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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Original Sin

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philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Why does my human nature change the first time but not subsequently? I think the Romans 5:12 statement gives us an amazing insight. Sin did not begin with Adam, but as a result of Adam's disobedience SIN entered and DEATH by SIN.

Something was lurking outside the human race, and Adam opened the door to it. Eve also transgressed ( and in fact earlier) but her transgression did not have the devastating consequences of Adam's. The curse did not enter the creation because of Eve's transgression but because of Adam's. Adam was uniquely responsible. If you read Genesis 3 you will see it is Adam who is held responsible, and Adam who is expelled from the garden. Of course, Eve accompanied him but she was specifically expelled. The Germans call 'Original Sin' 'Hereditary Sin' and many refer to it passing down the generations, but the more I think about it I don't think is did pass DOWN the generations, I think it passed into the human race, and changed it.

This is why Adam is a figure of Him who was to come. Christ passes His nature to all His race too. The new nature is IN Christ just as SIN and DEATH ARE IN Adam. Whichever 'man' we are IN determines which nature we share. My understanding is that these states are mutually exclusive and that a man cannot be in Adam and in Christ at the same time.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2003/8/25 16:40Profile
revivaltheology
Member



Joined: 2003/4/8
Posts: 29


 Re:

Finney was not alone in denying the Augustinian notion of Original Sin. In fact, his views merely reflected the "New School Calvinism" that was quite influential in the Arminianizing of evangelicalism during the 1800s. The noted Bible commentator, Albert Barnes, also denied original sin, as did many important leaders in the Second Great Awakening.

That said, the question is asked about eradication, constitution/reconstitution of the "sin nature," and so forth. Briefly, it should be distinctly kept in mind that Finney denied sin being a "nature" at all. He affirmed the scriptural definition of sin as "a transgression of the law;" that is, "a WILLFUL transgression of KNOWN law." Finney certainly recognized the power of BONDAGES that occur as a result of sin "he that commits sin is the slave of sin," (John 8:31ff; see also Romans 6). What Finney steadfastly denied was the idea that sin was a nature that was somehow passed down genetically. To him it was sheer confusion to speak of a "sin nature."

That said, it should also be distinctly kept in mind that Finney taught a distinction between PHYSICAL depravity and MORAL depravity. That all Adam's posterity were gravely affected by the sin of Adam, primarily physically (lack of perfect health and presence of eventual death). In Finney's thought, one's physical depravity exerts a powerful influence towards selfishness. This, along with the fact that one is raised among selfish beings, greatly aggravates the situation that children find themselves in.

As these inborn selfish tendencies generally are allowed to rule the young child until the dawn of moral accountability, as soon as the child is old enough to choose good or evil, he or she will in fact choose selfishly (sin = selfishness).

In my opinion (and of course I could be wrong), Finney's concept of physical depravity is essentially the same thing as what most people mean when they say "sinful nature." The distinction Finney makes is important though, if one truly wishes to posit an "age of accountability," before which infants and young children are by definition morally neutral (unable to choose right or wrong due to lack of understanding of the law). Paul says "by the law is the knowledge of sin," and "sin is not imputed when there is no law."

Unless we want to think that God sends babies to hell on account of their being born "in Adam" (a completely unjust and disgusting idea if ever there was one), I think we need to have some kind of rational, scriptural basis for the age of accountability, before which one is not guilty.

I suspect the real difference between Finney and Augustine/Calvinian theology on this subject is really about whether or not the GUILT of Adam is imputed to us, not the "tendency to sin." For Finney makes it quite clear that all will sin when they have reached an age at which they KNOW what the difference is between good and evil.

As to the "in Adam" vs. "in Christ" issue, I will have to get back to you on that, philologos, but I would hazard to guess that Finney would define this as what state one ABIDES in. Finney definitely denied the whole imputation scheme as inherently antinomian.

I would recommend Dennis Carroll's website, http://www.gospeltruth.net for study of Finney. All of Finney's works are available there, in addition to many works by others.

I don't get to check in here very often, but please feel free to ask questions. I will do my best to answer to the best of my ability. There also are quite a few Finney experts who are regularly engaged in the discussions in my Revival Theology discussion group. Would love to see you there.

