Humans are Blamed for Adam's Guilt?
Part 1 of 5
God punishes people for their own sins, and in this life we suffer for the sins of others. In this life we inherited the curses of Adam and Eve, most serious of which is a depraved, sinful nature. Our sin nature produces sin actions, which guarantee our eternal condemnation in the next life, — apart from God's grace.
However, has God chosen to additionally punish people in the Lake of Fire because of Adam's sin? How about for the sins of our other ancestors, too?
These two questions are the exclusive focus of this chapter. Genuine Christians who disagree on matters non-essential to salvation should be able to listen, and possibly learn from each other. This paper presents five Christian views and conclusions.
Is Something Wrong Here?
You see a young boy being led away to life imprisonment for murder, robbery, and treason. You question some spectators, "was there any evidence that the little boy did those things?" They answer: "Even if he did nothing wrong he would still be worthy of condemnation. His grandfather did those things, and all of the grandfather's descendants are being punished for what the grandfather did." Is this an example of God's justice?
In Chosen by God p.97-98, R.C. Sproul gives this example. Suppose God tells a man to trim the bushes but not to fall into the big pit at the edge of the garden, because he will not be able to get himself out. After God leaves, the man runs over and jumps into the pit. The man is unable to meet his responsibility, but God [justly] still holds him accountable for what he is currently unable to do. So far, so good: all Christians agree. Now let's alter the story by replacing the man with a pregnant woman. If the woman has a baby while in the pit, should the Master blame the child too, for being born of a disobedient woman?
In theology, being guilty of something means we are held responsible before God and worthy of condemnation for it. Traducianist Christians believe God additionally condemns people because of their ancestor's sins, going back to Adam. Federal headship teaches God chooses to additionally condemn people because God chose him as our "legal representative before the bar of divine justice." Most other Christians think there is something very unbiblical and wrong with these two examples.
The rest of this paper gives actual examples on this earth of descendants receiving consequences for ancestor's actions, and six views about a person's eternal punishment for other's actions.
Earthly Blessings and Curses in the Bible
Descendants are often cursed in the Bible
Gen 3:14-19 Curse of the serpent, Eve, and Adam
Gen 9:25 The curse of Canaan in Noah's time
1 Sam 2:32 There will never be an old man in Eli's house
2 Kings 5:27 Leprosy on Gehazi's descendants
Jer 22:28-30 No kings from Jehoiachin
Jer 32:18-19 "bring the punishment for the father's sin into the laps of their children after them."... you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve."
Dt 23:2-3,8 No Ammonite, Moabite, or forbidden marriage offspring in God's assembly till tenth generation. No Edomite or Egyptian in God's assembly till third generation
Mt 27:25 Jews said, Let his blood be on us and on our children!
Descendants often bear consequences for ancestor's actions
Num 14:20-25 youngsters wandered for 40 years too
Exodus 20:5 Lam 5:7. Punished for father's sins
There are blessings to descendants in the Bible too
Jer 31:36 Israel's, Jer 33:17 David's, etc.
Rom 2 and 3 God is fair to Jew and Gentile, but there was a benefit to being a Jew and entrusted with God's words.
God made a covenant with not just with Abraham, but also his descendants in Gen 17:9,13-14,19.
Summary: People do have blessings and curses because of their ancestors and others in this life. Also, since the fall we are born in an initial state of separation from God. However, none of these verses show God blaming a person for another's sinful actions.
Being Killed for a Relative's Sin in the Bible
Many times in the Bible someone was involuntarily killed for another. Here are the cases, and their explanations.
Ezek 20:4, Jer 16:10-12: People were confronted with the detestable practices of their fathers. However, they had chosen to continue in those practices.
36 Israelites died in battle because of the deception of a fellow [unrelated] Israelite: Achan in Joshua 7:1-10.
Ezek 13:19 "...By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live."
Joshua 7:1,11,25-26: Achan's entire family was killed. His family did not tell anyone of the deception, and kid's ages were not given. God's anger burned against Israel for Achan's sin.
Dt 7:16 The Canaanites were killed because of the infant sacrifice, religious prostitution, and wickedness they themselves did. Their children and babies were killed too. Canaanites were not killed in Abraham's time in Gen 15:16 because the sin of the Amorites (in Canaan) had not yet reached its full measure.
Heb 7:9-10 "And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Mehchizedek met him [Abraham]."
Opinions and Rebuttals
Pelagian Heresy: We receive neither corruption nor guilt from the fall. The only influence, if any, from the fall is that of a bad example. There is no need for a special working of God's grace within each individual. See Rom 2:13-14. The Bible teaches that all kinds of men have sinned. It is possible to live sinlessly.
Rebuttal: Pelagian interpretation of Rom 2 contradicts Rom 3:9-18,23;5:12,18,19. We do not obtain godly nature and Christ's righteousness merely by imitation, and neither do we inherit Adam's wickedness and nature merely by imitation.
Federal Headship: the soul is specially created for each individual. However, Adam is our representative acting on our behalf. This is why all who share humanity deserve eternal torment for what Adam did, as well as our own sins. See Rom 5: 12-19;7; 1 Cor15:21-22;Ps 51:5, and the Westminster Confession.
Rebuttal: Christ too, shared our humanity (Heb2:11,14,17). Was Adam His federal head as a human or not? Was He guilty and deserving of eternal torment, though sinless? Certainly not!
Traducianism: this is not one, but three doctrines.
1. Our souls are created by material and/or spiritual transmission from our parents. Thus we inherit a corrupt sinful nature (Rom 7)
2. Natural Headship: As Levi in a sense paid tithes to Melchizedek while Abraham's loins (Heb 7:9-10), we were guilty of the first sin by being in Adam's loins (Rom 5:12, 18,19).
3. By the same mechanism, we have guilt for our ancestor's sins.
Note: Someone can believe 1 alone, or 1 and 2 without 3. This tract is critical of 2 and 3 but says nothing about 1.
Famous Traducians were Tertullian, Augustine of Hippo, Shedd, J. Edwards, Martin Luther, and eastern Orthodox leaders.
Rebuttal: Heb 7:9-10 refers to tithes and hereditary priesthood, and does not contradict guilt for only own sins in Ezekiel 18. Of course, since Adam, different people have committed additional sins. From a Traducianist viewpoint, exterminating Jews because of the sins of the ancestors made sense in Germany.
