Do We Have A Sinful Nature From Birth?

‘Let the learned Greeks say that the human soul at its birth is placed under the charge of demons: Jesus has taught us not to despise even the little ones in His Church, saying, “Their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.”‘
– Origen, Contra Celsus, Book VIII, chapter XXXIV
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To understand Paul’s anthropology in the Greek New Testament, it is necessary to avoid the dualistic anthropology of the Greeks, with its clear distinction between soul and body, and view his writings through the lens of the Hebraic frame of references, in which sarx (flesh) and psyche (soul) both denote the whole living person and not merely any part of of the individual. (…) In the Greek view (dualism), the body is evil but the spirit is good. In the Hebraic view, the whole person (spirit and body) is good.”
– James DeFrancisco, “Original Sin and Ancestral Sin, Comparative Doctrines”

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I am not against the idea that we get a sinful nature (= sinful character), as an addiction to sin.

“A good character is the result of obedience to law, and a bad character is the result of disobedience to law”

Source: The Origin of Sin and Its Characteristics, summary digest taken from The Origin of Sin And Its Relations to God And The Universe by E. W. Cook.

I am against the teaching that we have a sinful nature from birth which causes us to sin inevitably.

“Do we inherit a sin nature from Adam or our parents? No!! It is impossible for moral character to be passed from one generation to the next.”
– Steve Grochow, The Requirements for Sin and Holiness, p3 (emphasis mine)

This short video can show you how the idea that we inherit a sinful nature so that sin becomes natural contains a contradiction:

 Source: Jesse Morrell, bibletheology, “Is Sex A Sin?” (Youtube)
(scroll down for the full video)


Source: Jesse Morrell, Is Homosexuality Human Nature? (biblicaltruthresources)

‘Do human beings have “sinful natures?” Do our natures change when we are born again as Christians? Will we have sinful natures until we get imperishable bodies in the resurrection? Perhaps, as some say, we Christians have two natures that war against each other. I say we never had sinful natures, properly speaking.

To solve this issue, we need to be clear at the outset about what we mean by the word “nature.” If we are confused or vague about the definition of a word, we will be confused or vague about doctrines it is used to describe.

The predominant view in the institutional church of the nature of man can be traced back to John Calvin, Augustine of Hippo, and ultimately to Plato, the Greek philosopher. This is the view that man’s nature is metaphysically evil; that we must sin because “sinful” is something we are, and that our sinful actions flow of necessity out of our natures.

As I see it, “sinful nature” would be an oxymoron. The Bible describes sin as a choice1, a selfish act or intention2, a violation of law in deed or thought3, an act that is not from faith or confidence in God4. It is everywhere treated as voluntary and as properly deserving punishment5. Its cause is never attributed to anyone but the sinner himself.

“Natural” is generally understood as those attributes something possesses simply by existing6, its metaphysical attributes, by birth or innately, before any action or choice, not by use of the will, apart from the volition.

So, in strict propriety of speech, to say “sinful nature” is incongruous.7 To do so, we must redefine either “sinful” or “nature” or both. No doubt these ideas came about as a way to remove our personal responsibility and guilt for our sins, as in the Garden when they made excuses, and as described in Romans 1:18-25, how we exchange the truth for lies when we sin.

To avoid confusion, I try to use the term “nature” strictly to mean metaphysical attributes, and “character” to refer to moral attributes. And I generally qualify each with synonyms and examples. This issue is too important to allow confusion about what the Bible teaches. The core doctrines of the guiltiness of sin and the justice of God are at stake.

The notion that we are sinful by nature is tied in with the idea of original sin, and with the idea that Adam and Eve’s nature changed to sinful when they sinned, and that we inherited their nature from them. This belief is itself dependent on the presupposition that one’s “nature” can be sinful. It is an unbiblical doctrine based mostly on Greek philosophy (and a sloppy reading of Romans chapter five)’

[1] Deuteronomy 30:15-19; Proverbs 1:29

[2] Romans 2:8; Philippians 2:3; James 3:14-16

[3] 1 John 3:4; Matthew 5:17-48

[4] Romans 14:5; Romans 14:23

[5] Romans 1:32; Hebrews 10:28-30

[6] It is also used as a metaphor for someone who does something so well or so much that it’s like they do it by nature, as in “He’s a natural tennis player” or “we…were by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

[7] The New International Version renders the Greek word “sarki” as “sinful nature” in many places, but all of the accurate and literal translations render it “flesh.” Paul explains his use of the term to mean “sold in bondage to sin” (Romans 7:14). He seems to contrast the life lived indulging the desires of our physical body with being governed by the truth communicated by God through the spirit. And he says that we are no longer in the flesh (Romans 8:9) if the Spirit of God dwells in us. This is also expressed in Romans 7:5 when he says “while we were in the flesh”.

Source: Alan Coughlin, “On The Sinful Nature”

In this video, Kerrigan Skelly makes clear the difference between our human nature and our sinful nature. We are born with our human nature but NOT with our sinful nature. When I talk about true sinful nature, I use the second definition, NOT the first one. (If you find this too complicated, please look at the video below):


Source: ‘Kerrigan Skelly, “Sinful Nature” is NOT BIBLICAL! – Calvinism – Doctrine of Original Sin (Kerrigan Skelly), refutingcalvinism (youtube). I cut the parts on which I don’t agree in the original video.

Easy-to-grasp video:


Source: Biblical Sin Nature, Moral Government Theology (youtube)

(becoming slaves to sin is what I see as the sin nature. That is: building yourself a sinful character/habit. – like for example an addiction to sigarets getting worse and worse by smoking -. See below for more information.)

“In one way or another, the various schools of Gnosticism depicted man as the victim and slave of forces over which he had no control, and therefore they diagnosed sin as inevitable.”
– Jaroslav pelikan (emphasis mine)

Source: The Emergence of Catholic Tradition (100-600): pp. 282-283, The State of Christian Anthropology

“When a man acts wrongly, nature is not to be blamed; for what is wrong, takes place not according to nature, but contrary to nature, it being the work of choice, and not of nature!”
– Eusebius (emphasis mine)

Source: James Miller, The Christian Examiner, Volume I, p 66 (Edition 1824)

[On the quote above, read also “Sin is Not Natural“.]

“The fact is, sin never can consist in having a nature, nor in what nature is, but only and alone in the bad use which we make of our nature. This is all. Our Maker will never find fault with us for what He has Himself done or made; certainly not. (…) He never holds us responsible for our original nature…
since there is no law against nature, nature cannot be a transgression… man’s nature is not a proper subject for legislation, precept, and penalty, inasmuch as it lies entirely without the pale of voluntary action, or of any action of man at all.”
– Charles Finney, Sermons on Gospel Themes, p 78-79 (emphasis mine)

“The next dogma deserving attention is the position, that mankind derived from our first progenitor a corrupt nature, which renders obedience to the commands of God impossible, and disobedience necessary, and that for the mere existence of this nature, men ‘deserve God’s wrath and curse, not only in this world, but in that which is to come.’ If the above dogma is true, it is demonstrably evident, that this corrupt nature comes into existence without knowledge, choice, or agency of the creature, who for its existence is pronounced deserving of, and ‘bound over to the wrath of God.’ Equally evident is it, that this corrupt nature exists as the result of the direct agency of God. He proclaims himself the maker of ‘every soul of man.’ As its Maker, He must have imparted to that soul the constitution or nature which it actually possesses. It does not help the matter at all, to say, that this nature is derived from our progenitor: for the laws of generation, by which this corrupt nature is
derived from that progenitor, are sustained and continued by God himself…
If, then, the above dogma is true, man in the first place, is held as deserving of eternal punishment for that which exists wholly independent of his knowledge, choice or agency, in any sense, direct or indirect, He is also held responsible for the result, not of his own agency, but for that which results from the agency of God.”
– Asa Mahan, Doctrine of the Will, p 115. (emphasis mine)

“To represent the constitution as sinful, is to present God, who is the author of the constitution, as the author of sin.”
– Charles Finney, Finney’s Systematic Theology, p 261 (emphasis mine)

Think about this: Will God give us a nature that is attracted to sin, the very thing He hates? No! Sin is a choice, not irresistible rebellion! Of course sin can be resisted, otherwise we could not be held responsible for it!*

“This excuse is a good one, if it is true. If it is true, as they pretend, that God has given them a nature which is itself sinful, and the necessary actings of their nature are sin, it is a good excuse for sin, and in the face of heaven and earth, and at the day of judgment, will be a good plea in justification. God must annihilate the reason of all the rational universe, before they will ever blame you for sin if God made you sin, or if he gave you a nature that is itself sinful. How can your nature be sinful? What is sin? Sin is a transgression of the law. There is no other sin but this. Now, does the law say you must not have such a nature as you have? Nothing like it.”
– Charles Finney, Justification by Faith, II. Show that by the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified, (1.) Sinners often plead their sinful nature as a justification. (emphasis mine)

“The will determines the nature or character, rather than the nature of the will. (…) We are never held accountable for what we are not the author of.”
– Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free”, Chapter 5: The Truth About Man’s Rebellion Against God, V. The Nature of Man’s Sinful State, p. 60.

