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CHILDREN, YOUTH &
ORIGINAL SIN

by Jacques More



The bible differentiates between childhood and youth (Ecclesiastes 11:10), for children, unlike the youth, have no wives (Proverbs 5:18; Malachi 2:15; et al), nor children of their own (Psalm 127:4), as children are pre-puberty.

Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, and put away evil from your flesh, for childhood and youth are vanity.

Ecclesiastes 11:101

Youths (can) have wives; children do not.

       Remember, this is about what the Scripture informs us.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth.

Proverbs 5:18

. . . let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.

Malachi 2:15b

Children have no babies of their own; youths can.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.

Psalm 127:4

This is a division the inspired text gives us between children and "youth".

We sin from our youth
We sin from our youth only (Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 3:25; Jeremiah 22:21; Jeremiah 32:30); Not as little children or babies.

And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

Genesis 8:21

We lie down in our shame, and our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.

Jeremiah 3:25

I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, "I will not hear." This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice.

Jeremiah 22:21

because the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only evil before Me from their youth. For the children of Israel have provoked Me only to anger with the work of their hands," says the LORD.

Jeremiah 32:30

Youth is the age (season) when we all turn to our own way (Isaiah 53:6) because we each began upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29)2, and in the right way (a way we then turned from, in youth) as God made each of us (upright) in our mother's womb (Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-14).

Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Ecclesiastes 7:292

Since we begin in the right way, we are all described as having "turned" and going "astray" which are both words of action that emphasise moving away from a different position: a position when we were *not* "astray".3

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:6

Each of us, every one of us, has turned to their own way from their youth.
We do not begin that way.

God makes each one of us
God made each of us in our mother's womb.

Did not He who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?

Job 31:15

For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:13-14

Babies and little children are spoken as having "innocent blood" (Psalm 106:37-38) and are without knowledge of good and evil (Deuteronomy 1:39) and have indeed done no good or evil (Romans 9:11).

They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with blood.

Psalm 106:37-38

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

(for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls),

Romans 9:114

So that when we read of us all sinning5 and being sinners, this is from our youth.
Equally, some of the mentally less able remain innocent by virtue of their minds never morally telling the difference between right and wrong.

So we are not sinners from conception or birth, but by our own decision making. It is a moral choice to sin. To sin is to transgress the law (1 John 3:4). If we do not know the law, we cannot transgress. As we grow up God writes the law in every man's heart by the conscience (Romans 2:14-15) within us.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

1 John 3:4 KJV

for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them

Romans 2:14-15

If babies and children are not sinners, why do they die?
Man was not created immortal. Man's physical being was made perishable from the outset. This is what Paul was discussing in 1 Corinthians 15 using the word "corruption" (KJV; NKJV; et al),

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.

1 Corinthians 15:42

This is better read in the NIV…

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;

1 Corinthians 15:42 NIV

Man was created with constant replenishment of cells necessary for growth and survival. New skin cells, new hair cells and new nail cells. The complicated blood clotting mechanism which is essential for preventing blood loss when we get a cut, this is also a part of man's creation. All these created parts of man's biology involve cells being lost through death of the cell (hair, nails, skin) and right on to the repair of damaged or worn/growing parts (blood clotting, new bones, etc). All this is part of the created design of man and involves the death of multiple individual cells, and that long before Adam fell. We are perishable in our bodies. This is all that is meant by,

. . . in Adam all die . . .

1 Corinthians 15:22

Nothing more!
       In Adam we all became perishable. This is why Adam was prevented after his fall from accessing the tree of life, for there, is found healing and ongoing life.

