations where it has remained deeply entrenched along with the dirty laundry of other Popery baggage.  


The Restoration Movement, with its goal of returning to the Scriptures as the sole authority for Christian belief and practice, disassociated the church from many man-made practices and false doctrines that corrupted Protestantism and Catholicism.   Based upon the absence of any direct biblical statements to support the theory and the plethora of contradicting statements that cannot be twisted by even the shrewdest proponents, the doctrine of Original Sin was abandoned by those esteeming the Scriptures as divinely authoritative for every church practice and belief.


The Nature of Sin


Sin is the violation of divine law.  It is lawlessness (cf. 1 John 3:4).  The Greek word is hamartia, literally meaning, “to miss the mark” (Strong, 2001).  The Hebrew equivalent is used in Judges 20:16 to describe certain left-handed men from the tribe of Benjamin who “could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.”  Sin is missing the mark of obedience established by God.  It is the exact opposite of righteous obedience (cf. Romans 6:16-19).


Sin is traceable to the beginning.  John wrote, “the one who practices sin [i.e., in unrestrained fashion] is of the devil; for the devil has sinned [present tense, active; i.e., has been continually sinning] from the beginning” (1 John 3:8; cf. John 8:44).  The sin of Adam and Eve is recorded in Genesis 3, and therefore the sin of the devil preceded man’s sin in the Garden of Eden.


According to the doctrine of Original Sin, human nature was corrupted by the single instance of sin committed by Adam and Eve.  Because they were sinners, they beget sinners through human procreation, passing the sin of the parent to the child so that every child has been born with a corrupt nature that leads irresistibly to the practice of sin.

 

It has been stated, “Every man is guilty in Adam, and is consequently born with a depraved and corrupt nature. And this inner corruption is the unholy fountain of all actual sins” (Berhkof, Systematic Theology, p. 251).  Augustus Strong wrote,The sin of Adam is the immediate cause and ground of inborn depravity, guilt and condemnation to the whole human race” (Systematic Theology, p. 625).  


The problems with this line of reasoning are manifold, and the resultant remedial doctrines that germinated and evolved are evidence of the erroneous nature of the theory.

Consider for a moment: If “this inner corruption” of the human nature derived from Adam is the root cause of “all actual sins,” what was the cause of Adam and Eve’s actual sin?  The Bible says Eve was deceived into sin (1 Timothy 2:14).  Adam sinned willfully, submitting himself to Eve’s offer (Genesis 3:6).  


Is it not possible that the causes of their sin remain the causes of all sin?  If Adam and Eve could choose to obey God or choose to sin, why is the same choice not available for all human beings?  If Adam and Eve could sin even though possessing the sinless human nature created by God, why can’t every other person also retain the same choice from a God-given sinless human nature produced in conception?  


Why has the alleged inherited “corrupt nature” become the “unholy fountain” of all subsequent sin, but it wasn’t the source of Adam’s sin?  Adam and Eve sinned just as easily as all other humans succumb to sin.  What caused them to sin so easily?  Answer: It wasn’t a “nature of sin,” but temptation.  The apostle John wrote of “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16).  These three avenues of temptation are common to all men; including Adam and Eve and even the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Genesis 3:1-6; Matthew 4:1-11).


Did the angels who sinned against God possess a corrupt nature (2 Peter 2:4)?  If answered in the affirmative, then where did their “corrupt nature” originate?  And why did not every angel sin?  If answered negatively, then why can’t all sin be committed on the same basis of either deception or willful choice as committed by the angels?


Jude says the angels “did not keep their own domain,” indicating a sin of negligence, but they also committed a sin of rebellion, having “abandoned their proper abode” (v. 6).  Whatever this entailed, it involved an overt act of disobedience on the part of the angels whereby they deliberately chose to sin against God.  However, not every angel in heaven made the choice to sin along with the rebels mentioned by Peter and Jude.  Each one possessed the freedom of choice to obey God or to disobey Him.


Since both angels and humans are endowed with the freedom of personal choice while possessing a spiritually clean nature, what hinders every human from possessing the same choice granted from birth?  The theory of “Original Sin” removes the individual responsibility associated with sin, providing an excuse for sin by claiming an inheritance of irresistible ungodliness from our ancestral parents.  


