What follows is a discussion that arose as an offshoot of a Facebook discussion regarding recent violent events in the USA. I engaged a participant who made an assertion in support of the inherited sin model of Christian doctrine.
Note that the poster seems to have copied and pasted other materiel into her post:
Original Poster (OP):There are several lines of biblical evidence for the historic Christian doctrine that we are all born into the world with sinful natures, due to the sin of Adam.
Scripture says that we are born sinners and that we are by nature sinners
Psalm 51:5 states that we all come into the world as sinners: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Ephesians 2:2 says that all people who are not in Christ are “sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:3 also establishes this, saying that we are all “by nature children of wrath.” If we are all “by nature children of wrath,” it can only be because we are all by nature sinners–for God does not direct His wrath towards those who are not guilty. God did not create the human race sinful, but upright. But we fell into sin and became sinful due to the sin of Adam.
Scripture speaks of humans as unrighteous from infancy
There are also verses which declare that we are all unrighteous from the time that we are born. Proverbs 22:15 says “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” Genesis 8:21 declares, “…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” Jonathon Edwards, in his classic work The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended, remarks that on this verse: “The word translated youth, signifies the whole of the former part of the age of man, which commences from the beginning of life. The word in its derivation, has reference to the birth or beginning of existence…so that the word here translated youth, comprehends not only what we in English most commonly call the time of youth, but also childhood and infancy.”
Humanity is Often Described in General Terms as Unrighteous
Unrighteousness is often spoken of in Scripture as something belonging to the human race as a whole.This implies that it is the property of our species. In other words, sinfulness is considered a property of human nature after the fall. Thus, it must be concluded that we are all born sinners, since we are all born human and sin is regarded as a property of humanity. In this vein, consider Ephesians 2:1-3:
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Paul is here reminding Christians of what they were like before their conversion to Christ (“you were dead in your trespasses…in which you formerly walked”). Thus, all people, until and unless they are converted, are sinners. Paul goes on to make it absolutely clear that all Christians came from this state (“…we to all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh”) and that all non-Christians are still in this state (“…and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”) Thus, Scripture regards all people before they are saved by Christ as sinners and thus deserving of punishment from God. Which is to say that from the inception of our existence, we are sinful.
Jack: How can it be that the spirit of man comes from God himself, yet man is considered to be born “sinful”? How can this possibly be? See Ecclesiastes 12:7 as to the origin. See also Hebrews 12:9 for a reference to God as “the Father of spirits”.
With these (and other) passages in view, some manner of hereditary sinfulness of the spirit of man is impossible unless the ORIGIN of that sin is God himself. Do you hold that God is sinful?
OP: God is without sin. Sin came to the human race when man disobeyed God, trying to be better than God. If we were not born with the predisposition to sin, we would have some who see perfect, sinless but the Bible tells us not one is without sin. This happened at the fall & as such, we have that upon us. If it were possible to be without sin, then Jesus would not have had to go through what he did. If we believe in what Jesus did, then we must believe we are all sinners, which the Bible clearly says we are. Ecclesiastes 7:20, 1 John 1;8, Adam introduced sin & thereby brought about spiritual & physical death for him & all generations to come. This is both spiritual & genetic. It is the result of his sin. Romans 7 makes it clear that we’re all of sinful nature. If we weren’t, there would be no need for redemption. That gives us the new nature. To be without sin, you must first be born of God, not man. Accepting Christ is the only way to not be a slave to sin. Ephesian 4:22, rom 6:16, 1 John 1:8 Roman 3:23
Ephesians 2:3, psalm 58:3, job 14:4, Romans 5;12, 18 &19
Jack: To Melissa, according to the Bible, does the spirit of a person originate with God? Or does it originate with the parents’ sperm and egg? Or from someplace else? How do you read it?
If God creates human spirits and attaches them to human embryos, and if those human spirits are stained with sin from their beginnings, then you have a scenario in which God is creating sin-stained spirits and putting them into forming bodies.
