What Is The Original Sin? A Bible Study

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

What is original sin?  Did it start with Adam and Eve?  What does the Bible say is the origin of sin?  What does this mean to us today?

The First Sin of All

Before the foundation of the earth, angels existed and there was no sin in the entire universe, including heaven.  The angels were created in perfection but one angel wanted more.  The first sin in the entire universe was pride and it came from Satan, who may have been named Lucifer and he committed cosmic treason.  Isaiah 14:12 says of him How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!  This phrase sounds very similar to Jesus when He said, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18).  Remember that before Jesus came to earth as a babe, in His humanity, He was first in heaven and with the Father (John 1) so Jesus was surely an eye witness to when the Devil tried to overtake the very throne of God.  This may be what is written in Isaiah 14:13-14, when the prophet wrote, You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’”  He not only wanted to be “like the Most High” but he wanted to be the Most High. He wanted to sit on the throne of God in place of God.

We can not say with certainty but it appears that the Devil wanted to take over the throne of God and he seemed to have taken 1/3rd of the angels with him after his fall.  Revelation 12:3-4 speaks of a great red dragon, none other than Satan himself, writing thata great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. Then there arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him (Revelation 12:7-9).  It seems clear that the first sin in all of God’s creation was that of Satan and pride was the root of it, but this was not what is meant by original sin.  For that, we must go to the Garden.

In the Garden of Eden

Romans 5:12-14 seems to give us a clue as to what may be the origin or the original sin that spread thoroughly throughout all of mankind saying, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given [and] reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam. But how did this come from Adam?  Wasn’t it Eve that sinned first?  Let’s recount the story in the Garden.

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it" Genesis 2:17

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it” Genesis 2:17

We read in Genesis 3: 1a that the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.” The first thing Satan does is to question whether God actually knows what is best for them, sayingDid God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’ (Genesis 3:1b)?  Wait!  Satan, you are a liar!  God did not say that they could not eat of any tree in the Garden. He said that they could eat of any tree, any tree except from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  See how crafty the deceiver is?  Eve overreacted by saying that they could not even touch it (Genesis 3:3), because God did not say that either!  Here is where the unholy trifecta hits humanity; the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.  First Eve looked at the fruit and saw that it was good for food (Genesis 3:6) and that is the lust of the eyes.  Then she took of its fruit” (Genesis 3:6) and there was the lust of the flesh.  She did all of this with the intent to make her wise and be like God (Genesis 3:5-6) and that’s the pride of life.  What about Adam?  He was not deceived.  Eve was deceived but Adam went into sin with his eyes wide open!  He was not off somewhere tending the Garden, no, because Eve also gave some to her husband who was with her (Genesis 3:6).  Did you get that?  Adam was with her when this happened.  He didn’t speak up, he didn’t correct Satan, he didn’t believe God either, so don’t put all the blame on Eve.

After this, their eyes were opened and shame and guilt (and sin) entered a perfect world in the perfect Garden (Genesis 3:7) and thus the Tree of Life was cut off from mankind and they were banished from the Garden…and really, lost the opportunity for eternal life.  Don’t worry, God was prepared. He knew this would happen.  How do we know this?  Because from before the foundation of the world…the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 13:8). In fact,He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake (1 Peter 1:20).

Original Sin

This may be why Paul wrote in Romans 5:12-14 that just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given [and] reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam.”   Further, Paul writes that one trespass [Adam‘s] led to condemnation for all men…For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.  Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:18-21).

This seems clear to be the original sin that infected the rest of humanity.  Adam represents the federal head of all humans born since then and has continued to spread through the birth of every one that has ever been born.  Everyone that is except Jesus Christ who was not born of a human father but conceived by the Spirit of God, therefore He was born without sin and lived a sinless life.  This was the only way that He could pay for our sins.  Or as Paul wrote, as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous (Romans 5:19).  So we see that “by one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) the many (that would be all of humanity) were made sinners, [but] by one man’s obedience (Jesus Christ) the many (all that trust in Him) will be made righteous.”  Notice that Paul said “the many” and not all because sadly, not everyone will trust in Christ and receive eternal life.


We have no right to blame Adam or Eve because it is in our nature to sin.  We don’t have to teach children to steal cookies from the cookie jar, we don’t need to train them in how to lie and it is not necessary to show them how they are not to share.  No, sinning comes naturally but we can’t blame anyone but ourselves.  There is no Adam and Eve whispering into our ear to lie, cheat, steal, lust, or covet.  No, we don’t need any help in those areas.  We all have 3 enemies; the world, the flesh, and the Devil (and his dominions).  There may be more than 3, but that is enough to make it seem like an uphill battle for sure.  The good news is…well, the “good news!”

Before we had put our trust in Christ, we were separated from a holy God by our sins.  He cannot even look upon sin for He is that holy.  Until we see the bad news of our sin, we can never appreciate the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  While we were still enemies, He died for us and He became sin for us Who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  If you have not yet repented, confessed your sins, and placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then you are still a son of Adam or more precisely, a child of the Devil, however there is a new family into which you can be born.  If you are born twice, you’ll die once but if you’re only born once, you’ll die twice.  What I mean is that you must be born again, or “born from above” which is the literal translation of John 3:3. Some day all creation will sing a new song, You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9).  Yes, Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise (Revelation 5:12). Will you be there singing with those who are saved by the blood of this perfect Lamb of God?  My prayer is that you will.

Take a look at this related article all about Adam and Eve:

Adam and Eve Bible Story Summary

Reference – New International Version Bible (NIV) THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide, YouTube video “Revelation Song” by Kari Jobe

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