Do Jews Believe In Original Sin?


Do Jews believe in original sin?




Interesting read. I was wondering that as well.


No. we do not believe in original sin.


Only Christians believe in Original sin. I don’t know why because the Bible as it is today says that we do not bare the punishment of the sins of anyone.

Ezekiel 18:20:

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.

#6 is one of the main sites where i get my information about Jews. and to learn about Noahidism



Volume 4, Book 55, Number 611:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Were it not for Bani Israel, meat would not decay; and were it not for Eve, no woman would ever betray her husband."

Volume 8, Book 77, Number 611:

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, “Adam and Moses argued with each other. Moses said to Adam. **‘O Adam! You are our father who disappointed us and turned us out of Paradise.’ **Then Adam said to him, ‘O Moses! Allah favored you with His talk (talked to you directly) and He wrote (the Torah) for you with His Own Hand. Do you blame me for action which Allah had written in my fate forty years before my creation?’ So Adam confuted Moses, Adam confuted Moses,” the Prophet added, repeating the Statement three times.

Malik Muwatta

Book 46, Number 46.1.1:

Yahya related to me from Malik from Abu’z-Zinad from al-Araj from Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Adam and Musa argued and Adam got the better of Musa. Musa rebuked Adam, 'You are Adam who led people astray and brought them out of the Garden.’ Adam said to him, ‘You are Musa to whom Allah gave knowledge of everything and whom he chose above people with His message.’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Do you then censure me for a matter which was decreed for me before I was created?’ "

there are many other ahadith but these 2 suffice


It seems to me that some Alexandrian Jews did believe in someting very much like original sin. Furthermore, many cultures did have some kind of primal transgression so to speak.

The effects may differ, but all these seem to nonetheless build on a common theme which existed well before Christianity was incarnated on earth through Christ our Lord.


where did christianity come up with original sin if it wasn’t part of jewish culture. What were we saved from then as the jews that followed Jesus understood it?


I don’t know when the concept of original sin entered christianity. Is there anything in the Gospel regarding this? Did Jesus even speak of it?


the original sin concepts is in the OT…one can quote a hundred verse talking about the sinful nature of human kind, even conceived in sin.

Wis., ii, 24: “But by the envy of the devil death came into the world”.

Ps.58:3: “the wicked go astray from the womb, they err from their birth speaking lies. Ps.51:5 David claimed that he was conceived in iniquity.”

“What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?” (Job 15:14) Job 25:4: “How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?”

Psalm 51:5 states that we all come into the world as sinners: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.”

Genesis 8:21 declares, "…the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.

In Psalm 14:2, 3 we read: “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.”

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!" Job 15:16

Jeremiah 17:9 says that “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it.”

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2)

There are a hundred other verse talking about the corrupt nature of humans.

Samuel Cohon, former professor of theology and liturgy at Hebrew Union College, explained the changing nature of Jewish views of sin in the early centuries:

About the time of the beginning of Christianity three main conceptions of sin struggled for recognition in Judaism. The first regarded corruption of the race as hereditary. The second vaguely asserted as connection between Adam’s sin and his posterity’s liability to punishment, without defining the exact nature of the connection. The third view considered all sin as the fruit of man’s own action.


Yes Jesus talked as well about the wickedness of human hearts. Paul elaborated on it, that is he gave it a theological interpretation. John as well if not mistaken talked about it.


Excellent post. :slight_smile:


Orthodox Jews of today may not believe in the Christian concept of Original Sin, but it is surely found throughout the OT. If there was no Original Sin in the OT, God wouldn’t have had to destroy the whole world except for Noah and his family during the Great Flood. The Great Flood of the OT is sort of an analogy of the Christian baptism.


That’s not the concept of Original Sin. Original Sin just states that the human soul is stained by original sin, thus making us culpable to death. We don’t believe however that a person can be judged for Adam’s sin, just one’s own sin.


The CCC on Original Sin:

How is this different from what the Scriptures state?


The concept is in Judaism, it’s just not present under the title “Original Sin”, nor does it necessarily carry the same implications.

In traditional Judaism, what Catholics call Original Sin is dealt with by the Yetzer hara (bad inclination) and the Yetzer hatov (good inclination). Some prominent rabbis taught that in Adam the two were balanced, allowing us to choose good or evil without internal interference, but after Adam’s sin the Yetzer hara came to have pre-eminence in Adam and his descendents.

This parallels the Latin Catholic teaching on Original Sin, that in Adam there were two appetites, the intellectual and the concupisciple, with the intellectual drawn to “higher” things such as God and ideas, and the lower drawn to the animal needs like hunger and also governing lower impulses. In sinning, in putting his lesser impulse over his higher, he became disordered and so did his descendents.

The aspect of Original Sin that deals with the absence of Grace is not present in Judaism so far as I know, but then the entire Catholic concept of Grace is absent from Judaism to my knowledge. Having a share in the Divine Life was not a teaching that was really possible before Jesus, so it’s not suprising that such a difference exists. Without a concept of the Divine taking on human flesh, there’s no way to really have the Catholic understanding of Grace (though certain Protestant conceptions would be compatible).

Peace and God bless!


2 Esdras is, perhaps, the Jewish book with one of the most “Christian” tones regarding Adam…

For the first Adam, burdened with an evil heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him. Thus the disease became permanent; the law was in the hearts of the people along with the evil root; but what was good departed, and the evil remained.

