In this article I will be taking on the topic of original sin. As Christians our primary focus should always be Christ. We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law and this faith is a gift from God. The reason we must have faith is because of sin. I will attempt to lay out the different types of sin, original and actual.
Actual sin is a breaking of God’s law found in the ten commandments. This is done in thought, word, and deed. By what we have done and by what we have left undone. When we sin as Christians, we eventually feel guilty. This guilt is a good thing brought on by the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance.
“7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:7-14 ESV
What is Original Sin?
Original sin is a corrupted nature that is inherited by our original parents, Adam and Eve, When they disobeyed God and ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, throwing the whole universe into a desperate state of despair and an inclined will of evil. When this occurred, God in his mercy acted and immediately promised a savior.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 ESV
Original sin is the state that every single person since Adam is born into, hostile towards God and hating him by nature.
“21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” Col 2:1-21-22 ESV
“1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:1-3 ESV
There is no biblical text for an age of accountability or any other text for that matter that would leave anybody innocent in the sight of God without faith. We are born dead in trespasses and sins and we cannot make ourselves alive anymore than we can control weather.
So what does scripture teach us about all mankind and sin since Adam?
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psa 51:5 ESV
“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” Rom 5:12-16 ESV
Notice above the correlation between sin and death. If one were to assert an age of accountability, it would also follow that nobody would die before the age of accountability. We know that babies and small children are born in sin though, if for no other reason than because they can and sadly do die.
“22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:22-24 ESV
“22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22 ESV
Notice it says that “all die” at the point of Adam. Not everyone was even born yet at this point yet all were condemned.
So we can conclude from scripture that we are by nature born children of wrath and hostile towards God in original sin. We believe, teach, and confess that Christ has died for all and that God grants faith through word and sacrament. We know infants can have faith and that God desires all to be saved.
“41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Luke 1:41-42 ESV
Here we have an infant ( John the Baptist) leaping in the womb at the unborn Christ. Faith is always accompanied by works as a fruit of the Holy Spirit and John has this from the word being preached, responding with faith.
“16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. ” Luke 18:16 ESV
Here we have the command of Christ telling us to bring the children, with no age restrictions, to hear his word and to be granted faith.
Original sin and death is what we inherited from Adam. The wages of sin is death and we see death often. If people did not inherit original sin there would be no death. My advice is to always trust scripture alone. If you are pregnant, get to Church, read your bible out loud, and have your child baptized. Baptism is all grace and a covering of Christ righteousness as a gift from God, but I will save that for another time. The peace of Christ be with you all.
You have stated: “Actual sin is a breaking of God’s law found in the ten commandments.” And yet, Armchair Theologian has gone to great lengths to illustrate that the 10 commandments are part of the old covenant that no longer applies. Which includes the 7th day sabbath. So, by your statement in this post, then the 7th day sabbath does still apply, and to break it by “thought, word, or deed is a sin.” Consistency would be appreciated, here.
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Good observation! Lutherans do not catechize (teach) the Ten Commandments from the Old Covenant, they assemble them from the New. Thus, the term ten commandments is more of a Church Tradition than it is anything else. General ignorance on this has created a breeding ground for cults in the 19th century and today. I am going to recommend a few links for you….
1) The Ten Commandments
The above link is a post that I did on the ten commandments from a Lutheran perspective. Believe it or not this was one of the most appealing teachings of Lutheranism for me. Unlike the Calvinists and Roman Catholics, Lutherans are really the only ones who get this right. They teach the ten from the teachings of the apostles, they just assemble them according to Augustinian Tradition. Keep in mind, Orthodox Lutherans are cool with tradition so long as it is held in total submission to the teachings of scripture and is still edifying and faith building.
