The prevailing problem with the SBC “traditionalist” view of original sin (which I contend is based off of Arminianism, which I also believe is rooted in semi-pelagianism), is the hypothetical “island child” example.  If as they put forward, humanity is born with the inclination to sin, but are not responsible for the guilt of Adam (that is to say a human is without sin until they commit the first sin), then what happens to a child who grows up out of society free from the taint of sin as introduced by others?  Is it possible for that child to live a sinless life?  Based on the reasoning that these “traditionalists” come up with, their answer has to be yes.  Yet this is clearly denied in scripture.

 

In Romans 5:12-21, I find it very hard to come to any other conclusion that we bear the guilt of Adam.  Specifically see vs16-17 “And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose rom many transgression resulting in justification.  For if by the transgression of the one, death reined through the one, much more those who received the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in the life through the One, Jesus Christ.”

 

Notice how condemnation comes to humanity through the one (that is to say the first) transgression of Adam.  Everyone is condemned for the action of Adam.  How is this not inherited guilt?  These two verses do not, and cannot allow for a interpretation that simply calls for “inclination to sin”.  We clearly are guilt before God not only for our own sins, but also for the sins of Adam.  It is in our DNA so to speak.
Paul continues on into vs 19, “For through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”  It cannot be clearer than this.  We are made sinners by the disobedience of one man that is Adam.  We are not made with the inclination to sin; we are “made sinners”.  We all were sinners from the moment of our conception.

 

I wager that a major reason why many Baptists so oppose this clear teaching, is that it makes them deal with hard questions regarding baptism, and specifically the salvation status of infants.  It is much easier to say “we are not sinners until a certain age”, as they would reach with the idea of  “inclination to sin”, rather than have to deal with the idea that we inherit our guilt from not only our sins, but from Adam as well.  I have found that many Baptists support “believers baptism” because they are Baptists, and cannot articulate any real substantive support for their position beyond that “tradition” that they hold as they were born into the Baptist faith.

 

I have long struggled with the ramifications of inherited guilt and the concept of baptism for infants.  If baptism is exclusively a symbolism of the washing of sins, then infant baptism is a logical result.  If baptism is exclusively a symbolism of our death burial and resurrection, then believer’s immersion is the logical result.  My problem is I interpret scripture as supporting both.

 

Regardless, I once again declare that I find it quite hard to understand how anyone can come to any other conclusion than inherited guilt from Adam.  Can anyone help shed light on this subject?

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