Are children born good or evil?

by Thomas Robertson
(Beijing, China)

Are children conceived in Original Sin? Or are children born in the image and likeness of God? Before I answer that question, I would like for you to take a sheet of paper and mark four headings:


Before reading past the dotted line, list as many items, tangible or intangible, as you can think of.


If my hunch is correct, the items in the first two headings will tend to be stimuli which were present in prehistoric times, whereas the items in the last two headings will tend to be stimuli which were not.

Under heading I, ATTRACTIVE TO CHILDREN AND GOOD FOR CHILDREN, you might have listed friends, outdoor exercise, exploration, or affection. These are needs which were available since prehistoric times, so evolution has had time to instill these needs as drives.

The minds and bodies of people of all ages became efficient regulators in prehistoric times. Thanks to evolution:

--when we need food, we become hungry
--when we need water, we become thirsty
--when we need exercise, we become restless
--when we need sleep, we become sleepy
--when we need companionship, we become lonely

Those who did not respond to the right need with the right feeling tended to die before they could reach child-bearing age.

Under heading II, UNATTRACTIVE TO CHILDREN AND BAD FOR CHILDREN, you might have listed items which are dangerous to children. Wild animals and pointed objects have been around since prehistoric times. Or you might have listed items which threaten children's health.
Extreme temperature and rainy weather have also been around since the dawn of humanity.

Most of what is available in nature and inedible for humans is foul-tasting for humans. Cows can digest grass but we can't, which is why cows like grass and we don't.

Under heading III, NOT UNATTRACTIVE TO CHILDREN BUT BAD FOR CHILDREN, you might have listed junk food, drugs, alcohol, and excessive TV viewing time. These are relatively recent additions to children's range of choices, so evolution has not had time to weed them out.

Children may not be attracted to dangerous machines, but they're not afraid of them either. This is why adults have to instruct children to stay out of traffic.

If heroin, cocaine, and LSD grew in their consumer-ready state like fruits and vegetables, they would have been available to our Cro-Magnon forebears. That would be very nice for those of us living today, because our drug problem would be long behind us.

Under heading IIII, NOT ATTRACTIVE TO CHILDREN BUT GOOD FOR CHILDREN, you might have listed hypodermic needles and foul-tasting medicine. These are recent additions.

School and homework could also fit under this category. Since children are physically energetic and gregarious, they do not fit into our educational system, which does not account for these drives. This is unfortunate, because a teacher with a little bit of ingenuity can plan a reading and math curriculum which incorporates these drives. I hope that the educational institution in this regard.

In summary, my verdict regarding children is that they are neither good nor evil, but rather evolved for life in the wilderness. Civilization and technology have made strides in recent years, and evolution has not had time to catch up.

Comments for Are children born good or evil?

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Apr 01, 2013
Wrong Question?
by: Troy B.

Rather than ask are children born good or evil, I would ask are they born sinners as the Bible says? Or sinners because they sin. like they have a choice. If we are not born sinners that would suggest I could be perfect if I wanted to be but I find myself not doing what I want to do & doing what I don't. My observation of children is, I want what I want, when I want it and ill scream my head off if I don't get it. Children half to be taught to share. It doesn't come naturally. Jacob & Esau fought in the womb! That my friend goes back to the beginning & see nothing that has changed! So where's the evolution???? Sin or Evil as you call it comes from the INSIDE OUT. NOT FROM THE OUTSIDE IN.......hence We sin because were sinners, Not sinners because we sin. You want proof of God. Study the lives of the worst of the worst whose lives have been transformed!

Apr 29, 2012
What Is Good and Evil?
by: Paul Pavao (webmaster)

I've thought long and hard in the past about the subject of your post, Thomas. I didn't go through the line of reasoning you did, but I came to a very similar conclusion.

I believe in God. I believe in him because of my experience with Jesus Christ, which is real, powerful, and meaningful to me. Science has nothing at all to do with proving or disproving God to me.

But science does establish truth about the universe and about us. I think what you pointed out is accurate.

On the other hand, I believe Jesus and the apostles, and the apostle Paul taught that there's something standing in the way of being a spiritual follower of God. That something is our body. He called it "flesh." Christians like to change that to "sinful nature," but I think he means our bodies, with the selfish (necessary but selfish) desires that evolution put in us.

Being spiritual means not caring about the very things that have been ingrained into our physical bodies by evolution. It means beginning to live in the spiritual realm, by the Spirit of God, rather than by the desires of the body.

"Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24).

There's a physical world and a physical life that comes to an end. Jesus offers us a new life, and immortal life that does not come to an end, if we will believe in him.

The physical world, what we can see and test, is not all that there is.

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