2) The Large Catechism
I highly recommend that after you read my post on the ten commandments, you take a look at the Large Catechism on the Third Commandment. I know you think it’s funny that I’m saying the third, when you read my post on the ten you will understand why. What you were told about Rome changing the commandments isn’t actually accurate, if you don’t believe me look up exodus 20 in the Latin Vulgate and see for yourself. That’s irrelevant though as Augustine predates the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
To summarize, the Augustinian Tradition is simply one of three ways of counting the ten commandments today. When you read it you will see that Luther teaches the Sabbath command from a new covenant context. In the new covenant there is no seventh day Sabbath. You will see that Luther teaches we must not despise the Word of God or the preaching of it. In the new covenant, the reason we go to church is to receive the preaching of the Gospel (Rom 10:17). That can be on Wednesday if you want, but traditionally the Church has always met on sunday and there is nothing wrong with that.
He is the only one from his time in the reformation that got this right. If you compare it to a contemporary, the Westminster Larger Catechism (Calvinism) you will see that they butchered the ten commandments very badly. Much of SDA error comes from this teaching as it fails to pass the test of time. This is one of the reasons why you haven’t seen cults spawn off of Lutheranism like has been the case with other traditions over the past 500 years.
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This is one of those topics that seem to get the most attention from people when you disagree that the guilt of Adam is passed on to the children. I know because I share my own article on facebook and it gets shared like wildfire with most people so upset!
You are correct in your first definition of original sin. It is indeed the nature of a man to fall into sin. But there are two definitions that people actually use. The first one is the one you gave which is true. The second one says that not only is it the nature of a man to fall into sin but man is born already GUILTY of sin.
I do not believe the second definition to be true.
I do get called a lot of harsh things and accused of a lot. But nevertheless I feel it is important to share these things. One thing I would like to mention is that it isn’t necessarily the guilt of Adams sin that causes death to happen to others. I believe it is actually an EFFECT of the sin of Adam which brought death into the world.
Thus the innocent suffer from the effects of the unrighteous much like a victim of murder. The victim doesn’t carry the guilt of the murderer but the sin of the murderer certainly EFFECTS the victim.
All I can say is that I have seen no clear Biblical reason is to separate guilt from effect. In my experience people want me to accept that philosophically or as a component to their systematic theology. So I simply refuse, with respect of course.
If you are aware of a clear passage making that distinction please do share it though. I don’t want to come off as rude or cocky.
Please don’t take offense in the delay of your comment posting. I get a lot of trolls due to the nature of my content which is why I screen all the comments. If you check out my work on seventh day adventism the reason should be clear. 😛
Actually since I posted the comment last night you were very quick to get to it. Thanks for that.
Of course I don’t take anything as disrespectful and I intend none myself either. I just wanted to share this information is all. You asked me to share any clear passage that would show that the guilt and the effect of sin are different. So I will go ahead and share some already listed on my page.
Ezekiel 18:1-20 But specifically 17-20
17 That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. 18 As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity. 19 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
God states clearly here that the son does not bear the iniquity of the father. In other words God is saying the guilt of the fathers sin does not get passed down to the son. The passage shows that it is only the PERSONAL sins or righteousness that cause a person to be wicked or righteous.
Here is another passage:
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.
Again, here God shows that He considers it wrong to place the guilt of someone else’s sin on another. Thus the child does not bear the sentence of death for the sin of the father.
I also addressed the issue of Psalm 51:5 on the page, but here it is as well:
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
And here is the quote from my page: “This does not however say that he bears the guilt of his mothers sin, nor does it say that he was created with guilt already assigned to him. Being shaped in iniquity simply shows that he came from a line of immoral events, not that he himself was guilty or seen as guilty for those things.”
Also take note of Psalm 106:38:
38 And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.
Though the fathers were guilty of sin the children are called innocent. Yet the effect of the sins of the fathers was for the innocent to be killed. So even here there is a distinction between guilt and effect.
And of course if you see my page as well as the FAQ and Objections Page you will find more information.
Thanks for letting me share this with you and your readers. As I said, there is no disrespect intended and I am not posting this as a challenge. I am just trying to share why I believe what I do, just as you have also done. And bravo by the way for being willing to share with others what you believe, right or wrong. I know the fear of being wrong stopped me from teaching for a long time.
To explain why I removed your link, it’s because I genuinely believe what you’re teaching is heresy. I can’t in good conscience link to that article on my page. I did allow your other link through though on a different topic.
