Pelagianism is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid.

Hate Comes Naturally, Love Is Learned

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  • Hate Comes Naturally, Love Is Learned

    Timothy Hammons


    I know, my title is the opposite of the meme bouncing around the internet. As you can see, it says just the opposite and appeals to our emotions by showing two boys of different tribes hugging each other. Here, look at the photo.

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    It truly is a sweet photo. But the message it bears if false when compared to what the Bible tells us about human nature. In fact, the message of the meme is rooted in the belief that we are born “innocent” and then somehow have to learn to be evil. This view is known as semi-Pelagianism, meaning that we are born as empty slates and that we end up being whatever it is that we learn. Full-fledge Pelagianism is the belief that original sin does not taint us and that we are born good, without a sin nature.

    Anyone with children knows this to be false. We have to teach our children not to hit, not to be selfish, not to throw things at their siblings, not to wish them away, not to tell on them, not to push them down, not to take their toys, not to do all manner of mean things to people. Yes, our children can be truly wonderful at times, and we delight when we see the compassion they have for other children. It is truly refreshing. But these instances are rare, compared with the mass of instruction we have to give them to not grow up and be little monsters.

    Our children are not born innocent. They are sinful creatures who inherit the sinful nature from their parents. We see this truth being born out in the psalm David wrote after his incident with Bathsheba: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5). Being guided by the Spirit, he shows us that the problem we have as humans is that we have inherited our sin nature from our parents, who inherited their sin from their parents, so on and so on. This is confirmed in the New Testament by Paul: Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). And Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation… (Romans 5:18).

    Notice in Paul’s words that through the one offense of Adam, all have God’s condemnation resting upon them? He is not saying that we are born, then we sin, then we incur God’s condemnation, but it’s there before we sin at all. We are conceived in condemnation and we are not rescued from that condemnation until we believe in Jesus Christ, which leads to our sinful nature, and sins, being imputed to Christ on the cross, and His righteousness being imputed to us. That is the point of Paul’s letter to the Romans. However, in the midst of what He is saying, He is confirming David’s writings, showing our sin nature is passed from one generation to another. We are all conceived in sin, all are under God’s condemnation, all in need of God’s grace.

    There are no clean slates coming out of the womb. Each child, even though they are incapable of living out their sin nature, is born fallen and in need of grace. This is one of the reasons why I’m so opposed to abortion. Even the child not born is conceived as a sinner, and needs the gospel. Because of our emotions, we tend to think that God somehow forgives those who die in the grisly death of abortion, but Scripture does not support such a view and God has every right to deal with each child just as He has every right to deal with us as He sees fit. Can the Spirit move in the unborn and bring them the saving knowledge of Christ? He did so in the case of John the Baptist, but God is under no requirements to do so in every child in the womb. In fact, we see just the opposite. Just as it was grace in the case of John the Baptist, so too, is it grace for all others. Grace, by definition, is not something we deserve, earn, or have a right to. We deserve, earn and have a right to eternal damnation because of the condemnation we inherited from our parents. Grace is grace because through it, He rescues some for redemption.

    The point is, we are not born with an innate ability to love and do good. Scripture, and history, shows the exact opposite to be true. We need to reject the notion that our children are innocent, when Scripture declares it to be otherwise. So we pray to our Father in heaven that the LORD will redeem our children and save them. They need God’s grace just as much as we do.

    Another issue that many will try to counter this idea using Psalm 139, specifically verses 13-14: For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Some have tried to claim that this shows we do not have a sin nature, for how can something that is fearfully and wonderfully made be sinful at all? On the surface, it seems as though David is contradicting himself, but he is not. Psalm 51 is dealing with his sinful nature, and ours. Psalm 139 is dealing with the reality that we are all made by the hand of God in the womb’s of our mothers. One is dealing with who we are ontologically, the other with how it is that we came into being. While we are fearfully and wonderfully made, God has not removed our sin nature from us. This is not how He has chosen to save us from our sin nature. This would be salvation by conception. Scripture, and history, do not support such a view.

    We must be saved by One who was fearfully and wonderfully made without a sin nature. That is Jesus Christ, whom it is that Psalm 139 ultimately points to. Only Christ was made in the womb without sin, for He is God’s method of bringing about salvation for His people.

    Is it wonderful when we see children of different tribes playing together and loving one another? Absolutely. But let us not make the mistake of imputing a righteousness to them that they do not have. They need Christ, just as we do.

  • #2
    You're right. In fact, I'll bet whoever took this picture put fireworks in the back pockets of both kids and threatened to set them off and give them a hotfoot in the pocket if they don't hug each other for the photo. lol
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    • #3
      Thank you for this. Every time I see a nice and gentle child, I think to myself, "Why can't be my son like that? Why does he have to be so unruly and violent?" And from your post, I understood why. Like you said, it's our duty as parents to guide our children. They aren't born nice or even kind, it's up to us to teach them good manners and right conduct. It's our job to make them share what they have with other kids. It's our job to discipline them in the times that they misbehave. And we must believe that they aren't innately born with these good attitudes because it's up to us to hone them to be the good person that they can be.

