Arminian Today

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Ezekiel 18:20 and Original Sin

Most of those who reject original sin will often reject the doctrine based on Ezekiel 18:20.  Moral Government teachers often appeal to Ezekiel 18:20 when seeking to build a case against inherited depravity.  The verse reads,

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

The idea set forth is that God declares clearly here in this passage that He does not hold the son guilty for the father’s sins nor the father for the sin of the children.  The soul that sins shall die.  Therefore, we are not found guilty before God because of Adam’s sin but because of our own sins.  We all must give an account before God who is the judge of all the earth (Romans 14:10-12; Revelation 20:11-15).  The soul that sins shall die (1 John 3:4).  We don’t die because of Adam’s sin nor are people born with the guilt of Adam inherited in our flesh.  We are born into a sinful world but we are not born sinners, guilty of Adam’s transgression.  This is the reasoning.

The answer from those who hold to the doctrine of original sin, as best as I can read, is that Ezekiel 18:20 is not dealing with Adam as the Federal head of the human race.  For instance, it was in fact Eve who sinned first (Genesis 3:6; 1 Timothy 2:14) but Romans 5:12 says that death came through Adam.  Why?  Because Adam was the federal head of our humanity.  He represented all of us in the Garden.  Therefore, we all fell in Adam.  Further, Ezekiel 18 is not dealing with this issue but rather is dealing with the issue of sinning under the Law of Moses.  The context is God answering the Jewish proverb that Ezekiel quotes in verse 2.  The issue here is not salvation but pertaining to the Law and Israel’s misuse of God’s law.

So are we born sinners or are born innocent of sin?  Do we sin because we are sinners or are we sinners because we sin?

We will now turn to toward moral government and some others who oppose original sin.  Does Scripture clearly teach that we are born sinful?  When do we become sinners?  My hope is that we would answer those questions from Scripture and not from our opinions, quotes from Church Fathers, or from our experiences.  It is easy to judge theology based on our own experiences instead of allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.  My prayer is that we would always heed Scripture above all else.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/23/2012 at 12:27 PM

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