My understanding is that you’re using texts regarding civil punishments in the Torah, and apocalyptic texts on the same subject matter to apply to the nature of Man? Well I think this is a mistake and here is why.
If I believe that then I have to accept that the Bible contradicts itself and is not the Word of God. My only other alternative would be to bend either the Civil punishments or Pauls teachings to one hermeneutic or the other like you seemed to do.
This isn’t necessary though as none of those passages are teaching eternal consequences, but civil ones.
Speaking of Civil punishments I would agree that we shouldn’t put people in Jail or execute them for the sins of their Parents, even in a modern context. However, when it comes to the nature of man this distinction simply doesn’t apply. First of all, the Old Covenant Torah is lock stock and barrel obsolete today (Heb 8:13). So I wouldn’t even apply it in a Civil, Moral, or Ceremonial sense at all.
Secondly, Paul is clear that we are by nature creatures of wrath (eph 2:3). How could our nature be the subject of the wrath of God in a guiltless fashion?
Also, how would you understand “shapen in iniquity” as circumstances surrounding one’s birth? Would it not be more natural to read “shapen” as the growth of the Baby in the womb itself as they are knit together?
In my opinion you are pitting scripture against scripture in a polemic fashion rather than reading and believing all clear texts at face value, and this ultimately I think is the fundamental difference in our approach.
To make my point allow me to ask another question.
If you apply the passages you quoted to the nature of man how do you reconcile that hermeneutic with the atonement? If those passages are somehow teaching the nature of man and imputation of sin rather than civil law as they seem to in context, then would it not also mean that Christ cannot bear the sins of another even though there is clear scripture teaching that he does?
Would you be willing to wrestle with those questions for me? I’m genuinely curious.
In my opinion denying original Sin even for the very young makes a similar mistake as the Roman Catholics do with Mary. Except instead of only one extra sinless person you have billions who died before the age of accountability.
Thanks for the reply. I don’t mind the removal of the link as I do the same with my own site when I believe something to be wrong. So I don’t blame you. I also understand that the view I hold is often seen as heresy. Though I believe the opposite is true. I also certainly believe all scripture must be accepted and that the Bible can not and does not contradict itself.
Let me first address the second issue you bring up. Paul is correct that we are by nature creatures of wrath, of course. I would not and have not said that such nature is something we earn later. Nature means “natural tendencies.” So Paul says our natural tendencies is to commit sin. This natural tendency is inherited by all of us as we are human. But nature and guilt are not the same thing.
By nature I desire sin. As a human who has not always been able to resist that nature I have fallen to it and thus obtained the guilt of committing sin at that point. This is why we are BY NATURAL TENDENCY the children of wrath. Not however, by natural guilt. Our natural tendency leads to sin which leads to guilt which then leads to wrath.
As for the issue with being shaped in iniquity:
David is not saying he was shaped with the GUILT of sin. He is however saying he was shaped in iniquity. The two are different. Iniquity means “immoral or grossly unfair behavior“. It is true that COMMITTING immoral actions brings the GUILT of that action. However, he has not yet committed ANY action in the womb. Thus when he says he was “shaped” in iniquity he is saying he is “shaped as a person who is immoral by NATURE.”
The consequence of Adam’s sin is that David was being created with the NATURE of a man to fall into sin. This nature is not guilty unless it is acted upon. This is why it isn’t a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to fall to temptation. It isn’t a sin to be immoral (notice I did not say GUILTY of immoral ACTIONS) by nature, but it is a sin to act on that nature. Thus unless there is action there is no guilt.
Also, when he says his mother conceived him in sin it is talking about what his MOTHER did and not him. David no doubt knew his mother carried her own guilt of sin and therefore when she conceived him she was currently in sin herself. Again, this does not mean that guilt transferred to him though.
Now for the first objection you mention (civil law):
You do agree that it would be wrong to execute people for their parents sins…why is that? It’s because even God says it is wrong, correct? So God Himself does not believe a child can be held accountable for his parents sin. This is the civil law. But why is it that God would call this wrong while not saying it is wrong to execute people for the sin of Adam?