Two types of death
Two types of death are mentioned in the bible, the death of the body and the separation from God. The one above just quoted is the death of the body, the physical death. The separation from God is the only one that occurs due to sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

This is the death mentioned in Ephesians 2:1 "you . . . who were dead in trespasses and sins". You cannot speak to physically dead people as Paul did to the Ephesians, that they "were dead" and think this death is physical (see also note3 and the section on Ephesians 2:1). It is another death in view. It is separation from God which is one death and physical death, separation from the body, is the other.
       In Romans 5 Paul speaks of the same death as Ephesians 2 with him discussing the same things: Christ, salvation and sin.

Why does Paul call death as an enemy?
Having just said Jesus' enemies would all eventually be subject to Him, Paul then mentions death as an enemy.

The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

1 Corinthians 15:26

It is the last thing that will be dealt with. Physical death will no longer exist.
       In the beginning man was able and free to partake of the tree of life in the garden, which would provide for healing and life to overcome all unwanted perishable effects. Death, due to a perishable body that could repair itself no more, was an indirect result of man sinning. Adam's sin then resulted in God forbidding access to the tree of life that had enabled the ongoing life of the body to be sustained, healed and fully maintained. But when Jesus rose from the dead the way was made open for others to be resurrected and eventually physical death will no longer exist. It is the last "enemy".

Every man has spirit life
Every man from the beginning of their existence has a measure of spirit life in them, as every man is given a spirit by God (Job 32:8)6. But this spirit is formed by God within man (Zechariah 12:1) and is thereby not completely able and active until its own birthing: the finishing of formation (John 1:13; John 3:3), but is already sufficient in man to enable him to receive the light should he decide to (John 1:12; John 3:21), and that light is given to every man without exception (John 1:9), but man is the decider (not God), of his own condemnation, if instead he chooses darkness (John 3:19).

Every man has a spirit from God.

But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.

Job 32:8

God forms the spirit (there) within man.

The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:

Zechariah 12:1

This formation ends in a birthing of the spirit within a man.

who -- not of7 blood nor of7 a will of flesh, nor of7 a will of man but -- of7 God were begotten.

John 1:13 YLT

Until that full birth, the spirit is incomplete and man is unable to see the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 3:3

But, man is able enough to begin receiving light and to respond.

But as many as did receive him to them He gave authority to become sons of God - to those believing in His name8,

John 1:12 YLT

The receiving here in John 1:12 is indeed prior to the full birthing of the spirit in Verse 13, which is after the authority to become a child of God that is released: it is as a direct consequence of the receiving being witnessed. Not before someone's lifetime is that authority released, but as a direct cause and effect of the receiving. Just as condemnation is man's choice (John 3:19 see quote below): so is this receiving (John 1:12).

But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

John 3:21

The light is given without exception to every man.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John 1:9

Indeed, just as that is man's choice to receive; so it is man's choice not to receive. It is not God's choice; it is man's choice.

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:19

The idea that man is totally disabled and unable to do good in his own make up, before some extraordinary event from God, that is false and non biblical. God already gave us enough ability to receive the light.

This is because as shown above man's ability is given and made by God already. This (measure of) spirit life and ability, though limited, is already a gift of God in every man.

There is no boasting about the right and good choice man makes, as it is "done in God" as Jesus said (John 3:21), so there is no boasting (as the Accuser - Satan - and his followers [wittingly or unwittingly] also proclaim).

The whole of Calvinism, Monergism, "Grace teaching", the "Reformed faith" is based on the lie that man is totally depraved or completely disabled (to do good or choose God): that is false teaching as the Scripture expounded above shows: it is just plain error and heresy.

Instead the bible informs us that synergism and working with God and having His aid, is the means of accessing salvation. Jesus paid for it all already (Colossians 1:19-20).

No one is excluded from the redeeming work of the blood of Jesus.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Colossians 1:19-20

Synergism - working with God - was the universal and orthodox persistent teaching of Christians for up to 400 years until the later teachings of Augustine of Hippo, who is the one who began the original sin9 error and Monergism (Calvinism) which he then introduced in dogma.

The Early Church
Here is what the early church taught before Augustine introduced "original sin" and monergism into the Church. I am quoting Professor George Park Fisher who taught church history, from his book History of Christian Doctrine.

To highlight things separately, I will put my redacted version of Fisher in a quote format, but highlight in added colour pertinent quotes or summaries of individual early church writers.

For the fuller context of this redacted text, here is a link to the online full section of his book (pages 164-165) in the article entitled The Early Church: Original Sin - Fallen nature - Man's part in salvation [click on the words left]

NB. There is no copyright applicable on Fisher's work since the author has been deceased for over 70 years, as per the Copyright Act.

A defining characteristic of the Greek anthropology [the early Church Greek Writers/Fathers] is the uniformity and emphasis with which the freedom of the will, and its continued liberty after the incoming of sin, is asserted [Left is a link to another article with quotes about free will from the early church].

. . . Methodius says that "sin is an act of personal freedom, without which there is neither sin nor virtue, neither reward nor punishment," they express the common conviction of the Greek theologians.

. . . In reference to Roman 5:19, Chrysostom says that a man would not deserve punishment, "if it were not from his own self that he became a sinner." . . .

Cyril of Jerusalem (c.313-386AD) says explicitly, "we come sinless into the world; we sin now voluntarily." Athanasius goes so far as to say that there have been many saints who have been free from all sin. Jeremiah and John the Baptist are mentioned as examples. Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzum, Basil, and Chrysostom pronounce new-born children free from sin. . .

As might be expected, the renewal of the soul is made to be the result of the factors, divine grace and the exertion of man's free-will. As a rule, the exertion of free-will, human efforts in a right direction, precede the divine aid, and render men worthy of it. It is a doctrine of synergism. God and man cooperate. The lack of a distinct and self-consistent separation of that which is natural, and that which is an added supernatural gift, in the soul, leads in some cases to a seeming reduction of the agency of the divine factor in regeneration. This remark applies to Athanasius.

In harmony with the foregoing views as to human freedom and responsibility, conditional predestination is the doctrine inculcated [persistently taught] by the Greek Fathers.

George Park Fisher DD LLD in his work
History of Christian Doctrine (1896 - Pages 164-165)

Finally
Scripture is clear that:

A youth involves a post puberty individual. A youth can have a wife and children. Young Children are not considered as youth since youths can have children.

Man only sins from youth and is considered free from sin or its guilt until they sin personally.
Man turns to his own way by transgressing law which he has learned about.

Every man has a spirit from God enabling a measure of spirit life in them sufficient to perceive the light, light which every man receives and is thus free and able to respond to.

Salvation is God enabling every man from their beginning to respond to His light, such that more is given to him who has, so they go on to full spirit birth and see and come to Christ fully. Someone "who has" is someone enabled enough and willing to work with God, as good is done in God: synergism.

Condemnation is denying the light and choosing to sin. Babies and little children are free from that.

