Is Man Born Sinful?

Brett discusses whether or not humans are born sinful.


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Is man born sinful? The first place we need to go for an answer is to the scriptures. I think the scriptures affirm that man is born sinful. Psalm 51:5, David talks about being born into sin and being conceived in iniquity. Some people say that was referring to his mother’s sin. I don't think so. When you look at the context of Psalm 51, David is talking about his own sin. He talks about being a sinner. He talks about throwing himself on the mercy of God because of his sin. Then, he makes the statement, “I was born into iniquity.” There's a passage that seems to affirm that we are born sinful.

Romans 5 talks about sin coming through Adam and then infecting the rest of us. Through one man, sin is released into the world. Ephesians 2:1-3 is another passage we might look at. It talks about us as sons of disobedience. It talks about us being, by nature, children of wrath. It seems to indicate that, by nature, we are sinful.

It doesn't mean we have a separate sinful nature. I think that the whole concept of a sinful nature is a mistaken notion that was mistranslated in the NIV in Romans. We don’t have a separate sinful nature. We have one nature – a human nature – that's been marred by sin so that we are born sinful. I think there are passages in Scripture that make it clear that we are born sinful. 

Another way to know this is just through observation. For those of us who have kids, right away early on we see our kids tend toward selfishness and tend towards sinfulness. In my home, we didn’t need to teach any of our kids to hit. They never saw us hit. It just rose up within them naturally to hit when they're very young. So, even observation might affirm what Scripture affirms as true – that we are born into sin.

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Brett Kunkle