That in itself would imply that God has a double standard and is therefore not righteous. When you say that this does not apply when it comes to the nature of man (which is to be tempted) it seems as though you are saying that it is ok to execute people for being tempted since being tempted is the nature of man. Again, nature and guilt are different things.
Also, as to the idea that the law is obsolete I would have to disagree on the grounds that the New Covenant took the Old Covenant laws and instead of them being set in stone they are now set in the heart of man.
What God thought was right and wrong back then is still what God calls right and wrong now. Of course there are those who attempt to say otherwise by quoting certain laws such as mixing fabric and such but that doesn’t even have a part to play if you understand the hierarchy of the law.
For example, is it right to save a life on the Sabbath day? What law is above the other? It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath and in doing so you have kept the higher part of the law and not broken the lower part since the lower part is subject to the higher.
I also have a study on that lol, but I think I have shared enough links for you.
None of this contradicts any scripture when the scripture is read without reading things into it that aren’t there. It isn’t the Bible that contradicts itself, it is the Bible that contradicts the doctrine.
For example, the doctrine that we are born with the guilt of the sin of Adam and are therefore sinners at birth means all men are born guilty of sin and in need of a savior. On the surface this seems right. But then, didn’t the scriptures say Jesus was born as a man?
So if He was born as a man like us then He would have been born needing someone to save HIM. There are those who claim this is why He was born of a virgin. But even then the guilt of the sins of Adam would be passed through the mother.
So the only other thing that can be said is that Jesus did not come in the flesh as a man like us. He must have been only half man and half God, but not 100% of either. I am sure you know that this is what the Bible calls the spirit of antichrist. Jesus is 100% both God and flesh.
Thus this doctrine is contradicted by the scriptures that tell us Jesus was without spot and without sin. He had no guilt.
I would also like to address your question to me. To be honest I’m having a hard time trying to understand what you mean by it. Are you saying that the problem here is that since the guilt of the father can not be taken on by the child that the righteousness of Jesus also can not be taken on by the Christian?
If so here is my answer: When a man sins he becomes guilty of that sin and therefore must die. However, if atonement is made the man can be forgiven of his sin. This happens because the atonement takes the place of that man and receives his death. Thus the man has paid his death debt through the atonement and is now clean and free of guilt as those sins debts are washed away.
Since Jesus had no debt of death (as He had no sin) He was able to take our death upon Himself and therefore cleans us of the debt of our sins. We are made righteous by His payment, not by His being sinless alone. Because if He was sinless and yet did not offer Himself as payment then His righteousness would only have been His alone. Since He did however offer Himself to cleans us from unrighteousness there is atonement because of BOTH His sinless life which qualified Him to be the atonement AND the death He took at the cross in our place.
So it isn’t as simple as you be righteous for you and I will be righteous for me when it comes to Jesus since He was righteous for ALL of us and gave Himself for ALL of us. This is why God does not impute sin to those in Christ. It is because He was righteous FOR us. It wasn’t like Adam who was unrighteous FOR HIMSELF. Thus the work Jesus did is greater than the work Adam did.
Either way though we can not become guilty unless we PERSONALLY sin and we can not become righteous unless we PERSONALLY repent and take our sins to Jesus in order to be made clean.
Now, again I want you to know I didn’t write all of this out of anything but the desire to share it with you. I know it may sound bad since I am in opposition to your view. This however does not mean I am in opposition to you yourself. In fact I am very glad to have made your acquaintance and believe you are doing the right thing by defending your view.
Since I have shared a lot already I think I will just leave it at this if that’s ok with you. If you have more questions let me know, but I am ok with it if we just put it on the shelf for now and ask God to guide both of us since we are both human and HE is the one who has the final word on truth.
Thank you very much for your understanding with regards to the link.
I understand that you claim the same confession that scripture does not contradict itself, but with respect, in order to not make it contradict you appear to bend scripture and twist it against itself via a systematic theology rather than accept it at face value. This is what I was actually getting at. I’ll give an example in the next paragraph.
