Six Reasons Why Original Sin Cannot be True

Original sin says we were born bad to the bone. From the moment we drew our first breath, we were inclined towards sin, utterly depraved, and hostile towards God.

Since beginning this series, I’ve received messages from readers who defend original sin by quoting Romans 3, 5, and other scriptures that say we are all sinners who have gone astray. This shows the confusion that some have about the doctrine of original sin.

There is no question that we were born under the condemnation of sin and death. But the doctrine of original sin, which was invented by Tertullian and popularized by Augustine, Calvin and others, says something different, namely that we inherited Adam’s sinful nature.

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

Augustine’s views are widely-known. Indeed, they are considered dogma in large parts of the church. But if his doctrine of original sin is true, your children are natural born sinners and dead babies go to hell.

Thankfully, it’s not true.

You may have heard original sin mentioned a thousand times, and I can understand your shock when I say original sin is unbiblical. But as sure as the night is dark, the doctrine of original sin is an invention of religion. It is not from the Holy Spirit.

The doctrine of original sin has brought nothing but pain and guilt to the world. A good tree bears good fruit, but manmade doctrines release suffering and death.

Here are six more reasons why you should have nothing to do with this unbiblical teaching:

1. Adam sinned without a sinful nature

Original sin says we inherited a sinful nature from Adam, but when Adam fell into sin he didn’t have one. How could Adam pass along something he didn’t have?

Adam’s sin had catastrophic consequences for the human race, but his sin did not lead to a redesign of the original prototype. Men did not start growing horns or tails as a result of the Fall, and God’s workmanship remains as good as ever (Ps. 139:14).

2. God never said original sin was part of the curse

After Adam fell, God outlined the consequences of his sin (see Gen. 3:14–19). God told Adam all the bad things that what would happen, but he said nothing about passing on a bad gene or a sinful predisposition or a rebellious nature. Augustine has added to the curse.

3. If we are born corrupt, we can’t become corrupt

Original sin says you were born corrupt, defiled and lost, but the Bible says we become corrupt and go astray and turn aside. “All have turned aside and become corrupt” (Ps. 14:3). There are many scriptures that describe how this happens (e.g., Ps. 14:3, Gal. 5:4, 6:8, 1 Tim. 6:10, 21, etc.).

4. You cannot pass on a righteous nature

Original sin came to you from Adam by way of your parents, but what if your parents were spirit-filled believers? They would no longer have a sinful nature. One with the Lord, they had a righteous nature.

Did you inherit your parents’ righteous nature? Were you a natural born saint? No one believes you can inherit your parents’ righteousness, so why do we think we inherited their sinfulness?

5. Original sin cannot account for Old Testament saints

If anyone was going to inherit Adam’s wicked gene, surely it was his son. Yet Jesus said Abel was righteous (Matt. 23:35). So were Noah, Lot, and Daniel (Gen. 6:9, Eze. 14:20, 2 Pet. 2:7).

The related doctrines of original sin and total depravity say that none of us can reach out to God, but Abel and the other Old Testament saints prove that the unsaved can operate in faith. God is not far from any of us (Acts 17:27).

6. Original sin says you have no choice

Original sin says it’s not your fault that you are wicked and incapable of living by faith. You are a hapless victim. Unless God happens to grace you – and who can say if he will? – you are eternally lost.

The devil would love for you to believe this because such a message will leave you unmoved and unchanged. It will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news declares you have a choice. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin?” (Rom. 6:1). Do you see? You don’t have to continue in sin.

In Adam, we had no choice, but Christ was “raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). You have a choice. You can choose to walk in the old way of Adam or the new way of Jesus. Choose life.

The end of the matter

Here are three ways to tell if a teaching is unscriptural: (1) it’s not in the Bible, (2) it contradicts the Bible, and (3) it leads to illogical conclusions. Augustine’s doctrine of original sin fails all three tests. There is not one scripture that says we inherited Adam’s sinful nature and plenty that say otherwise.

Original sin is unbiblical and illogical, but its greatest flaw is the way it portrays God as harsh and unjust. Original sin says the sons are judged for the sins of the father, but this is contrary to the heart of God. Not even under the law-keeping covenant were children judged for their parents’ sins (Deu. 24:16, Eze. 18:20).

Original sin says humanity was created good but became bad. “You can be made good again but no matter how good you are, your children will always be born bad.” Huh?

The Bible tells a simpler story and offers a better remedy:

Augustine’s teaching on original sin is bad news from start to finish, but there is no bad news in the good news. Contrary to what you may have heard, God is good, he loves you, and he doesn’t hold your sins or your parents’ sin against you (2 Cor. 5:19).

Believe the good news and be free!

(And stop telling your kids they are sinners.)


Full sources can be found found in my Original Sin ebook on Patreon.

