May 18, 2011

Is evil hereditary? Can one be born evil?

Whether one can be born evil goes directly to the question of original sin, and whether one believes that a child can be born in sin, or already has sinned. As a believer in God, the Almighty Protector and Sustainer, one cannot believe this.

One’s first reaction would be that people are not born evil, but that an evil streak might be hereditary. The brain is the motherboard of your actions, and it can indeed be said that there might be a propensity that when a child has been mistreated or abused, for this side of his nature to make its debut. Being evil means having a tainted soul. How can this be true for an infant?

Evil is something that springs from a dark soul. It isn’t learned. A child who strangles a cat or a dog hasn’t learned to do this from a parent unless the whole family is tainted, which means that evil is hereditary and they are sick. And there is a difference between bad and evil. Bad is when you are no good. Evil is when you have that specific ingredient that can make you take someone’s life, and there is no one thing that can be done to redeem it.

Apartheid was evil. The Holocaust was evil. Hitler was evil because he gassed human beings to death. Adam’s son Abel killed his brother, Caine. Were they evil? Paying for the sins of generations past? Or was it possible that their actions stemmed from witnessing their parents’ banishment from the garden after eating an apple from a tree strictly forbidden by God and brought out man’s instinctive nature?

In the Bible, Psalm 51:5 states, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” If God gave man free will, how can this be so? An infant has not even had the chance to exercise free will. And this would be in conflict with predestination. If God knows the hour of your death, how does this mesh with free will? The best explanation would be that man is paying for Adam’s fall from grace, and that the words original sin should be replaced with ‘inherited sin’.

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