WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL SIN?
religions that speaks of a fall of man from a pristine original
state of existence are the Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All other religions assume the human state was same as it is
For many Christian denominations the doctrine of the fall is
closely related to that of original sin; ie., they believe
that the fall brought sin into the world corrupting the entire
natural world, including human nature, causing all humans to be
born into original sin, a state from which they cannot attain eternal
life without the grace of God.
The term "prelapsarian" refers to the sin-free state of humanity
prior to the fall.
The Eastern Orthodoxy accepts the concept of the fall but rejects
the idea that the guilt of original sin is passed down through
generations, based in part on the passage Ezekiel 18:20 that
says a son is not guilty of the sins of his father.
Calvinist Protestants believe that Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice for
the elect, so they may be redeemed from their sin.
Other religions, such as Judaism and Gnosticism, do not
have a concept of "the fall" or "original sin"
and have varying other interpretations of the Eden narrative.
The question of whether the sin is transmitted through
genetic coding or not is not really the question because every act
or impulse or thought is forever recorded and transmitted subtly
to every generation. At
the fall, the individual freedom was asserted by Man as against
the consonance and resonance of the whole creation within the body
of God. If there is
just one selfish person within a commune evidently everyone will
have to be selfish to survive..
This is exactly what happened.
In order to bring back the Kingdom of God with the entire
body elements back in good health and synchronized with the will
of god without violating the freedom of the individual beings is
the problem of redemption.
In the early days when
genetics were not developed it was thought through by the early
fathers like Irenaeus,Bishop
of Lyons Augustine Tertullian, Cyprian, Ambrose and Ambrosiaster
based on the New Testament portions of Romans 5:12–21
and1 Corinthians 15:22) and the Old Testament verse of Psalm 51:5.
These passages considerst humanity assharing in Adam's sin,
transmitted by from one gerneration to another .generation. We should not
forget that these were long before the genetic DNA, RNA discovery,
Basil attributes to us the act of the first man: "Because we did not fast (when Adam ate the forbidden fruit) we have
been turned out of the garden of Paradise" (Hom. i de jejun.,
Irenæus; "In the person of the first Adam we offend God, disobeying
His precept" (Haeres., V, xvi, 3).
reformers, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, equated original
sin with concupiscence,
without explaining the details, affirming the total depravity of
Man and complete destruction of freedom of will and choice. In
other words with the fall of Adam, mankind lost the freedom to
choose and was fully at the mercy of God,
Within Roman Catholicism, the Jansenist movement, which the
Church then declared heretical, also maintained that original sin
destroyed freedom of will and that human destiny after the fall
was totally predestined
Jansen (1585–1638), professor at the Old University of Louvain
Greek Fathers emphasized the cosmic dimension of the Fall, namely
that since Adam human beings are born into a fallen world, but
held fast to belief that man, though fallen, is free. This
approach is corroborated by the Parable of the Prodigal Son, who
though strayed away and fallen in sin was able to make up his
choice to return who was received by the father and reinstated
with full rights as a Son. The emphasis here is that inspite of
the fall the sinful nature is transmitter from parents to
children, the mankind still retains the freedom to choose
ultimately against any such tendency to return to the original
state with God the Father.
Augustine of Hippo (354–430) taught that Adam's sin
is transmitted by concupiscence, or "hurtful
desire", sexual desire and
all sensual feelings resulting in humanity becoming a massa
damnata (mass of perdition, condemned crowd), with much enfeebled,
though not destroyed, freedom of will. In other words the sin of
Eve and Adam was the sexual act.
of CONCUPISCENCE: strong desire; especially :
the sin of Adam and Eve the sexual act?
Though no one of the early fathers have defined this
clearly, here is one explanation:
The Divine Principles - Young Oon
Kim gives the following explanation:
Genesis 3:6, sin originated from the fact that Adam and Eve had
eaten the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This sin was passed on to their children, and it is still
inherited by us today. Therefore Christianity teaches that
everyone is born a sinner, and needs the Savior for his
deliverance from the moment of his birth.
This sin could not
be originated by eating a fruit. Therefore the fruit of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil should not be interpreted
literally but symbolically. What does it symbolize? What Adam and
Eve did after they ate the fruit gives a hint to the meaning of
the eating of the fruit. They had been nude and not been ashamed
at all. After they ate the fruit they felt ashamed, and sewed fig
leaves together and made aprons in order to conceal their lower
parts.(Genesis 2:25; 3:7, 8) What does this mean?
