Are men "born in sin"?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jerry Shugart, Nov 13, 2003.

  1. Jerry Shugart

    Jerry Shugart
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    According to the Holy Scriptures "death passed upon all men FOR ALL HAVE SINNED"(Ro.5:12).

    This verse does not say that death passed upon all men because they were "born in sin".

    The Scriptures also say that man is made "upright":

    "Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions"(Eccl.7:29).

    And this corresponds to the words of James that we are made "after the SIMILITUDE of God":

    "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God"(Jms.3:9).

    If we are made after the similitude of God then it is inconceivable that we are born "dead in sin".

    In His grace,--Jerry
     
  2. Carson Weber

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    Cool.. a Pelagian.

    "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." (King David, Psalm 51:5)
     
  3. Jerry Shugart

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    Hi Carson,

    No,I am not a Pelagian.I believe that once man sins then he is left in a state whereby he is totally dependent on the grace of God in order to be saved.He cannot save himself.

    As far as Psalm 51:5 is concerned,I do not believe that the words of David can be taken in a "literal" manner.Or else we must believe that the sinner is "purged with hyssop"(v.7) or that "bones...may rejoice"(v.8).

    Would you care to address the verses which I provided that seem to teach that man is not born in a state of sin?

    In His grace,--Jerry
     
  4. neal4christ

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    Carson,

    I have a question along this line (sorry for interrupting, Jerry). I talked with a Catholic priest today and he said that Catholics believe humans are intrinsicly (sp?) good. Is this the Catholic belief? It sounded a bit strange to me, but I figured I would look into it more.

    Thanks in advance. [​IMG]

    In Christ,
    Neal
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    Brother Neal,

    Have a read:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p7.htm

    This seems to sum up the present argument:

    404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? The whole human race is in Adam "as one body of one man".293 By this "unity of the human race" all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state.294 It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. And that is why original sin is called "sin" only in an analogical sense: it is a sin "contracted" and not "committed" - a state and not an act.
     
  6. dumbox1

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    Off topic, I'd like to welcome Jerry to the board -- it's nice to have a new face around here!

    Mark
     
  7. Carson Weber

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    Hi Jerry,

    One of the fundamental tenets of Pelagianism is the denial of Original Sin (hence, Augustine's writings against the Pelagians), which you are advocating on this board.

    I believe that once man sins then he is left in a state whereby he is totally dependent on the grace of God in order to be saved.

    In other words, you believe that every human is born immaculate. And even if this were so, this in no way "merits" heaven. Even if one were to live and die without ever having sinned, such an individual couldn't obtain heaven because heaven is unable to be merited by a human even de condigno or de stricto (on the level of condign or strict justice). The most such an individual would obtain would be an earthly sort of Paradise (hence the theological speculation of Limbo).

    Would you care to address the verses which I provided that seem to teach that man is not born in a state of sin?

    Yeah, I would say that you're taking one OT verse and hanging so much weight on it that it falls out of the foundation it's screwed into. In other words, it doesn't carry as much weight as you're attributing to it. How do you know that the author isn't simply speaking of the creation of man before the Fall? How do you know that - granted the author is speaking of man after the fall - he isn't merely speaking of social orderliness and uprightness in the sense of being "good" while simultaneously having the results of original sin both ontological (a privation of sanctifying grace) and consequential (disordered passions, a darkened intellect, etc.)?

    Also, it should be noted that Judaism doesn't have a doctrine of Original Sin. This is a dogma of Christian revelation. Since the revelation of justification/sanctification through the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are able to understand our plight. In other words, it isn't until the antidote is revealed that we have been able to comprehend the illness. It's through the Second Adam that we are able to discern the failing of the First Adam more clearly.

    Neal,

    What the priest meant essentially is that in the Fall, man's nature wasn't completely corrupted to where the image of God was effaced from our being. In the Fall, we were wounded and the image of God was marred. The Reformers sought to affirm the former; the Apostolic Faith has always held to the latter.

    Grace builds upon nature, healing it from the effects of sin; it doesn't abolish nature and merely "cover it up" with the legal fiction of a merely extrinsic and forensic justification. God intends to bring us not only back to the state of original justice but far above that state through the process of deification. The sanctification of our nature with the indwelling grace of the Blessed Trinity's life will bring us far above the angels in the hierarchy of being, and we will share in the glory of the very life of the Blessed Trinity for all of eternity.

