Why does Psalm 51:5 say we are conceived in sin?

If sex between a husband and wife is not a sin, then why/how are we conceived in sin?

Psalms 51:5

ESV - 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Clarify Share Report Asked April 30 2017 Newme Susan Jeavons

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Q jcryle001 JD Abshire
I believe the psalmist is referring to the moment of conception, the point at which the egg is fertilized and a new life has begun. 

"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:" (Romans 5:12)

So, we are not sinners because we sin but sin because we are sinners. ALL of humanity (except the Lord Jesus) are born with a sin nature. 

The psalmist also wrote:
"The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." (Psalms 58:3) I have 9 "darling" grandchildren and from first-hand experience can wholeheartedly say, AMEN!

May 01 2017 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Aurel Gheorghe
Bible scholars and philosophers have debated the meaning of Psalm 51:5 for centuries and conflicting conclusion and doctrines resulted from these debates. 

Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) believed that Adam’s sin is being transmitted by lustful desires from generation to generations; however, more important is what the Bible teaches and the context of these teachings. 

We know that Psalm 51 is part of the so called Penitential Psalms that include Psalm 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143. In Psalm 51, David expresses deep sorrow for his sins and asks God for forgiveness and guidance. It is believed that David wrote Psalm 51 soon after his adulterous encounter with Bathsheba and verse five contain language figurative in nature, supposedly expressed by a child conceived by that illicit affair (2 Samuel 11:5), and thus the sinfulness is attributed to this particular encounter. 

There is little Bible evidence to indicate that sexual intercourse between married couples or the act of conception is sinful.

May 02 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
Psalm 51:5 is often cited as a verse defending the teaching that says man is born in sin. Supposedly, Adam disobeyed, and sin was transmitted from generation to generation. Thus, all are born sinners.

However, this concept is not in the Bible. No one is born a sinner or inherits a sinful nature. No one is charged for anyone else’s sins, whether an immediate or the remotest ancestor as Adam. Instead, each person is responsible for his own sins, II Kings 14:5-6, Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 14:12, Colossians 3:25. This does not mean that sins will not affect future generations, Exodus 34:6-7. 

Romans 5:12 says that by Adam’s disobedience, sin entered into the world. But this verse does not say that the sin nature is transmitted by heredity. Instead, when sin entered the world, the result was death which was passed upon all men, I Corinthians 15:21-22, James 1:14-15. 

When sin entered into the world, the world became the environment for sin to flourish. The world, flesh, and the devil influence, tempt and control every person, Ephesians 2:1-3, who has to choose whether to yield to sin or not. Only the Lord Jesus did not yield to temptation. But otherwise, the verdict is that all capable of sinning are guilty of having sinned.

A person becomes a sinner when he commits a sin. To sin is to go astray, transgress, trespass, err, or to miss the mark. The point is that sin is not a state of being but an action. It is not said that everyone is a sinner, but that all have sinned, Romans 3:23, I Kings 8:46. But to commit a sin, one must be at the age to discern right from wrong, Deuteronomy 1:39, Isaiah 7:15-16, Jonah 4:11. 

Each person starts with a clean slate as Adam did with a spirit given by God, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and living in a state of innocence in the Garden of Eden. The Scriptures indicate infants and children are considered pure and innocent, Matthew 18:3, 19:14, I Corinthians 14:20. To think that babies are born depraved must mean they are doomed to hell which is unthinkable.

Psalm 51 is David’s confession of his sin with Bathsheba, II Samuel 11. The psalm is his acknowledgement of having transgressed and sinned against His God. Psalm 51:5 seems to suggest conception in sin, but David, speaking only of himself, not about mankind, expressed the deep sense of his depraved actions. It was as if his sinfulness stemmed back to early in his life. In contrast, Psalm 22:10 suggests David trusting God early in life. Psalm 58:3 is also figurative of evil cropping up as soon as birth took place. Poetic figurative passages do not make a good foundation for doctrine. 

David was speaking figuratively about the gravity of the sin he had committed, as if he had been affected and shaped to be a sinner from the womb. His utterances in Psalm 51:5 do not teach that man is conceived in sin.

November 29 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
At the time of David (c.1000 BC) the iniquity of the fathers would be passed on down to the third or fourth generation (Ex 34:6-7, Deut 5:8-10, Lev 26:39). This didn't mean that a son would be actually punished by the king or others because of a known sin of the father (Deut 4:16, 2 Kings 14:6). This hereditary curse of iniquity was nullified later in Ezek 18:20. The Jews have never believed in the Christian doctrine of original sin.

David's mother's sin is unclear because of the couplet nature of the verse, and also because David may not have clearly distinguished between sin and iniquity, as many verses in the bible also don't. Perhaps it can be understood that iniquity refers to an inherent propensity to sin, not a particular sin and its required punishment. Iniquity or wickedness becomes clear because of known sins. The sin mentioned here may have had nothing to do with the mother, but sin within the household of the father or his forefathers, which would form the basis for hereditary iniquity.

In any event, there was no sin involved in sex between husband and wife, although they were both considered unclean until evening (Lev 15:18), and a mother giving birth to a child was considered unclean for a certain period of time (Lev 12:2-5) under Mosaic law.

May 02 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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