In reviewing one of your Q/A online I saw you refer to “original sin” as a false doctrine? What is your basis for this statement? Are you meaning that you don’t believe that sin originated with Adam and Eve? Do you believe that creation was perfect before Adams sin–that mankind did not, sin creating separation from God and the coming judgement. What was the purpose of the law? What then of Christ’s atoning sacrifice? What are we in need of salvation for?


First of all, I can certainly see why my comment led to your question. That makes sense.  Obviously, according to the Bible there was an “original sin.” That would be the sin of Eve and of Adam.  Of course, I believe this to be true, as it is in the Bible.  Add to this, there is clear evidence that the rest of humanity inherited some sort of consequence of the sin that Adam and Eve committed in the garden.  The question is what was that effect?  First of all, they were sent away from the Garden.  They were no longer innocent.  We, too, are not allowed back into this metaphorical Garden, although I believe we will be in a recreated “Garden” which is the new heaven and earth, as described in Revelation 21 and 22.  I cannot blame you for thinking I must be wrong when I say I do not believe in Original Sin.

Let me explain.  There is a very common doctrine in much of Christianity known as the doctrine of “Original Sin.” This doctrine came into Christianity as early as the fourth century, with one of the church fathers Cyprian.  Augustine, in the early fifth century defended this doctrine carefully and gave it theological justification. The doctrine is this:  We human beings inherit the sin of Adam in a kind of spiritual genetics.  In other words, according to this doctrine, we are born already guilty of sin–the sin of Adam.  If we accept this doctrine, then it means that God will hold us accountable to the sin of Adam even if we die as babies, without having sinned ourselves.  The problem with this false doctrine is fairly obvious.  First of  all, it violates much of Scripture.  For example, Ezekiel 18:4 tells us that “The one who sins is the one who will die.” If you read the entire chapter 18 in Ezekiel (and chapter 33 as well), you will see clearly stated that we are only responsible before God for the sins that we commit!  Babies have not sinned.  God certainly will not send them to hell because of someone else’s sin, yet that is what Augustine and many others believe! No, babies who die will be with God.

Second, if the doctrine of Original Sin were true, then God would hold us responsible for something we had not done.  This is a blatant violation of justice. God is just.  He will hold us accountable for what we do in this life (Revelation 20:12).  This is just, but for us to go to hell because of something Adam or Eve did many thousands of years ago is not justice.  Now, it is true, biblically, that we inherit a tendency toward sin–a think that is sometimes called a “sinful nature” or “flesh” in the Bible, but we are not responsible for another’s sin. However, that is what Original Sin is about.

Original Sin as a doctrine is taught by the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox churches.  This is how they explain another false doctrine, which is infant baptism.  Why do we baptize babies?  Because it forgives the inherited sin of Adam.  This, clearly, is nonsense and it is not biblical.  Many Protestant groups also believe in and teach Original sin.  Reformed theology, the basis for Presbyterianism, most Baptists and, indeed, most Evangelicals believe in Original Sin, but it is false doctrine.  The doctrine of Original Sin is intimately tied to the other incorrect teaching of total depravity (that we are completely unable to respond to God on our own). That is what I was talking about in the article you read.

What was the purpose of the law? Romans 5:20-21, Romans 7:13 and Hebrews 10:3 and others suggest the purpose of the law, which was to instruct us of our need for the blood of Christ.  We need salvation so that we can be freed of the guilt of sin (Hebrews 10:2, 9:9-10 and many more).  The law of Moses did not provide for purification of sin, but only ceremonial cleanness.  We needed the perfect sacrifice of a perfect, sinless “lamb.” That is why we need salvation.  In the passages above, Paul explains that through the law we became more aware of our need for God.  It made sin “utterly sinful.”

But… Jesus’ blood does not cleanse us from “Original Sin” because we are not accountable to the sin of Adam.  I hope this helps.

John Oakes

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