Old Testament Scriptures Used to Support Original Sin

Since publishing my article refuting the doctrine of original sin, several readers have asked “What about this scripture?” Some people seem to think Augustine’s doctrine of original sin is biblical. It isn’t. Original sin is an old Jewish teaching wrapped up in Christian jargon.

Augustine taught it, not Paul, and we would do well to get rid of it.

For those who came in late: Original sin says you inherited Adam’s sinful nature. You were hardwired to rebel. (Too bad if your parent’s were believers with a new nature.) Before you drew your first breath, you were hostile towards God and bound for hell.

There is no question that sinners have a sinful nature and that we all need to be saved from sin, but Augustine went further. He said we are born corrupt, and that we inherited a rebellious streak from our forefather Adam.

“This is why we need Jesus,” say some. “This is why we need to be born again.”

Except the sin gene is a myth. Jesus did not come because you inherited a bit of bad code. He came because you were dead in sin and in need of new life. The difference is subtle, but the implications are massive.

Original sin has got us speaking lies over our children. This diabolical teaching cripples people with guilt.

Let’s take a quick look at some of those scriptures that are used to prop up original sin.

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. (Genesis 5:3)

Adam was made in the image of God, but Seth was made in the image of his sinful father, or so says original sin. Adam started out in the likeness of God but was remade into something sinful and satanic. From then on humanity has been made in the image of Satan. This is blasphemous. Jesus was “made in the likeness of men” and there was nothing sinful or satanic about him (Php. 2:7).

“According to his image” means the same thing as “after their kind,” a phrase which appears repeatedly in the creation account (e.g., Gen. 1:24). Cattle give birth to cattle, and humans give birth to humans.

Adam had no earthly father so he was made in the likeness of God (Gen. 5:1). Seth was different. He had a dad. To say he was made in Adam’s likeness is to imply he was made in the likeness of God, as we all are. “Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38).

I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth… (Genesis 8:21)

After the Fall of man, humanity became obsessed with sinning (Gen. 6:5), and by the time of Noah the world had become so wicked that even young people were practicing evil. Does this prove that babies and children inherit a sinful nature? It proves they do not. If children were born hardwired to sin, their evil behavior would not have been remarkable. They would’ve been evil from birth, not youth. This verse teaches that sinful inclinations are learned and in the days of Noah people learned to sin from a young age.

There is no man who does not sin… (1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chr. 6:36)

This passage is the Old Testament version of Romans 3:23: “All have sinned.” The scriptures consistently declare that all have gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God. We wander, we drift, we fall. Scriptures about our propensity for sin do not prove the existence of a sin gene as much as they portray humanity’s lostness and need for salvation.

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

David does not say he was born with a sinful nature but that he was brought forth in iniquity or in a state of sin. Like the rest of us, David was born on Death Row, a prisoner in need of a Rescuer. In essence, David is saying the same thing Paul says in Romans 5:19. “Through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners.”

David wrote Psalm 51 after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. He knew he was a sinner. But instead of making excuses – “It was my sinful nature that made me do it” – he cried out to God for grace and mercy. “Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loving-kindness” (Ps. 51:1). These are not the words of a rebel. This is the cry of a man who had relied on the Lord from the womb (Ps. 71:6).

The wicked are estranged from the womb. These who speak lies go astray from birth. (Psalm 58:3)

Apparently this verse proves that all of us are born with a sinful nature and estranged from God. Only the passage says no such thing. It’s the wicked who are estranged from the womb. Read this verse literally and it sounds like some people start out bad while others don’t. Which is like saying some people are descended from Adam but others aren’t.

Psalm 51 and 58 are often used to prop up original sin, but the man who said “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” would have been repulsed by this doctrine. David did not see himself as a born rebel. Unlike the wicked who are estranged from the womb, David came out of the womb praising God (Ps. 22:10). He understood that we are shaped in the womb by God and not sin. God alone is our Maker.

You have been called a rebel from birth. (Isaiah 48:8)

“You were born corrupt and a rebel from birth. Isaiah says so.” Read this passage in context and you will see that Isaiah is not talking about babies but the nation of Israel. Jacob was a rebel, his sons were rebels, and the new nation of Israel rebelled against the Lord almost as soon as he brought them out of Egypt.

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick. (Jeremiah 17:9)

A heart that distrusts the Lord is a treacherous heart, but when does the heart become treacherous? Does it happen in the womb or later? Jeremiah answers this question in verse five: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” Our hearts mislead us when they lead us away from the Lord.

