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10 Bible verses /examples commonly used to support the sinful nature – refutation

bebis2Man’s idea to add original sin to the Bible

The idea of original sin, or the sinful nature from birth, was first pushed by Augustine who was a former gnostic. Augustine is guilty of having introduced many unbiblical ideas into church, and  some of them were later also taught by both Luther and Calvin. The old church fathers before Augustine did not teach the sinful nature (see here), and most importantly the Bible does not. Below are some of the most common verses used as an attempt to prove the sinful nature.

Example 1) Romans 5:12

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man SIN entered into the world, and death by sin; and so DEATH passed upon all men, FOR that all have sinned

Comment: Sin entered the world the first time through Adam, because no one had sinned before him (him and Eve). The verse does not say that SIN passed upon all men but DEATH passed upon all men, and it also explains why this is: Because all have sinned! Not because all have inherited sins from Adam. Notice that ”all men” is a translation from the Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrópos, Strong’s 444) and could mean 1) men, 2) men and women, or 3) mankind, people, human beings. It may or may not include babies depending on context. Since the verse claims that we die (spiritually) because we have sinned, this verse cannot be used as support for another idea – like the idea that we die spiritually because we have inherited someone else’s sin. Dying physically is something different, and even Jesus Christ died a physical death. It is possible to say that we die physically due to Adam, because we cannot reach the tree of life due to him.

Example 2) Romans 5:18

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation — 19 so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

Comment: The entire context is this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

If ALL are automatically condemned through Adam, then ALL are automatically made righteous through Jesus. Are 100% of all ALL PEOPLE automatically righteous in Jesus? No, that would be universalism. It is not proper hermeneutics to read ”all” in two different ways in the same sentence – an ”even so” indicates a valid comparison. If ALL die in Adam, then the very same ALL are saved in Christ. If ”many” (not all) were made righteous, then ”many” (not all) were made sinners. We cannot make one absolute and the other conditional. If, however, we add conditions on both accounts (we die spiritually if we sin like Adam, and we become alive in Christ if we choose to believe in him) then we have solved all contradictions. Rom. 5 does list conditions, just like the rest of Romans and just like the rest of the Bible.

Example 3) 1 Corinthians 15:22 

1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Comment: If all people are automatically dead in Adam, then the very same ”all people” are automatically saved in Christ. But this interpretation leads to universalism, and we know this is not true. The context makes it clear that the subject is the RESURRECTION and what will happen when Jesus returns. Most importantly what will happen to those in Christ. They will die physically just like Adam (even Jesus Christ once died physically), and they will be made alive to get their judgments and rewards.

Example 4) Ephesians 2:1

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins

Comment: What makes us dead? Sinning makes us (spiritually) dead! It is not being born (or being conceived) which makes us dead, but it is transgressing of his law:

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law

Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Eph. 2 does not say that we are BORN dead in trespasses and sins. How can newborn babies choose to transgress the law of God?

The solution to the problem of sin is to repent, which explains why Paul in Acts 17:30 says that God ”now commandeth all men every where to repent”.

Example 5) Ephesians 2:2-3

Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Comment: Do not get fooled by the term ”children of disobedience” or ”children of wrath” because these terms refer to those who follow Satan – as the text indicates. Likewise the term ”children of God” (or sons of God) does not necessarily refer to little toddlers, but to those who have chosen to believe and follow God. The text certainly does not claim that people are BORN as children of wrath – merely for the ”crime” of existing. It is crystal clear that those spoken about in Eph. 2:2 are adults. They:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • are disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

Example 6) 1 Corinthians 2:14

1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

Comment: It is a bad idea to be a natural man, which is a man who lives of the world. If someone is a natural man (which is no obligation), he cannot please God. It is impossible for a person to please God if he at the same time chooses to walk in darkness.

”Natural” is a translation from ψυχικός (psuchikos, Strong’s 5591) and could also be translated ”worldly-minded” or ”sensual”. It describes the behavior of a carnal man who lives of the world. The word can be contrasted with ”spiritual” (pneumatikós, Strong’s 4152).

Example 7) Job 25:4 + Job 15:14

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be CLEAN? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Comment: The first comment is from Bildad, and the second one is from Eliphaz. They did not always provide good advice to Job. On top of this, the book of Job is replete with poetic expressions. See for instance Job 1:21 and see if you read it in a literal sense.

