Theologians have long contended that all mankind is guilty of Adam’s sin. This doctrine is generally entitled, “Original Sin”. One religious group defines original sin as, “a consequence of [Adam’s] first sin , the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.” Western religious thinkers from Augustine forward have regarded this a fundamental Christian doctrine. However, the Bible raises several significant objections worth our consideration. Ezekiel was called to prophetic office during Israel’s Babylonian captivity (606-536 B.C.). Among his many prophetic duties, Ezekiel corrected erroneous doctrines. Ezekiel 18:2 records a relevant example, ” ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ ” The context betrays this proverb’s meaning: the captive Israelites deemed their Babylonian incarceration (“the children’s teeth are set on edge”) a consequence of their forefather’s iniquities (“The fathers have eaten sour grapes”). This generation judged themselves guiltless and their captivity an inherited taint. Such a notion contradicts other statements regarding the captivity (e.g. Isaiah 65:6-7, “Behold, it is written before Me: I will not keep silence, but will repay– Even repay into their bosom– (7) Your iniquities and the iniquities of your fathers together,”) The Lord soundly refutes this doctrine; verse 20 concisely summarizes His judgment:
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
God’s judgment unequivocally refutes an, “hereditary stain of iniquity”. God’s position is this: He accounts the individual either guilty or righteous, not their posterity.
Accepting, “original sin” forces a reexamination of the Savior, Jesus Christ. The Synod of Dordt convened in 1618-1619 to codify, “Calvinism”: a system of Christian belief based largely on the theology of a French reformer named John Calvin (1509-1564). John Calvin, like Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, and Augustine of Hippo, believed in, “original sin”. In the Third and Fourth Head, Article 2, the Synod of Dordt states, “Hence all the posterity of Adam, Christ only excepted, have derived corruption from their original parent…”. The Synod of Dordt cites the presence of original sin, yet they excuse Jesus from this hereditary taint. Christ’s exception is necessary in light of scriptures which contend His innocence (Hebrews 4:15) and descent from Adam (Luke 3:23-38) However, creating such an exception constrains, “original sin’s” adherents to accept the following logic:
If all Adam’s descendants inherited his sin. And if Jesus was Adam’s descendant according to the flesh. Then Jesus DID NOT inherit the sin of Adam!!!???
Applying simple logic yields the illogical conclusion which, “original sin” claims. If, “original sin” is true, how can Christ descend from Adam yet not inherit His forefather’s guilty taint? This simple flaw exposes one of, “original sin’s” theological weaknesses.
Scripture has long upheld childhood innocence as a Christian quality. Luke 18:15-17 records an instance where the Jewish public brought their infants to receive Jesus’s blessing. The disciples rebuked the public, but Jesus corrected their refusal with these words:
Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.
Jesus extols the infants’ virtuous innocence as a quality indicative of discipleship. In a parallel account Jesus says, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) Christ exalts the virtues of infancy and childhood. Furthermore, He says such qualities are necessary to enter God’s kingdom. Proponents of, “original sin” teach that the infants blessed and acclaimed by Jesus were marred by Adam’s taint. If, “original sin” were true, why did Jesus choose children as an example of Christian disposition? Why would Jesus laud the blemished character of children as requisite for eternal life? Once again, we find a reasonable objection to the doctrine of, “original sin”.
God accounts the individual either guilty or righteous. Their guilt or righteousness does not fall on the heads of their children, grandchildren, and so on. God soundly refutes this notion through Ezekiel’s preaching. We see a further conflict between Christ’s nature and, “original sin’s” tenets. Furthermore, Jesus’s cites the virtues of infancy and childhood as requisite for discipleship and eternal life. At the least, these scriptural objections should give us great pause when considering, “original sin’s” validity.