Adam had a choice to follow God and so do we. But if we turn away or depart from the Lord, we set ourselves up for disaster. When we sow to the flesh we reap destruction (Gal. 6:8). But the moment we turn to the Lord, he gives us a new heart with new desires (Eze. 36:26).

There are no passages in the Old Testament that say we inherited Adam’s sinful nature, but there are plenty of scriptures refuting original sin.

In my next article, I will look at those New Testament scriptures which are (mis)used to support Augustine’s bad doctrine.


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23 Comments on Old Testament Scriptures Used to Support Original Sin

  1. When scriptures start stacking up against something we have always believed, at some point we have to be able to accept we may have misinterpreted some verses.

  2. We are born sinful. Even objective research (such as Yale Study that appeared on 60 Minutes July of 2012) proves infants as young as 3 months old are selfish and naturally attack those different from themselves. Children, given the choice of 10 chocolate and another child getting 10 chocolates, or getting 5 chocolates and another child getting 0 choose to get less, as long as they have more than their neighbor. Long before “youth.” We’re sinful out of the womb. Proof is overwhelming. Also, NT Scriptures support sinful from birth too. Rom 5:12, Eph 2:3 to just name a couple.

  3. This is great! Thank God for the knowledge He gave you. Stay blessed Paul! If you have some gathering, sharing of God’s Goodness and Grace, am glad to be part of it.

  4. Paul,

    I haven’t seen where you address what Paul refers to as “the law of sin that is in my members,” what I’ll call “indwelling sin.”

    In Christ we’re are liberated from it (Rom 8.2), but what is it?

  5. When I discovered the gospel of Grace way back in 2016 there was much I found difficult to understand, and the more I researched the teachings of Grace as we know, began to make sense. Here is another one, causing me to start researching once again,( I have only just read the above post and not the previous ones, so likely I have missed something important here). I thought it was common knowledge we inherited the sin of Adam by default, hence the need to be born again and thereby become new creations as in 2 Corinthians 5:17. By the way I became at the time in 2016 a Patreon on your lowest level tier, I understand coffees have gone up, and have continued to this day 2022. Does it mean I no longer have any access to the Patreon site, I am hoping there may be some more information there to help me understand the above article. I tried to log-in and I am no longer able?

    • Hi James, no one disputes that we were in Adam when he sinned and that we all need to be born again. To answer your question: I looked you up in the Patreon system and saw that your card expired last year. You won’t have access to Patreon unless you update your card. Here’s how you can do that.

      • Thanks Paul, appreciate your reply and you, and sorry completely forgot all our cards have an expiry date, thankfully beyond measure now living in God’s grace we do not!

  6. Wow, Paul, I’m thrilled and amazed to read this! I have in the past often wondered how Augustine’s ungodly teachings have been left unchallenged for so long, so this is very refreshing. I’m still discovering this, but it confirms a lot of what we have seen in our own children since birth and in people we have met.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Raul Guerrero // August 17, 2022 at 2:01 am // Reply

    I love your work brother but I’m sorry I really don’t see a need for this teaching. God him self clearly says that our inclination is always evil from our early days. He proved it with the flood, if not he would have told Noah to get the babies. This is what atheist say that they’re not born sinful. But you agree that we need a savior from birth so whether you call it dead or sinful is the same thing. Paul said that one man’s sin made us all sinners so I will call it that. I’ve never heard anyone said we’re made in the image of satan so I really don’t know what you are combating here. People in the Old Testament also believed babies were free from sin and that’s why they sacrificed them. Surely that’s not what you’re saying? I believe this teaching give atheist and other people who think they are good more reason to believe they don’t need Jesus sinless blood. Much blessings

    • Augustine’s doctrine of Original sin has wormed its way into our collective consciousness so deeply that most Christians don’t actually know what it is. They are familiar with the term because they hear it all the time, but they can’t actually distinguish it from what the Bible says about sin, death, and the need for salvation. This is what makes original sin so insidious. So when I turn on a few lights people react with disbelief, as you have.

      But don’t take my word for it. Research Augustine and original sin and see for yourself what he thought about Adam’s rebellious streak and unbaptized infants. God is not a rebel; Satan is the rebel. Adam became a rebel and he passed that rebellious inclination on to you and your kids which is why they’re going to hell, or so said Augustine. Original sin is nothing but bad news from start to finish and it minimizes our true need.

  8. Great catch on Psalm 71:6 !!!
    I’ll be saving that one for later….

  9. I see that there’s a distinction between being “born in sin” and “born as sinner”, but I don’t get how they are different. At first glance, they seem to be the same.