2 Esdras 3:21-22

Early rabbinic Jewish statements in the Mishnah and Talmud show that Satan played little or no role in Jewish theology. In the course of time, however, Judaism absorbed the popular concepts of Satan, which doubtless forced their way gradually from the lower classes to the most cultured.

The later a rabbinic work can be dated the more frequent is the mention therein of Satan and his hosts. The consensus of the Biblical commentators in classical Judaism is that the serpent of the narrative in Genesis was literally a serpent. They however do differ regarding what it represented:

The evil inclinaction (Yetzer HaRa), Satan, or the Angel of Death.

According to the Midrash, before this cunning beast was cursed, it stood erect and was endowed with some faculty of communication.

However, the Palestinian Talmud, completed about 450 CE, is more reticent in this regard; and this is the more noteworthy since its provenience is the same as that of the New Testament.

Likewise, the Babylonian Talmud (Bava Bathra 16a) states that the Evil Inclincation (Yetzer ha-Ra), the Angel of Death and Satan are identical.

In a midrash (Genesis Rabbah 19) Samael, the lord of the satans, was a mighty prince of angels in heaven. Satan came into the world with woman, that is, with Eve (Midrash Yalkut, Genesis 1:23), so that he was created and is not eternal. Like all celestial beings, he flies through the air (Genesis Rabbah 19), and can assume any form, as of a bird (Talmud, Sanhedrin 107a), a stag (ibid, 95a), a woman (ibid, 81a), a beggar, or a young man (Midrash Tanchuma, Wayera, end); he is said to skip (Talmud Pesachim 112b and Megilla. 11b), in allusion to his appearance in the form of a goat.

If this is true, it doesn’t seem outside the scope of the Talmud to conclude that the adversary could assume a serpentine form.

In some works some rabbis hold that Satan is the incarnation of all evil, and his thoughts are devoted to the destruction of man. In this view, Satan, the impulse to evil and the angel of death are one and the same personality. Satan seizes upon even a single word which may be prejudicial to man; so that “one should not open his mouth unto evil,” i.e., “unto Satan” (Talmud Berachot 19a). In times of danger likewise he brings his accusations (Palestinian Talmud, Shabbat 5b).

While he has power over all the works of man (Talmud Berachot 46b), he can not prevail at the same time against two individuals of different nationality; so that Samuel, a noted astronomer, physician and teacher of the Law (died at Nehardea, 247), would start on a journey only when a Gentile traveled with him (Talmud, Shabbat 32a).

Satan’s knowledge is circumscribed; for when the shofar is blown on New-Year’s Day he is “confounded” (Rosh Hashana 16b, Targum Yerushalmi to Numbers 10:10).

On the Day of Atonement his power vanishes; for the numerical value of the letters of his name (gematria and Hebrew numerals) is only 364, one day being thus exempt from his influence (Yoma 20a). If Satan does not attain his purpose, as was the case in his temptation of Job, he feels great sorrow (Bava Bathra 16a); and it was a terrible blow to him, as the representative of moral evil, that the Torah, the incarnation of moral good, should be given to Israel. He endeavored to overthrow it, and finally led the people to make the golden calf (Shabbat 89a, Targum Yerushalmi to Exodus 32:1), while the two tables of the Law were bestowed on Moses of necessity without Satan’s knowledge (Sanhedrin 26b).

One rabbi notes that Satan was an active agent in the fall of man (Midrash Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer 13, beginning), and was the father of Cain (ibid, 21), while he was also instrumental in the offering of Isaac (Midrash Tanchuma, Wayera, 22 [ed. Stettin, p. 39a]), in the release of the animal destined by Esau for his father (ibid, Toledot, 11), in the theophany at Sinai, in the death of Moses (Deuteronomy Rabbah 13:9), in David’s sin with Bath-sheba (Sanhedrin 95a), and in the death of Queen Vashti (Megilla 11a). The decree to destroy all the Jews, which Haman obtained, was written on parchment brought by Satan (Esther Rabba 3:9).

When Alexander the Great reproached the Jewish sages with their rebellion, they made the plea that Satan had been too mighty for them (Tamid 32a).


From what I can tell, Jews do have the concept of Original Sin as Catholics understand it, specifically the part about having a nature prone to evil. I don’t think they call it that, though–not having a word for “sin” in Hebrew, for one thing.

Unless of course God simply willed that we should be predisposed to evil, in which case, frankly, He would be unworthy of our worship. So rather than commit this blasphemy, I suggest Jews make sure they know what we mean by Original Sin. I think the difficulty is A) one of terminology and B) one of misunderstanding what is referred to by that terminology.

It occurs to me also that the Jewish idea, which I don’t believe is universal to all rabbinical tradition, that the Devil is simply following orders, is this same idea, that God is ultimately responsible for evil. I understand that Jewish angelology holds angels don’t have free will, but there’s nothing about it in the Torah or the other Scriptures, is there? In other words, nothing infallible from divine revelation, only the theories of admittedly learned rabbis. And their theories about angels could be just as bad as most of ours.

I have heard it argued that the Devil must be following orders, because no will can act contrary to God’s. There’s an obvious answer to that, though: what about our wills, then? If we ensouled monkeys can act contrary to the divine will, as we do when we sin, then surely a pure spirit can, right? It seems the best explanation is that of the Christians, which I believe many Jews also hold: that God does not will evil, but permits it, rather than interfere with free will.

I don’t intend any disrespect; it just seems like an illogicality. Or a blasphemy, essentially the statement that God is cruel.

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