    The doctrine of our being "intrinsically good" in no way means that we are without a saviour (void of sanctifying grace) or do not have concupiscence (the results of original sin).
     
  8. Yelsew

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    In Context it seems that David is talking to God and not for God! Should this scripture be used as a "proof text" of God's thought or man's thought?
     
  9. Jerry Shugart

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    Carson,

    If a man does not sin (which is impossible) then he will inherit eternal life.The words written at Romans 2:6-16 are in fact in regard to man's deeds (v.6),and he says that those " who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life"(Ro.2:7).

    But those who sin will not receive eternal life (v.12).And Paul says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
    That is not what Paul says at Romans 2:7.

    And when the rich young ruler asked the Lord Jesus what he must do to "inherit" eternal life,the Lord said to keep the commandments (Mt.19:16-17).Was the Lord not telling the truth?Even though the Lord Jesus later said that "with man this is impossible"(v.26),there is no doubt that He was saying that if one can keep the commandments then he will merit eternal life.
    If you will read the "context" in which it is written then you will see that the words are not in regard to man before the fall.
    It is hard to believe that the words that "God hath made man upright" could mean that God made man in a state of "spiritual death".

    Besides,the Scriptures say that "death passed upon all men for all have sinned"(Ro.5:12).

    It does not say that all men died because they were born in a state of sin.

    And James says that "we" men "are made after the similitude of God"(Jms.3:9).

    How anyone could say that being born dead in sins is in the similitude of God is beyond me.

    In His grace,--Jerry

    [ November 13, 2003, 08:02 PM: Message edited by: Jerry Shugart ]
     
  10. Yelsew

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    Jerry,
    Jerry, One must believe that man was created an eternal being to accept the premise that death entered the world through sin. If man was created an eternal being how do you deal with
    which clearly indicates that man was not created an eternal being, for there is no other purpose for the Tree of Life, than to provide "eternal life" to man upon eating thereof.

    You are agreeing with Qoheleth who arrived at his "conclusion" through observation. Go back and read the context!

    "made in the image of God" is what James is saying, But he is NOT saying, "having the demeanor or the behavior or the nature of God!" Nice try, but your thinking regarding James 3:9 is completely wrong.
     