It is human nature
to conceal what is wrong or defective. Job said in Chapter 31:33,
" If I have concealed my transgressions like Adam by hiding
my iniquity in my bosom let the Almighty answer me. " Job
defended himself by saying that he had not the same sin as Adam,
in other words, what Adam concealed was his defective part, and
that was h is lower part, therefore the 'transgressions like
Adam's means sexual sin. To have eaten the fruit, therefore,
represented that Adam and Eve had had unlawful and immoral sexual
relations which God had forbidden.
In creating man
and woman, God blessed them to marry. "Be fruitful and
multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. "(Genesis 1:27)
But unjust and unlawful sex relations are forbidden; thus adultery
is regarded as the gravest sin leaving a scar deep in heart and
body. God blessed marital love above all, but adultery is regarded
as the degraded deed. The sin that Adam and Eve committed was
adultery which became the origin of sin.
…., Lucifer could not help feeling the
stimulating impulse of 1ove toward her. Lucifer ventured to join
together with Eve in spite of the threat of death, and this was
the spiritual fall between Eve and Lucifer. Thus Lucifer became
….. Eve perceived that Lucifer was not her husband, but,
that in accordance with the Divine Principles, Adam would be. …. Having committed sin Eve wished to recover her previous
position in God's favor, and compelled Adam to behave as her
husband. Being tempted by Eve, Adam responded to her by committing
Serpent seed, dual seed or two-seedline theory is a controversial doctrine,
according to which the serpent in the Garden of Eden mated with
Eve, and the offspring of their union was Cain. This belief is
still held by some adherents of the white-supremacist Christian
Identity, who claim that the Jews, as descendants of Cain, are
also descended from the serpent.
The idea has also existed in several other non-racial
contexts, and major proponents include Daniel Parker (1781–1844)
and William M. Branham.
Marrion Branham (1909–
1965) was an American Christian minister, usually credited with
founding the post World War II divine healing movement which gave
the boost to the Pentecostal revival.
The doctrine that Eve mated with the serpent, or with Satan, to produce Cain
also appears in early Gnostic writings such as the Gospel of
Philip (c. 350). This
teaching was explicitly rejected
as heresy by Irenaeus (c. 180) and later mainstream
Christian theologians. A similar doctrine appeared in Jewish
midrashic texts in the 9th century and in the Kabalah.
rabbis also believe that Cain and Abel were of a different genetic
background than Seth. This is known among Kabbalists as "The
Theory of Origins". (Rabbi Donmeh West. "Kabbalistic
theory teaches that God created two "Adams" (adam means
"man" in Hebrew). To one he gave a soul and to the other
he did not give a soul. The one without a soul is the creature
known in Christianity as the serpent. The Kabbalists call the
serpent Nahash (meaning serpent in Hebrew). This is recorded in
"Two beings [Adam
and Nachash] had intercourse with Eve, and she conceived from both
and bore two children. Each followed one of the male parents, and
their spirits parted, one to this side and one to the other, and
similarly their characters. On the side of Cain are all the haunts
of the evil species; from the side of Abel comes a more merciful
class, yet not wholly beneficial – good wine mixed with
bad." (Zohar 136)
In support of this theory the proponents quote the following
"For I am jealous over
you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband,
that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear,
lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his
subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted..." (Paul in 2
"Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother."
(1 John 3:12)
John also recorded in his gospel that Christ said, "Ye are of your
father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was
a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because
there is no truth in him." (Jn 8:44)
Advocates of the serpent seed doctrine have interpreted these verses to
imply that the New Testament writers believed Cain, the first
murderer, was indeed the serpent's seed.
The following points and scriptures
are largely agreed upon by all proponents to be the basis of the
Serpent Seed doctrine, although variations do occur as mentioned
The Two Trees. The starting point of the discussion
is usually on the two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:10) Proponents note the
difference between the "trees that grow out the ground"
as opposed to "the trees in the midst of the garden."
This is used to indicate the two trees are not physical trees but
principles (e.g. ideas, rules). They also point to the Book of
Revelation, where the Tree of Life is now in heaven to show that
the two trees are not the same kind of trees that grow on Earth
but instead are something spiritual. (Rev 2:7 and 22:2)
Furthermore they point out that since man chose to eat of the
fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it should
still be visible somewhere in the world today, which they claim is
the overt sexuality of society.
