The answer to the question of original sin, etc., is found in John 3:3-6. The question, really, is not that of original sin, but, what does it actually mean to be born again! It is assumed by many that the issue is original sin. Yet, the understanding of this must begin with the more direct question, what is the meaning of the New Birth in Christianity.
John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
When I was growing up, I can remember the time when I was first introduced to sin, that is, rebelliousness. I remember where I was, and where I lived (we moved around a lot in my childhood.) I remember the feeling, for the first time in my life, of doing something wrong. My first sin was a wilful act of deception. If there were others before this, I was unaware, and of course it is not imputed, as the scripture says in Romans 5:13.
Sin is the willful act of disobedience. It is not something inherited, it is a choice we make, to reject God. Sin is a rejection of God, every single time. Every time we choose to sin, we choose to deny the Lord in our lives. Sin in our lives is serious enough, that it will keep us from ever entering the Kingdom of Heaven. Sin is the wilful act of rejecting God.
My willingness to do it actually opened up a whole new world to me that I was not aware of, nor apart of, before that moment. I was unaware that there was such a thing as sin, until it was literally born in me. And I chose to sin, to give in. I can remember the horrible feeling, as if I lost something. What I lost was my innocence. Not everyone remembers this moment. I’ve met many who choose rebellion long before I did. I was around 6. I’ve known of children who became so nasty as little children, well before puberty, that they actually became demon possessed. Little kids, with demons. I’ve known little kids who became mute, because of being sexually abused by adults. When age 4 they could talk, at 6 and beyond, they were mute. They didn’t start out as wicked, they were born again into it, from a state of innocence, being born only of water, as the scripture says.
You see young teenagers experimenting with sex, and drugs, and theology, philosophy, and become introduced to a world they didn’t even know existed. Suddenly a whole new world comes into view, and many choose to go full tilt into this new world they have discovered. It is what it means to be in the flesh (the carnal flesh) as opposed to being in the Spirit. They enter into the world of their own flesh, being of age to choose between the Life of the Spirit, and the life of the flesh. Thank God the Bible says that if we, “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Why? because a child will have many choices in his/her life. Many worlds will open up to him. Many temptations to lure him. He comes into this world innocent/neutral, and its up to each one of us to choose whom we will serve.
The human being is born into this world as a neutral being, innocent, sinless. He is neither born of the Spirit, nor is he born of “flesh” in the sense of a carnal mind. Being born into this body of flesh and blood is one thing, having a carnal “fleshly” mind is another thing. We do not choose to be born in this body of flesh, but we do choose to give in to the mind of the carnal flesh, which is spiritual death and enmity against God. Jesus came in a physical body of flesh and blood, yet, He knew no sin. He was not of carnal minded flesh that served His body of flesh, but He was Spiritually minded in holiness unto God, that served that which was in Him, the Image of God. Jesus told Nicodemus in verse 5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Unless a man is first born as a baby (water), and the Spirit!
But what happens to all of mankind? Verse 6 tells us, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” When we are born, all that we actually know, or are even capable of knowing, being created in a neutral condition (free will), what is most natural to us is choosing our selves/flesh, to please/obey. We come into this world in a body of flesh, not a body of spirit. God says it is innate in man, that he will always choose himself, because its all he knows. This is one important reason why we see the Lamb slain from the foundations of the world. God said to Noah in Genesis 8:21, “for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. Evil in the sense that it is natural for a body of flesh to choose to serve the only thing it knows. God knew what was in man from the beginning (his knowledge of flesh only). He gave man a free will. And He Himself would make the difference in His creation.
Adam was created in the Image of God, in that he was brought into being, not as a baby, innocent, without reason, but as a man, fully capable, not dependant on a mother feeding him, or parents sheltering him, teaching him, etc. Adam and Eve were the only human beings that ever existed who were made without coming into this world as babies (albeit Adam and Eve were neutral in the same sense, that they also were required to choose you this day whom you will serve” Joshua 24:15) All of us who have come after Adam and Eve, came into the world born as babies, from our mothers womb. Where Adam did not have the process of growing into accountabilty, he was still held accountable for his actions. Adam himself proves our point, that flesh itself cannot please God. Walking continually in the Spirit was as much required by Adam as it is for us all. We all who have followed, grow from birth, innocent, unto maturity of mind and body. Adam began as a man created in perfect innocence, and yet chose to serve his body of flesh. Adam’s spiritual life was as dependant on his own choices as ours are today. There is no difference between us and Adam and Eve, it is still all about our choices we make.
There is something required of all of us that was not known by Adam and Eve, nor of Angels in heaven. We are all required to begin life as babies, required to learn, and choose from our free will, whom we will serve. From babies, we learn about the flesh, and only the flesh. We are not adults when born, there is no understanding of what is Spirit, right or wrong, good and evil. There is no understanding of God. We are not born in a Garden of Eden, where we can walk with God in the cool of the day. We are babies, neutral, needing to be taught, guided, instructed in the way we should go. And we need this instruction because we have a choice, a free will. As little new born babies, desiring the milk from our mothers, the writer of Hebrews says to us, in this same way, as new born babies, desire the sincere milk of the word. Why is it presented to us in this way? Because this way of growing is enough to cause us to come to the realization of the truth. Because we grow, we can therefore know that God’s intent for us all is to be matured into the Image of His Son. Because of the fact that we grow, and change, from glory to glory in Christ Jesus, we can see the beauty of the Gosple, and the truth of our being. We see the Mercy of Grace in abundance flowing from the Throne of God, unto all who seek Him with the whole heart. His intent for all is to choose Him above all. Jesus said that we should deny ourselves, and take up our own cross, and follow Him.
In giving man a free will, God had to make man neutral, to choose between himself, and the Spirit of God to dwell within him. In choosing himself, Man is actually born, in a sense, not from water, but his flesh. He is spiritually born from innocent neutrality, unto a life of flesh (serving the body of flesh rather than serving the Spirit of God). Man is either born into the life of the flesh, from his neutral birth, or born unto the Spirit, and life in God. It is his own choice.
Jesus tells Nicodemus this in John 3: 5 and 6.
The problem is not in the understanding of whether one is born with a sin nature, not at all. The problem is understanding what it means to be born again in the first place! What is born of the flesh is flesh (spiritual death), by choice! What is born of the Spirit is spirit, by choice! This is what Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus. Something Jesus expressed as what this leader of Israel should have known all a long! But tradition got in the way!
This is a very quickly written explanation of something of vital importance in understanding, not the nature of mans original sin, but of what it means to be born again! It is about man himself, created in the Image of God, yet neutral, innocent. Man is designed to make a choice, and God says that all of man chooses himself. All men choose to serve himself, just as soon as he is aware of himself. “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”.Jesus being the only exception! Jesus says, “Ye must be born again!”
Some will wonder why God would do it in such a way? His purpose is simply this. He created all that is, and He wanted all that is to know for a certain, as wonderfully made as we all are, including angels, that we cannot have this Life, we cannot even exist, we cannot know happiness, fulfilment, joy, meaning, anything at all, without Him. He made us in such a way that His purposes are made manifest in us. We cannot exist separate from our Creator. Once we choose Him, once this created lump of dust, from our own will, choose to deny ourselves and turn to Him, and love Him, we enter into a whole new world of Life in Him. As Jesus exemplifies in His Word, we are born again in the Spirit! Eternally! Not just of water, being born as babies, but of water and the Spirit! And the body of flesh, that leads to death, is crucified with Christ. Amen!