Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Biblical Proofs of Inbred Sin

QUESTION: What are the Biblical proofs of inbred sin or birth sin?

ANSWER: They are chiefly found in the Old Testament, such as Ps 51:5, "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me;" 58:3, "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies." Job 15:14, "What is man, that he should be clean? And he that is born of woman, that he should be righteous?" Rom. 5:12-21 contains proofs that the effect of Adam's sin was universal. Eph. 2:3, "by nature children of wrath," has been considered a strong proof of original or inbred sin, but from the context we learn that Paul is describing adult, actual, responsible sinners, whom he deems worthy of punishment, expressed in the Hebrew idiom as "children of wrath." Richard Watson thought that John 3:6, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," is the strongest proof of inbred sin to be found in the Bible. But scholars now study the meaning of words as used by different writers, and they agree that nowhere in John, and probably nowhere in the Gospels, is "flesh" used in a bad sense to denote depravity. "The flesh," says President Timothy Dwight, "is to be understood here in the physical, not in the moral, sense." "Flesh and spirit," says Westcott, "are not related to one another as evil and good; but as two spheres of being with which man is connected by the spirit of heaven, by the flesh to the earth."

Steele's Answers pp. 132, 133.