Who Says We Are Born SPiritually Dead? Not Scripture!
Are we born SPIRITUALLY dead?
Exposing the Reality of God’s Providence
To follow, addendum 3/19/2016 on the 'Knowledge of good and evil'.
Author: J.F. Leon/TitoSS
When Adam was placed in the Garden east of Eden, and before he saw God create anew before his very eyes, he was commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for in the very day he did eat he would surely die (Gen. 2:17). God planted the garden and out of the ground made to grow every tree pleasant to the eyes and good for food (Gen. 2:9) and even too the tree of life. Was God speaking of dying physically or dying spiritually? In this bible investigation we will uncover that which God meant and the misconception that has entered Christianity on this matter.
First, notice the first commandment given in the Bible, for none other is recorded prior to this instant, not even in Job 38:6,7, when God had created and was fastening the foundations of the earth, the Morning Stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy. Then the Triune God and the angels only existed at the time, and no law as recorded in the pages of Scriptures had been given. We are taught in Romans 4:15 that “where no law is there is no transgression”. For there to be sin there must first be a directive of God to be transgressed, otherwise sin has no power over us. Paul wrote “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:55, 56). Thus in the very Eden, God gave a commandment by which man could fall, and the commandment was the very strength that sin had in order to bring about a transgression.
Adam, just as the angels, was created innocent, a direct creation of God, and so was Eve, out of one of Adams’ ribs (Genesis 2:21, 22), both out of the dust of the ground, just as the other beasts (Genesis 2:7, 19), all of earthy bodies. Of man alone it is said that by the breath of Life of God, Adam became a living soul. Ecclesiastes 3:20, 21 expands saying that man and beasts have but one breath (live only one life), and that all will turn to dust again, with the soul/spirit of the beasts goeth downward to the earth, but that the spirit of man goeth upward, returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Therefore our bodies are all earthy (which Paul calls bodies terrestrial in 1 Corinthians 15:40) but the spiritual part of man (soul,spirit) is heavenly and that Paul calls bodies celestial, while the spirit of the beasts are also earthly or terrestrial. So only man, by virtue of being made in the image (essence) and likeness (appearance) of God (Genesis 1:26), at present has an earthy (terrestrial) body made for this earth and has a spirit fashioned after God that is heavenly, but this privilege is not the rest of the beasts. Adam was nor created a child but an adult and likewise Eve, but things happened in the Garden that affected the entire human race, of which these two were the federal representatives .
Soon in time the original fathers ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were opened, knowing good and evil and that they were naked, and were ashamed, hid themselves from God when the Lord came walking in the Garden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8), and covered themselves with fig leaves. Our fathers gained an “evil conscience” the term that Paul uses in Hebrews 10:22, to define a conscience with awareness of guilt/penalty for their transgression, as contrasted to a “good conscience” (Hebrews 13:18), one that knows that it has been cleansed of all sins. And as we investigate the details of what the Scripture says of the very act of the transgression, we see that the serpent beguiled Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3) for Adam was not in the transgression (1 Timothy 2:14) not being deceived as the woman was (Genesis 3:4,5). Notable is that we have been taught of the 3 enemies of man with respect to sin: the world, the flesh and the Devil and in particular, of the flesh of man is written that it tempts us by the lust of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). In your King James Bible read the account of the transgression of Eve in Genesis 3:6, that exactly parallels this teaching of John.
Immediately it is evident that 2 of the 3 enemies of man were present and working against man, for the Devil had already rebelled against the law of God having done violence to it (Ezekiel 28:16) being lifted up by his pride by which his beauty corrupted his wisdom by virtue of his brightness. Why was the Devil in the Garden of Eden and in a position to tempt Adam and Eve? And secondly, why was the flesh of Eve able to trip her, by the presence of the commandment? These enemies of man were in full battle array from the start and those who taught me expressed the unbiblical idea that our “original sin” threw into disarray the order of our tripartite man, the spirit/soul/body, as if by sin the spirit lost control of the soul who in turn could not manage the body/flesh. Nothing could be further from the truth! From the beginning and before there was any sin in man at all, the flesh was not under subjection to the soul/spirit of man! It had a ‘mind of its own’ and wished to satisfy all its cravings and desires. In the past I wrote an article titled “Original Sin, the original originality” by which we uncovered that no such thing as original sin was biblical at all, nor could be but heresy. God says that the children are not responsible for the sins of the fathers and the fathers are not responsible for the sins of the children (Ez. 18:20), but each is responsible to God for their own sins.