Prevenient Grace: We are guilty as well as cursed through Adam, but Christ's atonement on the cross wiped out that guilt for all. See Rom 5:18,19. Orton Wiley taught this. Theoretically like the previous two views, practically like the next view.
Rebuttal: Christ's coming meant greater guilt, not less, for those who knew Him and rejected Him. See Jn 15:22-24 and Jn 12:48. By this view, the power of the Christ was applied, against their will, to those who rejected the cross.
Millard Erickson's View: Looking at Rom 5:18, condemnation through Adam and justification through Christ are given the same scope - all men. Rom 5:13 says that sin, while present, is not counted where there is no law. We are all guilty due to Adam, but the guilt does not apply until the time we are accountable for choosing that path. All men are all justified in Christ, but that justification does not apply unless and until the person chooses Christ.
Rebuttal: Since the elect choose sin prior to choosing Christ, sounds practically like Federal Headship while preserving responsibility with the general sense of Ezekiel 18.
Historic View: We are cursed through the fall, and inherit a corrupt sinful nature (Rom 7 and Rom 5:12,18,19). However, God clearly states in Ezek 18:3-4, 18:5-32, and Jer 31:29-30 that each dies for his own sin, not his parents. Most non-Calvinists and some Calvinists may believe this.
Rebuttal: At least we all must agree that Rom 5:12,18,19 means the fall guarantees us to be guilty before God.
What Difference Does This Make?
If we are not framed for Adam's guilty actions, yet all inherit a sinful nature that makes us certain to sin, what is the difference? There is no difference in the number of people in Hell. The difference is that I believe when people are sent to the Lake of Fire, the guilt comes 100% from their own sins, and they cannot blame any of their destiny on Adam's sin or anyone else's.
Returning to the example of the boy born in the pit, the boy could not help being born in the pit, so, by birth, He was no more guilty of being born in the sin that Jesus was guilty of being descended from Adam and Eve. However, the boy could not be counted as those who successfully resisted the temptation of jumping into the pit either. They comes an age where the boy can say, "I regret being in this pit, I cannot get out by myself, but I wish the master would graciously get me out of this." Or the boy could be glad where he is and wish to remain.
Most would say, that when they boy makes his choice, either he is as guilty as those who jump into the pit, or as innocent as those who chose not to jump in. He is not guilty because of ethnic descent, or his mother's choice, but solely for his own choices.
On this earth we suffer the curse of the Fall. We are all born into an initial state as objects of God's wrath (Eph 2:3). However, God spoke Ezekiel 18, and God pronounces condemns people to eternal torment not for other people's choices, but for their own.
Humans are Blamed for Adam's Guilt?
Part 2 of 5
Suffering Does Not Prove Guilt
Two kittens are born in the same litter and given away. One goes to a normal family and lives a normal cat life. The other goes to an alcoholic, who coming home drunk one night, kills the little kitten. Does this prove the kitten guilty of the alcoholic's sins, or anybody else's sins? Was the kitten deliberately punished for being guilty for the sins of the owner?
Of course not. There is only a difficulty if we fail to see that all suffering is not God's punishment. If suffering and death does not prove Adam's guilt is imputed to cats, suffering and death does not prove that Adam's guilt is imputed to people, either.
Jesus also gave two examples to show the additional suffering in this world of some is not due to greater guilt in Luke 13:1-5. Differentiating between suffering consequences and punishment is a point lost on many Calvinists. There is no point in arguing that all people, babies, and even kittens, suffer bad consequences originally due to Adam's fall. We, and babies inherit a sinful nature from Adam. However, there is no verse in the Bible saying God would be righteous in condemning babies to eternal torment in Hell, due to Adam's sins.
Calvinists such as Spurgeon think it slanderous if Calvinists are accused of saying God sends babies to Hell. While Augustine did teach that unbaptized babies all go to Hell, Calvinists indeed do not teach that actually happens. However, almost all of them do teach that God would be just if He hypothetically were to send all babies to suffer in Hell for Adam's sins.
The Two Definitions of Original Sin
The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (J.D. Douglas. Baker 1991 p.618) states, "In its simplest terms the doctrine of original sin means that, as a result of the fall, every man is born corrupt, and it is usually held that he is also guilty. Out of his perverted state proceed his evil acts...."
Thus the concept "original sin" has two senses
1) Inherited nature - all are born with a corrupt, sinful nature
2) Imputed guilt - We are also born guilty for Adam's actions
If we are guilty for Adam's sins (actions), is it every sin or only the first one? If only the first one, then when did Adam cease to be our federal or natural head?
The heretic Pelagius, many Church of Christ people, and many liberal Christians do not believe in original sin in any sense. Many Christians, believe the first definition but not the second. Many other Christians, including John Calvin, believed in both definitions because of their doctrine of "federal headship" in Adam. Many other Christians, including Martin Luther, Orthodox Christians, and Augustine, believe in both definitions because of their belief in "Traducianism" that the guilt for actions is passed on through inheritance.
People are cursed because of Adam's fall, and people do suffer in this life due to the parent's sins, and many times even the sins of complete strangers. We live in an unjust world. However, as the agnostic Martin Gardner observed, if you believe in ultimate justice, you have to believe in an afterlife. There is a day, judgment day, when God will set everything aright, and justice will be served for all.
So the key issue is not suffering and curses people inherit on earth, but whether God pronounces a person guilty and deserving of punishment for the sinful actions of Adam or other people. If someone does not hold to the second definition of original sin, it does not mean they reject the first definition of original sin.
Should we be Concerned with Original Sins
Even though we stand forgiven in Christ, should we still ask God's forgiveness for our sins? (Remember the Lord's prayer) There is no prayer in the Bible asking or thanking God for forgiving us the guilt of Adam's sins. In church, where unbelievers may be present, have you ever publicly thanked God for forgiving us for Adam's guilt, too? Even if you are a Calvinist, I hope not. Inconsistency is not a bad thing, if you are being inconsistent with an error.
Catholics and Orthodox have one solution to the dilemma of original sin (by whatever definition). They "solve it" by believing a key purpose of baptizing infants is to reverse the effects of original sin.
However, do suffer deeply the consequences of sin. All mankind is born in an initial state of being separated from God, Eph 1:13 shows that we all were objects of God's wrath. Thus, objects of God's wrath is not a term to describe the reprobate, but rather to describe all of the unsaved.
