Are Babies Born Good? (Y1.T1.D6)
Updated: Feb 21
Babies can’t be “good” because the definition of the noun "good" means “behavior that is morally right or acceptable,” and babies aren’t equipped to do much. As they grow, like all humankind, they “do” good or bad things; however, as Solomon wisely stated, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and doesn’t sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
This includes new humans. Upon birth, babies are precious and innocent, but they are not born good.
A Scientific American article titled “Are People Naturally Inclined to Cooperate or Be Selfish?” presents evidence that “human nature supports both prosocial and selfish traits.”
Now, you might be wondering why it matters. Why do we have to confirm or deny the existence of innate goodness? Because it correlates to how we see God.
Every religion believes in an afterlife. Each doctrine—except for Christianity—believes “good people” go to the “good place” (i.e., heaven, nirvana, self-enlightenment) and “bad people” go to the “bad place” (i.e., hell, negative reincarnation, spiritual ignorance).
On the other hand, Christianity begins with acknowledging our innate selfishness and therefore a need for a God who saves. If we are already good, we do not need a Savior. In the Christian faith, “believers” (people who accept the sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross) go to heaven, and those who reject God’s love go to hell.
Does that mean babies are going to hell? God forbid. He's too loving to do that.
Babies are born with both the desire to please themselves and a longing to experience unconditional love. But when we grow beyond innocence, moral guidelines are required. And without self-sacrifice and unconditional love, both this life and the next will be miserable.
What the Bible Says
1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 but not the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it. You shall not touch it, lest you die.’”
4 The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t really die, 5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took some of its fruit, and ate. Then she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate it, too. 7 Their eyes were opened, and they both knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made coverings for themselves. 8 They heard Yahweh God’s voice walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden.
9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; so I hid myself.”
11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Yahweh God said to the woman, “What have you done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 Then Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all livestock, and above every animal of the field. You shall go on your belly and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
15 I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.”
16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. You will bear children in pain. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten from the tree, about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ the ground is cursed for your sake. You will eat from it with much labor all the days of your life.
18 It will yield thorns and thistles to you;
and you will eat the herb of the field.
19 You will eat bread by the sweat of your face until you return to the ground,
for you were taken out of it.
For you are dust,
and you shall return to dust.”
20 The man called his wife Eve because she would be the mother of all the living. 21 Yahweh God made garments of animal skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them.
22 Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—” 23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:1–24)
1 A revelation is within my heart about the disobedience of the wicked: “There is no fear of God before his eyes.”
2 For he flatters himself in his own eyes, too much to detect and hate his sin.
3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit. He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
4 He plots iniquity on his bed. He sets himself in a way that is not good. He doesn’t abhor evil.
5 Your loving kindness, Yahweh, is in the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God. Your judgments are like a great deep. Yahweh, you preserve man and animal. 7 How precious is your loving kindness, God! The children of men take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the abundance of your house. You will make them drink of the river of your pleasures.
9 For with you is the spring of life. In your light we will see light.
10 Oh continue your loving kindness to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Don’t let the foot of pride come against me. Don’t let the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12 There the workers of iniquity are fallen. They are thrust down, and shall not be able to rise. (Psalm 36:1–12)
1 Oh that you would tear the heavens, that you would come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence.
2 As when fire kindles the brushwood, and the fire causes the water to boil; Make your name known to your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at your presence!
3 When you did awesome things which we didn’t look for, you came down, and the mountains quaked at your presence.
4 For from of old men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides you, who works for him who waits for him. 5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned. We have been in sin for a long time. Shall we be saved? (Isaiah 64:1–5)
You have returned the joy of my salvation and granted me a willing spirit to sustain me (Psalm 51:12). Continue to forgive my sin as I forgive those who trespass against me (Matthew 6:12). Thank You for refreshing my soul and leading me on the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). Show me where I can replace a “me” thought with a “You” thought as I navigate this day. When I think of You, I’m a kinder, better, and more loving person.
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