Example 8) Romans 3:10

Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Comment: Paul, who made the above statement that no one is righteous, called HIMSELF righteous, along with Silas and Timothy (see 1 Thess. 2:10) and he constantly requested that people should avoid obeying their flesh and be righteous. Paul also said (Acts 23:1) that he had lived ”in all good conscience before God until this day”. (NASB: ”perfectly good conscience”). Paul urged his readers to ”sin no more”! Was Paul a hypocrite or a man of God who we can trust?

Paul was in Rom. 3:10 referring to a couple of well-known psalms where we can read ”there is none righteous ….” and if we go to these psalms (Psalm 14 and Psalm 53) we can see the proper context to this phrase. There we can read about unrighteous people, called FOOLS, who do not seek God but we can also read about righteous people who DO seek God. Psalms contain poetic expressions which are mirroring the truth, so we should carefully keep this in mind.

We can read in Acts 17 that we are created precisely to seek God, even though he is not far away from any of us. We can also read verses such as:

Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart 

Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

Below are more psalms, and it would be unwise for us to start new doctrines (which are not supported by non-poetic verses) based on such poetry. Poetic expressions can of course teach us things and be encouraging, but it is not always correct to read poetic texts in a literal sense.

Example 9) Psalm 51:5

Ps. 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me  

Comment: This verse is not about all people in the entire world but concerns only David and his mother. It could be understood both figuratively (the way also king David has battled with dark powers and obstacles very early on) or literally (David’s mother was indeed sinning during the conception) but either way, this verse does not say that we have all inherited Adam’s sin and have a sinful nature from birth. David starts out speaking about his own transgression (not sins inherited from another), and we can read claims from David which could not possibly be understood in a literal sense:

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice…

Example 10) Psalm 58:3

Ps. 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES  

Comment: Naturally newborn babies cannot speak, much less speak lies. This is just a poetic expression to describe that the wicked man go astray very early on and usually continue on this path. The psalmist starts out addressing a ”congregation” and apparently they are old enough to SPEAK since they are asked if they speak righteousness. They are also old enough to JUDGE, they are able to WORK WICKEDNESS in their hearts and WEIGH the violence of their hands. Babies are unable to do any of that, and it is the WICKED who ”are estrange”. If someone goes astray, it means he must have started from a position where it was not ”astray”. In verse 10 and 11 we can read about righteous people who do NOT go astray:

10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Some people might ask: ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why do we sin?” Well, why did Adam and Eve sin? Certainly not due to a sinful nature. They might also ask ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why did Jesus have to die for us?”. Because we have chosen to sin – despite that we did not have to. This is what makes us guilty.

If we are born with a sinful nature (which would provide an excellent excuse for sin), why does the Bible not disclose this important piece of information anywhere? Why can we read the exact opposite story? Moreover, the idea of the sinful nature actually reduces the great deeds that Jesus Christ did for us, when we accuse him of not having to struggle with a sinful nature as the rest of us. In reality, Jesus was tempted in all things just like us and he did not get an advantage.

rom-8The Bible says that babies are innocent

While there are no Bible verses which say we are born with a sinful nature (or born depraved, which is not even a word included in the KJV Bible), the Bible does say that we are wonderfully made.

Zecharia 12:1  The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and FORMETH THE SPIRIT OF MAN WITHIN HIM. 

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet bornNEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God AS A LITTLE CHILD, he shall not enter therein.

Isaiah 7:16 For BEFORE THE CHILD SHALL KNOW TO REFUSE THE EVIL, AND CHOOSE THE GOOD, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 

Isaiah 42:Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and SPIRIT to them that walk therein

Job. 31:14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?15 Did not HE THAT MADE ME IN THE WOMB make him? and DID NOT ONE FASHION US IN THE WOMB? 

Ps. 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.14 I will praise thee; for I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Ps,73 Thy hands have made me and FASHIONED ME: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.  

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that GOD HATH MADE MAN UPRIGHT; but THEY they have sought out many inventions.  

The NATURAL MAN receives not the things of the Spirit of God? – 1 Cor. 2:14

flesh

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14) 

It is a choice to be a ”natural man” as no one is born a sinner. It is rather an adopted nature just as the context indicates. An alcoholic might suggest that he has inherited genes that makes him an alcoholic out of necessity just like his parents, but even though genetics can partly explain certain similar weaknesses/attitudes/traits we still cannot blame our actions – like repeatedly pouring liquor into a glass and drink – on our parents. ”Natural” in 1 Cor. 2:14 is a translation from the Greek adjective psychikos (Strong’s 5591) and can be translated as natural or sensual. The word is used 6 times in the New Testament. In 1 Cor. 15 we have a slightly different perspective of the word, because the passage talks about the resurrection when we will get rid of our fleshly bodies to get new spiritual bodies prior to entering the kingdom of God:

1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.—44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

James makes it clear that we should not mix righteous deeds with unrighteous deeds. Just like Paul he urges his readers to stop sinning:

Ja. 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?—14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

We can see that those who are ”natural” are those who choose to walk after their own lusts instead of having an interest to be led by the Spirit. It usually concerns those who have no desire to seek God (as per Rom. 1:18-32) and who are therefore atheists/agnostics, but it could also apply to anyone (also Christians) who chooses to walk after his/her own lusts. They separate themselves from God by following their ungodly lusts:

Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.17 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ;18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

A natural man is again someone who chooses to live after the flesh and not after the Spirit. The context below shows that Paul speaks highly of the power of the holy Spirit which is given to Christians (after repentance), and through this magnificent power it is certainly easier to come closer to God and know all the details of his will. We are able to be victorious over sin if we choose to be led by the Spirit, but it takes a will of our own. Also agnostics are able to avoid sin, but if they decide to repent and start living with Jesus Christ they will get a new power thanks to the new Helper – the holy Spirit. The holy Spirit does not force a person to obey him:

1 Cor. 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

The promise given to us in Gal. 5 is that if we decide to walk in the Spirit, we are automatically not fulfilling the lust of the flesh because of our righteous lives. If we instead live after the flesh, we automatically do not walk in the Spirit since the flesh is contrary to the Spirit. It is one or the other. The Spirit would never lead us unto the road of destruction. Paul assures us that if we do live after the flesh (and he gives examples of what that means) we can forget about inheriting the kingdom of God. He does not say that Christians are exempted from this danger. He also says ”If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”, showing that this is nothing that happens automatically without our participation. It is the responsibility of each individual to live a holy life, and we cannot blame God for preventing us from obeying his commandments:

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, WALK IN THE SPIRIT, AND YE SHALL NOT FULFIL THE LUST OF THE FLESH.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Below we can more clearly see what happens to someone who God gives up to a reprobate mind due to the individual’s decision to walk after his own lusts (and become a natural man). Such a person is without excuse because he could have reached out to God and live according to his will, but chose not to. THAT is the reason for deserving a spot in hell. Not because God chose someone to be a wicked non-elect before he was even born, but because the person had all the chances in the world to seek and believe in God (the very purpose for God to create us in the first place as per Acts 17:26-30) but instead turned his back on him and lived a rebellious life.

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.26 FOR THIS CAUSE God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God GAVE THEM OVER TO A REPROBATE MIND, to do those things which are not convenient;29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

If we live according to the flesh, we CANNOT please Godglorified

It is not a good idea to be a natural man with a carnal mind, because then we simply cannot please God. A person who has his mind set on maintaining his sins cannot at the same time live according to God’s commandments.

Rom. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

We can learn from Paul who those are who ”are after the flesh”. They are the ones who walk not after the Spirit but after the flesh. This means that their wicked actions cause them to be carnally minded/natural men. Fortunately there is a solution provided by Paul in that same chapter, and that is to walk after the Spirit which is a much better choice.

Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.—4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Paul explains this also in Rom. 6, where he assures us that we can successfully start living according to the Spirit instead of obeying sin. Note that we are slaves to the one we choose to obey, so if we choose to obey sin we are slaves to sin and not free. Paul is writing to the Christians in Rome, so Christians are clearly not freed from the risk of landing in spiritual death – which would happen to anyone who decides to obey sin and who does not repent:

Rom. 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul refers to a passage in Isaiah 29 when it talks about hidden wisdom. The reason for people living in darkness is due to their decision to remove their hearts from him:

1 Cor. 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.*) 

*) Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

God loves us and wishes that we all would come to the knowledge of the truth:

1 Tim. 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

You can read about Eph. 2 here, where you will see that it is a choice to be ”children of wrath” (individuals who are subject to God’s wrath due to their sins) and that the chapter nowhere suggests that anyone is born that way. It is rather, yet again, about people who choose to walk after their own lusts.