Apart from Christ, all should be greatly concerned about the impossibility of removing the guilt they have before God. For those who believe in original sin, they should distinguish between guilt they "do not have to be concerned about" and guilt they "do have to be concerned about."
What Calvinists Say About Imputed Guilt
Boettner p.238 says, "It would be unjust for God to execute the penalty (of pain and suffering) on those who are not guilty. Since the penalty falls on infants, they must be guilty, and since they have not personally committed sin, they must be guilty of Adam's sin."
The first sentence is questionable, since Satan is the prince of this world. Justice does not happen in this world alone, but all things will only be set justly on judgment day.
"Not only is the responsibility of each descendant of Adam sufficient to constitute him, personally an accountable creature (that is, as one so constituted that he ought to do right and ought not to do wrong), but originally every one of us was also endowed judicially, with full and unimpaired responsibility, not in ourselves, but, in Adam. It should ever be borne in mind that not only was Adam the father of the human race seminally, but he was also the head of the race legally. When Adam was placed in Eden he stood there as our representative, so that what he did is reckoned to the account of each for whom he acted. (A. W. Pink The Sovereignty of God p.247)
"'The guilt of Adam's public sin,' says Dr. A.A. Hodge, 'is by a judicial act of God immediately charged to the account of each and every one of his descendants from the moment he begins to exist, and antecedently to any act of his own. Hence all men come into existence deprived of all those influences of the Holy Spirit upon which their moral and spiritual life depends" (quoted in Boettner p.78 ).
It must not be a necessity of God's justice that all are deprived of the influences of the Holy Spirit, because John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit from before birth in Luke 1:15,44.
When Calvinists talk about everyone being liable to punishment for Adam's sin, they usually fail to distinguish between suffering and curses in this life and eternal punishment. Proving that we do suffer the consequences for Adam's and others actions in this life does not mean part of the punishment people suffer in the Lake of Fire is actually Adam's responsibility.
"Proving" Original Sin
Curt Daniel p.240-241 gives "Biblical Proofs" for Original Sin.
Unity of the human race: Eph 2:1-3 and Acts 17:26
We have an inherited nature: Gen 5:3
Even babies all have sin: Gen 8:21, Ps 58:3; Isa 48:8, Prov 22:15
Babies die (Jonathan Edwards and natural observation)
All eventually die due to Adam: Rom 3:23;5:12;6:23; 1Cor 15:22
All people sin: Rom 3:10-23
Now all Christians, non-Calvinist as well as Calvinist, should agree with all these points. The problem is that these points do not prove that we inherited Adam's guilt in a way contrary to the plain sense of Ezekiel 18. As mentioned previously, the fact that baby kittens die and all cats, with a "cat" nature, eventually die, does not prove cats guilty for Adam's sin.
Some Calvinists understand clearly the distinction we are trying to illustrate between inherited sinful nature and guilt for other's sins. — and they reject it. Curt Daniel anticipated this line or reasoning as he wrote [p.240], "Still further, Reformed theology teaches that Original Sin is not merely inherited sin, but imputed guilt. We reject the idea as self-contradictory that Man inherits sin but not its guilt, for where sin is there must necessarily be guilt. And because sin brings death (Rom 6:23), Original Sin deserves death. Men are born spiritually dead (Eph 2:1-3), and because of Original Sin all men will physically die."
Sinful nature is inherited and sinful tendencies (alcoholism, etc.) are often inherited. However, if we do not inherit the guilt of anyone's sins but Adam's, then federal headship does not really mean we "inherit" but we are "arbitrarily charge with". However, when Christians teach that we do inherit the guilt of our ancestor's sins as Traducianists say, those Christians have just provided justification for killing Jews, Germans, Bosnians, Croats, descendants of murderers of anyone.
Serious Consequences of Traducianism
In history, the Traducianist view has had the most serious bad consequences. Augustine was the first to write justifying torture by the church. Luther wrote that [unconverted] Jews were to be burned, along with their synagogues and schools. When the Nazis, who cared nothing for Jesus, tried to justify killing Jews as "Christ-killers", many Germans opposed them, but who opposed the Traducianist assumption. When Serbs, who predominantly belong to the Serbian Orthodox Church, practiced ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Croats. what was their justification? The Turks had savaged the land 400 years before, and the Croats had persecuted others in collaboration with the Nazis.
It is uncomfortable to read Stephen Jay Gould (9/1996 Natural History) and other vehement non-Christians severely attack Christians of history and assert that it is only culture and other natural factors that motivated their life. When atheists accuse true genuine Christians of being ungodly, something is amiss. The worst part about the heavy criticism is that some of it is true.
I believe it is not enough to for a Christian to personally reject traducianism. Christians should take a stand against Traducianism, and work to correct other genuine Christians who unfortunately hold to this error.
What All Can Agree On
All Christians should be able to agree with the following quote from Calvinist Charles Hodge (Systematic Theology p.194-195). "To impute sin, in Scriptural and theological language, is to impute the guilt of sin. And by guilt is meant not criminality or moral ill-desert, or demerit, much less moral pollution, but the judicial obligation to satisfy justice;... When it is said that our sins were imputed to Christ, or that He bore our sins, it is not meant that he actually committed our sins, or that He was morally criminal on account of them, or that the demerit of them rested upon Him. All that is meant is that He assumed, in the language of the older theologians, 'our law-place.'... In like manner, when it is said that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers, it does not mean that they wrought out that righteousness; ...nor that the merit of his righteousness is their personal merit; nor that it constitutes their moral character; it simply means ... it is laid to their account."
Now Christ does stand place of us, but I do not think Hodge even thinks we stand in place of Adam.
To Be Continued...
Federal headship, natural headship, and the historic view all have key verses to support their positions. Part 3 shows the differing interpretations of those verses.
Humans are Blamed for Adam's Guilt?
Part 3 of 5
Three Scriptures for Three Views
"Historic Christianity" is defined here as what early Christians taught for 300 years. Historic Christianity would agree that we suffer the consequences of Adam's sins in this life. We also inherit a sinful nature, which leads to our own sins. All, without Christ's cleansing and forgiveness through His body and blood, would be destined for the lake of fire. Those who hold this view believe that others take too lightly Ezekiel 18 as well as Jer 31:29-30.
