Original Sin Not Biblical but from 2 Esdras 3 or Pseudographical


Source: Turpin, S. (2016, July 25). "Original Sin: How Original Is It? Romans 5:12." Downloaded on the 29th of December 2018 from




Clearest evidence for Original Sin not in Bible but in 2 Esdras 3:21-22 and 26

Citation from Turpin 2016

"Although the term original sin may have been employed by Augustine to refer to our collective human guilt and corruption, this does not mean that it was invented by him. There is an outline of the teaching of original sin in the Patristic theology of Irenaeus (AD 130–202), Basil (AD 329–379) and Ambrose (AD 340–397).9 Moreover, the Jewish people of the second temple period (530 BC–70 AD) “shared the view that

human sin [was] derived from Adam (IV Ezra 3.7; Sifre Deut. 3:23).”10 Possibly the clearest text that refers to original sin resulting from Adam is found in 2 Esdras 3:21–22, 26.11."

Van Wyk Notes: This is a big problem that the clearest evidence for Original Sin is outside the Word of God and not inside it. Esdras is not Bible but pseudepigrapha.


φ πντες μαρτονa difficult technical reading

Citation from Turpin 2016

"It must be recognized that these words “because all sinned” (φ πντες μαρτον, eph’ ho pantes hemarton) are “fiercely contested and difficult to understand.”14 This does not mean, however, they are impossible to understand. If we will allow Paul’s theology to stand as a whole, we will see how they function in his argument in this passage."


Van Wyk Notes: This technical term is the key why the original sin doctrine sinks. It is not “because” but a more literal rendering: “upon which”.


Alexander explains the errorful translation of Augustine et al

Citation from Turpin 2016

"Like Giberson,15 theistic evolutionist Dr. Denis Alexander believes Romans 5:12 does not speak of sin as being inherited from Adam but rather coming through our own individual acts of sin. He argues:

The error arose from a mistranslation of the Greek construction eph’ ho (i) (φ ) as ‘in whom’ rather than its correct meaning in this context of ‘because.’ So Augustine read the last phrase to mean that sin was transmitted from Adam to ‘all men,’ whereas Paul’s meaning is quite different, as NIV has it. . . . So Paul is saying here that spiritual death spread to all people on account of their own sinning. Once Romans 5:12 is correctly translated it does then bring its teaching into line with the rest of Scripture, which is insistent that each person is responsible for his or her own sin. It is not guilt that is inherited from Adam but a propensity to sin, so that as a matter of fact everyone does in a sense repeat the sin of Adam.16

As Alexander argues, the translation of Romans 5:12 as “because all sinned” seems to indicate that individuals are subject to death because of their own personal sin. Whereas, the translation “in whom all sinned” would mean that people are subject to death not because of their individual sin but because of Adam’s. While Augustine may have been in error over the translation of the Greek in Romans 5:12, the theological point he brought out is correct, as the text goes on to explain."

Van Wyk Notes: Alexander is correct in the mistranslation by the text that Augustine used for both the Old Latin and Jerome in the Vulgate translated (or borrowed: [Vulgate (389 A.D.) from Old Latin (190 A.D.)]) the Greek of Romans wrongly. See EGW Note earlier.


Primary cause and secondary cause of Schreiner

Citation from Turpin 2016

"Yet it is not necessary to view Romans 5:12 as either teaching that our sin is the result of Adam’s disobedience or that it is because of our own individual sin. It should be recognized that the text indicates that there is a primary and a secondary cause, as Schreiner acknowledges:

Paul does not deny in this text that the sin of individuals lead[s] to death. What he affirms . . . is that individuals come into the world condemned and spiritually dead because of Adam’s sin. The latter part of 5:12 must not be separated from the first part of the verse. Sin and death entered into the world through Adam, and hence people sin and die both because of Adam’s sin and their own sin, though the sin of Adam is fundamental and foundational.17

Therefore, the primary cause would be Adam’s disobedience, when death entered the world, and the secondary cause is the sin of individuals who through their own disobedience bring death upon themselves.18"

Van Wyk Notes: Adam provided death as a reality and sin as a potential agenda for all to decide to embark on. All do.


Counterargument by Turpin 2016:

Citation from Turpin 2016

"All through Romans 5:12–21 Paul speaks of the sin of one man (verses 15–19) and not individuals as the cause of the problem." "Therefore “Paul is insisting that people were really ‘made’ sinners through Adam’s act of disobedience.”20"


Piper's individual responsibility argument

Citation from Turpin 2016

"John Piper argues that if we read, “Through Adam sin and death entered the world, and death spread to everybody because all sinned individually,” then the comparison with the work of Jesus . . . would probably be, “So also, through Jesus Christ, righteousness and life entered the world, and life spread to all because all individually did acts of righteousness.27"

Van Wyk Notes: Piper cannot be correct since babies have no sin and yet they die also.


Counter Piper argument by Turpin:

Citation from Turpin 2016

"Our justification then would not come through the imputed righteousness of Christ’s righteousness to us but through our doing individual acts of righteousness with Christ’s help.28 We would not want to find ourselves in this situation because Scripture makes it abundantly clear we cannot save ourselves apart from divine grace (Ephesians 2:8–9)."


