The doctrine of original sin is a church tradition from the fourth century that says everyone is born guilty FOR ADAM'S SIN and that, without Jesus as Savior, everyone is going to burn in hell forever as punishment, even people who never heard about Adam or Jesus.
This doctrine portrays God as an unjust monster and is driving people from God and the Bible. It's so horrific that few Christians dare talk about it in full and raw form with unbelievers.
Many Christians don't believe that the Bible teaches this doctrine and that it's a contradiction to the basic gospel message of love, justice, and free will. For sixteen hundred years, there has been heated theological argument about it.
This page will help you arrive at a confident personal decision about what to believe regarding original sin.
Nearly everyone in the western world knows about 'the fall.' Literature, music, art, and church tradition over the centuries have been so replete with this narrative and its consequences to humanity that most people never bother about investigating what the Bible says about it if anything.
The Bible clearly teaches that everyone has a sin nature and needs the Savior (Jesus) because of personal sin. But the doctrine of original sin adds to the Bible by saying that everyone is fully guilty at birth for Adam's sin and ruin of God's perfect creation.
This page lays out all relevant Bible verses and issues to help you recognize the differences between the Bible and tradition regarding inherited sin.
This topic is usually a contentious conversation stopper when Christians try to explain it to doubters and unbelievers without good preparation. It's essential to maintain an interesting and intelligent dialog without letting it turn into an argument.
This page equips you to discuss this topic thoroughly and confidently, based on scripture, with people who are troubled by it.
Most Christians give mental assent to the doctrine of original sin because it's what they have been taught, but few have ever studied it for themselves directly from the Bible or prepared themselves to discuss it with others.
This may be a good time to start a personal study.
All the verses quoted on this site are from the New International Version (NIV) version of the Bible.
To facilitate deeper study, you can go to a site that shows how each verse is translated in 29 different English versions of the Bible, displayed in parallel comparisons with each other on a single page.
To go really deep, for the most thorough Bible study method, you can go to a site that shows the Greek-to-English Interlinear translation of the original text. There you will find precise English words for each Greek word-character, together with an explanation of each word-character, plus links to other portions of scripture where that same word-character is used.
A deep study will show objectively what the Bible actually says (or doesn't say) about original sin.
The four words 'and death through sin' are not clear and need to be understood from more than quick surface reading, especially when those four words are the foundation for the doctrine of original sin.
Deeper study is provided by other Bible studies on this site, including:
✦ SIN BEFORE ADAM. There was sin in the world BEFORE Adam ate the forbidden fruit. Satan was already in the Garden telling lies and tempting Adam and Eve, and Eve had already eaten the fruit. (See Topic 1.4)
✦ DEATH BEFORE ADAM. God placed Adam in the Garden 'to work it and take care of it.' That would have been unnecessary unless the birth-aging-death cycle was already operating. (See Topic 1.3.2)
✦ MAN DIDN'T RUIN EVERYTHING. If God is omniscient and omnipotent, it is blasphemous to say that God created a world so flawed that one man could ruin it by causing things to start dying. God knew exactly what would happen, and He intentionally designed life and death into the world. Continuous life and reproduction without death and decay would result in overcrowding and suffocation. (See Topic 1.3.2)
✦ SCIENCE. Bible genealogies say that Adam lived approximately BC 4000 (see Topic 1.3.3). Science, the accumulated knowledge of God's world, has shown beyond doubt that there has been death in the world for considerably more than 6,000 years (see Topic 1.2), and a concocted theory of 'apparent age' cannot change it (see Topic 1.2.3).