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Section 8A .. A Question Of Salvation/Original Sin

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Original Sin.. Fact Or Fable? - PART I

We are expected to believe that God would orchestrate the greatest miscarriage of justice that this world has ever seen - that He is less fair than any honest judge in the judicial system - that His moral sense is inferior to ours.

Carol Brooks

    PART I

    Introduction to Original Sin - The Original Miscarriage of Justice
    The term commonly refers to the supposed moral corruption that resulted from Adam's sin and allegedly transferred to all future generations, tainting even the unborn. It also it makes hash of the justice of God which is the cornerstone of our faith.

    Origin And Spread
    Two things are certain.. Original Sin did not originate in the Scriptures and cannot be proved by the Scriptures.

    What Is Sin?
    I wonder how many of those that profess to believe in Original Sin have given any thought to the fact that sin is not a substance with physical properties that, like a virus, can be transmitted from person to person.

    Adam's Sin and The Book of Genesis
    The doctrine is based on unproven assumptions regarding the entire incident in the Garden of Eden that the Bible doesn't say a word about. Yet, they have been unquestionably accepted.

    Adam's Actual Legacy (According To The Scriptures)
    Noting that there is no indication in the opening chapters of Genesis that Adam was created immortal, one has to ask the all important question - What changed in Adam and Eve's circumstances that caused them to begin the process of dying? The answer is  simple.

    Three Questions
    There are several questions that those that preach Original Sin have no answer for, nor can they explain...

    Guilty By Inheritance or Guilty by Deed?
    The Scriptures unambiguously state that a person is guilty of sin when he himself commits one. i.e. sin is something a person does, not something he inherits.

    Babies and Young Children - Innocent or Tainted?
    If Original Sin is true, then babies are born guilty of sin, totally depraved, and destined for eternal punishment. Why then do the Scriptures call children innocent with no knowledge of good or evil.

    Part II - Misused and Misinterpreted Bible Texts HERE


    Introduction to Original Sin

    Although the term "Original Sin" does not exist in the Bible or in Jewish writings it is sometimes used to describe Adam's sin of disobedience in eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, it more commonly refers to the supposed moral corruption that resulted from Adam's sin and was allegedly transferred to all future generations, tainting even the unborn. Because of Adam every member of the human race was born not only with a "sin nature", but guilty of sin and condemned to hell long before they commit one for themselves.

    Many Christians today, including most Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics unblushingly subscribe to this view. See Footnote on Infant Baptism

    The Original Miscarriage of Justice
    Proponents often refer to this doctrine as "hard to understand".

    Is it any wonder that not only would someone find this hard to understand, but that a logical and fair minded human being would balk at the thought that they are condemned for a crime that they themselves did not commit.

    Guilt and innocence are the warp and weft of the fabric of our justice system. Man's fundamental concept of justice is that a person cannot be condemned and punished except for intentional, reckless or negligent wrong doing. Does it not speak volumes that we consider it a "miscarriage of justice" when an innocent person is sentenced for an illegal act he did not commit. Certain individuals and organizations rightly do everything in their power to free these people. Peter Neufeld, the co-founder of one of these organizations (aptly named The Innocence Project) says (Emphasis Added)

      Thousands of innocent people are languishing in prison for crimes they didn't commit. These citizens' most basic rights to life and liberty have been quashed by an egregious failure of our criminal justice system. Innocent Project centers are the last hope, not only for the victims, but also for the very concept of justice as we know it." [01]

    Yet we are expected to believe that God Himself, whom we consistently refer to as a "loving God", would indulge in the greatest miscarriage of justice involving billions of people, that this world has ever seen. We are expected to believe that He is less fair than any honest judge in the judicial system and less willing to consider the guilt or innocence of the individual than the organizations that work to free innocent people from jail or even death row.

    That His moral sense is inferior to ours.

    Yes, I am afraid that this doctrine is very hard to understand since it violates every single aspect that we treasure in our God, making Him a worse offender than the over zealous district attorney or the biased judge. In short it makes hash of the justice of God which is the cornerstone of our faith.