Federal headship believes that all are guilty for Adam's sin because God designated Adam the "representative" of the human race. They base this primarily on Rom 5:15-21.
Traducianism has two parts. The first part is that all human souls after Adam and Eve are created from their parent's souls. The second part is that souls inherit the guilt of their immediate parents and all their ancestors back to Adam. This is primarily based on extending Hebrews 7:9,10 as well as Ps 51:5, Jer 15:4 and Exodus 20:5.
This tract gives differing interpretations of these scriptures.
A.W. Pink on Ezekiel 18
Federal Headship: This federal headship interpretation is somewhat hard to believe. In order to understand it without misrepresentation, please bear with the lengthy quote.
Calvinist A.W. Pink writes, "First, we cite Ezek 18:31 - "Why will ye die, O house of Israel?" On this passage we cannot do better than quote from the comments of Augustus Toplady: ' — 'this is a passage very frequently, but very idly insisted upon by Arminians, as if it were a hammer which would at one stroke crush the whole fabric to powder. But it so happens that the 'death' here alluded to is neither spiritual nor eternal death : as is abundantly evident from the whole tenor of the chapter. The death intended by the prophet is a political death; a death of national prosperity, tranquility, and security.... Why will ye die? die as the house of Israel, and considered as a political body? Thus did the prophet argue the case, at the same time adding 'For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth saith the Lord God, wherefore, turn yourselves, and live ye.' This imports: First, the national captivity of the Jews added nothing to the happiness of God. Second, if the Jews turned from idolatry, and flung away their images, they should not die in a foreign, hostile country, but live peaceably in their own land and enjoy their liberties as an independent people.' To the above we may add: political death must be what is in view in Ezek 18:31,32 for the simple but sufficient reason that they were already spiritually dead!" (A.W. Pink The Sovereignty of God p.102-103.)
A Normative View of Ezekiel 18
Look not at just Ezek 18:31-32 but all of Ezekiel 18. All agree that God justly judges each one according to their own sins and not the sins of their fathers. Some Calvinists say the blanks are "politically" and "nation." The plain sense of the chapter says the blanks are "consistently" and "person". Read the following comments and see if you agree.
Ezek 18:2-3 is like to Jer 31:29-30; everyone will die for his own sin. Ezek 18:2,25,29-31 refer to the House of Israel. People may lump the whole house together, but God is talking to "each one" (v.30) in the House of Israel about His justice.
Ezek 18:4 "the soul who sins is the soul who will die." Does a nation have a soul?
Ezek 18:5-9 and 14-17 talks of righteous men who do not die. Righteousness here does not mean sinless perfection, for none are perfect. Death here is not physical death, 'because all men die'; it refers to spiritual death.
Ezek 18:20 says the son no more shares the guilt of the father than the father shares the guilt of the son.
Ezek 18:23 "am I not pleased when they turn from their ways an live?" Many strict Calvinists will never say this refers to sinful individuals turning to God. Pink and Toplady's view is that this passage refers to nations. Other Calvinists say this is only the elect, because God coerces the will of the elect and chooses not to enable the reprobate with any opportunity.
Ezek 18:32 says "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone" Some Calvinists interpret anyone to mean the elect. Some even believe God does take pleasure in the death of the reprobate.
There is only one reason the previous argument insists Ezek 18 cannot refer to individuals too: their whole view falls. Even though Israel is mentioned, and political death you wish, but let's look at what kind of death God means in Ezekiel 18: Ezek 18:4 "For every living soul belongs to me [God], the father as well as the son - both alike belong to me. This sounds like every soul.
Ezekiel 18 is balanced with Exodus 20:5 which says, "...am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me," Every child is not punished, not every Canaanite, because Rahab was a Canaanite, and Ruth was a Moabite. However, Exodus 20:5 is true in at least two distinct ways: 1. Children, even infants, often suffer on earth for their parents sins. 2. Even worse, they learn the hatred, evil, and sins of their parents and culture.
Compromise View of Ezekiel 18
There is one way someone could hold to federal headship and yet still take Ezekiel 18 in its true sense. It is by saying that "sin is not accountable where there is no law." Sins done in ignorance are still sins, but we are not accountable for them. So, one could say, even if we were guilty for Adam's actions, God holds nobody accountable for involuntary guilt.
Curt Daniel on Ezekiel 18
In his dissertation, Calvinist Curt Daniel has an extensive discussion of Ezekiel 18 that is partly reasonable, and partly covers up the true intent.
On page 243 Curt Daniel writes, "Calvinists interpret this passage in various ways, but I follow the following line of interpretation. The Arminians are doing exactly what the Jews were doing. The Jews wrongly reinterpreted both their ancestors and themselves in an attempt to exonerate themselves. In Ezekiel's day, they were being punished with captivity. So, they argued, 'We are not the guilty ones. Our fathers were. This captivity is not fair on us." But the truth is, the Jews in captivity had not learned the lesson any more than their fathers had. They inherited their fathers' guilt, sin and same tendency. They were no different and were being rightly punished accordingly. They were being punished for both their fathers' sins and their own. God does not punish innocent people.
People do inherit some curses and sinful tendencies, but the point of Ezekiel 18:4,17,30 is that the son does not inherit the father's sin. Curt makes a Traducianist statement that the son does inherit the guilt, which contradicts Ezekiel 18:4,17,30.
It is a huge stretch to say that Arminians interpret Ezekiel 18 in a plain sense in order to exonerate people in order to exonerate themselves by saying they were punished for their fathers' sins. Do not forget, it is the Calvinists and Traducianists who say we are declared guilty for our father's sins, not Arminians.
Curt Daniel on p.244 says, "Moreover, Calvinists do not believe in Original Sin in order to shift the blame. As a matter of fact, those who hold to Original Sin have a lower view of themselves than those who do not. ... Conversely, those who weaken or deny Original Sin invariably do so in order to lessen their own personal guilt and to polish up their own sinful natures."
This is an unkind stereotype to say of those who say our guilt is due to our own sins and not others "invariably do so in order to lessen their own personal guilt and to polish up their own sinful natures." Curt is being unfair here.
Curt Daniel continues on p.244 saying "Lastly, Scripture teaches in Ezek. 18 and elsewhere that God does not punish the innocent. But the same Bible also teaches that God visits the iniquity of parents on to their children, and one way this is done is through the passage of Original Sin. See Ex 20:5, If God does in fact do this, then it cannot be unfair. And so the objection fades away."