A true sinful nature, I believe, is like an addiction. Once we are used to sinning, it is very hard to get out of that pattern. We are responsible for the addiction and we are responsible for every sin we commit. NOT God!

For I do not do the good that I want, but the evil that I do not want I do”. Just as if, for instance, someone who has been swearing regularly now for a long time swears even when he does not wish to.
“But if I do what I do not want to do, it is not I that does it, but sin that lives in me”. Not I, because I do it [as it were] against my will, but the habit of sin, though I myself have provided myself with this compulsion.
– Pelagius, Commentary on Romans, Romans 7:19-20 (emphasis mine)

“What is a sin nature and where does it come from? Do not forget that before a sin nature can exist, sin has to take place. So a sin nature is only the RESULT of sin not the CAUSE of it. A sin nature consists in pattern habits formed by the sinner living for himself and not for God. Each sinner is the author of his own sin nature. A sinner develops his own sin nature over a period of time. It starts with his thoughts. Then his thoughts become choices. Then his choices become actions. Then his actions become habits. Then his habits become his lifestyle
– Steve Grochow, The Requirements for Sin and Holiness, p3 (emphasis mine)

“1.  The word “nature” (Ephesians 2:3) can at times describe a man’s God-given constitution (Romans 1:26, 31; 2:14, 27; 2 Timothy 3:3).  It must  be kept in mind that our constitution is just dirt and is created by God; and therefore, our constitution cannot be sinful in of itself.

2.  The phrase “by nature” (Ephesians 2:3) does not always mean “by birth” but can at times mean “by custom or habit.”  Otherwise, Paul would have taught that the Gentiles were born sinners but the Jews were not.  Paul said, “We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners” (Galatians 2:15; some translate birth as nature is his point).  The word nature can describe a man’s self chosen character, custom, habit, or manner of life (Jeremiah 13:23; Acts 26:4; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Galatians 2:14-15; Ephesians 2:2-3; 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4).  This is voluntary and has to do with the heart.  Therefore, moral character or sinfulness can belong to this type of voluntary and chosen nature.

3.  The context of this particular passage is talking about a former manner of life.  Paul is addressing a previous lifestyle.  He said “in which you once walked” (v.2) and “once lived” (v.3).  The natural man is the same as the carnally minded (Romans 8:6-7).  It is someone who lives for the gratification of their flesh.  To say that a person is by nature a child of wrath is the same as saying that they are under the wrath of God because they are living for the gratification of their flesh. Through free choice, men create a habit of self-indulgence.

4.  To say that they are “sons of disobedience” (v. 2; 5:6) and to say they are “by nature children of wrath” is essentially the same thing.  Disobedience is a choice of the will.  Those who choose to disobey God are misusing and abusing their natures.  Those who choose to disobey God are rightfully under His wrath.

5.  That which brings the “wrath” (v. 3) of God is voluntary moral character, not involuntary constitutions.  God is not angry with men for possessing the nature which He Himself created with them.  God is angry with sinners because of how they have chosen to use their nature that He has given them by transgressing His just laws (1 John 3:4).  God is angry with the wicked (Psalm 7:11) because the wicked do wicked deeds (Psalm 7:14).  God is angry with sinners because of their sinful choices and sinful habits.

6.  A sinful nature is moral not physical.  Jesus had a nature like ours (Hebrews 2:14; 5:7-10) yet Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).  A sinful nature is a person’s self-chosen character and not his God-given constitution.  A man’s heart or will can be sinful, a man’s constitution or body can only be an occasion of temptation.  Through continual choices of self-gratification, man has developed a habit of sin.  Jesus was born with flesh just like we have and He was tempted in His flesh but He never sinned by giving in to temptation.  If we choose to sin, we are choosing to use our God-given nature to rebel against God.  This is what meant by sinful nature  and not that merely being a human means that we are guilty of sin just by our constitutional makeup.”
Source: The Seeking Disciple, Interesting Take on Ephesians 2:3 (Arminiantoday; emphasis mine; Galatians 2:16 changed to Galatians 2:15, as this was a typo.)
(It should be noted that this is not the Arminian view but rather the Moral Government view.)

