Many believe that the Bible teaches that all babies are born evil and sinful as a direct result of Adam's sin. The Bible does not teach this. The Scriptures that are used to suggest this false doctrine are taken out of context.

Examine the following verses, which are the ones most commonly used to suggest this false doctrine.

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

The subject of this verse is David's mother, not David himself. If this verse is taken literally then David's mother was the sinner, not David. There is a big difference between being shapen in iniquity and iniquity shapen in you. For example I was born in Seattle, but Seattle was not born in me. This verse does not teach that sin was transmitted down to David from his mother.

Psalm 58:3 "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies."

This verse is figurative because no baby is born talking and therefore cannot speak lies at birth. If a baby is really guilty of sin then it must repent which is impossible. A baby is not born with any moral character either good or evil. Each person creates their own moral state by their own choices. Only when a child develops sufficient understanding to be morally responsible, can it sin. A child will sin and go astray only when he knowingly chooses to pursue selfishness rather than to love God. God holds each child fully responsible only for his own chooses, not those of Adam, or anyone else.

Ephesians 2:1-3 "And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works 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."

This passage states that a person is dead (separated from the life of God) through his own trespasses and sins. A person's wicked nature is the result of his own wicked ways and wicked walk. The word nature does not mean the way a person is born. This nature of wrath is the result of a person’s own sinful choices and actions.

No baby is born with a sin nature. Each sinner is the author of his own sin nature. A sin nature is the result of sin, not the cause. The moment a person decides to live in preference for his own desires, he becomes a ‘child of wrath’ by nature.

Romans 5:12-18 "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: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, has abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 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."

Romans 5:19-21 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

Romans 5:19 is a parallelism. If Adam's sin made everyone sinners then Christ's obedience made everyone righteous. The result of this would be that every single person would automatically go to heaven based not on their own choices, but Christ's obedience. The Bible definitely does not teach that everyone will get to heaven. Adam's sin was not the cause for any person's future sin but only an occasion or opportunity for sin. Christ's obedience was also not the cause of any person's personal obedience, but only an occasion or opportunity for redemption by grace through faith. No person can become a Christian or sinner without using his own free will.

We will all physically die as a result of Adam's sin but if we choose to sin we will spiritually die. When a child first chooses to disobey God then he will experience spiritual death (separation from God). All men sin now just as Adam did then, by an intelligent transgression of the known law of God.

The Bible teaches that sin cannot be inherited or transmitted from your parent or ancestors.

Ezekiel 18:1-5, 9-10, 13-14, 17-20 (NASB)

"What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel saying, 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel any more. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

But if a man is righteous, and practices justice and righteousness...if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully then he is righteous and will surely live," declares the Lord God. Then he may have a violent son who sheds blood...he will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head. Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father's sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise....but executes My ordinances, and walks in My statutes; he will not die for his father's iniquity, he will surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what was not good among his people, behold he will die for his iniquity. Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity?' When the son has practiced justice and righteousness, and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself."

This passage teaches that sin cannot be inherited or transmitted from your parent or ancestors. Each person alone is responsible for his own moral choices. The fact that your parents may both have been Christians at the time of your birth does not make you a Christian anymore than the fact that one or both of your parents may have been sinners can make you a sinner.

The Scriptures that are used to suggest that God holds children guilty for what their ancestors did only refers to the consequences of sin. (See Ex. 20:5, Ex. 34:7, Num. 14:18, Deut. 5:9). It is true that the consequences of a sin may be passed from one generation to the next but God will never hold anyone responsible or guilty for another person’s moral actions. For example, a baby may be born deformed because of sins that the mother committed. God does not hold the baby guilty for its deformity and it can never repent for its physical state. The baby's deformity is a direct result of the mother's disobedience. Deformity can never be the cause sin. Nothing your ancestors have ever done can cause you to sin. The consequences of sin that are passed from one generation to another can never be responsible for anyone's free moral choice.

Quote from ARE MEN BORN SINNERS? The Myth of Original Sin written by A. T. Overstreet. Page 101


The doctrine of original sin is false because:

1. It makes sin a misfortune and a calamity rather than a crime.

2. It makes the sinner deserve pity and compassion rather than blame for his sins.

3. It excuses the sinner.

4. It makes God responsible for sin.

5. It dishonors God. It makes him arbitrary, cruel, and unjust.

6. It causes ministers to wink at and excuse sin.

7. It begets complacency and a low standard of religion among Christians.

8. It is a stumbling-block to the unsaved.

9. It makes Jesus a sinner or it must deny his humanity.

10. It contradicts the Bible.

11. It "adds to" and "takes from" the Bible. God warns against this in Deut. 4:2 and Rev. 22:18, 19.

12. It begets false doctrines and false interpretations of the Scriptures.

13. It is ridiculous, absurd, and unreasonable. It contradicts the necessary and irresistible affirmations of every man's consciousness and reason, which is something that no true doctrine of the Word of God could do.

I used to believe that I was born a sinner and when I first heard this teaching that I was the only one responsible for my sin, I tried to deny it. I then came to a point where I wondered if it really made a difference what I believed about sin. The Holy Spirit kept on convicting me until I saw and knew for a fact that I alone was responsible for my sins. 

It does make a difference in what you believe about sin. If a person is really born a sinner then this person has no more control over this fact of sin than he does with the fact of the color of his of skin or the color of his eyes at the time of birth. This person cannot be held responsible for his acts of sin. Even God could not find him guilty for his actions. Repentance would be impossible and without repentance no one could ever become a Christian. Is a sinner only a helpless victim that truly deserves sympathy and pity? If you really read the Bible, you know that this is not the case. The Scriptures describe all sinners as rebels and criminals. They are monsters of iniquity that truly deserve the punishment of hell forever.

Ezekiel 33:31 "And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness."

I fear that this verse describes most of the people who claim to be born again. The churches are full of people who say they love God but whose hearts are totally wicked. They may hear God's words but they lack any true obedience. In fact they rebel and refuse to obey God. If you truly love God you will really obey Him and walk in all His ways. Every person is responsible to walk in and obey all the light from God that they now have and He will increase that light as we obey Him.

Study questions.

1. What is the only true cause for a person's sin?

2. How is a sin nature created and formed?

3. What is sin?

4. Can a father's sin be passed on to his son? Why?

5. Can a consequence of sin that is passed down from one generation to another cause a person to sin?

6. Can a person sin unconsciously? Why?

7. What is our true responsibility to God and His word?

8. Does it really make a difference what you believe about sin? Why?