Are we born spiritually dead?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by William C, Mar 30, 2003.

  1. William C

    William C
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    I've always thought that we were born spiritually dead but recently I've noticed that the scripture never says we are born dead in sin (to my knowledge.)

    I could be wrong being that I have not done an exhaustive search on this subject, but I wanted to get your opinions on this matter.

    Could it be that when Paul speaks of being "dead" he is speaking of those who have lived in sin for a time and have become hardened or caloused as seen in the lives of those in Romans 1. Like these people those who are dead are not born that way but become that way once sin takes root.

    Eph. 2 is often used by Calvinist to show that we are all born dead in our sin, but it never says that we are born that way:

    1 And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

    It says we were dead through our sins in which we walked when we followed the course of this world, it doesn't say we are born dead but asserts that we become that way through walking in the sins of this world.

    Least I be railed upon by Nick for making an arguement about what scripture doesn't say in regard to this issue allow me to present one other verse that seems to support my claim:

    12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    Notice that sin brings forth death only after it is "full-grown." This seems to contradict Calvinism's teaching that we are born dead.

    What do you all think this means?
     
  2. Yelsew

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    NO! We are born spiritually separated from God! The spirit is the life of the flesh! If we were born spiritually dead, we would be born dead physically as well!
     
  3. Frogman

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    Spiritual separation from God is death. :eek:

    Brother Bill,

    You know man is born spiritually dead, unless you are trying to disprove original sin. From where does sin arise? It must be from a sinful creature, you premise continually sets up a situation in which man can by pass the reconciliation which is complete in Christ and attempts to build a process by which a person can earn this salvation.

    I cannot accept that.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  4. Harald

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    Spiritual death is the same as spiritual separation from God. Physical death is also a separation, a separation from loved ones and fellow-men on earth, as well as that the body at death is separated from the soul and the breath of life which is in men.

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as through one man the sin entered into the world, and the death by the sin, and thus the death passed through to all men, on ground of which all sinned


    The sin (nature) entered into the world by one man, Adam the federal head of all men. And the spiritual separation by the sin (nature), and so the spiritual death (separation from God) passed through the genetic line to all men, Christ Jesus excepted. Because of this spiritual death ("that which is born of flesh is flesh") all men committed sinful acts in their character and conduct. All men are born spiritually dead, in spiritual separation from God, it is a total depravity. This is what Romans 5:12 teaches, and acts of sin and lawlessness is the fruit and result of the spiritual death or separation from God. Man sins against God and His law because sin is his element from conception, just like water is the element of fish. Because water is the element of the fish it cannot but swim. A person who is nothing but flesh is devoid of spirit (Jude 19, John 3:6), i.e. the "new man" spoken of in the NT. Such a man is also called unregenerate, dead in trespasses and sins.

    Harald
     
  5. Yelsew

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    What was man's nature before he sinned?

    Did man have a nature before he sinned?

    Is man's nature something that was added to God's created man after God declared his creation work was completed and that it was good?

    If yes, wouldn't that mean that God's creation was Altered without God's control?

    If no, wouldn't that mean that man had a God implanted nature before he sinned? And, that it is sin that determined what that nature would be? Kind of like a dry sponge that will absorb red solution of blue solution equally well.
     
  6. William C

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    You all have yet to deal with this passage:

    15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    This passage obviously teaches that death is only brough forth after sin is "full-grown". Do you all believe that sin is full grown from birth?
     
  7. Harald

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    Brother Bill. You must ask in your heart what exactly is the death Paul speaks of here. To illustrate my point; when you encounter the word "salvation" in the NT you must ask what kind of salvation is specifically spoken of here? In some instances "salvation" refers to regeneration, sometimes to conversion by the Gospel, sometimes to salvation as a whole, sometimes to the thing called glorification or final salvation.

    The death Paul speaks of could mean 1. physical death 2. spiritual death 3. eternal or second death 4. temporal separation from close fellowship with God and Christ due to some serious sin. If there be any other possible deaths I cannot recall right now. I believe Paul speaks of #4, a temporal death in the sense of being severed from a close communion with God due to serious sin which goes on unconfessed. I believe this is the kind of death Christ speaks about in connection with the angel of the assembly of Sardis, cp. Revelation 3:1 ff. This kind of death is more often under consideration in the NT than most people would think.

    Spiritual death is present with men from second one of their existence due to Adam's sin and guilt imputed unto condemnation. Adam's guilt imputed precedes imparted Adamic depravity or sin-nature. And from this corrupted humanity issue all kinds of sinful acts.

