Topic(s): Bible Study, Sin, Denominationalism
First, we are not born to go to hell. The Bible teaches that hell was prepared by God for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41).
One thing to remember in Bible study is to determine context. Who is writing or speaking? Who is the recipient of the message? What are the circumstances involved? What is the intent and goal of the speaker?
There are some Bible passages that seem to indict everyone of sin. For example, Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The tense of the verb have sinned implies an action taken on the part of an individual, not something beyond his control. Additionally, one must remember that God’s law is not given to babies or those incapable of understanding the will of God. Let’s consider James 1:13-16:
“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren.” KJV
Note the Bible teaches that one must be capable of lust in order to commit sin. Little babies, young children, and those who are mentally deficient are not capable of such. Therefore, they would be incapable of sin.
Another noteworthy passage is 1 John 3:4; “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” KJV
Again, one must be capable of transgressing (going beyond) the law of God if one is to commit sin. All those previously mentioned are thus incapable of sinning.
When the Bible speaks of all men sinning, it is speaking to those who are capable of hearing and understanding the message. In this sense, all have sinned, but not in the absolute sense of all humanity being condemned by sin from birth.
Finally, a key verse in understanding that we do not inherit Adam’s sin of is Ezekiel 18:20:
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” KJV
The person who commits sin shall die (be lost). It is not possible to pass on one’s sin to his children. If this were true, Jesus would have been born a sinner.
Some religious bodies teach the doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary the mother of Jesus to try and get around this difficulty. This is to say that Mary was conceived without Adam’s sin so she would not pass on Adam’s sin to Jesus. However, the Bible speaks of no such thing. This doctrine originated in Catholicism, a pronouncement of Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854 (Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07674d.htm).
We will be judged based upon the things we do in our own bodies, whether it be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). I will not be judged by Adam’s sin, not will I be judged by the sins of my father.