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Do Babies Inherit the Guilt of Adam's Sin?

Do babies inherit guilt of adam's sin?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).

For more information about Calvinism, original sin, and inherited depravity, please visit our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/ and study our in-depth articles on those subjects. 

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2017;

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