Many people complain about “original sin” on the basis of it unfairness. After all, how can a person be judged and/or held responsible for the sin of Adam–something that they personally never did? For many people in the 21st century, the concept of “original sin” conjures up images of the “Dark Ages” and is an assault on reason and fairness.
Here’s why it’s important for Christians to believe in the doctrine of original sin:
1) The doctrine of original sin is the best explanation for the presence of human evil. Without original sin what could possibly explain the pervasive reality of evil in every different culture and era. Think about it! G. K. Chesterton once said, “Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.” Even non-Christian Darwinist Michael Ruse thinks so: “I think Christianity is spot on about original sin—how could one think otherwise, when the world’s most civilized and advanced people (the people of Beethoven, Goethe, Kant) embraced that slime-ball Hitler and participated in the Holocaust? I think Saint Paul and the great Christian philosophers had real insights into sin and freedom and responsibility, and I want to build on this rather than turn from it.”
2) The doctrine of original sin serves as the basis for important Christian doctrines. For example, why is Jesus described as the “last Adam” if there were no “first Adam” who actually was a man who sinned? Why does Scripture portray all of humanity as sinful and deserving punishment? Remember, if humanity is universally flawed with the presence of sin—it justifies God’s judgment, demonstrates God’s patience, and magnifies the significance of Christ’s sacrifice.
3) The transmission of a fallen sin nature is consistent with how we inherent other aspects of our human nature. For example, people clearly inherent genetic dispositions, personality and physical characteristics. Wouldn’t it follow that people would also inherent a fallen sinful nature if it appears that all of humanity is painted with the same basic moral failure. Theologian Millard Erickson hitsit, “We receive our souls by transmission from our parents, just as we do our physical natures.
4) Finally, the doctrine of original sin (what we inherited from the original Adam) is clearly taught through the Bible. Romans 5:12 says “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.” Romans 5:18 states, “one trespass led to condemnation for all men”. Even David the Psalmist in Psalm 51:5 writes, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me”.