Suggesting that a doctrine of inability (the loss of something) is not the best Biblical representation of the result of Adam’s sin upon the human race, I will briefly address the idea of the term “sinful nature” (the addition of something causing behavior).
The Biblical narrative reveals that human beings have a tendency toward selfishness and sin and most often choose to give into that tendency. For this, we are guilty. Unfortunately, the common idea behind the phrase “sinful nature,” moves beyond such a tendency and beyond the Biblical usage of the word “sarx” (commonly translated “flesh”). It is suggested that the possession of a “sinful nature” causes our disobedience, rebellion and sin. The problem we face with both, the doctrine of inability and the concept of a sinful nature, is causation eliminates moral accountability and, too often provides people with an excuse for sinning. Paul is very clear that we are “without excuse” (Ro.1:20). Therefore, any doctrine related to sin that reasonably provides an excuse must be called into question and reevaluated.
If the human race is subject to causation (“sinful nature”) or inability, as a result of Adams sin, we must address two issues. One issue concerns the fact that Adam was capable of sinning without the possession of a “sinful nature” and the other involves making sense of accounts in which people did obey God or are referred to as “righteous” (Ge.6:9, 22).
In upcoming posts, I will consider the Biblical usage of the word “sarx,” and provide an illustration that helps us understand how causation eliminates moral accountability.