Ephesians 2:3 "among whom we also once conducted ourselves in the lust of the flesh,fulfilling the desires of the flesh & of the mind, & were by nature children of wrath,just as the others "(NKJV) Could it be in reference to the original sin of Adam & Eve?

  • "by nature" in biblical usage refers metaphorical to point stubbornness like we use reference of dogs' tail; or dog returning to filth; it does not refers to metaphysical nature. Being children of satan or wrath implies being natural evildoers; pagans were generally, naturally sinners; they are naturally expected to sin unlike Jews.
    – Michael16
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 11:42
  • talking about the phrase "children of wrath" not "by nature"@Michael Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 13:36
  • 1
    @collenndhlovu "By nature" is very relevant though. If in said "we were by analogy children of wrath" or "by force children of wrath" or "by happenstance children of wrath" it would greatly change you understanding. Its only a part of it but don't discard its importance either.
    – Joshua
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 15:18
  • children of wrath doesnt fit in the analogy of children of Adam for association with original sin. Original sin focus on the corrupt nature and/or inherited guilt of Adam's sin. Check many other ref on children of wrath/devil/perdition for the study. The phrase refers to the opposite of children of God.
    – Michael16
    Commented Sep 30, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    @Michael16 I was giving examples highlighting the grammatical importance that "nature" has modifying "children of wrath" not the meaning...
    – Joshua
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 21:46

5 Answers 5


Carson in his book Jesus the Son of God1, describes a translation issue that is probably at play here. We are usually not aware of it as modern translations mostly gloss over the issue. I'll Illustrate it:

  • Zech 4:11 Literally "sons of Oil" is translated "annointed ones".
  • 2 Kings 6:32 "son of a murderer" is translaed literally "murderer".
  • Job 41:28 "son of a bow" is translated as "arrows".
  • Prov 31:5 "sons of affliction" is translated "the afflicted".

And the phrase "son/children" of Belial is frequent in the Old testament, i.e. (See carson page 21).

  • Deut 13:13 "the children of Belial" is translated "troublemakers, worthless men"

In other words, Hebrew and Greek can describe the character of a person, using what in literal English appears to describe a family resembelence. In some cases its clear, i.e. No one is literally a son or child of Oil, or of a bow.

The greek here "τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆς", translated literally is 'children "by nature" of wrath'. So it is not even simply suggesting they are "children of wrath", but instead, it seems to me, to be suggesting that they are children with a nature that is characterised by wrath.

Can you assert from this that this "wrathy like nature" is the same nature of Adam? I don't believe this can be asserted from this mere three words. You have to infer it from the wider context of the book, the New Testament, and the bible as a whole.2

1: D. A. Carson, Jesus the Son of God, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012), 20-24.
2: It seems to me to be "children of wrath" has more of a future sense, i.e. "destined for destruction". A search for "of wrath" (ὀργῆς) in the NT returns 13 references to the coming judgement, and 1 reference where it used to suggest we should avoid "anger" (2 Tim 2:8)

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    you nailed it! "Wrathy"!
    – Ruminator
    Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 5:16


The “children of wrath” are BY NATURE the “adamah” (as stated from the beginning in Genesis) which is the earthy, unregenerate (if you will), natural man that does not have the Spirit of God within them.

The “others” are those in the outside world who behave only in the flesh (sowing after the flesh) as they do not have His Spirit within them to lead them to His life.

They are by nature the children of wrath as they do not work the righteousness of God as the wrath of man does not His righteousness. They are alienated from the life of God as they go about their earthly lives in the futility of their mind….the empty, carnal mind. The fleshly mind of the adamah only minds the things of the flesh and not of the Spirit...nor can it.

Ephesians 2: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

In the beginning, mankind did not have the Spirit of God within any man until God breathed into Adam’s “nostrils” (which can mean his “wrath”) the Breath of lives (the Spirit of God).

Adam was once a part of the adamah….by nature children of wrath…. but God took him and formed him from the dust of the adamah….meaining he was a humble man among the worldly, earthy adamah. God breathed into his "nostrils"....the wrath of man that does not do His righteousness....the Spirit.

Genesis 2: (7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Adam was the first natural man (taken from the adamah) to receive the Spirit of God within him which also made him a living soul. First the natural and then the spiritual came (a natural, earthy man became a living soul with the receiving of the Spirit of God).

He (Adam = red) was washed from the works of the flesh (the adamah...red ground)….washed from the red ground (washed from the works of the flesh done in man’s wrath). The mind of the Spirit is life and peace...not wrath.

The “adamah” only minds the things of the flesh but they that are after the Spirit mind the things of the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 KJV (5) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

The “adamah”…those of the carnal (fleshly) mind …. is not subject to the law of God…neither can it be as they do not have His Spirit.

Romans 8:7-9 KJV (7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

The “adamah” cannot please God because they do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in them.

(8) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Until the forming of Adam, no man could do the righteousness of God as there was no knowledge of God upon the earth among natural men as a “mist” or fog rose up from the earth and watered the whole faces (plural) of the adamah. The earthy man cannot understand without the preaching of the Spirit of God that breathes His life into others (who will hear) with living words.

