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Monday, May 09, 2016

Taking God's Position

And the debate rages on ... somewhere other than here. The question being debated over at Craig's blog is whether or not babies are sinners. Now, I'd love to explain what "he said" and how "he answered" and so on, but, hey, at last look there were over 100 comments and, frankly, I just don't have the patience. So here's what I intend to do. I intend to give an answer ... from Scripture. Oh, I know, I know, who cares about Scripture? I mean, "you got eyes, don't you?" It doesn't take a genius to recognize the "innocence of infants" and understand that the entire world sees babies as sinless little angels. But if I'm going to be true to God by being true to His Word, I'll have to form my opinion about this topic (as with so many others) from God's Word. Will that settle things? Well, obviously, no. But for those of you who, to use a colloquialism, "have ears to hear, let him hear." Are babies sinless?

It was interesting to me that a secular show, the National Geographic series, Brain Games, did an episode on lying. This secular, science-based (rather than theological) show made this startling claim. They claimed that scientists had documented babies as young as 6 months old lying. No, not lying down. Telling lies. They suggest humans are "born to lie". Hey, that wasn't me. That was them. I say that because, on one hand, that would certainly fly in the face of the whole "babies are innocent" position and, on the other, doesn't go as far as Scripture does on the question. Here's what the Bible says.
The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth. (Psa 58:3)
Sorry, NatGeo, apparently the Bible suggests that babies lie "from birth", not merely 6 months old.

And it only gets worse. David claimed, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psa 51:5) That's not a claim that his mother was sinning when he was conceived. It is a claim that he was in sin when he was conceived. The Bible says that just before the Flood, "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Gen 6:5) Note the superlatives. "Every intent." "Only evil." "Only evil continually." "Yes, but things got better after the Flood ... right?" After the Flood God Himself claims, "The intent of man's heart is evil from his youth." (Gen 8:21) "Oh, now, wait! That says 'youth'!" Nice try. The word refers to "infancy to adolescence" and is translated in Scripture as anything from "babe" on up to "lad" or "damsel". As in "not an adult." In agreement with the Psalms.

"Okay, now, hang on a minute. Are you saying that a little, one-day-old infant is actually performing sins?" Well, now, that would depend on how you define "sin", wouldn't it? Now, we could go to the dictionary, but, again, I'm working from a Bible basis here rather than pop culture, popular ideas, or popular philosophy. The Bible defines sin as "lawlessness" (1 John 3:4). Now that should get your attention. In this version, sin is not the bad things we do, but simply operating outside the law of God. Sin isn't necessarily intent to break the law, but a failure to conform to it. And while those who disagree with me on this will say, "It's hard to believe that a baby could break the law", I'd offer the reverse: It's hard to believe that a baby could conform to the law. Here, let's make it even easier. What is the single most important law? Easy, right? Love the Lord your God with all that you are (Matt 22:37-38). Is it your contention, then, that babies fresh from the womb are loving God with all they are?

"So," I can hear the next complaint, "you're saying that babies who die go to Hell." No, no I'm not. Here's what I'm saying. I'm saying that the Bible teaches that human beings are sinners from birth, that we are born spiritually dead (Eph 2:1-3), that the intent of the Natural Man from birth is only evil continually. I define that "evil" as a failure to conform to the law of God. I make no claim about the eternal condition of babies who die. I count on the justice and mercy of God on that point. I believe, pulling again at a scriptural point, that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Rom 9:15), and that "it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy." (Rom 9:16) I'm content to rest in His good pleasure on that point.

Do infants sin? The Bible says they do. But, of course, the Bible doesn't always take the popular position. I can only assume that it takes the truthful position because, after all, it is God's Word.

11 comments:

Bob said...

i will simply push the believer to the rail by asking, If God choose to send all baby's to hell, would he still be HOLY? for some reason we forget that born again people are called a "NEW Creature" as opposed to the OLD creature. Baby's are of the nature of the OLD creature.
they are not judged by what they do, but rather by the condition of their nature. it is only our noble sentiments at work when we assign an innocence to baby's that simply does not exist.
note that i am not talking about whether baby's are innocent with respect to the world, but rather i am noting that baby's are just as fallen in their nature as a full grown man, with respect to God.
at least we are not like the Walten's that eat their Young....

Stan said...

The very question David asked in comments under No Justice, No Peace. In other words, if God does X, regardless of what X is, will we say, "God is right all the time" or will we say, "Nope, God has failed to meet my version of justice"?

Stan said...

Dan Trabue, I'm sorry to discover your learning disability, and I will surely pray for you about that as with the rest. To repeat what I said before, neither I nor anyone else is reading your comments. When it tells me "Dan Trabue", I delete it without review. If you think you're communicating in some sense with me or anyone else by repeatedly trying to comment here, you're mistaken.

Bob said...

1 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand — 12 not from works but from the One who calls — she was told: The older will serve the younger.11 13 As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.12 14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 15 For He tells Moses:I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.13
16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort14 but on God who shows mercy

Stan said...

Just curious, Bob. The text you cut and pasted there was Rom 9:11-16. Got it. (Even referenced it in my post.) But there were some other numbers. I get the "1" at the beginning as half of the "11". But after "The older will serve the younger" there is an "11" and after the "I have hated Esau" there is a 12 and after "compassion" there is a "13" and after "effort" there is a "14". These are not verse numbers. What are they?

David said...

I've held back from saying it, but Bob, your writing is difficult to follow. Punctuation and grammar are not frivolous things we demand of students, but are helpful in the passing on of the written idea. It is often difficult to follow your comments. No offense intended.

Stan said...

Good thing we're not called to have the mind of Bob, right? :)

David said...

I don't want to be a Bob-fearing people.

Marshall Art said...

(You guys!:D)

Having been a part of that discussion, the points you have made have been made there as well. And the problem to a large extent is that neither Craig or I, to my recollection (not going to re-read all 118 comments) have dealt with what God intends to do with infants who die without receiving Christ. Don't know that Scripture actually deals with the issue, but concerns itself only with the fact that we are all born tainted by Adams's sin and as such are separated from God. I'd like to believe that God would not hold it against the small child who dies so young, especially having two siblings who lost children within the first three months of their young lives.

However, I'm also cool with the notion that God does not need a single one of us and as such, He is no less the epitome of love, justice and mercy even if I can't wrap my mind around possibilities that don't align with my personal sensibilities. He is the Supreme Being, after all, and not required to satisfy our demands.

Bob said...

yea, i know that i need to work on my grammar and punctuation. never been very good at expressing myself in a clear and coherent manner. i kind of jacked up the cut and paste tool when i plugged in the scripture verse. sorry for the mess. as for the use of comma's, semicolons and periods, they are overrated. i always thought that they should be interchangeable.

David, i will in the future, make every effort to be more considerate of your linguistic sensibilities, by insuring a more lucid, clear and concise extrapolation of my mindless meanderings. no really; thank you for your honesty.

David said...

I said better grammar and punctuation, not bigger words. I'm no English professor. ;)