Written Debate On Inherited Sin, between Robert L. Vaughn, Mitchell Street Landmark Baptist Church, Nacogdoches, Texas, and Steven F. Deaton, Loop 287 Church of Christ, Lufkin, Texas: “The Scriptures teach that, as a result of Adam’s fall, all men are born sinners.” Robert Vaughn affirms; Steven Deaton denies.
Steven F. Deaton: Second Negative Reply
Regarding the questions:
- Adam was made in the image of God, free of sin, which God called “good” (Gen. 1:26-27, 31). Yet, Adam sinned. The same is true today--we are created free of sin, “good,” then chose to willfully disobey.
- Read again Hebrews 2:14-17. We wonder if Mr. Vaughn thinks a person does not exist until they are born and how that may affect his view on abortion?
- If both, then all babies are born alienated from God and doomed if they die in infancy. Jesus redeemed us by his physical death--sacrificing his body and shedding his blood (Matt. 26:26-28; Heb. 10:5-7).
- How can one be a sinner BEFORE they sin? How many times has a newborn infant lied to you? The context of Psalm 58:3 is those who consider what they are doing. Verse 3 is hyperbole.
- In his 1st affirmative Mr. Vaughn said, “...(death) passed from father to son, therefore, the cause (sin) passed from father [Adam] to son [Cain, Able, Seth, etc.],” and that “Jesus died to take away the sin [Adamic sin] of the world.” If so, then no one this side of Jesus’ death is guilty of it and he has conceded his proposition.
Mr. Vaughn then complains about “influences.” Surely, no one but the Universalists would believe that Christ’s death automatically ensures salvation for men. Rather it compels those of a soft heart to obey the gospel (Matt. 13).
Romans 5:12-19: Verse 12 says, “...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.” It DOES NOT say “sin passed upon all men.” Too, it DOES say that all have sinned! The passage clearly declares that what Adam did, Christ undid. If Adam caused all men to be lost without any action of their own, then Christ caused all men to be saved without any action of their own. Also, Mr. Vaughn says in reference to v. 12, “...all have sinned is placed in the past!” That is, he claims we sinned before our existence! Do you believe it (cf. Rom. 9:11)?
I do not believe Rom. 5:12-19 is discussing physical death. Spiritual death for Adam (as Mr. Vaughn affirmed in response to question 1) and all others results from their willful disobedience to God (cf. Isa. 59:1-2). It points out that “death passed to all men, FOR ALL HAVE SINNED.”
Eze. 18:20: Mr. Vaughn ignored the rest of the verse. “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.” We do not inherit sin, guilt, or a sin nature from our parents, including the parents of the human race—Adam & Eve.
Mr. Vaughn affirms that 1 Cor. 15 is discussing physical death and bodily resurrection. We agree, therefore, he has conceded that ADAM’S SIN is what brought PHYSICAL death upon the human race (1 Cor. 15:21-22). Mr. Vaughn says that Christ’s death took away Adamic sin, so, according to his reasoning, it is not the cause of physical death. We wonder then, what causes infants to die?
John 1:29: Mr. Vaughn is missing the point. It is addressing the SIN of the world as a whole, that is, the aggregate of all the sins of mankind (cf. 1 Jn. 2:2).
The infant child Jesus WAS SUBJECT to death. The Bible says, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to DESTROY him” (Matt. 2:13). Why would the angel warn of the child’s destruction? Did the prophecy of v. 15 make the threat less real? Compare the accounts of God promising the throne of Israel to David, yet David’s life was in jeopardy when Saul was seeking to kill him (1 Sam. 16:1-13; 19:1).
Mr. Vaughn challenges us to prove by Scripture that “all who are subject to death are sinners” is a false statement. Okay. David’s son was subject to death (2 Sam. 12:19). Was David’s son lost? Mr. Vaughn says David’s son was a liar, and the Bible says liars go to hell (Rev. 21:8). Therefore, according to Mr. Vaughn’s logic, David’s son is in hell. Yet, David expected to join his son (2 Sam. 12:23). So, what does that do to David’s condition if Mr. Vaughn is right?
Finally, we submit again Hebrews 2:14-17, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of FLESH AND BLOOD, HE ALSO himself likewise TOOK PART OF THE SAME... For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but HE TOOK ON HIM THE SEED OF ABRAHAM. WHEREFORE IN ALL THINGS IT BEHOVED HIM TO BE MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN....” If we follow Mr. Vaughn’s reasoning, then we must conclude that Jesus came into this world a sinner, telling lies “AS SOON AS” he was born. If not, why not?
End, second negative. This concludes the written debate on inherited depravity.