Tag Archives: In Christ

Objections to Original Sin – Innocent Babies and That’s Not Fair


In the last few posts, we’ve continued working through a series on 1 Corinthians 15, which I find to be one of the more challenging chapters in Scripture, and have arrived at the passages on the Doctrine of Original Sin.  We’ve since turned our attention towards common objections of this foundational teaching from Scripture, beginning first with the Objection of Eve. Here we’ll explore two more objections that are frequently brought up, What about innocent babies and That’s Not Fair.

Objection #2 – Doesn’t this concept of original sin condemn all mankind, even “innocent” babies?

Answer – The doctrine of original sin does condemn all mankind, even babies.  Scripture knows no such thing as the doctrine of accountability, which loosely states that children reach an “age of accountability” around 12-13 years of age (which similarly is the age for the Jewish Bar mitzvah).  Additionally, Scripture knows nothing of a state of innocence  based on age.

If this teaching were true, and if original sin was not inherited even by babies, then there wouldn’t be any death among those under a certain age.  In other words, the Scriptural teaching “in Adam all die” would be wrong, and it’s not.  Death touches us all, even those in the womb, and it is the direct product of original sin upon the world in which we live.  The wages of sin is death and we must all pay, regardless of age.

As a side note, the effects of original sin, namely guilt and pollution, applied to “innocent babies” does not necessarily mean that should infants or young children die that they are automatically condemned to hell.  We must allow room in our thinking for the truth that the Judge of all the earth will do what’s right.  Admittedly, this is a difficult subject deserving of its own post, but in the meantime, I would lean towards agreeing with Charles Spurgeon’s understanding of infants who die, which you can read for yourself here: Infant Salvation

Objection 3 – Isn’t it unfair that God would punish us as a result of another person’s sin?

Answer – This is perhaps the strongest emotional argument against the doctrine of original sin, particularly in light of objection 2.  However, calling God’s own character, namely His holy justice, into question is a wrong starting point.  We must be like Job and place our hands over our mouths and confess that not a day has gone by that we have not sinned on our own.

If the argument of fairness is allowed to stand, then it must also be allowed that it is unfair for Christ to have the sin of those who would believe imputed to Himself and likewise suffer the punishment that they deserved.  Additionally, it would be “unfair” that Christ’s righteousness should be imputed to all those “in Him” who did nothing to earn that.  This objection of equity cannot consistently stand, despite its emotion appeal.

The “That’s not fair” card was played repeatedly in the Old Testament, particularly in Ezekiel 18 which we will look at next time. Instead of stomping our feet and screaming that’s not fair, ought we not to be petitioning the Lord for Mercy.  Assuredly we do not want fairness.  Thankfully, both justice and mercy kiss at the cross of Jesus Christ.

In Christ

Lloyd_Jones“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Corinthians” 15:22

“Paul draws a contrast between the union of the unbeliever with Adam and the union of the believer with Christ.  This is the great argument in Romans 5, which is repeated in 1 Corinthians 15:22, 49.  In Romans 5 the whole argument is that death passed on to all people because of Adam.  Why?  Because of their relationship to Adam; that is the whole doctrine of original sin.  We are all condemned in Adam because of Adam’s sin.  He was our representative, he was our federal head; and not only that, we are bound to him, we were in the loins of Adam when he fell.  In Adam all died.  In Christ all shall be made alive again.  That is it.  The relationship of the believer to Christ is the same sort of union and relationship as that old relationship of the whole of Adam’s posterity to Adam.  We are all born in Adam, and we are related, we are joined in that way.  Yes, but being born again, we are in the same sort of relationship to Christ.

Regeneration and union must never be separated.  You cannot be born again without being in Christ; you are born again because you are in Christ.  The moment you are in Him you are born again, and you cannot regard your regeneration as something separate and think that union is something you will eventually arrive at.  Not at all!  Regeneration and union must always be considered together and at the same time because the one depends on the other and leads to the other; they are mutually self-supporting.

There is nothing that so strengthens my faith and fills me with a longing to be pure as He is pure and to live even as He did in this world as the realization of what I am and who I am because I am a Christian.  I am a child of God, and I am in Christ.”[1]

[1]D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Walking with God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotional Selections. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.  Appeared originally in God the Holy Spirit pp. 104-105.