I'm trying to understand how accepting the idea of "being born a sinner" contrasts with "being born perfect"... because once someone has the mental capacity to understand that they aren't perfect then isn't the end goal the same?

It seems to me that both perspectives will have the person trying to do the "right" thing.

How does "being born a sinner" compare to "being born perfect" (in god's image) affect one's outlook on life and solving the problems of life (lust, greed, envy, etc)?

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    I don't think this question is particularly constructive for our site. Do any Christian groups hold that people are "born perfect"? If you know of such a group (and can point to that claim) it would really help make this question constructive. Nov 29, 2012 at 17:39
  • I'm going to have to agree with Jon here. At the moment this reads like a theoretical philosophy question rather than one about Christianity. Most Christian doctrine doesn't delve too deeply into theoretical realms of things that don't match our presuppositions. If you had a specific question about a particular Christian that believed in people being born perfect, that would certainly be on topic. Even if your question was "are there any", that might work. Otherwise contrasting two things, one of which doesn't really exist, doesn't seem like something we can do with good doctrinal support.
    – Caleb
    Nov 30, 2012 at 8:24
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    BTW, sorry this got closed as Not Constructive because the four voters before me agreed on that, but I think Off Topic might have been nearer the mark. In any case please understand a question closure isn't a death sentence, it's just a timeout and it can be re-opened if it is edited into shape. I'm sure our community will help you do that if you give us some idea what you are basing this on.
    – Caleb
    Nov 30, 2012 at 8:26

2 Answers 2


As Jeremiah says, the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things, who can know it?

Part of the point of the doctrine of original sin is that man is born so twisted that he is not fully capable of choosing right and wrong, even if our conscious and revealed law were somehow able to guide us correctly. Because we are unable to make a valid choice, God must reach out to sinners to give them the ability to choose him, whether that is ante previsa merita or post previsa merita.

This is why Christians must rely on grace. Christians (especially those who subscribe to total depravity) fundamentally find our sin condition to render us unable to perfect ourselves. We cry out to God who makes us perfect in our weakness, rather than assuming that we can save ourselves.


The issue here is not a matter of preference, but one of reality. If it were actually true that we were all born perfect, then we should certainly believe that. However, that is certainly not reality. Only a very few people ever believe they are perfect and were born that way, and that is not a sentiment shared by those around them.

So, the question could be reworded to ask, "Is it better to believe something that is true or to believe something that is false?" Indeed, the answer is that it is far better to believe what is true. It is true that we were all born sinners, so we should accept that truth and work from there.

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