    Scriptural order being:

    1. Imputed guilt of Adam unto condemnation
    2. Imparted Adamic depravity
    3. Adamic fruit - sinful deeds and lawless acts, both of omission and commission

    Likewise the Scriptural order of salvation as pertains to God's chosen people is:

    1. Imputed righteousness of Christ unto justification
    2. Imparted righteousness, a new and righteous nature created after Christ Jesus in true holiness and righteousness
    3. Christian fruit, righteous works (including initial repentance and faith) having been wrought in God issuing from the new God-like nature

    This is what Paul teaches in Romans 5:12-21. This overthrows the heretical scheme of free-willism and as well another more subtle heresy, the solafidianism of Martin Luther and his followers.

    Harald
     
  8. KenH

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    Man was innocent, not righteous or sinful, before the Fall. If Adam had kept God's commandments perfectly, he would have become righteous. Instead, he sinned and became sinful.
     
  9. Frogman

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    From whence cometh the desire to sin? From a Righteous, holy creature? I think not.

    But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    If we have failed to deal with your question, God has not.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  10. William C

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    From whence cometh the desire to sin? From a Righteous, holy creature? I think not.</font>[/QUOTE]Dallas, you say this as if I don't believe it. Why? My question is concerning the time of ones death, not who gives man the desire to sin. I have continually agreed that man is born with the desire to sin, but according to this passage the mere desire for sin is not equalvilant to death as you seem to assume. The desire for sin will lead to death, but are we born dead? It doesn't seem so from this passage.
    Apparently, God has answered my question. Death comes after sin has taken root, not from birth. I guess since your not dealing with this question you agree with this?
     
  11. William C

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    Can you give me an example of where number 2 "Spiritual death" is used in regard to our nature from birth?
     
  12. Frogman

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    How do you get this. All I read from you declares man is not born with a desire to sin, but the propensity to sin which results in hardened. I do not agree with this. I believe to sin is the desire of man and this desire is brought forth from within man. I believe that what you teach leads people to believe they are able to live a righteous life and thus there is no need for a Saviour.

    God Bless.
    Bro. dallas
     
  13. Aki

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    two things: sin and sin nature.

    sin nature is, well, man's nature to sin. it is not sin itself. rather it is the one that gets man to sin. each man is born with it, being transmitted to each born child since Adam.

    on the other hand, sins are the ones committed by man, having the sin nature.

    in Romans 3:23 we read: "For the wages of sin is death..."

    the death here is spiritual death, meaning separation from God.

    notice that the wages of sin is death. the scriptures does not speak of the wages of the sin nature. the products of such nature are the ones deserving of death.

    so, being born with sin nature yet still not committing any sin, are we to say that each man is born spiritually dead? without any added thoughts we should say No! however, God has imputed the original sin to everyone. thus, aside from the sin nature, each born child already has sin - that of Adam's - that gets them spiritually dead.

    thus, we are born spiritually dead.
     
  14. William C

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    Aki,

    Thank you for your clear and well thoughtout response. You said that we are born spiritually dead because of the imputed sin from Adam.

    I'm not saying I disagree with you but I'm just seeking to find support for this view. Where does scripture teach that the sin of Adam leads to death of individuals from birth. I know passages like:

    Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as through one man the sin entered into the world, and the death by the sin, and thus the death passed through to all men, on ground of which all sinned.

    This does seem to support the fact that all are spiritually dead from birth but even this verse says, "on ground of which all sinned," which seems to indicate that man doesn't actually "die" until he has sinned. And being dead from birth is never mentioned here, is there any more specific verses to support this view?

    Also it seems to me that this verse could be saying that death passes through to all men in that the sin nature passes on which leads to death once they actually sin. What do you think?
     
  15. William C

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    How do you get this. All I read from you declares man is not born with a desire to sin, but the propensity to sin which results in hardened. I do not agree with this.</font>[/QUOTE]What post specifically are you refering to that I have said I don't believe people have a sinful nature and thus a desire for sin? What do you think I believe leads to hardening? Its the desire for sin that leads people to become hardened.

    And what is the differenct between a desire for something and a propensity for something? I honestly just don't the difference you are refering to.

    I agree with this and I don't understand why you believe I don't. Can you please explain what I have stated that has lead you to believe that man is not born with a sin nature, a desire to sin brought forth from within man as a result of the Fall?

    Heresy. You believe that I am teaching a salvation by works and I am not. I am teaching what Paul taught. There is a righteousness that has been revealed apart from the works of the law, it is a righteousness that comes by faith. Faith is not considered a work, in fact in scripture it is set up as the opposed to works in Rom. 3:27-31. And how does my beliefs in any way promote the notion that their is no need for a Savior? This is absurd by any standard.

