Question #22: Distinguish between imputed sin and inherited sin in regard to Adam’s sin. Provide biblical support for your answer.

Adam’s original sin produced that moral corruption of nature that was transmitted by inheritance to each succeeding generation.
Adam’s original sin produced that moral corruption of nature that was transmitted by inheritance to each succeeding generation.

Answer: Ryrie gives a two-pronged approach to the meaning of imputed sin.  (1)“To impute means to attribute or reckon or ascribe something to someone. (2) It is not mere influence but involvement that is at the heart of the concept” (Basic Theology, 256).

Later, Ryrie explains that, “Adam’s sin was imputed to each member of the human race because each member of the human race actually sinned in Adam when Adam sinned” (258).

To recap, imputed sin is sin that is reckoned from one to another by virtue of association or involvement through being related federally or seminally.  The primary Scriptural evidence for this is what Paul teaches from Romans 5:12-21.

“Inherited sin” writes Ryrie, “is that sinful state into which all people are born.

Theologians have used several labels to describe this concept. (1) Some call it, as the title of this chapter, inherited sin. This emphasizes the truth that all people inherit this sinful state from their parents, and their parents from their parents, all the way back to Adam and Eve. (2) Others call it the sin nature, which focuses on the fact that sin has corrupted our entire nature. The term “sin nature” provides a clear contrast between that root nature and its fruits (which are particular acts of sin). (3) Still others prefer the term “original sin” because Adam’s original sin produced that moral corruption of nature that was transmitted by inheritance to each succeeding generation” (252).

The primary passages to support inherited sin concept are Eph 2:3, Ps 51:5, 2 Cor 4:4, Rom 1:28, Eph 4:18, Rom 1:21, 24, 26, Tit 1:15, Rom 6:20 and 7:20.

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One-Minute Theology with Chaplain T features the question and answer portions of the Systematic Theology courses that were part of my seminary work at Piedmont Baptist Graduate School. I will be posting one Q & A everyday until my ordination council meeting set for February 2014.

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