Exposing the Myth of "Original Sin"
by Jerry Shugart
The Regeneration and Renewing of the Holy Spirit
In the following verse the Apostle Paul describes how he was saved:
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).
Here Paul uses the word "regeneration" in regard to his salvation. This word is translated from the Greek word paliggenesia, which is the combination of palin and genesis.
Palin means "joined to verbs of all sorts,it denotes renewal or repetition of the action" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
According to BDAG, palin refers "to repetition in the same (or similar) manner, again, once more, anew of something a pers. has already done." (Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., ed. Frederick William Danker. [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000], 752).
Genesis means "used of birth, nativity" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
When we combine the meaning of the two words we have a "repetition of a birth."
It is obvious that the reference is not to a "physical" rebirth, or the repetition of one's physical birth. Paul could only be speaking of a repetition of a spiritual birth. And the words that follow make it certain that the "birth" of which Paul is referring to is a "spiritual" birth--"renewing of the Holy Spirit." If a person is "regenerated" by the Holy Spirit then that means that one must have previously been born of the Holy Spirit.
Joseph Henry Thayer says that the Greek word translated regeneration "denotes the restoration of a thing to its pristine state, its renovation" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
Richard C. Trench says that the word has the meaning of "a recovery, a restoration" (Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament).
The word "restoration" means "a bringing back to its original position or condition" (Merriam-Webster.com).
Therefore, if a person is regenerated and renewed by the Holy Spirit then that must mean that this represents his being brought back to his original condition of being born of the Holy Spirit. That is exactly what the Lord Jesus is referring to here:
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again" (Jn.3:3,5-7).
Do by Nature the Things Contained in the Law
A person is born into this world spiritually alive. The Scriptures reveal that a man is made "upright":
"Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl.7:29).
Paul also makes it plain that a person enters the world with a "nature" that is conductive to following the law which is written on his heart, the same law of which the conscience bears witness:
"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness" (Ro.2:14,15).
This would be impossible if a person was born with a sin nature, a nature which leads one to fulfill the desires of the flesh:
"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: 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" (Eph.2:2-3).
From this we can understand that a person is born with a nature that is conductive to keeping God's law but when he sins then his nature is changed and it is not until then that he can be described as a child of wrath.
Made Like His Brothers in Every Way
It is only after a person sins that he becomes by "nature" a child of wrath, fulfilling the desires of his flesh and of his mind. A person comes into the world spiritually alive, and the Scriptures reveal that the Lord Jesus was make like his brothers in every way:
"For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people" (Heb.2:17).
The meaning of the Greek word translated "to be made like" is "'to make like'...'to be' or 'to become like' to one...Heb. ii. 17" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
It is inconceivable that it would be said that the Lord Jesus was made like His brothers "in every way" if He was born spiritually alive and his brothers are born spiritually dead.
Is the Righteousnes of the Lord Jesus Imputed to Believers?
John Murray writes the following in an attempt to prove that the righteousness of the Lord Jesus is imputed to believers:
"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" [emphais added] (John Murray, The Imputation of Adam's Sin, 40-41).
William Shedd expresses the same thought, writing that "The sin of Adam, consequently, is imputed to posterity in the very same way that
the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the believer - namely, undeservedly and gratuitously" [emphasis added] (William G. T. Shedd,
Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed., ed. Alan W. Gomes (Phillipsburg, NJ: P and R, 2003), 435)
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 the 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; NIV).
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. Both Murray and Shedd are in error when they write that it is Christ's righteousness which is imputed into the account of believers.
Blaise Pascal believed in the theory of Original Sin and he expressed the thought that theory seems very unjust:
"For it is beyond doubt that there is nothing which more shocks our reason than to say that the sin of the first man has rendered guilty
those, who, being so removed from this source, seem incapable of participation in it. This transmission does not only seem to us impossible,
it seems also very unjust. For what is more contrary to the rules of our miserable justice than to damn eternally an infant incapable of will,
for a sin wherein he seems to have so little a share, that it was committed six thousand years before he was in existence? Certainly
nothing offends us more rudely than this doctrine; and yet, without this mystery, the most incomprehensible of all, we are incomprehensible to
ourselves. The knot of our condition takes its twists and turns in this abyss, so that man is more inconceivable without this mystery than
this mystery is inconceivable to man" (Blaise Pascal, Pensees, trans. A.J. Krailsheimer [New York: Penguin, 1966], 65)..
The theory of "Traducianism" is explained by Matt Slick in the following way:
"Traducianism is the teaching that the immaterial human soul is transmitted through the natural act of procreation and is generated
along with the material human body. Therefore, as the human body is generated from the life of the parents, so is the soul. This position
teaches that the human soul in each individual is not generated by God's active hand at each conception but is rather a continued generation
from Adam who was the only soul directly made by God (Eve being taken from Adam)" [emphasis added] (Matt Slick, Traducianism, Christian Apologetics &
Research Ministry; https://carm.org/dictionary-traducianism).
This theory is convenient for those who understand that it would be unfair for the LORD to create people where they emerge from the womb
totally corrupt due to the sin of Adam. Therefore, they say that "the human soul in each individual is not generated by God's active hand at
each conception" but that it is a continued generation which began with Adam and Eve. But when we examine this theory by the light of the
Scriptures it becomes obvious that people are indeed the work of the hand of the LORD:
"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
" But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isa.64:4).
According to the theory of Original Sin the LORD is a mad Potter because He creates some of His vessels for the express purpose of destroying
Jonathan Edwards offers the following theory where he speaks of the effect of an imagined removal of the original graces from all people, the same original graces enjoyed by Adam and Eve prior to their
eating of the fobidden tree:
"Only God's 'withdrawing,' as it was highly proper and necessary that he should, from rebel man, being as it were driven away by his
abominable wickedness, and men's 'natural' principles being 'left to themselves,' that is sufficent to account for his becoming entirely corrupt, and bent on
sinning against God." (Jonathan Edwards, The Works of President Edwards; Vol.II, [London: Wiley & Putnam, 1754], 478).
This makes no sense because that idea would practically ensure that no one would come to the light of the gospel, as witnessed by what is said in the
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that
light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (Jn.3:18-21).
Since the LORD is not willing that anyone should perish (2 Pet.3:9) then it would make no sense for Him to send people into the world in a
condition that would surely lead to condemnation. Besides that, the above passage is speaking about people prior to them hearing the gospel and
according to what we read there some people's deeds are wrought in God. According to the theory of Original Sin there exists no such creatures.
There are some who teach that only some people can be saved because the LORD will only give some people a supposed gift of faith and those not
given that gift will perish. However, the following passage reveals that even those who are perishing could have been saved except for the fact that
they were blinded to the light of the gospel:
"" And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so
that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Cor.4:3-4).
The gospel is hidden to those who are perishing and the god of this age, Satan, is responsible for the gospel being hidden from them. Satan
blinded their minds to the gospel for one purpose, "so that they cannot see the light of the gospel."
The fact that the minds of those who are perishing can be "blinded" to the gospel proves that they have the ability to see it if their minds
were not blinded to it. After all, one must be able to see before anyone can be blinded. This demonstrates that even those who are perishing
have the ability to believe the gospel and as a result receive salvation. Therefore, it cannot be denied that the Lord's death and the blessings
which flow from that death have the potential to be applied to even those who are perishing.