Jesus Christ the Fiery Serpent

Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.


That sin comes into the world not by a series of individual falls but by the one historical fall implies, even though it does not specifically state, the reality and the doctrine of original sin. Original sin means that a nexus of sin embraces all people without exception. This is amply illustrated in the further story of the race. The murder of Abel follows almost at once, and wickedness increases so rapidly that it soon brings down the judgment of the flood (Gen 4:23; 6:1-6). Nor does the elimination of all but Noah's family basically change the situation, for sin is present there, too (Gen 9:20-24). The stories of Babel, Sodom, the Canaanites, and even of the family of Abraham, the children of Israel in the wilderness, and the settled people of the judges and the monarchy show that all people are constantly and persistently involved in sin. The prophetic literature is one long protest against the various forms of sin both against God and against neighbor. The psalmist recognizes both the sin of others (Ps 53) and his own sin (Ps 32; 51; 139:23), even from the point of conception (51:5 [MT 7]). That sin has become part of the very life and being of fallen humanity is clearly and forcefully stated in Gen 6:5; Jer 17:9; Prov 6:14.

The truth of the universality of sin, of the solidarity of the race in sin, is worked out most systematically in the NT, especially in Romans. Rom 1:18-3:19 is devoted to the shutting up of all ó Jews as well as Gentiles in sin. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23; cf. Isa 53:6). Carnal humanity cannot please God (Rom 8:5-8). Sin is a bondage to which all are subject (Chs. 6 f). By the trespass of one, sin has entered into the world, and with it condemnation and death (5:12-14). Quite apart from the guilt of individual sins, there is a universal guilt and condemnation in Adam out of which none can contract and from which there can be no pardon or deliverance except in Christ, the second and righteous Adam.

Many questions relating to original sin are not answered or even raised in the Bible. It does not state how original sin is transmitted, whether by hereditary taint, environment, or a recurrent fall. It does not state how individual sin is related to original sin, whether by necessary consequence, concurrence, or influence. It does not state what measure of guilt attaches to original sin if it stands alone, e.g., in the day-old baby who dies without committing actual sin of its own. It does not state in what form original sin persists in the regenerate, whether as sin that is guilty, sin that stands under pardon, or as no more than a scar or weakness that easily leads to sin.

Dogmatic theology has occupied itself with these questions, and many conflicting answers have been given. Traducianists have favored hereditary transmission. Pelagians have claimed that there is no original sin except in the sense that Adam's sin is an example that almost all people follow. Augustinians have insisted on a depravity of the race involving all in sin, guilt, and eternal punishment apart from God's gracious and sovereign work through Christ. Some Roman Catholics have taught that what is lost at the fall is supernatural virtue, and that the main element in original sin is the resulting weakness. Official Roman Catholicism has denied that there is any continuation of original sin in the true sense after baptism; only the combustible material of sin, not the actual fire, remains. Most of the positions advocated have to rely on systematic inference from Scripture rather than on direct exposition. On the other hand, there seems to be little room for doubt that, while the Bible does not even try to answer all these questions, it does teach that there is a real root of sin in addition to individual sins, that this cannot be identified merely with the power of influence or general environment, that there is a broader and deeper nexus of sin which none can escape, and that there is no true eradication of sin in this life even for believers.

It should be noted incidentally that sin is certainly linked to this mortal life but does not affect only one part of us, e.g., the body, as though a righteous mind or heart were contending with an unrighteous body. Paul certainly uses the word "flesh" for the dynamic principle of sin (cf. Gal 5:17). An ungodly walk is after the flesh (Rom 8:5).Sins are works of the flesh (Gal 5:19). A wicked life is a sowing to the flesh (Gal 6:8). But Paul in these passages is obviously not thinking merely of the body but of the whole of human life in sin and alienation from God. Thus the mind can be darkened and be a carnal mind. The will can be set toward evil as well as toward good. The heart is the source of unrighteousness, not the body (cf. Matt 15:19). In other words, the picture that emerges is that the total person is a sinner, and "flesh" is a convenient term for our sinful being in opposition to the Spirit. Thus Christ can actually come in the flesh, even in the likeness of sinful flesh, and yet be without sin. Christians can live in the flesh and yet not live after the flesh (2 Cor 10:3). The heart of flesh can be (in the OT) a good heart as opposed to the stony heart (Ezek 36:26; cf. 2 Cor 3:3).The corruption of original sin, while it may be summarized under the term "flesh," extends to the whole person in all aspects of the present life. It finds utterance not merely in acts of the body, but also in sins of motive, will, and thought.

Gen. {2:17} But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.( Original Sin ! )
The TREE of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil is the LAW. The Day man ate of this TREE he died. Ever sence then man was under the curse of the Law, which is the inability to keep the Law. Romans 3:19. This is the product of original sin.

GEN. {3:19} In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art,] and unto dust shalt thou return.

I Corinthians{15:22} For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. ( Original Sin ! )

GALATIANS {5:17} For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

MATT:{15:19} For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

Romans{5:12} Wherefore, 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: {5:13} (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. {5:14} Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. {5:15} But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. {5:16} And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. {5:17} For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) {5:18} Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. {5:19} For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. {5:20} Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: {5:21} That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.