Other articles on original sin:

48 Comments on Six Reasons Why Original Sin Cannot be True

  1. Romans show death passed on all men. Adams sin brought death on all.

  2. Not all go to hell. Revelations shows only those who’s names were not in the book of life. They are those who chose the devil. It says any certain ones at the last judgement. Not all. Jesus canceled Adams sin judicially. So only those personal sins are their own. Clearly those who take the mark of the beast and worship the devil are getting the second death. Adam gave us the first death.

  3. If what you are saying about ‘original sin’ is biblical, then why did Christ’s birth have to be an emasculate conception. Isn’t it because God had to end the seed of Adam?

    • Since Adam’s family was born captive to sin, we needed someone from outside the prison of sin – a free man from heaven – to come and ransom us. This is why Jesus is sometimes referred to as the Deliverer who offered his blood as a ransom for all. More here.

  4. Being born dead is not learned behavior anymore than being born-again righteous is learned behavior. Born dead or born with a sinful nature—either way, people need saving and need to believe the gospel of Grace, and make the choice to accept Jesus as their Savior and become new creations in Christ Jesus…

  5. Cheryl Watson // March 2, 2023 at 4:59 am // Reply

    We were born separated from God. Spiritually dead. Everything done apart from God is sin. I would say we are born sinners. Christians, always in the Spirit, still sin, as we don’t always walk by the Spirit. Now I need to study up on original sin!

    • Martin Fell // March 3, 2023 at 8:31 am // Reply

      There is no such thing as separation from God, that’s impossible. The Bible never says we are spiritually dead anywhere. Our spirit is immortal it cannot die!

  6. Your article robs God of His glory and grace…

    • The gospel is the glorious announcement that our heavenly Father loves us and has done everything that needed to be done to set us from our bondage to sin and death. Through his Son he has broken the shackles that kept us bound and now he waits for us with open arms. It’s the greatest news in the world.

      In contrast, original sin says Satan is more powerful than God because with a single conversation he started a process that killed all of us and it took God thousands of years to resolve this awful mess and then only partially. What nonsense. Original sin portrays God as harsh and unjust because he condemns the sons for the sins of their fathers (which is plainly contrary to scripture; Deu. 24:16, Eze. 18:20).

      For those scriptures you listed, please see this article.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly with your article. Was Adam’s sin the origin of sin therefore the original as in first sin in that case?

    • According to The Catholic Encyclopedia are two definitions of original sin. Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam. Our focus here is with the latter interpretation.

  8. Ephesians chapter two. We were by nature deserving of God’s wrath. No one can get around that word nature… Nature is not learned behavior. It is past down genetically.

    • The full passage is: “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:3). Paul is saying formerly, before we became born-again children of God, we were sinners with sinful inclinations. He is not saying God hates children or that children were born with a genetic predisposition to sin.

      A sinful nature is an inclination to carry out the desires of the flesh. It is trusting in yourself (your abilities and understanding) and living solely from your earthly experience (what you see, hear, touch, know, etc.). What we call a sinful nature might just as easily be called human nature, since the temptation to trust in our own abilities and lean on our own understanding is universal. We are all tempted to rely on ourselves, lean on our own understanding, and be in control. We are not born with this nature – we are born dependent and helpless – but we learn it as we grow. We learn how to sin and be self-reliant by living in a sinful world that glorifies self.

      • That’s a lot of hog wash. Just a-lot of double talk and ignoring of context. Your spouting out your own opinions…

      • Dan, in your comments you have not challenged any of the six objections I raise in the article. I would be happy to discuss any one of them with you.

      • What is the difference between Adam and Eve, and us as children? Adam and Eve were both originally naked, “but they were not ashamed.”, just as Little children are notorious for trying to shed their clothes and run around naked, with total innocence. Basically saying, they had the same “human nature” as children today, as they were child like. but, that went away abruptly , the moment they sinned, realizing they were naked.
        Would it not be fair to say; children have this same innocence, and also why Jesus Blessed children saying; “for of such is the kingdom of God.” You said, “we learn how to sin and be self-reliant by living in a ‘sinful world’ that glorifies self”, yet Adam and Eve were made not in a sinful, but rather in a “sinless world”. I am just not getting it, how could we “not” then be born, (just like they were made) with a “sinful nature”, which is an inclination to carry out the desires of the flesh, just like them?
        So, following this logic (as such), if man has the ability not to sin (unlike Adam), then the universality of sin (Romans 3:23) and the universal need of a Savor, are not a “reality”. Is it really at all theoretically possible to live above sin? Aren’t we suppose to, escape to, not from, reality?

