Sin is inherited from your father, not your mother.

In my last series exploring if Eve was guilty, I assumed that sin was inherited from your father, not your mother. I was questioned why I believed this? So, I started to think more about it. Here are three reasons why I assume sin transfers from our dads to us. These are speculative, I realize. But, thinking never hurt anyone! I’d be honored if you gave it some thought.

Before I start, my disclaimer once again:

My disclaimer

  • Neither gender is superior to the other. God judges character – heart motivation evidenced (to us) by persistent behavior. Assuming sin and death is inherited from males is in no way arguing the superiority of women. All have sinned. We are all God’s enemies without the mediation of His Son, and as Christians we are all co-heirs as siblings of Christ.
  • The more I study this topic, the deeeeeeper it goes. This is a simple nut shell.

Jesus did not have a human father.

This point, of course, is the most convincing. God promised the serpent that the woman’s Seed (not man’s) would crush his viper head. (Genesis 3:15) Jesus was born of a virgin according to the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.  Jesus was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, not a human father. (Matthew 1:18, 20) Galatians 4:4 says He was born of woman. He had no sin nature. (Hebrews 7:26, 4:15)  The virgin birth circumvented the transmission of sin to Jesus by an earthly father.

  • Side note about other suggestions: The Catholics solve the transmission of sin problem in a different way… by declaring Mary herself sinless. Others reject the transmission of sin entirely. They believe all children are born innocent. Jesus alone kept his pure state.

Circumcision is required for men, not women, to enter the Assembly of Israel.

Jewish fathers were required to cut the foreskin of their sons as a sign of the covenant Abraham made with God. If they didn’t, the sons were not allowed access to the benefits of the covenant and could not worship. He was cut off from his people and had broken God’s covenant. (Genesis 17:14) Adult male converts had to circumcise as well. Women and girl babies never received this physical restriction. (That’s why there were so many more female converts to Judaism!! Ya-ouch!) Females could access worship and the covenant as they were.

Colossians 2:11-14 tells us that circumcision is a picture of cutting off sinful flesh. Being uncircumcised is a picture of being dead in your sins. Uncircumcised men were not allowed to worship as a Jew. Why was this picture required in male flesh alone? Over the last few thousand years there have been a variety of answers from proposing the female counterpart of menstruation to reducing the male sex drive to chauvinism.

Some traditionalists argued that the circumcision of men indicate their social and religious primacy within the Jewish polity, and that the absence of circumcision from women betokens their second tier status…The egalitarian influence is modern. (Shayne J.D.Cohen, Why Aren’t Jewish Women Circumcised? pages 214-215.)

One reason could be that sin was inherited through the male seed, and circumcision acts as a symbol of cutting off the sinful flesh. Again, I’m not saying females are sinless. After all it takes a man to make a woman. But, Jewish women did not have this physical sign of sin to cut off since they didn’t pass the sin along. Both men and women need to have a spiritual circumcision of the heart to enter God’s family by grace through faith. Both Jews and Christians actually agree today that faith is necessary, not circumcision.

Death passed from Adam to Moses.

Romans 5:12-19 says one man brought death to the world because he broke God’s command. Verse 14 says death then passed from Adam to Moses. The context of Romans 5 is contrasting sinful man to the Righteous Man. I realize there could be a few explanations why men are mentioned here and not women. Adam and Moses could be the representative heads for their time. They both had direct dealing with God regarding the context of this chapter. And it could also be that inherited sin passed along through the man’s seed.

Wierdness

I admit, it is a little weird thinking in terms of sin transmitting through semen? Throw in Mitochondrial Eve and things get even more speculative! It was an interesting study, but can’t be proven as definitively “biblical.” Take away what you will if it helps your faith. Leave if it doesn’t.

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19 thoughts on “Sin is inherited from your father, not your mother.

    1. Anything is possible! You should hear my theories on why alien abductees complain their reproductive organs were experimented on. The truth is out there! But these things are just theories. Genesis 3:15 does say it would be the woman’s seed or offspring that defeats the serpent, so it isn’t necessary to do away with Mary’s part.