    Origins And Spread
    Christians believe Original Sin to be a Biblical doctrine because theologians, preachers, and Sunday school teachers give it a semblance of credence by quoting certain (usually out of context) Bible passages, all the while totally ignoring (or forgetting to mention) those passages that clearly and completely contradict it.

    Two things are certain.. Original Sin did not originate in the Scriptures and cannot be proved by the Scriptures.

    The fact is that the doctrine came into being with some second and third century interpretations of Paul's writings, particularly the fifth chapter of Romans. Most articles on the history of original sin go back not to the Scriptures but to various early "church fathers" - Irenaeus, Cyprian, Basil, Gregory etc. For example, Cyprian wrote,

    how much rather ought we to shrink from hindering an infant, who, being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at its earliest birth [02]

    What boggles the mind is that Cyprian was converted to Christianity about 246 and "within two years he was elected bishop of Carthage" [03]. In other words, a fledgling, Christian was made bishop. And on that note, no one can be sure whether John Calvin had even converted from Catholicism when he wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1536. At best, he was a brand new convert writing it 3-6 short years after converting. See Calvinism Part I - An Introduction to The Reformed Doctrine of Calvinism

    The Council of Carthage
    To return to the topic. The Council of Carthage - a synod of catholic bishops of North Africa held in A.D. 397 - gave official legs to the doctrine of original sin

      Likewise it seemed good that whosoever denies that infants newly from their mother's wombs should be baptized, or says that baptism is for remission of sins, but that they derive from Adam no original sin, which needs to be removed by the laver of regeneration, from whence the conclusion follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins, is to be understood as false and not true, let him be anathema. [04]

    Augustine:
    However it was Augustine of Hippo who, in the fifth century (354-430), was largely responsible for using Paul's teachings on the Fall as 'proof' for the doctrine of Original Sin. Apparently

       Irenaeus did not use the Scriptures at all for his definition; Origen reinterpreted the Genesis account of Adam and Eve in terms of a Platonic allegory and saw sin deriving solely from free will; and Tertullianís version was borrowed from Stoic philosophy. [05]

    Lots of Biblical Evidence in their writings (sarcasm intended). The question one has to ask here is why should we care what Augustine thought and why should it influence us a single iota one way or the other? It would take a lifetime to uncover the riches and layers of the Bible alone, yet men seem to have the time to attend to the voluminous writings of an ancient Catholic philosopher who believed in a purgatory, masses, prayers for the dead, the intercession of saints and martyrs in our favor and the innocence of Mary... In short all the superstitious baggage of the Catholic church. See The Sins of Augustine

    This, in a nutshell, is most of what is wrong with the modern church. We take the opinions, interpretations and writing of man - even brand new converts - to be on par with and (even if we don't come right out and say it) superior to God's word.  Our modus operandi seems to be to be that we read or hear something by an ancient theologian or modern preacher)that we accept as absolute and unshakable truth, then go to the Scriptures to find support for what we have already decided to believe.  And it doesn't seem to matter that we have to take Biblical passages out of context, or misinterpret and misapply them in the process.

    What is wrong with us?

    Original Sin and Calvinism
    Although Augustine was Catholic to the core and wrong about any number of issues, his influence had disastrous and widespread consequences. John Calvin accepted Augustine's fabrications in toto, with generations of theologians blindly following suit, teaching this fallacy to millions more.  Calvinism is undergirded by the doctrine of Original Sin, which would have us believe that our fallen state (total depravity) renders us incapable of choosing God and, of ourselves, powerless to respond to God's offer of salvation. In the words of a Calvinistic site.. (Emphasis Added)

    What total depravity does mean is that no one is innocent of sin, and that no one standing on his own merit is righteous in God's eyes (not even infants). It also emphasizes that, as a result of Adam's sin, man is born spiritually dead, having a corrupted nature which desires to sin and which hates God. Since man cannot act contrarily to his nature, man has no ability to do anything truly pleasing to God. Everything man does comes from a heart that hates God, and therefore everything man does is fundamentally unacceptable in God's sight. This is why man in his natural state can never be good enough to save himself, and can never savingly accept the gospel of his own accord. [06]

    Since man is incapable of saying, doing, thinking or believing anything that would propel him towards salvation, God Himself must step in and elect certain individuals to salvation (Unconditional Election). Of course it naturally follows that if it is God that wills a person to be saved, there is no way that person can fall from grace or get "unsaved" (Perseverance of the Saints).   See Calvinism

    Without the bedrock of Original Sin, the entire edifice would crumble.


