Are Babies Born Sinners?
Mr. Guzik, I have recently been exposed to a teaching that denies “original sin” and even more so ABSOLUTELY denies the teaching of “imputed sin” this came about when the question was asked “Are babies born sinners?”
The belief they tend to hold is that babies are NOT born sinners but that (they, we) become sinners upon committing our first sin. I have always believed in original sin and that we also stand guilty “in” Adam as we also stand righteous “in” Jesus when we are born again. If I’m wrong, please clarify this for me and if I’m correct then is this teaching heresy? I don’t want to be led astray and I certainly don’t want to be a part of a ministry that is at the very least teaching things that are unbiblical. Thanks in advance!
Romans 5:12 tells us that we “all sinned” in Adam.
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
In addition, death is evidence that someone has been “under sin.” The fact that babies are subject to death – even in the womb before birth – shows that there is some sense in which babies are under sin.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
If person only becomes a sinner once they sin, we should remember that when we take a full definition of sin – anything that misses the mark, that falls short of the glory of God – then one could say that babies sin very early! Babies are really selfish, and don’t mind tormenting a mother with their demands until they get what they want.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
It is true that we are born with an Adamic nature, and that we sin because we are fundamentally sinners. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that God does not condemn individuals on the basis of having the Adamic nature alone – guilt under their own sins is the basis for judgment:
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (Revelation 20:13)
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
[Paul did not write, “Everyone born with a sinful nature falls short of the glory of God]
We have to ask the right question:
- Why are we sinners? Fundamentally, because we were born sinners, with a sin principle inherent in us, inherited from Adam and Eve.
- Why are people without Christ condemned? Not because of their inherited sin nature, but because of the sins they have committed.
One more thing: It’s right and fair for us to be made righteous by the work of another man (Jesus) only because we were made sinners by the work of another man (Adam).
Did Job’s 3 friends know that Satan went before God seeking Job’s demise?
I don’t know. There’s nothing in the text of the book of Job that tells us that either Job or his friends knew what was going on in the spiritual realm. We don’t know for sure if Job was the author of the book of Job, but if Job was its author, then maybe that was revealed to him later. But during the time Job went through his suffering, and certainly during his friends’ experiences, they did not know. And that was part of their presumption.
The friends of Job were good in the sympathy and the comfort that they offered Job, and in general, they had a proper moral perspective. They knew that calamity or crisis in a person’s life can often be connected back to sin, although not all the time, of course, or even most of the time. But they acted as if it was an absolute principle. They believed that Job’s calamity came upon him because of some particular sin. And that just wasn’t the case. So, they really didn’t serve Job or his need well.
No, they did not know what was happening behind the scenes.
When the Bible says “Adam,” was it referring to an individual or the human race as a whole?
The Hebrew word ‘adam’ means both the name of Adam and also the name of mankind. Context usually determines whether it’s speaking about Adam as an individual, or the human race as a whole. When Paul uses the term in Romans, he’s definitely speaking of Adam as an individual. And by the way, Paul very much believed that Adam was a real person. There was no symbolic Adam or metaphorical Adam for Paul. Adam was a real person, as far as both Paul and, more importantly, Jesus, were concerned.
I have great concern when anybody denies the validity of a historical Adam. This is something that’s been creeping into otherwise conservative and faithful people who really believe the Bible it’s written. More and more accommodation is being given to this idea that maybe Adam wasn’t an actual person, and was maybe just a metaphor. Friends, no. This is a very important idea. If Adam was not a real person, then Jesus was wrong, and the Holy Spirit who inspired Paul was wrong, because they present Adam as a real person, as an individual.
Can you explain what the 7 thunders in Revelation said?
The book of Revelation is comprised of revelations which the Apostle John received. In Revelation 10:4, John hears seven thunders, and is commanded not to write them down.
I think one thing which God wants to show us through this is the simple principle that we’re not going to understand everything prophetically. Friends, I believe in Bible prophecy; the Bible does have a lot of content in it that speaks of the future, and what’s going to happen in the future. The Bible is a prophetic book. It has a lot of predictive prophecy in it, but we need to be humble in our understanding of prophecy. I think that’s part of what God was communicating when He allowed John to see or hear something but forbade him to write it. Some things will just be left unexplained in prophecy. We really won’t know them until they happen.
It maybe there’s more significance to this verse than that, but I think at the very least it has that significance: to keep us humble about our understanding of prophecy.
Why was Manasseh considered a half tribe?
