Original Sin and Atonement

I do not believe that Original Sin means I am guilty for Adam’s sin. But the mainline view of Original Sin does believe this.

Reformed Theologian Louis Berkhof says, “Original sin. This includes both guilt and pollution. The guilt of Adam’s sin is imputed to us. Because he sinned as our representative, we are guilty in him. Moreover, we also inherit his pollution, and now have a positive disposition toward sin. Man is by nature totally depraved.”

This is a fairly typical explanation of Original Sin.

Much of this doctrine is taken from a view of the Atonement and a particular reading of Romans 5 and the contrast between Adam and Christ.

In typical Substitutionary Atonement lingo, we are imputed with the very righteous deeds of Christ so that God no longer sees us, God now only sees Christ and Christ’s righteous deeds.

In essence, Christ kept the law for us. I see no real point to maintaining this doctrine on two counts:

1) If I am saved because Christ kept the Law for me, then Paul was wrong when He said no flesh is justified by deeds of the Law, nor does Christ’s death seem necessary in this.

2) God very much sees me and I will be judged on whatever I have done in the body, whether good or bad.

But alas, this idea of the imputed righteous deeds of Christ to my account is standard Christian theology. If one dares to reject it, one will be labeled a heretic.

Worse things can happen to you.

Since the view, made popular by Calvin, that Christ’s individual good works are added to my account, the reverse must then also be true: Adam’s individual sinful deeds are on my account already.

Therefore, I am guilty and a sinner because of what Adam did, and I am made righteous, not be anything I did, but by Christ’s good deeds on my account.

This then, leads to Calvin’s necessity for Limited Atonement.

Limited Atonement says that Christ only died for the elect. So, when John says Christ was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world, he was just getting carried away.

We can’t have that! Because then all would be saved. We know all aren’t saved, therefore something must have gotten in the way. If Christ died for everyone, and yet some aren’t saved, then Christ’s blood was wasted, and we can’t have that either! Goes the argument.

Therefore, Limited Atonement. If you are one of the unlucky ones whom Christ did not die for, you are left with the guilt of Adam’s sin, which was imputed to you because your parents couldn’t keep their pants on.

If Christ didn’t choose to impute His righteous deeds to you, then you have no shot. Sucks to be you. There is nothing you can do because you need Christ’s righteous deeds imputed to you, and you have no say in that.

You will rot in hell for being guilty of a sin you didn’t commit.

Obviously, by my sarcasm, you can tell I am not a fan of this logic. These ideas of Original Sin and Total Depravity are the necessary logical results of a flawed theory of Atonement.

Since I can’t do anything to get saved, since I’m so depraved by Adam, and I need Christ’s righteous deeds and I can only get that through God’s election, Irresistible Grace, and Calvin’s doctrines, nothing I do matters.

Again, I find this all to be an elaborate scaffolding to hold up a teetering theology that would be better served to just go with what God said rather than human over-thinking.

4 thoughts on “Original Sin and Atonement”

  1. Lutherans wouldn’t call themselves Calvinists but would say that they, Lutherans, acknowledge the paradoxes of Scripture without explaining them. They would say that you err by interjecting reason into the gaps that Scripture left.

    Thanks for the explanation. I will keep it in mind as I read.

  2. “Paradoxes of scripture”.

    I find that the more I put aside man’s theological ideas about scripture and the more I accept scripture at face value (believing that it actually means what it says) the fewer “paradoxes” there seems to be.
    I think most of the “difficulties” in scripture seem to come about when scripture doesn’t agree with what we’ve been taught to believe, or doesn’t agree with what we’d like to believe.

  3. There are still Bible passages that are difficult, but yes, for the most part, our difficulty is in taking them seriously in application. Often, if we change our view on one doctrine, it messes with our whole theological structure, so it’s easier just to keep going with what you got and skip the hassle. Thus Church Tradition.


    The original proof-text for original sin is Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

    Was David a sinner at conception? No. Was David a guilty of sin at his birth? No. David was a sinner only after he broke God’s commandments.

    Psalm 51: 1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to your compassion blot out my transgressions. (NASB)

    David asked God to blot out his transgressions. David did not asked God to blot out the guilt that he inherited from Adam. He did not ask God to block out the guilt of sins that he inherited from his mother and father.

    Psalm 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. (NKJV)

    David wanted to be cleansed from his sin. David did not ask God to cleanse him from original sin.

    Psalm 51:3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. (NASB)

    David did not transgress one of God’s laws by being conceived. David did not commit sin by being born.

    Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge. (NKJV)

    David did not do evil by being conceived and being born.

    Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me. (NASB)

    David was conceived in a sinful world. David was born into a world filled with sinner’s. David was not guilty of the false teaching of original sin.

    Psalms 139:13-14 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (NASB)

    God formed David in his mothers womb. God did not create David guilty of Adam’s sin nor guilty of anyones sin. God does not create sin. How could a sinner be wonderfully made?

    Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image , in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (NASB)

    God created David in His own image. Is God’s image that of a sinner? David was created innocent of sin just like every person that God creates today. All men are created in God’s image.

    Mark 10:14 …”Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (NASB)

    Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to children. Did Jesus mean the kingdom belongs to dirty little sinners who were guilty of Adam’s sin at conception. Did Jesus mean that children who were sinners at birth belong in God’s kingdom.
    If the false doctrine of original sin is true how did these children have their sins wash away. Jesus gave this command after His death. Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved…). Small children and infants are not guilty of sin.

    Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,(NASB)

    Men will go hell because of the unforgiven sins they commit. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at conception. Men will not go to hell because they were sinners at their birth.
    Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of Adam’s sin.
    Men will not go to hell because they are guilty of a false sin.
    The doctrine of original sin is a false doctrine invented by man and perpetuated by the uninformed.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: