The text for this essay (in four parts) is taken from the ninth chapter of the Gospel of John. For the sake of brevity well not print the text here, but would urge you to read it yourself before proceeding with the arguments here.
Within the narrative of the giving of sight to a blind man is probably the best lesson on sin found in Gods word. This is the only record anywhere of anyone that had been born blind having received sight.
You may know that only the Son of God could restore sight – that of the miracles performed and recorded in the New Testament, while all were at first reserved to Christ when he began his ministry, this one remained for all time reserved to him. John the Baptist did no sign while here, but once Christ sent out the seventy disciples and the twelve apostles, all were given the ability to heal the sick, and to cast out demons (though not without some failures on their part). Yet giving sight to the blind remained within the purview of the Son of God.
The passage deals with the notions both of retributive sin, and by implication also that of original sin.
Prior to his healing, the disciples asked Jesus who it was that had sinned in that the man had been born without his sight, whether the man or his parents. This deals directly with the notion of sin being carried through blood lines. And the Jews stated (once the mans answers from their inquisition had continued to go against their will) that the man must have been born in sin. As it was then so it is now, that this is a common religious sentence. These are then examples of two of the oldest forms of doctrinal departures from the truth of Gods Word.
In Ezekiel 18: 19 and 20 is found the following admonition:
“Yet you say, “Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father? Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
This passage is taken from Romans 5: 11 through 17.
“And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (for until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)”
I would suggest that you should be able to conclude from both your reading for this study in John nine and from the passages listed from Ezekiel and Romans that the man’s blindness was not someones “fault.” Jesus stated plainly that it was not due to sin of any kind or from any source. Paul states that through one (in Adam’s sin) sin came into the world, and that through Christ we have once again reconciliation with God. These things come to us straight from the mouth of the God and so you should know its the truth. The man’s blindness was not due to sin on the man’s part, and if that is true, then it also was not due to the notion of original sin by father Adam, and finally, it was not due to some sin the man’s parents had fallen headlong into. Whats more, aside from these, there are other passages in both the Old and New Testament that deal with these very things, and in precisely the same ways. It is useful to note that the Son of God states that this man’s blindness was not the result of random events (as many things seem to us to be); but it was more than that, as it was used and purposed as a sign of the power of God, and was therefore displaying the providence of God at work.
Therefore, I must conclude, as this man’s condition was not someone elses fault, so my condition is not someone else’s fault either. My physiological condition may certainly result from the consequences of someone’s sin: an ancestor, my parents, and more often at my own hand, as consequences are always the result of actions taken — where bad actions breed bad consequences and often off into time. And I also suffer from the consequence held for Adam and Eve having sinned where sin and death entered this realm. They sinned, and so has everyone else that has been born, but that doesn’t mean that I was born a sinner or born into sin. Consequences will be paid no matter what. I conclude that my sinful condition results from me not accepting the responsibility for my own actions and for not recognizing God and meeting on his terms; and it is then not the fault of my parents, my friends, my ancestors or of the first man. Then the conclusion follows that I wasn’t born either in or into sin.
Salvation is a completely individual responsibility, and God has told us, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That indicates an action on everyone’s part, not on one person’s part. So, again, it wasn’t my parent’s fault that I was a sinner, and it wasn’t Adams either. It is mine. As the old comic strip character Pogo had said, “We have met the enemy and it is us,” which was a parody on Oliver Hazard Perry’s “We have met the enemy and he is ours.”
I don’t have to bear guilt for Adams sin: for his part he and Eve brought sin into this world and that served to separate us all from God. But it is not my sin. If Adam and Eve had not sinned likely the next family on the scene would have accomplished the dirty deed anyway. That first sin was Adams and Adam alone will answer for it. I will have to answer for mine. So I also know that you will answer for yours as well. Only the Christ lived without sin.
Now we may not see and understand the working of God as we barely understand what goes on within our own lives. God has said that “My ways are not your ways.” Hereby we can understand what God has given us – through the empirical evidence that confirms things around us (and there is a mountain of it if only we will but look), and most importantly, through a thorough study and application of his word. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.”