While it is true that the decisions of a father have consequences and children may pay for the wrong steps of their parents, it does not follow that they are accountable for their parent’s sins. “Original Sin” was but a construct of the early hierarchical church by which ordained priests/presbyters claimed to be empowered by succession, the gift/authority of the Apostles and thus ordained could, by a physical ritual/ceremony in water baptism, wash a way this original sin. This of course made of the priest an authority deserving reverence, demanding of submission, but that was not in any way biblical, by any stretch of the imagination. Original sin is a myth, a creation of man with views to subject man, and from Adam we his descendants do not inherit any such thing. And given that it is a bogus fictional invention, original sin does not affect the spiritual life of man in the sense of making it inanimate/lifeless. And at the point of the Fall of Adam, for God called both Adam the two being one flesh (Genesis 2:24), he compromised his position as steward of the earth for the Lord, giving opportunity for the Devil to impose his world system of things and life.
So the enemies of man were already lurking, and Eve’s transgression by the fleshy lusts proves that already, as the commandment came, sin that lives in the flesh (Romans 8:4), revived as Paul puts is. Not only was the Serpent deceiving at the time, but in the flesh of Adam and Eve, in their bodies of dust from the earth, sin already resided. But Paul does not leave us without the answer, as he wrote by the Spirit of truth in Romans 7:9,10, “For I was alive without (outside) the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment (law) which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death”. Paul speaking spiritually in context, is addressing the fact that before he was under the law of God he was alive, but at a certain time when the law applied to him, when God determines an individual accountable to Himself, Paul died. Physically? Not physically but spiritually!
So how could Paul have died spiritually before he had converted if he had been born spiritually dead already from birth, and did not have the life of God by the Spirit of God? Do you see the problem the concept of being born spiritually dead brings, clashing with Scripture?
Let us then get back to Eve, the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20), created innocent, tempted in the Garden not too long after that she was directly created of God, having her own righteousness being innocent, but facing her nemesis the Serpent and having to deal with revived sin by the commandment, that lived in her flesh. This dear reader/brethren is the reality of the situation of nearly 6 thousand years ago. But before we get to rescue the issue from the throes of error, let us see what verses are used to explain that man is born spiritually dead, and what do these verses say. Arm yourself first with a KJB bible and read along for I can not write each verse out for you and it behoves brethren that you read them, each and every one of them.
Ephesians 2:1, 5 (Col. 2:13) “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:” Do you read in this verse that it says that we are born dead in trespasses and sin? Is it not saying what the Ephesians of the church were before they were saved?
v.5 is likewise, saying that the Ephesians ‘were dead in sins…’ The problem remains, proclaiming to indicate that man is born dead spiritually, when the passage says that man was dead (separated from God) by their sins, and has nothing to do with the idea that at birth they were already spiritually dead. Imagine a new born, a little child, already spiritually dead, that physically dies, or is aborted. Is he now dead in sins condemned ? Whatever the argument from the other side on the grace and mercy of God, the problem has nothing to do with God’s grace and mercy but with a faulty understanding and erroneous concept of being born spiritually dead. It is a doctrinal error, not an issue of God’s goodness. And it gets better.
Romans 5:12-14 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” Neither do we have here any allusions that mankind is born spiritually dead for the passage speaks of physical death entering in the world by one man, Adam. What it is saying is that by Adams’ fall into sin, we as descendants would be recipients of the consequences of his sin, that is physical death, as God warned. We do not get anything spiritual from Adam and Eve, for our very soul/spirit comes from God and not Adam. And what we do get from Adam is all physical, as in physical death or the sentence of God visited on the human race for the fathers’ disobedience. And as Paul argued in Romans 7:9, not that he was born spiritually dead but when he reached the age of being accountable to God he died by his sin. His first sin led to his spiritual death, not the sin of Adam nor the result of God’s imputing it; Paul died spiritually when he sinned, and was not born spiritually dead. And do not be confused, for we are not saying that we inherit physical death from Adam but that as Adam, we too would experience physical death because of what we are, our human nature of dust/earthy, that at some point like Adam inevitably would sin too, and all subjected to physical death.
Again, it is the sin of the individual that leads to his own spiritual death, not a ‘birthright’ of humanity. I seek to argue here that we are all born spiritually alive in that in us there is nothing to separate us from God: no original sin a bogus unbiblical teaching, and innocent, not guilty of any sin nor conscious of such. At the moment we commit our very first sin when we are of age to do so, our spirit becomes separated from God, for death is separation. But when we respond to the power of the gospel at the call of God in salvation, and by the Lord Jesus Christ we receive the promise of the Spirit, making us spiritually alive, for the Spirit of God now comes to reside in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16), the new man or inward man of 2 Corinthians 4:16. Our spirit can never again die or be separated from God, ever, for by him Christ is in us (Col. 1:27) and he said that he would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). One can never lose the Holy Spirit of God once received; and he is the very seal of our spiritual redemption, that guarantees the completion of our physical redemption (Ephesians 1:13, 14) when the new creature enters finally into his adoption at the redemption of the body (Rom. 8:19-23).
