Exposing the Myth of "Original Sin"

by Jerry Shugart

The Implications of the False Teaching of "Original Sin"

The Westminister Confession of Faith represents a theological consensus of international Calvinism. There we read that the "death in sin" of Adam and Eve is conveyed to all of their posterity by original generation:

"They (Adam & Eve) being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/3).

Calvinist writer Robert Shaw goes into more detail concerning how a "corrupted nature" is conveyed to all of Adam's descendants:

""We do not see how the universal corruption of mankind: can be accounted for, without admitting that they are involved in the guilt of his first transgression. It must be some sin which God punishes with the deprivation of original righteousness; and that can be no other than the first sin of Adam" [emphasis added] (Robert Shaw, The Reformed Faith: An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith [Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1992]).

From this we can understand that God punishes mankind for Adam's sin and the results of that punishment is that mankind is deprived of original righteousness. The Calvinists then say that since man is deprived of original righteousness all men come out of the womb "made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil":

"From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/4).

The Calvinists teach that this so-called "universal corruption of mankind" is conveyed to all men by "ordinary generation." Only God can be responsible for the laws of procreation so if a person is born with a nature described as being "wholly inclined to all evil" then only God can be blamed for a man being evil. The Bible states in no uncertain terms that man is made by the hand of God:

"Thy hands have made me and fashioned me" (Ps.119:73).

"The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job.33:4).

"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Ps.100:3).

If the Calvinists are right then God punishes mankind for Adam's sin and then he punishes them again when they do the very things which He desgined them to do:

"...the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds...unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil:" (Ro.2:5-6,8-9).

Here is one of the verses which the Calvinists misinterpret in order to support their false teaching in regard to Original Sin:

"They that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Ro.8:8).

Sir Robert Anderson writes, "This verse is used to support the dogma that, because of the Fall, man's nature is so utterly depraved that he is incapable of leading a moral and upright life. As the Westminster Divines express it, 'We are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good.' This theology obviously impugns the righteousness of God in punishing men for their sins. In fact, it represents Him as a tyrant who punishes the lame for limping and the blind for losing their way" (Anderson, Misundersood Texts of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991], 75).

The Son Shall Not Share the Guilt of the Father

Let us look again at the following teaching of the Calvinists:

"They (Adam & Eve) being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/3).

According to the Calvinists the "guilt" of the sins of Adam and Eve was imputed to all of their posterity, and their posterity includes their sons Cain and Abel. So the Calvinists teach that the sons are guilty of their fathers sins despite the fact God will do no such thing, as witnessed by the following passage:

"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son" (Ezek.18:20; NIV).

What is said here declares in no uncertain terms that children do not bear the responsibility for the sins of their parents. On the other hand, it is true that we suffer the consequences for their sins (see Gen.3:17-19).

Guilty as Charged

In God's eyes a man is "guilty" when he sins:

"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" (Ro.3:19).

The word "guilt" is defined as "fact or state of having committed an offense or crime; grave culpability, as for some conscious violation of moral or penal law" (The American College Dictionary).

The concept of "culpability" is essential in determing a person's guilt. The word "culpable" means "deserving blame or censure; blameworthy" (Ibid.). A person is not "guilty" unless he is "culpable" or "deserving blame" of a violation of a moral law. The word "blame" means "to lay the responsibility of (a fault, error, etc.) on a person" (Ibid.).

If a person comes out of the womb wholly inclined to all evil, as the Calvinists teach, then he cannot be held responsible for any sins which he commits. If the Calvinists are right then a man has no control over his actions since he is made "opposite to all good." Therefore a person cannot be found guilty of the sins which he commits because he cannot be held responsible for those acts and therefore he is not "culpable."

Objections Answered

I will now answer verses that are often quoted in an effort to teach the idea of "Original Sin."

In Adam All Die

" For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor.15:22).

When we look at the context we can that the "death" and "life" in view is in regard to "physical" death and life because here Paul is speaking about the resuurection of the body:

"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor.15:22).

In what way was Adam responsible for bringing "physical" death to mankind? Both he and Eve were created with mortal bodies and as long as they continued to eat of the Tree of Life they would not die physcially. But once they were expelled from the Garden of Eden no one was able to partake of that Tree which was designed to keep their mortal bodies alive:

"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Gen.3:22-24).

Since then it has been man's destiny to die physically:

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb.9:27).

The "Nature" of Infants

Those who promote the idea of Original Sin say that the following verse proves that all people come out of the womb in a state that can be described as "children of wrath":

"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph.2:3).

There is nothing in this verse that even hints that the word "nature" is used in regard to what a man is at birth. Instead, the "context" demonstrates that the "nature" spoken of is a result on one's own sins:

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph.2:2-3).

If an infant can be described as having the nature of a "child of wrath" then why would the Lord Jesus say the following in regard to little children?:

"Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'" (Mt.19:13-14; NIV).

Are we to believe that the Lord believed that infants are "children of wrath" but yet He would say that "the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these"? Of course not!

At another place we see the Lord Jesus speaking about children and here the same truth can be seen:

"At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Mt.18:1-4).

If the idea of Original Sin is correct then we must throw our reason to the wind and imagine that the Lord Jesus was teaching that unless we become "children of wrath" we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven! That is patently ridiculous and common sense dictates that the Lord Jesus did not believe that infants come into this world under the just wrath and curse of God.

We can also see that children are also described as being "an heritage of the Lord":

"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward" (Ps.127:3).

If infants can be described as "children of wrath" then why would the following verse speak of a baby being "wonderfully made"?:

"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Ps.139:13-14).

In Sin Did My Mother Conceive Me

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me (Ps.51:5).

First of all, David does not state that the guilt of Adam's sin was imputed to him. Instead, when we examine what is said we can understand that David was deeply troubled for his sins and wicked behavior and convicted of his guilt:

"For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps.51:3-5).

Here we see that David was acknowledging total responsibly for his actions and he was not placing the blame upon Adam or anyone else. He expressed his repentance in an extreme manner, using figurative language to express the idea that he had been sinful ever since he could remember.

After all, not everything that is said in Pasams 51 can be understood literally. Let us look at what else is said in the same Psalm:

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice" (Ps.51:5-8).

If all of these verses are to be taken literally then verse seven can be evidence that men are cleansed from their sins "with hyssop." Verse eight can also be taken in a literal sense to teach that broken bones rejoice!

Also, if we take the following verse literally then we must believe that men will some day return to their mother's womb:

"And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job.1:21).

The Wicked are Estranged From the Womb

"The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies(Ps.58:3).

First of all, these words say nothing about anyone bearing the guilt of Adam's sin. Obviously figurative language is being employed because infants do not "go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." Infants cannot even speak as soon as they are born.

Home

1   2   3   4   5   6