Opinions on faith and life

Of Chickens and Eggs

2009-09-23

An age-old question is, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” It gets used for a wide variety of situations, but today I’d like to apply it to a particular verse mentioned in the last post: Rom. 5:12—

through this even-as through one human the sin into the world entered and through the sin the death and thus into all humans the death passed-through on which all sinned

The phrase “on which” means “because of that...” or “due to that...”, but it was erroneously rendered “in whom” by Jerome in his Vulgate translation, which had a huge influence on the idea that we all sin “in Adam”. I’ve written before about the fact that being “in” someone in scripture cannot be literal, but will briefly summarize. If Heb. 7:10 means that Levi was literally, physically in the body of Abraham, two major problems arise: (1) so were ALL of Abraham’s descendants, such that none of them would need to tithe, and (2) nobody exists as a whole person until sperm meets egg, or we’d have to declare all the sperm of all time to be fully human— which also means that all the eggs of all women for all time are irrelevant (which people used to believe before anyone even suspected that women make a genetic contribution to their own babies)! So scripturally, logically, and biologically, we cannot have sinned “in Adam”.

But “because” is hardly an improvement by itself, as it gives the meaning that sin causes death (which I have argued in the past, until studying this carefully). The meaning is not merely “because” but “because of which”, and the distinction is critical; the former means sin causes death, while the latter means death causes sin. (Some use the meaning “seeing that”, which fits better with the beginning of the sentence: We observe that death entered through sin, and the sin we observe in all of us proves that death passed to us too. In other words, sin is the evidence that death passed to everyone, making death the cause of sin.)

Now before some may jump to the conclusion that this somehow proves a “sin nature”*, remember that “death” is never, anywhere in scripture, called “spiritual death”. Moreover, in the next sentence (Rom. 5:13-14) Paul contrasts sin and death (see also Rom. 8:2,10,13) rather than equating them, and states clearly that some die without having sinned “as did Adam” (and there is no fine print saying “this means the type of sin Adam committed”). And in the very next chapter Paul says that our own death is “like His” (Rom. 6:5), which no one would dare to say was spiritual (1 Peter 3:18).

Now in Rom. 5:19 we need to examine another component of the passage: what “made” means. In English we can say “I will make you some breakfast” (meaning “make [for] you”, not literally to turn you into breakfast!), such that context and figure of speech determine whether the making is literal or not. The Strong’s note on “made” (#G2525) (see also LSJ) is “to place down permanently (i.e. figuratively), to designate, constitute, appoint, be, conduct, make, ordain, set”. So “make” is in the sense of naming to a position, not literally turning people into something different. This would match not only Paul’s use of legal terminology in Rom. 5:16-18 but also Jesus’ statement in John 3:18 about being condemned for lack of faith in Him. So if we apply this understanding to the verse, we get something like this: “Through the disobedience of the one person, many were designated ”sinners“, and through the obedience of the one, many will be designated ”just“. Note also the change of tense: many WERE called sinners, but many WILL BE called righteous.

It follows, then, that if we are not literally turned into righteous beings (Rom. 4:24, 1 Cor. 1:30, 2 Cor. 5:21, Phil. 3:9) by Christ, then we were not literally turned into sinners ”by nature“ because of Adam. When I consider all the scriptures, I have the understanding that this is all about a change of position or relationship, not nature. If this were not true (ref. Eph. 2:3), what would we do with verses such as Rom. 2:14? It is death that influences us to sin. But how does it do this? As I’ve said before, scripture says a lot about ”this body of death“ and battling the ”flesh“, which has cravings of its own, along with the environment into which we’re all born: a world of other sentient beings, all in corrupt flesh, a corrupt earth, and the devil ”who prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour“ (1 Peter 5:8).

And again, we have only to look for the cause of Adam’s sin to see that ”nature“ is not it, because then we’d have to say God created Adam with a ”sin nature“. He was in an un-corrupted environment, yet chose to sin willingly, without even being directly tempted (Eve did NOT tempt him!). The only cause for his sin was his will or choice, which was not coerced to go one way or the other by God or ”nature“ or anything else. To make only Adam a free-will agent is the fallacy of special pleading, and still doesn’t answer the question of how anyone could sin without a ”sin nature“. And if he could sin under such ideal conditions, what can we expect in this corrupt world?