    This last statement is actually a contradiction of your own belief system. According to Calvinism I can't cause anyone to believe anything, everyone's beliefs are wrong from birth because of the Fall and only the Holy Spirit can cause someone to believe the truth and there is no way I could lead "the elect" away from believing these truths, so your accusation is impossible if you are correct.

    And I might add, the view that our theology could not affect the salvation outcome of our listeners seems to be contradicted in this verse:

    1Ti 4:16 -
    Be conscientious about yourself and your teaching; persevere in these things, for by doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    How can one's doctrinal teachings save one's audience if their fate is sealed in the Calvinistic view of election?

    What do you think?
     
  16. Aki

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    Brother Bill, i know of no passage that directly states my point with which you are wanting. however, as you've looked at Roman 5:12, we can also consider the couple of verses following it. this is how it goes:

    Rom 5:12 -14:

    Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.


    you see, where there is no law, there is no sin. yet even when lawless death reigned from Adam to Moses, a point when there was no law existing. why? because everyone comes to be guilty of the first sin!

    and then the following two verses might even be more helpful:

    Rom 5:15-16 But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead , much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation , but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.

    it is just one sin - that of Adam's - that got everyone condemned! each one got it without any choice! and yes, no free will at that.

    i hope i made my point clearer.
     
  17. Yelsew

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    So you believe that every man is born with the desire to sin? I find it difficult to believe that the first thing that crosses a newborn infant's mind is the desire to sin! I think it might rather be the desire to rest from the ordeal of being born, which is separation from its mother coupled with being compressed and squirted through an opening smaller than itself. .
     
  18. Harald

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    Bill. You quoted my rendering of Rom. 5:12. I would like to say something on the last phrase, "on ground of which all sinned". This is a phrase that differs somewhat in different versions. The most famous, KJV says "have sinned", which strictly speaking is a misrendering in that the KJV renders an aorist as a perfect. It does the same in Rom. 3:23 with exactly the same word, êmarton. Geneva Bible and Darby Bible has the same as KJV in Rom. 5:12. Then we have the two short words "eph ô", which the KJV and many other versions render "for that". The second most employed rendering of these two words is "because". The KJV wording "for that all have sinned" seems to me on a first glance to mean "because all have sinned". Possible it could be taken to mean "because OF that all (have) sinned". The latter I believe is what Paul wanted to teach by his words. The KJV (& ASV, LITV, MKJV, Darby, YLT) rendering variant is not IMO wrong, albeit somewhat ambiguous. The other variant, "because" (ISV, WEB, EMTV), is not ambiguous, but it borders IMO on being a mistranslation. The Greek words are as said "eph ô". "Eph" is #1909 according to Strong's, from epi, a preposition which primary meaning is "on, upon", a secondary meaning would be "on ground (of)". Sometimes it is rendered as "to". The other word, "ô", is a relative pronoun in dative case, neuter gender, singular. Literally they could thus be rendered "upon which thing (all sinned)". I chose to render "on ground of which", and could probably have added "thing" after "which". To me it is clear that the relative pronoun "which (thing)" relates back to the words "the death passed through to all men". "The death" spoken of here by Paul is not physical death, but spiritual death, which goes hand in hand with the imparted Adamic nature which all of us inherit from Adam our forefather. Where there is Adamic nature there is also spiritual death. The reason for the imparted Adamic nature is Adam's sin and guilt imputed unto condemnation. Adam's sin/guilt imputed demanded impartation of Adamic depravity.

    If Paul with the last phrase would have meant (death passed through to all men,) "because all sinned", he would have been redundant IMO. Because he'd allready said "through one man the sin entered into the world, and the death by the sin". My firm conviction is that "the death passed through to all men, on ground of (/"upon") which thing all sinned" means that the spiritual death having passed through (the genetic line) to all men is THE REASON why all men alive committed acts of sin in their character and conduct. Spiritual death residing in a little baby child is the reason why it may die at early age. If it were perfectly righteous it would not die unvoluntarily. Jesus the Christ was perfectly righteous in His human nature, character and conduct, and could only die if He Himself willed to die. He Himself gave His life into death on Calvary's cross, no man took it from him. Little infants who die do not die voluntarily, but involuntarily, on account of spiritual death being their true element of existence.

    Spiritual death is the element of existence of a human being from second one of his existence. From this follows acts of unrighteousness, lawlessness and sin. It is illogical to think or believe that acts of sin can proceed from a nature which is free from corruption, as free willers seem to think small babies are at early age. Adamic depravity being present in men from second one in due time manifests itself in sin acts, thus manifesting inherent spiritual death, separation from God.

