It seems inevitable that the very first comment I receive when I mention the words Original Sin is: “The term is not in the Bible.” This is true. However, we use many words in our religious beliefs that are not in the Bible, i.e. the Hebrew Scriptures comprising what is known as the Tanakh. The word ‘Tanakh’ is derived from the Hebrew letters of its components, namely the Torah (the Law), the Nevi’im (the Prophets) and the Ketuvim (the writings). The words anthropomorphic and Talmud are not found in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, what Jew will not take the writings of the rabbis into consideration when reading the Scriptures? What rabbi will reject anthropomorphism when teaching about the appearances of YHWH to men and women in ancient history? Furthermore, the sacred calendar is not found in the Bible, yet it is absolutely necessary when computing the Holy Days and worshiping and obeying God as he commanded in Torah (the Law).
One would have to go to the New Testament or the writings of Josephus to meet with anyone who called himself a Pharisee, but modern Judaism is based upon the teachings of the Pharisees. Modern Judaism claims they owe their whole religious point of view to those of the first century who defined how the Jew would live and worship God in Diaspora, i.e. the scattering of the Jews from their ancient homeland in Israel. One would not find the command from God to remove all vowels in a word that refers to him (e.g. L_rd & G_d), yet this is practiced today by many Jews and Muslims when referring to God through the written word. It is done as an expression of respect for the Almighty. Some Christians show this respect by capitalizing pronouns that refer to God. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with the practice, but the point I am making is that just because the religious term or religious practice is not found in the Bible doesn’t mean it is wrong, or even that it is not based upon sound biblical teaching.
The term Original Sin is very logical, even if one does not agree with the doctrine. There had to be a first sin. Since God did not create sin, it had to have entered the world through someone he created. Scripture identifies this someone as Adam. Therefore, there is a real sin that can be referred to as the Original Sin.
Some well meaning people try to say that any doctrine that requires the punishment of billions of people who have existed on this earth since creation for the sin of two people is evil and cannot be from God. Nevertheless, only the first two people were ever permitted into paradise (Eden). Whatever one may think about the injustice of punishing others for the sins or crimes of another, no one save Adam and Eve was ever permitted into the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve sinned, they were driven from the garden, neither their own children nor any other person was ever permitted back into paradise – not, Noah, Job or even Abraham, the father of the Hebrew people and the one through whom all nations would be blessed. I would say that we must bear the consequences of that original sin. Otherwise, it would be reasonable to argue that we all should have been permitted into paradise before we actually sinned. Since this never occurred, and since God has not invited anyone into paradise to fellowship with him, I conclude that beginning life outside Eden goes with the fact that we are all children of Adam and Eve. Whatever one may conclude concerning man’s proclivity to sin (depravity), one thing is certain. No one, other than Adam and Eve, was ever allowed in Eden. Something very conclusive occurred there when our first parents rebelled against God.
As we look into the word of God a little further, we find that the assumption of children not suffering for the sins of the parents is not Biblical. When God judged the world during the days of Noah, he killed men, women and children. Some of the victims were infants. When God judged his people, whether through war, famine or disease, some of the most helpless victims were the infants. They did not sin against God at that point in their lives. Nevertheless they suffered, because God judged their fathers who had sinned.
Why do I point this out? Am I trying to embarrass God or to show that he is unrighteous? No, I would never do such a thing. I merely bring up these circumstances to show that people are not taking all the Scriptures into consideration, as they try to prove that the word of God contradicts the Christian doctrine of Jesus’ blood atonement for the sins of mankind.
There are very logical reasons why the doctrine of man’s present depravity is true. It is completely Biblical, and I intend to prove it. However, since my understanding is according to the word of God, it is understood that Scripture is true and cannot be contradicted by man or forced to contradict itself. If anyone does not agree that God’s word is truth, then nothing can be proved to that person. That one’s truth is according to his own understanding, which may change as that one ages and experiences more of life. Nevertheless, I speak of the unchangeable word of God. I believe that all our deep questions concerning life here and now and what occurs afterwards are answered in the Scriptures. Because God’s word does not change, the answers to the problems found therein are true in whatever age or culture we live and no matter what our circumstance.
What then of the Scripture that says:
Deut. 24:16, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.”
The Scripture is not speaking of what God does. The word of God forbids any government of men to kill the children for the sins of the fathers and visa versa. Yet, at times when God judged a king he took the lives of not only the king but the lives of his children as well (1Kings 21:21; cp. 2Kings 9:24-25; 10:1-7). Therefore, one cannot use the above Scripture as a proof text to show that God could not have sent his Son into the world to atone for the sins of others. The righteousness of God exceeds that of man. He is not bound by what we are not permitted to do, just as we are not bound by the discipline we use in bringing up our children. We may create a rule saying all our children must be in bed at 9 PM, but this does not mean mom and dad must abide by such a rule.
I have thus far presented my argument logically. In my next blog I hope to begin with a little more Scripture showing there is no one who is righteous, and there is no way out of out of our sinful condition except through blood atonement, and that means Jesus. The Scriptures are often used in an effort to prove this is not so, and I hope to address these arguments—in as much as I am familiar with them. I invite your comments if you have another opinion, but I have found no compelling argument that would show Jesus’ sacrifice was not needed.