Sin Cannot Be Transferred

by Douglas Hoff

Sometimes people believe things that are later shown to be incorrect. For hundreds of years many thought the Earth was flat and the center of the universe. Modern science proved these ideas wrong. Only when people are willing to reconsider long held beliefs will they change for the better.

Contrary to popular belief, souls are not born sinners. The idea that people inherit Adamís sin and are totally depraved originated in the mind of man, not God. Consider the absurdity of some well known passages in the Bible if babies are sinful from birth. Jesus taught that unless one is converted and becomes like a little child he will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. To be converted means to change. Thus, adult sinners would have to change and become sinful. That makes no sense. If Adamís sin were transferred to his offspring, then Jesus would have to inherit sin from his mother Mary. Such an assertion would be blasphemous since the scriptures repeatedly affirm the Lord Jesus did no sin. God gives man his spirit (Ecclesiastes 12:7; Zechariah 12:1). Asserting that children are born in sin would of necessity reflect on the giver of manís spirit. God created Adam and Eve in a state of innocence. These two were given sinless spirits. Children are likewise born pure from the defilement of sin. When Adam and Eve disobeyed Godís law they became guilty of sin. If total depravity is true then 2 Timothy 3:13 makes no sense either. There Paul affirmed that evil men shall grow worse and worse. How could this be possible if one is born totally depraved?

Perhaps some of the misunderstanding about inherited sin arises from an imprecise definition of sin. The Bible defines sin in 1 John 3:4 as the transgression of Godís law. This means sin requires doing something even if that means thinking evil thoughts. With the proper definition and concept of sin it should be obvious that sin cannot be transferred from Adam to anyone. When a baby has just been born what law of God has he or she broken? None. It takes time for children to grow before they can learn the difference between good and evil (Isaiah 7:15, 16). Godís word declares that a person is responsible only for his own sins. The Law of Moses stated it this way: "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16).

If God punished even one soul against his will for the sins another committed, then God would not be just. The Bible affirms the justice of God. The just penalty for violating Godís law is death. However, this is not speaking of physical death for all die. This death is eternal separation from God in the lake of fire. Jesus freely offered himself to take the punishment for the sins of others. Since Jesus died to take away sins we can have our sins forgiven if we obey Godís will (Hebrews 5:9). On Judgment Day each person will be judged according to what he has done, not the sins of Adam or anyone else for that matter.