Concerning the Doctrine of the Nature of Man

The King James Version & The New Revised Standard Version

Copyright 2000; All scripture is Authorized King James Version, 1769 edition except where otherwise noted. This article may be copied and used without permission of the author, provided it is copied and used in its entirety

Note to the Reader The following verses were selected for comparison as they are commonly used to teach the doctrine concerning the nature of man. This comparison is for the purposes of demonstrating the fact that the ‘modern’ versions do not state the same thing as the King James Version, contrary to what many who support them claim. Briefly stated, the issue is not one of merely updating the language, nor is it an issue of ‘better’ texts. Rather, it is an issue of teaching an entirely different doctrine concerning the things of God. If we understand the import of this, then we will understand that they also teach a distortion of the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, if we do not understand our true nature, then we will assuredly not understand our real need for a Saviour, and will not turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in true repentance and faith. The sad and terrible part of this is that one will end up in Hell and not truly understand why until the day of Judgment at the Great White Throne. — Paul W. Davis

Verses Compared:  

  • Isaiah 64:6
  • Psalms 51:5
  • Deuteronomy 1:39
  • Romans 7:8-11

King James Version

Psalm 51:5

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Deuteronomy 1:39

Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

Romans 7:8-11

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

New Revised Standard Version

Psalms 51:5

Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.

Deuteronomy 1:39

And as for your little ones, who you thought would become booty, your children, who today do not yet know right from wrong, they shall enter there; to them will I give it, and they shall take possession of it.

Romans 7:8-11

But sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. Apart from the law sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died, and the very commandment that promised life, proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity in the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.

Isaiah 64:6

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Definitions Ordained — past tense of ordain: (1) To put in order, arrange. (4) To set up (something) to continue in a certain order; to establish or found by ordinance; to institute. Promised — past tense of promise: (1) To make promise of; to give verbal assurance of; to undertake or engage, by word or writing to another person, to do or refrain from (some specified act), or to give or bestow (some specified thing: usually to the benefit or advantage of the person concerned. Very — (1) Really or truly entitled to the name or designation; possessing the true character of the person or thing named; properly so called or designated; = True (2) With limitation(usually expressed by the or a possessive) to particular instances: The true or real; that is truly or properly entitled to the name. II(8) Used as an intensive, either to denote the inclusion or something regarded as extreme or exceptional, or to emphasize the exceptional prominence or some ordinary thing or feature. (9) Neither more nor less than (that expressed by the subject qualified); exactly that specified without qualification; = Sheer (d) The very thing, the thing exactly suitable or requisite. Commentary One of the concepts, or Scriptural principles and truths that must be understood for one to be born again is the nature of man. It is our nature to sin, and our subsequent actions that are in accordance with that nature, that is the cause of our guilt before God prior to salvation. Proper Scriptural doctrine plainly states that we have the problem of who we are; and who we are causes us to do what we do. In other words, we are born with a sin nature (Psalm 51:5). The Bible also teaches that children are not charged with sin because of their ignorance (Deut. 1:39 & Romans 7:8-11) and, that as soon as one becomes aware of the commandments (the age of accountability — Romans 7:8-11) that person immediately (because of the sin nature) rebels and transgresses and are now accounted sinners before the LORD God. Now the King James Version is very consistent in the above verses to the point of Isaiah 64:6 where we are all as an unclean thing (child or adult). This is not as it is in the New Revised Standard Version where it is written that we become like one who is unclean. To say that we “become” unclean is to ignore the fact of our inherited sin nature. This is just one of the many inconsistencies in this version. Further, if you examine Psalm 51:5 and Romans 7:8-11 it is apparent they are contradictory. When you look at these verses, look at them with an eye towards a doctrine and the verse support for it. I believe you will find it very difficult to use the verses in the NRSV for much of anything, let alone teaching about our nature and the results of it. Two additional items I would like to draw your attention to are the verb tense changes between the KJV and the NRSV, and the use of the word “very” in Romans 7:10 in the NRSV. As the verb tense changes are plain I will address the word ‘very’. The use of the word ‘very’ is quite strange in this context; for the whole passage speaks of the commandment in the general sense and not any particular commandment. The word ‘very’, when used directly with a subject such as the commandment denotes it as a singular, or specific thing. Furthermore, ‘ordained’ and ‘promised’ do not mean the same thing. This being the case, Romans 7:10 has a most different interpretation in the NRSV.

The Origin of Sin – briefly stated

While doing research on what various Christian denominations and groups believe about the origin of sin, I ran across the following article “Where Did Sin Come From?” which explored the question of the origin of sin. The summation of the article did not answer the question at all, but left the reader with the following questions:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions:

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin.
2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God.
3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is.
4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could.

I could not bear it, and emailed the webmaster with the following question:

Who wrote this nonsense? Give me a name please.

