Evolution and the Doctrine of Original Sin

By Wayne Jackson

The July/August issue of Archaeology magazine is devoted to the propagation of the theory of evolution. The front cover features an ape face with the accompanying caption: “In Search of Human Origins.”

The article seeks to convey the impression that within the last half-century new fossil evidence has buttressed the notion that humans derive their existence from lower, ape-like creatures. The claim is utterly false. There is not one shred of fossil evidence that “proves” evolution. Every tiny bone fragment discovered is merely interpreted to support evolution because that’s what some scientists want to prove. The “wish” is father to the “evidence.”

Several years ago, William Fix, an evolutionist, produced a book titled, The Bone Peddlers. Therein he detailed various hoaxes and blatant assumptions that are characteristic of modern claims for man’s evolutionary ancestors. One chapter is called, “A Catalogue of Fiascoes.”

It’s not a “red letter day” for evolutionists when one of their own turns the spotlight on this dishonest ideology that constantly manipulates the evidence for its own anti-God agenda.

In the July 5 edition of The Christian News, a paper published by the Lutherans, the article promoting evolution which appeared in Archaeolgy, was strongly attacked. We commend our Lutheran friends for that. In connection therewith, however, editor, Herman Otten, not only affirms his belief in the real, historical Adam and Eve (in opposition to evolutionary error), he goes beyond the Scriptures and asserts a dogma that is as contradictory to truth as the philosophy of evolution.

Citing the Missouri Synod’s “Statement of Scriptural and Confessional Principles,” the editor wrote:

We affirm that Adam and Eve were real historical human beings . . . and that their fall was a historical occurrence which brought sin into the world . . .[and] since the fall of Adam all men who are propagated according to nature are born in sin.

Here is a case where the bark is as bad as the bite. It is an egregious error to mythologize Adam and Eve, and assert an evolutionary origin for humanity. It is equally erroneous to teach the theory that human beings are “born in sin.”

Jesus affirmed the purity of children when he held them up as models for those who would aspire to enter his kingdom (Matthew 18:3; 19:14). Isaiah declared that “all we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6). There is a difference in being born astray, and going astray. Moreover, Paul affirmed it is because of “your [our] sins” that we become spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1)—not because of Adam’s transgression.

Consider this: Sin is not a mere abstraction. The term “sin” is a generic designation that covers particular transgressions.

There is no such thing as “sin” apart from acts like murder, lying, rape, etc., or the failure to do God’s will. Accordingly, if babies are “sinners,” what specific acts of wrongdoing have they committed in the womb? Theft? Adultery? Greed? Are some of these pre-born infants atheists, while others are believers? Those who subscribe to the dogma of “original sin” are obligated to address this query.

But did you notice in the quotation cited above it was affirmed that all “who are propagated according to nature” are “born in sin”? This language is designed to remove the difficulty connected with Christ’s birth. Was Jesus “born a sinner”? If not, why not? He had a physical mother. The response would be: “But he was not born ‘according to nature.’”

It matters not that Jesus had no earthly father. He had a human mother. If sin is inherited from one’s parents, then Jesus was at least half-depraved. This is a conclusion denominationalists cannot escape. The doctrine of original sin is serious error.

This is why the “conservative” denominations are woefully crippled in attempting to fight skepticism. Well-intentioned people bring their sectarian baggage to the conflict, and thus, in the final analysis, hinder the cause of truth as much as they help it.

The testimony of the Bible must be accepted in all areas. We must not only uphold Scripture’s historical reliability, but we must contend accurately for doctrinal truth as well. It takes the whole truth to make a credible case for biblical religion.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Fix, William. 1984. The Bone Peddlers. New York, NY: Macmillan.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.