___________________

NOTES
1 The YLT has "age" instead of "youth" and the NIV has "youth and vigour" and no "childhood" - I do not base the statement of difference between children and youth on this Ecclesiastes text, but the following ones. But, as an introductory text it does set the scene illustratively well, and is especially valuable for KJV users as the rendering there is the same as the NKJV (the main version used here throughout).
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2The context and flow of description from the writer involves observations in his lifetime, with the phrases "I have found", "I have found", "I have not found" and "I have found". A suggestion Ecclesiastes 7:29 refers only to Adam would thereby be a reading into the text (eisegesis).
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3Isaiah 53:6 is thereby informing us that Adam's sin is not passed on to his sons by virtue of birth. This means that Ezekiel 18's reference to parents and children seen differently before God, according to their own sin, is also applicable to all of Adam's progeny in contrast to Adam, "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; the soul who sins shall die . . . 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 18:4 and 18:20). . Romans 5:12 confirms this too "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned-" The clause "because all sinned" is the means by which this death spreads to all men. Not forgetting that the death in view here is the same death as in Ephesians 2:1, as both Ephesians 2 and Romans 5 are dealing with the same themes of salvation through Christ and the death in view is spiritual - separation from God - nothing more "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins," (Ephesians 2:1): also being mindful that this Ephesians verse means that it is whilst "in" sins and trespasses that this death is valid. The normal translation of the Greek word EN giving "in" is not found in Ephesians 2:1 (it is in the next verse). Here in Verse 1 the Greek words in the Dative "The sins" and "the trespasses" shows the means by which "dead" comes about/applies. This is called the instrumental use of the Dative. The rendering thereby of "dead in trespasses and sins" is not invalid so long as it is read *whilst* in trespasses and sins.
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4For an explanation of where any part of Romans 9 fits in, I recommend my article ROMANS 9 (R9) SIMPLY EXPLAINED.
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5For just as we all begin to sin in our youth, all are mentioned as having sinned from then, "For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." (Ecclesiastes 7:20), but there is a reason they are called just, they only fall occasionally: it is not the recognised pattern of their life or the "just man" would not be so named. So, we read of all (grown) men as sinning, "If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near" (1 Kings 8:46 KJV).

I do not use "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) to say we are sinners, nor the earlier verses in that chapter to suggest all are sinners like "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10; et al from 3:10-18). This is because Paul clearly limits his meaning of who is mentioned in Romans 3 with these words "Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.": having quoted the Jew's Scripture, their law, in Romans 3:10-18, here in Verse 19 he tells us to whom it applies, to whom it is written "it says to those who are under the law". Paul's purpose in those quotes in Romans 3:10-18 is only to show that Jews are sinners too. So that in then saying "all have sinned" a few moments later (Verse 23), his reference is to both Gentiles and Jews as sinners; neither fail to fall short of the glory of God. In context Paul is just saying "both have sinned"; nothing more. See also Note 9
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6See also my article THE UNSEEN SPIRIT LIFE IN MAN
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7The Greek word for "of" in every one of the four occasions in this verse is EK. EK means "out of" or "from" and it is out of God that the spirit is birthed, the surrounding Spirit, just as the man's body is birthed out of the waters in the mother's womb: for that is the parallel illustration Jesus gives us in John 3 "one is born of [EK = out of] water and the Spirit" (John 3:5) and "That which is born of [EK = out of] the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of [EK = out of] the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).
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8"believing in His name" is not talking about believing in Jesus by name, nor the gospel of Christians, but a more basic truth about God: His character cf. Romans 1:20 "His invisible attributes are clearly seen". See my article BELIEVE IN THE NAME
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9In mentioning "original sin" and due to the context above, I thought to include here a note about two passages used as its support which I have not covered so far: In Psalm 51:5 David writes "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." I address this passage in a short YouTube video (3:04 mins) entitled Quick Answers to Calvinists Psalm 51:5 - In short the verse mentions David's mother's sin and not his own as a baby. The other passage which is also suggested to mention total depravity due to "original sin" is Genesis 6:5 "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Not only does this refer to grown men, but "great" is not total and indeed excludes all those who found favour with God like Noah clearly also mentioned in the context "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8), thus Verse 5 is not encompassing all men, but only the wicked among them, even if abundant: it is no foundation for a doctrine of total encompassing disability of *all* men.
       Another proof text I've seen asserted is "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9), but like the Genesis 6 passage in the previous paragraph, the context mentions "the man who trusts in the LORD" (Verse 7) and Verse 10 mentions God testing the heart to see which type it is of those 2 kinds. Again since not all men are included in the mention in Verse 9, due its context, it is no foundation for a doctrine of total depravity.
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Ref. M.047

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from
The New King James Version

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979, 1980, 1982
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Marked YLT is the Young's Literal Translation
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NIV is from The Holy Bible, New International Version

Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, formerly International Bible Society
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© copyright Jacques More 2020. All Rights Reserved.



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