Exposing the Myth of "Original Sin"

by Jerry Shugart

The Implications of the False Teaching of "Original Sin"

The Westminister Confession of Faith represents a theological consensus of international Calvinism. There we read that the "death in sin" of Adam and Eve is conveyed to all of their posterity by original generation:

"They (Adam & Eve) being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/3).

Calvinist writer Robert Shaw goes into more detail concerning how a "corrupted nature" is conveyed to all of Adam's descendants:

""We do not see how the universal corruption of mankind: can be accounted for, without admitting that they are involved in the guilt of his first transgression. It must be some sin which God punishes with the deprivation of original righteousness; and that can be no other than the first sin of Adam" [emphasis added] (Robert Shaw, The Reformed Faith: An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith [Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1992]).

From this we can understand that God punishes mankind for Adam's sin and the results of that punishment is that mankind is deprived of original righteousness. The Calvinists then say that since man is deprived of original righteousness all men come out of the womb "made opposite to all good and wholly inclined to all evil":

"From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/4).

The Calvinists teach that this so-called "universal corruption of mankind" is conveyed to all men by "ordinary generation." Only God can be responsible for the laws of procreation so if a person is born with a nature described as being "wholly inclined to all evil" then only God can be blamed for a man being evil. The Bible states in no uncertain terms that man is made by the hand of God:

"Thy hands have made me and fashioned me" (Ps.119:73).

"The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job.33:4).

"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Ps.100:3).

If the Calvinists are right then God punishes mankind for Adam's sin and then he punishes them again when they do the very things which He desgined them to do:

"...the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds...unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil:" (Ro.2:5-6,8-9).

Here is one of the verses which the Calvinists misinterpret in order to support their false teaching in regard to Original Sin:

"They that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Ro.8:8).

Sir Robert Anderson writes, "This verse is used to support the dogma that, because of the Fall, man's nature is so utterly depraved that he is incapable of leading a moral and upright life. As the Westminster Divines express it, 'We are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good.' This theology obviously impugns the righteousness of God in punishing men for their sins. In fact, it represents Him as a tyrant who punishes the lame for limping and the blind for losing their way" (Anderson, Misundersood Texts of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991], 75).

The Son Shall Not Share the Guilt of the Father

Let us look again at the following teaching of the Calvinists:

"They (Adam & Eve) being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation" [emphasis added] (The Westminster Confession of Faith; VI/3).

According to the Calvinists the "guilt" of the sins of Adam and Eve was imputed to all of their posterity, and their posterity includes their sons Cain and Abel. So the Calvinists teach that the sons are guilty of their fathers sins despite the fact God will do no such thing, as witnessed by the following passage:

"The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son" (Ezek.18:20; NIV).

What is said here declares in no uncertain terms that children do not bear the responsibility for the sins of their parents. On the other hand, it is true that we suffer the consequences for their sins (see Gen.3:17-19).

Guilty as Charged

In God's eyes a man is "guilty" when he sins:

"Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Ro.3:19).

The word "guilt" is defined as "fact or state of having committed an offense or crime; grave culpability, as for some conscious violation of moral or penal law" (The American College Dictionary).

The concept of "culpability" is essential in determing a person's guilt. The word "culpable" means "deserving blame or censure; blameworthy" (Ibid.). A person is not "guilty" unless he is "culpable" or "deserving blame" of a violation of a moral law. The word "blame" means "to lay the responsibility of (a fault, error, etc.) on a person" (Ibid.).

If a person comes out of the womb wholly inclined to all evil, as the Calvinists teach, then he cannot be held responsible for any sins which he commits. If the Calvinists are right then a man has no control over his actions since he is made "opposite to all good." Therefore a person cannot be found guilty of the sins which he commits because he cannot be held responsible for those acts and therefore he is not "culpable."