Man is Evil From Infancy?


#1

So, I was having the ol’ “Is Mankind’s Nature Corrupted but Good or Wholly Bad” debate with some Protestants, and one sited this verse.
“Genesis 8:21 Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.”

Surprisingly, though I’d forgotten, the Catholic Bible says something similar:

“Never again will I curse the earth because of man, because his heart is evil from his infancy.”

What? Since when? Babies are evil?

So, I’d like some help understanding this.

Further and especially, could someone with some familiarity of the Biblical languages tell me what the Greek or Hebrew is here? What does the original text say? (Since I highly doubt it says every inclination of man is evil. But I can’t simply say that, without the knowledge to back it, to my Protestant acquaintances and expect them to believe me.)

Thank you all kindly.


#2

Jesus said "That unless a man be born again of spirit and water he shall not enter the kingdom. Since the first fall of Adam and Eve mankind lost it’s friendship with God. Mankind inherited this fallen state from the original sin of Adam and Eve. Every child that is born has this fallen condition and the effects of original sin. He needs to be Baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit Jesus came to redeem man from the works of Satan who holds humanity in bondage since the fall of Adam. Babies inherited this bondage. Heaven was closed to man, and Jesus is the Gate


#3

The word in Hebrew is na8uwr (the “8” represents the letter ayin), which means “youth, childhood.” I think translating it as “infancy” was a stretch. However, if sinfulness does not start in infancy, it starts very soon afterwards. Ever hear of the Terrible Twos?


#4

Certainly, the babies have original sin. But that doesn’t make them evil does it?

The word in Hebrew is na8uwr (the “8” represents the letter ayin), which means “youth, childhood.” I think translating it as “infancy” was a stretch. However, if sinfulness does not start in infancy, it starts very soon afterwards. Ever hear of the Terrible Twos?

Well, that’s very informative, but could you expound? I should clarify that one thing I would really appreciate clarification on is that the Protestant bible says our "every" inclination is evil. Again, I highly doubt that is what the original text says. Which is why I would like to know what precisely the original text is, and what the direct translation is. Then I can explain it to my protestant acquaintances.


#5

=Pound Coolish;11705793]So, I was having the ol’ “Is Mankind’s Nature Corrupted but Good or Wholly Bad” debate with some Protestants, and one sited this verse.
“Genesis 8:21 Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.”

This not the worst translation; nor is it even bear the best:)

From the DR Catholic Bible: “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and said: I will no more curse the earth for the sake of man: for the imagination and thought of man’ s heart are prone to evil from his youth: therefore I will no more destroy every living soul as I have done”

Man because of Original sin has a "natural [imputed] tendency for SELF before God; or what we know as a tendency to sin. It is NOT a mandate; and not need be an overriding condition; which is why we are given an intellect and freewill which are attached to our Souls. We have to AGREE to sin.

Man is Created GOOD:
Gen.1: 26-27 & v31 “And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth. [27]** And God created man to his own image**: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them [31]** And God saw all the things that he had made, and they were very good.** And the evening and morning were the sixth day”.

Surprisingly, though I’d forgotten, the Catholic Bible says something similar:

“Never again will I curse the earth because of man, because his heart is evil from his infancy.”

So because God is Good

We are Created in God’s Image and therefore must also be good [naturally]

Man is equipped with an intellect and freewill to FREELY choose God or sin: our chice not God’s:thumbsup:

Have you ever heard the one INFALLIBLE rule for right understanding of the bible?

It is this:
Never-ever
can; may or DOES
1 passage; teaching or verse
Have the power and authority
to Invalidate; void; or override
another
passage; teaching or verse.
WERE THIS EVEN A POSSIBILITY
It would render the entire Bible as worthless to teach or learn ones Fait
h:)

God Bless you,
Patrick

What? Since when? Babies are evil?

So, I’d like some help understanding this.

Further and especially, could someone with some familiarity of the Biblical languages tell me what the Greek or Hebrew is here? What does the original text say? (Since I highly doubt it says every inclination of man is evil. But I can’t simply say that, without the knowledge to back it, to my Protestant acquaintances and expect them to believe me.)

Thank you all kindly.


#6

That’s all very well. I realize there are plenty of refutations to the idea that mankind is evil. Right now though, please, I am mainly interested in refuting this particular verse, which puzzles me at present.

Yes, as I said, I assume the translation is throroughly poor. However, I still have not been told by anyone what exactly the verse consists of in the Biblical language/or languages. I would like to know exactly what it is, and what a direct translation would be. It will do me know good to say, “Well, I think you protestants translation is bad, and here’s the Catholic translation, which is far better.” What good would that do? I need something to back the claim up.

Thanks.


#7

Even though the language is strong in using the word “evil”, the truth is that we are either sanctified or we are not. Babies and all unbaptized people are NOT sanctified and belonging to the Body of Christ.

