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The Case Against Original Sin
In Genesis we are told that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to the much of the Church, this first sin has corrupted the entire human race since. Like some kind of disease, the sin is hereditary, their sin is now our sin; everyone is born into a general state of sinfulness. It's called Original Sin and because of Adam and Eve we are all sinful as our default natural state.
However the Original Sin concept is not mentioned anywhere in scripture, it is contradicted by scripture, and contradicts common sense.
Psalm 139:13-14 'For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.'
So God has created each and everyone of us; our fleshly bodies, the beginnings of a soul, and His spirit of life breathed into us. So where does the sin come in? If created by God, then how can that which comes from God be sinful in its nature? All that comes from God is whole, and right, and good.
Deuteronomy 24:16 'Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.'
Ezekiel 18:4, 17b-18a 'Everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child - both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die. …...He will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live. But his father will die for his own sin........'
So just what has Adam and Eve's sin of disobedience got to do with us? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Their sin was entirely born by them and does not have any effect on our own standing before God. Your parents sinned and they will give their account to God, you sin and you will give your account, and likewise your children.
Genesis 4:6-8 'Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”'
Here is Cain, Adam's son, so if there ever was a case for hereditary sin, Cain would be the first to be infected. But that's not God's opinion at all. Cain wasn't some helpless feeble human who could not resist sin, whose natural state is sinful with a natural compulsion to sin. God is plainly telling him to rule over the sin. That is, within Cain he was empowered to reject sin; he could choose to sin or not to sin. God's opinion was that Cain could live a sinless life if he chose to do right and not wrong. We are no different from Cain in this regard.
So where does the doctrine of original sin come from? As far as I can tell it's from a particular interpretation of the following verses:
Romans 5:12 'Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.'
Adam and Eve were the first to sin, and so through them sin first entered the world. The consequence of their sin was that the Tree of Life was now off limits, so death comes to the whole human race. However, there is nothing here to justify a concept of inherited sin.
Romans 5:19 'For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.'
What does it mean that the 'many were made sinners'? It is an assumption to say this is inheritance, and one could easily understand this to mean that the many sinned by following Adam's example. Bad company corrupts good character is a well known phrase. If we interpret this as some auto-inheritance of sin then by logical progression we must also interpret 'many will be made righteous' as an auto-inherited righteousness too. Yet this is not something that the church would sanction. One cannot have one's cake and eat it. Similarly if we interpret 'many made sinners' as applying to each and every person, then by logical progression we must also interpret 'many will be made righteous' as each and every person. Yet again, the Church cannot accept every person on Earth in the last 2000 years being made righteous. Again one cannot have one's cake and eat it.
1 Corinthians 15:21-22 'For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.'
Are these verses talking about sin? No, they are talking about physical death and resurrection. Just as Romans 5:12, the Tree of Life was now off limits to all mankind, and now all mankind experiences physical death because of Adam. One can only interpret these verses to be talking about Original Sin by distorting their meaning.
So was there a Fall of Man? This phrase is not found in scripture anywhere. There simply was no fall of mankind as some great cataclysmic event wrecking God's pinnacle of creation. Adam and Eve fell from what they were created to be and we stumble and fall when we sin. The fall of man is something we just do as individuals in our own right from a place of created perfection.
So why do we need a saviour? Because even though we are all born pure and sinless, and we can all choose to sin or not to sin, at some time in our lives we do all sin. There is none righteous, not one, and all have sinned and fallen short of God's requirements. But don't let anyone force such a pessimistic view on you by saying that you are naturally sinful and you can't help it. You are better than that.