Was Manasseh considered a half-tribe because they were part of the tribe of Joseph along with Ephraim, or because part of their tribe decided to live east of the Jordan River and some on the west?
The tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half the tribe of Manasseh decided to settle on the eastern side of the Jordan River, in what is today the modern-day Kingdom of Jordan. The other half of the tribe of Manasseh settled on the western side of the Jordan River. We call Manasseh the half tribe because there were two halves that made up the whole. Ephraim is never called a half tribe. Ephraim is always understood to be a tribe just as it is.
Ephraim and Manasseh were counted as whole tribes, but in the land allotment upon entering the Promised Land, half of the tribe of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan River, and the other half of the tribe of Manasseh was on the western side of the Jordan River.
Can demons physically hurt humans?
Yes, they can. In thinking through the answer, the first thing I want to do is to view it through the biblical lens. There are stories of people being demon-possessed and being greatly harmed by demonic spirits that possess them. But to me, though a record of people’s experiences is meaningful, it’s not ultimately determinative. So, I go back to the Scriptures.
Think of the man mentioned in the three Synoptic Gospels, whom we know as the Gadarene demoniac. This man who was chained in the tombs of Gadara. The Bible tells us that this man used to harm himself. That was physical harm that was occasioned by demon possession.
There are just some strange things that seem to happen in the spiritual realm. I decided a long time ago that I don’t really need to have an explanation for every strange spiritual experience. There are going to be some spiritual experiences, and things that happen, about which all you can say is, “Wow, that’s strange. Wow, that was really out of the ordinary.” And that’s okay.
But on the biblical basis of the record concerning the Gadarene demoniac, we would say that, yes, it is possible for demons to physically hurt human beings.
In Job’s day, was it not known that Satan goes before the throne of God seeking our souls?
We have no way to answer that. Maybe people knew that sometimes that happens, or that Satan can have audience with God to talk about what’s happening on the earth. Maybe that was known among people, and maybe it wasn’t. But in the book of Job, we have no way to know. We have no indication that that’s what Job knew or thought of his particular situation.
I would expect that they did not have a very sophisticated understanding of the realm of the spirit in those early days of God’s revelation. When it comes to understanding the Old Testament and what they understood about the spiritual realm, I come back to this verse again and again: 2 Timothy 1:10 says that “Life and immortality came to light through the gospel” of Jesus Christ. In other words, we understand far more about life and immortality and the spiritual realm in the light of Jesus Christ.
What happens to someone who doesn’t know God then suddenly hears the word of God, like a Bible verse?
Well, that could simply be the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can communicate truth to people, and sometimes to people who don’t know that they’re seeking God yet. Think of what the Holy Spirit did to Saul of Tarsus, later known as the apostle Paul, when he was on the road to Damascus. Saul wasn’t seeking God at all. He was persecuting God. And yet God, in the person of Jesus Christ, spoke to him and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” So, yes, the Holy Spirit can reveal Himself. We long for the Spirit of God to reveal Himself to people.
James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is… good fruits.” Are these the same good fruits as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23?
James 3:17 – But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
I don’t know whether James had the fruit of the Spirit in mind when he wrote that, but I think the Holy Spirit had the fruit of the Spirit in mind. We believe that God used human authors, including their intelligence, personality, and thought processes, in bringing forth the Scriptures. But we also believe that the Holy Spirit was operating on a level which went beyond what the writers themselves understood.
I can’t tell you whether James was trying to make the connection with the fruit of the Spirit that were later mentioned. By all indication, James was one of the first books of the New Testament written. It was written before Galatians, which was one of Paul’s earliest letters. So, if James was probably written before Galatians, then James wasn’t anticipating that. Nevertheless, I think the Holy Spirit is making that connection, and I think it’s valid to connect those things.
Do you have any tips on reading through the difficult chapters of the Bible?
The advice I would give for reading some of these more difficult chapters of the Bible is this: if you have time, go deep. Make a deep study of them. Go to a commentary. Go to the Enduring Word Bible Commentary at enduringword.com or blb.org. Search online for David Guzik, or the Enduring Word Bible Commentary.
So, you could go deep, or you could try to just get the big principle. The big principle might be something like “God is a God of order,” or “God moves through real people” if you’re going through genealogies. In other words, unless you’re really going to take the time to dig deep, which there’s value in doing, don’t try to find some deep spiritual meaning in every other word. Just look for the big picture and draw an application from that.
