Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time knows I don’t like to dip my toe into the theological pool. Honestly, I’m not qualified in any way to do so. However, in light of the fact that this seems to be where I am, allow me to share with you what I’m learning about the oft troubling topic of original sin. Because I know it’s been a tricky piece of theology and I fear some of us take it a tinge too far.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. — Romans 5:12–13
Original sin referenced
Romans 5:12 is a verse often used in conjunction with supporting original sin. And, to note, I wholeheartedly agree with the doctrine and believe this is a great reference. The danger here is reading too much into it. I don’t disagree with the fact that the author is restating the claim in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of God’s perfection. I know all too well that our imperfect judgment leads our decisions astray. I believe we are also free to make those decisions. However, I cannot find any proof in this quote that God sees all his children as sinful the moment or even before they leave the womb.
The slippery slope of original sin at birth
If we are to argue that babies leave the womb as sinful beings, then Jesus has some questions to answer. If we are to hold true that Jesus was fully man and fully God, then the man of Him was sinful. At birth, Jesus would have been a sinner in need of redemption. Thus, on the cross, Jesus could not have been the propitiation of sin, because He would have known sin, even if not very well. If humans are sinful at birth, we’re all hell bound and God ceases to be benevolent. This is not my God. This is no Father of whom I want any part.
I still believe in original sin
Original sin states that we all are fallible, imperfect beings, with a propensity for making poor decisions, in need of redemption. We are surrounded by people in the same boat. And only God can deliver that ship to safety from the breakers of life. Original sin is not that we are sinful, but that we are more than capable of choosing to sin. The sin itself is a byproduct of our obvious imperfection and ignorance.
I realize I leave a lot of questions and loose ends with this post, but I have no mind to get into the topics of predestination, judgment, or salvation here and now. I know from experience that we are all sinful, prone to making poor decisions resulting from imperfect judgment processes. Feel free to disagree with me, but I cannot see a loving God casting babies into hellfire for simply being born. I cannot see birth and humanity as the only prerequisites for being labelled a hell-bound sinner. Because I still hold out hope that in God’s love, He made the ultimate sacrifice to show me once and for all that He loves me more than life itself. I still cling desperately onto the knowledge that God is Love, and that Love will go to any length to show the beloved how loved it truly is. This is original sin, and this is my God.