The Originality of Original Sin – Who Designed Sin?

Please Note: Upon reading this, you will be able to understand that I am not a Biblical scholar, just a guy with the Bible, the internet, and some theological questions.

‘Original Sin’ relates to sin and humanity as a result of the fall of men. According to Millard Erickson, author of ‘Introducing Christian Doctrine‘ (the source of definitions, terms, and theories I use within this post), original sin is defined as “the sinful state into which every human being is born due to the fall; it is the source of sins without taking away our culpability.” There are two results of original sin: original guilt and original pollution (or total depravity/total inability). Original guilt is “the obligation to render satisfaction to God’s justice for Adam’s sin.” While original pollution is “thorough pollution of all aspects”. Original sin asks the question of “why death?” This is evident within the passage of Romans 5:12-21.

There are typically three theories of original sin. In regard to the following theories, I do not have a full understanding of them, so I will do my best to explain them in a mere sentence.  The first theory is called “Pelagianism”. Pelagianism states that there is no ontological effect because of the fall; Adam is merely a bad example. The second theory is called ‘Arminianism’. Arminianism states that we begin life without righteousness and that our inability is physical and intellectual but not volitional; however, the prevenient grace (the belief that divine grace precedes human decision) neutralizes the corruption received by Adam. The thirds theory is called Calvinism. In Calvinism, we have original guilt because of Adam’s sin; prevenient grace does not neutralize the corruption received by Adam.

Original sin’s design is beyond me. Whenever this topic comes about, the question “where did sin originate from?” seems to pop up. I have friends who believe God created sin, while I have other friends who believes God did not create it. Honestly, I do not know the answer.

This question gets me thinking. I could see belief in both cases. If He created sin by choice, I think He would have intended it to be used as a measuring stick. Also, He could have created it without a choice, as merely a by-product of the creation of man (but this could lead to questioning God’s omnipotence). Through the theology that ‘God created sin’, one could ask this question to opposing views: “before there was sin, who could withhold the power to create anything sinful besides God, if sin did not even exist?” While on the other side, one could ask this question “if God created sin, is that not sinning? It is impossible for God to sin so he must not have created it.” Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” This verse helps the argument that sin is a by-product of men, although it does not state who created it.

For myself personally, without knowing anything for certain, I want to keep an open-mind in regard to this subject. I think that we do not have enough information as humans to understand sin. Without knowing events before the creation of the world, or the specific details of what will happen in the future, I believe our knowledge is limited and we cannot know for certain.

There are a variety of theological debates nowadays, many of which I have no answer to, but I know it is of most importance to not rule out what is written in Scripture. It is known that God hates sin, but I believe he allows it for the good of His will. I know that I trust in Him, and that He is in control. So, for me, it does not matter where sin originates from, I know it won’t last forever.