With the many different worldview and belief systems dominating our world, there is bound to be some similarities between religions.
This can become confusing no matter what background you come from or which religion you set out to explore.
You may find yourself asking questions like: do Jews believe in original sin?
No, Those who practice the teachings of Judaism do not subscribe to the doctrine of original sin, meaning they don’t believe that sinful nature is hereditary and passed down to all mankind through the original man, Adam.
However, some Jewish people do believe in original sin after converting to Christianity, embracing the teachings of the Biblical New Testament.
Because both the major world religions of Christianity and Judaism claim to follow the teachings of the same Biblical God, it can be confusing to understand where their beliefs are different, especially when it comes to original sin.
In this article, we’ll go over what original sin is, whether or not Jews believe in it, and answers to similar frequently asked questions!
What is the Teaching of Original Sin?
The answer to this question is incredibly important to understand in order to grasp why those who follow Judaism do not believe in original sin.
Let’s take a look at what original sin is before figuring out the why behind religious beliefs.
First, we must answer the following questions:
- What is sin? – Sin can be described as any transgression of God’s law. It is set out in the Bible in both the Old Testament or Torah and the New Testament as a type of rebellion against the way God intends or commands for the world to be.
- What was the first sin? – When talking about the teaching of “original sin” it is important to know what the very first sin was. According to Genesis chapter 3 of the Bible, the first created man, Adam, sinned with his wife Eve by rebelling against God’s command.
- What is original sin? – Original sin isn’t referring to Adam’s first sin, but rather, the affect that it has on the rest of mankind. In many aspects of Christian teaching, such as the letters of the Apostle Paul to the Roman churches, it is taught that the sin of Adam was passed to all mankind as a nature that habitually rebels and cannot please God.
Original sin is taught in the Biblical passage of Romans 5, verse 12: “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
Another passage, this time of the Old Testament, which seems to support the doctrine of original sin, is a Psalm written by Jewish King David: “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
Both of these passages suggest that after the original sin at the beginning of time, all mankind fell under a curse to eternally displease God by disobedience.
Though Christians believe that only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ can mankind be restored to a right relationship with God, Judaism does not subscribe to the doctrine of original sin in the first place.
What do Jews Believe About Original Sin?
Jewish people who subscribe to Judaism do not typically believe in original sin.
Although there are five main branches of the faith, the traditional religion only adheres to the teachings of the Torah.
The Torah is otherwise known as the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Throughout the centuries, Jewish people who hold to the beliefs of Judaism have disagreed with the later teachings of the Apostle Paul on original sin, as well as interpreting the passage of Psalm that seems to describe original sin differently.
According to Jews for Judaism.org, those who practice Judaism do not believe that mankind will continue to displease God by nature without a Savior.
Instead, they believe that God will overlook the sins of a human who repents and tries to do better.
Though this contradicts most of the ideas held forth in the New Testament and even, some scholars argue, several in the Torah itself, it is official: Jews who subscribe to Judaism do not believe in original sin.
In conclusion, original sin is the belief that all mankind inherited nature to break God’s law and any relationship with God from Adam’s first transgression.
This belief is taken from the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul and even some of the passages of the book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Christians believe that a Savior in Christ is needed to negate the effects of original sin.
However, Jews who practice Judaism do not believe that original sin is Biblical and instead believe that repentance and good works are all that is needed to master sin and earn God’s favor.