Addressing your second paragraph, Paul doesn’t say “natural tendencies” he says “by nature”. I simply take that at face value, he is plainly speaking about man in an ontological sense. This is made stronger by the term “children of wrath” that comes next. Is wrath bearing upon those with potential tendencies or those actually guilty? It makes no distinction thus the guilt applies to all. To agree with you I feel I have to cut what is in my bible out and replace it with different words. Make sense?
With respect, I think my initial argument stands with Psalms 51:5. It is clear that David is speaking of Sin shapen into the very formation of man on an ontological level in the womb. With your explaination I feel I must again change words around and eisegete a distinction between guilt and acts. I simply refuse to do that so here is where we stand.
With regards to the Torah, the Bible simply says it is obsolete. So I believe that and take it at face value. I would make a distinction with Moral Law, which I identify by those taught by the apostles after the Resurrection. I believe that is the only objective way of doing this. Notice in my post on Homosexuality I only appealed to the Torah in a definitive sense rather than a prescriptive one, and I demonstrated apostolic teaching to remain consistent. Thus I disagree that the Torah is written on our hearts, there are clear passages that render it obsolete, instead I would agree with Paul that we are under the Law of Christ which he juxtaposes over and against the Law of the Jews as I also do. See this and more in the link below.
You asked why I believe it is wrong to execute someone civily for the sins of their parents. The answer is that the scripture makes a distinction between civil punishment and eschatological punishment and so do I. By our nature we carry the guilt of our lineage and are susceptible to eschatological punishment. By our actions we earn temporal punishment, a Biblical understanding of the three uses of the law might help you out here. I have another post on that if you’re interested.
Putting it simply, according to the first use of the ‘moral’ law I am subject to the nation I live in. According to the second use of the law I am accountable to God and am guilty from the very womb. There is a distinction between the two in purpose, one is ontological and one is for civil purposes. I don’t see this as a double standard, it’s just what the Bible teaches. Your point that this makes God unrighteous isn’t a Biblical point it’s a Philosophical one that requires we interchange Biblical uses of the law and disregard the Biblical nature of man. I philosophically define God’s righteousness by the scripture, this is what the scripture teaches therefore it is righteous.
Your point about the imputation of sin in a virgin birth is moot. The Bible simply doesn’t explain how this was done. It does teach original sin from birth, and it does teach that Christ was sinless. We can only assume that both are true and refrain from speculating where scripture is silent. In my opinion, your speculations here are just as much in error as the Roman Catholics who use the immaculate conception of Mary to philosophically round out this conundrum coming from the other end. When the scripture doesn’t explain how something is we should simply accept mystery, and that is what I do here.
My question regarding the atonement, was since you are removing those passages in the old testament from their context to frame them ontologically rather than civily I am curious how you do not address the rather obvious implications that would be carried over to the great exchange, which is also an ontological transaction. To not have an answer for this, to me, implies that it is something you haven’t thought through. Which is okay but I simply would recommend that you do that or at least address it and confess why you do not speculate as I do with the Mary thing.
I don’t really feel a need to respond to more than that. In the last half you make what I understand to be assertions and conclusions based on your prior points and since I addressed those I don’t see a need to speak to everything else.
At the end of the day though, I genuinely do believe that our disagreement is due to a dramatically different approach to scripture. In my assessment, you are bending texts magisterially rather than submitting to them, and you are governing the New Testament with the Old rather than the other way around. I’ll let the reader make up their own mind. God Bless.
You said “I genuinely do believe that our disagreement is due to a dramatically different approach to scripture.” and I believe you are correct in this. In my more unskilled days I would have probably called you a heretic and fought tooth and nail over it lol. But the truth is that we are both human and obviously we are coming at this from different ways of understanding.
For example, I don’t understand why you make the claim that saying the guilt of a man’s sin is not passed on to his son somehow contradicts what the Bible says about atonement. The only thing I could assume is that we may also have a different understanding of the process of atonement as well. Or if you could rephrase the question and perhaps give an example of your meaning then I could better address it?