In this life people do suffer for the sins of their parents, and even their king. Establishing that the sinful nature, and consequences of evil are passed on does not prove God holds people guilty for their parent's sins like Traducianists say.
Federal Headship View of Romans 5:15-21
Rom 5:15 says many died by the trespass of one man.
Rom 5:16 says judgment followed one man's sin and brought condemnation
Rom 5:17 says by the trespass of one man death reigned
Rom 5:18 says as the result of one trespass was the condemnation for all men. It also compares the extent of Adam's action on the human race with the extent of Christ's action. For those who accept that Christ brought justification to all men, they have to accept that Adam [directly] brought condemnation to all men.
The plain sense teaches that we are guilty for what Adam did.
Non-Federal Headship View of Rom 5:15-21
Romans 5:18-21 says we "died", "judgment followed", "condemnation was brought", "death reigned", "result was the condemnation for all". It never says we are guilty for Adam's sin or punished for others sins, or that Ezekiel 18 is wrong. Instead, we suffer the consequences of Adam's sins. One of the most serious consequences is our sinful nature, and our certain condemnation. It never says we can blame even part of our condemnation for what Adam did. Rather, Ezekiel 18 and Jer 31:29-30 say we can only blame our condemnation on ourselves.
Rom 5:19 a "sinner" is simply one who sins. So the disobedience of Adam made us "sinners", not "God's victims of others' sins".
Traducianist View of Heb 7:9-10
Since one might say that Levi paid the tithe through Abraham, therefore we bear consequences (in this example good ones) for our ancestors. Since we bear the good, we bear the bad, too, as Ps 51:5 and Jer 15:4 and Exodus 20:5 indicate.
Non-Traducianist View of Heb 7:9-10
Through Abraham, one might say (i.e. figuratively) Levi on this earth showed in his priestly role submission to Melchizedek through what Abraham did. Extrapolating earthly consequences to eternal guilt is uncalled for. Extrapolating an explicitly inherited priestly role to justify eternal torment for other's actions. Traducianists have to say why traducianism on a personal level is not true on a political level in Ezekiel 18. Traducianists do not just have an interpretation of Heb 7:9-10, but an extrapolation of Heb 7:9-10. When your extrapolation contradicts scripture in Ezekiel 18, you have to choose between your extrapolation and the word of God.
Points of Agreement
We all suffer the curse of Adam's sin. Either we all are guilty of Adam's sins or we are not. If we are, it is because God is just. If we are not, it is because God is just. Regardless of what Christians think about imputed guilt, we all agree that people will be judged on what is their own fault.
We not only needed God to save us from sin, we still need God to protect and preserve us from sin and its corruption. Be thankful to God not just for saving us, but for continuing to forgive us and hold our destiny in His hand.
Humans are Blamed for Adam's Guilt?
Part 4 of 5
A Core Misunderstanding of Calvinists
When Calvinists teach we are declared guilty for Adam's sinful actions, they deny Ezekiel 18 is a general principle of God's justice. They refuse to allow an interpretation of Rom 5:15-21 that our curse from Adam does not directly make us guilty, but rather brings the result that we are guilty.
1 Cor 15:20-21 clearly says that because of Adam "all die", but Calvinists often miss the point that it is silent about God saying people are culpable (i.e. eternally guilty) for Adam's sins.
On Romans 5:12, Douglas Moo (p.334-355) writes, "In a sense, it is true to say that Paul's concern in this verse, and throughout the passage, is not with original sin, but with 'original death' (e.g., Dun). Paul says nothing explicitly about how the sin of one man, Adam, has resulted in death for everyone; nor has he made clear the connection, if any, between Adam's sin (v.12a) and the sin of all people (v.12d). What he has made clear is that the causal nexus between sin and death, exhibited in the case of Adam, has repeated itself in the case of every human being."
What About Babies Who Die?
If people who hold to imputed guilt are wrong, and babies are not deserving to be tormented forever and ever in the lake of fire because of Adam's sin, then are they all saved? Here are a variety of speculations, and then what Scripture Bible says.
Calvinists have called Calvinism "refined Augustinianism." Augustine of Hippo taught that baptized babies who die go to heaven, and unbaptized babies go to hell. In hell, they receive only the "lightest of punishments." A cooler place in the Lake of Fire forever does not seem like much consolation, though.
A Calvinist can consistently say that God can choose to send all babies who die to the Lake of Fire. The babies are guilty of Adam's sin. Whatever God does is just, and if God were to do it, it would be just. — case closed.
The Calvinist preacher C. H. Spurgeon would strenuously disagree, though. He strongly taught that it is wrong to say that God does that, and that the Bible teaches that all babies who die go to heaven. The only trouble is, neither Spurgeon, nor anyone else for that matter, has shown scripture that actually says that.
The Calvinist Loraine Boettner, while believing also believing that, more readily acknowledges it is an opinion compatible with Scripture than what scripture explicitly says.
The Bible's answer is simple: God is fair. Scripture does not spell this out, except for possibly one verse, in 1 Samuel, where after David and Bathsheba's first child dies says, "I will go to him, but he will not return to me." This can mean that David will join him in heaven, or merely that David will join the child in "Sheol", the grave.
What about the severely mentally retarded? The answer seems obvious: God is fair. Whatever He can do with babies, He can do with the severely retarded.
So, God is fair. All who are saved are saved through Christ. If babies who die are saved, then some babies can go to heaven without being born again. Can God do that? People in the Old Testament were saved, through Jesus their awaited Messiah, without being born again. God can do whatever He wants!
What About Those Who Never Heard
All who are saved are saved through Jesus -John 14:6
All who reject Jesus will die in their sins -John 8:24
God does as He pleases.Mt20:15;Ps115:3;135:6;Rom9:20;Dn4:35
God is just and not unfair: 2 Th 1:6; 2 Pet 1:4,17; Heb 7:18; Ps 145:13; Rom 3:3; Jms 3:17; Heb 6:10; 12:23; Rom 2:11; 3:5-6;
Some were saved through Jesus who put all their hope in the true God, without having an opportunity to know the name "Jesus" Heb 9:9-10:8; Jn 8:56; Lk 2:29-31; 1 Tim 4:10; 1 Peter 1:10-12.
We Bear Adam's Curse and Consequences
Two definitions of original sin: 1) inherited nature and curses, and 2) imputed guilt. All believe 1 except for some heretics, such as Pelagius (c360-c420), Coelestius, and Julian of Eclanum. The following sections list people who believed each view of 2.
We Do Not Bear the Guilt of Adam's Sin
All of the pre-Nicene church fathers never spoke of us bearing the guilt of Adam's sin, even though they quoted from Rom 5.
Justin Martyr (135-165 A.D.) Athenagoras (~177 A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria (153-~220) Athanasius (leader at Nicea)
Gregory of Nyssa (335-394 p.349) Gregory of Nazianzus (p.349)
John Chrysostom (Matt Hom.28:3) Arnobius? (ca. 300 A.D.)
Conf. of the Society of Friends 1675 Basil (329-379 A.D.)
Andreas Karlstadt (Reformer) Thomas Helwy (gen. Baptist)
John Smyth (general Baptist) Dan Taylor (gen. Baptist)
Menno Simons Dirk Philips
Ulrich Zwingli & Zwinglians (Menschreck p.198)
John Wesley (worked with Whitfield) Conservative Methodists
Thomas Coke (1747-1814 Metho.) Francis Asbury (1745-1816)
Charles W. Carter Wolfgang Pannenberg
Johannes Wollebuis, Stuart Denney, Gore
Sanday-Headlam, Cranfield 2 Baruch 23:4; 48:42; 54:19
Church of the Nazarene Assemblies of God
Vast majority of Charismatics D.L. Moody?
Walter Connor (influential professor at SW Baptist Theo. Sem)
Christian & Missionary Alliance? Lyman Beecher (1775-1863)
Charles Ryrie (Basic Theology 1980 p.227-228)
R.V. Forster && V. Paul Marston (open theology error)
"The customary verdict, however, seems unjust to the Greek fathers, perhaps because it depends on the assumption that no theory of original sin holds water except the full-blown Latin one. It is imperative to get rid of this prejudice. Admittedly there is hardly a hint in the Greek fathers that mankind as a whole shares in Adam's guilt, i.e. his culpability. This partly explains their reluctance to speak of his legacy to us as sin, and of course makes their indulgent attitude to children dying unbaptized understandable. ...Again, their tendency is to view original sin as a wound inflicted on our nature." (J.N.D. Kelly Early Christian Doctrines p.350)
Athanasius believed we inherited a sin nature, "But Athanasius never hints that we participate in Adam's actual guilt, i.e. his moral culpability,..." (Kelly Early Christian Doctrines p.346-7)
"Helwys's understanding of predestination, except perhaps for the doctrine of the fall of humanity in Adam, is anti-Calvinist - in fact, typically Dutch Baptist. Any imputation of Adam's sin, or the natural effect of Adam's fall, is nullified with respect to salvation, since grace is granted to all, to choose for or against God. "(Calvin Augustine Pater Karlstadt as the Father of Baptist Movements, the Resurgence of Lay Protestantism p.267-268)
These also believed this, but this is no recommendation
Tatian ~Addr. 11 p.69-70 Cyril of Alexandria (p.372)
Cassian (Semi-Pelagian founder) Erasmus and north humanists
Reinhold Neihbur (neoorthodox) Most liberal Protestants
All Would Bear Guilt for Adam's Sin, but Christ's Prevenient Grace Canceled for All
H. Orton Wiley
Norm Geisler and Thomas Howe (When Critics Ask p.441)
Adam's Sin Imputed after We Choose to Sin
Millard Erickson (Christian Theology p.639) Dr. Honer, Dave Geisler, James P. Boyce (1827-1888) (Baptist theologian)
All Bear Guilt for Adam's Sin
Augustine of Hippo (believed unbaptized infants go to Hell)
Prosper of Aquitaine (390-463) Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274)
John Calvin, Guillaume Farel John Wycliffe?
Martin Bucer, John Knox, J. Vernon McGee
John Bunyan (1628-1688) B.B. Warfield (1851-1921)
John Owen (1616-1683) Loraine Boettner
A.A. Hodge (1823-1886) Charles Hodge (1797-1878)
C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) R.C. Sproul
Baptists (Original & some today) Westminster Confession
George Whitfield (worked with Wesley) Cocceius
Douglas Moo (tentatively, after a 42 page discussion)
Believers Bible Commentary
Bible Knowledge Commentary (Fed. Headship or Traducianism)
These also believed this, but this is no recommendation
Ambrose of Milan (340-397 A.D.) On the Mysteries 6 (p.321)
shows Adam's guilt removed after baptism by washing the feet.
Catechism of the Catholic Church Hypercalvinists, John Gill
Vincent of Lérins (~434 A.D. Semi-Pelagian) A.W. Pink
Theodore Beza (1519-1605) Heinrich Bullinger (1504-75)
Augustus Toplady (Wesley's critic) Council of Trent (1546 A.D.)
All Bear Guilt for Ancestral Sin
Eastern Orthodox Church A.H. Strong, Anselm
William G.T. Shedd (1820-94) Jonathan Edwards (1703-58)
Philip Melanchthon (should kill folks who differ) Martin Luther
The Importance of Translation
"Augustine understood e ph 'w ("because") as meaning "in whom," since the Latin mistranslated the Greek at this point. Accordingly, his understanding of the last clause in verse 12 was that we were actually "in Adam," and therefore Adam's sin was ours as well. But since his interpretation was dependent upon inaccurate translation, we must investigate the clause more closely. In particular, we must ask what is meant by "all men sinned." (Millard Erickson Christian Theology p.636)
The phrase "resulting in" in Thayer's A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament 20th printing 1979 (Zondervan) spends almost six pages discussing the Greek word (ei s). On p.183 he writes, "[Preposition] governing the Accusative, and denoting entrance into, or direction and limit: into, to, towards, for, among" It has a variety of uses, but Thayer classifies Rom 5:12 as Properly of Place. He says, "4. of the limit to which ; with acc. of place, as far as, even to : ... Lk 14:23 ; with [accusative plural] or pers. to, unto; Acts 23:15 ... Ro. v.12; xvi.10; 2 Co ix. 5 ... x.14." Just prior to this he writes "3. of motion (not into a place itself, but) in a vicinity of a place; where it may be rendered to, near, towards..." Examples include Mk 3:7, Jn 4:5;11:31,38;20:1,3. In Rom 5:8 (e i s) means unto, towards or one [Thayer p.184]. In Rom 5:12 and 15 (e i s) is equivalent to the Latin in and ad [Thayer p.186].