Footnotes of Turpin 2016

Original sin is also referred to as inherited sin.

Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2011), 426.

This idea of human goodness is of course contrary to the teaching of Scripture (cf. Romans 3:9–19).

Giberson describes himself as being outside evangelicalism: “Leading fundamentalist gatekeeper Al Mohler was right to describe me as ‘far outside of the evangelical mainstream.’ I don’t think I am even in the stream any longer” (Karl Giberson, Saving the Original Sinner:

How Christians Have Used the Bible’s First Man to Oppress, Inspire, and Make Sense of the World [Boston: Beacon Press, 2015], 170–171).

As far as Giberson is concerned, we are “evolved creatures, shaped by natural selection” (ibid., 178).

Ibid., 176.

Ibid., 176–177.

Ibid., 29. Other theistic evolutionists also accuse Augustine of this: See Denis Lamoureux, “No Historical Adam; Evolutionary Creation View,” in Four Views on the Historical Adam (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 58.

See Peter Sanlon, “Original Sin in Patristic Theology,” in Adam, The Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014), 85–107.

Brevard Childs, Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993), 579.

“For the first Adam, burdened with an evil heart, transgressed and was overcome, as were also all who were descended from him. Thus the disease became permanent; the law was in the hearts of the people along with the evil root; but what was good departed, and the evil remained . . . in everything doing just as Adam and all his descendants had done, for they also had the evil heart.” (2 Esdras 3:21–22, 26 NRSV).

“Δι τοτο σπερ δι νς νθρπου μαρτα ες τν κσμον εσλθεν κα δι τς μαρτας θνατος, κα οτως ες πντας νθρπους θνατος διλθεν, φ πντες μαρτον” (Romans 5:12, Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Revised Edition).

In the context of Genesis 3, this is both spiritual (verse 8, i.e., separation and estrangement from God) and physical death (verse 19).

Thomas Schreiner, “Original Sin and Original Death: Romans 5:12–19,” in Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin (eds. Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves; Grand Rapids: Baker Academics, 2014), 273.

Giberson states, “Augustine notes that Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that ‘sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all, in whom all have sinned.‘ Original sin made sense of this passage. Most scholars agree with Augustine’s fourth –century critics, however, that this passage should have been translated, as the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) does today: ‘Death spread to all because all have sinned.’ Much turns on this difference” (Giberson, Saving the Original Sinner, 60).

Denis Alexander, Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? (2d ed. revised, Monarch Books: Oxford, UK, 2014), 343–344.

Schreiner, Original Sin and Original Death, 280. For an exegesis and defense for Romans 5:12–19 teaching the doctrine of original sin, see Thomas Schreiner’s chapter “Original Sin and Original Death: Romans 5:12–19,” in Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin (eds. Hans Madueme and Michael Reeves; Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academics, 2014).

This is also recognised by Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter To The Romans: The Pillar New Testament Commentary (W. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2012), 240–242.

The Greek verb translated as “made” (καθστημι, kathistemi) in the New Testament does not mean to change the character of something but to “bring, conduct” (Acts 17:15), “appoint” (Titus 1:5), or “make” or “constitute” (James 3:6; 4:4; 2 Peter 1:8) someone in a particular way.

Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans: NICNT (W. B. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996), 345.

Horton, The Christian Faith, 426.

This is Giberson’s view of Adam: “The story of Adam is thus the story of Everyman” (Giberson, Saving the Original Sinner, 170; see also pages 30 and 50).

Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter To The Corinthians: The Pillar New Testament Commentary (W. B. Eerdmans, Publishing Company: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2010), 763.

Giberson, Saving the Original Sinner, 25.

The idea of federal headship is seen throughout the Old Testament, for example, when David fights Goliath; both men represent each nation (1 Samuel 17).

James M. Boice, Romans, vol. 2. The Reign of Grace. (Romans 5–8) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1992), 583.

John Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ (InterVarsity Press: Leicester, England), 92.

See Piper, Counted Righteous in Christ, 93.

Denis Alexander recognizes that the doctrine of “original sin” is incompatible with evolution. In an article in an English newspaper, The Guardian, concerning the doctrine of “original sin” he states: “There is clear incompatibility with evolution, in which anatomically modern humans first start appearing in Africa about 200,000 years ago through a process involving countless deaths over thousands of generations.” Alexander also states in the article that “nowhere does the Bible teach that physical death originates with the sin of Adam, nor that sin is inherited from Adam.” Denis Alexander, “Evolution, Christmas and the Atonement: We are not descended from Adam and Eve—but still, Jesus was born to save us,” The Guardian, December 23, 2011,


New Testament scholar Douglas Moo rightly recognizes that “Paul frequently uses ‘death’ and related words to designate a ‘physical-spiritual entity’—‘total death,’ the penalty incurred for sin.” Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, 320. See also: Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, 242–244.

The Greek word theodicy is made up of the two words theos (God) and dike (justice), and has to do with the justification of God’s goodness in the face of evil.