God bless,

John Earp

http://revivaltheology.net

 2003/8/29 0:52Profile
revivaltheology
Member



Joined: 2003/4/8
Posts: 29


 Re:

Quote:

philologos wrote:
I'm going to wait a while to see if any others come into the discussion. oh well perhaps just a little provocation.. One of the reasons that people have taken such a strong stand on this issue is that it removes the need for regeneration.



John replies: Actually, this would be incorrect if we are talking about Finney and Reidhead's views (which, by the way, were shared by MANY revival leaders in the Second Great Awakening). All a denial of the Augustinian doctrine of Original Sin does is make all TOTALLY responsible for their OWN SINS! Neither Finney nor Reidhead denied that all will in fact sin, they just denied that Adam's sin was imputed to all his posterity. On Finney's view, a sinner must be born again even if he has sinned only once in his life, and apart from the prevenient grace of God he never will choose to repent and obey the gospel.

Quote:
Hold on, let me explain. If I arrived in this world without sin and acquired it, it ought to be possible to remove it. If sin is only transgression it ought to be possible to forgive it.



Well, as I'm sure you know, the Bible makes it clear: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So yes, we need both forgiveness and cleansing from sins.

Quote:
But if I inherited a congenital spiritual condition the only possible solution is a new start e.g. I need to be born again (from above). Let's see what others have to say..



Finney defined MORAL depravity (sinfulness) as total, by which he meant that all the actions of the unregenerate are totally depraved until regeneration. He also defined moral depravity as a universal fact of human existence, as well as made it quite clear that the sinner absolutely must be regenerated (that is, born again) in order to see the kingdom of heaven (as described in John 3 by Jesus to Nicodemus).

Please be assured that Finney did not in any way allow for a self-salvation or a works righteousness, not in the least. His sermon, "Justification by Faith," among many others, makes this quite clear. If one has ever sinned, even once, (and all have), then one can never deserve anything BUT hell forever. It matters not how much good one might think they have done to "outweigh" their evil deeds, they will always still DESERVE hell. Finney went to great lengths to emphasize that the only means of forgiveness of sins was by virtue of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and that Christ himself WAS Eternal Life.

 2003/8/29 1:27Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:Sin and sins

This topic has emerged again elsewhere but would be better continued here, I think.

Nasher wrote: Is Sin, or are sins attached/imputed/reckoned to the body / soul / spirit or a combination of any or all three?

Hi Nasher
I think your distinction is important. In my understanding the first 4 chapters of Romans focus on ‘sins’ and bring in the verdict ‘guilty’. The second 4 chapters focus on ‘Sin’ and bring in the diagnosis ‘dead on arrival’.

I’ll just touch on one aspect. ‘Sin’ is not locatable. If it were it would be ‘eradicable’. I have a great affinity with the ‘eradicationists’ and agree with many of their conclusions but I cannot use their language. Technically, ‘eradicate’ means to remove the ‘root’. This implies that ‘Sin’ is locatable and I don’t think this is the way the scripture reveals things. Sin is not like a rotten tooth that can be removed from an otherwise healthy mouth; it is my nature by first birth.

Romans 5:19 says “for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous.” (Youngs Literal Translation) Our human constitution changed as a result of one man’s disobedience. This is not locatable, it is what I am by first birth. This verse points to two great initiating events both of which result in a change in our constitution. ‘Sin’ cannot be detached or subtracted the problem is ‘me’. No amount of ‘tweaking’ will alter our constitution.

Our case is hopeless. Jeremiah says “Crooked is the heart above all things, And it is incurable—who doth know it?” Youngs Literal Translation.

Our condition cannot be remedied. We are DOA (dead on arrival), that’s why He said ‘You must be born again’.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2003/10/8 4:12Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

Matt 7:11
"If you then, [i][b]being evil[/b][/i], know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"


_________________
Mike Balog

 2003/10/8 7:54Profile
todd
Member



Joined: 2003/5/12
Posts: 573
California

 Re:

My understanding right now is that we are not DOA. Rather, at some point in life everyone sins and, therefore, dies.

Just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world and therefore many were made (became) sinners. In the same way, through one man (Christ Jesus) the power of sin and death was broken and many will be made (become) righteous.

But just as it is man's free choice to sin (and thus become separated from God), and it is completely his own fault and of his own free will, in the same way it is the sinner's free choice to repent and believe in the gospel (and thus be reunited with God).