This brings the number of articles I’ve written on this issue to at least four, but when I studied the Greek here I was compelled to do some ”detailing“, and I don’t expect to need to write more on this point. Yet we have to remember that though we make all sorts of appeals and explanations for why people should want to accept Jesus as Savior, the gospel itself is still restricted to the fact of His resurrection from the dead and our faith in Him alone for our salvation. We may have strong personal convictions about how to explain the ”why“ of this, but we must not confuse ”why“ with ”what“.

Jesus saves— not us— and it’s STILL all about faith alone.


* In case anyone is wondering, I’m not the only one who does not believe in ”original sin“ or a ”sin nature".

36 Comments

Debbie Kaufman

Paula: Genesis 3 is the reason that all in the world is here. Sickness, death, mowing the lawn, everything has it’s origin in Genesis 3. We grieve when someone dies because it is not natural, gender wars are because it is not natural. It is not what God intended. What we wish the world to be was what God intended, and all that changed at the Fall.

Debbie Kaufman

I meant to say Gender wars are because hierarchy is not natural. It is not what God intended. This too is a result of the Fall in Genesis 3.

Lin

Wow Paula, Another one to print out and study.

Janice

Hi Paula,

Thank you for that, and for the links.

Deuteronomy 30:11, "For this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you". (RSV)

That verse seems to say that it is not impossible to keep the law. So that must mean that we can keep the law if we could be bothered to make the effort. The difficulty (especially for those who don’t know Jesus) is in finding the motivation to do that when everything else one could do instead seems so much more attractive, which reminds me of the Garden of Eden and the serpent’s question.

But how do you reconcile the idea that death is the cause of sin with Ro 6:23 ("For the wages of sin is death")? Is death both the cause and consequence of sin? Did Adam, by willingly and knowingly disobeying the Lord God, yield his right to dominion over the earth to Satan and therefore put himself under Satan’s rule, i.e., the rule of the one who, "was a murderer from the beginning"? Might it be said that by disbelieving the Lord of life (which, to me, is sin) and, instead, believing the words of a murderer, this is how death entered the world?

Paula Fether

Debbie: Yes, I completely agree. People became mortal, the dust was cursed because that’s what Adam came from, and Eve chose to follow him out of the garden. But "in Christ" we get a "deposit" on our eventual restoration of immortality, and repaired relationships now.

Lin: Tanx! Hope it clarifies instead of confusing. :-)

Janice: You’re very welcome. And excellent point re. Deut. 30:11 on whether God makes commands He knows we cannot possibly keep, and whether, as the cults claim, God wanted Adam to fall.

As for reconciling Rom. 6:23 with Rom. 5:12, it’s a good example of other such scriptures that only conflict if we use the vaunted "plain reading" method. ;-) (Not saying you’re doing that, just mentioning it.)

As I hope to have shown in this post, the latter speaks of literal physical death. But the former, given the context there, seems to speak of figurative death, which is spiritual separation from God. While Paul begins that chapter with the literal (through vs. 7), he shifts to the figurative (see esp. vs. 11: "count yourselves dead") and then personifies Death as something like the ruler of a kingdom, or a boss that pays workers with "death".

Paul also shifts between the physical and the legal in ch. 5 (what a "shifty" guy!), so we know this is a typical literary habit of his.

Hope that helps!

Junkster

Hi, Paula, I’m wondering your thoughts on the immaterial aspect of humans. Do you believe that people have a soul or spirit that continues in conscience existance apart from the body after physical death? Where does a person’s soul come from; that is, how does a soul come into existence? Does it matter in these discussions about "sin nature" or "original sin"?

truthseeker

I think it does matter. If God creates us in our mother’s womb, and if we are ’supposedly’ possessed of a sinful nature, then wouldn’t that mean God had to create in us a sinful nature? Does God create ’sinful’ things? If our ’nature’ is considered to be that part of us that is inherent to our soul or spirit at birth, then it would have to follow that if we were born with it, God created it within us? Again, does God create evil (sinful nature being presumably evil)?

Janice

Paula,

Thanks for your response but I’m having trouble with thinking of the statement, "the wages of sin is death," as figurative because of the second half of the verse which states, "but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Maybe the word "wages" could be regarded as figurative. After all, it’s not as though we have to be employed by someone to sin. Rather, we do it voluntarily. But the "free gift of God" really is a free gift of God. It cost Him a very great deal but it’s free to us if we’ll accept it.