And listed the questions above. I then finished with the following statement:

This evidences a complete and total lack of understanding. Whoever wrote this, missed the mark.

The gentleman who wrote it answered back, and was gracious (considering my initial contact email) and stated that I had contested, but gave no reasons for disagreement. Moreover, he would be glad to address my concerns.

Fair enough. After all, had he been less than gracious, I would have deserved it. I thanked him for being gracious, and sent the following reply:

Sin has a cause, and that is transgression, which is brought about because of iniquity:

And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. (Jeremiah 33:8)

Iniquity leads to transgression, which immediately results in sin.

Iniquity is the property of being unequal in any of one’s ways:

Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  (Ezekiel 18:29-31)

When the LORD states that the ways of the people of Israel are unequal, and He then calls them to turn so iniquity will not be their ruin, He is defining what iniquity is. To help in our understanding, we can use the analogy of a math equation (which is an equality):

In thinking about equations: If we introduce into it any element that makes it unequal, what are our chances of making it equal if we don’t realize what we did? What are our chances of actually realizing we introduced an inequality? Moreover, if our understanding is not accurate because we perceive the equation wrongly (unequally — that is, not as it actually is), what are our chances of self-correction?

When a mistake is made working an equation, generally the person does not realize they erred, else they stop immediately and correct the error. However, the divergence with righteousness and iniquity here is that once a thought exists, it cannot be unthought or taken back. Since it is that the LORD judges the thoughts of the heart, once Lucifer had that one thought of being more glorious that the LORD on the throne, he committed an iniquity. Due to the very nature of inequality, he could not go back, nor find his way back.Because of this iniquity, pride arose, and Satan viewed himself to be better than the LORD God in numerous ways. Hence, he rebelled.

Now to look at righteousness: Being righteous is being equal in all one’s ways (which only the LORD God is):

Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.  (Psalms 98:9)

Here, like in Ezekiel, the LORD defines another term. Only in this case, it is righteousness. Putting the two together: Righteousness is the property of being equal in ALL one’s ways, and iniquity is the property of being unequal in ANY of one’s ways. It is of necessity true that if righteousness requires for all ways to be equal, that being (or becoming) unequal in any of one’s ways, means that one has iniquity. Moreover, like the math equation, being unequal in one part, spreads to every other part — and it grows.

Once one cannot perceive correctly because of being unequal (iniquity), the determination of what is the right thing to do is clouded and misperceived. It is easy to see then how we can transgress the bounds if we have difficulty perceiving where the bounds are. As soon as we transgress, we have missed the mark (sinned).

Briefly, to answer the final points you put forth in the article:

To answer our question, ‘Where did sin come from?’, we make the following conclusions: [My answers are in square brackets — italics for the web]

1. Although Lucifer spawned the first sin, he was not the creator of the concept of sin. [There is no “concept of sin.” Sin is not a concept. Rather, is a direct result of transgression (which is exceeding the bounds – thus missing the mark), which is brought about because of iniquity. Satan exercised iniquity because he thought in his heart that he was better than the LORD sitting on the throne he was covering (the descriptions of both the LORD and Satan are in the Scriptures, and that difference is significant). The “problem” is that the LORD gave both angels and men freewill and the ability to judge, but they were not given omniscience. Hence, perception and understanding were limited. Satan lost sight of who created him and gave him all that he had. To man, Satan is beyond genius. But he lost sight of the fact that he was GIVEN that. Just like his beauty and musical ability, his intelligence was given him by the LORD God. However, once he lost sight of that, it was a mere thought of the heart to become unequal – which slipped him into iniquity. Now Satan can never return from that, but only gets more and more unequal over time.]

2. The concept of sin has always been known to the all-knowing God. [No, the fact that creatures with free-will and the ability to judge, yet not having omniscience would have the potential to slip into iniquity, was known to the LORD God. Nevertheless, He chose to create them that way, and would deal with the consequences. The LORD God already knew what those consequences were, but He desired to create beings that would love Him of their own volition. The very nature of free-will, combined with the ability to judge, creates a situation in which the potential for iniquity exists. However, for love to be genuine, the will must be free, and to actually choose freely, one must be able to judge independently – that is, of oneself, given the facts to make a determination.]

3. Sin exists because—either it is a created concept of God brought about by God’s decrees, or, it has always co-existed as the eternal antithesis of everything that God is. [This is a false choice. We are to choose between the LORD God being the ultimate author of sin, or the core of Taoism? This is expressly man’s view, which lacks understanding of iniquity and righteousness.]

4. Sin could only experientially exist because, although God cannot sin, He made creatures who could. [Here you are closest to being right, but answer no questions. You would have to explain what you mean by “He made creatures who could.” How, and in what way?]

You are getting the essence of the doctrine. This is by no means extensive in addressing the ramifications of iniquity. But, it should briefly explain where sin came from. Of course, if you are of Calvinist or Reformed persuasion, you will likely reject everything I say.

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis