Ezekel - Chapter 18

Ezekiel 18:1-4 - The passage to follow is a familiar one to me. It's the main passage used to refute the doctrine of original sin, that we are born guilty. It's always important to consider context, however, when plucking a passage out to use in support of or against our pet doctrine. In this case, the context seems to be that Israel was using their father's sins as a scapegoat for their current situation. "Dad screwed up, that's why we're in this mess."

That's not exactly the same situation as those who believe in original sin. They believe it, mostly, as a simple fact, we are born with sin, rather than a scapegoat for their own failings. That doesn't mean, however, that God, in the process of teaching Israel, didn't reveal to us a broader truth, that God does not hold us to account for the sins of our fathers, we are not born with guilt.

Knowing the difference between how Israel was thinking, and why God brought them this message, and why people believe in original sin today can help us use this passage properly. (Of course, we need to determine if God was speaking a truth for all times and peoples, or only about how he would deal with Israel in Ezekiel's time.) We need not deliver it with the force that God did, to convict them that they are responsible, not their fathers. Rather, it becomes one of gentle instruction about how God looks at us and our sin. Ultimately, theirs little reason that we cannot disagree on the doctrine of original sin and still consider each other brothers.

Ezekiel 18:19 - Another reason they believed this way - their sinful hearts wanted to extend the punishment of an evil man to his righteous son. Guilt by association. God was not so much teaching them a truth (although the wording seems to be more universal than specific to me), he was teaching them how to treat each other.

Ezekiel 18:21-29 - Praise God that he allows us to change! More importantly, he honors our changed hearts and discards our past evil ways. Of course, he will do the same of we change course from righteousness to evil, but there is hope in God's willingness to forget our past sins if we turn and pursue righteousness.

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4 Comments

Hi Doug,

I appreciate your series on Ezekiel.

Rom 5:12-14 is one passage that is debated when people speak of original sin. Sin entered the world through one man, and death entered as a result. Because of Adam's sin, all people die. Think of the people who died before the introduction of the Law. They died even though they did not break the Law (since it was not in effect at the time). But as he says in verse 12, all have sinned.

I think Adam's sin was like the breach of a dam. That one failure in a single part caused all of mankind to fail, to fall into sin. But each one is still accountable for his own sin.

Of course, that is not what Ezekiel is talking about, as you pointed out.

I think Adam's sin was like the breach of a dam. That one failure in a single part caused all of mankind to fail, to fall into sin. But each one is still accountable for his own sin.

That is very interesting. A debate I have with my preacher is whether or not man has a sinful "nature" as stated by the NIV. He is a hardend KJV guy, and that says the "flesh". He refuses to believe that we are inately sinful. I beleive that we are, because if we weren't babies wouldn't die (there is a lot more to it than that, but you get me meaning). Death is a result of sin, so...

You might find J.W. McGarvey's commentary on Rom 5 interesting. He goes into more detail in explaining the inherited aspect of our sinfulness.

http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jwmcgarvey/tcgr/TCGR61D2.HTM

Note that he limits the consequence on us of Adam's sin to physical death. Any punishment after death is based on each individiual's sin.

Note that he limits the consequence on us of Adam's sin to physical death. Any punishment after death is based on each individiual's sin.

TRUE Da't



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  • Note that he limits the consequence on us of Adam's sin to physical death. Any punishment after death is based on each individiual's sin. TRUE Da't...

    P. Allan Frederick
    Ezekel - Chapter 18
  • You might find J.W. McGarvey's commentary on Rom 5 interesting. He goes into more detail in explaining the inherited aspect of our sinfulness. http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jwmcgarvey/tcgr/TCGR61D2.HTM Note th...

  • I think Adam's sin was like the breach of a dam. That one failure in a single part caused all of mankind to fail, to fall into sin. But each one is still accountable for his own sin. That is very interesting. A debat...

    P. Allan Frederick
    Ezekel - Chapter 18
  • Hi Doug, I appreciate your series on Ezekiel. Rom 5:12-14 is one passage that is debated when people speak of original sin. Sin entered the world through one man, and death entered as a result. Because of Adam's sin,...

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