When God created man, He gave Him the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit from the moment He “breathed” life into man. It was a free gift of God that God wanted man to have because “nothing unclean can enter heaven” (Rev 21:27) and only God can make us righteous enough to be “clean”. We have to be sanctified and holy to go to heaven. In a nutshell, the original sin lost this free gift of God, until Jesus came to redeem us. ALL people born since Adam and Eve fell do not “automatically” get the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. This is why our Savior Jesus died for ALL of humanity. His gift is also free and unmerited. He merited for us the forgiveness of sins and the return of the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. We normally receive this in our baptism. This is why Catholics believe in infant baptism–we want our children to receive sanctifying grace! Even thought babies do not commit personal sin (nor do severely retarded people)-- they still do NOT have the grace of the Holy Spirit until baptized. Thus all men are born un-sanctified which could also be called “unclean” or “evil” or born in “iniquity”.

There’s a couple verses that might interest you as well:

Psalm 51:5 :Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Eph 2:3 All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.

Your protestant friends most likely believe that baptism is symbolic and we receive the Holy Spirit when we “profess Christ with our lips” but the Scriptures overwhelmingly support that it is when we are baptized in **water **and Spirit that we are born again and unless we are WE CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (John 3:3-5). In baptism we die with Christ and are raised up again (Rom 6:4), and “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27).


#8

Nevermind scripture for a moment. It seems outrageously obvious just from anecdotal experience that humans are depraved from infancy (which isn’t the same thing as the old school protestant notion of total depravity) What planet are you on? :stuck_out_tongue:

Original sin doesn’t make people incapable of compassion and virtue, but we are fundamentally damaged and concupiscence from the get-go. The condition of the human race, in its current state, isn’t meant to last.


#9

=Pound Coolish;11706128]

That’s all very well. I realize there are plenty of refutations to the idea that mankind is evil. Right now though, please, I am mainly interested in refuting this particular verse, which puzzles me at present.

Yes, as I said, I assume the translation is throroughly poor. However, I still have not been told by anyone what exactly the verse consists of in the Biblical language/or languages. I would like to know exactly what it is, and what a direct translation would be. It will do me know good to say, “Well, I think you protestants translation is bad, and here’s the Catholic translation, which is far better.” What good would that do? I need something to back the claim up.

Thanks.

From Haydocks Catholic Commentary:

“Ver. 21. Smelled, &c. A figurative expression, denoting that God was pleased with the sacrifices which his servant offered, (Challoner) and in this sense it is expressed in the Chaldee, “God received his offering gratefully.” God requires sacrifices of us, to testify his dominion, and not for any advantage he derives from them; but rather to bless us, if we perform our duty with fervour. — For the sake of, or on account of men’s sins. They are so prone to evil, that, if I were to punish them as often as they deserve, new deluges might be sent every day. I take pity on their weakness. I will punish the most criminal, but not as I have done, by cursing the earth. These words of God, are by some addressed to Noe, by others to God the Son. Hebrew, “he said to his heart;” Onkelos, “he said in his word;” Septuagint, “he said with reflection.” (Calmet) — Noe was beloved by God, and therefore may be called his heart. To speak to the heart, often means to comfort. (Haydock)” End quote" End Quote

The meaning is that man having once denied God [Adam and eve]; and found it “easy” to do; [relative term], has discovered sin and its worldly attractions. Many follow the seduction of Adam and Eve, because it seems at the time easier; and we convince ourselves, even better,

What the teaching is:
Romans 5:20
“Now the law entered in, that sin might abound. And where sin abounded, grace did more abound.”

While God is offering grace to us; Satan at the very same time is trying to hijack it. BUT man can only sin by CHOOSING to do so. Amen

Patrick


#10

May I respectfully point out that when it comes to Scripture Duels, not every verse of every chapter of every book in the Bible is automatically transformed into a Catholic doctrine. That would be like the tail wagging the dog.

It is valuable for Catholics to become familiar with the “Divine Revelation” contained in Scripture. Chapter 14, Gospel of John is a good start. Next, one needs to be a tad familiar with the protocol of the visible Catholic Church on planet earth. This protocol refers to the process by which the Catholic Church properly defines Catholic doctrines with the wisdom and guidance of the Promised Holy Spirit as mentioned in John 14: 25-26. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, paragraphs 66-67 and 94-95, present some of the various basics when it comes to Catholic doctrines --“Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit …” In order to understand the use of small print, please refer to paragraphs 20-21. The Catechism’s “Index of Citations”, beginning on page 689, is a real treasure as are the footnotes and cross-references in the margins.