CONCLUSION:

‘Human nature, therefore, or what men are at birth is Godlike; human character, or what men make themselves afterward, is devilish.

Human nature. This is the nature God gives men. That men are made “after the similitude of God” means that they have powers of thinking, feeling, and acting — an intellect to know and understand God, sensibilities wherewith to love Him, and a will to choose His service. This is God’s image in the soul. This is the nature God gives every moral being, and for whatever a man has in him at birth God alone is responsible. Therefore, to say, as some do, that men are born sinful — that they have at birth a “sinful nature” — is to trace that sinful nature directly to the Almighty, and make Him its responsible author. Moreover, it is a statement so absurd in itself that nothing can be more so. For if a man is born a sinner, then he can not avoid being a sinner; and, if he cannot avoid it, then he is not to blame for it; and if he is not to blame for it, then he is innocent; and we have the manifest absurdity of a sinful innocence, or an innocent sinfulness. With the same propriety might we speak of an honest thief or a truthful liar.’

Source: The Origin of Sin and Its Characteristics, summary digest taken from The Origin of Sin And Its Relations to God And The Universe by E. W. Cook.

The fact is, we presented our members to serve sin; it is not the case, as the Manichaeans say, that it was the nature of the body to have sin mixed in.”
– Pelagius, Commentary on Romans, Romans 6:19 (emphasis mine)

“Fight manfully. A bad habit can best be overcome by a good one.”
– Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book I: Councils on The Spiritual Life, Chapter XXI: On Contrition of Heart (emphasis mine)

Source: translation of “De Navolging van Christus“, translated to Dutch by Dr. J.W. Schulte Nordholt (Amsterdam, De Arbeiderspers, 1954)

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”
– Romans 6:12-13 (NKJV, emphasis mine)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
– Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

“You must strive diligently to be inwardly free, to have mastery over yourself everywhere, in every external act and occupation, that all things be subject to you and not you to them, that you be the master and director of your actions, not a slave or a mere hired servant.”
– Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book I: Councils on The Spiritual Life, Chapter XXXVIII: The Right Ordering of External Affairs; Recourse to God in Dangers (emphasis mine)

Source: “Imitation of Christ” on Christian Classics Ethereal Library.


Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, Development of Moral Depravity and Increased Bondage with Indulgence, p 69 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980)


Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, Philosophical Influences in Church History, p 39 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980)

(THE END OF THE MAIN ARTICLE)




ADDITIONAL INFORMATION BELOW:

Mike Wambolt wrote on the nature of man:

‘Satan has successfully has people believing that sin is natural and not sinning is unnatural, this is the false doctrine of “Man Born With a Sinful nature” People have been so confused, they can’t tell the difference between the Biological laws of man from the Spiritual laws of man, all sin is against the Spiritual laws of man & God. According to the Greek language man’s nature (Physis) means, A mode of thinking, feeling, acting which by long practicing habits has become man’s nature, the original Greek language say nothing about man being born with a biological sinful nature anywhere in scriptures. 1 John 3:6-7, makes this point clear, those who practices (habitual habits) righteousness is righteous and those who practice (habitual habits) sin is of the devil. Eph 2:1-3. If you translate these scriptures in contexts as they were written, you will see that man’s nature in influence by the world and habits of choice. And you were dead in your trespasses and sin in which you formerly walked according to the course of the world (influence by the world), according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is working in the sons of the disobedient, Among them we too all formerly lived by the lusts of the mind (habitual lusting of the mind) and were by nature (physis) children of wrath, even as the rest. Nothing here about biological force of sinfulness , but, it plainly shows we choose to be lustful by our minds (our habitual thinking) 2 Peter chapter one, explain we can be partakers of His divine nature, by escaping the corruption that is in the world. (verse 4). We can be pure holy, undefiled, sanctified by the cleansing power of the word of God. Jesus said, I sanctify them with truth, and upon our obedience we can be partakers of His divine nature. 1 PETER 1:16. For it is written, “You Shall Be Holy, For I am Holy”. God didn’t heal our biological fleshly body to conform to holiness. but, He did Spiritual healed our way of thinking to become holy like Him, by using the enlightenment of His word.’
Source: Mike Wambolt (reply to a facebook post)

Jesse Morrell on the fact that a sinful nature can be developed by sinful choices:

‘The word nature in the Greek can refer to a person’s “mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature” [1] (Eph. 2:3; Gal. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:4). Adam Clarke said that the word nature in the Scriptures is sometimes used to describe “a disposition formed by custom and habit.” [2] Through continual choice, a certain behavior can become like “second nature” to you. In other words, choices create habits, through which, a way of life can become like nature.

