QOD banner

Four Views on Sin

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14-15.

Many things are combined to produce a doctrine, on whatever topic we choose to examine. The doctrine of sin was early-on a major discussion point in the developing Christian church. How one perceives sin and its effects on human nature and the human will (divine gift of the ability to choose between right and wrong), ultimately effects every other doctrine. How we view sin determines our consequent positions on the atonement, the nature which Christ assumed in His incarnation, the veracity of justification, and the power to overcome sin in this life.

Papal Original Sin

Neal C. Wilson and George Rice

E.H. Jack Sequeira

Dennis Priebe

The state of sin in which mankind has been held captive since the fall

By Adam sin entered the world and as a result, all men sinned, that is, because of Adam's sin, all men became sinners. Death entered the world and death spread to all; all humans die

It is not historically true that all die because we have sinned like Adam, but because we sinned in Adam (p. 20)

The key issue is whether fallen nature is one of the effects of sin or is sin itself

St. Ambrose taught the solidarity of the whole human race with Adam not only in the consequences of his sin, but in the sin itself, which is transmitted through natural generation

The problem is our sinful, or fallen, nature which we have as a birthright from Adam; the presence of fallen nature is what drives us to commit sin

If we all sinned like Adam then we would have to all obey like Christ and this is contrary to the "in Christ motif" which says that we are justified "in Christ" not like Christ (p. 21)

To say that sin is nature is to say that we are sinning even when we choose not to sin

St. Anselm—the privation of righteousness which every man ought to possess

Because of Adam's sin, all his descendants are sinners, alienated from God, lost in sin; existing in a state of sin out of which sinful acts emerge

The second death came to all men because of Adam's sin

Yes, sin is a state, but it follows the decision to sin against God and continues as long as we have an unrepentant heart

St. Thomas Aquinas —Original Sin is not transmitted as the personal fault of Adam, but as a state of human nature, yet constituting a fault inasmuch as all men are regarded as members


"Hence this life we receive at birth is: a life that has sinned" (p. 25)

Being born into this world means we are subject to hunger, thirst, pain, death, sinful environment; these are all the effects of sin, but we are not guilty of sin because of them (including being born with a fallen nature)

Karl Barth and Roman Catholic theology since Vatican II—sin attaches to the nature of man rather than to his person, and is irradicable except through the sacraments of the Church


"Man is not lost because he has committed sins, but because he is without Christ; that is to say, he is born of Adam and therefore already stands condemned in him" (p. 73)

Although we are born with all the effects of sin in and upon us, we are not born either guilty or condemned; corporate guilt was canceled by corporate justification in Christ

All commentary cited from article in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, pp. 1010, 1011

From The Power of the Spirit, pp. 108, 118

Cited from The Dynamics of the Everlasting Gospel

Cited from two articles: "To Sin, Or Not To Sin" and "Our Sinless Yet Sympathetic Saviour"

See Articles on Gnosticism and the Mystery of Iniquity

Home | About Questions on Doctrine  |  History of Christianity  | Points of Interest

Issues on Religious FreedomAmerican Heritage | America in Prophecy

cfi©2000-2009 | Contact the Webmaster