I am not arguing with the idea that we are not born bearing the guilt of Adam’s sin or of the sins of any of our forebears. Your arguments regarding that seem very persuasive to me.

Paula Fether

Hi Janice,

I understand what you’re saying, but I think only Paul can answer the dilemma he caused if "the wages of sin is death" conflicts with "on which all sin". And of course Peter said Paul’s writings were sometimes difficult to understand, which has to be the understatement of the ages!

Junkster, why would you even ask "Do you believe that people have a soul or spirit that continues in conscience existance apart from the body after physical death?" To ask such a question is to doubt that I’m saved. Explain.

Dee

Just a thought...

Does scripture tell us that Adam and Eve did not have a sin nature or that they were sinless at creation? Or do we assume that they did not or that they were? I understand their being blameless not knowing good and evil.It seems to me that Eve coveted what she heard and then what she saw (Gen 3:1-6).Yet the sin of coveting was not laid on her.Was it because there was no written law at that time?

The Apostle Paul states that had it not been for the written law-he would not have known that he should not covet/lust(Rom 7:7)Adam was not deceived(1 Tim 2:14)we all know this.If he had not a sin nature/character prior to the fall-what caused him to listen to Eve’s voice instead of God in the first place?

God created both Adam and Eve with a conscience-that kicked in (so to speak)after Adam ate the fruit.Was it not their consciences’ that exposed sin? Do we not as sinful creatures have the ability to choose good over evil and free-will to boot?

The scriptures indicate that the man and his wife were blameless before the fall(Gen 2:25)How could they have known that their sin or better that they were exposed-if not for their consciences???

Why did they hide from God? Who told Adam that he was exposed NOT unclothed or naked as in 2:25.Furthermore this is the way that God kept them when he created them,why would they be ashamed? Moreover neither of them were actually nude/naked after eating the fruit-they had fig leaves covering themselves. Check out the word Naked used in Genesis 3:10,11 by both God and Adam.It does not mean nude/naked.

Paula hope you do not mind all the questions and statements.If anyone has any answers please share your thoughts...

Ps.we are all so mindful in not blaming God for anything and we should not.Rather seek to understand what and what was not IN man when God created them male and female and what is actually the cause of death to mankind.

Paula Fether

Hi Dee, and welcome! :-)

Scripture only tells us that Adam and Eve were made "in the image of God" and says nothing either way about "sin nature". And if someone asserts that there is such a thing, the burden of proof is on them to provide scriptural support for it. As for proving the negative (that there is no such thing), I hope to have shown through these articles that not only doesn’t scripture say a thing about it, but also there is plenty to stand against it, such as the just nature of God.

As for Eve, remember that there is no scripture between her creation and her being tempted/beguiled by the serpent, such that all theories about that interval are speculation. But what scripture does state is the order of events: (1)the serpent tricked her, and only then (2)she fell for it. The phrase "when she saw..." does not indicate "lust" but the acceptance of the serpent’s lie. And it is not this but her actually eating the fruit that God forbade. So no, she did not sin by "coveting".

Good question about why Adam only stood there and listened to Eve’s voice as the serpent fooled her. And since scripture says nothing about a sin nature, especially before this event, we can only say that Adam made a free-will choice, which is backed up by later scriptures about his treachery and rebellion.

Agree about conscience, which is another reason we can’t ascribe "sin" to babies.

I see the word "oirm" in the Hebrew interlinear, and they render it "naked". Do you have a source for the full semantic range? I’d be interested in finding out more about that.

Don’t mind the questions at all, Dee. :-)

Junkster

Paula,
Heavens no, I did not mean to question your salvation. I’m not sure why you’d think that, unless you believe that salvation requires a person to believe that the soul can consciously exist independent of the body. My Seventh Day Adventist friends believe that the soul cannot exist independent of the physical body, yet they trust in Christ alone for salvation, by faith alone. (I don’t agree with their view of the soul, but their belief on that matter doesn’t make me doubt their salvation, so it never occured to me that you might think that’s what I was doing with you.)

I just don’t want to make any assumptions about your beliefs and possibly end up drawing incorrect conclusions. So I wanted to back up to a more fundamental question of the nature of the soul, where it comes from, etc., to better understand what you are saying about human nature.

Sorry for any confusion or offense. You know I think you’re great! (Oops, was that an ab hominem?) :)

Paula Fether

Sorry for any confusion or offense. You know I think you’re great! (Oops, was that an ab hominem?) No prob, just needed clarification. Yep, "ab hominem". :-D Tanx!

But "why I would think that" is because without the context you just added, it sounds like you questioned whether I believed there is life after death. How could one be a Christian without this belief?

As for your question, first of all we need to be aware that the scriptures differentiate between soul (psuche) and spirit (pneuma), as per Heb. 4:12. I’ve never seen a definitive explanation for the difference, but the Hebrew equivalent of "psuche" (nephesh) is used for animals as well as people, and seems to indicate a living, breathing, self-aware entity. If so, then the "soul" is not the spirit, which only humans would have (and of course God and angels are spirit).

But I think what you’re asking is exactly when spirit is joined to flesh, and scripture is silent about that. We can infer, and I believe rightly so, that this is done at conception. (However, what is the case then with conjoined twins? Since they don’t start out as two embryos, does this mean the zygote had two spirits attached to it? This is one of those head-scratchers I want to ask God when I get to heaven!)

Now if we’re talking about whether exactly when a person’s spirit is attached to their body has a bearing on "original sin", I think TS posed some very good questions. And I would add this one: can mortal flesh create an immortal spirit?

Think about that one. Calvinism says that Adam could only produce "dead" spirits, but we know that even the lost will LIVE ETERNALLY in torment. Their spirits are not literally dead. So that means Adam did indeed produce IMMORTAL spirits though he was mortal and had this alleged sin nature! They can’t have it both ways.

truthseeker

Paula, good question: can mortal flesh create and immortal spirit? It sure seems God has to have a unique hand in the creation process here somewhere, likewise with creating an inherent ’nature’ of any kind-let alone a sin nature. When humans bear children, are they just the vehicles so to speak or do they actually have a hand in the creation of the new person in the sense of creating his or her nature, spirit, soul, etc.?

Dee

Thanks Paula Excellent answers all!

No source for the full semantic range.I saw that the root’Aram’6191 means to be bare,be smooth,to be cunning.I noticed that there were two different words used in Genesis.6174 in 2:25 and 5903 in 3:10,11.I had asked a Pastor why the words were different and was told that the later 5903 meant ’exposed’ or revealed. Nonetheless both words are rendered naked in the Strong’s concordance without distinction.

Thanks again for your answers and the welcome! Your blog is really very good :-)

Paula Fether

Tanx Dee!

And a sharp eye on the Hebrew. Strong’s is good for casual reference and handy for most situations, but as you noted, there are disturbing lapses in consistency.

I wonder if the use of the second "naked" is a kind of play on words, that is, that now the people were not only unclothed, but "exposed" both physically and spiritually, since they were defenseless before God.

TS, more good questions. But once again, I’d have to ask exactly how our "spirits" could possibly procreate, since the little we have been told in scripture seems to say that spirits are only created by God.

truthseeker

Paula, I don’t see how humans could be responsible for creating or making the spiritual, (or soulish) parts of their progeny, either. It seems one would have to think they could to support the sin nature stance.

Dee

Yes Paula i agree perhaps a ’play’ on words in Genesis 3:10,11.Sister you got me thinking hard about this sin nature teaching.I am not sure that it is scriptural anymore.

If we are to allow scripture to interpret itself,then do you believe that it is possible that James is saying that sin is conceived by desires,whether good or evil? No i do not believe that Adam was tempted by Eve.I do wonder if he could have been drawn away and (enticed)simply by his desire to please his wife.This in itself is not wrong.Disobeying God concerning that particular tree was ’the’ sin.Again speculation without scriptural warrant is not good i know Paula.

Just a thought...

Dee

Sorry-James 1:13-16

Paula Fether

I’m always glad to hear someone is thinking! ;-) I only wish all believers would do that.

Re. James, it’s quite possible, and would match Paul’s discussion and contrast between spirit and flesh.

Re. Adam, I don’t think he had any altruistic thoughts toward Eve. He stood there and only "listened" while she was tempted, doing nothing to guard or correct or intervene. He took the fruit from her without question or comment, and ate it without hesitation. And then he blamed her and God for his sin.

If we conjecture that he was sinning for her sake (?), we can also conjecture the opposite: that he had set her up so he could eat the forbidden fruit while blaming it on her, thinking he’d be off the hook.