Also used to support being born spiritually dead is Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. What this verse says is very clear and applies both to spiritual and physical death, but what the verse is not saying nor the context supports is that it is speaking of the sin of Adam, or a sin with which one is born, for it applies simply and by the content of the passage that it is speaking of a person’s own sin when he is old enough to come to account to God.
And 1 Corinthians 2: 14 “But the natural man (without the Spirit) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. Does it say anywhere here that the natural man was born spiritually dead? Believers were all natural men at one time before being born again, but not by birth, but by their own sin. Can you tell now who was once a natural man, that sinned once he reached the age of accountability to God? All, absolutely everyone, without exceptions and we say this unreservedly! It is for that reason that the consequence of Adam’s sin, physical death applies to all, to everyone alive or who has lived to the age of being accountable, for all men sin. Why? For because sin lives in the flesh and its power is the law of God, sin revives when there is law in order to “kill” the individual, and make him sin. So even if the Serpent had not been in the Garden of Eden, it was possible for Adam/Even by the drawing of their flesh to have responded to their lusts/cravings and fallen into sin. The flesh alone as a single enemy, one of the major 3 as reviewed before, all by itself brought the consequence of physical death.
What most commentators avoid is to “blame” God for being the One that stacked the deck against humanity. Do you know of anyone, anyone at all, who is a solid/spiritual Christian and mature in his ways, that does not succumb to his flesh now and then? Did not Paul tell us that he had not arrived at the point of sinlessness or sinless perfection (Phil. 3:12) but that he follows after that? Can somebody be so spiritual, so submitted and surrendered to God, walking according to the Spirit by Christ, that is not subject to his flesh? Can a spiritual man have dominion over his own flesh? To that the answer is no! Not until we are released from this tabernacle, at the redemption of our bodies at the rapture, when we enter into our mansions or bodies of glory (Phil 3:20, 21), are we going to receive the rest/full of the payment of the promise of the Spirit, that we can look up to living a sinless life.
Why then expect that Adam and Eve not have fallen into sin, which is inevitable for all? God ordained the entire program by his providence and never expected to have man participate in his own salvation for He already had the entire program planned to save everyone to the uttermost, and not have anyone perish. The moment the soul/spirit from God entered into the body of Adam from the earth, our fathers and all descendants were unevenly, desperately inclined to sin and to physical death. And did not the Apostle John say that if we sin we have an advocate with God, Jesus Christ? (1 John 2:1). And he also wrote that if we say we are sinless, not guilty of sin we deceive ourselves? (1 John 1:8). But that if we confess our sins he is just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (v.9)?. Ultimately if we say that we have not sinned we make God a liar, for we are sinful (v.10).
Often the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians is used in support of being borne spiritually dead, particularly by verses 22 and 45. But the entire 15th chapter is a rhetorical dissertation about physical death and the physical resurrection. It starts by ascertaining that the Lord died, was buried and resurrected bodily, a requirement to the very essence of Christianity. Paul argues that without his resurrection we who believe are in a most precarious and miserable condition possible. The entire chapter is a polemic against the concept of Christ only having resurrected spiritually, as some later would come to claim. But it is more, for it is great instruction on the bodies, on glory, immortality, incorruption, power, honor and the change of the living into glorious bodies at the rapture. It is the defeat of death and the grave, made powerless and meaningless after Christ’s resurrection, which was the beginning of the end for death, which will be the last enemy humanity will have, as death will be thrown too into the Lake of Fire.
But there is more. The Lord himself told us that there would be two types of resurrection (John 5:28,29), one a resurrection to (eternal) life, and the other one a resurrection of damnation. Furthermore He said that all would resurrect and that at the resurrection we shall be equal to the angels, the children of God (Luke 20:35, 36). Therefore the ones of the resurrection to life will be as the holy angels and the ones of the resurrection of damnation like the fallen angels.
This concept then of being borne spiritually dead finds no support in any single verse or verses in Scripture when the plain reading of the verse is seen clearly. It finds its origin in Reformed Theology where it is said that man is born spiritually dead, and that God in his Sovereignty, choses some for salvation and some for damnation (the vessels of wrath). So man, being spiritually dead it is claimed, and seeking not after God, must be made first spiritually alive (born again first) so that the elect man now by his own faith may believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour & Lord. The Bible says differently, and that is that when any man that hears the message of the glorious gospel, if he is willing, God the Father, whose work (John 6:29) is to give the willing the free gift of faith (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8,9, Phil 1:29), so that these can believe in his Son and be saved. By asking the Lord Jesus Christ in faith to save him, a man can be granted salvation by the will of the Lord (James 1:18, John 1:13) and be given the baptism of the Holy Spirit to be infilled/indwelled/empowered/and placed into the body of Christ, is sealed as a guaranteed of his spiritual redemption and by the promised Spirit awaits the redemption of the body. This short polemic work ought to be sufficient for the brethren/readers to consider that the doctrinal belief that man is borne spiritually dead finds no support in Holy Writ but is fundamental to Reformed Theology and there is where it needs to stay and not let it infiltrate in places who trust and literally follow the clear teaching of Scripture.