Pelagius was a student of the Greek language [3] and wrote books on nature and free will. In one of his letters he wrote, “Doing good has become difficult for us only because of the long custom of sinning, which begins to infect us even in our childhood. Over the years our sin gradually corrupts us, building an addiction and then holding us bound with what seems like the force of nature itself.” [4]

(…)

The truth that men are capable of so perverting themselves as to create for themselves a sinful nature also helps us to understand what the Bible means when it says that sinners have “corrupted themselves” (Gen. 6:12; Exo. 32:7, Deut. 9:12, Deut. 32:5, Jdg. 2:19, Hos. 9:9). In this sense, it is not a sinful nature which necessitates the choices of their will, but the choices of their will which create and form their sinful nature. A sinful nature developed by free choice is something which sinners can be rightly blamed and justly punished for, but a nature that they are created with or inherited is involuntary on their part so that they cannot be responsible or held accountable for it.

A type of sinful nature, developed by continual choice and habit, is what is meant in the Scriptures when God said to Israel, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23). The Hebrew word used for “accustomed” means “instructed:accustomed, disciple, learned, taught, used.” [5] It is the same word used for disciple (Isa. 8:16). This extremely hardened sinful condition Jeremiah was rebuking Israel for was not the natural condition that Israel was created or born into but a way of living that they learned overtime and disciplined themselves in. Their wicked way of life became like nature to them.

Paul mentioned the power of sinful habit in his hyperbole of the struggle a convicted sinner has against sin. He wrote, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20). Notice Paul said, “it is no more I” which means that it previously was him. The man put himself into that bondage to sin. Pelagius commented that the man in this chapter was battling with “habitual desires.” [6] Sinners choose to live in sin and can develop such a strong sinful addiction in their flesh that it is like their sinful habits take over and they continue to sin, even when their conscience is awakened by the law and the inner man of conscience doesn’t want to sin. Those who have struggled with drug addiction know what it is like to struggle with the habits and desires you have developed even after you no longer want to live that way.

The more you over-indulge your appetites and desires, the stronger their demands grow. Habitual choice of indulgence can create strongholds of addictions. If you properly control these appetites and desires as God intended when He gave them to you, the strength of these appetites and desires can be subdued and can fulfill their rightful place in life. Through wrongful and over indulgence, the members of your nature can become accustomed to being gratified through sinful means and can be perverted. This is how we can develop the “law of sin which is in my members” (Rom. 7:23) that Paul spoke of, which is in opposition to conscience or the “law of my mind” (Rom. 7:23, 25). [7] A law is a rule of action. A law of sin in your members and the law of God in your mind is that which demands or desires you to live and conduct yourself in a certain way.

Many have fallaciously assumed that the “sin that dwelleth in me” and “the law of sin which is in my members” was some sort of sinful nature inherited from Adam, when this Paul never mentions. Notice that Paul never even mentions Adam, birth, or inheritance in the entire chapter. This law of sin in his members or sin that dwelleth in him was not something that he was born with but something that he had developed by his own choices. Sinful choices create sinful habits, until sinning itself becomes like nature to you.’

Source: Jesse Morrell, “A Sinful Nature Can Be Developed By Sinful Choices” (biblicaltruthresources).

Footnotes:

[1] Thayer’s definition of “phusis.”

[2] Adam Clarke’s commentary on Eph. 2:3.

[3] Unlike Augustine, who did not know Greek, who taught that we are born with a sinful nature.

[4] Letter to Demetrias, VIII.

[5] Strong’s definition of “limmûd limmûd”.

[6] Pelagius’s Commentary on Romans 7:23.