    I know there’s the comment on “born rebel” versus “born slave”, but any further explanation on that? What are the distinctions between the two?

    • The issue is whether we are born with a sinful nature. An illustration may help. My son was born in China but that does not mean he has a Chinese nature. To be Chinese in nature, he would have to speak Chinese and do all the things Chinese people do. As it happens, he grew up in New Zealand, so there’s nothing remotely Chinese about him, even though he was born in China.

      Similarly, you were born in sin’s prison (Rom. 6:17). But that doesn’t mean you were born with a sinful nature. To be a sinner by nature you have to learn how to speak and act like a sinner, and in this sinful and fallen world everybody does.

  10. Wow! Love the example you gave of your son being born in China/raised in New Zealand. This is a confusing topic for sure since religion has so clouded our clear view about sin and being good that it’s hard to believe we’ve been taught error. If it’s the knowledge of Truth that makes us free, then it is error that binds us. Before standing staunchly and immovable on former teachings by Augustine and others, it would behoove us all to ask Holy Spirit to reveal Truth to us. After all, it was for this purpose Jesus said in John 16:13-15 that He would send us His Spirit after he left “When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into the full truth. He won’t speak on his own. He will speak what he hears and will tell you about things to come. He will give me glory, because he will tell you what I say. Everything the Father says is also what I say. That is why I said, ‘He will take what I say and tell it to you.’

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this teaching and feel compelled to study it more in depth. When my husband and I first received the revelation of GRACE it was mind-boggling to see how Satan twists religion and religious dogma ever so slightly that we miss it. Once you see it, however, you can’t unsee it and scriptures we had read numerous times came alive with Holy Spirit revelation and the realization that we were viewing the New Covenant through the lens of the Law. It matters how we see ourselves; set free from the power of sin with His nature at work within us. “Behold the Lamb of God Who took away the sin Of the world!” BAM! He took it away! It belongs to Him. Paul tells us approximately 44 times between Romans 5,6,7,&8 to “reckon ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ!” Dead in sin – but by virtue of our rebirth we have been made alive with His resurrection life! Yes – all HAVE sinned and fallen short of His Glory, (ROM 3:23) but thanks be to God “Christ in us is our hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27. Such good news!

    Thank you for opening the door to seeking more and more Truth about our identity in Christ. “Without our identity, which is found in Grace, we are nothing more than fugitives living under the Alias of a free man!” (Daughter: Shelbye Kunerth/Gingerich)

    Blessings as you continue to spread the message of His ridiculous radical and inexhaustible Grace and Love. JK

  11. Hey Paul, just been revisiting the topic of our spiritual nature etc. Trying to get my head around why we needed a new heart with new desires & a new spirit. Feels like the answer is because the Old us was sinful or wicked, which feels like it implies we had a sinful nature. Which I know I don’t believe after reading your thoughts on this. But if us being sinful was more to do with nurture over nature, then maybe we just needed a course correct instead of a “heart transplant”? Also are the new heart and new spirit ours, or are they Jesus’ which he has placed within us?

    Thanks in advance for help unpicking this haha.

    • We need a new heart and a new nature because our old one was sinful and rotten. I have always maintained this. “Where does a sinful nature come from?” is the title of chapter 8 in my book on Original Sin. Here’s a taste:

      Where does a sinful nature come from? John Calvin said the works of the flesh testify to our innate depravity, but John the Apostle said we learn about sin from the world. “For all that is in the world…” (1 John 2:16). It is the world that teaches us grasp, claw, and crave control. We are not born corrupt but we can become corrupted by the deceitful desires of the old self (Eph. 4:22), the defilements of this world (2 Pet. 2:7, 20), and the empty traditions of men (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Behind all these things is the corrupting influence of the devil (see Eph. 2:1–2, 1 John 5:19). The devil does not care whether you are good or bad. As long as you are walking after the flesh, your mind will be closed to the things of God (Rom. 8:7).

      The phrase sinful nature is not actually in the Bible, but the inclination to sin is something we learn. If we were born with a sinful nature, as Augustine said, we could not turn aside, go astray and become corrupt, as the scriptures repeatedly say. These are just some of the reasons why Augustine’s doctrine cannot be true.

      • Ahhh yes I think I’m with you. We still have a sinful nature, cool. I think I had tossed the proverbial baby (sinful nature) out with the bath water (original sin). That makes sense that we become sinful & therefore need a new nature and a new heart.
        Thanks for clearing that up my man 🤜🏼🤛🏼

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