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.
Robert L. Vaughn: Second Affirmative Argument
Answers to Mr. Deaton’s Questions
- The serpent deceived Eve, but Adam willfully disobeyed (Gen. 3:1-6; 1 Tim. 2:14).
- No. His body was created in the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost. He existed BEFORE He was born.
- Both physical and spiritual death. By what death did Jesus redeem us? Physical or spiritual?
- They are born sinners before they sin. However, being born sinners, they immediately begin to transgress God’s law. They lie “AS SOON AS they are born” (Psalm 58:3).
- All are saved from Adamic sin; this is not universal salvation because all who do not believe on the Son of God are condemned.
Romans 5:12-19 is destructive to any argument that men are not born sinners. Mr. Deaton argues that the one act of disobedience by Adam merely “influences” men to sin. But this proves too much -- then Jesus’ one act of obedience (death, Phil. 2:8) merely “influences” men toward salvation. Thomas Paine did influence many to be infidels, but I emphatically deny that he MADE infidels in the sense the word is used in Rom. 5:19 (rendered, appointed, ordained, caused to be). The passages state that through Adam’s act “many be dead” (v. 15), that “Judgment was by one to condemnation” (v. 16), that “death reigned by one” (v. 17), that “by the offence of one judgment came upon all men” (v. 17), and that “many were made sinners” (v. 19). Does this sound like Adam merely “influenced” men to sin? The tense of v. 12 is also important. The fact that death passed upon all men, and that all have sinned is placed in the past! When? At Adam’s transgression.
Mr. Deaton believes that infants are born without sin. Therefore, he cannot say that Rom. 5:12 means physical death entered the world by sin and therefore physical death passes upon all men because all sin. This would make the physical death of each individual a result of personal sin. Yet he says infants have no sin -- but they die. He cannot say it means spiritual death, because Paul argues that spiritual death passed upon ALL MEN (this includes infants). This is exactly what he is denying!!
Ezekiel 18:20 -- The soul that sinneth, it shall die. This is exactly my position. ALL are subject to death, even infants. That they die proves they have sin guilt. If not, why not? Will Mr. Deaton charge God with injustice concerning infant death?
Death is an appointment for all men and judgment follows (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Heb. 9:27). Mr. Deaton cannot affirm that spiritual death is an appointment for ALL -- only physical death. In context of physical death and bodily resurrection, the apostle Paul announces, “the sting of death is sin” (1 Cor. 15:56). The STING THAT BRINGS DEATH, yes, physical death, IS SIN. Will Mr. Deaton deny it? If so, what is the cause of physical death?
It IS NOT separation from the tree of life! Adam was separated from it “lest he ... take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” If he needed the tree of life to live forever, he obviously was already in a state of dying.
John 1:29 -- This one verse is not all the Bible teaches about the death of Jesus, but IT DOES TEACH SOMETHING ABOUT IT. HE DID die to take away THE SIN (singular, not SINS) of THE WORLD. What is THE SIN of THE WORLD? Murder? All have not murdered someone. Unbelief? Infants can neither believe nor reject. The only single sin that involved and affected the whole world (all mankind) was the transgression of Adam.
Eph. 2:3 -- Compare “nature” in Rom. 1:26; 2:14,27; 11:24; I Cor. 11:14; Gal. 2:15; 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:4. NATURE refers to the basic constitution of a thing, not something acquired through habitual practice. Does homosexuality differ from something we get through habitual practice, or from the basic NATURE of men’s and women’s bodies? In Rom. 2:14, Paul refers to Gentiles who had been born again - they had the law of God written in their hearts (v. 15, Heb. 8:10), they were new creatures (II Cor. 5:17) created in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10).
Dear readers, forgive me for assuming all would understand that Jesus is radically preeminent. The birth, life, and death of Jesus, while in man’s realm, are all exceptions to the rule. The Son of God existed before He was born of the virgin (John 1:1-3,14). God prepared Him a body by miraculous creation of the Holy Ghost in Mary’s womb (Heb. 10:5; Matt. 1:18-22; Luke 1:35). He lived a life of perfection toward God’s law (Matt. 5:17) and remained sinless though tempted to sin (Matt. 4:1-11; Heb. 4:15). He was NOT SUBJECT TO DEATH (John 19:10,11; 7:30; 14:30). He voluntarily gave Himself and became obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8). In His death, He died FOR OUR SINS, not His own, and became sin for us (II Cor. 5:21).
The syllogisms are based on arguments in the first affirmative, particularly I Cor. 15:22 and Rom. 3:23; 6:23. The only rebuttal is that Christ was not a sinner. I agree. Jesus was not subject to death, but said, “I lay down my life ... no man taketh if from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again (John 10:17,18).” The Bible says Joseph went to Egypt “...that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet ... (Matt. 2:14,15).” Mr. Deaton says that point 1 of syllogism three – all who are subject to death are sinners – is false. Prove it by scripture!