      An aggressive child can grow up to become the gentlest person. And vice versa, a gentle child can grow up to become a violent person. It all depends on the parents and how they nurture these kids. And the more we show them aggressiveness or violence, the more that they become those as well.
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      • #4
        Interesting and informative post. I always thought it was the other way around but this makes sense.
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        • #5
          I really believe that HATE is taught, while loving others is innate. Nobody would look twice on someone different in color, no kid would think they are dangerous or anything, unless their parents told them so. The parents are the ones who are teaching them lessons in life, and sometimes they pass on their beliefs that would shape up what the child will grow up to be. That's the thing about parenting, you have a lot of responsibilities, as you have full control of what your children will think in the future, what they will believe, what their stance is when it comes to sensitive issues. Peers are, to a lesser extent, the same way, but if you have taught your child right, he would be able to differentiate what is right from wrong even when surrounded by peer pressure.
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          • #6
            While parental guidance plays an important part of our upbringing, each person is born with a unique personality. They can be molded to some degree, but parents have a limited amount of control over how the kid will turn out. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it." What does this mean, and what happens during that time varies greatly. In any family, it is up to the will of God ultimately as to how a child will turn out. We all deal treacherously from our youth: Isaiah 48:8 KJV We are not born innocent, then. We are born in condemnation: John 3:18 KJV We are not all children of God, but those who are of God and not of the Devil: Matthew 13:10-17 KJV, Matthew 13 in the parable of the wheat and the tares, and John 8:43-47 KJV.
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            • #7
              Personally I find that it is easier to hate than to love. All of my life I have been involved with church and have been taught that we are to love others. I have never been exposed to any teaching that it is right to hate, yet there are times when I feel a strong hatred for others. Because I believe the Bible and know that love is the right response I have usually be able to resist the temptation to express my hate but it is still there. Since no one has ever taught me to hate I can only conclude that the hate I experience comes from my sinful nature. Whatever love I have is the result of God working in my life.
              Clyde Herrin's Blog
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              • #8
                Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                Personally I find that it is easier to hate than to love. All of my life I have been involved with church and have been taught that we are to love others. I have never been exposed to any teaching that it is right to hate, yet there are times when I feel a strong hatred for others. Because I believe the Bible and know that love is the right response I have usually be able to resist the temptation to express my hate but it is still there. Since no one has ever taught me to hate I can only conclude that the hate I experience comes from my sinful nature. Whatever love I have is the result of God working in my life.
                May I suggest a "righteous" hatred with caution, brother Theo?

                Psalm 139:

                17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
                18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
                19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
                20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
                21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
                22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
                23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
                24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by William View Post

                  May I suggest a "righteous" hatred with caution, brother Theo?

                  Psalm 139:

                  A little off topic: Almost every Christian I know thinks that all anger is sinful. I strongly disagree. We should be angry at all sin. Sin distorts and destroys what God loves and has created.

                  Good thread, and good post.

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                  • #10
                    Hi William, I think the meme you quoted up there is specifically about racial hatred, not general venomous feelings in the heart. I don't think it says all children are loving all the time, just that they tend not to exhibit specifically racial hatred unless taught to do so by word or example.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by almostgreta View Post
                      Hi William, I think the meme you quoted up there is specifically about racial hatred, not general venomous feelings in the heart. I don't think it says all children are loving all the time, just that they tend not to exhibit specifically racial hatred unless taught to do so by word or example.
                      I'm sure that was the meme maker's intent, but if it was two white kids or two black kids would you think differently? Tim disregarded contrasting any hateful or loving reasoning, and whether that reasoning was rational prejudice, tis why I believe Tim chose very young children and a popular meme at the time.

                      Whether a child is sinful or hateful naturally, one just needs to observe any child observing another child playing with a shiny new toy. Unless the child is taught, the child will throw a tantrum or even go and take the other child's toy away if left unchecked. Even a new born infant will grab at the shiny new watch while being lovingly held. The child will cry and throw a tantrum until he/she receives what they want. If that child had the full faculties and resources of an adult, you'd probably observe another murder. There'd be a dead person on the ground and another with a new toy or watch! That is, if it wasn't for the loving grace holding the child back gently dissuading them from grabbing at things.

                      God bless,
                      William
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                      • #12
                        I have to disagree with you about child sinfulness, though. Very young children are developmentally egotistical but they literally do not know, when they do wrong, that they are doing wrong. That's why they have adults to teach them. I don't think a very young child who grabs another child's toy is sinning, they're just curious and intrigued. Of course we have to teach them to moderate their behavior, but I'm more Eastern Orthodox on the subject of babies and young children.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by almostgreta View Post
                          I have to disagree with you about child sinfulness, though. Very young children are developmentally egotistical but they literally do not know, when they do wrong, that they are doing wrong. That's why they have adults to teach them. I don't think a very young child who grabs another child's toy is sinning, they're just curious and intrigued. Of course we have to teach them to moderate their behavior, but I'm more Eastern Orthodox on the subject of babies and young children.
                          Hi almostgreta,

                          So do you reject any inherent sin nature from Adam? Is it your position that man is not inherently sinful and only in need of a good teacher?

                          I realize you commented on the OP meme, but was just curious whether you actually read the article and are familiar with Pelagianism/Semi-Pelagianism?

                          God bless,
                          William
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                          • #14
                            It's a tough one for me. I do know that the church teaches original sin and that babies need to be baptized to be rescued from original sin. But I think once that happens, children don't really start sinning until they're at the age of reason. And even then, their sins are not like adult sins. I think anything other than that could lead to children being blamed for things like being abused, because people can say, "Well, they were sinful by nature, after all, so they're partly responsible." They're not. I don't think they are sinful in the sense that adults are.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by almostgreta View Post
                              It's a tough one for me. I do know that the church teaches original sin and that babies need to be baptized to be rescued from original sin. But I think once that happens, children don't really start sinning until they're at the age of reason. And even then, their sins are not like adult sins. I think anything other than that could lead to children being blamed for things like being abused, because people can say, "Well, they were sinful by nature, after all, so they're partly responsible." They're not. I don't think they are sinful in the sense that adults are.
                              Question: are you a parent? The reason I ask is I am a parent, of 6 currently, and I can tell you kids are able to start sinning as early as a year and a half. Sometimes even earlier. You just have to be able to spot the behavior. The moment you notice a personality developing is when they start testing boundaries/limits.
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