Isaiah 48:8 “. . . for I know that you dealt very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb.”
Psalm 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.”
Verses like these cannot be pushed under the mat as though they didn’t exist. I suppose all of us, at one time or another, have been responsible for choosing passages of Scripture selectively, based on our then-present assessment of Biblical doctrine. Leaders of denominations are dab-hands at such selectivity, laying down rules of interpretation, and asking their members to comply to a set of “orthodox” beliefs. But this simply will not do. All of us are learners. None of us has “arrived.” We cannot waste time sitting still within our creedal frameworks. We must move on. There is much pioneering work to be done, and those who are free in the spirit rejoice when new revelations of truth are presented, making life full of interest, and granting us a deeper insight into the mysteries of God and His age-plans.
In the first of these articles I made a statement about physical defects, such as being born blind. I said that it might be construed that our Lord gave final judgment on all such physical defects, that they were not the result of pre-mortal, or parental sin.
But the verses quoted above show another side to this question. Even if all physical defects may be eliminated, there is clear evidence here that something far more terrible is passed on. There are human beings who, from the earliest childhood, show signs of rebellion, and the power struggle grows as they mature into adulthood. No matter what the parents do, no matter what form of discipline is applied, no change is experienced. It does make us wonder whether this was the reason why Moses was instructed about such matters, thus –
Deut.21:18-21. “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or mother, and though they chastise him, will not give heed to them, then his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of the city . . . and say . . . ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones; so shall you purge away the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
It may be suggested that this is the result of parental sin, based on Exodus 20:5, where the Lord says that He will “visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,” but this is quite a different matter. The generations mentioned are those who hate the Lord, but the instance quoted in Deuteronomy is of parents who have tried their level best to bring up their son in the fear of the Lord.
If we are willing to accept the growing evidence of human pre-existence, then the verses in Psalms and Isaiah, quoted above, may be seen in a new and more meaningful light. Something happened in pre-mortal life that is reflected in earth-bound life. Physical deformities may not be considered here, but moral deformities may be perpetuated. This may account for a number of otherwise difficult psychological problems today. The law of stoning, which could only be applied in a theocratic community such as Israel under Mosaic legislation, is out of the question in modern society. But the presence of persistent human obduracy has been a problem throughout history. Modern psychiatrists could well improve their understanding of human nature by attending to the Bible.
The Lord said, (Isaiah 46:8-9) “Bring again to mind, O you transgressors. Remember the former things of old, for I am God and there is none else . . .”
There is the whole problem. The transgressors had assumed there was someone else, in the person of Satan, whom they had listened to in pre-mortal days. More of this later.