In conclusion, for verses 16 and 18, one can see why most major English translations (NKJV, NASB, NIV, and Wuest) render this as "resulting" or "bringing". This more precisely conveys the meaning than simply translating "to" as the KJV does.
"In the Greek St. Paul's text runs, "....so death passed to all men inasmuch as (epi) all sinned'; but the Old Latin version which Ambrosiaster used had the faulty translation '...in whom (in quo) all sinned'." (J.N.D. Kelly Early Christian Doctrines p.354.)
Curt Daniel's dissertation (p.242 5D), also mentions this error of translation. To me it is extremely significant that we have no N.T. Greek speaking Christians, and nobody else for 300 years, who taught that God chose to give us the guilt for Adam's crime.
Points All Believers Should Agree On
1. God is just. People may have varied opinions of justice, but God's justice is consistent with what He revealed in scripture.
2. We have all inherited a corrupt nature from Adam that guarantees we will sin and be worthy of condemnation.
3. A correct interpretation of Romans 5 harmonizes with Ezekiel 18, as well as with the rest of the Bible.
4. 100% of all sin is forgiven for those who believe.
5. If the reprobate can say Adam, and not them, are responsible for even part of their eternal suffering, then God's justice would be truly incomprehensible.
Humans are Blamed for Adam's Guilt?
Part 5 of 5
Once after the tests were returned in a chemical engineering Unit Operations course, the students complained about one question almost everyone missed, because that question was never covered in class. He never called our answers "correct", but he did not blame us either. The professor decided not to count off any points for missing that question He never taught us. Was that fair?
Is God fair, in that sense? Or, is God full of hatred for the lack truth and righteousness people not only never learned, but were never given the opportunity to learn or have? If God is not unfair in that way, then how does this square with Rom 5:12-13?
Romans 5:12-14 says "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned — 13(For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law." 14Nevertheless death reigned form Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come." (NKJV)
An expanded way of translating Rom 5:12 is this:
(Because of this/Therefore/Wherefore) (as/even as/just as), (through/through the intermediate agency of) one (man/human) (sin/offence) into/in/unto/to/resulting in) the (world/cosmos) entered, and through (sin/offence) death, (and/also) (thus/so/in this way/in like manner/likewise) (into/into/in/to/resulting in) all (men/humans/mankind) death (passed/spread/came), (because/ inasmuch as/on which?) (all/everyone) (sinned/missed the mark).
Death to all, because all sinned (5:12). Either: sin nature, we sinned in Adam, or sins of responsible adults (Moo p.339)
Because we all sin, that result demonstrates that death came to all men through Adam.-backward inferencing. (See Moo p.339)
Because of the cause (Adam), the result is that we (humanity) all sinned by participation with Adam. -backward reasoning.
Just as , except Rom 5:13 says we have no transgression, or guilt thereof. We still have the curse of death though. Rom 5:14.
Because of the cause (Adam), the result is that we (humanity) all continuously sin by an inherited nature. -backward reasoning.
While the cause of Adam's sin was NOT sinful nature, that is the cause of our sin is our sinful nature. (really the same as )
Because sin came through one man and death through sin, so death came to all men...
As demonstrated by the fact that all responsible adults sin. (Moo p.339)
Because all personally committed sinful acts.
Because all missed the mark and were born with a corrupt, sinful nature.
because all sinned. It is unspecified how, because Paul did not think it necessary to explain this here to the Christian readers.
Because we directly inherited Adam's sin through our parents transmission
Because God can choose to impute anyone's sins to anyone else, and God desired to impute Adam's actions to us.
Furthermore, God had to frame us for Adam's actions, or He could not frame Christ for our actions.
Romans 5:12 does not say how all sinned, but takes for granted that Christian readers already know all have sinned, and all have sin, as surely as they know that all died.
"Because of this, even as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death passed to all men, inasmuch as all sinned; for sin was in the world until Law, but sin is not charged where there is no law; but death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of Adam's transgression, who is a type of the coming One."
The Early Church Understandings of Romans 5:12-13
John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.): The great Christian teacher, preacher against evil, and taught in his exposition of the book of Romans on Rom 5:12, "As the best physicians always take great pains to discover the source of diseases, and go to the very fountain of the mischief, so doth the blessed Paul also. ... How, and in what way? He inquires. whence death came in, and how it prevailed. How then did death come in and prevail? 'Through the sin of one.' But what means, 'for that all have sinned?' This; he having once fallen, even they that had not eaten of the tree did from him, all of them, become mortal." John Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) vol.11 p.401)
"For if it is in sin that death hath its origin, but when there is no law, sin is not imputed, how came death to prevail? From whence it is clear, that it was not this sin, the transgression, that is, of the Law, but that of Adam's disobedience, which marred all things. Now what is the proof of this? The fact that even before the Law all died : for 'death reigned,' he says, 'from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned.'" (Chrysostom p.402 on Rom 5:12)
Athanasius (~330 A.D.) "nevertheless 'death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression;' and thus man remained mortal and corruptible as before, liable to the affections proper to their nature. (p.411)
Gregory Thaumaturgus (240-265 A.D.) ""Wherefore He says, 'Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' And this He said, not as holding before us any contest proper only to a God, but as showing our own flesh in its capacity to overcome suffering, and death, and corruption, in order that, as sin entered in to the world by flesh, and death came to reign by sin over all men, the sin in the flesh might also be condemned through the selfsame flesh in the likeness thereof;" Twelve Topics on the Faith (vol.6 p.52)
"Well, then, I say that since, as we have explained above, the law which was written naturally on men's hearts did not keep carefully by the memory of evil things, and since there was not a sufficiently established tradition among the elders, inasmuch as hostile oblivion always attached itself to the memory, and ... it easily came about that transgressions of the law engraved by nature did take place, and that through the violation of the commandments death obtained its kingship among men. For the race of men is of such a nature, that it needs to be ruled by God with a rod of iron. And so death triumphed and reigned with all its power on to Moses, even over those who had not sinned, in the way which we have explained; over sinners indeed, as these were its proper objects, and under subjection to it....
