More on Original Sin
Last week I talked about the subject of original sin, and how some people think that the sin of Adam, has been passed along to every human being ever born. And it’s pretty easy to take the bible and prove that idea to be false, with just a couple of verses that teach “foundational” bible principles and truths.
And the verse that seems to me to be clearer than any other, is Ezekiel 18, verse 20. And that verse says; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
That pretty much says it all doesn’t it? I mean, what could you add to that? It doesn’t require interpreting. It simply says what it says.
But there’s a verse that I didn’t have time to talk about last week, and so I’d like to talk about that verse today, because even though we here all know the truth about original sin, it would still be good for us to understand this verse as well.
This is a verse that people who believe in original sin always bring up, because they think that it specifically says, that we are born in sin. And if you’re unfortunate enough to be looking at a New International Version of the bible, that’s exactly what the verses does say! But as we’re going to see, an accurate translation, doesn’t say that at all.
The verse is.. Psalm 51, verse 5, and I’ll go ahead and read it from the NIV. (and I’ll tell you in a minute why I’m going to read it from the NIV) This is king David speaking..
“Surely I was sinful at birth; Sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” Now, let me just read to you from the New Living Translation, because this one’s just as bad.. “For I was born a sinner— Yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”
Now, in both of those versions, those words do NOT qualify at all, as a translation. But rather, they are a blatant and deliberate, substitution, of what the bible actually says, for what the so-called “translators” want it to say. They taken two words, and instead of translating them, they have totally changed those words, to suit their own religious belief.
They have taken the word which should be translated “brought forth” and they have changed it to say “born”. And they have taken the word “sin” and changed it once to “sinful”, and then again to “sinner”.
The phrase “brought forth” does not mean “born”, and the word “Sin”, does simply not mean “sinful” nor does it mean “sinner”. It was a blatant and deliberate CHANGE of words, to fit their own beliefs.
David never said that he was “sinful”, at “birth”! Nor did he say that he was a sinner! Nor did he say that he was “born” IN sin! Nor did he say that he was “sinful” at conception! David didn’t say any of those things. But the so called “translators” claim that he did! But they lied! They changed the words of God!
They changed it to say what THEY wanted it to say, not what God has said!
Here’s how the KJV translates that verse.. “Behold, I was SHAPEN in iniquity; And in sin, did my mother conceive me.” Now I don’t care for that old word “shapen”. It really isn’t “wrong”, it’s just not a word that we’re used to using and hearing, and so it’s maybe not the best word to use for our present day understanding.
The New KJV says it better yet though. The New KJV says; “Behold, I was BROUGHT FORTH, in iniquity, And in sin, my mother CONCEIVED me.” And that by the way, is exactly what the New American Standard says also. “Brought forth” and “conceived”. “Brought forth” and “conceived”, they obviously mean the same thing, but neither one means “to be born”. And the fact that David’s mother “conceived him in sin”, as that verse says, doesn’t mean that David was guilty of sin, when he was conceived. The word “sin” doesn’t refer to David. It refers in some way, to the manner in which David was conceived. “In sin, my mother conceived me.”
Now, let me tell you about the use if those two phrases, “brought forth” and “conceived”..
When you say the same thing twice, but with different words, it’s called a “tautology”. If you look up the definition of a tautology, it says; “A tautology is an unnecessary repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words, that effectively say the same thing. It is saying the same thing twice, when you don’t really need to.”
Now, whether or not you NEED to say the same thing twice, is a matter of opinion. But one thing is clear; The bible does it often! God does it often! So then I don’t want to be the judge of whether or not it’s needful. But this verse is just one example, of God using that manner of speaking. I believe that usually when the bible does that, it’s done for emphasis, or to make something even clearer. So there is a reason for it, and probably also a need.
For example; Jesus said in John 3, verse 3; “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And then He said in verse 5; “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Well, He just said the same thing as he had already said, only in different words, no doubt for the sake of clarity. “Unless you’re born again”.. “Unless you’re born of water and the Spirit”. That adds clarity.
The bible says in Psalm 136, verses 1 & 2; “O give thanks unto the LORD; For he is good: For his mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the GOD of gods: For his mercy endureth for ever.” I’d say that was probably repeated for emphasis.
Psalm 29:8 says; “The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; The LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.” More emphasis is given there.
The lord says in Ezekiel 3:5 & 6; “For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech, and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech, and of an hard language, whose words thou can not understand.” Again, that sounds like it was repeated for the sake of emphasis and understanding.
Here’s one from Isaiah 62, verse 10; “Go through, go through the gates; Prepare ye THE WAY OF THE PEOPLE; Cast up, cast up the highway; Gather out the stones; Lift up A STANDARD for the people.” (in other words, “prepare the way”) Maybe emphasis and clarity is what the Lord was going for in that verse. But you can see my point can’t you? And there are dozens of scriptures like that; Where the Lord says something twice, but simply in slightly different words.
Here’s a verse that goes along with all this.. Job 33:14; “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not!” Some people aren’t going to perceive, no matter how many times the Lord says it.
And so God says in Psalm 93, verse 3; “The floods have lifted up, O LORD; The floods have lifted up their voice; The floods lift up their waves.” He says it three times there! Do you think everyone understands it?
And in 1 Corinthians 10:23; “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: All things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify.”
And so those are just some examples, of that same manner of speaking that is used in Psalm 51, verse 5; “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”
But people still read that, and they think that David is saying that HE was in sin. They think that David was in sin, from the moment he was conceived! But that’s not what the scripture says. That verse does not say; “I was sinful when I was brought forth.” And it doesn’t say; “I was in sin when my mother conceived me. It simply doesn’t say those things.
It says; “I was BROUGHT FORTH.. in INIQUITY.” “And in SIN, my MOTHER conceived me.”
Now, just to illustrate what that means, and to make it easier to understand.. (did you notice how I used a tautology there? To “illustrate what it means, and to make it “easier to understand”) It’s done for clarity.
So then to make it easier to understand, let’s use an illustration, as an example; I’m just going to change one of the words of that verse. No, I’m not changing the verse! I’m simply changing a word to illustrate a point.
So let’s get rid of the word “sin”, in that verse, and let’s use the word “happiness” instead. The verse would now read; “I was brought forth in happiness, and in happiness did my mother conceive me.”
So then, what does the word “happiness” refer to? Does happiness refer to David? No, it wasn’t David who was “happy” when he was brought forth. It wasn’t David who was “happy” when his mother conceived him. So then what does happiness refer to? Well, it refers to the manner in which David was brought forth, and the manner in which he was conceived. He was conceived, in “happiness”. He wasn’t conceived in gloom or disparity, but he was conceived in happiness!
Now what if we change that word to “recklessness” “I was brought forth in recklessness, and in recklessness did my mother conceive me.” If that was the case, I’d get the impression that maybe that was an “unplanned” pregnancy! But the point it, it wasn’t David who was reckless when he was conceived. It would be the manner of conception.
And so when king David says that “I was brought forth, in iniquity, and in sin, I was conceived”, it wasn’t David who was a sinner when he was conceived. Sin is simply somehow referring to the manner in which he was conceived.
So then, was anyone in sin, when David was conceived? David wasn’t! But was someone else? Well, the scripture really doesn’t specify that any particular person was in sin. It could simply mean that David was conceived in a sinful world, and among sinners. But the bible doesn’t specify any of that.
But let me read from the beginning of this chapter, so we can get a feel for what IS being said. Psalm 51, beginning with verse 1; “To the chief Musician; A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba;
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” He’s praying for the forgiveness of his sin with Bathsheba.
“Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight; That Thou might be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.”
David is acknowledging, and confessing his sin, so that when God delivers His judgment, it will be known that His words and His judgment is fair and just! God isn’t going to judge someone guilty, for the sins of another. You’re only going to be guilty of your own sins! And therefore David confesses his sins, and acknowledges them.
But now we come to the verse in question, verse 5; “Behold, I was brought forth, in iniquity, And in sin, my mother conceived me!” It wasn’t me that was in sin. But I was brought forth, in sin.
Now verse 6; “Behold, Truth You desire in the inward parts; (in the innermost being) And in the hidden part, Thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” You don’t put sin within us. It’s truth that YOU want, in our innermost being! That’s what YOU put there O Lord.
Now David returns to his prayer for forgiveness..
Beginning in verse 7; “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” There’s some more tautology. And it’s done for emphasis. “Purge me, and I will be clean; Wash me, and I’ll be whiter than snow.”
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; That the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” In other words, “Heal me!
“Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”
“Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise.”
“For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God, are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Do good, in Thy good pleasure unto Zion; Build thou the walls of Jerusalem.” In other words, Have your way Lord, with all of us. First, You Lord, do as You will, and then Let us, do as You will.
“Then shalt Thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness; With burnt whole burnt offering; Then shall they offer bulls upon Thine altar.” First offer your sacrifice of righteousness; Then offer your burnt offerings.
That entire Psalm is a humble prayer for forgiveness. And I hope that going over it like that helps to dispel some of the confusion over verse 5. No one is born in sin. No one is guilty of sin when they’re conceived. God doesn’t desire sin in our innermost parts. God desires truth, and righteousness in our inward spirit. And so that’s exactly how He starts us out. We are all born just as true and righteous as can be.