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  1. Another question: Could it be that males were the keepers of the covenant (beginning with Abraham, who the covenant began with), and thus had the added requirement of circumcision as a sign of the covenant – not as punishment or cleansing of sin?

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  2. Kay, Since I can agree with most of this I’ll comment. 🙂

    Here is where I agree. The covenant of works was made with Adam and not Eve. Though Adam and Eve both sinned and both men and women throughout generations received specific punishment for sin (sweat of brow and child bearing) Adam was said to break the covenant not Eve. Circumcision represented not a covenant of works, but of grace (See Abraham and the pot between the blood animals). Circumcision has many interpretations including the fact that circumcision was not invented by God, but was something certain tribes already did in that day. It was a culture act God redeemed for his purposes.

    But even if circumcision represented the “cutting” of the penis based on the curse of man I don’t see how this supports your perspective. It says the opposite. The idea of covenant of grace is not based on who sinned or who didn’t. If it were based on works then God would have dropped man as headship and failure and transfered the covenant over to women through Eve. Instead, God reinstitute the new covenant of grace through blood to the man.

    So I see it like this. The covenant of works was with the man as head and representative. He failed to do the works necessary and fell. Why was he blamed? Because Eve wasn’t the representative of the covenant, nor responsible for she or her family keeping it. Since the covenant was broken by the male head, the covenant of grace through blood was given to men as heads beginning with Abraham. Circumcision was the reminder of their failure and need for blood. If the woman was as pure as you say then God could simply have no covenant and bring the Messiah through Eve without any covenant at all. Instead, he still made the man the representative of the new covenant, hence headship is rearticulated clearly as a creation mandate and unchanged because of masculine sin.

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    1. Yes, I am quite familiar with this teaching.

      If the woman was as pure as you say then God could simply have no covenant and bring the Messiah through Eve without any covenant at all.

      This intrigues me. I’m going to think more about it. We presume there is a garden covenant since Adam is called a covenant breaker in Hosea and Romans. It isn’t detailed in Genesis like Abraham’s covenant is. So, we must presume this “Adamic” covenant. So, covenant headship is one theory to why Adam is called a covenant breaker. Another theory is that he broke the covenant and Eve didn’t. I believe there is as much or more evidence for Eve’s innocence than the necessity of a covenant head.

      For that matter, why can’t we say God did institute a covenant with Eve? If anything, Genesis 3:15 would lead me to believe in an “Evenic” Covenant since it is her offspring the promise is given to. And SHE is given a new name (living) not Adam. Another mark of covenant making, right? And you could say pain in childbirth is the sign of this covenant. 🙂 Its easy to create covenants, isn’t it? lol

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  3. So another way to say it is that men remain the head of the covenant and representative of their homes not because of their past good performance nor of their current ability or in any way superiority to their wives, but as a reminder of grace.

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    1. Under this hypothetical, since clones are really biological twins of their “parent,” they still bear the sin nature of their “grandfather.”

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  4. I disagree with certain points, but I won’t nitpick since you said up front it was speculative.

    But an interesting side note, there’s a Y-chromosome Adam who is the genetic ancestor of all living humans. (The counterpart of the mitochondrial Eve, though they lived many thousands of years apart). It’s rather intriguing, at least for non-fundamentalists who accept the possibility that God could have used directed evolution to create us. The fact that there’s exactly one type of DNA that only get passed on from each gender is awfully convenient. And the existence those two individuals doesn’t rule out the possibility of an earlier genetic Adam and Eve who are depicted in the creation story, which means there’s no inherent contradiction with the Bible.

    Okay, that’s the end of my science geek out.

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  5. Brent, you say: “The idea of covenant of grace is not based on who sinned or who didn’t. ”

    As I understand the gospel, grace is needed where there is sin. If God made a covenant of grace, he would have made it with sinners.