    What Is Sin?
    I wonder how many of those that profess to believe in Original Sin have given any thought to the fact that sin is not a substance with physical properties that, like a virus, can be transmitted from person to person. Sin is a conscious, willful act performed by an individual (in word, deed, or thought) that opposes God's will. It is an immoral choice made by the sinner that transgresses God's law.

    Therefore sin can not even exist unless someone makes that immoral choice.

    If it were a substance that can be physically passed on, then virtue, goodness, and righteousness must also be substances that can be transmitted physically. Yet theologians persist in the belief, more fit for a science fiction script than the Scriptures, that sin has literally been passed from Adam to all his descendants, yet fail to tell us

      a) Why it is that we can only inherit sin from Adam but not from the rest of our ancestors
      b) Why it is that we can inherit sin but not inherit righteousness.
      c) How it is that Adam's sin can come through our parents even if they are true Christians and therefore, in the words of the apostles John and Paul, have been cleansed from all sin.

    In regards to the last point, the Bible says

      If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)

      and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  (Romans 6:18 NASB)

    Thus if at the moment of conception our parents were Christians who had been cleansed from all sin there would be no sin to inherit. If there were no sin to inherit from our parents, we would be born pure.  If sinners can beget sinners, saints should beget saints!

    But lets step back in time for a moment to where all this depravity was supposed to have originated - The Garden of Eden.


    Adam's Sin and The Book of Genesis:

    Adam.. Morally Perfect and Immortal?
    One should expect that when a major belief system stands or falls on a single doctrine, there should be unequivocal proof for this doctrine in the Scriptures.

    But, far from this being the case, Original Sin and the resulting depravity of man is based not on God's Word, but on unproved philosophic assumptions that have been unquestionably accepted. It is assumed that Adam was created morally perfect but his sin caused him to not only lose perfection, but become totally corrupt and alienated from God. He then passed these qualities to all his descendants. The 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith - Chapter 4: Of Creation says (All Emphasis Added)

      After God had made all other creatures, He created man, male and female, with reasoning and immortal souls, rendering them fit to live that life for Him for which they were created; - being made in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and having the power to fulfil it; [07]

    However, I have a question. I would like to know where in the Genesis account (or anywhere else in the Bible for that matter) does it say Adam and Eve were created immortal or even morally perfect? Or where it says they had "the law of God written in their hearts"?

    Certainly Adam and Eve were probably innocent, as is anyone who has never encountered anything evil or bad.  Also in light of the fact that they went and hid when God came to the garden (Genesis: 3:7,8) it is reasonable to surmise that  their sin caused them to feel guilty and lose some of this innocence. However, to say were created immortal or that they had "the law of God written in their hearts" is nothing but human invention.

    God Called His Creation "Good"
    The fact that God called His creation "good" in Genesis 1:31 does not mean it was all morally perfect. According to Strong's Hebrew and Greek lexicon, the Hebrew word tŰb (that occurs over 550 times in the Old Testament) can mean goodness, beauty, gladness, fair, joy etc. Moral perfection is not even included in the definition. 

    Did God "Forget" To Mention The Most Devastating Consequence Of Adam's Sin
    One would think that if Adam's transgression had such a monumental effect on all future generations it would at least be mentioned in the Genesis account. Much to the contrary, the silence is deafening - it is nowhere stated (or even implied) that Adam's sin was passed down to anyone.