From building instructions, like building the tabernacle, we can see that God is a God of order and organization. That’s a great thing for us to know and recognize and grasp. In the genealogies, we can remind ourselves that these things recorded in the Bible truly happened to real flesh and blood people this isn’t make-believe or fairy tales or stories.
Either determine that you’re going to dig deep, or you’re just going to draw a general principle from the expanded passage. Don’t get into the trap of feeling that you must find a deep meaning in every other verse. Sometimes the Bible communicates its important meaning to us in broad strokes, and it’s okay to approach it that way.
What qualifies as a graven image?
Within the second commandment, what qualifies as a graven image? I know we’re not to bow down to them, but we’re also not to make them. I just want to be careful in reference to art.
This is a question that Christians have answered quite differently throughout church history. There are people, both Christians and Jews, who to this day will not make a representation of Jesus Christ, because of course Jesus is God. They say it would be a violation of this command to make a graven image of God. Technically speaking, a graven image is something that is carved or engraved. But this principle is rightly applied to other arts as well.
Here’s the issue on which it turns. Some people have interpreted this as being two commands, the first command being, “Don’t make a graven image,” and the second being, “Don’t bow down to a graven image.” There are other people, with whom I tend to agree, who say that the idea is, “Don’t make an image to which people will bow down, for the purpose of people bowing down to it.” Do you see the distinction there? One would say, “No image of God whatsoever, and don’t worship any image.” The other one would say, “Don’t make an image for the purpose of, or likely to end up, being an object of worship. I believe that’s essentially one command.
In reference to art that we would make today, I think we have a responsibility to make art that doesn’t intend to be prayed toward, worshiped, or regarded as a true or real representation of the living God. Any artwork we create which depicts Deity in any way, including that of Jesus, should be done in a way that acknowledges that we’re only creating impressions, and not actual images.
You’ll have to decide whether this is two commands or one command? If it is two commands, then God is saying to make no representation of Him at all. If it’s one command, then He’s saying to make no representation with the purpose or likelihood of being bowed down to.
Were there any true believers before the Reformation?
I can answer that question very simply: Yes, of course. We believe there were true believers in the times of Jesus and the disciples, which obviously were before the Reformation. But God has always had His remnant. Even during terrible times when the church and the institutions of Christianity became very corrupt and were more active in turning people away from God than towards Him, God has always had His remnant.
There have been times when the institutional church has been more godly or less godly, more wicked or less wicked. But God has always had His people, His remnant in the earth. That’s something that we can count on. So yes, absolutely, positively – there were many true believers before the Reformation.
Can you explain the act of repentance towards others?
Can you explain the act of repentance towards others? Will God forgive pastors who abuse and never repent to their victims, and only to God?
This question really applies to a broader perspective. You’re asking about pastors who abuse and don’t repent toward their victims, but it could be true of any sin that somebody commits. The principle would be the same.
Repentance is the mark of a godly man or woman, yet we’re all in the process of being sanctified. If somebody greatly harmed somebody else, and did not repent of it, it would not necessarily mean that they weren’t saved. It would mean that they weren’t right with God at that point, and it would mean that there was definitely great work for them to do still. But it does not mean that they’re not going to heaven or that their own sins won’t be forgiven.
Every one of us who is born again as a child of God is a combination of saint and sinner. We are justified while, at the same time, sinners. That position should never be used as a justification for not caring about the sins we commit, or for not being committed to set things right. But we don’t earn our salvation through our repentance.
Now, a humble repentant heart is a definite indication of a godly man or woman. Some serious sanctification needs to be done in a believer who appears to be unrepentant. This question applies to the greater sense of forgiveness and repentance in general.
Are aliens real space creatures or just demons who trick people?
The Bible does not speak to this. I can give you my best guess, but I can’t give you a Bible answer to this question. I would be more inclined to believe that they’re demonic deceptions, but I can’t exclude the possibility of life on other planets. To me, demonic deception seems a more plausible explanation of what’s happening with claimed alien encounters. Let’s just leave it with that.
Do you believe Christians should live as free people but not with a cover of vice (1 Peter 2:16)?
We need to live our life before God with a sense of freedom. We’re not bound by the fear of man, the tyranny of death, or by bondage to sin. We are free men and women in Jesus Christ. Yet the freedom that we have in Christ does not give us any excuse to sin. We should do the very best we can to live godly and God-honoring lives, and to use our freedom with a godly purpose.
Jesus Christ has set you free, therefore use that freedom in a good and godly way. Christians are free in Christ, but we use that freedom in a way that brings glory to God.