    Brent: “If it were based on works then God would have dropped man as headship and failure and transfered the covenant over to women through Eve.”

    Do you say God’s covenant was only for males? You say all his promises in the covenant was only for males?

    Do you have any Bible reason to believe women were not part of God’s covenant? I’d say, until you give bible reasons, that the covenent was with men and women, but only men needed to change their bodies before entering the covenant.

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  6. Brent said:

    “So another way to say it is that men remain the head of the covenant and representative of their homes not because of their past good performance nor of their current ability or in any way superiority to their wives, but as a reminder of grace.”

    I do not find this depiction of God’s plan to be very gracious at all to women. Why did God (supposedly) make the male the “head of the covenant and representative of their homes” in the first place? Maybe letting him stay there is grace to the man, but it is not grace to the woman.

    In fact, the whole “male headship” doctrine seems to me to render the good news, not very good news to women. We are not set free in Christ; we remain subjegated to man– and our subjegation, which before was earthly, becomes a spiritual subjegation as well, for it is brought into the New Covenant, which is of the spirit.

    “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation,” and “We regard no one any longer according to the flesh,” says 2 Cor 5. But male headship negates this, for the whole structure of the kingdom of God is perceived as based on who you are in the flesh– whether you are male or female.

    Not good news for women at all. And thus, I think, an incorrect depiction of the New Covenant creation.

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  7. Eve told the truth and told God she was lied to and tricked. Adam, if you look closely, actually blamed God when he said ” The woman that you gave me”. I think, when Adam knew what Eve had done, realized she was going to die. I think he reasoned that if Eve (who he loved dearly) was going to die he did not want to live, so he ate. By the time God was looking for them in the garden (they were hiding) Adam’s nature already showed his fallen nature. Yes, both sinned. All through the Bible there are examples of “degrees of sin”.

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  8. Good morning all,
    I happened to find this post while doing some research and decided to comment. Here is the way the Bible teaches (as explained by Martin R. DeHaan, M.D. (1891-1965))

    “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, BEFORE THEY CAME TOGETHER, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that WHICH IS CONCEIVED IN HER IS OF THE HOLY GHOST.” —Matthew 1:18-20

    “NOW all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is, God with us.” —Matthew 11:22-23
    THE VIRGIN BIRTH
    Passing strange, is it not, that with such a clear record anyone can deny that the BIBLE TEACHES THE VIRGIN BIRTH. We can understand how men can reject the Bible record, but how men can say that the Bible does not teach the VIRGIN BIRTH is beyond conception.
    The Bible teaches plainly that Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin Jewish mother by a supernatural insemination of the Holy Ghost, wholly and apart from any generation by a human father. This the Bible teaches so plainly that to the believer there is no doubt. The record cannot be mistaken by the enlightened and honest student of the Word.

    JESUS SINLESS
    The Bible teaches in addition that Jesus was a SINLESS man. While all men from Adam to this day are born with Adam’s sinful nature, and, therefore, are subject to the curse and eternal death, the Man Jesus was without sin and, therefore, DEATHLESS until He took the sin of others upon Himself and died THEIR death. Now while Jesus was of Adam’s race according to the flesh yet He did not inherit Adam’s nature. This alone will prove that sin is not transmitted through the flesh. It is transmitted through the blood and not the flesh, and even though Jesus was of the “Seed of David according to the flesh” this could not make him a sinner.

    God has made of ONE BLOOD ALL THE NATIONS of the earth. Sinful heredity is transmitted through the blood and not through the flesh. Even though Jesus, therefore, received His flesh, His body from a sinful race, He could still be sinless as long as not a drop blood of this sinful race entered His veins. God must find a way whereby Jesus could be perfectly human according to the flesh and yet not have the blood of sinful humanity. That was the problem solved by the virgin birth.

