Friday, July 24, 2009

An Argument for Original Guilt?

Original Guilt is the doctrine that all of humanity is legally imputed the sin of Adam in the garden, even infants. But is there any good reason to believe in this doctrine? Some have objected that it simply is not fair because an agent s has no control over sin x, but yet agent s is held morally responsible for sin x. But perhaps there are good biblical reasons for thinking it is true. Here is two such scriptures that might suggest this:

Romans 8:10 "But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness."

and

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

This is how Romans 5:12 and 8:10 might entail original sin:

P1: When people die it is only because of their sin (original or actual)

P2: Infants die

C3: Hence, infants have sin

P4: The sin that infants have is either actual or original

P5: The sin is not actual.

C6: Hence, the sin is original that infants have.


Most People tend to think that infants in the womb and one day old infants do not have the mental capacity to actually sin, but it seems clear that one day old infants and infants in the womb do die. The sin they die for is therefore, original rather than actual. This argument seems valid and sound to me. What do you think?

14 comments:

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
I agree with what you say completely. I would like to add a little for you to think about.

Perhaps the thing that changed when Adam ate the forbiden fruit is our genetic code; sin is passed along to us in our DNA. That is why new borns and the unborn are able to be found guilty of sin. This particular trait would have to be passed along from father to children. That would be why Jesus was found without sin and it is supported by scripture because the sin of Eve is never mention in retrospect, it is always the sin of Adam that is addressed.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello Joel,

I think at the fall that human nature was distored and that there is a metaphysical disposition for all men that are covenantally connected to Adam to have a sinful disposition. But my question is for you is this: If one does not have a legal or imputed character to original sin then why would God punish or hold you responsible on the basis of a sinful disposition? If someone had a disposition to be a homosexual or a liar but never actually acted on that would it be reasonable to punish that person for a disposition he never acted on? So the difficulty I am seeing here is: why would God punish a agent x if the agent x had something metaphysically bad about himself but never actually acted badly?

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
Guilty by association.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello Joel,

You said: NPT,
Guilty by association.

Response: What do you mean by this? Can you flush this out in light of the question I asked you?

Joel Gamache said...

NPT,
I am not a philosopher . I am an historian and a scientist. The things that I can articulate the best are biology, chemistry, physics, antique history, world history, and church history.

The way I understand it is just as I explained in my first comment. Those not found guilty of performing sinful acts can and are found guilty of being sinful by nature, albeit an inherited nature and out of their control, but that is my understanding.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hey Joel,

You Said: The way I understand it is just as I explained in my first comment. Those not found guilty of performing sinful acts can and are found guilty of being sinful by nature, albeit an inherited nature and out of their control, but that is my understanding.

Response: Why Would you think it has something to do with the intrinsic properties of a nature that makes the person sinful rather than a legal status imputed to them?

God Bless,

NPT

david said...

the death referred to in Romans is both physical and spiritual.

this argument only works if one is a young earth creationist and also believes that physical death did not exist before the fall.

death can still come through sin if that death is spiritual.

Further more, even given that physical death did not pre-exist the fall, the argument only works if one assumes that death is the result of Guilt. One can have a sin nature without having a guilty nature.

Therefore, original sin, for certain, but not original guilt.

david said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david said...

Forgive the double post, but I am confused as to why we assume that God follows conceptions of legality.

The idea of sin being explained as a "legal status" is most likely an accommodation.

The nature of sin is a spiritual reality. Tho, original guilt doctrine is fine, it is important to remember this is the understanding of a physical mind of a spiritual thing. Therefore, in conception, it is a few steps removed from the reality, and as a truth (like God being described as father) is accomidational.

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello David,

the death referred to in Romans is both physical and spiritual.

Response: I agree.

this argument only works if one is a young earth creationist and also believes that physical death did not exist before the fall.

Response: Why would not work on a old earth fellow like myself? Couldn't the death only be referring to Human Death and not animal?

death can still come through sin if that death is spiritual.

Response: How so? And what passage would you have to support this?

Further more, even given that physical death did not pre-exist the fall, the argument only works if one assumes that death is the result of Guilt. One can have a sin nature without having a guilty nature.

Response: Yes, but the Problem is it says that all men die because all men sin, but clearly babies in the womb do not actually sin, hence they sin in the original sense. The difference between a sin nature and a guilty nature is that the former has a disposition toward sinning where as the latter is actually seen as sinning. Hence a infant dies because it is viewed sinful and not because it will sin, but has not yet (this is what the passage seems to indicate and thereby entails original guilt.

