One of the messages I heard as a teen is that we are born sinners. We all have a sin nature and will sin in this body of flesh. But then when the question of what happens to babies when they die comes up, everyone retreats to conclusions that do not align with that thought.

So, this question needs addressing. After thousands of years and hundreds of scholars and theologians, we still struggle with the sin issue. If we don't know the truth about sin, we run a very serious risk of not being ready when the Lord Jesus returns.


Sin's Origin

I'm sure most understand where sin began. For those who might not, this is it.

Ezekiel 28:11-19 KJV
11  Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12  Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

This passage describes Satan's rebellion, the first sin ever committed, and his ultimate demise. Satan is the progenitor of sin, not Adam. We will get to Adam's role later. Satan's desire is to, like the angels who followed him, turn us against God.


Steal, Kill, and Destroy

Do you think Satan wants us gone? His desire is not to mess up our lives and leave us in misery. He doesn't care about us that much! Satan desires to turn our hearts against God and to worship him as a god.

Matthew 4:8-9 KJV
8  Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9  And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy our relationship with God! Why? Because just like his original sin, he doesn't want our money, our marriages, our homes, jobs, or cars. He wants our worship!

Revelation 13:15 KJV
15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.


Sin Enters The World

Genesis 2:16-17 KJV
16  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:25 KJV
25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Genesis 3:6-13 KJV
6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7  And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10  And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11  And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12  And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13  And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Read all of Genesis Chapter 3 to get the full story. But several things happened here. Satan tempted Eve and convinced her it was OK to eat from the tree. She ate and did not die as she thought. She used this proof to convince Adam to eat. We know this, but what else?

Satan got Adam to:

  1. Doubt God
  2. Disobey God
  3. Want to be like God (Sound familiar?)

In this, Adam sinned, and sin entered the world through Adam.

Romans 5:12 KJV
12  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:


All Have Sinned?

Romans 5:12 is used by some to prooftext that all are born sinners. Allow me to submit to you that this verse is saying all men have sinned in Adam, not that we are born sinners. Here is an example of what I mean.

Hebrews 7:9-10 KJV
9  And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.
10  For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

Did Levi give a tithe to Melchisedec? Not directly. Because Abraham did so, Levi is counted to have done so. Because Adam ate from the tree, we are counted to have done so, even though we did not directly.

So just like the blessing was counted through Abraham, the curse is counted through Adam. And this is why Paul says all have sinned. Have sinned is past-tense. Again, this is considering Adam's act, not ours personally.

Romans 3:23 KJV
23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

This is another verse used as the verse above. Adam and Eve sinned, and God's glory left them. They realized they were naked and hid. The glory was the righteousness that allowed them to see only God's goodness. It also protected their perfection. When that fell, they began to see both good and evil, their perfection was corrupted, and with that corruption came death.

Genesis 3:19, 22-23 KJV
19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
23  Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

Note there is no verse that says man is born in sin. Some may think David said so, but no.

Psalms 51:5 KJV
5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

David is speaking of his mother being in iniquity and sin when he was conceived and growing in her womb. This also answers the question concerning babies and those born with limited cognitive abilities.

God does not “make exceptions” for sin.

Ezekiel 18:20 KJV
20  The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Because of God's righteous judgment, He does not transfer the sins of one man to another. For this reason, we are not born with a sin nature, Adam's sin, or Original Sin. We are born with a pure nature.


Why Blame Me for Doing What's in My Nature?

Think about this. If we are born with a sin nature, how would that be any different than the nature of a lion or eagle? They hunt, kill, and eat herbivores because it is in their nature to do so. If my nature is to sin, why punish me for my nature and not the lion?

Why punish the thief or murderer? They couldn't help it. It's in their nature to steal or kill. Why shun or expose the liar? They are only doing what's in their nature. Se where I'm going with this?

In Romans Chapter 7, Paul never said he was a bad man, full of the nature of sin. He said his flesh is corrupt and drives him to choose the evil when he would choose good. This is the reason why God told Adam to avoid the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Before the tree, Adam knew only God's goodness. Afterward, he knew both good and evil. But one thing Adam always had… a choice.


Death to All

Let's look at Romans again…

Romans 5:12 KJV
12  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:

What does the verse say passed to all men? Death, not sin. Death passed because of Adam's sin. Remember, all of humankind was in Adam when he sinned, and so because of him, we all die. God told Adam that would happen.

1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV
22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Why do we have to die? Because of what God said to Adam and in Genesis 3:22. Because Adam acquired the knowledge of good and evil, so have we. Because he then died, we die as well. But Christ came for this very reason. And it is the ONLY reason he came. He came so we can have life! What kind of life? Eternal life!


Sin is a Choice

If sin is not a choice, we would be lost from birth until belief in Christ. It sin was not a choice; it wouldn't matter what we did. The Tree is proof that we can choose to do good or choose to do evil. Adam and Eve had a choice.

Psalms 14:1 KJV
1  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

These verses in Psalms speak of those who choose unrighteousness, not everyone who ever lived or will live. Good, evil, life (eternal) and death (eternal) is a choice. And we all get to make it.