Prepared of the BSB by TitoSS.
On the Knowledge of Good and Evil
This question came up before us, so that we would act on the meaning of such, as we are going over Genesis once more. God warned Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, said nothing about its fruit nor used the word, for the woman did. What was so important about this knowledge and why does it apply to this very article written here? Adam told his wife about this, for it is listed that the warning came to the man and he passed it on to the woman.
When one uses a bible search engine, and our preferred one is the Blue Letter Bible, and looks up the phrase “good and evil”, about a dozen or so verses or more are searched and made available, and in their reading a person can distill the meaning of it, for to seek the good and avoid the evil intends to say to have discernment, knowledge enough to differentiate one from the other. But was God saying to them not to have discernment? Or did God mean another thing? Our answer is based on the Scripture, as we read in Romans 7:9-11:
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (I was not separated outside of the law, when it was not upon me, effectually active, functional and applicable)
10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. (for when there is law, even as given for our benefit, it found me guilty and I stumbled, and became separated (dead) from God)
11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. (the deception of sin that lives in my body, the flesh, and not in my spiritual part or inward man, slew me. This is what Paul says as to when he became spiritually dead so that now he needed the new birth)
When Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, they had remained innocent, for such were they created, having their own righteousness, not of the law but by virtue of the fact that they did had no knowledge of good and evil. And as God gave commandment not to eat from a certain tree, (gave law for the first time in the account of creation), if they were to have knowledge of good/evil then the commandment would be effectual in their lives such that they could be found guilty of breaking the law. The warning not to eat was for their own good, and had these fathers of the human race had obeyed God, they would not have fallen into sin at the time. Always recall this, keep it in mind, that a 6 months old child nor a 4 year old child nor a mentally retarded or severely autistic child are not responsible, by virtue of their innocence, for sin.
There is a time, and that is when any maturing child, when he has sufficient knowledge of good/evil, that God makes him responsible for his acts, the laws/commandments become effectual in him and he sins for the first time, becoming spiritually dead then and there. Not before, not when innocent, never when incapable. Some call this the age of accountability for the individual, and we subscribe to the principle that in time God holds one responsible when one knows enough of the difference between the two. And not saying that such knowledge allows one to do the good and avoid the evil, for man is not and has never been in control of his flesh. Ask the innocent woman in the garden of God, (if one could) who being innocent succumbed to the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes and of the pride of life, as the passage is studied in Genesis 3. We uphold that God created man so that he could/would sin, for He would be the solution entirely to the problem of sin for salvation. Man therefore is sinful by nature, but is not a sinner until he first commits sin, dies spiritually and needs spiritual redemption.
Continuing with the man and the woman in the garden of Eden, realizing that the warning came as God gave commandment, law that could make one stumble, for as Paul wrote of the Holy Spirit that when there is law, the sin in our flesh comes to life, and its intent is to kill us, to make us stumble into it. This gets its full support from the verses in 1 Corinthians 15:
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
For we take notice of the words that sin gets its strength when there is law and when it does sting death results (spiritual death is in view). Therefore what God was spelling out to the man and the woman, was a forewarning that if they were to listen to the tree (Satan) and believed his words (partake of it, trusted it), then they would gain knowledge of good and evil, losing their innocence at that point, and thus answerable to the Law that He had given them. That God intended for man to be fully dependent on him for life and eternality is well known in the pages of the Bible, so do not be surprised if he us made separated from Himself physically (our bodies of flesh and blood are dead to God already, were so from the beginning, being earthy or of dust). It is not a surprise but it does take biblical insight that God has every intention in the life of every individual to take care of all matters of righteousness, life and death for them, entirely, without reservations nor limitations of any sort or of any kind. This defies traditional teachings that man could have passed the test, and man could have controlled his flesh, for man/woman never could.
In conclusion, having the knowledge of good/evil means to have arrived at the point of being responsible for your acts such that law becomes effectual, the person spiritually dies when he first sins, and now requires of God a birth from above, of the Spirit. Man is sinful by nature, for such was he created, for man was created to be rescued; again, not born a sinner, but sinful, inclined and inevitably to fall into sin. Read our article on how it is impossible for man to be sinless, to remain sinless and how this has nothing at all to do with Adam and Eve. Many blessings to all.
For publication this 19th day of March, 2016
Of the BSB, DB/TitoSS