There are many opinions on this subject. Sometimes, what the truth is, can only be fully appreciated by the reality of the outcome: the fruit. The purpose of this article is to answer the question: what is the fruit of “where” I place blame in any given situation?!
Who we blame in any negative situation of our lives, makes a difference, not only in our feelings and understandings, but it also makes a most significant difference in the direction our lives tend to go?
It is a fact! When we blame someone else for feeling depressed, hateful, lacking, or a whole host of other negative emotions, we are giving them power over our lives and we will never find ourselves free of any particular problem.
Often in today’s society, we see those who never accept any responsibility for their own actions. There is a “you owe me” attitude about nearly everything. Why is this? It is because they blame someone else for the situation they are in and how they feel. If we trace that back to humanity’s beginning, we find this same attitude prevailed in the Garden of Eden.
Let’s see if we can discover who was blamed in what I call, The Beginning Act of Genesis, and what God did about it.
The stage is set. The drama is about to begin. Yes, God is there, but three more participants are about to enter; the serpent (that old devil, Satan), Adam and Eve.
GOD: When the curtain is drawing, God is busy forming Adam of the soil of the earth.
When God finishes, He places Adam into a beautiful atmosphere of trees, good for food. He then breathes into Adam the breath of life and Adam becomes a living person. (Wouldn’t that have been absolutely breathtaking to have watched this!?)
GOD: “Adam, I have one command for you. Every tree in this garden you may freely eat for food, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you do not listen to my word and eat of it, in that same day, you shall surely die.” He also said, “It is not good for you to be alone. I will make you a helper who will be like you.”
So the Lord God put Adam to sleep, and he took one of Adam’s ribs and closed the place with flesh in its stead; And of the rib, which the Lord God had taken from Adam, he formed a woman, and brought her to Adam. (Wow, wish I could have been there for that happening!)
ENTER: THE SERPENT
God made the serpent.
Now the serpent was more subtle than all the wild beasts of the field that the Lord God had made.
All 4 participants are now on stage, and the conversation begins.
SERPENT: “Has God really said that you are not to eat of any of the trees of the garden?”
EVE: “We may eat the fruit of all the trees of the garden; But the fruit of the tree, which is in the midst of the garden, God told us not to eat or touch it because if we did, we would die.”
SERPENT: “You’re not going to die. God knows if you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods. You will know good and evil.”
Eve, being seduced, bought the serpent’s lie, and received the words of the serpent. In turn, she convinced Adam of the same, and together, they did eat of the forbidden tree. They believed the lie instead of God’s word. Unbelief was their first sin! What was the result of their unbelief in what God told Adam? They sinned again by partaking of the forbidden fruit that God told them not to touch.
END OF ACT 1
This sets forth one of the first principles in God’s word. In every situation of life, the serpent (that old devil) will tempt you to doubt God’s word and therefore fail, while all the while God will be testing the word in you with a view to approval.
In ACT 1, God gave us a free will to choose life or death. The definition of a free will is: The right to choose between two opposing forces. (To more fully understand this, see the article “Purpose in Relationship” on this web-site)
ACT 2 – BLAME
“We are naked. We better get some fig leaves and make ourselves some aprons. Do you hear what I hear? Oh no, it’s God! We better hide!”
“Adam. Where are you, Adam”?
“I heard your voice in the garden, and when I saw that I was naked, I hid myself”.
“Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat”?
“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree, and I ate it.” (Adam blamed God and the woman )
“Eve, what is this that you have done?”
“The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”. (Blamed the serpent)
Speaking to the serpent: “Because YOU have done this thing,” (Blamed the serpent)
So, we see the woman, the serpent and God being blamed in Act 2.
Final act – ACT 3: Judgment
Speaking to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and above all beasts of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life; And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your posterity and her posterity; her posterity shall tread your head under foot, and you shall strike him in his heel”.
Speaking to Eve: “I will greatly multiply your pain and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children, and your desire shall be unto your husband, and he will rule over you. “
Speaking to Adam: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat the fruits of it all the days of your life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, until you return to the ground; out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust shall you return.”
Notice that God cursed the devil and punished Adam and Eve. The curse without a cause does not come: Proverbs 26:2
END OF ACT 3
Now, let’s discuss this little drama!
Blame, blame, blame!!! Isn’t this what we do all too often? Blame someone else for the situation we are in, or the way we feel? Blame God, if for no other reason than… “He created us, and don’t forget, He made the serpent!”
What some people fail to realize, is that God did not make Adam’s choice for him. So, in our own minds let’s get God off the hook for this. After all, who wants to serve a God who makes you choose to sin and then punishes you for it. Sounds a little schizophrenic to me.
Let us remind you that when God said, “I lay before you life and death, you choose;” he did not say “I will choose death for you”.
Adam made excuses for himself. It was Eve or God’s fault, but certainly not his. Adam’s excuse did not dissuade God. God never said, it’s okay Adam, it is really my fault or even, it’s okay Adam, it was your wife’s fault. No, he punished Adam for his involvement.
Eve blamed the serpent. It was his fault, he beguiled me. She thought it was the serpent’s fault, because he deceived her.
Today, many Christians have found an excuse that was not even considered by Adam and Eve. They blame Adam by saying they inherited a sin nature from him. This teaching in some pulpits, is called the “original sin doctrine: sometimes called “inherited sin”. This teaching was spread by Augustine during the 5th century when it became widely and popularly known. It can sooth the conscience to a certain degree but does not ultimately make sense.
We know something happened in the garden that caused man to die, but there are varied opinions on what happened to continue that death upon all humanity, for certainly death has passed upon all men, but why?
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, BECAUSE ALL HAVE SINNED.
But was it because Adam corrupted the human race by passing a sin nature down to him? The scripture in Romans 5:12 seems to indicate something else. Notice the great big BECAUSE! Because ALL have sinned!
James 1:4 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his OWN lust, and enticed.
Thus, Romans teaches us the reason all die; because all sinned. It does not say because we all inherited a sin nature.
So, what nature do we have then? I’m glad you asked. We have a human nature. A human nature is one with the ability to reason and make a moral choice. It is what separates us from the animals.
Recall that Jesus said in Matthew 23:37 (Speaking to Jerusalem) – How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings and you would NOT! The people reasoned and made a moral choice between two opposing forces. Notice Jesus did not say, “you Could not”! He said, “you Would not”!
If man inherited sin from someone else who sinned, then it stands to reason that two Christians who have a child could bring a child to birth without sin. After all, they have been born-again into the body of Christ and they have become a new man; a new person, born from above by a man who had never sinned, even Jesus. Augustine taught that the fallen NATURE of Adam was transmitted biologically through sexual procreation. What is sin? Is it a microbe? A cell? Or a choice?
Moral beings have never needed inherited sin to make them sin. We know Adam was not faced with that requirement to sin. There was unanimity among the early church fathers concerning the innocence of babies. Why, if sin is inherited? You may say, “well they were not yet accountable”. So, are you saying that God would allow someone in heaven that has a sin nature? There is indication in the book of Job that babies who die are at peace; that they live in King’s palaces. We also have David’s testimony.
David said: 1st Samuel 12:23-24: “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
David, being God’s man, was certainly going to a better place when he died, and he said his child would be there.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
How can a baby put to death the deeds of the body? Would not he/she have to choose to live according to the flesh and not the Spirit if he/she inherited sin?
Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God.
The intimate bond that Adam and Eve had with God… they lost when they sinned. It has been reported that babies still have this bond. One report states that a 5 year old was overheard whispering to a 3 year old saying, “Please tell me about God, I am forgetting about Him.” The action of sin is the identifying culprit to losing intimacy with God, not inherited sin.
Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated from God and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled (This word is actually “conciled”!)
When Adam and Eve sinned, they became alienated from God in their minds. Notice, it does not say: by being born wicked, but by wicked works which we choose to do. ie:sin
Thus, each person born after Adam and Eve makes a choice at some point to sin. This, and only this, according to the word of God, is WHY all die!
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sins, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son…
At first glance it seems that a scripture in Exodus contradicts the above statement, but upon close examination, it does not.
Exodus 20:4-5 You shall not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Here is the simple explanation: The children watched their father and chose to sin in like manner. This is “how” God visits the fathers’ sin upon his children. They sinned too. God does not stop their choice. Notice it is written about those who hate God.
Sin is a crime punishable by death. If we inherited sin, it would be a crime to punish us. We should be pitied rather than punished. We actually “could” blame God if this were true. But we want to say loud and clear: “God is not to be blamed”. Remember, Adam tried that! The teaching that man inherited sin, is just another excuse causing man to feel justified, making God responsible for each of his/her own decisions. We are truly thankful that even though God was not responsible for us sinning, He took the responsibility to free us from our SELF. He is incredible!
All of Scripture is a record of the Spirit of Love. if the doctrine of “original sin” were true, it would contradict that very Spirit. God would be a monster for making us accountable for it. We could rightfully say, “He is a tyrant, not a lover”. God has shown Himself to be a lover, serving us to lift us up, restoring us back to Himself.
So, what did the early church teach concerning the “original sin” doctrine?
First, let’s begin with Judaism who held only to the Old Covenant. Quote from Wikipedia: “The doctrine of “inherited sin” is not found in most of mainstream Judaism. Although some in Orthodox Judaism place “blame” on Adam for overall corruption of the world, and though there were some Jewish teachers in Talmudic times who believed that death was a punishment brought upon humanity on account of Adam’s sin, that is NOT the dominant view in most of Judaism today. Modern Judaism generally teaches that humans are born sin-free and untainted, and choose to sin later and bring suffering to themselves”.
