by Alfred T. Overstreet
The devil, who was originally one of the holy angels, was tempted and fell from his original perfection, without a sinful nature to make him sin. A third of the holy angels were tempted and fell from their original perfection, without a sinful nature to make them sin. Holy Adam and Eve were tempted and fell from their original perfection, without a sinful nature to make them sin. How absurd is the idea, then, that the universal sinfulness of Adam's descendants can only be explained by a sinful nature inherited from Adam.
The Bible teaches that temptation is the occasion to all sin. Paul tells us that temptation is common to all men. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man..." I Cor. 10:13. James tells us that temptation is the occasion to sin. "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin, and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." James 1:14, 15. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that our Lord was "tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Heb. 4:15. The following are only a few of the Scripture references which speak of the universality of temptation, of the fact that temptation is the occasion to sin, and of the agency of the devil in tempting men: James 1:14-15; I Cor. 10:13; Heb. 4:15; Luke 4:2-13; Matt. 26:41; Matt. 6:13; I Peter 1:6; II Peter 2:9; I Thess. 3:5; Luke 8:12; Matt. 13:38-39; John 3:8; Rev. 12:9; II Tim. 2:26; Eph. 4:27; Eph. 6:11; James 4:7; I Peter 5:8-9.
If the doctrine of original sin is true, the devil is in complete ignorance of it. Or if he is not ignorant of it, he is dumb enough to go to the trouble of tempting men for nothing. Would the devil tempt men if he knew that they had a sinful nature which would make them sin without being tempted? How foolish and ignorant the devil must be. If the doctrine of original sin is true, then Jesus and the inspired writers lived in complete ignorance of it, as well. Jesus exhorted his followers to watch and pray that they not enter into temptation, and he taught them to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Matt. 26:41, Matt. 6:12. His Apostles, in their writings, exhorted the believers to be on their guard against the snares of the devil, lest they be tempted and fall into sin. I Peter 5:8-9, Eph. 6:11-12. These would have been useless exhortations if all Christians have a sinful nature which makes them sin without being tempted. In fact, if the doctrine of original sin is true, Jesus and the inspired writers lived under a complete cloud of ignorance. Instead of ascribing the sins of mankind to a physical connection with Adam, they ascribed them to a moral connection with the tempter--the devil. They spoke of sinners as being children of the devil and as being of their father the devil (I John 3:8-10, John 8:44, Acts 13:10). They spoke of the sins of mankind as being the work of the devil and of sinners becoming sinners by the agency of the devil. Matt. 13:38-39. They spoke of Christ as coming to destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8. Finally, they spoke of the sinner as being a captive of the devil, who needed to recover himself out of the devil's snare. II Tim. 2:26. It is hard to understand how they could have been so far off the track if the doctrine of original sin were true.
The Bible teaches nothing about an inherited sinful nature from Adam. It teaches only that all men are tempted and that they sin when they yield to their own desires rather than obey the law of God and reason.
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