      • Children today are made in the image of God, just as they always have been. They inherited no sinful nature because God did not create one, and nor did he mention any such thing as part of the curse in Gen 3. Just as we don’t expect the babies of Christians to be born righteous, we ought not to expect the babies of sinners to be born sinful. All children are innocent in the sense they don’t know right from wrong, and they are all born helpless and trusting and in need of a parent’s love. (There’s a reason for that.)

        However, the big difference from Adam and Eve is that we were all born into a world of sin. Which was like being born in a prison. So we quickly learned how to act like prisoners. We learned to value independence and indulge the flesh. We traded trust for self-reliance and went astray, every last one of us. This sinful nature, as many call it, is not inherited but quickly learned in a world marred by sin.

      • Ages at which Americans say they initially placed their belief and faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah and thus became evangelical, born-again Christians

        ….Survey cited by the International Bible Society indicated that 83% of Christians make their first commitment to Jesus between the ages of 4 and 14, that is, when they are children or early youth. Surverys done by the Barna Research Group indicate that American children ages 5 to 13 have a 32% probability of accepting Christ, but youth or teens aged 14 to 18 have only a 14% probability of doing so. Unbelieving adults age 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christians.

        This data illustrates the importance of influencing children to consider making a decision to follow Christ and embrace Him as Savior and Lord.

        This is what is meant when you hear “age of accountability”. Whether you believe we’re born with a sin nature, born dead and separated from God, born in Adam and needing to be born again In Christ or born in the prison of sin and needing freedom, the solution is the same. Babies that are killed in the womb go to Heaven and each person at some point in their lifetime becomes accountable once they hear the Gospel message and realize that because of their sin they need Jesus and to make the decision to receive Him and the grace gift of forgiveness and righteousness.

      • Thanks for the stats, Mike. I agree that it’s important for children to be raised right and I understand what is meant by the phrase “age of accountability“. My problem with Augustine’s doctrine of original sin is it’s got us believing that our kids they are hell-born rebels made in the image of Satan.

        Just as our view of God shapes our worship, the way we view our children shapes the way we raise them, and the way we portray God to them.

  9. What is it that is crucified with Christ? i always believed our sin nature was what was crucified with Christ, then we get a new nature, that of Christ’s. If we are a new creation, the old has gone the new has come, what part of us has gone?

  10. Brandon Petrowski // March 2, 2023 at 1:44 pm // Reply

    Those who insist we are born sinners lack understanding of the term “nature”. Just because we had a sinful nature does not mean we were born with it. A “nature” can be learned or acquired. So much more of the Bible makes sense when you accept the fact that we are not born sinners. We may be born into a sinful and corrupt world and become corrupted by our exposure to it, but that doesn’t mean we were born sinful.

    • That’s it, Brandon. Just because you were born in a prison, it does not follow that you are a criminal by nature. But a prison is certainly a good place to learn.

      • Brandon Petrowski // March 3, 2023 at 2:41 am //

        I had a former student who was literally born in a jail cell. That is a good analogy. 🙂

  11. You are totally off on this one! If there’s no original sin then there’s no need for Jesus to die & save us.Paul clearly states who the 1st Adam was & who the last Adam was. Stop trying to sound deep or trying to shock people with your imaginations that are not founded on the Word.You are now forcing rubbish on people!

  12. What did David mean when he said that he was sinful at birth, from the time my mother conceived me? Ps51v5

    • Good question, Thersia. We might also ask what David meant when he said he was fearfully and wonderfully made and was praising God from his mother’s womb. More here.

    • Martin Fell // March 3, 2023 at 8:38 am // Reply

      David never said he was sinful at birth , he said he was ‘conceived in sin’ in other words born as a result of an adulterous relationship!

  13. Well you’ve certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons on this one Paul! I suspect you are right about this viewpoint but for a very different reason than most probably: it seems to me that we are living in an era that false religion is being stripped naked and it’s deception revealed. The fact you’ve been studying this for “15 years” is very telling! But the bit I am struggling with and being a tad slow, is what does this ‘revelation’ mean in terms of the different outcomes it should be causing in me? If ‘original sin’ is a falsehood, how is this false belief (of which I surmise I am a victim) crippling my belief system and causing me to see less of Christ’s redemptive work in me? Honest question and probably reveals that I’m a bit dim, but I get a sense that I should be shouting from the roof tops my clearer, more accurate, image of Christ-in-me (my union with Him) as a result? Thank you!

