A Book Review
“Are Men Born Sinners? The Myth of Original Sin” written by Alfred T. Overstreet is, in my humble opinion, a book full of answers as to why the “church” is cold and indifferent toward such simple truths as can be found in history books. Alfred T. Overstreet is thorough in bringing to understanding how and why one of the most problematic false doctrines came about and why and how it has deceived so many for so long.
The author of this book isn’t the only one with this information. I read it because it came up while researching the subject. I suggest that if there is concern for knowing whether or not the truth is being believed and understood, reading “Are Men Born Sinners?” will make a difference, regardless the doctrinal position presently taken. The refusal to investigate this particular doctrine is enough to let it be known that the Sinful Nature teaching is followed only because of history’s peer-pressured denominational teachings promoting it.
The danger of the “Original Sin” doctrine is that it allows the “Christian” to put the blame on his “sinful nature”, which he was (supposedly) born with when he commits sin. After all, as it is taught and believed, he was born with a sinful nature constituted within his being and this nature, the old man, remains throughout his life in this world. Therefore, common sense says that he can only think and do one thing: Lay the blame on God for his condition. One false teaching leads to another: If he gets “saved” then it has to be God who saved him and he didn’t have a thing to do with it (Its called monergism). God forced it on him. If this were the case then his salvation came from God’s JUSTICE and not His GRACE. This teaching wraps a sinful Christian with loving arms of false hope while making sinfulness acceptable as as a way of life by misinterpreting the Bible to prove that his condition is acceptable to God. (See Romans 7:14-25). We need to shake ourselves loose from this lie. If Ezekiel 18:31 was true for Israel it is true for us. Sin will not enter eternal life–sinful “believers” cannot have eternal life.
From the book:
“The Bible teaches that all men originate their own moral depravity. Gen. 6:12, Gen. 8:21, Deut. 32:5, Psalm 14:1-3, Rom. 3:23, Eccl. 7:29. The Bible teaches that men sin and corrupt themselves. In fact, early in mankind’s history upon the earth men had become so corrupt that God sent a flood to destroy them.
“I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth. Gen. 6:7.
“Observe that God was angry with “man whom I have created.” Certainly he was not angry with them because of the nature with which he had created them. No, it was because they had corrupted themselves that God was angry with them.
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth and behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. Gen. 6:11, 12.
“To corrupt means to make morally depraved. It means to pervert what is good and upright. It means to make unclean what was once clean. It means to spoil what was once good and unspoiled. The word corrupt always implies a former state that was unspoiled, clean, good, or upright. It is never used to speak of the original created nature of man. It speaks of what man has become because of spoiling or perverting the nature with which he was created.
“Moral beings have never needed a sinful nature to make them sin. The first sin ever committed was committed by the devil. He did not have a sinful nature to make him sin. Then, a third of the angels fell. They did not have a sinful nature to make them sin. Then both Adam and Eve sinned. They did not have a sinful nature to make them sin. Then, why should it be thought necessary for men to be born with a sinful nature to account for their sins? The Bible does not teach that men must have a sinful nature in order to sin; it teaches that men sin in spite of a good nature:
“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. Eccl. 7:29
“The above Scripture is very clear. God has created men upright, but they have sinned in spite of an upright nature. This truth is taught directly, and by implication, throughout the whole Bible.
“Acts 17:29 says, “We are the offspring of God.” When the Apostle Paul made this statement, he was addressing heathen sinners. We know, therefore, that this verse applies to all mankind, and not just to those who are Christian believers. What, then, does this verse mean?
“1. It means that we are all children of God by creation.
“2. It means that, since we are the offspring of God, we are created in his image and likeness. (Advocates of the doctrine of original sin teach that men are no longer created in God’s image since Adam sinned. This teaching directly contradicts both the Old and New Testament Scriptures. See Gen. 9:6, I Cor. 11:7, James 3:9.)
“3. It means that everything we are and have at birth comes to us from God.
“4. It means that, since God is the Creator, the Father, and the Author of all that we are and have at birth, we cannot be born sinners. God has created us, and he does not create sinners. He created us in his image and likeness, which is not sinful. We are his offspring, and his offspring do not come into this world as sinners.
“5. It also implies and means that every sinner is the author of his own moral depravity. He becomes a sinner after he reaches the “age of accountability,” i.e., after he knows right from wrong and after he “knows to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Isaiah 7:16, Deut. 1:39, Rom. 2:15, Rom. 5:14, Rom. 9:11.
“The following texts also show that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore with a good and upright nature: And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. Gen. 1:26, 27 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. Gen. 9:6
“Man is the image and glory of God. I Cor. 11:7
“Therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.James 3:9
“The statements in the last three texts were made after the death of Adam, so they refute the teaching that men after Adam are not created in the image of God. If we believe that these texts teach that God has created us in his image and if we believe that it is impossible for God to create men with sinful natures, then we must believe that these texts are teaching that God has created man upright and that man has sinned in spite of an upright nature, as it declares in Eccl. 7:29.
“Rev. 22:16 says, “I am the root and the offspring of David.” In this verse Jesus is speaking and says that he is both the Creator and the offspring of David. How foolish it is, then, to maintain that man is born with a sinful nature, for Jesus both created human nature and also partook of human nature when he became a man.
“God has created man upright and without sin. He has created man in his own image and likeness with sensibility, intellect, reason, conscience, and free will. Man has all the
faculties and powers of moral agency. He knows right from wrong. The law of God is written in his heart. He is free and knows himself to be free and able to obey the law of God. His conscience approves his right conduct and condemns his wrong conduct.
“All men, everywhere, have these same moral faculties and powers. A heathen man may be ignorant and primitive, but the law of God is written in his heart. His conscience approves his right conduct and condemns his wrong conduct. He has the same moral consciousness of a standard of right and wrong as any man who knows the Bible:
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another. Rom. 2: 14,15.
“All men, everywhere, know themselves to be free and responsible moral agents. They know they are accountable for their deeds. They know this because the moral nature with which God has created them testifies to them of these truths. Some men deny this and claim that man’s conscience, his knowledge of right and wrong, and his ideas of responsibility and accountability are not really innate revelations of his nature, but are merely learned and changeable convictions, acquired through reading the Bible, through religious instruction, or through the influence of society and environment.
“But in spite of what some men say, the fact remains that all men know intuitively that they are responsible and accountable for their actions. An absolute standard of right and wrong is revealed and apparent to all men. Man’s moral agency and his responsibility and accountability are so apparent that he cannot rationally deny them. He can no more deny them than he can deny his existence. This can be shown from the following:….”
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