The theory only weakens moral resolve to abstain from sin, and this explains why church organizations teaching the theory have swelling numbers of unrestrained sinners seeking salvation without and apart from repentance of sins.  Sinful lifestyles, including the sin of homosexuality, are being accepted in rapidly increasing numbers by a host of various denominational entities.  Repentance from sins has been abandoned in favor of uninhibited indulgence.  


When sin is seen as a genetic inheritance, the inevitable result is what is occurring across the broad spectrum of Christendom today.  Repentance from an “inherited sin nature” is viewed as absurd and unreasonable, thus each one is free to openly engage every sinful indulgence while personally claiming eternal salvation.  Satan must be elated, grinning in grim satisfaction at the departure from the truth by apostate Christianity after the manner of Israel of old who was tempted away from faithful obedience to God.


However, sin is not a substance or a genetic disorder like a corrupt DNA code.  Sin is the violation of God’s established law.  The apostle Paul wrote, “for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).  The law of God proves every rational human a sinner because each one comes to recognize that the law of God has been violated in their own personal life.  Adam and Eve were given a law regarding the trees of the garden.  When they chose to eat from the forbidden tree, they immediately knew the law of God had been broken and that justice was due; hence the attempt to hide from God.

Paul went on to say, “I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me” (Romans 7:7-10).


Paul contends that he was “once alive,” recalling the innocence of childhood when he was not under condemnation of the law of sin and death.  The statement by Paul stands diametrically opposed to the theory of “Original Sin” which claims even babies are dead spiritually on the basis of Adam’s sin.  Paul knew nothing of this foolish doctrine, but remembers a time of innocence when God’s law and the choice to obey or disobey God had not been comprehended.  Sin does not occur without violation of God’s law.


But with maturity and comprehension of God’s law, Paul ultimately recognized, not the sin of Adam, but his own sin, and by his own sin he died (spiritually).  Paul was born spiritually “alive” to God, without condemnation, but he humbly admits, “sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me” (Romans 7:11).  Paul was deceived by sin in the same way Eve was originally deceived.  


Here is the answer to our previous question.  It was not a corrupt human nature that caused Paul to be dead and under condemnation by God, for he says, “I was once alive,” but being himself deceived by sin, Paul realized he had succumbed to the law of sin and death.  It must be remembered, sin is not a physical substance or a matter of human genetics (inheritance), but is an act of disobedience to the law of God.


Adam and Eve, like Paul, sinned by failing to resist temptation.  All sin originates with temptation (cf. James 1:13-15), and it is always easier to sin than to resist or strive against temptations.  James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation,” and Hebrews 12:4 speaks to those who “have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.”  


Temptation is the circumstance leading to sin – not an “inner corruption” resulting from the evil choice of Adam and Eve.  Paul says, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  If sin originates from a corrupt human nature and cannot be resisted, why is the Lord’s apostle warning against temptation?  And since temptation “is common to man,” doesn’t that indicate that all mankind has a choice in the matter?


Temptations are “the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) by which man falls into “the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26).  Understood this way, it makes sense that Christ would teach men to pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13), and Peter would say, “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation” (2 Peter 2:9).  


Paul feared for the brethren in Thessalonica, not because they were irresistibly led to sin by an “inner corruption,” but “that the tempter may have tempted you” (1 Thessalonians 3:5).  Satan is the tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5) and the deceiver of mankind (cf. Revelation 12:9; 20:10).  Like Adam and Eve in the garden, Satan tempts all men to violate the divine law of God.


If the doctrine of Original Sin is true, why is the devil prowling “around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), tempting men to sin?  Would Satan continue the effort of tempting men to sin if he knew that all men are born with a corrupt nature that makes them sin without being tempted?  The Bible does not attribute the sins of all humanity to the original sin of Adam, but sinners are connected with the tempter.


Jesus told sinners, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44).  Paul condemned Elymas, saying, “You are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil” (Acts 13:10).  If each one is a sinner because of the sin of Adam, why didn’t the Lord say, ‘You are of your father, Adam’?  And why did Paul not condemn sinners by saying, ‘you son of Adam’?  Why is the devil associated with the sinner rather than Adam?


Sin reigns in the earth, not because of an inherited sin nature, but because it is easier to succumb than it is to resist temptation.  When tempted, each one chooses sin over obedience to God.  Adam and Eve made the choice to sin, and all men, with the exception of Christ, have also chosen to sin against the will of God by succumbing to the devil’s temptations.  Men are not born sinners, but become sinners through personal choice.


Individual Responsibility


In blatant contradiction to the theory of Original Sin which alleges all children are born totally depraved by an inherited sin nature and are born condemned by the sin of Adam, the Bible explicitly teaches otherwise, and this from no less voice than that of God.  One of the most basic hermeneutic principles in studying inspired revelation from God is that no interpretation may be allowed to contradict clear statements of unambiguous prose.


The prophet Ezekiel conveyed, “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die’” (Ezekiel 18:1-4).


Similar to the theory of Original Sin, the proverb being used in Israel blasphemed the justice of God.  Although falsely lodged by a people who were by no means innocent of sin, but were actually worse sinners than their fathers, God sternly rebuked the errant philosophy of the proverb, asserting firmly, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.”    


The affirmation by God is that “all souls are Mine.”  God does not beget sinners, and neither does God punish the sin of the father by punishing the son.  Each person is held accountable before God for their own sin, and God says, “The soul who sins will die.”  No one will be punished for the sins of their parents or of any other, and this includes the sin of Adam.  No one is born condemned by a sin that he did not commit.


Adam’s sin brought consequences that all men endure, but no one will be condemned by the sin of Adam.  For example, women bear greater pain in child birth, and men must labor in the fields cursed with thorns and thistles in order to grow food (Genesis 3:16-19).  However, although the consequences of Adam and Eve’s rebellion are experienced by all who come into life, God explicitly declares, in lucid, unambiguous language, that the sin of one person is not punished on another person.  


Hear the voice of God: “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).  


Let all believers in God hold fast to the word of God.  The theory of Original Sin contradicts every word spoken here by the Lord.  It proposes that every son of Adam bears the punishment for the sin of Adam.  Such is reminiscent of that ancient contradiction to the word of God, “You shall not surely die!” (Genesis 3:4; cf. 2:17).  


The Lord says, “The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity,” but Original Sin says, “The son will bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity.”  If the voice of Satan is not behind this theory, then another has arisen from the depths of hell to compete with him as the great antagonist of God!


The entire 18th chapter of Ezekiel concerns the individual responsibility of every person before God.  Every word of this chapter militates against the idea of Total Hereditary Depravity.  But this passage is not alone.  Declarations of similar sentiment regarding individual responsibility are scattered throughout the Scriptures.


When Moses interceded for the sins of Israel at Sinai, saying, “Alas, this people has committed a great sin; and they have made a god of gold for themselves. But now, if You will, forgive their sin–and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” (Exodus 32:31-32), the Lord responded, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book…in the day when I punish, I will punish them for their sin” (32:33-34).  Notice that God will not punish them for the sin of Adam, but “for their sin.”


In giving the law to Moses, God declared, “Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor shall sons be put to death for fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:16; cf. 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Chronicles 25:4).  Here is justice that all deem to be just, but Original Sin places condemnation on the innocent so as to cause men to revolt in righteous indignation, many even slandering and blaspheming the name of God on account of the intolerable injustice fabricated in Original Sin.


The Lord reiterated His justice through the prophet Jeremiah, affirming, “But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge” (Jeremiah 31:30).  God would never condemn or punish an innocent child for the sin of Adam.  The holiness of God would never allow such an injustice to be perpetrated.


Give Account for Our Own Sins


Every person will give account of their own sins before God.  How could anyone other than Adam give an account for Adam’s sin?  If all infants who die in the womb or in child birth are condemned by Adam’s sin, how can they give account for something in which they had no decision or part?  Contrary to such an absurdity, the Bible teaches that each person will appear before God in order to render an account for their own sin.


Paul addressed unbelievers concerning judgment, stating, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds” (Romans 2:5-6).  God’s judgment would be anything but “righteous judgment” if He condemned even one other person for the sin of Adam.  However, God will not act unjustly, but “each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).


The church at Corinth was informed, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).  Will an infant who died at birth and has done no deeds at all be judged for the deeds that Adam did in his body?  If so, where does the Bible say that he will?  Three times the Lord’s apostle has taught that each person will be judged according to his own deeds – not the deeds of anyone else.