But after Moses had made his appearance, and had given the law to the children of Israel, and had brought into their memory all the requirements of the law, and all that it behooved men to observe and do under it, and when he delivered over to death only those who should transgress the law, then death was cut off from reigning over all men; for it reigned then over sinners alone, as the law said to it, 'Touch not those that keep my precepts." [In other words, death was judicial execution of sinners, not natural death.] Archelaus (277 A.D.) The Disputation with Manes vol.6 p.203)
Basil (329/330-379 A.D.) Prolegomena (speaking in general and not necessarily on Rom 5:12) "On the other hand, of the evils of hell the cause is not God, but ourselves. The origin and root of sin is what is in our own control and our free will." (Nicene & Post- Nicene Church Fathers Second Series vol. 8 p.lviii)
If Athanasius (298-373 A.D.), Chrysostom (392-407 A.D.) teach Rom 5:12 refers to death, nature, corruption, but not guilt or blame, and Gregory Thaumaturgus and Archelaus emphasize a sin is not imputed when we do not have the law against a sin, nobody can find any Greek speaking early Christian who taught differently. The earliest church father to write differently was Tertullian (200-220/240 A.D.), and he believed in traducianism. Ambrose (340-397), Augustine (400-430 A.D.), and Prosper of Aquitaine (390-463) believed that guilt was "traducianally" inherited from our parents by the sin of concupiscience.
Reverse Speaking in Tongues???
A key question is, while Romans 5:12 allows an interpretation that Adam's sin is imputed to us, does it require believing that Adam's sin is imputed to us. If you say it does require this, then either it really does, or else you are reading in it something that is not there.
If the early Greek speaking Christians, such as Athanasius, Chrysostom, Basil, Gregory Thaumaturgus, and Archelaus say the Greek means certain things, and 1,700 years later you say the Greek must require a different meaning, do you know of a single early Greek-speaking Christian that actually understood this verse in their native language the way you say the Greek requires that it has to be understood? If not, then do not try to say what Greek "requires" that it mean, unless you know New Testament Greek better than the early Christians!
(Note: Augustine knew Latin well, not Greek. In Confessions, Augustine wrote of his early dislike for Greek, which prevented him from developing overmuch in it.)
If not, then it sounds like you are saying God communicated in the Greek a doctrine no Greek-speaking Christian understood, but in a secret-code type of Greek that only non-Greek speakers could understand. That would be strange!
If true speaking in tongues is communicating to a listener in a foreign tongue a message the speaker and native listeners do not understand, then is this communicating in a known tongue a message the speakers of that language do not understand, but non-speakers of that language say the language requires it to mean?
The Professor Analogy
Suppose a student is about to fail a course in college. She goes to the professor later and says it is not fair for the professor to fail her; since she was not born with that knowledge, and she never got that knowledge from her parents either. "You are blaming me for something I am ignorant of", she says.
The professor thinks for a while, and says "Your bad grade shows you are guilty of two things." You are guilty of the effects of our ignorance, that is, your wrong answers, and you are guilty of the ignorance itself." The girl protests, "you are blaming me for being born in a state of ignorance." The professor responds, "I do not blame you for being born in an initial state of ignorance, but I blame you for never taking the opportunities you had to leave that state of ignorance. Even despite the homework you did not do, the lectures you missed, and the lectures you attended but slept through, if you had come to me during office hours and asked for help, I would have taken the extra time and helped you and taught you the knowledge you are so desperately lacking. I do not blame you for being born ignorant, but for choosing to remain ignorant."
Is God like that with sin? We have many sins (red X's on our work) in the test of life. We were born sinful; God understands that. That is no excuse though, for people have chosen to remain sinful and never gone to the professor begging for help.
God not only helps us, but seeing our abject dullness, mercifully allows us to skip the final, drop all our test scores, and instead do a special project. The project will be graded every bit as rigorously as the tests, but it is a group project, and Jesus is our partner. If we accept Jesus, in whom is all wisdom and knowledge, as our partner, and Jesus does all the work, we cannot go wrong.
Did you ever hear of the pre-Nicene Christians, or moderate Anabaptists, or Charismatics, or Methodists, or Baptists, or Bible-church Christians, torturing other people for their faith? - Never have I heard of that either. Systems that hold to original guilt, including Calvinism, Catholicism, and eastern Orthodoxy, find it too "easy" for humans to torture others. An extremely severe, but correct criticism of the theology of many (but not all) German Lutherans is that this theology could easily accommodate the torture and murder of the Jews for being Jewish. Equally severe of most theologies of being blamed for another's guilt is the ease at which they accommodate torturing and killing of other believers.
The Pre-Nicene church and Ezekiel 18
Ezekiel 18 referring to an individual
Clement of Rome (96/98 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 18:11,30 referring to a sinner. He also mentions the house of Israel. 1 Clement ch.8 p.7
Justin Martyr (135-165 A.D.) quotes Ezekiel 14:18,20 as by Ezekiel, directly followed by quoting Ezekiel 18:20. Dialogue with Trypho the Jew ch.40 p.269 (partial, does not specify individual)
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) teaches on Ezekiel 18 referring to the sinner in The Instructor book 1 ch.7 p.224. he also refers to Ezekiel 18 in The Instructor book 3 ch.12 p.292, Stromata ch.27 p.355, and Who is the Rich Man Who Shall be Saved ch.39 p.602.
Tertullian (200-240 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel 18 and the individual "sinner" in On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.9 p.532. He also refers to Ezekiel 18:23 in Tertullian Against Marcion book 2 ch.8 p.303.
Origen (224-254 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel 18:20 in Origen Against Celsus book 8 ch.40 p.654.
Cyprian of Carthage refers to the individual in Ezekiel 18 in Letters of Cyprian letter 51 ch.27 p.335-336.
Anonymous Treatise Against Novatian (250/4-256/7 A.D.) refers to Ezekiel 18 in ch.14 and 14 p.660 and 661. as well as ch.16 p.662. It mentions the "House of Israel" as well as the "sinner" in ch.18 p.663.
In the Treatise on Repentance Attributed to Cyprian p.593-594 it refers to Ezekiel 18 in the context of both the individual and nation.
Apostolic Constitutions (3rd-5th centuries) ch.12,14 p.400 refers to Ezekiel 18 in the context of both the individual and society.
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