By Jimmy R. Mickells
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
Those who teach and try to prove that one inherits the sin of Adam use this verse as a proof text. Does it really say that David was born a sinner because of what Adam did hundreds of years before his birth? Are you and I sinners because of the action of another man? I believe with all my heart that the Bible answers these questions very clearly.
In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet plainly says that the son does not bear the guilt for his father’s sin, nor is the father held responsible for the iniquity of the son. “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” (Ezekiel 18:20). We suffer the consequences of the sins committed by others on occasion, yet we are not guilty before God because of their sins.
The nature of sin itself denies the fact that we are born sinner because of the action of someone else. Sin is a transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4). It is not something that is transferred from one person to the other simply because they are descendants. Did Jesus inherit the sin of Adam when Mary gave birth to Him? The Bible says that He was without sin (1 Peter 2:22). To avoid the logical conclusion that Christ was born a sinner like all other babies, the Catholics teach the immaculate conception of Mary. Merriam-Webster define this expression (immaculate conception) as, “the conception of the Virgin Mary in which as decreed in Roman Catholic dogma her soul was preserved free from original sin by divine grace” (Online Version). This is how they try to avoid a very apparent contradiction in their teaching. The truth of the matter is, that no one is born a sinner, he becomes such when he violates the law of God and is accountable to Him.
The Bible tells us that the God we serve is holy and just (Psalm 7:11; 1 Peter 1:16). How righteous and good would the Lord be if He condemned a child to the fires of hell for an eternity because of what Adam did? Do you think a judge and jury in the United States of America would find a son guilty of a crime that they knew was committed by his father? I think not! It is hard for me to imagine that someone would make such a charge against a loving, caring, and compassionate God. Yet those who teach this false doctrine do just that!
When we stand before Jehovah in judgment, every man will answer for his own misdeeds, not the sins of someone else. Paul said, “who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:6-11). The apostle didn’t say that God would render to each one according to what Adam did. No, we’re held accountable to God because of our own failures or good deeds, not because of what mom and dad did or didn’t do.
What was David saying in Psalm 51:5? Robert Taylor said, “He was born into a world where sin abounds and where all ultimately do sin. He was born into a world where temptations to sin run strongly and to one of them – fleshly passion – he had surrendered in a moment of weakness” (Studies in Psalms, Robert R. Taylor, Jr. p. 56). Sin was all around him, yet he became a sinner when he yielded to his desires and violated the will of the Lord.
Notice these two passages; “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:15). “Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).