Q. Is the sin nature passed by the man? I recently heard a sermon about the deity of Jesus and the virgin birth. The preacher said that in order for the sin nature to not reside in Jesus, he had to be born of a virgin. I think he was emphasizing that God was the Father and thus divine. But this question came to mind. Mary had a sin nature, so how is it that it wasn’t passed on to her child?
A. This is a question which to my mind has never been answered satisfactorily. But here’s what we know. Jesus was a sinless man. Speaking of the Lord, Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” He had an earthly mother but no earthly father.
Exodus 20:5 tells us, “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” In its narrowest interpretation, this verse could imply that only the father’s sins are inherited by the children.
Mary had an earthly father and inherited his sin nature, but Jesus had no earthly father and didn’t inherit Mary’s sin nature. The conclusion, although circumstantial, is that the sin nature passes through the father.