#4.5 MAN is NOT "BORN in SIN" - QUESTIONS ANSWERED
This bible study uses a Greek Unicode font and is printable.
- Sin Nature Index
- #4.1 REASONS WHY MAN is NOT BORN IN SIN with a SIN NATURE
- #4.2 THE CAUSES of SIN
- #4.3 HOW SIN DWELLS in MAN
- #4.4 HOW SIN ENTERS into MAN
- #4.5 MAN IS NOT "BORN IN SIN" - QUESTIONS ANSWERED
- Introduction 4.5
- #4.51 Adam begat a Son in his own likeness, after his image
- #4.52 I was shaped in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me
- #4.53 The wicked speak lies as soon as they are born
- #4.54 We were born in sins
- #4.55 Sin entered into the world by Adam (Romans 5:12)
- #4.56 We were by nature children of wrath
- #4.57 How are the sins of the fathers passed on to the children?
This bible study has previously given much scriptural evidence to show that a man is not born in sin with a sin nature, but rather he is born into a sinful world and gets corrupted after he is born. It has given scriptural evidence of the causes of sin and shown how sin with its sinful desires dwells in us. Despite all of this there are still those who hold onto certain scriptures which seem to prove the opposite view to them. So this bible study now explains the meaning of the scriptures that people use to prove that we are born in sin.
3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Note: This scripture could be used by some to teach that Adam passed his own spiritual nature on to his son, and that this (so called) "Adamic nature" is passed on to future generations, and so on to us. This is refuted by many examples from scripture:
(1) Cain was Adam's firstborn (Genesis 4:1), who was wicked. He was refused by God (Genesis 4:5), and he killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8) because his own works were evil. Physically Adam was his father, but spiritually he was "of that wicked one," (1 John 3:12), which is the Devil. Abel was Adam's second son (Genesis 4:2), and he was a righteous man of faith (Hebrews 11:4; 1 John 3:12). Both of these had the same father and mother, but had totally opposite spiritual natures, so how could they have inherited them from their parents?
(2) Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:24-26). Esau despised spiritual things such as his birthright, but Jacob treasured them (Genesis 25:29-34), and so opposite were their spiritual natures that God said about them, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." (Romans 9:13; Malachi 1:2-3). Two sons, born of the same parents, conceived at the same time and born at the same time, but so different spiritually. How could their spiritual natures be passed on from their parents?
(3) Samuel was a very Godly man who judged Israel, but his two sons were so wicked that the Israelites chose to have a king contrary to the will of God rather than have Samuel's sons to judge them (1 Samuel 8). How could such a godly man produce such wicked sons if the spiritual nature came from the father? When man reproduces, he also reproduces in his own likeness and image, but this refers to the physical likeness and image, not the spiritual one (See #4.56). The color of the skin, hair, and eyes of a child, for example, depends on the genetic make up of those things in the parents. God has ordained, every living physical thing reproduces after its own kind, including plants and trees (Genesis 1:11-12), birds and fish (Genesis 1:21-22), animals (Genesis 1:25), and man (Genesis 5:3). Jesus explained it like this:
(John 3:6) "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit."
PSALMS 51:5 (David)
5 Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin my mother conceived me.
Note: This must be one of the most misquoted scriptures in the bible. Have you ever heard it said, "I was born in sin, and shaped in iniquity"? That is not what this scripture says. It does say, "I was shaped in iniquity;" but that does not refer to our spirit being shaped in the womb, it refers to the shaping of our spirit after we are born, starting with what we hear (Proverbs 22:7; 23:12; 23:19; Ezekiel 3:10; Mark 4:15 etc.), and what we see (Deuteronomy 6:6-8; 11:18; Proverbs 4:20-23; 23:26). Our spirit is given to us by God (Ecclesiastes 12:7), because we are created in his image (Genesis 1:27; Psalm 102:18; Isaiah 43:7; 54:16; Malachi 2:10). He is called "the Father of Spirits" (Hebrews 12:9), and "his work is perfect" (Deuteronomy 32:4). He couldn't create us corrupt, because his word denies it:
(Matthew 7:17-18) "Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
What does it mean when it says, "in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5)? It means what it says, that his mother was a sinner when he was conceived. It does not say that he was "born in sin," or born with an "Adamic nature", even though that is the way many interpret it. It does not say that his mother's sinfulness was passed on to him when he was conceived either, although some may wish to interpret it that way. There is no scriptural proof in Psalm 51:5 that we are born with a sin nature.