C.G. Bretschneider from “History of the Doctrine of Original Sin”: “We have moreover no grounds to regard the doctrine of the imputation of Adam’s sin as the common doctrine of the Jews before the time of Christ”.
C.G. Bretschneider also reports: Josephus knows nothing of original sin, but on the contrary affirms that the posterity of Seth were in the highest degree, virtuous and wise.
From the “History of the Doctrine of the church” – “Opinions in the most ancient Christian Church were not very harmonious or settled, yet some points were held by the church with sufficient firmness. The writings of most of the oldest Christian teachers, contain nothing about Augustine’s original sin teaching and its propagation. Catholics firmly established the original sin teaching and both Luther and Calvin kept it alive when they broke away from the Church of Rome. Thus, it is still taught to some degree today. The falling away was swift and cruel upon the establishment of such untruthful teachings”.
As all errors in doctrine are finding an unfruitful end today, those who desire truth in the inward parts are fast discovering the lies. We are thankful for the light of the day we live in. It is true that darkness is amongst us and that much sin abounds, but we are always reminded that where sin abounds, grace “much more” abounds. This grace is finding its way into our understanding and setting the records straight and the captives free! Truth makes us free!
See also: Recognitions of Clement of Rome: “For no other reason does God punish the sinner either in the present or future world, because He knows that the sinner was able to conquer but neglected to gain the victory”.
Justin Martyr in his Apology to the Roman Senate, page 71, represents it as impious to deny the freedom of the will. He recognizes the fact that without freedom, there could be no retribution, in a passage where he says, “If the human race has not the power by free choice to fly from the base and to choose for themselves the noble and the good, then are they guiltless of their own deeds however done. But that they can of free choice either walk uprightly or barely wrong, we show thus”. He held that each man brings death on himself whenever he sins. (For further in-depth study on free will choice, see the article: Purpose in Relationship on this website).
“Hence, although early church fathers did not agree unanimously, the majority believed nothing of the dogma that man was born contaminated with a deadly original sin and is damned by reason of his very nature; but on the contrary they represent new-born infants as pure, guiltless, and pleasing to God”. Justin Martyr
This is enough quotes. May I suggest that you do some investigating on your own? Apostolic fathers: Clement I, Hermas, Ignatious of Antioch, Polycarp, and the author of the Epistle of Barnabus were contemporaries of at least the last biblical writers. Justin Martyr died A. D. 164. Expressing a caring concern, their writings are similar in style to the New Testament.
Long after the time of Augustine, subsequent writers belonging to the era of reformation and beyond brought us works that have, step by step, brought us out of the falling away from the light of the true teachings of the authoritative writings of the scriptures.
So, considering this, we must ask, can one really prove in scripture that men have inherited sin? Some want to quote David because he said, of himself, that he was born in sin. But a thorough investigation of this scripture reveals that David believed for some time that he was born of an adulterous affair and this is why his brothers despised him. His quote does not say, “I was born a sinner”. We find no place in the word of God that says we inherited sin. Let the truth be established in the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses.
So, did you inherit sin? How you answer this question affects everything. How we view sin and ourselves will be very skewed if we think we inherited sin. Some examples:
1. Why should we accept responsibility for our actions if we were born this way?
2. How could we ever realize the total depravity of our own sin thinking if we were born this way.
3. How could we see justice in a God who would punish us for sinning if we inherited sin?
4. How can we even begin to understand Love if we think this way?
Who we blame, dictates our attitudes and to a large degree, how we act! Who do you allow to have power over you? Who do you blame? Adam, Eve, Satan, or how about God? Let’s name a few more: “Circumstances, Parents, Birthplace, Teachers, Spouse, Siblings, Money, Government, Boss, Weight, Height, Age, Looks, Inabilities, and the list goes on and on. When you can look yourself in the mirror and truthfully say, I AM TO BLAME, it is my fault I feel this way and ask God to help you overcome, you will never be really free.
We hope you conclude that indeed, we did not inherit sin by simply being born; we sin by choice. Sin is an action, a verb, not a noun. The definition of a free will choice is “a choice between 2 opposing forces”. Let us choose wisely for every choice must be left with every reader’s candid judgment.
God has promised that the gospel of His Kingdom, such as it really is, will be victorious! He has assured us that the word which goes out of His mouth, shall not return unto Him void, but shall accomplish that which He pleases, and shall prosper in the thing whereto He sends it. Let God arise, and glorify His own great name. Singing His music and not our own, is life changing.
I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE: BONNIE