    • That’s a fair question, Ian. I think most Christians have a good idea of how Jesus set them free from sin and death, so what do we gain by ditching the Augustinian add-on (Original Sin)? Here are some of the harms of this manmade doctrine:
      – OS glorifies Satan by attributing him with creative power he does not have
      – OS diminishes the work of the cross by focusing on the minors (you have a sinful nature) instead of the majors (you were born dead in sin); you don’t need just a new nature but a new life
      – OS causes us to see ourselves as natural-born sinners and we all know that behavior follows identity
      – OS hides the truth that God loves us and thinks we’re precious and worth rescuing by telling us we’re hell-bound and depraved
      – OS taints your view of your neighbours and gets you speaking lies over your children
      – OS gives you nothing but grief and heartache if your children die young
      – OS opens the door to other manmade inventions like the doctrine of utter depravity

      • Ian Black // March 3, 2023 at 7:54 am //

        Very thought provoking thank you Paul. Possibly an incoherent lateral thought, but this reminds me of a Bill Gillham teaching in ‘Lifetime Guarantee’ that of the 41 times the word sin is used in Romans 5, 6, 7 & 8, 40 of them are a noun and are personified. We (or religion) then incorrectly add pronouns which leave us thinking we are struggling with two types of people in our own bodies. The result potentially is frustrated and often powerless Christianity whereas the Apostle Paul states quite plainly we have been saved from that state! Stop the fight! As I say, I may be incorrectly conjoining two positions so please leave this comment on the cutting room floor if so! 🙂

      • Bill Gillham is absolutely right, and this is one of the problems I commonly encounter. Many churchgoers have been trained to focus on their sinful actions or their sinful natures and they have no concept of how sin is a noun. Consequently they misread much of Romans.

  14. For those trapped in a religious mindset (all of us to one extent or another), the way out is to discover who you really are. Jesus came as a human to show us exactly that. This original sin issue is important, indeed. We need to understand that we were precious to him before we were what we call “saved”. We were worthy of his love before he went to the cross. God counted us as equal in value to his Son, before Jesus came to earth. Jesus came to retrieve what was lost, not because of what we could be, but because of what we always have been – wonderfully made, precious, destined for glory, bearers of his image. He pulled us out of the trash can because we didn’t belong there.

    I’m convinced that there is no sinful nature in the way it is usually talked about. There is, however, deception, and its result – darkness (like a cloud that blocks the sun). Darkness so thick that the truth cannot be seen. In our blindness we are easy prey for evil manipulators. In our desperation we submit to all manner of decadence that consumes us. Our ways become twisted and utterly destructive, even when they are dressed up with religious or humanitarian clothes.

    When one comes to the realization that Christ’s salvation is not about a ticket to heaven instead of hell. A new and better revelation of reality emerges. One that revolves around a redeemed identity, transformation for here and now, crossing from death to life, and sin losing its grip, and the law losing its power to condemn.

  15. The real discussion here is state vs standing.
    Romans is a legal document defining both, and how although being made righteous, and a new creation believers still sin, while not in sin.
    We are a new creation letting our new found salvation work itself out in our lives by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, which Adam lost.

    • Although our status is very important, that’s not what this issue is about. In Adam, our status was “sinner” (Rom. 5:8, 19) and there was nothing we could do about it. As sinners, we all went astray, missed the mark, and became corrupt. We needed a sinless Savior, someone from outside the Prison of Sin, and Jesus meets our need.

      However, Augustine goes further than this when he says we are born corrupt having inherited Adam’s sinful nature. He dilutes the problem, creates another problem, fails to see a solution, and essentially forces churches to invent infant baptism to deal with the problem. It’s a diabolical distraction from the real issue.

  16. Ash McKenzie // March 8, 2023 at 12:02 pm // Reply

    1 Cor 7.14 suggests that a believing partner can produce holy children so I don’t know how that sits with those who push original sin. A child may grow and develop a sinful nature over time, but to say that the child who is “fearfully and wonderfully made” is behind the 8 ball from its first breath doesn’t sit! Ash.

  17. Silas Raven // March 29, 2023 at 1:01 pm // Reply

    All men are born dead because of one man’s disobedience. “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 men sin, because they are dead. They are all dead because one man sinned.

    • Romans 5:12 doesn’t say we are born dead – which is an oxymoron, like dark-light – but that death came to all because of one man’s sin. Because of Adam’s transgression, humanity ended up on death row (see also Rom. 6:23). We don’t sin because we’re dead; we sin because were born slaves to sin.

      • From the Grace Bible. “Adam breeds sinners.” Sounds like a sin nature or a sin gene was passed down.But now we have a new nature.

      • I admit, that was a poor choice of words on my part. But read my words in context and you will see I’m talking our new nature in Christ and not making any comments about a genetic disposition to sin. “In your old life you followed in the faithless footsteps of your father Adam. You walked after the desires of the flesh because they were the only desires you had. But you have been taken out of Adam and placed into Christ. You have become a partaker of his divine nature.”

      • Brandon Petrowski // March 30, 2023 at 12:39 pm //

        I think it makes sense, to me, but that may be because I know your perspective. I read “Adam breeds sin sinners” the same way I would read “Adam breeds prisoners”.

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