    All we are told is that, because Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Good and Evil, God did not want them to also partake of the Tree of Life, and live for ever (Genesis: 3:22), therefore He banished them from the garden (Genesis: 3:23). The man was cursed with having to work for food and the ground (that was also cursed) would reward him with thorns and thistles (Genesis: 3:17-19). The woman was cursed with great pain in childbirth (Genesis: 3:16).

    However all these curses fade into insignificance when compared to the fact that trillions of Adam's descendants would inherit his sin and not be able to respond to God or Jesus. Yet, the book breathes not a single word about this. Why not? Did God just forget or simply neglect to mention the most devastating consequence of all. 


    Adam's Actual Legacy (According To The Scriptures)

    Adam.. Physical or Spiritual Death?
    As mentioned most supposed most proof texts for Original Sin are taken from the book of Romans. There is not question that Romans 5:12 does say (Emphasis Added)

      Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned

    Many have come to the conclusion that Paul had to be talking about a "spiritual death" in this passage, primarily because in Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will "surely die". However, as we well know, both Adam and Eve ate of the tree but went on to have several sons. While we do not know how old Eve was when she died, Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930 (Genesis 5:5). Therefore, as the argument usually goes, since Adam's physical death does not occur "in the day" that he sinned, God must have been speaking of a spiritual death, or a separation from Him. The first evidence of this "spiritual death", or broken fellowship with God, is said to be when Adam and Eve "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God" in the garden.

    However is this accurate? Did Adam die spiritually or physically? And what are we to make of the fact that Adam certainly did not die "in the day" he ate of the forbidden fruit? The problem is that most translations have Genesis 2:17 reading (Emphasis Added)

      but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."  (Genesis 2:17 NASB)

    That is, most translations except for the literal ones ... The Concordant Literal version has this verse as

      Yet from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are not to be eating from it, for in the day you eat from it, to die shall you be dying. (Genesis 2:17 CLV)

    Young's literal translation renders the verse so...

      and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it-- dying thou dost die.' (YLT)

    About this commentator Adam Clarke said

      Literally, a death thou shalt die; or, dying thou shalt die. Thou shalt not only die spiritually, by losing the life of God, but from that moment thou shalt become mortal, and shalt continue in a dying state till thou die. This we find literally accomplished; every moment of manís life may be considered as an act of dying, till soul and body are separated.

    What the literal translation of the verse is saying is that God told Adam that if he ate of the fruit he would begin the process of physically dying, until he finally and completely died. Adam began this process as an adult (we are not told how long he lived in the garden), but for the rest of mankind it starts much earlier. In a sense, the process of dying starts at birth - every moment of life is a step towards the inevitable end .. death.

    Noting that there is no indication in the opening chapters of Genesis that Adam was created immortal, one has to ask the all important question.... What changed in Adam and Eve's circumstances that caused them to begin the process of dying?

    The answer is relatively simple.

    In view of their sin of eating from the Tree of Good and Evil, God did not want them to also partake of the Tree of Life, and live for ever (Genesis: 3:22), therefore He banished them from the garden (Genesis: 3:23). We are not told how exactly the Tree of Life works, everything it does, or even if it is literal or figurative. However, it was the only resource that would enable Adam and Eve to stave off physical death - being banished from the garden meant they no longer had access to it. In fact an angel with a flaming sword stood guard at the entrance to the garden thus ensuring that they could not get back in. The Tree of Life was henceforth denied to all humanity, and without access to this life giving resource, we too are doomed to physical death. This was Adam's Legacy.

    However, every single member of the human race has hope in Christ who is life.

    1 Corinthians 15
     is primarily devoted to the topic of Christ's physical resurrection. In it Paul uses some pretty strong language, telling the church at Corinth that if Christ has not been raised, their faith is worthless. Also they are to be pitied if their hope in Him is limited to this life only, since He (Jesus) is the first fruits of "them that are asleep" (dead).

      and if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep. (1 Corinthians: 15:17-20)

    He then goes on to speak of the first two phases in the order of the physical resurrection... 1) Christ was raised 2) believers will be raised at Jesus' second coming.

