Original Sin in the Bible

What verses in the Bible talk about being born with original sin?


Romans 5:12-19 - Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned - sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 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 in the grace of tha one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the effect of tha tone man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. IF becuase of one man’s trespass, death regined through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made rightous.

Romans 7:13-25 - Did that which is good, then bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, working death in me thorugh what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the the commandemnt might become sinful beyond measure. We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. FOr I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 3:9-12, 22-23 What then? Are we Jews better off? No not at all; for I have already charged that ALL men both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin as it is written: None is righteous , no not one; no on understands, no one seeks for God. All have turned aside, together they have gone wrong; no ones does good, not even one."

The Righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who beleive. For there is no distinctions; SINCE ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.

[Empasis is mine]

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“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5 RSV-CE)

You can’t get more explicit than that! But there are plenty of other examples, some we’ve already seen. Here are a couple more:

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble… Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.” (Job 14:1,4)

“[W]e were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:3)


But doesn’t Ezekiel 18:20 seem to go against the idea of inherited sin?

Ezekiel 17:20 - “The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.”

It doesn’t say we don’t inherit the tendency to sin or our sinful nature, but it does seem, at least to me, to indicate that since the son isn’t punished for his father’s sins, why should we be punished for Adam’s? I’d say we inherited Adam’s sinful nature, and that because of that we sin and make ourselves unclean, but we aren’t punished for Adam’s uncleanliness. Only our own.


“No doctrine inside the precincts of the Christian Church is received with greater reserve and hesitation, even to the point of outright denial, than the doctrine of original sin. Of course in a secular culture like ours, any number of Christian doctrines will be disputed by outsiders, from the existence of God to the resurrection of Jesus.

But even in those denominations that pride themselves on their adherence to the orthodox dogmas of the once-universal Church, the doctrine of original sin is met with either embarrassed silence, outright denial, or at a minimum a kind of halfhearted lip service that does not exactly deny the doctrine but has no idea how to place it inside the devout life. Even the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church, surprisingly enough, calls original sin a “sin” only in an analogous sense (#404), because unlike other (presumably real?) sins it is only contracted and not committed — a concession that would certainly have surprised Augustine, who had a vivid and almost physical/biological understanding of the First Sin.”

So begins Fr. Edward T. Oakes engaging essay on Original Sin. He continues his meditation on Catholics and Original Sin here.

No one is “punished” by God for Original Sin, or for any other sins they don’t commit. But we do suffer the consequences of the sins of others, especially our parents, spouses, etc. However, when we suffer for the sins of others, far from it being punishment, it is like penance for our own sins. It is purifying - if we join our sufferings to those of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With this understanding, all the various relevant Scriptures can be harmonized. God bless.

John Henry Newman, for one, always insisted that original sin is the only way believers can make sense of the world when they contrast that world to their faith in God. So powerful is his description of the meaning of this doctrine (it is probably the most famous passage in his Apologia pro vita sua) that it bears quoting in full:

If I looked into a mirror, and did not see my face, I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me, when I look into this living busy world, and see no reflection of its Creator. . . . [To consider] the tokens so faint and broken of a superintending design, the blind evolution of what turns out to be great powers or truths, the progress of things, as if from unreasoning elements, not towards final causes, the greatness and littleness of man, his far-reaching aims, his short duration, the curtain hung over his futurity, the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil, physical pain, mental anguish, the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion, that condition of the whole race, so fearfully yet exactly described in the Apostle’s words, “having no hope and without God in the world”—all this is a vision to dizzy and appall; and inflicts upon the mind the sense of a profound mystery, which is absolutely beyond human solution. What shall be said to this heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact? I can only answer, that either there is no Creator, or this living society of men is in a true sense discarded from His presence.

This remarkably modern passage does not, admittedly, present a full-throated defense of the doctrine of original sin, for it still allows a choice between atheism or a subscription to a belief in the Fall to account for the presence of evil in the world. But that is how the doctrine of original sin has in fact functioned in the history of the Church’s thought: it is a secondary implication arising from a prior belief in God’s goodness and omnipotence. Thus the waning of belief in God was bound to make the doctrine of original sin seem irrational. But that hardly makes it less indispensable, as Steven Duffy argued in an important 1988 article in Theological Studies:

In the twentieth century, when human beings have already killed well over one hundred million of their kind, disenchantment [with an optimistic view of human nature] has set in. Two world wars, the Gulags, the Holocaust, Korea, Vietnam, the nuclear and ecological threats form a somber litany that makes the optimism of the liberals ring hollow and naïve. Despite technological progress, evil, far from vanishing, has only become more powerful and more fiendish. . . .

And artists like Conrad, Camus, Beckett, Golding, and Murdoch contend that because of our hearts of darkness there may be countless nice men and women but few if any genuinely good ones. In all these perspectives evil is held to be inherent, somehow structural, ingrained. And its terrible power defies explanation and solution. Paradoxically, the silver wings of science and technology, on which soared the hopes of the industrialized societies, carry the ultimate menace to the human prospect.

The link is above for the full article. This is THE article to read about original sin because you will see how necessary it is to Christian anthropology.


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