Some religious groups teach that people inherit the guilt of sin through their ancestors. So, because Adam sinned, every baby is born "totally depraved" and is deserving of eternal punishment. Is this doctrine taught in the Bible?
In the first place, is it even possible to inherit the guilt of sin? Ezekiel 18:20 says: "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son." No, children are not guilty of sin simply because their parents have sinned. Babies cannot possibly be guilty of Adam's sin, for the simple reason that guilt cannot be inherited!
How then do we become guilty of sin? The passage also says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," and sin is transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4). So, a person is held guilty of sin, not because he inherits guilt from his parents, but because the person himself disobeys God.
Now notice 2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." Will we be judged for Adam's sin? No, we will be judged only for our own sins - the things we have done in our body. The only person who will be judged for Adam's sin is Adam.
What then is the condition of a baby before he personally has disobeyed God's law? Matthew 19:14 says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like little children. But if little children are totally depraved because they have inherited Adam's sin, then this would mean that the kingdom of heaven consists of people who are totally depraved! Surely this is not a true conclusion. The correct meaning is that kingdom of heaven belongs to people who are like little children because little children are innocent (Jeremiah 19:4).
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2017
To study more articles like this (syndicated for reproduction) visit our Bible study topics web site. This article is freely available to be reproduced in print or on a web site under the following conditions: (1) The article must be reproduced verbatim in total without any change in content, (2) the name of the author and web site addresses must be included (as in this trailer), (3) the use must be entirely non-commercial with no fee or financial charge of any kind to the readers. Click here for more information about our copyright guidelines.
Credit: Jonathunder distributed under Creative Commons GNU free documentation license
|Free audio MP3s
Bible study recordings
Links from other web sites to this page or to our home page
are welcome and encouraged:
www.gospelway.com The Gospel Way: Free Bible Study Online Materials & Guides
Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.