Exposing the Myth of "Original Sin"

by Jerry Shugart

More Problems With the Federal Headship Theory

John Witmer writes that "The federal headship view considers Adam, the first man, as the 'representative' of the human race that generated from him. As the representative of all humans, Adam's act of sin was considered by God to be the act of all people and his penalty of death was judically made the penalty of everybody" [emphasis added] (John A. Witmer, The Bible Knowledge Commentary; New Testament, 458).

Will the LORD impute one person's act of sin and its penalty to another person? Let us look at the following passage to try to find the answer to that question:

"The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?" (Ezek.18:1-2).

Charles Dyer wrote that "God asked Ezekiel about a proverb being circulated. This proverb--The Fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge--must have been well known in Israel because Jeremiah also quoted it (cf. Jer. 31:29-30). the proverb's point was that children were suffering because of their parents' sins...So these people were blaming God for punishing them unjustly (cf. Ezek. 18:25). God saw that this proverb had to be refuted...Blaming others for their misfortunes, the people were denying their own guilt. This was wrong because every individual is personally responsible to God...Those who are guilty will receive their own deserved punishment" (Charles H. Dyer, "Ezekiel," in The Bible Knowledge Commentary; Old Testament, 1260).

Later we read the LORD's conclusion about this matter:

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son" (Ezek.18:20).

There are many places in the Bible where this truth is revealed:

"The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deut.24:16).

"But he slew not their children, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, where the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not die for the children, neither shall the children die for the fathers, but every man shall die for his own sin" (2 Chron.25:4).

Despite this evidence that the son will not bear the iniquity of the father those who promote the theory of Original Sin teach that the LORD did that very thing when He imputed the guilt of Adam's sin to all of his offspring. According to the Federal Headship theory Adam's sin was considered by the LORD to be the sin of all of his offspring.

Is the Sin of the Adam Imputed to All People?

John Murray writes the following in an attempt to prove that Adam's sin is imputed to all people:

"In the case of Christ and the justified we know that the union is that of vicarious representation. In the provisions of grace Christ has been ordained to act for and in the place of those who are the beneficiaries of redemption. His righteousness becomes theirs unto their justification and eternal life...when we seek to discover the specific character of the union which will ground the imputation of Adam's first sin we find it to be the same kind of union as is analogous to the union that exists between Christ and his people and on the basis of which His righteousness is theirs unto justification and eternal life" [emphasis added] (John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin, 40-41).

Henry Blocher says the same thing. "By virtue of Christ's headship, and of our being 'in Him,'" he writes, "his righteousness, which is alien to us, is reckoned into our account. Similiarly, by virtue of Adam's headship, and our being 'in him', his sin and guilt, which are alien to us, are reckoned to our account." [emphasis added] (Henry Blocher, Original Sin: Illuminating the Riddle", 70-71).

The righteousness of the Lord Jesus is based entirely on His keeping the Law perfectly. But the righteousness which is imputed to all believers is described in the following manner:

"But now apart from law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe"(Ro.3:21-22).

According to Paul the righteousness which is imputed to believers is "apart from law" so that completely rules out the idea that the righteousness of the Lord Jesus is imputed to believers. We also know that Abraham received the imputed righteousness which is of God before the Lord Jesus even walked the earth, as witnessed by Paul's following words in regard to Abraham:

"He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead" (Ro.4:20-24).

Besides that, Murray writes that "when we speak of the sin of Adam as imputed to posterity, it is admitted that nowhere in Scripture is our relation to the trespass of Adam expressly defined in terms of imputation" (John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin, 71).

Both Murray and Blocher are in error when they assert that it is Christ's righteousness which is imputed into the account of believers. It has also been shown that no one will bear the penalty for the sins of someone else so it is impossible that the sin of Adam has been imputed to all people.

In Adam All Die: 1 Corinthians 15:22

John Murray writes that "In 1 Corinthians 2:22, 45-49 Paul provides us with what is one of the most striking and significant rubics in all of Scripture. He comprehends God's dealings with men under the twofold headships of two Adams...Adam and Christ sustain unique relations to men. And that history and destiny are determined by these relationships is demonstrated by verse 22: 'As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive'...the kind of relationship which Adam sustains to men is after the pattern of the realationship which Christ sustains to men" (John Murray, The Imputsation of Adam's sin, 39).

Yes, the pattern of the relationship which Christ sustains to men is after the pattern of the relationship which Adam sustains to men. And since no one is automatically "in Christ" then the same must be true for those "in Adam." No one is "in Christ" until they do something, and that thing is to believe. And no one is "in Adam" until they sin.

Therefore, we can understand that no one can be under the "headship of Christ" until they believe just like no one can be considered under the "headship of Adam" until they sin.


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