The Serpent. (Gen 3) The serpent in its original
form was a creature capable of speech, and it had not yet at that
point been cursed to go "upon [its] belly"; thus some
proponents claim that the "serpent" was originally an
upright human-like creature. Some proponents claim the serpent was
intended to be used for manual labor and therefore was made to
look like a man but was not given a soul.
The chapter states that the serpent "beguiled"
Eve. In Early Modern English this word literally meant to seduce
or lead astray.
Sex. In the Bible, the sexual act is always
obliquely referenced in Moses' writings. It is always referred to
discreetly, such as "knowing". Similarly in the Book of
Proverbs, it states "such is the way of an adulterous woman;
she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no
wickedness." (Prov 30:20) This is used as evidence that the
trees and the fruit are just another cryptic way to describe sex.
The Punishment. (Gen 3) Proponents also point to the
punishment to show that the act was sexual. When Adam and Eve
sinned they covered their genitals, not their mouths, indicating
they sinned not with their mouths but with their genitals. The
punishment God put on them also affected sexual reproduction: He
caused the woman to have menstrual cycles and to have increased
pain in childbirth. God's curse also put enmity between the
descendants of Adam (e.g., Abel) and the descendants of the
serpent (e.g., Abel's murderer Cain).
The Birth. (Gen 4) At the birth of Cain, Eve said
"I have gotten a man from the Lord." Proponents claim
that in the remaining two pre-Flood chapters, Adam's descendants
are called the "sons of God", not "men", while
the word "men" refers solely to the descendants of Cain.
Eve was also called "the mother of all living" (Gen
3:20), but Adam was not similarly called "the father of all
The Offspring. (Gen 4) Cain and Abel were of
different occupational backgrounds. Abel tended the flocks and
Cain tilled the ground. Proponents claim these traits were
inherited from their fathers; Adam was to rule over the animals
and the serpent was intended to tend the Garden of Eden. Another
difference between them was that Abel, being of pure birth, knew
how to give a proper sacrifice to God. Cain, not being pure, did
not know how to give a proper sacrifice, he only knew he needed to
give one, indicating he was only inherited a portion of the
knowledge that Abel had inherited. His impurity was also displayed
by his jealousy and murder of Abel, some proponents argue that
these are not traits God would have created in Adam and Eve and
could not have been inherited from them.
The Two Lines of Descent. (Gen 4-5) Some proponents
claim that because the two lines of descent are recorded
separately it indicates they were somehow different. It notes how
the developments in Cain's sides were all negative (e.g. Lamech's
declaration in Gen 4:23 that "I have slain a man to my
wounding".) But in Seth's line (Gen. 5) nothing is mentioned
of anything evil, and each patriarch "begat sons and
daughters". Ultimately, the two lines intermarry (Gen 6:4
"There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after
that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and
they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were
of old, men of renown."), and God then destroyed the world
with a flood. Proponents also point to the biological principle of
heterosis being evidenced in the offspring of the interbreeding of
the two lines being giants.
Christ. Ultimately Seth's line leads to Jesus, who
was born of a virgin. Proponents point to the fact that all
humanity was impure and therefore incapable of
"breeding" a "pure" Son of God as the reason
Christ had to be born of a virgin. Many proponents claim that
Christ was born in the same state that Adam was created: perfect
and without sin. They claim he had to be created by God in order
for him to be pure and to be the "perfect sacrifice".
Parable of the Tares. Regardless of the
understanding of the Serpent Seed based on the book of Genesis,
many who believe in the doctrine hold that one of the most
important evidences for the doctrine comes from Jesus unfolding
the revelation the Parable of the Tares. In this parable Jesus
confirmed there were two distinct children present in the world
until the end.
This gene continues to be in every
human being which is the original sin.
all humanity came out of Adam
and Eve, via sexual reproduction, the sin of Adam and Eve were
transmitted into every human
being as part of their nature.
In Augustine's view (termed "Realism"), all of
humanity was really present in Adam when he sinned, and therefore
all have sinned. Original sin, according to Augustine, consists of
the guilt of Adam which all humans inherit. As sinners, humans are
utterly depraved in nature, lack the freedom to do good, and
cannot respond to the will of God without divine grace. Grace is
irresistible, results in conversion, and leads to perseverance.
