Are you guilty

of the sin of Adam?


Many people struggle with the idea of the "original sin," an often misunderstood concept with more than a single meaning. I think some of this debate revolves around inheriting guilt versus simple suffering on account of someone else's sin. For an example of the second, if I punched you you'd be suffering because I sinned, but none of the guilt of that sin is on you, just the painful consequence of my action. That's one view which says we suffer because of a harmful act committed by Adam. Still there are other people in the Christian world who believe we are actually guilty of what Adam did, despite having no hand in the act itself. That's inherited sin or guilt and not something I can see plainly taught in the scriptures. For more on that I'd read the portions of the Bible where a misled generation of Jews are saying "the parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge."(Ezekiel 18.)


If I write "blame it on my freewill," the emphasis should be on MY. For example, when the Bible says "The soul that sins, that soul shall die." That's just to say I did it. Posters have complained that these careful distinctions are all beating around the bush, writing "Yes, if we sin willingly, it was wilfully our fault and no one else's."


But the proper (even nitpicking) distinctions are needed because people use different definitions of will. So even words like "willingly," which Calvinists use, can be used by people who believe in the commonsense understanding of freewill, and everyone else in the determinist camp who deny it. Imputed guilt, simple human fallenness and ideas like compatiblism cause a need for these heavy distinctions.

― Tyrone Cormack