PSALMS 58:3 (David)
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
8 Yes, you did not hear; yes, you did not know; yes, from long ago your ear was not opened: for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb.
Note: Does this refer to physical birth or spiritual birth? Have you ever heard a child tell a lie before he is one year old? No? Why not? The answer is simple, they haven't learned to speak at that age, and until they do they cannot tell lies. When they learn to speak, they tell lies in a language that they have learned. The sin of lying is a learned sin.
(Isaiah 9:15) "And a prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail."
(Jeremiah 9:5) "They have taught their tongues to speak lies,"
Therefore the conclusion is that this scripture refers to someone in a sense of being spiritually born: "He who commits sin is of the Devil;" (1 John 3:9). The Devil is "a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44) and we must be born of him to speak lies. When we let the Devil sow his seed in our heart, that is, the knowledge of good and evil, we become born of him. There is no proof in Psalm 58:3 that babies are born with a sin nature.
JOHN 9:34 (The Pharisees and Jews)
34 They answered and said to him, You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us? And they cast him out.
Note: When Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:7), those who were with him took the healed man to the Pharisees (John 9:13), which led to a dispute because Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath day (John 9:14-16). When the man defended Jesus, he was eventually cast out of the temple, and the remark, "You were altogether born in sins," (John 9:34) was made by the Jews or Pharisees to the man who had been healed. Some people could try to use this verse to support their teaching that man is born in sin, having a sinful nature that has been inherited from Adam, but they would not be justified to do so. If we look carefully, we can see that the same people who made this statement also said, "we know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner." (John 9:24), and this is totally contrary to scripture (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). So we have evidence that these Jews were blatant liars, and thus their words cannot be used with any confidence whatever. To establish a teaching that man is born with a sinful nature, based on this scripture (John 9:34), which are the words of deceived people, would therefore be foolish. Evidently, the same deceiving spirits, who were blinding the minds of the Pharisees in those days are still working on some Christians today.
ROMANS 5:12 (Paul) (KJV)
12 Therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon1 all men, for that2 all have sinned.
ROMANS 5:12 (Paul) (NKJV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin; and thus death spread to1 all men, because2 all sinned.
ROMANS 5:12 (Paul) (RPT)
12 Because of this, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, so death passed into1 all men, upon which2 all sinned.
Note: This scripture is sometimes interpreted to mean that through one man, namely Adam, sin
entered into the world (meaning people), and it is assumed that this happens at conception, when a sinful nature, inherited from Adam, is passed down
from parent to child. This is adding a lot to what Paul actually said here, because a sinful nature is not mentioned, nor conception, nor the timing of
when death passed into men. So in order to see what Paul meant, let us examine the meaning of some of the words used in Greek. The word translated
upon1 (KJV), to1 (NKJV) and
into1 (RPT) is the Greek word εἰς (Gtr. eis, Strong's 1519). It occurs 1773 times in the New Testament and is variously
translated "into" (573x), "to" (281x), "unto" (207x), "for" (140x), "in" (138x), "on" (58x) etc. It is mostly translated "into" when used with a verb of motion,
and that is the case here.
The prepositional phrase translated for that2 (KJV), because2 (NKJV) and upon which2 (RPT) (Gr. ἐφ᾽ ᾧ, Gtr. eph hō) is made up of two words, the first being the preposition ἐπὶ (Gtr. epi), and the second being the relative pronoun ᾧ (Gtr. hō) in the dative case. Technically "hō" could be masculine or neuter, and means "who", "which", or "that" according to context. In the KJV, the preposition "epi" in the dative case is variously translated "in" (53x), "at" (26x), "for" (19x), "upon" (18x), "on" (12x), "over" (11x), etc. It is also translated "by" 8 times (Matthew 4:4 (2x); Luke 4:4 (2x); John 5:2; Romans 10:19 (2x); Philippians 3:9), an instrumental sense, which is used whenever it is required to express the means by which something is done. In this case the relative pronoun "hō" refers back to "death" (Gr. θάνατος, Gtr. ho thanatos) which is masculine gender. There are a variety of possible interpretations, including "in which", "upon/on which basis", "by which", and "because of which", "in that", "upon that", "by that", or "because of that". However, the meaning, which fits all of them is that when spiritual death entered into men, that spiritual death caused all of them to sin. Many other verses show that sin is also the cause of spiritual death:
(Genesis 2:17) "in the day that you eat of it
you shall surely die."
(Ezekiel 18:4) "the soul who sins, he shall die."
(Ezekiel 18:20) "The soul who sins, he shall die."
(Romans 5:21) "sin has reigned to death,"
(Romans 6:23) "For the wages of sin is death;"
(James 1:15) "and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death."
This is how the law of sin and death works: spiritual death produces sin, and sin produces spiritual death. So when Adam sinned, he let the knowledge of good and evil (which causes sin) into the world, and therefore sin entered the world. When men learned evil they spiritually fed themselves to produce spiritual death in them. This spiritual death caused men to sin, and that is what this scripture is telling us. To try to make it mean more than this, and to use it to prove that we are born with a sinful nature, is a failure to have rightly divided the word of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
EPHESIANS 2:1-3 (Paul)
1 And you he has made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 In which in time past you walked according to the age of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature1 the children of wrath, even as others.
Note: Some would interpret this scripture to show that we are "children of wrath" because of the "sin nature" that we are born with, but it proves no such thing. The word translated by nature1 (Gr. φύσει, Gtr. phusei) is the dative case of the noun φύσις (Gtr. phusis). It refers to something which is natural, or happens naturally. It can mean something that comes through birth, such as being a Gentile, "the uncircumcision by nature" (Romans 2:27 KJV), but also something which happens naturally, "the males having left the natural use of the female" (Romans 1:27). The same Greek word "phusei" in the dative case is used by Paul elsewhere:
(Romans 2:14-15) "For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things
contained in the law, these, who do not have the law, are a law to themselves:
Which shows the work of the law written in their hearts."
Here Gentiles are doing "by nature" that which is right in the sight of God. So if it referred to what they were inherently born with, it would totally contradict the idea of being born with a "sin nature". What made them do right was what was written in their hearts, which is something that is learned after birth. It agrees with what we are teaching here, that men learn sin naturally after they are born, because they are born into a world full of the knowledge of evil. The evil that is planted in them then causes them to do evil. There is no proof in Ephesians 2:3 that we are born with a sin nature.
EXODUS 20:5 (God)
5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I Yahweh your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me;
9 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I Yahweh your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
18 You show mercy to thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, Yahweh of hosts is his name.
16 O Lord, according to all your righteousness, I beseech you, let your anger and your fury be turned away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people are a reproach to all who are about us.
(Deuteronomy 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."
(2 Kings 14:6 About Amaziah) "But the children of the murderers he did not execute: according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, in which the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."
(2 Chronicles 25:4 About Amaziah) "But he did not execute their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where Yahweh commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin."
(Jeremiah 31:29-30) "In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man who eats the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."
(Ezekiel 18:20) "The soul that sins 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."
If we consider that "All scripture is inspired by God" (2 Timothy 3:16) and God does not contradict himself, then how do we understand this? Look at this scripture.
(Nehemiah 8:8) "So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading."
There is a sense in which both sets of scriptures are true at the same time, and that is what needs to be understood. On the one hand, the penalty
for the sins of the father is not passed on to the sons as the above scriptures show. If the father commits murder the son is not guilty of murder in the
sight of God (Ezekiel 18). On the other hand, if we consider that the iniquity of the father is visited on the children to the third and fourth generation
then we need to ask, "How can it be passed down from Adam?" If this was a sinful nature passed down from Adam it would not stop at
the third or fourth generation but would continue indefinitely, so it cannot be that.
There are two ways in which the sins of the father can be visited upon the children:
(1) The fathers can teach their children to sin; "your vain conduct received by tradition from your fathers." (1 Peter 1:18) proves it. So the children sin because they have learned to do it. Parents are role models for their children often copying what their parents say or do. If parents give a bad example, such as worshipping false Gods (Exodus 20:5, Deuteronomy 5:9), it can easily be passed on to their children, and those children can pass it on to their children. This can be stopped when a child sees the parent's example is bad and decides not to follow their example (Ezekiel 18). Then the chain of sin is broken and the consequences not passed down further.
(2) The consequences of the sins of the father can be passed down to future generations. For example, my grandfather was killed in a fight when my father was 2 years old. There was no welfare state then and he was brought up in great poverty with no father for a role model. What kind of father did he become? He was my role model for a father and gave me a bad example which I learned from. Consequently I was not a very good father when I became one, and so it is passed on. This does not always stop at the fourth generation. The obvious example is that when Adam sinned after creation and let the knowledge of good and evil into this world, the consequences of that are with us to this day.
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