Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Why Do Christians Believe in Original Sin?
This post will consist of two parts; firstly a short video by BeholderGuard highlighting the passages in the Bible which seem to counter the concept of Original Sin, and secondly the Bible verses in question will be quoted and commentary added as well as further discussion being put forward in order to help the reader to realise the concept of Original Sin is not one taught by God, Jesus or any Old Testament Prophet (it is taught by a man who never met Jesus, named Paul)
BeholderGuard’s video presentation on the belief in Original Sin
Why is the Original Sin not in Genesis?
You would expect an author who believes in the Original Sin to make mention of it when referring to the results of Adam’s sin; in the Bible this would be in Genesis (Genesis chapter 3). However, this belief of Original sin is not only absent in Genesis but the entire Old Testament fails to mention it, thus the Prophets never taught this foreign belief (the same applies to Prophet Jesus)
Is the Original Sin concept Biblical?
It is neither in the Old Testament nor in the Gospel accounts. Paul introduces this concept in Romans:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned Romans 5:12 (also see 1 Cor. 15:22 and Rom. 5:17-19).
So is it Biblical? It depends on your definition of "Biblical". If you allow the teachings of Paul to be included in the Bible then the concept of Original Sin is indeed Biblical (albeit somewhat contradictory to earlier portions of the Bible). If you disregard Paul’s teachings then the concept of Original Sin is unbiblical. It is a very taxing conundrum the Christian is facing. The Old Testament certainly offers Paul no help but piles on the misery by militating against the belief in question
The Old Testament Contradicts Paul’s concept of Original Sin
As BeholderGuard mentions; Ezekiel 18 is key in this regard.
For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die Ezekiel 18:4
The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him. Ezekiel 18:20
Ezekiel 18 clearly shows each individual is responsible for their own sin. Surely the foreign belief of Original Sin is confusing in the light of Ezekiel 18.
2 Kings refutes the idea sin is passed onto posterity
Yet he did not put the sons of the assassins to death, in accordance with what is written in the Book of the Law of Moses where the LORD commanded: "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sins." 2 Kings 14:6
Clearly dying for your own sins indicates you are not responsible or lumbered with your forefather’s sin. Again, the question is asked; if God really wanted us to believe in Original Sin then why have this verse and Ezekiel 18 in the Bible?
A departure from the Bible: Original Sin is problematic as it seems unfair
Why should an innocent baby be born with Original Sin? Christians do believe all are unclean (including babies), Saint Augustine:
No one is clean, not even if his life be only for a day (A dictionary from Biblical tradition in English literature, p.577)
Jesus Refutes Paul’s idea of Original Sin?
However, things get even more confusing as Paul’s belief is shot down by Jesus himself; Jesus intimates children are innocent:
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14 (also view Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16)
The Original Sin is amongst the most problematic beliefs a Christian adopts – it is clearly a product from Paul’s devices. The Christian is left with the dilemma of why did Jesus never teach such a doctrine and why does he appear to contradict Paul.
Islam frees you from such a headache
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”
Learn more about the incarnation here
Further Reading: Misha’al Ibn Abdullah’s What Did Jesus Really Say?
Forgiveness: Islam and Christianity
A video for Christians: Muslim Preaches the Truth of Islam
(please listen and take what is beneficial from this video)
Does Psalm 51:5 teach the Original Sin?
We have already seen Old Testament Biblical passages which militate against the idea of Original Sin. However, a commentator did bring up Psalm 51:5 as an Old Testament verse to support the idea of the Original Sin. Here is the ESV translation of the said verse:
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
As you can see for yourself, this verse is not teaching the Original Sin, it seems to be about the sinful act of adultery yielding a child; the Psalm is thought to be a projection upon the future child of an adulterous relationship.
However, the NIV translation does seem to teach a branch of the Original Sin (i.e. babies are with sin):
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
So which translation is correct?
Firstly, if the NIV translation (the one teaching Original Sin) is correct then the Bible-believing Christians will have contradictions on their hands. The verses mentioned in the opening article on the topic of Original Sin (Ezekiel 8:4 and 20, 2 Kings 14:6) would be deemed as contradicting Psalm 51:5, thus further discrediting the Bible.
However, in my research of Psalm 51:5 I have found three more verses (from the OT) which seem to refute the idea of Original Sin. The first two go together(Jeremiah 3:25 and Genesis 8:21); they appear to indicate a human only becomes sinful from his/her youth, i.e. at the time of discernment between right and wrong (good and evil). In fact Jeremiah 3:25 indicates humans sin from their youth onwards, thus the idea of Original Sin upon babies seems to be in real question here.
This age of discernment between good and evil appears to be mentioned in Isaiah 7:15-16 as well.
See appendix one for these three Bible verses in full.
Going back to Psalm 51:5, which translation is correct?
The NIV translation seems to be in error and appears to be unfaithful as the NASB, ESV and KJV all disagree with the NIV translation. The three aforementioned translations all indicate the child was conceived in sin UNLIKE the NIV which suggests the child was sinful at the time of birth.
New American Standard Bible (NASB):
Behold, I was (A)brought forth in iniquity,And in sin my mother conceived me.
King James Version (KJV):
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me
English Standard Version (ESV):
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
So there is NO teaching of Original Sin in this verse! The verse is concerning the sin of adultery; it does not mean the child is born with sin. In fact the verse does not make mention of Adam's sin.
Commentary on Psalm 51:5 refutes the Original Sin
This verse has already been explained by T.W Brents and the explanation denounces the idea of Original Sin:
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 (1957, 133, 134).
(Sourced from: http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/276-original-sin-and-a-misapplied-passage)
So is the Original Sin mentioned in the Old Testament?
No, the idea of Original Sin seems to be shunned and denounced by the Old Testament authors. We have already realised that Jesus never taught the concept of Original Sin and moreover we see the Gospel accounts (Matthew 19:14 (also view Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16) indicate Jesus considered children as innocent (thus refuting Original Sin).
As previously mentioned, the foreign concept of Original Sin first came into existence by a man named Paul. He seems to be contradicting the Old Testament as well as Jesus.
Is the Original Sin moral?
The moral dilemma continues for the Christian who believes in the Original Sin. Why are babies born with sin and thought to be hell-bound if unbaptized? St Augustine was a strong advocate for this idea of Original Sin:
In truth, all men who are sullied by the original sin were born of Adam and Eve [Augustine, vol 2, p 633].
Thus St Augustine believed babies were born with sin, is this just? Furthermore Augustine believed unbaptized babies went to hell:
Augustine believed that the only definitive destinations of souls are heaven and hell. He concluded that unbaptized infants go to hell as a consequence of original sin [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin]
Islam frees you from the dilemma of original sin, please look into Islam:
The first article refuting the idea of Original Sin:
Recommended reading on Psalm 51:5:
What is Christianity by Taqi Uthmani (pg 35-43)
The three new Bible verses which appear to militate against the idea of Original Sin:
Jeremiah 3:25 (English Standard Version)
25(A) Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For(B) we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God."
Genesis 8:21 (English Standard Version)
21And when the LORD smelled(A) the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again(B) curse[a] the ground because of man, for(C) the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.(D) Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.
Isaiah 7:15-16 (English Standard Version)
15He shall eat(A) curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16(B) For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be(C) deserted