Is Original Sin, the idea that everyone has a tainted nature from birth, biblical? Probably not. Although it does not decide the question, it is significant that the early Church did not believe in Original Sin. For the Church’s first three hundred years Christians worshipped without the doctrine of Original Sin.
Let’s look at the Bible sources commonly cited to prove Original Sin.
Three sources are usually cited.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned.
Read quickly this passage does seem to support the idea that everyone inherits sin from Adam and Eve.
But read more closely, what does Paul say is inherited? Death – not sin. Everyone sins and we all fall short of the Glory of God. But Paul is not saying we are sinning because someone else sinned; we sin on our own.
Adam did not cause everyone to inherent sin; he introduced death to the world. Physical death, or the expulsion from Eden, is a result of the Fall.
How else can we understand Ezekiel 18:20?
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
Another source used to support Original Sin is Psalm 51:5. The passage says:
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
The passage, read out of context, could support Original Sin. But in context, where David is mourning his sin in committing adultery with Bathsheba (and murdering her husband), the passage should be read as a recognition of his own great sin and, perhaps, an individual sin of his mother. This point is made clear by considering 2 Samuel 12:23.
Here David speaks of his son (with Bathsheba) who died in as a baby. He says:
I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
David sees his son, who died before he could sin, as meeting him in an afterlife. Unless we say David assumed he was going to eternal punishment we must read David as saying his baby was going to Heaven. David did not believe people were born were in sin.
The final passage used to support the doctrine of Original Sin is Genesis 3. Verses 16 through 19 are key – they are reproduced in the video description – and read with care are clear that humanity is expelled from Eden and will have physical struggle in life. But humanity is not cursed. The ground is cursed. The serpent is cursed. Humans are not cursed; humans do not carry an inherited sin.
Belief in, or rejection of, the doctrine of Original Sin is not an essential.
You may read the Scripture differently.
But reading the text to see what it actually says, as opposed to accepting what others say it says, is important.
That said, the most important thing is faith in Jesus.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband,
but he shall rule over you.”
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”