    ORIGIN OF THE BLOOD
    It is now definitely known that the blood which flows in an unborn babies arteries and veins is not derived from the mother but is produced within the body of the foetus itself only after the introduction of the male sperm. An unfertilized ovum can never develop blood since the female egg does not by itself contain the elements essential for the production of this blood. It is only after the male element has entered the ovum that blood can develop. As a very simple illustration of this, think of the egg of a hen. An unfertilized egg is just an ovum on a much larger scale than the human ovum. You may incubate this unfertilized hens egg but it will never develop. It will decay and become rotten, but no chick will result. Let that egg be fertilized by the introduction of the male sperm and incubation will bring to light the presence of LIFE IN THAT EGG. After a few hours it visibly develops. In a little while red streaks occur in the egg denoting the presence of Blood. This can never occur and does never occur until THE MALE SPERM HAS BEEN UNITED WITH THE FEMALE OVUM. The male element has added life to the egg. Life is in the blood according to scripture, for Moses says:
    “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Leviticus 17:11). “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof.” —Leviticus 17:14
    Since there is no life in the egg until the male sperm unites with it, and the life is in the blood, it follows that the male sperm is the source of the blood, the seed of life. Think it through.

    NO MOTHERS BLOOD
    For this very reason, it is unnecessary that a single drop of blood be given to the developing embryo in the womb of the mother. Such is the case according to science. The mother provides the foetus (the unborn developing infant) with the nutritive elements for the building of that little body in the secret of her bosom, but all the blood which forms in that little body is formed in the embryo itself and only as a result of the contribution of the male parent. From the time of conception to the time of birth of the infant not ONE SINGLE DROP OF BLOOD ever passes from mother to child. The placenta that mass of temporary tissue known better as “afterbirth,” forming the union between mother and child is so constructed that although all the soluble nutritive elements such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, salts, minerals and even antibodies pass freely from mother to child and the waste products of the child’s metabolism are passed back to the mothers circulation, no actual interchange of a single drop of blood ever occurs normally. All the blood which is in that child is produced within the child itself as a result of the introduction of the male sperm. The mother contributes no blood at all.

    TESTIMONY OF SCIENCE
    Now for the sake of some of the skeptics who may doubt these statements let me quote from a few reliable authorities. In Howell’s Textbook of Physiology, Second Edition, pages 885 and 886, I read:
    “For the purpose of understanding its general functions it is sufficient to recall that the placenta consists essentially of vascular chorionic papillae from the foetus (the unborn child) bathed in the large blood spaces of the decidual membrane of the mother. The fetal and maternal blood DO NOT COME INTO ACTUAL CONTACT. THEY ARE SEPARATED FROM EACH OTHER by the walls of the fetal blood vessels and the epithelial layers of the chorionic villae.”
    Or let me quote from Williams’ Practice of Obstetrics, Third Edition, page 133. Here I quote,
    “The fetal blood in the vessels of the chorionic villae AT NO TIME GAINS ACCESS TO THE MATERNAL BLOOD in the intervillous space, BEING SEPARATED FROM ONE ANOTHER by the double layer of chorionic epithelium.”
    And from page 136 of the same recognized textbook I quote,
    “Normally there is no communication between the fetal blood and the maternal blood.”
    Now for the benefit of those of you who may be nurses, let me quote from a textbook which is familiar to you. Quoting from “Nurse’s Handbook of Obstetrics” by Louise Zabriskie, R.N., Fifth Edition, page 75:
    “When the circulation of the blood begins in the embryo, it remains separate and distinct from that of the mother. All food and waste material which are interchanged between the embryo and the mother must pass through the blood vessel walls from one circulation to the other.”
    And from page 82 of the same book:
    “The foetus receives its nourishment and oxygen from the mothers blood into its own through the medium of the placenta. The fetal heart pumps blood through the arteries of the umbilical cord into the placental vessels, which, looping in and out of the uterine tissue and lying in close contact with the uterine vessels, permit a diffusion, through their walls, of waste products from child to mother and of nourishment and oxygen from mother to child. As has been said, this interchange is effected by the process of osmosis, and there is no direct mingling of the two blood currents. In other words, no maternal blood actually flows to the foetus, nor is there any direct fetal blood flow to the mother.”
    GOD’S WONDERFUL PROVISION
    How wonderfully God prepared for the virgin birth of His Son. When He created woman He made her so that no blood would be able to pass from her to her offspring. That blood is the result of the male. Since Adam was the federal head of the race, it is HIS BLOOD which transmits Adam’s Sin. In order to produce a sinless man and yet be the son of Adam, God must provide a way whereby that man would have a human body derived from Adam but have not a drop of Adam’s sinful blood. Right here is the scientific biological reason for the sinlessness of the Man Christ Jesus. Some have tried to answer the question, “How could He be sinless and yet born of a woman?” by making Mary the “Immaculate Virgin.” That, however, does not answer the question of how JESUS was sinless since it is through the male that the bloodline runs.