If we use Romans 5:19 to make the argument that all men are born with a sinful nature (therefore sinners, regardless of their own choice or free will), then it seems to make the most sense and be most logical to apply this understanding in same way for the rest of the verse. That is to say that, due to Christ, all men are saved (therefore righteous, regardless of choice or free will). But it is my understanding that those who argue in that manner for the first half of the verse, don't do so for the second. This seems to make it a weak and clearly biased argument.

This morning I discovered a verse that brought more clarity and confirmation to me concerning this issue.

Romans 7:9
"And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died"

You see? Paul says that he was once alive, before he knew the Law. But when he came to know the Law, sin became alive in him, and he died. He wasn't DOA. He was alive on arrival, then died in sin.

At some point every human goes through this process from spiritual life to spiritual death.
We are born alive (AOA), then at some point we all die in sin and take on a sinful nature that is eternally death-bound instead of eternally life-bound. So we must be born again, receive new life, new nature, in order to have life eternal.

Though this seems very clear to me at this point, I realize I am young, and largely unversed and unstudied in the history of this doctrine (at least I belive this to be the case in comparison to other contributers on this site). I gratefully invite every hammer strike that will refine my understanding.

 2003/10/11 12:19Profile
aphill777
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 24
Wisconsin

 Re:

In the discussion of Original Sin it is very important to understand that the Jews NEVER believed in Original Sin. Paul being a Jew would not have believed in original sin and if he had at some point invented or accepted the idea I am sure he would have been very emphatic about its importance. Instead, like everywhere else in the Bible, Paul attributed sin to the free moral action of responsible moral agents. If "original sin" is true do not attribute it to Paul!

The Eastern Orthodox church has never accepted the concept of "original sin", some protestants have also rejected it, i.e. Finney, Reidhead and many others.
Unfortunately, most Christians are unwilling to objectively investigate this doctrine as well as most other doctrines.

Tony Phillips


_________________
Tony Phillips

 2003/10/12 11:37Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

If I dance once would you call me a dancer? If I surf the net once would that make be a surfer? Does one act create a nature? Does one lie make me a liar? A liar is someone whose characteristic is to lie; it is their nature. If one sin makes be a sinner how many regenerations am I going to need? May I suggest that you trace all NT uses of the word ‘sinner’? You will find that it refers to character/nature rather than single event. The NT usually refers to us as saints; this is a reference to nature; new nature coming as a result of regeneration. Before regeneration we are not saints. What are we? We are sinners; that is our character/nature. BTW God does not hold us responsible for our nature but for our acts. I am not ‘guilty’ as a result of what Adam did but as a result of what I did. A belief in ‘original sin’ does not necessarily imply a belief in ‘original guilt’.

Eve sinned before Adam but Eve’s sin did not constitute a changed nature for humankind because she was not the federal head of the human race. Adam’s sin did have an effect on our constitution or nature; Romans 5:19 for as through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners: so also through the obedience of the one, shall the many be constituted righteous. Youngs Literal Translation.

This states clearly that through the action of one many were affected. The ‘one’ is Adam, and Romans 5:12 reveals that through that one act of one man something entered; “through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;” Youngs Literal Translation. This passage gives us two unique revelations. Sin did not begin with Adam but it entered the world through Adam; Sin is older than our race. Adam was the bridgehead through which Sin entered our race.

The Germans call ‘original sin’ ‘hereditary sin’ but this is a mistake. Eve came from Adam before Sin had entered our world. Her sin did not affect Adam but Adam’s sin (one man’s disobedience) affected Eve; this was not heredity. Sin did not go downwards from Adam through each successive generation. It permeated the entire race in an instant and Eve was constituted a sinner not through her own sin but through Adam’s. I became a Sinner the moment Adam sinned. I was not born a sinner because my father was a sinner, (it was not hereditary) but because I was in Adam when he sinned; death spread through the whole human race in a moment. The evidence for this is that “death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression”; babies died who hadn’t sinned. Why? Because Adam’s disobedience had an immediate effect on the whole human race of which he was the federal head, even before the law of Moses made it possible to quantify sins.

Adam’s race has a built-in nature and my only hope is to be taken out of Adam and put into Christ; in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” In him”, says John, “is no Sin”.

BTW quote: “Unfortunately, most Christians are unwilling to objectively investigate this doctrine as well as most other doctrines.” I have been prayerfully investigating this doctrine now (and one or two others) for 45 years. As God is my witness, I have no axe to grind and no creedal statement that demands my allegiance, and have tried to be as objective as I know how.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2003/10/12 14:44Profile
todd
Member



Joined: 2003/5/12
Posts: 573
California

 Re:

For convenience sake, much of the below is stated as fact, though discussion of this topic is much more experimental for me than a defense or statement of my solid belief.

Quote:
"If I dance once would you call me a dancer? If I surf the net once would that make be a surfer? Does one act create a nature? Does one lie make me a liar? A liar is someone whose characteristic is to lie; it is their nature."

The first two things you mention here are not like sin. Sin is a living thing (right?), and it has been around longer than humans (as you have mentioned before). This thing (sin) was allowed access into the world through Adam's sin. One consequence of this was sure physical death to all, another was the potential for spiritual death.

Lying is different because it is sin. Ray Comfort teaches that if you lie once you are a 'liar' (at least prior to conversion). That doesn't mean he's right but maybe we could flush this out more later and not get stuck on it now.

One sin does make you a sinner because of the nature of sin. The nature of sin is to completely take over and reign in it's subject. And death reigns in sin. Once allowed access (which only takes once), sin takes up residence inside of you and becomes your master, and you spiritually die. You now have a sinful nature. You are a sinner.

Quote:
"If one sin makes [m]e a sinner how many regenerations am I going to need?"

One. Once you are regenerated and have a new nature sin can no longer have dominion over you (and thus regenerate you into a sinful nature). With your new nature sin is the exception and not the rule. It is out of character for a Christian to sin.

One Quote:
"May I suggest that you trace all NT uses of the word ‘sinner’? You will find that it refers to character/nature rather than single event."

I may do what you suggest sometime, but I think it is unneccesary at this time because I think that I agree with you about the term 'sinner' "referring to character/nature rather than a single event." I hope all the above helps to clarify this.

 2003/10/12 17:27Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Your quote: “For convenience sake, much of the below is stated as fact, though discussion of this topic is much more experimental for me than a defense or statement of my solid belief.” I really appreciate this and I hope I approach this discussion in the same spirit. I have no wish to ‘convert’ any to my opinion, but I do want to give a reason for the hope that is in me.

Your quote:” The first two things you mention here are not like sin. Sin is a living thing (right?), and it has been around longer than humans (as you have mentioned before). This thing (sin) was allowed access into the world through Adam's sin. One consequence of this was sure physical death to all, another was the potential for spiritual death.”
I wonder why you say ‘the potential for spiritual death’. God said “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. Apparently ‘Sin’ and ‘Death’ arrived at the same time, and on the same day as Adam’s disobedience, according to Romans. Adam opened a door and Sin came through it, bringing Death with him. I have capitalised Sin because in Romans 5 following Paul uses a definite article which could be translated ‘the sin’. This is ‘sin’ personified and Paul gives it personal qualities; it enslaves, it reigns. (death is also ‘the death’) This ‘person’ entered the world (‘the cosmos’ is the Greek) through one man’s disobedience. Once ‘he’ had ‘entered’ he would never need to enter again. I think it is very important to note that according to Romans ‘the sin’ and ‘the death’ did not just enter Adam, but it entered the ‘world’.

Every individual sin is grievous, offensive to God, and deserving of punishment. But not every sin has the same consequence as Adam’s initial disobedience. ‘the sin’ is now here and it continues to effect the whole ‘cosmos’. If a man sins it will have consequences but it will not introduce ‘the sin’ into the world.

I touched on ‘guilt’ in the last posting. Biblically, guilt is ‘blame-worthiness’. It is a judicial verdict and never a feeling. Most believers in ‘original sin’ also believe in ‘original guilt’, but I do not. I don’t believe that God holds me responsible for Adam’s sin, but He does hold me responsible for mine. Personal sin has personal consequences; “the soul that sinneth, it shall die”. I do not believe that the Bible teaches that we suffer eternal separation from God because of Adam’s sin, but we certainly risk that because of our own.

I would like to move on to what happened to Christ on the cross; He called it ‘my baptism’. What was He baptised into? What does it mean when it says “(God) hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”? But I will pause to give folks time to respond or to digest this posting.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2003/10/12 19:48Profile





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