Original Sin and the Age of Accountability

Original Sin, in my mind, does not mean I am guilty of Adam’s sin. I am guilty of my sin and will be held accountable by God for it and it alone.

God is just and does not hold people accountable for sins they did not commit. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

Yet the standard Reformed doctrine of Original Sin says I am born guilty, born deserving of hell because of something Adam did.

That being the case, all babies who die in the womb are in hell. All kids who die before becoming born again are in hell. Calvinists at least have somewhat of an out here by saying, “No, only the non-elect babies are in hell.”

Of course, you have no idea if yours or any other baby was elect, so quite frankly, this offers little in the way of solace. Not that Calvinism was invented to grant solace.

This dilemma was a main factor in the invention of Infant Baptism. Since all babies are born with the guilt of Adam’s sin they remain deserving of hell.

Origen said, “The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of divine sacraments, knew there is in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit”

The Bible does not directly speak of an “Age of Accountability.” David says he will go where his dead baby is, but many dismiss that as just David saying he’s going to die someday.

What I do know is, to whom much is given, much is required, which would seem to imply that the one who was given nothing is not required anything.

I do know that God deals with ignorance and does not hold people accountable to things they did not know, in fact, He has compassion on them. I do know that God is just and will sort this out righteously.

I do know that God takes sin very seriously. God defines sin based on you knowing what you’re doing, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Leviticus 4 is probably not a passage in your daily devotional book. But it speaks about sins of ignorance. A person is not held accountable for these sins until he becomes aware of them. Once he is aware of them, he is to offer the appropriate sacrifice to take care of it.

Sin is defined as violating God’s Law, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Violating God’s Law is a huge point. If a person does not know God’s law, can he really be counted a sinner?

Romans 5:13 seems to be a major problem for the Reformed view of Original Sin, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Sin implies a knowing of God’s Law. If there is no law, there is no transgression.

Children can sin. Children sin all the time, quite frankly. But since they don’t know God’s law, I take it that sin is not imputed to them by God. Therefore, children are viewed as being “innocent” by God.

Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

I have no idea when this age is. I believe it is different for each kid. Based on my experience with kids, some seem to understand very young. Others, good Lord, others seem to take forever. God will handle it justly.

That’s my take. If you disagree, this bothers me none at all. But I would ask you to be consistent.

There are many who cling to an Age of Accountability who at the same time hold to the Reformed tradition of Original Sin and Total Depravity. Please understand this is logically impossible. Take steps to remedy this and spare yourself embarrassment.

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3 thoughts on “Original Sin and the Age of Accountability”

  1. I wondered how Rom. 5:13 could be explained. Rom. 7:9 fits your explanation, too!

    For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

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