Question:

I'm just emailing about a little something I found in an article of yours. It's answering a question about where the Word talks about all men being equal. Not to be picky, but it says in the article we are all born without sin, which isn't true. One of the basic concepts of Christianity as I'm sure you know, is original sin, and being born in need of a Savior.

Answer:

Total depravity, the concept that men are born sinful is widely taught after first proposed by Augustine in the 4th century and made popular by the followers of John Calvin. However, it is not a teaching based on biblical fact, so it isn't a basic concept of Christianity.

"Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes" (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

"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).

Since a son cannot inherit the guilt of his father, Seth did not inherit the guilt of Adam. Sin is not passed on from father to son, nor from Adam through the generations to us. The very idea violates a the biblical definition of sin. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). Sinfulness is a state reached when an individual breaks a command of God. A newborn babe has not done anything as of yet to break God's law.

The claim that a baby is born selfish, and therefore sinful, implies that God made people to sin. Again, this contradicts God's teaching. "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1:13). God opposes sin; He is not the spreader of sin. Like Adam and Eve when they were first created, children are innocent of sin. When Israel sinned by refusing to enter the land of Canaan, they were condemned to wander in the wilderness until that generation died off. However, God did not hold the children responsible for their parent's bad choice: "Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it" (Deuteronomy 1:39). This is why Jesus told his followers: "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3)