This eventually led to the concept of Predestination.
to Augustine sexual desire itself as well as other bodily passions
were consequence of the original sin, in which pure affections
were wounded by vice and became disobedient to human reason and
will. As long as they carry a threat to the dominion of reason
over the soul they constitute moral evil, but since they do not
presuppose consent, one cannot call them sins. Humanity will be
liberated from passions, and pure affections will be restored only
when all sin has been washed away and ended, that is in the
resurrection of the dead.
Augustine, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1261 declares:
"As regards children who have died without Baptism, the
Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God”,
as it clearly states in the funeral rites for them.
( c. 390-418) on the other hand
insisted that the fall of Adam did not make every one of Adamic
race depraved and claimed that the influence of Adam on other
humans was merely that of bad example.
supporters cite Deuteronomy 24:16 to deny original sin. He denied
the more specific doctrine of original sin as developed by
Augustine. Pelagius was declared a heretic by the Council of
Carthage. His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became
known as Pelagianism. He continued to insist on the total freedom
of will of man to be able to receive Jesus even as sinners by
A 17th century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius. The caption
"Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence
Durst thou excuse Man's foul Concupiscence,
Or cry down Sin Originall,
or that The Love of
GOD did Man predestinate."
(1483–1546) asserted that humans inherit Adamic guilt and
are in a state of sin from the moment of
The second article in Lutheranism's Augsburg Confession
presents its doctrine of original sin in summary form:
“It is also taught among
us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to
the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all
men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’
wombs and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true
faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is
truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who
are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Rejected
in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that
original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made
righteous by his own powers, thus disparaging the sufferings and
merit of Christ.”
Luther, however, also agreed
with the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception
(that Mary was conceived free from original sin) by saying:
“[Mary] is full of grace,
proclaimed to be entirely without sin. God's grace fills her with
everything good and makes her devoid of all evil. God is with her,
meaning that all she did or left undone is divine and the action
of God in her. Moreover, God guarded and protected her from all
that might be hurtful to he”r.
This is because Mary’s
inherited original sin would still be in Jesus
(1509–1564) developed a systematic theology of Calvinism by his
interpretation of Augustine of Hippo's notion of original sin.
Calvin believed that humans inherit Adamic guilt and are in a
state of sin from the moment of conception. This inherently sinful
nature (the basis for the Calvinistic doctrine of "total
depravity") results in a complete alienation from God and the
total inability of humans to achieve reconciliation with God based
on their own abilities. Not only do individuals inherit a sinful
nature due to Adam's fall, but since he was the federal head and
representative of the human race, all whom he represented inherit
the guilt of his sin by imputation. Man is dead and is incapable
of even responding to God. This is known as “Total Depravity”.
Redemption by Jesus Christ is the only remedy which is
given only to those whomsoever Jesus chose since the sinner has no
ability to choose any more.
John Calvin defined original
sin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion as follows:
“Original sin, therefore,
seems to be a hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature,
diffused into all parts of the soul, which first makes us liable
to God's wrath, then also brings forth in us those works which
Scripture calls "works of the flesh" (Gal 5:19). And
that is properly what Paul often calls sin. The works that come
forth from it – such as adulteries, fornications, thefts,
hatreds, murders, carousings – he accordingly calls "fruits
of sin" (Gal 5:19–21), although they are also commonly
called "sins" in Scripture, and even by Paul himself.”
of the Catholic Church says:
his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and
justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all
and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by
their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and
justice; this deprivation is called "original sin".
a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers,
subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and
inclined to sin (this inclination is called
Catholic Church teaches that every human person born on this earth
is made in the image of God. Within
man "is both the powerful surge toward the good because we
are made in the image of God, and the darker impulses toward evil
because of the effects of Original Sin." Furthermore,
it explicitly denies that we inherit guilt from
anyone, maintaining that instead we inherit our fallen nature. In
this it differs from the Calvinism/Protestant position that each
person actually inherits Adam's guilt, and teaches instead that
"original sin does not have the character of a personal fault
in any of Adam's descendants ... but the consequences for nature,
weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man". "In
other words, human beings do not bear any 'original guilt' from
Adam and Eve's particular sin."
accepted Augustine of Hippo's notions of original sin and
Churches accept the teachings of John
Cassian, as do Catholic Churches eastern and western, in
rejecting the doctrine of Total Depravity, by teaching that human
nature is "fallen", that is, depraved, but not totally.
Orthodoxy accepts the doctrine of ancestral sin: "Original
sin is hereditary. It did not remain only Adam and Eve's. As life
passes from them to all of their descendants, so does original