[7] Many have mistakenly assumed that the law of sin which Paul described as in his members in Romans seven, and the sin that dwelleth in him, were inherited from Adam at birth. These verses have been interpreted so as to refer to “original sin” and a “sinful nature.” This assumption is completely exegetically unfounded, as the chapter mentions nothing at all of birth, Adam, Adam’s original sin, or inheritance.

William Birch described Pelagius’ view in this way:

“Pelagius does, indeed, believe that people are capable of obeying God’s laws. He teaches that God has endowed mankind, inherently by nature, with a true and genuine freedom of the will to choose the good and eschew all evil. People are responsible for their own actions and choices, since God has granted humanity the inherent ability to choose the good.”
– William Birch, Pelagius: The Conflict and The Consequence (on his website Jacobus Arminius)

Source: http://jacobarminius.blogspot.be/2014/11/pelagius-conflict-and-consequence.html


‘”Under the plea that it is impossible not to sin, they are given a false sense of security in sinning…Anyone who hears that it is not possible for him to be without sin will not even try to be what he judges to be impossible, and the man who does not try to be without sin must perforce sin all the time, and all the more boldly because he enjoys the false security of believing that it is impossible for him not to sin…But if he were to hear that he is able not to sin, then he would have exerted himself to fulfil what he now knows to be possible when he is striving to fulfil it, to achieve his purpose for the most part, even if not entirely.”
– An unknown Pelagian

“Consider first whether that which is such that a man cannot be without it ought to be described as sin at all; for everything which cannot be avoided is now put down to nature but it is impious to say that sin is inherent in nature, because in this way the author of nature is being judged at fault.”
– An unknown Pelagian

“How can it be proper to call sin by that name if, like other natural things, it cannot be avoided, since all sin is to be attributed to the free choice of the will, not the defects of nature.”
– An unknown Pelagian’

Source: Sermonindex

“Homosexuals often cover and excuse their evil acts of perversion by saying that they were born homosexual. And if the teaching is true that men are born with a sinful nature, homosexuals are right to say they were born homosexuals. For they were born homosexuals if they were born sinners. Also they are right to excuse their evil actions of perversion. For is they were born sinners, they were born homosexuals; and if they were born homosexuals they can no more be blamed for their evil acts of perversion than the brute beasts can be blamed for being born brute beasts. Likewise the alcoholic cannot be
blamed for his drinking if it true that he was born with the ‘disease of alcoholism’. In fact the murderer, the rapist, and all other sinners have a perfect and legitimate excuse for all their sins if they were born with a sinful nature. But God never excuses the murderer or the drunkard or the rapist or the homosexual or any other sinner for his sins. For God created al men with a good nature. All sin is a corruption of man’s nature, it is a perversion of man’s nature. It is rebellion against our nature – it is rebellion against the ‘law of God written in our hearts’ and against the God who has written his law in our hearts. No man is born a sinner. No man is born with the ‘disease of alcoholism’. No man is born a homosexual.”
– Alfred T. Overstreet, Over One Hundred Texts From The Bible That Show That Babies Are Not Born Sinners, p 8.

“Even the simple lie-detector can tell us this. The whole body reacts adversely when a man sins… God never planned sin for man. It is the most un-natural thing in the moral Universe… Do not dare say sin is ‘natural’! God hates sin with perfect hatred; He loves humanity.”
– Winkie Pratney, Youth Aflame, p 78.

The idea that God has given mankind a nature which has a genuine free will,
is confirmed by other early Christians:

“Man appears to resemble a ship which has been constructed by the builder and launched into the deep, which, however, it is impossible to navigate without the rudder, by which it can be kept under command, and turned in whatsoever direction its steersman may wish to sail. Also, that the rudder and the whole body of the ship require the same artificer, is a matter admitting no doubt; for without the rudder the whole structure of the ship, that huge body, will be an inert mass. And thins, then, we say that the soul is the rudder of the body; that both these, moreover, are ruled by that liberty of judgment and sentiment which we possess, and which corresponds to the steersman; and that when these two are made one by, union, and thus possess a unison of function applicable to all kinds of work, whatever may be the products of their own operation, they bear a testimony to the fact that they have both one and the same author and maker.”
– Archelaeus, The Acts of the Disputation With Manes, 19

“For all the creatures that God made, He made very good; and He gave to every individual the sense of free-will, in accordance with which standard He also instituted the law of judgment.
To sin is ours, and that we sin not is God’s gift, as our will is constituted to choose either to sin or not to sin.”
– Archelaeus, The Acts of the Disputation With Manes, 32