By the way, I would also like to ask one other question. You said you feel as though you have to change the words in the Bible to make it say what I am telling you. Words themselves are a way to communicate a thought. So it isn’t the word itself, it is the definition of the word (what it means) that we are trying to understand. With nature the definition (thought being communicated) is: the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it. Which means our basic or inherent feature is to be immoral. With immoral also being defined as iniquity. So if we are going to be redefining words then there is no point to words anyway. You said you take it at face value…what is the face value definition of the word? Your definition seems to be different than mine, and the dictionary.
You don’t get to import meaning into the text that isn’t conveyed by the author. Based on your last comment I feel that you consider that you have the authority to do so. And you didn’t address my point on Eph 2:3 either. How can one be under the wrath of God without being guilty? And if one is under the wrath of God without guilt then you are saying the Wrath of God is less than eternal. At least that is how I am understanding you.
With regards to the atonement, you are saying that guilt cannot be passed in an ontological nature from one generation to the next. So the logical question is, how are you believing that our guilt CAN be passed to Christ though it is not something he committed? It seems as if you are saying guilt can and cannot be transferred when it suites you and it is this inconsistency I am calling you out on that’s all.
When I say that we have a fundamentally different approach I do not mean to imply that they are equal ways of discerning truth. With respect, I believe your approach is dangerous and can lead to grave heresy, your technique is similar to those developed during the so called “great awakening” and is anachronistic to Christian history. Let me give you a few examples so you see what I mean.
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. ; 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Col 2:16-17 ESV
“One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Romans 14:5 ESV
Seventh Day Adventists will tell you that the passages above are not talking about the weekly sabbath. And they will make the same appeal to language that you do, thus putting forth that it can be bent to one’s hermeneutic as seen fit. With this approach you might as well be an SDA, or a Mormon, or Jehovah’s Witness, or all of them. After all, language is not governed by context, genre, or the authors intent.
You assert based on nothing that Paul means “natural tendencies” even though it is plain he is referencing the guilt of man under the wrath of God in an ontological sense, which categorically excludes natural tendencies as you convey it. I can only assume you must do this otherwise your hermenuetic falls apart. Also, you assume based on nothing that Ezekiel and Deut, when speaking to temporal civil punishment implies or teaches an overriding Biblical principle that can be applied or disregarded as desired even though it’s only narrowly applied in the text, restated, you seem to create a category not conveyed in the text and apply your meaning to it. This is the same thing that those who advocate Homosexuality do to Romans 1 and others, a topic we both agree on. As you have seen, they do the opposite by taking a broad ontological text and narrowing it to specific civil/ceremonial issues. On principle though it is the same error. So again I call you out on the inconsistency.
Why do you feel you have the license to do this? Or were you simply unaware of the inconsistency? That would be fair so I should at least mention it.
Taking your technique and spreading it out over the canon of scripture, I must ask how you hold to doctrines like the Trinity, Deity of Christ, the Gospel, Sola Fide, etc if words can be bent around and concepts eisegeted any time you desire? Logically you could not be dogmatic about such things, the distinctions between singluar being and three persons of God could not be made with such a loose approach. Furthermore, how can you call any belief heretical if words can mean anything anyone wants them to?
With respect, when reading your comments I have seen a lot of terms such as “I think” and “I feel” and “I believe” but you don’t seem to keep yourself bound to the Word. Rather you base further assumptions on those already made abstract the Word. And when you do approach the text you take it out of context, as I pointed out earlier with applying the civil to the ontological, and you import meaning that the author didn’t convey. That is my observation anyways, I have stated this as many was as I can and from here I feel the reader can make up their own mind.
Another question that I forgot to bring up earlier.
How can 1 Cor 15:22 apply to “all” in your hermenuetic when not all were even born yet at the time of the fall? To be consistent you would have to say that Adam died guiltless too as all are receiving the same death as in and in him. There is no reason in the text to read it any other way.
“22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22 ESV
Are you saying “not all” died? The Bible says “all died” so I am going to go with that.
