Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Objections Regarding Original Sin Answered

An anonymous poster provided some comments regarding this earlier post on the natural depravity of children (link). The comments by the anonymous commenter are in italics, with all the typos being as submitted.

"I think some thoughts are being omitted from your interpretation of Psalms 58. First off, they go astray after they are born. They were not born lost."

No. They are already estranged in the womb, and they stray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

"Secondly the whole point of the Psalm, describing the eickedness of certain people, is to contrast them with the righteous, those that did not stray but remained faithful. They will be avenged when God judges men according to their deeds (Matt 12:36-37, Rom 2:6, 2 Cor 5:10, Rev 20:12, 1 Peter 1:17). "

The whole point of the of the Psalm is actually to call for judgment on the wicked. The "righteous" (as such) is not even mentioned until the next-to-last verse. There's nothing about a comparison between the righteous and wicked. In short, your claim about the verse is plainly incorrect. The righteous (singular) may even here be a reference to Christ. Regardless of whether it is Christ himself, or someone to whom Christ's rigteousness has been imputed, the string citation of other passages doesn't solve the anonymous commenter's problem.

"Ezek 18:1-4 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.

Ez 18:14-17 “If, however, he begets a son who sees all the sins which his father has done, and considers but does not do likewise ... but has executed My judgments and walked in My statutes— He shall not die for the iniquity of his father; He shall surely live!"

This appears as if no matter how evil the father is, the son does not bear the iniquity of the father. Adam's sons would not bear the quilt of their fathers. "

They would not bear the guilt of their fathers IF they repent of their fathers' sins. The error that the prophet is correcting is the sense of hopelessness. There is hope for those who repent, regardless both of their own prior sins and the sins of their fathers. That is the gospel message: Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. It was the same message preached by Ezekiel, and it is the same message we preach.

"Ezek 18:19-20 “Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."

Presumably this is intended to be grouped with the Ezekiel passages above. It is already answered.

"The gospel requires action a baby can't do:
"Unless you repent you will perish": Lk 13:3
"Repent and be baptized ... for forgiveness of sins": Acts 2:38
"Work out our own salvation": Phil 2:12"

The gospel requires repentance from sin and faith in Christ. That faith and repentance is evidenced in baptism, confession of the Lord (not listed above), and progressive sanctification. That a child can have faith in Christ seems to appear from John the Baptists miraculous reaction to the voice of Mary, the greatly blessed mother of our Lord.

"Man is capable of making choices himself:
- Gentiles do by nature the good things of the law: Rom 2:14-16
- Cornelius was devout, feared God, righteous, Acts 10:1-4, 22 yet unsaved: 11:14
- Man has a freewill and can choose to do good or evil: Josh 24:15 "Choose this day...""

Doing those things "by nature" refers to the light of nature, not to the nature of the Gentiles. The obedience of the Gentiles is still not righteousness, because it is not motivated by love for God.

Cornelius was already a worshiper of Jehovah. He simply had not yet heard that the Messiah had come. Like others in a similar position, when he heard of Christ, he (and all his house) believed on him immediately. This is dramatically different from the Jews who had an outward show of worshiping God, but who did not believe on Christ.

Man certainly does have a "free will," in the sense that he makes decisions and moral choices. The choice by Israel to serve God (mentioned in Joshua 24:15) was a moral choice. The fact that men do make choices, and that some of those decisions are free, does not mean that they are free in the sense required by Arminian, Molinist, or Open Theist interpreters.

"God said that the king of Tyrus was "blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you." (Ezek 28:15) This would not be possible if he was born in sin. "

One might think that. Nevertheless:

a) That verse is frequently referred to Satan, who was created innocent and fell.
b) If that verse refers to man who was the king of Tyrus, it also says (in the immediately preceding verse): "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." If that doesn't clue you in to the fact that the verse is speaking poetically (assuming it is speaking of a mere man), then I'm not sure what would. The use of "blameless" or "perfect" as relative terms in the Old Testament is not rare.

"Sin is committed by individually breaking God's law. (1 Jn 3:4) Infants have done nothing. Isa 59:1-2, "Your sins have separated you from your God", not Adams. In Exodus 32:31­33 this passage, Moses wanted to receive the punishment for someone else's sin. In verse 33, the one who sinned is removed from the book, not the one whose parents have sinned."

a) All mankind (and the whole creation) is punished for Adam's sin.
b) God visits the iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto multiple generations of those that hate Him.
c) Infants are themselves sometimes punished for the sins of their father, recall the death of David's first son by Bathsheba.

"Newborns do not know the difference between good and evil. God allowed the children to enter Canaan but not the parents: "your little ones who...have no knowledge of good and evil shall enter". (Deut 1:34-39)"

Newborns don't have a developed understanding of the moral law. I don't think many people would suggest otherwise.


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