Did Adam’s and Eve’s sin somehow corrupt God himself? Or did it corrupt God’s ability to create a clean spirit for each new human?
Yes, I know you and a LOT of other people believe that you can prove this inherited sin idea with scripture after scripture. But I’ve never heard anyone who can give a rational answer to the questions I pose here. Nobody can explain just how this is supposed to work.
When you ALREADY have inherited sin in view, it’s easy to misread a lot of passages, thinking that they support the model when in fact, they do not.
For the convenience of everyone who is following this conversation, here’s the text of Psalm 139
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.
Note the origin of the writer was not “in my mother’s womb” (v 13) but “in the lowest parts of the earth” (v 15)
This passage shows the SPIRIT of the writer being “covered” with a human body inside the mother’s womb. The SPIRIT was formed before that and in a different place. And who formed it? God did. When he says “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, he’s not talking about his physical body, but about his spirit….his very being.
The spirit of man originates with God and returns to God after death. As to the latter, so says Solomon here:
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
If you are supporting some different model from this one, I’d sure like to see the scriptures for it. I don’t see any way to have that new human spirit be stained with sin and still be coming from God at the same time. I’d love to see you explain this.
Jack (Two days later after no reply): It appears that no answer is forthcoming from __________. And that’s no surprise. I don’t know of any supporter of the inherited sin model who could produce a viable answer for this question. It’s just one of the MANY models we learn in the churches that don’t really hold up under scrutiny. If we can be wrong about these big pieces of the puzzle, perhaps we ought to be about the regular business of surveying EVERYTHING we believe about Christianity, for surely we are wrong someplace else, too.
I discovered this particular issue not in church, but at home after years of studying such things for myself. I, too, once held the inherited sin model, simply from hearsay—-which is how most of us pick it up. Little do we realize that “all those verses” that “support” it are talking about something else. And since we have our minds made up already, we don’t scrutinize them in order to determine their original meaning.
It’s a pity that Christians are not known for scrutinizing their own doctrines. After reading about the first believers in the Bible, one might think there would be a high level of interest in this particular topic. But here I am, as if simply posting notes to myself.
OP (Immediately after the post above was posted.): Sorry Jack but I have been in my Lord’s house worshipping him most of the weekend and praying for the devastating things that have been happening in your country, & busy with other matters at other times. I have a life & a family & now I must go to bed before work in the morning as it’s quite late here on the other side of the world.
As it’s seems by your last inflammatory comment, you aren’t interested in God or truth, but purely argument for it’s own sake I am going to do what I should & go to sleep rather than debate this, as you’re not interested in truth. I pray God changes your cold heart & realise that you don’t know me to make these assumptions about me. I am offended at your attack on me but will forgive you anyway, as Christ would want me to.
If you didn’t.just want.an argument.for.the sake of.a.fight, I would answer your question but it’seems like that is what you like to do & your mind is already made up.
Goodnight & God bless.
Jack: Ah, it’s the old “I’m too holy to answer” dodge. Nice! Never mind that the challenge to your position comes by way of BIBLE verses that contradict your model. You seem to gloss right over that inconvenient fact and pretend that the problem in this picture originates with Jack.
This is a fairly classic case of “attribute substitution”, in which an easy-but-wrong answer (Jack is the problem) is substituted for a right-but-difficult answer (my doctrine needs some work).
It is also convoluted with regard to a fallacious basis from which the OP’s final argument is made. More or less, the argument that is insinuated it this: I am not in need of questioning my doctrinal position because I’ve been busy at church. And further, I am also justified in not listening to your challenge because you have NOT been busy at my church.
The biases in play here are numerous.
There is no lack of intelligence in play, however. This person is plenty intelligent to understand my arguments. In fact, she probably makes similarly-sound arguments to others on OTHER doctrinal points about which she happens to be correct (by which I mean that she doesn’t use scripture to contradict other scripture).
I think that this manner of dysrationalia in modern Christianity is rampant. Ironically, to a great many, it does not seem to be about arriving at the truth at all, but about something else. And what a pity this is.