Scripture on Original Sin and Total Depravity
Updated: May 31, 2019
When discussing theology with those who affirm Augustinian philosophy, a conflict inevitably arises. The reason? They are absolutely convinced that they were born sinners, that sin is natural, moreover that God decreed the fall and every manner of evil.
Now this article is not intended to address every error within their Systematic philosophy or even their Ordo Salutis, but instead we will be providing Scripture which clearly refutes their belief in Original Sin and Total Depravity.
This Augustinian doctrine asserts that everyone is born sinful; that the guilt and condemnation of Adam’s sin is transmitted to the entire human race, resulting in mankind being stained by sin and possessing an appetite drawn to sin. Further, it asserts that this sinful state is passed on via sexual reproduction.
An extension of the Original Sin doctrine which asserts that as a result of Adam’s transgression all mankind is born spiritually dead, possessing his guilt and sin nature and thus are unable to respond to God unless He first regenerates them and bestows faith to them.
When God forms us in the womb, we are innocent & good, knowing no sin or evil and fully reliant upon Him.
Genesis 1:26-28 "Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Psalm 8:2&5 “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger… Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.”
Psalm 22:9-10 “Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother's breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God.”
Psalm 71:5-6 “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you.”
Psalm 139:13-14 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
Matthew 18:3-6&10 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea… See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 7:29 “See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they GO ASTRAY from birth, speaking lies.” emphasis added, the wicked are a subset of mankind
Genesis 8:21 ““I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his YOUTH.” emphasis added; a Hebrew word meaning the age when men marry & have children, the age David faced Goliath.
Man has a Free-Will, an ability to obey God or rebel.
Genesis 4:7 “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”
Isaiah 55:7 "let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."
Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
1 Kings 18:21 “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Joshua 24:22 “Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.”
Sin & Guilt are NOT passed on through reproduction.
Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."
Matthew 12:36-37 "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
1 John 3:4 "Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness."
The doctrines of Total Depravity & Original Sin are in opposition to the incarnation of Christ & God's Redemption of man.
Hebrews 2:14-18 "Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the SAME THINGS, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in EVERY RESPECT, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." emphasis added
Matthew 1:1 "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."
John 1:14 "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[a] from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Matthew 11:19 "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.”
1 Timothy 3:16 "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the FLESH, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory." emphasis added Genesis 3:15 "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 1 John 4:2-3 "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus in the flesh is not from God. This is the spirit of the ANTICHRIST, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already." emphasis added
When God forms us in the womb we are innocent and upright, fully reliant upon Him. As we grow up in a world polluted by sin, we are tempted and go astray into rebellion. God calls us to repent and return to Him, promising to freely pardon us. Jesus came in our flesh, like us in every respect, but did not stray into sin. Rather, He conquered the hold of the grave and the works of the devil, living a sinless life in full reliance on God, thus redeeming and rescuing us.