Peter conveyed the same, saying, “…if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work…” (1 Peter 1:17).  The consensus among the apostles who wrote on this subject is unanimous.  God will judge no one concerning the sin of Adam, but Adam himself.  If a young child dies without sin, he will be judged without sin.  Any assertion to the contrary is but the Devil’s folly.  The Lord has spoken!


Conclusion (Part 1)


Having defined the primary tenets of the Original Sin theory and traced its origin to the late second and early third centuries, it is indisputable that the language employed to declare the theory does not originate from the inspired authors of the Bible, but from the philosophic speculations of uninspired penmen long after the passing of the apostles and prophets appointed by God.


The very nature of sin refutes the irrational allegation that the sin of the parent may be inherited by the child.  Sin is not a physical trait or substance passed along genetically from parent to child, but is the transgression of divine law.  Just as accumulated knowledge and life experiences are not passed through conception from the parent to the child, neither is the parents’ sin inherited by the child.  Such is wholly unreasonable and absurd.


Babies, young children, and the mentally handicapped have no cognizance of right or wrong or of the law of God.  That is why the instructions of the Bible concerning sin are always given to rationally minded people – not infants.  No example exist of the gospel ever being preached to the cradle, to a nursery school, or to a romper room of toddlers,  but only to those who were mature and mentally proficient to receive the instructions of the message.  The apostles and early evangelists preached to “men and women” who were old enough to hear and believe the gospel, to recognize their own sin, and to make the personal decision to obey the conditions of pardon contained in the gospel (cf. Acts 2:37-38; 2:41; 3:17-19; 4:4; 5:14; 6:7; 8:6-13; etc.).  


Additionally, it should be emphasized that sin is never spoken of as a catastrophe or a misfortune in the Bible.  It is spoken of as a transgression, offense, and rebellion.  But there could be no greater tragedy in heaven or in earth than that of being born a sinner.  If all men are born sinners, lacking the ability to refuse sin or the choice to do anything but sin, they would certainly never be viewed as criminals or rebels against the kingdom of heaven.  Instead, they would be considered of all creatures, the most worthy of pity, sympathy, and compassion, and their inherited sin as the greatest misfortune and calamity in the realm of creation.  


For example, rational humans pity the mentally unstable who commit violent acts, releasing them from culpability on the basis of insanity.  If all sin is committed from a corrupt nature inherited from Adam, why do governments punish sane offenders while releasing insane offenders?  And if we are all born with the same evil nature, how is it that most people refrain from committing savagely violent acts and gross crimes against humanity?  The ability to resist temptations of extreme violence, theft, and sexual deviancy by the majority of humanity demonstrates a controllable nature.


Sin is lawlessness – but what lawlessness has a baby, young child, or the mentally disabled committed?  The baptizing of infants as practiced by Catholics and many Protestant denominations is without precedence in the Holy Scriptures, and many who participate are candid enough to admit the absence of biblical authority, but because of their belief in Original Sin, they are compelled to seek a remedy for their perceived infant’s damning contamination.  


Chronologically, the practice of infant baptism is traceable only to the middle of the third century and therefore subsequent to the teaching of Original Sin which originated in the late second and early third centuries.  The birth of one false doctrine immediately resulted in another false teaching to offset the effects of the first, and with the passing centuries (as previously noted) many other false teachings sprang forth as further remedies for the erroneous theory of Original Sin.


If a man believes God, the theory of Original Sin is exposed as fiction on the basis that God has explicitly declared, “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity” (Ezekiel 18:20).  


Although this single verse is sufficient for determining truth from error on this particular issue, additional parts of the study will examine further evidence to clarify the truth that Original Sin is indeed fiction and not fact.  An examination of alleged “proof-texts” for the theory will also be conducted.  May the reader be blessed by a careful study of the word of God.



Tracy White



References:


Berkhof, L. (1972), Systematic Theology

    (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).


Newman, Albert Henry (1904), A Manual of Church History, Vol. I

    (Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society).


Seeburg, Augustine R. (1954), History of Doctrine, Vol. I

    (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).


Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994)

(Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).


Strong, James (2001), Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon

(Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software).

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