What is Original Sin?

Written by Bill Gordon

Someone recently wrote asking, “What is original sin?”


The phrase original sin does not occur in the Bible. It was first used by Augustine, a theologian of the early Christian church. Augustine lived about A.D. 354 to A.D. 430. He defined original sin as “selfish desire.”

John Calvin described original sin as a“hereditary corruption and depravity of our nature, extending to all the parts of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which in Scripture are termed works of the flesh.Charles Ryrie defined original sin as “that sinful state into which all people are born.”


Theologian Wayne Grudem writes that there are two ways in which people are affected by original sin. First, we legally inherit the guilt of Adam. Second, we receive a sinful nature because of Adam’s transgression. All humans are reckoned culpable because of the sin of Adam. Romans 5:12-21 teaches the concept of inherited sin. The Apostle Paul writes that “sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin.”6 According to Grudem, the context reveals that this passage refers to inherited sin and not sins that people actually do…


What is Original Sin? – 4Truth.net

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