Original Sin: An Inquiry
WHEREAS believers in Christ are foreknown and predestined (Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:2),
AND WHEREAS Christ died on the Cross as a sacrifice for the removal of the sins of many (Hebrews 9:26-28), His blood taking away their sins (Hebrews 10),
AND WHEREAS the death of Christ for the removal of the sins of many was necessary so that He would be raised from the dead, which brings about justification for this same group (Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21),
AND WHEREAS this "many" is declared righteous by faith, so that salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:9), the righteousness of Christ being applied to an individual at the moment of faith , so that previous to faith, an individual is not considered righteous, but is instead alienated and hostile in mind toward God (Colossians 1:21), being by nature under God's wrath (Ephesians 2:3),
AND WHEREAS the relationship of the believer to Christ is declared to be analogous to the relationship of the unbeliever to Adam (Romans 5:12-21),
IT IS PROPOSED THAT just as the elect person is not counted as righteous on the basis of Christ's righteous work until he or she actually believes in Jesus Christ as Lord, that the unbeliever is not condemned on the basis of Adam's unrighteous deed until he or she acts in accordance with this unbelief through a personal sin against God. IN OTHER WORDS, that as personal faith in Christ is the means through which the righteousness of Christ is appropriated, in a similar way, personal sin is the means through which the condemnation of Adam is appropriated.
A possible objection to the above theory: Does the truth of Ephesians 2:3- that we are, by nature, under wrath- suggest that no personal act of sin is necessary, but that each individual is under God's wrath from the moment of conception due to Original Sin?
Proposed course of study: In researching this question and related issues, I plan to read the following-
- Augustine On Original Sin
- Anselm On Original Sin
- Jonathan Edwards Original Sin
- John Murray The Imputation of Adam's Sin
- R.C. Sproul "Adam's Fall and Mine" in Chosen by God
Some implications: How does a right doctrine of Original Sin relate to the question of the salvation of infants or the mentally impaired?
Methodology: I will read the works listed above as the authors of these works are the most respected theologians in Christian history in terms of their thinking on this particular subject. My hope is that they will direct my attention to the most pertinent biblical passages related to Original Sin. I realize that there will probably be weaknesses (perhaps serious weaknesses) as well as strengths in each of these writings (for example, I know that Augustine held some view that Original Sin was washed away in infant baptism, which is biblically preposterous), but I will give careful consideration to the arguments I find, and particularly to the exegesis of Scripture offered by each author. During the course of this study, I will learn how the above proposed theory needs to be adapted or replaced as I gain a greater understanding of the biblical doctrine of Original Sin.
Labels: Reformation Theology