By Larry Ray Hafley
The doctrine of original or Adamic sin states that every person is born in sin. Because of Adam’s sin, all men are corrupt and guilty of sin at birth. Note the testimony of the Philadelphia Confession of Faith.
By this sin (eating of the forbidden fruit-LRH) they (Adam and Eve-LRH) fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of the soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions (Chapter 6).
Contrary to New Testament Concepts
This doctrine is contrary to at least four New Testament concepts; namely, sin, forgiveness, the death of Christ, and the judgment.
(1) The Concept of Sin. John said that “sin is the transgression of the law.” When one commits sin, he transgresses (goes against, crosses) the law (1 Jn. 3:4). “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 Jn. 5:17). Anything that violates God’s righteousness is sin. One who works apart from or against God’s will and word is guilty of sin. He performs iniquity; he acts without divine authority (Mt. 7:21-23). Sin is the child of lust (Jas. 1:15). When one is drawn away of his own lust and enticed, lust conceives her offspring, sin, and gives it birth. We are separated and alienated from God “by wicked works” (Col. 1:21). It is our sins which are produced by the fulfilling of the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Eph. 2:1-3; Col. 2:13). This is the New Testament’s concept of how one becomes guilty of sin. There is no Scripture which teaches that sin is inherited.
(2) The Concept of Forgiveness. The word of God does not describe the forgiveness of inherited sin. It does not mention forgiveness of the “guilt” of original sin. The New Testament speaks of “your sins” and of “thy sins” (Acts 3:19; 22:16). One is forgiven of his own acts of transgression, iniquity and disobedience. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8:12).
“The body of the sins of the flesh” are put off, cut away, when God forgives (Col. 2:11-13). As the sins are those one commits, the forgiveness applies to those sins. If as the doctrine of original sin avers, all men are born guilty of Adam’s sin, why is the Bible devoid of any reference to the forgiveness of it?
(3) The Concept of the Death of Christ. Christ “was delivered for our offences” (Rom. 4:25). “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body” (1 Pet. 2:24). It was “in the body of his flesh through death” that Jesus reconciled us to God (Col. 1:21,22). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Each individual can consider that Christ died “for me” (Gal. 2:20). Why is that? Because our sins, our guilt, is of our own doing; because forgiveness is of our sins and iniquities (Heb. 8:12; Isa. 59:1,2); the death of Christ was for my sin, my guilt, my salvation; hence, “for me.” The death of Christ and the shedding of His blood is never said to be for the purpose of removing inherited, original sin. However, if original, Adamic sin is universally pervasive, as the creeds of men allow and allege, should we not expect to find a reference that decrees and declares that the death of Christ removes that sin?
(4) The Concept of Judgment. New Testament judgment scenes vary in many respects, but in this one item they are all constant and consistent-man is judged by how he has lived, by what he has done. Contemplate and consider the judgment pictures of Matthew (chapters 5-7, 13 and 25). See the awe and dread of Revelation 20:10-15. Hear the admonition and warning of Galatians 6:7-9, Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 3:23. What is the single fact of all these passages? Individuals are judged by their own works. They are rewarded “according to their works.” Is there a judgment view of one being condemned on account of what Adam did? Is anyone ever renounced for not ridding himself of the depravity he is supposed to have inherited from Adam? No, but if original sin exists to the extent that men claim, is it not strange that not a single, solitary judgment scene features some creatures lost because of it?
Conclusion Of These Concepts
The doctrine of original sin, if true, would be an innate, inherent part of the nature of sin, forgiveness, Christ’s death and the judgment. Yet, the Bible, in discussing these four themes, never once links it to them. There absolutely could not be such an omission if the doctrine of original, Adamic sin were true. Therefore, these four fundamental facts are fatal to the theory.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 23, pp. 713, 716
December 6, 1984