“There can be no doubt that every individual, in the exercise of his own proper power of will, may shape his course in whatever direction he pleases.”
– The judges agreeing with Archelaeus, The Acts of the Disputation With Manes, 33

“If ye be willing and obedient; whence, it is plainly manifest and indubitable, that God had granted to man free-will, so that it is in his power to do the good, or choose the evil. For if it be predestined that one man be good and another man evil, then the first is not deserving of praise or the other to be blamed.”
– Epiphanius, Against Heresies, 16 Isaiah

“Unless humans have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions whatever they may be… For neither would a man be worthy of reward or praise if he did not of himself choose the good, but was merely created for that end. Likewise, if a man were evil, he would not deserve punishment, since he was not evil of himself, being unable to do anything else than what he was made for.”
– Justin Martyr, First Apology, chap. 43

“I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. (…)
Man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance.”
– Tertullian, Against Marcon,  Book II, Chapter 5

“The reward neither of good nor of evil could be paid to the man who should be found to have been either good or evil through necessity and not choice.”
– Tertullian, Against Marcon,  Book II, Chapter 6

“God put the question [to Adam – “where art thou”] with an appearance of uncertainty, in order that even here He might prove man to be the subject of a free will in the alternative of either a denial or a confession, and give to him the opportunity of freely acknowledging his transgression, and, so far, of lightening it. In like manner He inquires of Cain where his brother was, just as if He had not yet heard the blood of Abel crying from the ground, in order that he too might have the opportunity from the same power of the will of spontaneously denying, and to this degree aggravating, his crime; and that thus there might be supplied to us examples of confessing sins rather than of denying them: so that even then was initiated the evangelic doctrine, “By thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
– Tertullian, Against Marcon,  Book II, Chapter 25

“For if man did not possess the power to will and not to will, why should a law be established? …And that by himself in person he might prove that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination, inasmuch as he is able to will and not to will, and is endued with power to do both.”
– Hippolytus, Against all Heresies, Book 10, Chapter 29


Note:

‘Antichrist was not to deny that Christ had come in flesh, but was to deny that He had “come in the flesh,” in “the same” kind of flesh as the human race He came to save.’
– Christian Edwardson, Facts of Faith, Southern Publishing Association, 1943; cited in G. Burnside, The NIV and the Antichrist, 7

Some reason that because Jesus came into the same flesh, if one believes that flesh makes us sinful, He also must have been sinful. Because if this where true, Christ would also have had the necessity of sinning. This is denied in the following video:


Source: Jesse Morrell, bibletheology, “Is Sex A Sin?” (Youtube)

‘It [that is: the doctrine that we are born with a sinful nature] embarrasses the doctrine of the true humanity of Christ. The Scriptures teach that Christ was “made in all things” like us: and if we inherit depravity at birth, then He did; and we never say that Christ inherited depravity.’

Source: The Origin of Sin and Its Characteristics, summary digest taken from The Origin of Sin And Its Relations to God And The Universe by E. W. Cook.

‘It hinders the Spirit’s work of conviction of sin. If men under conviction of sin are taught that they are born with a depravity, or tendency to sin, or hindrances in themselves to right living and acting, of which God is the responsible author, the very next thought is that they are not entirely to blame for their sinful conduct.They must be, to some extent, excusable. And the writer has known lamentable instances where conviction of sin has been thus stifled. Is it said in reply that powerful revivals of religion have occurred under such preaching? Granted, but only in spite of it, and through the influence of other Bible truth which the Spirit could use. Revivals have increased in number and in power where such doctrines have been omitted in preaching.’

Source: Ibid.


* READ ALSO:

No one is born a sinner: https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/augustinian-original-sin-attacked/

Why all people sinned: https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/why-all-human-beings-sin/


AND ALSO:

Striving to bridle the tongue and striving to live sinlessly: https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/taming-the-tongue/

On Sinless Perfection and Love: https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/on-sinless-perfection-and-love/


Also God is not the author of sin:
https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/summary-of-bible-history/

Sin is not natural:
https://crosstheology.wordpress.com/sin-is-not-natural/


Picture source Eusebius: One-Evil
Picture source Jaroslav Pelikan: Wikipedia
Picture source Asa Mahan: AsaMahan
Picture source Winkie Pratney: mariomurilloministries

  

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