    Not only is this a scientific fact, but it is plainly taught in Scripture that Jesus partook of human flesh without Adam’s blood. In Hebrews 2:14 we read,
    “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood. He also himself likewise took part of the same…”
    You will notice that the children, that is the human children, are said to be partakers of FLESH and BLOOD, and then speaking of Jesus it says that He “himself likewise took part of the same.” The Word “took part” as applying to Christ is an entirely different word then “partakers” as applied to the children. In the margin of my Bible, I read the word translated “took part” implies “taking part in something outside one’s self.” The Greek word for partakers is “KOYNONEHO” and means “to share fully,” so that all of Adam’s children share fully in Adam’s flesh and blood. When we read that Jesus “took part of the same” the word is “METECHO” which means to take “part” but not all. The Children take both flesh and blood of Adam but Christ took only part, that is the flesh part, while the blood was the result of supernatural conception.
    Jesus was a perfect human being after the flesh. He was of the seed of David according to the flesh, but blood is that part of a man which is the divine addition. In the creation of man, Adam’s body was made from the dust of the earth, but God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Since life is in the blood, this act resulted in the formation of blood in Adam’s body, but the first Adam’s blood was corrupted and sin transmitted through it to all mankind. In the last Adam and the second man, new and divine and sinless blood was produced in a body that was the seed of Adam and by this resulted in the production of —
    DIVINE BLOOD
    Conception by the Holy Ghost then was the only way the Virgin Birth could be accomplished. Mary contributed the body of Jesus and He became the “seed of David according to the flesh.” The Holy Spirit contributed the Blood of Jesus. It was sinless blood. It was Divine blood. It is Precious Blood for there has never been any other like it. It is —

    INNOCENT BLOOD
    “I have betrayed the innocent blood” Judas confessed in Matthew 27:4. Our Lord was innocent. He became like unto us in all things — SIN only excepted. Like unto us with ONE EXCEPTION and that exception was that instead of a human father He was conceived by a DIVINE FATHER. As a result biologically, He had DIVINE BLOOD, SINLESS BLOOD. Because this blood is sinless it is —
    INCORRUPTIBLE BLOOD
    Sin made human blood corruptible. Soon after death, decay sets in, and it begins in the blood. That is why meat must be drained well of its blood. That is why embalmers place the embalming fluid in the blood. David said that Jesus’ body should “see no corruption.” Though He was dead three days and three nights, His body did not corrupt. Because He was sinless they could not put Him to death but instead He “laid down His life voluntarily that He might take it up again.” He arose by His own power because death had no claim in HIM except the claim of others’ sin, and when that was paid —
    “Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus, my Saviour,
    He tore the bars away, Jesus, My Lord.
    Up from the grave He arose,
    With a mighty triumph o’er His foes.”
    Sinner, have you received this Saviour and have you been washed in His PRECIOUS BLOOD? If not, you are still under the curse and the awful sentence of death. Why not accept HIM today and hear Him as he says:
    “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then being now JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” —Romans 5:8,9
    OH, RECEIVE HIS OFFER NOW!

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