Dee

Hi Paula

" If we conjecture that he was sinning for her sake (?), we can also conjecture the opposite: that he had set her up so he could eat the forbidden fruit while blaming it on her, thinking he’d be off the hook."

Yes that makes sense to me Paula...

Ps.Women in the ministry? First-i don’t do flattery ever...Nor have i ever believed that women should stand in the pulpit,teach or preach before a mixed congregation,until now.This is just exhortation Paula,i think that you have a gift-who can say that it is not from above?

Enjoy the rest of the weekend...

Paula Fether

Why, thank you Dee! :-)

God does get the glory, because I can guarantee that if something is wise or insightful, it didn’t come from me. A gift is neither to be hidden nor ashamed of, but to be used, and that’s what God expects of all His children.

And you have a great weekend too! My husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary this Tuesday, and then we’re planning a mini-vacation for the weekend after. God has granted us life, health, and a wonderful family.

Junkster

Not sure that it is particularly relevant to the discussion, nor that it really matters, but does the Bible explicitly state that Adam was with Eve when the serpent spoke to her? It says he was with her when she ate the fruit, but I’m not sure we can necessarily conclude that he was there when she was being deceived.

Paula, have a happy and blessed anniversary.

Paula Fether

Tanx!

Re Adam, God said "you listened to the voice of your wife". Since there is no mention of her saying anything when she handed him the fruit, what else would God be referring to? And if we’re going to speculate, then we can’t be dogmatic on either side, which means there is no evidence that Adam was ignorant of the temptation. We also have positive evidence that Adam took the fruit without question, though he was standing there by the tree, and God clearly indicated that Adam knew what he was eating from.

In other words, it takes a significant amount of reading into the text to say Adam didn’t hear the temptation.

Junkster

Paula, I know you won’t like this, but I am going to go ahead and make an attempt to lay out the other side of the debate, and offer a defense of the doctrine of original sin. I doubt that you will be persuaded by it, but I want any readers to have a chance to weigh for themselves the merits of the position, rather than merely reading challenges to it. So, here goes ...

(1) We born sinners by nature Psalm 51:5 (interlinear) says, "in·depravity I-was-travailed and·in·sin she-conceived·me mother-of·me" This is very strong language regarding David’s spiritual condition from birth. It reflects his recognition of his true spiritual state and is used as the basis for his need for cleansing. Though writing poetry, he is not merely waxing poetic about how bad he feels over his sin. He is speaking of his recognition of the source of his sin (his own spiritual state) and the depth of his sin (that it is innate in his very being). This is demonstrated by the next phrase, "truth you-delight in·the·veneered-parts and·in·part-being-obstructed wisdom you-are-causing-to-know·me", by which he indicates that a deep inner work is necessary for God to change that which has caused him to so greatly offend God.

In Ephesians 2, we see that those who are not in Christ (which is the state of all people at birth) are "dead to-the beside-falls and the misses of-you" (i.e., "dead in trespasses and sins", v.1), "sons of the stubbornness" (i.e., "children of disobedience), v.2), and "offsprings to-nature of-indignation" (i.e., "children of wrath"). This all refers to the spiritual nature or condition of humans. Note the use of "nature", and keep in mind that God directs His wrath only toward the guilty.

(2) People are unrighteous and sinful in infancy Proverbs 22:15 speaks of "folly being-tied in·heart-of youth", and Genesis 8:21 speaks of "form-of heart-of the·human evil from·youths-of·him" (i.e., the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth"). The word "youth" (m·nori·u) here refers to the entirety of life from birth until adulthood.

(3) Humanity is described as unrighteous in essence Again, consider Ephesians 2:1-3, which indicates the general state of all those outside of Christ, in reference to their nature.

Also, Psalm 14:2-3 (as well as Romans 3, where Paul quotes it) says "Yahweh from·heavens he-gazes on sons-of human to to-see-of there-is one-acting-intelligently one-inquiring Elohim the·all he-withdraws together they-are-spoiled there-is-no one-doing-of good there-is-no even one" (i.e., "The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one." In this we see that unrighteousness is part and parcel to being human; it is a universal characteristic, and universal includes every individual, which includes those just born.

Job 15:14-16 also indicates that unrighteousness is a matter of human nature or essence: "what mortal that he-shall-be-cleared and·that he-shall-be-justified one-being-born-of woman behold in·holy-one-of·him in·holy-ones-of·him he-is-placing-faith and·heavens not hey-are-purged in·eyes-of·him indeed that one-being-abhorrent and·one-being-spoiled man one-drinking as·the·waters iniquity" (i.e., "What is man, that he should be pure, or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He puts no trust in His holy ones, And the heavens are not pure in His sight; How much less one who is detestable and corrupt, Man, who drinks iniquity like water!")

Jeremiah 17:9 says "crooked the·heart from·all and·being-mortally-ill he who he-shall-know·him (i.e., "the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?") This is more than a statement of the universality of sin, it is one of the nature of humanity from which sin arises. The heart (Hebrew leb)refers to human essence (nature) and the seat of thought and moral character.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 states the same thing about human nature: "and·moreover heart-of sons-of the·human he-is-full evil and·blusterings in·heart-of·them in·lives-of·them" (i.e., "the hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts through their lives." The heart (leb) is sinful, which is why all humans sin.

Conclusions At the core of the doctrine "original sin" is the scriptural teaching that all humans possess a sin nature from birth. One does not have to be a Calvinist to accept the doctrine of a human sin nature; one simply needs to understand and accept what the Bible teaches about the matter. All humans possess the same nature, and the category of all humans includes infant humans. Infants possess this corrupt nature because they are born with it. The biblical (and logical) cause of this common trait of humans is the sin of the progenitor of the race, Adam.

There is much more evidence throughout scripture to support the idea of original sin / human sin nature. But I hope that this brief overview will help people see that the doctrine is indeed true and biblical. However, I do not believe that denial of the doctrine makes someone not a Christian, or a heretic, or less devoted to Christ than someone who affirms it. I believe that those who follow Christ can and do differ on this matter.

"The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17)

Junkster

Paula, We can only make assumptions about where Adam was when the serpent spoke to Eve, or what she did or didn’t say to him, or where they were when they ate the fruit. I think it is reading into the text either way. My point is only that I don’t think we can make assertions or draw conclusions based on what isn’t explicitly stated in the text.

Paula Fether

Junkster, you’re beginning to sound like the rationale for that "fairness doctrine". ;-) But in the spirit of Prov. 18:17, which is my favorite BTW, I offer counter-arguments, which I’m equally sure you won’t like.

(1) As already stated in this blog many times, Ps. 51 is Hebrew poetry, brimming with hyperbole— NOT doctrine. And where is mention of his father in that psalm? This doesn’t exactly bolster the argument for sin passed through the male.

Re. noting "nature" in Eph. 2, did you not see my ref. above to Rom. 2:14? What of "nature" then?

(2) Is "youth" = "nature" now?

(3) You quoted the interlinear for Eph. 2 which clearly states "dead TO", not "dead IN", and I’ve already given a ref. to my earlier article on that, "Dead Wrong". Yet you arbitrarily change "to" to "in" without explanation.

Re. Ps. 14 and Rom. 3, where is "nature" in those passages? It says what people do, but doesn’t say why, and Paul keeps repeating "therefore God GAVE THEM OVER…". What need is there to give someone over to that which they are already doomed? The fact that this has to be done is proof that it wasn’t their fate at all, but God’s judgment of their ACTIONS. What does "turned aside" mean, inheritance or action?

And is Job where we get doctrine? Does it say "inherited sin nature" as being a truth from God? Same questions for Jeremiah and Solomon, who likewise never speak of an inherited sin nature.

Your "Conclusions" are based on your presumptions, but calling them "the scriptural teaching" does not make them so, and neither does simply asserting "sin nature" make it a fact.

Junkster, you came to my blog to make a post to other people, and I let you have your say. But personally, I’d consider it rude for me to go to someone else’s blog and announce that I am there to set the record straight for that person’s readers, which also insinuates that said readers are somehow lacking the ability to read other blogs for whatever may be lacking in terms of evidence.

And since your view is the majority view, one that I can almost guarantee has been preached and taught as uncontestable truth to every believer (or why would I have felt compelled to write these articles?), how is my little blog in need of such a presentation? It’s the same with the young-earth/old-earth debate. Old-earth is the predominate view in the world, so when a tiny minority expresses belief in young-earth, there is hardly any need for presenting the majority view, especially in those minority venues.

