Inherited Sin Debate

First Negative

Steven F. Deaton (Christian)
Loop 287 church of Christ, Lufkin, Texas


Debate Proposition

Vaughn's First Affirmative, Deaton's First Negative
Vaughn's Second Affirmative, Deaton's Second Negative


Mr. Vaughn states at the beginning that this is about the NATURE of man. So, this discussion is NOT about whether or not man sins, and it is NOT about whether or not men die a physical death as the result of Adam's fall. It is about whether or not men are born with a depraved, sinful nature inherited from Adam.

Re: Romans 5:12, 18: These verses do not say, "All men have sinned in Adam." They give a comparison and contrast of the actions and results of Adam and those of Christ. Adam introduced sin into the world, like AS Christ introduced a way of escape from sin. Notice Romans 5:19, "For as by one man's disobedience many were MADE sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be MADE righteous." Consider: Thomas Paine MADE many infidels, but was his infidelity transferred to them? No, by his actions he influenced many to reject the belief of God. Likewise, by the actions of Adam, many have been influenced to commit sin because he introduced it into the world.

Mr. Vaughn says, "The consequence (death) passed from father [Adam - sfd] to son [Cain, Able, Seth - sfd], therefore, the cause (sin) passed from father to son." The Bible says, "The SOUL THAT SINNETH, IT shall die. The son SHALL NOT bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezekiel 18:20). Which will you believe?

We agree that Adam's sin brought physical death upon all men because mankind was separated from the tree of life (Gen. 3:22-24). However, we deny that Adam's sin brought spiritual death upon all men because each man is responsible for his own actions, and not those of another (Rom. 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10; Ex. 32:33; Eze. 18:4, 20).

Our friend claims that John 1:29 is saying that Jesus took away the "ONE singular sin of THE WHOLE WORLD" which fell upon them as the consequence of Adam's sin. If so, then how could all men be born with a sin nature? Note the verse, "...Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Following Mr. Vaughn's logic, this verse teaches that Jesus died to take away only "the ONE singular sin" which resulted from Adam's fall. That means that Jesus did not die to take away the sin of fornication, idolatry, covetousness, etc. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9-11). We do not charge Mr. Vaughn with believing such, but it is the consequence of his reasoning.

Several times Mr. Vaughn says that "the totality of the human race" comes under the umbrella of inherited sin from Adam. If that is so, then Jesus was born a "sinner - one that sins!" "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of FLESH AND BLOOD, HE ALSO himself likewise TOOK PART OF THE SAME... For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but HE TOOK ON HIM THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. WHEREFORE IN ALL THINGS IT BEHOVED HIM TO BE MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN..." (Hebrews 2:14-17). "And THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH..." (John 1:14). Dear reader, do you believe Jesus was born a "sinner - one that sins?"

In regard to Ephesians 2:3, our friend says that it proves men are born with a sinful nature. Notice, the verse does not say that! One can have an acquired nature through habitual practice of a thing. Some people are said to have a talent or skill that is "second nature," that is, a thing which they have developed and are able to perform with ease. This is true of sin. Also, Mr. Vaughn says that HOMOSEXUALITY is against human nature (and I agree with that) but then why are some people practicing such? If we are sinners by NATURE, as Mr. Vaughn says, then why are some folks homosexuals AGAINST NATURE? Too, if man is born with a NATURE to sin, then how could Paul say, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, DO BY NATURE the things contained in the law..." (Romans 2:14). Gentiles were said to do by NATURE that which was good! Can one be born with a depraved nature and have a nature that causes them to keep the law?

Mr. Vaughn asks why there has not been one man who has not sinned. The Bible says there has been--the God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, who "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

Syllogisms must have a valid major premise (point 1) and minor premise (point 2) in order for the conclusion (point 3) to be true. Mr. Vaughn's second and third syllogisms are invalid. In the second one, point 2 is invalid. Here he "begs the question" (assumes what is to be proven). Likewise, in the third syllogism, point 1 is false. Again, he "begs the question." CONSIDER: SYLLOGISM 2: 1. All who die are in Adam; 2. All who are in Adam are sinners; 3. Therefore, all who die are sinners--IF So, Christ died, therefore, he must have been in Adam, and he must have been a sinner! SYLLOGISM 3: 1. All who are subject to death are sinners (Dear reader, was Christ "subject to death"?); 2. All infants are subjects to death (Baby Jesus was subject to death for Joseph fled with him into Egypt and later was recalled when all who sought the young child's life were no longer a threat--Matt. 2:13-23); 3. Therefore, all infants are sinners (Thus, Christ was a sinner since he was obviously subject to death, else why flee into Egypt when the command came to slay those under two years of age?). Who can believe such?

Questions For Mr. Vaughn:

  1. What caused Adam and Eve to sin? Why did they do it?
  2. Was Jesus born a sinner? Why or why not?
  3. According to your belief, what death, physical or spiritual, passed upon all men as the result of Adam's fall?
  4. The Bible defines sin as a transgression of law (1 Jn. 3:4). What law have infants transgressed in order to be born sinners?
  5. If by the offense of ONE (Adam), all men were born sinners, then are all men saved (Universal Salvation) by the act of ONE (Jesus)?


e-mail this author at SFDeaton@compuserve.com

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