One more question, how can the effects of sin cause the punishments of sin without necessitating the guilt of sin? This is more of a philosophical question but I would like to see you approach it. Why would God punish in death one that is sinless? Please demonstrate a text teaching on the ontological nature of man that presents the same thesis that you do. I would genuinely like to see one. For by your presentation one must be sinless who dies at a tender age yet by dying they are experiencing a punishment of sin without the guilt of it. Basically, I am saying you cannot remove a fallen ontological guilt and keep the effects. Bibilically I see the two as interconnected for to separate them removes any real meaning from both.
Thanks for hearing me out, and thank’s for tolerating a refreshing frank discussion. So many these days tip toe around feelings and it is nice to be able to speak to each other plainly as men. I look forward to your reply and I also understand if you are busy and want to step away.
Thank you again as well. I’m glad we can do this without thinking ill of each other and I believe you like myself are willing to believe truth even if it means changing what we already believe. That makes this so much the better because I believe in the end there is a good possibility that one of us (whoever it is) can learn something.
I would very much like to answer all of the questions you bring up and yes, they are good and valid questions for which I have answers to. But I think there is a need to go back to some very basic things for both of us. So before I answer those questions would you please speak with me about a few other things so that we can lay the ground work? I just want to make sure we can at least start off on the same page and then move to the next to see where we begin to differ.
My first 2 questions for you is this: How do you define the word nature? I’m not talking about the nature of man, I mean the word nature itself. Also, how do you define the word guilt?
In the verses I have been referencing I am using the word nature like the apostles do. Specifically, with regards to Ontology:
Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence or reality as well as the basic categories of being and their relations.
The reason I believe that Paul is using the word “nature” in this manner is the surrounding context.
“among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:3 ESV
Notice that “by nature” is qualified by “children of wrath”. Thus, all that are by nature are receiving eternal Wrath. If this was just a predisposition for sin then you would have to believe that those who have not sinned, and according to your view, are guiltless are still under the Wrath of God.
Also notice that it says “the rest of mankind”. The rest of mankind is not some of mankind, it is an inclusive statement not an exclusive one. Thus the wrath of God is upon mankind as a whole, even those who are not yet saved. It is only the people being spoken to, who are in Christ, that Paul is exempting from this. He doesn’t offer up a third category of those beneath the age of accountability for example.
I also am defining guilt in the same manner that the apostles do, which is implied by Wrath which we are under due to our nature. In Ephesians 2:3 I see guilt as an implication of Wrath, which in this case is something that applies to our nature and is passed down from Adam to us (1 Cor 15:22). In this verse I believe that “all” means “all” and I never define that as less than “all”. Does that make sense?
When speaking in a Civil sense I would not use the term nature at all. So defining it is irrelevant when speaking of temporal Civil consequences. I have seen no passage where an apostle uses the term nature in a civil context (first use of the law). In a first uses category guilt would only apply to actual sin, that is, sin committed by the one who is guilty.
To change my mind I would need to see clear scripture teaching the distinction between guilt and effects in an ontological sense. I would also need to see it demonstrated that your belief can be found in every generation of Christian history. Remember, you are confessing the Pelagian heresy. Correct me if I am wrong, but Christ said that his Church would not be overcome so I would need to see proof that you’re not outside of that. Make sense?
When you can please answer my questions.
Thanks, I know there has been a lot said already. The reason though that I asked those specific questions is because I believe this is where we begin to differ. You did not actually define the word nature here. You defined Ontology. So I would again ask for a quick few sentences to define nature. Think like the dictionary definition.
I also noticed your definition of guilt is “an implication of wrath“. So in other words it seems as though you define guilt as being under wrath rather than the dictionary definition. Am I correct? Or would you like to give a clear few sentences on that as well like the dictionary to define it?
I’m just trying to be sure there is no language barrier here. I will of course answer your other questions soon, but if there is a language barrier we have to get through that first. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but no one will understand you if you say the garbage smells wonderful. I may not respond too quickly the next time. I have a lot on my plate right now. But I will respond.
I think I am going to have to cut off this conversation here friend. I won’t give you an abstract definition to pick apart and eisegete. I define these terms by how they are used in the text. Definitions in a dictionary change over time.
I think we are done. God Bless.
Amen,be blessed too
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