      For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall (future tense) all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming. (1 Corinthians: 15:21-23)

    There is absolutely no doubt that  in these verses Paul is referring to a physical death, not a spiritual one. Physical death resulted from the man Adam's transgression, but a physical resurrection and a glorified body shall come in the future through Jesus. And whether the Tree of Life in the age to come is literal or figurative, the principal is the same in the three references to said tree in the book of Revelation... We once more have access to everlasting life.

      'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7 NASB)

      Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 NASB)

      Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14 NASB)


    Three Questions
    Besides which there are several questions that those that preach Original Sin have no answer for, nor can they explain...

      a) It is often claimed that we sin because we are "wholly inclined" towards evil and "utterly indisposed" towards good. In other words we sin because we have inherited Adam's depravity. Even if this explains why we sin, it does not explain why Adam sinned. He was, supposedly, created righteous and obviously had the advantage of not inheriting any depravity... yet he still sinned. If Adam became depraved only after he sinned, then why did he sin before he was depraved?

      b) Why would Adam's descendants be held responsible for his first sin only, and not for his later sins? Why would we not also be held responsible for the sins of all our forefathers that came after Adam? 

      c) And thirdly, since Christ shared our human nature through His mother, why was He not considered guilty of Adam's sin?

    Oh wait! I remember! Mary is also considered free of the stain of sin, somehow having escaped inheriting Original Sin like the rest of humanity. Or at least that's what the Catholic church tells us - a classic case of coming up with one myth to cover a major flaw in another. The Protestants seem to have no answer as to how Jesus escaped Original Sin.

    So let us ignore other people's vivid imaginations to say nothing of their endless torrents of seven syllable words and take a look at what the Bible itself has to say which, by the way, it does in no uncertain terms.


    Guilty By Inheritance or Guilty by Deed?

    Conspicuous by their absence from the Bible are verses that say or even imply that a person is guilty of sin because he inherited guilt from Adam. Much to the contrary it unambiguously states that a person is guilty of sin when he himself commits one. i.e. sin is something a person does, not something he inherits.

      "So the Lord was no longer able to endure it, because of the evil of your deeds, because of the abominations which you have committed; thus your land has become a ruin, an object of horror and a curse, without an inhabitant, as it is this day. "Because you have burned sacrifices and have sinned against the Lord and not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, His statutes or His testimonies, therefore this calamity has befallen you, as it has this day."  (Jeremiah 44:22-23 NASB)

    A man is defiled by things he does ... not anything he inherits.

      And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man." (Mark 7:20-23 NASB)

    Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  (John 8:34 NASB)

      Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4 NASB)

      the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.  (1 John 3:8 NASB)

    James was clear. A man becomes worthy of death when he himself responds to temptation by sinning. 

      But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. (James 1:14-15 NASB)

    I am not sure how much more clear it can get - God made man upright, but man sought out many inventions.

      Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices." (Ecclesiastes 7:29 NASB)

     Isaiah says we have turned to do evil and, centuries later, Paul echoes the thought

      ... All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." (Isaiah: 53:6)

      For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6 NASB)

      all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one."  (Romans 3:12 NASB)


    The Old Testament Emphasizes That We Are Held Accountable For Our Own Sins Only.
    Why do we consistently ignore the passages of Scripture that unambiguously tell us that no person can bear the guilt (or innocence) of another ... that every one will answer for their own sins and misdeeds.

      Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin. (Deuteronomy 24:16 NASB)

      But the sons of the slayers he did not put to death, according to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, as the Lord commanded, saying, "The fathers shall not be put to death for the sons, nor the sons be put to death for the fathers; but each shall be put to death for his own sin."  (2 Kings 14:6 NASB)

      However, he did not put their children to death, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, which the Lord commanded, saying, "Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor sons be put to death for fathers, but each shall be put to death for his own sin."  (2 Chronicles 25:4 NASB)

      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.  (Ezekiel 18:20 NASB)

      Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the Lord GOD. "Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.  (Ezekiel 18:30 NASB)

      Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways."  (Ezekiel 33:20 NASB)

      In those days they will not say again, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge.' "But everyone will die for his own iniquity; each man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:29-30 NASB)

    The New Testament Emphasizes That Our Eternal Destiny Is Determined By Our Actions
    Why do we consistently ignore the passages of Scripture that unambiguously tell us that every single person is held accountable for his own deeds and will be judged by his own actions whether they be good or bad.