Regarding the OP "So, I was having the ol’ “Is Mankind’s Nature Corrupted but Good or Wholly Bad” debate"

CCC, 404-406 has the official answer. Note that CCC, 406 is in small print – refer to CCC, 18-22. CCC, 402-409 gives background.* CCC*, 418 is a succinct sentence. When it comes to babies, the last sentence in CCC, 1257 is a good place to start. CCC, 1260, first sentence, serves as a foundation. The general information about children is in* CCC*, 1261 which refers back to CCC, 1257.

Catholics should not hesitate to use the Catholic Church as a source of information. :smiley:

Links to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition
scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/


#11

Here is a literal, word-by-word translation from a Hebrew-English interlinear:

And-smelled YHVH savor sweet and-said YHVH in his-heart, "Not again I-will-curse the-ground for-sake of-the-man, for imagination of-heart of-the-man [is] evil from-his-youth/childhood.

Is this what you wanted?


#12

All that is created by God is good. The baby is not evil, but born with the stain of sin, and the propencity to sin. A baby can’t commit sin until its conscience is developed and the baby reaches the age of reason. Only intellectual, rational beings (a human in this case) can commit sin. Sin is a deliberate countering of God’s will, or a less serious sin if it is due to human weakness, or some ignorance , or human imperfection. Even the devil is good as God’s creation because he is an angel, but he gravely sinned and because his will is immutabe, unchanging he is in his will and intellect the embodiment of evil, the complete absence of good in those faculties, they are perverted., an intellect that was created for the contemplation of the Beatific Vision, and a will that was created to possess the Eternal Good(more accurately -to be possessed by the Eternal Good) In humans there is a condition where man’s reason struggles against the forces of his passions, the passions are not subjected to reason, this is called “the effects of original sin”. God does not create evil!


#13

I have no idea what the original Hebrew might say but I do have an idea, which might of course be wrong, about what Catholic doctrine on the subject is.

Human nature is essentially, ie in it’s very essence, good because it is God created and He creates nothing that is not good. The effect of Original Sin is that this nature while remaining largely intact receives a wound. The effect of this wound is to leave us vulnerable to temptation, attracted towards the selfish, in a way which would not operate had our original Covenant with God remained untouched by sin. Therefore, from infancy we are open to evil suggestion on this or that matter but every such temptation incurs some resistance which is our residual attachment to the good which is present by design. If we were depraved by nature then we could incur no sin by acting naturally. If we are good by nature but wounded then we have the field in which free will has its freedom to act. As infants we are, perhaps, less accountable for the choices we make but they are still choices since by nature we are not sinners.


#14

I’m curious if your friends believe that infants, or those who can’t commit personal sin in the same way we can, go to Hell? If not, why not? It would be interesting to find out.


#15

ISince an infant hasn’t reached the age of reason it can’t make conscious rational choice,.
to sin one must know that they are sinning. The infant has inherited the the effects of original fall of Adam and Eve as our first parents. Heaven was closed to mankind. To be reborn again by Baptism is necessary to be reinstated in “grace” which makes the infant an adopted child of God. If the baby or infant dies it can’t go to Heaven, and it won’t go to Hell. God is a just God. Theologians then resolved that the baby is held in a joyful place called Limbo, it’s perhaps like the Good and even holy people who died before Christ did, they were in a state that wasn’t Hell, and it wasn’t Heaven. When Jesus died He opened Heaven to those in waiting.

I would like to add: One has to know they are sinning, to be accused of sin. If one is ignorant of that fact, one does not sin, but may be culpable for ignorance The act may be sinful, but the person can’t be judged as guilty. This is one good reason not to judge as Jesus teaches.


#16

Thank you to everyone for your answers.

Yes, but I would also like the original sentence in the original langauge. Basically, what I’m trying to ask for is the text from some Hebrew or Greek Bible (I do not have one) of that verse, and the definition of a few key words of the Hebrew or Greek sentence.

I want to be able to say, “This is the original text, this is what a few of those words mean, this is the right translation.”

As to your translation however, it’s good to know what the direct translation is, but it’s also not all that encouraging. If our imagination is evil from childhood… well, that doesn’t sound too good for my argument that human nature is not evil, does it?


#17

Here ya go. Sorry, the pronunciation line for the last line got cropped. I could get only so much in one window.


#18

You’re right, and that’s the whole point of the discussion. You are looking at human nature as it was immediately after Creation. I (and some others) am looking at human nature as it is now. Between the two there is a major, MAJOR event – the Fall.


#19

Thank you, Davebj. That should be helpful.

The fall only corrupted our pure nature, it did not completely transform it into something fundamentally opposite of what God created.

Catholicism doesn’t teach that mankind’s nature is evil. I’d have to look, but I’d guess that’s in the Catechism.


#20

That is true. However, sometimes (if not very frequently) the difference between a nature stained by original sin and driven by concupiscience and a truly evil nature is hard to make out.

Glad the clip helped.


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