Do Babies Sin?

One of the greatest joys of life is to look into the eyes of an infant and see the wonder and amazement of their innocence. The purity of thought is profound in every face of a baby. There is from their sounds the utterances of simplicity and beauty. A helplessness pervades their very existence as they depend solely upon others to care for them. So is the life of a baby and small infant.

We all share in this innocence in our own birth. The day of our birth is marked with joy by the family that we came to know as our own. The early days of our lives were spent in a world of mystery as our minds in adulthood can only reach so far back into our past. It is not possible for anyone to remember what their life was like at the age of one month or two months. Our memories do not serve that time in our lives because we did not possess a knowledge of who we were. The change that takes place in every heart is when we grow from infancy to childhood and beyond to adulthood. It is upon this change that we become accountable to God as we possess knowledge of certain things.

There are many in the religious world who teach that when a baby is born, he is sinful and corrupt. The rise of infant baptism is born from the ideals of a child being in sin and needing to be "baptized" to cleanse it from sin. Do babies sin? Do babies have a conscience of sinful acts? John writes the definition in 1 John 3:4 - "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness." Do babies commit lawlessness?

The first example of sin is found in Genesis. In the second chapter, God instructed man: "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (v16) God established a law and to disobey that law would be lawlessness or sin. In the third chapter, Adam and Eve disobeyed God when they took of the fruit and ate. (Genesis 3:6-8)

What Adam and Eve did was to disobey God. They were guilty of lawlessness because they broke the law of God. When this happened, certain things took place in the lives. Their "eyes were opened," they had a knowledge not possessed before, they knew they were naked and they hid from God. As sin is defined in this passage we also find the defining moment of accountability before God. This has not changed! In the life of every person, this process is the same.

When men speak of the "age of accountability", they refer to that time when men become accountable to God because of sin. This accountability is based upon knowledge. The tree forbidden by God was a tree of knowledge of good and evil. Babies do not possess that knowledge. They have no shame in nakedness and they do not fear God. (This is also true of those who have the mind of a child.) Without the knowledge of right and wrong, there is no accountability before God.

Romans 10:9-10 says, "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." If babies sin, how can they fulfill Romans 10:9-10? They cannot confess with their mouth and believe in their heart what they do not understand. Their hearts cannot believe righteousness without knowledge and their mouths cannot make confession unto salvation. To baptize a baby is no more than getting the head wet (infant baptism is not even baptism=immersion). Babies do not sin.

By Kent Heaton

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