It’s one thing to disagree, but quite another to demand "equal time". I don’t expect you’ll understand, but there it is.

Junkster

Sorry, Paula, I did not realize that you would not welcome a presentation of an alternative position. I thought that you would not like my perspective, but I did not think you would not like my offering it. I see no point in me responding to your questions and points, as it is clear you are not interested in opinions or perspectives other than those you agree with. I respect you and your right to a different opinion, but I see no need for you to be insulting. Funny that you should use the word "rude" regarding me. I am hurt and saddened by your response. But it is, indeed, your blog, and I won’t make the same mistake in the future.

Paula Fether

Junkster, you might want to consider your own reaction to being disagreed with, eh?

I tried to explain but obviously failed. You said point-blank that your purpose was not to convince me but to convince everybody else-- even though they have said they have believed in inherited sin before but were reconsidering, meaning they already believe as you do. So presenting the view they already had had seems to serve no other purpose than to stir the pot.

Oh well.

Lin

"We can only make assumptions about where Adam was when the serpent spoke to Eve, or what she did or didn’t say to him, or where they were when they ate the fruit. I think it is reading into the text either way. My point is only that I don’t think we can make assertions or draw conclusions based on what isn’t explicitly stated in the text."

John McArthur emphatically states that Adam was NOT there. John Piper ways he WAS there. :o)

I think he was there, too.

The ONLY record of Adam listening is Eve talking to the serpent. We do not have any hints of anything else. I do not think that is arguing from silence. It fits the chronology.

But there are folks that say another conversation took place of Eve persuading Adam. I have seen a preacher, Jon Estes, emphatically defend this view on Wades blog to my astonishment. He believes something so important that the scripture is actually silent on. But it fits his needed premise about Eve.

Paula Fether

Lin, good point about disagreement among teachers, even within an ideology, about arguing from silence. And of course you’re right, whichever silent "fact" best serves one’s preconceived view seems to be elevated to "thus saith the Lord". And I’m no exception, I’m sure, when it comes to deciding what’s reasonable or obvious on that basis. ;-)

Dee

Hi Paula

20th anniversary! Wow that’s wonderful.Have a great mini-vacation.

I could not help last night to think of the many teachings that sprang from the church developed doctrine of ’original sin’ or the sin nature.Thank you God that it is your Grace and not the teachings of men and women that brings salvation to ALL-who do not resist the Spirit of truth and believe in Jesus...John 16:8-11 and Titus 2:11

Paula Fether

Tanx Dee!

Yes, God is opening up the scriptures in these last days as never before. We have a lot of un-learning to do!

Debbie Kaufman

Paula: Paul’s writings are not difficult to understand. He writes, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Are you saying that we can have a sin free nature? I am asking for clarification.

Then there is 1 John 1;9: IF we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John also says that if we say we do not sin we are a liar.

Adam and Eve did not have a sin nature, sin came into the world because Satan was able to convince them that they could be like God. That was also Satan’s downfall.

We sin, but the purpose of Christ was not to give us a sin free nature, to do so would negate our dependency on God or Christ. We would no longer need God in our minds, which is also sin.

Paula Fether

Debbie: I was referring to Peter’s own statement (2 Peter 3:16) saying that Paul’s writings can be hard to understand.

Our "nature" is simply human; it is the class of being we are. And since I believe that one cannot sin without the capacity to understand right from wrong, then those without this capacity are without sin, because they cannot commit it.

So of course this is not to say that some who know right from wrong never sin; scripture is clear about that. Satan and Adam and Eve all knew very well what God said and disobeyed, and this is exactly what it takes to sin.

So what I’m trying to say is that our "nature" is neither sinful nor sin-free; it’s just sentient, having a free will and available choices. So I would agree that Christ did not come to change us into something non-human (i.e., change our nature), but to make forgiveness possible. We are thus still dependent upon God completely for the possibility of reconciliation. And it does take two to reconcile; one person cannot force another to agree to it. Likewise, God cannot and will not force anyone to reconcile or love Him, as such a relationship would be a sham.

So disbelief in "sin nature" in no way reduces our dependency upon God or our need to live to please Him by repenting of any sin we may commit. We cannot repent of our own nature, which would be to say that we are sorry God made us this way.

Hope that helps. :-)

Words of a Fether » Blog Archive » Regression

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