The earthy adamah could not see…understand (the “mist” that covered their faces)…as there was no “Adam” (a man that has the Spirit of God) to work (teach/preach) the adamah. The wrath of man (nostrils) does not work the righteousness of God.

There was no works of God’s righteousness upon the earth for the LORD God had not caused it to “rain”….the teachings of God from heaven…upon the earth and there was not an “Adam” to work the adamah….teaching God’s words from Heaven that fall as “rain” upon this earth.

Genesis 2:5-7 KJV (5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. (6) But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. (7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Yet, Ephesians 2 speaks to those who had received His Spirit but were continuing to live after the flesh (as they were dead still in trespasses and sins). If we continue to live after the flesh, our mortal bodies shall die but if we continue to sow after the Spirit, we shall live…reaping the everlasting life of Jesus in this earth.

Ephesians 2:1-5 KJV (1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

They continued to walk according to the course of this world because they had listened to false prophets (those men who love to be first….the princes of this world) who came forth and deceived them with empty words (the power...deception... of the AIR...empty words that travel through the air) and led them away from the Way of righteousness. Their presence among us in accordance with the working of Satan.

From Ephesians 5:6: Let no one deceive you with empty words (the “power” to deceive us with empty words…empty sayings). Their words are empty… “air”...yet have power to deceive.

For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. We must not be partners with them….speaking their empty words (in the same breath or spirit). We must not sit together with them and approve of their sayings.

(2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The Ephesians still lived as the “adamah”….behaving in the lusts of the flesh…acting out of envy, strife, hatred of one another, wrath, etc. They still fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind even though they had His Spirit. This is what happens to us if we listen to the wrong people who lead us astray from the Way that leads to His life.

(3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God who is rich in mercy towards us gives us His knowledge through Christ so that we might be delivered from those who are leading us astray. We shall then get along with one another rather than fighting over (serving and worshipping) the handwritings of church dogmas which we once thought were right in our own minds.

(4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)


It concerns all those who follow the prince of the air via the self will that caused the first disobedience of GOD's Word, which occurred with Adam and Eve.

2 Kings 22:13-Go ye, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

There are so many examples that illustrate that all those who do not enter into Jesus (our Sanctuary, the perfect LIGHT and illustration of GOD's WAY) will be subject to GOD's Wrath. "entering into Jesus" is setting aside our will, for HIS (being humble)and accepting HIS Gospel as our Covenant with GOD, and striving to serve HIM. It is focusing our desire on HIM, and setting aside our desires for what the world offers us (riches/fame/power). The children of this world who set aside righteousness for lawlessness and disobedience [Eph.5:6; Col 3:60] to gain their desires will eventually suffer the fires of hell, and if they are here on earth when GOD is burning the tares they will suffer HIS Wrath here.

1 John 1:24-Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25-And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26-These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27-But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28-And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29-If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. John 3:36-He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

1 Thessalonians 1:10-And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

2 Chronicles 12:12-And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the LORD turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.

2 Chronicles 29:10-Now it is in mine heart to make a covenant with the LORD God of Israel, that his fierce wrath may turn away from us.

2 Chronicles 30:8-Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.

Matthew 3:7-But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Psalms 21:9-Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them (could this be the time of the Wrath of Vials let loose upon the earth?[Rev.14:16-19] Psalms 78:49-He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them. (could these "evil angels" set upon Egypt, also be let loose during the 5th and 6th trumpets in these end days?)

Proverbs 11:4-Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. Proverbs 11:23=The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

Isaiah 13:9-Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

ZEPH.1:14-The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 15-That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16-A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. 17-And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. 18-Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

Romans 1:18-For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Revelation 19:15-And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.


“...by nature children of wrath...” Paul writes to an adult audience. He reminds them of how they once lived; following after their human lusts and desires. Because of their “earthly” way of living, they were by nature “children of wrath”. This is understood in American English as “they naturally” incurred God’s wrath because like disobedient, undisciplined children they were self serving and indulgent. It is in no way a reference to “original sin”.

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    Reference to modern English usage of the translation word does not help us with regard to the original, in any case. But 'naturally' does not mean the same as 'by nature', idiomatically.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 18, 2020 at 15:39

Yes, "children of wrath" is a reference to those under the effects of original sin.

The concept of wrath is all over the Bible, and is most frequently discussed in the context of God's wrath towards "sinners." The prophets frequently speak of God's wrath towards those who ignored the prophets, and Paul frequently uses the term to describe the same, such as Romans 1:18: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness."

Now, modern scholarship generally regards the book of Ephesians as pseudo-Pauline--that is, it was written by someone influenced by Paul, but not by Paul himself. But the concepts written of here are solidly within Paul's thinking.

  • -1 You write "modern scholarship" as if to suggest all scholars think this way. This is incorrect
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 9:11
  • @james, I apologize if you find my answer distasteful, but that is the majority scholarly consensus. Please see bible-apologetics.com/history/ephesians.htm for just one example. Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 13:52
  • I guess it depends on how you count it. But ultimately, just becase someone writes similar things to two different groups, doesnt mean that one of them was written by someone else.
    – Jay
    Commented Oct 1, 2016 at 22:19

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