  11. Frank

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    The Bible plainly teaches men are not born sinners. Consider the following:
    The doctrine of original sin – the notion that one is born into this world hereditarily totally depraved – is widely believed in the religious world.
    For example, the Augsburg Confession of Faith (1530), Lutheranism’s creed, asserted that
    . . . all men, born according to nature, are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without confidence towards God and with concupiscence, and that this original disease or flaw is truly a sin, bringing condemnation and also eternal death to those who are not reborn through baptism and the Holy Spirit (Article II).
    This, of course, explains the practice of infant baptism as advocated by numerous sects.
    Likely, the passage that is commonly appealed to in an attempt to justify the concept of original sin is Psalm 51:5.
    Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me.
    Does this verse provide a basis for the doctrine of original sin? Assuredly, it does not. But let us carefully study the matter.
    Preliminary Principles
    First of all, it needs to be initially recognized that this passage is Hebrew poetry. And Hebrew poetry abounds with bold and imaginative figures of speech; it is frequently characterized by a freedom, which departs from customary forms of expression. It is, therefore, a mistake of great magnitude to extract statements from poetical literature and thus employ them as a foundation for doctrinal schemes.
    This is precisely the error of the materialists (Watchtower Witnesses, Armstrongites, etc.) who dip into Old Testament poetical books, like Psalms and Job, for their doctrines of “soul-sleeping” and the “annihilation of the wicked.”
    Secondly, one of the primary rules of Biblical interpretation suggests that:
    The language of Scripture may be regarded as figurative, if the literal interpretation will cause one passage to contradict another (D. R. Dungan, Hermeneutics, p. 196).
    There are numerous Bible verses, in plain, literal language, that affirm the innocency of infants, and Psalm 51:5 must not be arrayed against these. Consider the following:
    1. Scripture plainly teaches that sin is not inherited. “. . . the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father . . .” (Ezek. 18:20); every person is responsible for his own conduct (Rom. 14:12).
    2. Human sinfulness commences in that period of one’s life that is characterized as “youth” (Gen. 8:21; Jer. 3:25).
    3. A child must reach a certain level of maturity before be is able to choose between evil and good (Isa. 7:15, 16).
    4. The qualities of little children are set forth as models for those who would aspire to enter the kingdom (Matt. 18:3; 19:14), and for those already in the church (1 Cor. 14:2O). Surely the Lord was not suggesting that we emulate little, totally corrupt sinners!
    5. The human spirit is not inherited from one’s parents; rather, it is given by God (Eccl. 12:7; Heb. 12:9). Hence, at birth it must be as pure as the source from whence it comes.
    6. Children are referred to as “innocents” (Jer. 19:4; cf. 22:3).
    7. No interpretation can be assigned to any passage comprised of poetical or figurative language (including Ps. 51:5) which makes it contradict clear doctrinal statements elsewhere framed in prose. The Scriptures plainly teach that one commences to do evil from the time of his “youth,” not from the point of conception (cf. Gen. 8:21; Job 13:26; Jer. 32:30).
    Clearly, babies are not born in sin.
    Psalm 51:5 Analyzed
    Having shown what Psalm 51: 5 cannot mean, we now turn to some possible views of the passage that do not violate portions of Scripture found elsewhere.
    1. Since Psalm 51 is one of David’s penitent psalms revealing the anguish resulting from his adulterous conduct with Bathsheba, some have felt that verse 5 contains words that are figuratively put into the mouth of the child conceived by that illicit union (2 Sam. 11:5), thus acknowledging the sinfulness of that relationship. The sinfulness is therefore attributed to the parent and not the child.
    T. W. Brents commented:
    Whatever may be the meaning of this passage, it can not be the imputation of sin to the child. ‘In sin did my mother conceive me:’ that is, she acted wickedly when I was conceived. Were the wife to say, ‘In drunkenness my husband beat me,’or the child that ‘in anger my father whipped me,’ surely no one would attribute drunkenness to the wife or anger to the child; neither can they impute the sin of the mother to the child (The Gospel Plan of Salvation, pp. 133, 134).
    2. Others have suggested that David alludes to an incident in his ancestral lineage, an adulterous affair (Gen. 38), whereby he was considered ceremonially defiled because he was of the 10th generation of that unlawful intercourse (Deut. 23:2). This is probably a rather remote possibility.
    3. Most likely, however, Psalm 51:5 merely refers to the fact that David was born into a sinful environment. We are all conceived in, and brought forth into, a sinful world. But we do not actually sin until we arrive at a stage of spiritual responsibility.
    Perhaps David also, by the use of dramatic language, alludes to the fact that sin had characterized his whole life, relatively speaking.
    In a similarly poetic section, for example, Job, in denying that he had neglected his benevolent responsibilities, affirmed that he had cared for the orphan and the widow from his mother’s womb! Surely, no one believes that on day one of Job’s existence that he was out ministering to the needy! In fact, the Hebrew parallelism of this verse (Job 31:18), clearly indicates that the word “womb” is used in the sense of “youth.”
    A Concluding Problem
    Those who employ Psalm 51:5 to buttress the doctrine that sin is inherited from one’s mother are faced with a serious problem. Jesus was both conceived by and brought forth from a human mother (Lk. 1:31). If original sin is inherited from one’s mother, Christ had it. If, however, someone should suggest that depravity is received only from the father, Psalm 51:5 cannot be used to prove it, for it mentions only the mother!
    The truth of the matter is, the doctrine of original sin is not Biblical. It had its origin in the writings of the so-called “church fathers” in the post-apostolic era. Such men as Tertullian (160-220) and Cyprian (200-258) first formulated the doctrine and it was later popularized by Augustine and John Calvin.
    Those who accept the plain testimony of the sacred Scriptures will reject this error.
    I am a Christian, not a Protestant, Cathoilc or Jew
     
  12. Jerry Shugart

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    Yelsew,

    The "tree of life" is in regard to keeping the "physical" man alive.However,the following verse is in regard to man's "spiritual" life--or "eternal life":

    "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"(Gen.2:17).

    Adam died "spiritually" on the day that he ate of the forbidden tree.He sinned when he disobeyed the commandment of the Lord.And that fits perfectly with Paul's statement that "death passed upon all men for all have sinned"(Ro.5:12).
    We are suppose to believe that we are created in the image of God but yet were are born dead in sin!

    It is your thinking that is in error.

    In His grace,--Jerry
     
  13. Yelsew

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    So, I take it Jerry, that you agree man was not created an eternal being, and that is the reason for the tree of life. Right?

    The tree of the knowledge of Good and evil does not represent the death of the spirit either, because scriptures, and Jesus, clearly tell us that the human spirit is the life of human flesh. Therefore if the spirit is dead there is no life in the flesh.

    So what does happen? Adam's sin is that of disobedience of God's command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Which tree he ate the fruit of is of little consequence in the matter, it is the sin of disobedience that separated man from God. Guess what the first sin of every living human being is? That's right, it is disobedience of authority. A parent tells the child don't do that, and the child proceeds to do just what he/she is told to not do, an act of open disobedience. All Have sinned.

    Eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil induced into the essence of man the Knowledge of Good and Evel. Therefore when man sins, man KNOWS that he sins. Is that conscience? I don't know of a better term for it, and virtually every one has a conscience, at least during the early, 'innocent' years. What ever it is, God did not want man to be eternal after receiving it. So God banished man out of the garden so that man could not eat of the tree of life and live eternally.

    Thus the flesh dies, "it is appointed unto man once to die, then the judgement; and the spirit is separated from God because of sin.

    The human spirit is the seat of believing and faith, and is where "the washing of regeneration", that is the spiritual cleansing, takes place in the born again process. It is the human spirit that was lost and Jesus is the one who came to seek and to save the human spirit.
     
  14. Sularis

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    Man is united with Adam, but cannot inherit an intangible thing such as sin - for the child is not responsible for the sins of the father - but the effect of sin in Adam corrupted him - and that corruption or "wounding" is what we inherit...

    That is the nature of sin - the tendency to sin

    It is possible that man could live a sinless life and thus be worthy of heaven - but would require so perfect an upbringing - and so titanic a will, and a nature so gentle - that its likelihood of happening is nigh impossible - Christ being fully human was sinless - but still had the sin nature - in the fact that He was tempted - but that His divine aspect so overpowered the flesh that Christ was enabled to live a perfect life.
     
  15. Carson Weber

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    Hi Jerry,

    Are you saying that babies automatically born children of God as Christians? If not, then are you saying that two groups of people go to heaven: those because of Christ and those without Christ? If so, does their subsequent sin somehow result in their disinheritance from the Family of God, and being "saved" causes them to be re-inserted into that same family?

    I hope you do understand that the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity in one's soul is required for one to enjoy the Beatific Vision. No indwelling, no heaven.

    The problem with your position is that you posit children are born "without sin" and therefore, go to heaven. Your conclusion is a non sequitur, for no one can go to heaven unless one is united to Jesus Christ whose redemption has purchased for us a finality that is far beyond what we had as a race before the fall. Heaven is only attainable through adoption into the Family of God by becoming sons of God united to the only Son of God. Before Jesus Christ, no one was in heaven. Before the Fall, no one was in heaven, not even Adam. All Adam had was an earthly paradise, and nothing he could have done on his own would have resulted in his attaining the Beatific Vision.

    I too agree that children are born without actual sin, but they are not born "reborn" as children of God. They are children of Adam, and Adam's sin forfeited both him and the rest of the human race the gift of the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity in the soul (we call this sanctifying grace).

    Original Sin isn't a "stain" on the soul. It isn't a positive presence of anything. It's a privation. Original Sin is the loss of the indwelling presence of the Blessed Trinity in the human soul. It's a lack thereof.
     
  16. Jerry Shugart

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    Carson,

    If one is not born with the Spirit of God,why do the Scriptures speak of regeneration?

    A child is born with the Spirit of God.But once he is older and then sins then he dies spiritually--"so death passed upon all men for all have sinned".

    He then needs to be "born again" in the Spirit.And the only way that that happens is by believing the gospel--"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God...And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you"(1Pet.1:23,25).

    That is the meaning of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ:

    "It is the Spirit that giveth life...the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life"(Jn.6:63).

    In His grace,--Jerry
     
  17. Carson Weber

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    Hi Jerry,

    If one is not born with the Spirit of God,why do the Scriptures speak of regeneration?

    You are referring to Titus 3:5, where "regeneration" is an English translation of "paliggenesia" (a transliteration of the Greek), which sounds like "pal-ing-ghen-es-ee'-ah". This can mean "new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation, and regeneration".

    When a pagan is born again, he/she undergoes a recreation. Man is born with human nature as a member of the race of Adam, void of sanctifying grace. Man is reborn (born again) into a supernatural state as the Spirit comes into his soul to sanctify him.

    A child is born with the Spirit of God. But once he is older and then sins then he dies spiritually - "so death passed upon all men for all have sinned".

    You just quoted the same text Augustine bases the Christian dogma of Original Sin from.

    Romans 5:12, transliterated from the Greek, is "dia touto hosper di henos anthropou he hamaptia eis ton kosmon eiselthen kai dia tes amartias ho thanatos kai outos eis pantas anthropous ho thanatos dielthen epi [for] hos [which] pantes [all] emarton [sinned]"

    Paul is saying that death came to all for all sinned in Adam inasmuch as he is the head of the human race. Adam forfeited life for the human race in his one sin as head [caput], and this spiritual death was also manifested in his loss of the preternatural gift of immortality. Due to Adam's sin, both he and his seed would incur bodily death as a symbol and sign of the spiritual death incurred through sin.

    In Jesus, the New Adam recapitulates the human race by serving as a new head of the supernatural family of God.

    "It is the Spirit that giveth life...the Words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life"(Jn.6:63).

    Brother, you're jumping around the Bible like a grasshopper, taking verses out of their context and stringing them together. John 6:63 is the culmination of one part of an ingenius theological narrative John constructs that begins in his prologue. This particular verse pertains to the life of the Spirit mediated through Jesus' resurrected flesh, which is outlined in the Bread of Life Discourse that builds upon Jesus' fourth sign in John's Book of Signs.

    It's frustrating to see a brother rip a verse here and a verse there from his limited perspective (i.e., not soaked in the theology of each epistle and Gospel, which is far more complex than a simple survey can impart) from an English interpretation of the Greek manuscript. In the end, you end up espousing a theology foreign to ancient Christendom.

    Also, you have not addressed the astonishing implications of your interpreations that I have pointed out. These implications still stand out as blinking red warning lights, and you must deal with them:

    1. Your interpreation necessitates the opinion that more than a few individuals go to heaven apart from Jesus Christ.

    2. Since Adam who lived in right relation to God, unfallen, was created upon an earthly paradise, any of his seed who are born "without sin" would have merely an earthly paradise to look forward to. Without the redemption wrought in Jesus Christ, we cannot have access to heaven.

    Your position is Pelagian through and through. You deny the need of grace for infants, and you condone the opinion that heaven is attainable apart from the grace of Jesus Christ.
     
  18. Jerry Shugart

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    Carson,

    You continue to misrepresent what I say.I never said that heaven is attainable apart from the grace of God.I said that once someone sins (and Paul says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God) then they can only be "born again" by the gospel.

    The Scriptures state that one dies spiritually when they sin:

    "The wages of sin is death"(Ro.6:23)and "sin" is lawlessness (1Jn.3:4).

    So in infant cannot die spritually because it is impossible for an infant to practice lawlessness.

    And you should get a dictionary and study the meaning of the prefix "re".It means "a prefix indicating repetition.So when the Scriptures speak of "re-generation" it means to reapeat what was one before.Sp when one is "regenerated" it means that someone is made spiritual as he was before.

    The Lord says that a man must be "born again",and He is not speaking of being "born again" in the flesh but instead in the "Spirit"--"born of the Spirit"(Jn.3:8).

    And do not seem to believe that the Lord is speaking about being "born again" in the following verse:

    "It is the Spirit that giveth life...the Words that I speak unto you,they are Spirit,and they are life"(Jn.6:63).

    However,Peter makes it plain that it is indeed the "word of God" by which the sinner is "born again" (1Pet.1:23).

    In His grace,--Jerry

    [ November 14, 2003, 11:15 PM: Message edited by: Jerry Shugart ]
     
  19. Frank

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    Jerry:
    Man is not born a sinner. One must transgress law to sin ( I John 3:4). Sin takes place as a result of knowledge of good and evil ( Gen.2:17). Paul said I had not KNOWN sin except the law had said thou shalt not covet. He also stated in Romans 7:9 he was alive once ( when ?) without law. The implications are clear one must know good and evil and violate the law to sin. It is a choice made based on knowledge and action ( James 4:17). Infants do not have the ability to know right and wrong or the ability to violate law. Therefore, they are not born sinners ( Ezekiel 18:4,20). I have a more detailed post about this error on page one of this thread.
     
  20. Jerry Shugart

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    Frank,

    I could not agree with you more.I read your previous post and it is excellent.I do hope that you continue posting on this thread with your insightful comments.

    In His grace,--Jerry
     

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