      For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.  (Matthew 16:27 NASB)

      and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.  (John 5:29 NASB)

      But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: (Romans 2:5-6 NASB)

      For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  (2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB)

      If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;  (1 Peter 1:17 NASB)

      to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."  (Jude 1:15 NASB)

      And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. (Revelation 20:12-13 NASB)

      Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  (Revelation 22:12 NASB)
       

    Also See The Myth of Faith Alone
    Perhaps one of the all time greatest delusions in the Christian world, is the innumerable number of people who are under the impression that, in order to be forgiven their sins and inherit eternal life, all they have to do is believe Jesus died for their sins on the cross. In fact the suggestion that anything other than faith is required for salvation, is not only militantly opposed by most of Christendom, but denounced as an unbiblical, works based, false teaching. But is this true? While it is certainly a fact that the Bible teaches that faith is an essential ingredient without which it is impossible to please God, it never ever teaches that faith is the only requirement for salvation.


    Babies and Young Children - Innocent or Tainted?
    If Original Sin is true, then babies are born guilty of sin, totally depraved, and destined for eternal punishment. Why then do the Scriptures call children innocent with no knowledge of good or evil. When the nation of Israel, lacking trust in the Lord refused to go up against the Amorites, He told them that they would never see the land but their children who had no knowledge of good and evil would..

      'Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.  (Deuteronomy 1:39 NASB)

    Jesus took it a step further and not only prayed for children and blessed them, but said that the kingdom of God belongs to those who become like little children. But if little children are totally depraved, why should we become like them?

      At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-3 NASB)

      And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (Mark 10:13-16 NASB) Also See Matthew 19:14-15

    And the Father was both disgusted and angry at the spilling of innocent blood in the child sacrifices made as burnt offerings to Baal,

      and say, 'Hear the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, "Behold I am about to bring a calamity upon this place, at which the ears of everyone that hears of it will tingle. "Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, days are coming," declares the Lord, "when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter. (Jeremiah 19:3-6 NASB)


    See What and Where is Hell? Part III - Gehenna
    Incidentally, this valley of Ben-hinnom is the Gehenna (Ge-Hinnom) that Jesus spoke of. Perhaps in order to make it fit in with pre-determined theories it was translated Hell in the New Testament. It is claimed that in later years,the Valley of Benhinnom became the common dump site for all the refuse of Jerusalem. Rubbish, animal carcasses, and the dead bodies of criminals were all said to consumed by a fire constantly kept burning in the valley. Not only is there a complete lack of archaeological or literary evidence that supports this claim, but it doesn't even make any sense.

    We Become Guilty From Our "Youth"
    There are several passages in the Old Testament that state it is from their youth that people become sinners...

      The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. (Genesis 8:21 NASB)

      In vain I have struck your sons; They accepted no chastening. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion.  (Jeremiah 2:30 NASB)

      I spoke to you in your prosperity; But you said, 'I will not listen!' This has been your practice from your youth, That you have not obeyed My voice. (Jeremiah 22:21 NASB)

    Isaiah does refer to a time when a child does know the difference and is able to choose. No specific age is given, presumably because the age of reason differs from one young person to another.

      He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. "For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken. (Isaiah 7:15-16 NASB)

     

    Footnote
    Since infants carry the stain and guilt of "original sin" or the first sin ever committed, they have to be baptized to remove this sin. Should they die before baptism they are unsanctified and forever excluded from heaven. This of course has led to the corollary doctrine and practice of Infant Baptism, which ignores the fact that there is not a single Bible verse that commands or even implies infant baptism. To say nothing of the danger that multitudes of people baptized as infants could grow up thinking they are saved and on their way to Heaven, even though they have never been born again through faith in Christ.  See Baptism (Part II deals with infant baptism)


    Continue On To Part II - Misused and Misinterpreted Bible Texts HERE

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