Therefore, original sin, for certain, but not original guilt.

Response: I think Romans entails original guilt and I do not think anything you have said defeats that.

God Bless,

NPT

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello David,

Forgive the double post, but I am confused as to why we assume that God follows conceptions of legality.

Response: It is no problem.

The idea of sin being explained as a "legal status" is most likely an accommodation.

Response: The reason why we assume this is because it is found in the Bible; for this see my post:

http://reasonfromscripture.blogspot.com/2009/07/legal-exchange-of-redemption.html

The nature of sin is a spiritual reality. Tho, original guilt doctrine is fine, it is important to remember this is the understanding of a physical mind of a spiritual thing. Therefore, in conception, it is a few steps removed from the reality, and as a truth (like God being described as father) is accomidational.

Response: I believe there is a actual reality of the disposition of sin and the actuality of sin when we grow older, but for us and not for Adam the legal precedes logically precedes the real.

God Bless,

NPT

david said...

Well, it's self evident that's what you believe. :P Telling me that again does not a whit of good. Tho, I appreciate you were explicit.

Unfortunately, I've found I'm apparently no good at communicating with Calvinists.

I am saying that Death can be a result of a broken nature; not a guilty nature.

Because of that Guilt is an unnecessary inference, it's self evident from looking at the nature of man that it's broken. Tho, if you want more evidence than that you can read Genesis. ;) Or Romans, since you Calvinists like that passage so much. :P

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that the Original Guilt Explanation is not the only Original Sin doctrine that can account for it.

It's an unnecessary inference from the text. There can be sin which has destroyed man, and all men, through adam, without everyone needing to be guilty for that.

If that doesn't make sense, I'm afraid I won't be able to explain it.

Tho, if Babies are guilty, I wonder, do you believe they go to hell?

david said...

Regarding the passage to support the idea that death can be spiritual, it's not scriptural it's logical.

Death came, no specification what kind. Inferring what kind is silly.

But okay, so fine, death did not pre-exist the fall for Man. I actually agree. But I don't think people die because they are guilty either.

Death always existed; what sin did is it changed something in the nature of man that put him under death. Given that he's under death by nature; having him under death by guilt is unnecessary, to say again. :)

Nathanael Taylor said...

Hello David,

I am saying that Death can be a result of a broken nature; not a guilty nature.

Response: Sure, that is possibly true. But there are no reasons to believe that in the text before us.

Because of that Guilt is an unnecessary inference, it's self evident from looking at the nature of man that it's broken. Tho, if you want more evidence than that you can read Genesis. ;) Or Romans, since you Calvinists like that passage so much. :P

Response: It seems like the passages before us suggest that it is a necessary inference.

Romans 5:12 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-

The Greek word does not mean sinful nature or sinful disposition, it simply means sin. It simply means viewed as breaking God’s law.

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that the Original Guilt Explanation is not the only Original Sin doctrine that can account for it.

Response: In the two texts in the post I think it is best explanation and that any other explanation would be insufficient.

It's an unnecessary inference from the text. There can be sin which has destroyed man, and all men, through adam, without everyone needing to be guilty for that.

Response: Why is it unnecessary? How do you get that understanding from the Greek in the text?

If that doesn't make sense, I'm afraid I won't be able to explain it.

Response: I understand what you are saying, it is just what you are saying seems to be not a valid inference from the text at best and at worst not even in the text at all.

Tho, if Babies are guilty, I wonder, do you believe they go to hell?

Response: They could be saved by the blood of Christ by additional philosophical and biblical arguments were to be provided. If original guilt were not true then you would have dead babies going to heaven apart from Jesus Christ. The path to heterodoxy is not too far off from here.

Regarding the passage to support the idea that death can be spiritual, it's not scriptural it's logical.

Response: It does not seem to be used spiritually in Romans 8:10 and we have to read the book of Romans in its context.

Death came, no specification what kind. Inferring what kind is silly.

Response: Romans 5 and 8 together are pretty clear. Romans 8 in context is talking about qualities the believer has life and righteousness and on top of that sin that will lead to his physical death, not spiritual. I think that together with Romans 5 you have a necessary inference that death is physical and it is caused by sin original sin.

Death always existed; what sin did is it changed something in the nature of man that put him under death. Given that he's under death by nature; having him under death by guilt is unnecessary, to say again. :)

Response: I do not think it is unnecessary when I think the Bible directly teaches it and you have not given me any reason to doubt it.

God Bless,

NPT