    Romans chapter 5 thus teaches both that Adam's sin in the garden is the reason men are spiritually dead, and that spiritual death is the fountain or ground of acts of sin which can be observed by others and also by the sinning one himself.
    Rom. 3:23 teaches that "all sinned" (aorist), and this I believe refers to the "all" sinning in the person of Adam in the garden, who was their forefather and federal head, in whose loins they were back then. This verse reads "For all sinned and are being deprived of the glory of God". Meaning the "all" in question here sinned in Adam, and consequently they are being deprived (present passive indicative in the Greek, not active) of God's glory in their personal character and conduct.

    Finally I want to say I do not think Paul meant to be ambiguous with the words "eph ô". If one takes them as they stand one comes up with "upon which thing (all sinned)", which cannot as such be taken to mean "because all sinned". If Paul had willed to mean the latter he could have chosen another construction.

    But I would not be surprised if one might find the same truth taught in some other NT passage as well, just now I cannot recall any specific passage which would be as clear on original sin as Rom. 5:12 and the following verses.

    Harald
     
  19. William C

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    Harald and Aki,

    I agree that Roman 5 can be interpreted to mean that we all are born spiritually dead. I have always interpreted it that way myself.

    But, if you look at all the postering you both had to go through to support that view you can see that this passage is not perfectly straitforward in this matter and if you consider other passages which say:

    15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

    It makes you wonder if death has more to do with what comes to someone once they actually sin.

    Aki, you point to the passage that says without the law there is no sin. Actually its more about the law being a "tutor" and that their is no knowledge of sin without the law. Ignorance of sin does not mean they did not sin before Moses, it just means they weren't as knowledgable about it. Therefore, the idea of death in this passage could still be applied to those when they sin and not necessiarly from birth.

    Again, let me say, I do believe that this passage clearly teaches we are born with the sin nature and the guilt that sin carries, but my question is does this with all certainity mean that man is born spiritually dead?

    Another reason I ask the question is because there are times in scripture where it talks about us being made alive AGAIN. Or about us losing something we once had as if we were once whole spiritually. If we were born dead spiritually then we were never alive in the first place and we never had anything to lose. Does that make sense?

    Also, Jesus' words concerning Children also causes me to question these things. He uses them as examples of what we all must become like in order to enter heaven. Is he saying we must become spiritually dead like little children are? Or could it be that Jesus doesn't consider them as being "dead" or "hardened" into their sinful actions yet?

    Again I'm just looking to understand this more, so thanks for working through this with me. I really appreciate it. And I read both of your posts and am learning a lot. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  20. Harald

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    Bill. That v. 15 you quote, I take it was from James, right? I have not yet looked at the context, but a take of mine right now would be that James talks about the mechanisms of temptation and sin in the hearts of men in general, of course with reference to the same in the lives and hearts of his target group. If the "death" James here speaks of is physical death then all men would die physically the first time they are tempted to sin and yield. And the second death it cannot mean. The only two remaining possibilities as to what "death" James refers to are Spiritual Death and temporary separation from close communion with God and Christ of a believer. The word "death" as you know is essentially "separation" (from something, depending on context). If James talks about spiritual death it would mean (in your view) that a spiritually alive and perfectly righteous nature (not Spiritually Dead yet) is darted through with a temptation (solicitation) to sin, and the perfectly holy and righteous nature does something it possibly cannot do, yields to sin (!), which (according to you) leads to (spiritual) "death". Your notion seems to me illogical.

    My interpretation of James words is that he refers to a believer who walks in close fellowship in the light, in intimate spiritual communion with God and Christ, see 1John chapter 1. When such a one is tempted to sin, and yields to it by committing an act of sin, which is first and foremost against God, it results in "death" in the sense that he is separated (dead) from the close and intimate fellowship he had experience-wise with God for such a long time as the wicked act goes without confession to God. If he confesses his sin with a genuine confession which only the Spirit of Christ can grant him to make he is restored to close fellowship and communion with God his Father, and in that sense "death" is no more. I once more refer to Revelation 3:1, and the angel of the church of Sardis, which was "dead", yet all things indicate he was a genuine child of God, regenerated and converted. He was in no danger of losing the salvation he had for free in God the Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. The danger seems to me to have been losing the candlestick, which I think means the church's status as a true and recognized church of Christ. Christ willed to see him spiritually prosperous and the church as well, therefore the warningful admonition.

    I emphasize once more the importance of asking, according to context, e.g. "what specific death is spoken of here?", "what specific salvation is spoken of here?" and on and on, seeing the Bible speaks of many kinds of deaths, and many kinds of salvations or aspects of salvation. It is folly to believe "salvation" always refers to what some refer to as "receiving Christ as personal Saviour", which phrase for that matter is unheard of in the Bible, and is prone to deceive.

    Harald
     

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