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Are babies born with sin natures?

by Stephen Davey

Dwight from Virginia asks, “Are babies born sinners?”

This is an age-old question. Are babies born with sin natures? Or do they become sinners later in life?

The answer is yes; babies are actually born as sinners.

There’s an important biblical truth that dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Every person born after Adam’s sin was born with a sin nature. We do not become sinners when we commit our first sin. We commit our first sin because we were born with a sin nature. So in that sense, yes, babies are born sinners. Before they commit any sin, they have a sin nature. Let me pose two more questions that will help clarify this important issue.

When does a baby become a sinner?

Some people may suggest that babies and young children are not sinners, but I imagine it would be hard to find any parent who agrees.

Parents understand that it doesn’t take long for a baby to being acting sinfully. They cry out of selfishness, they learn to say “no” to their parents, they hoard their toys and refuse to share.

Others might claim that babies are born without a sin nature in the womb, and remain sinless until they commit a sin after birth; but again, this is not what we find in the Bible.

David writes in Psalm 51, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Babies in their mother’s wombs are developing sin natures as they develop physically, and they commit sinful actions after birth.

For those moms and dads reading this who have lost a baby, either before birth or after, let me offer you some encouragement with this second question.

Do babies who die go to Heaven?


In 2 Samuel 12, King David loses a son after birth, and he says, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David knows that his baby was taken up to God when he died, and David trusts the promise that he will one day be reunited with his child in Heaven.

I can confidently encourage you that babies do go to Heaven based on Romans 1, where the apostle Paul declares that humans are without excuse for their sin because they suppress the truth about God and deny the authority of His law.

But babies and young children are not able to comprehend God’s law, or actively suppress the truth. They may become aware that their parents do not like what they are doing, but they don’t immediately understand that their actions also violate God’s law, or even that their parents have been given authority by God.

There is no exact age when a child does become aware of these things, but at whatever moment when they realize the truth of God and the reality of His law, they become eternally responsible for their sinful actions, and must place their faith in the saving work of Jesus. Until then, they will not be held in judgment by God.

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Imre says:
Your interpretation of Psalm 51 is not correct. Babies are born without sin. David is not talking about. To understand this passage, we must keep in mind that the subject of Psalm 51 is David’s sin, not original sin. Consider the nouns and possessives David used to indicate that the sin which he was talking about was the sin he committed: “Blot out my transgression” (vs. 1); “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (vs. 2); “I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (vs. 3); “Against You, You only, have I sinned” (vs. 4); etc. There is not even the slightest allusion to some kind of original sin in the psalmist’s supplication. In fact, it was from his own sin and transgression that the psalmist desired to be freed. [Ed. Note: Even though we disagree on the interpretation oof that text, we're glad you engaged with our content and we are thankful for your comment.]
Chris says:
Imre: Check the part of speech for Psalms 51:1-5. You will find that it is only verse 3 which mentions transgressions [sins] as a verb [action]. The other verses that mention iniquity and sin are nouns [the name of a thing]. So in verse 5, "in sin [the name of something] did my mother conceive me" is the "sin nature" that David and everyone born from Adam and Eve is born with, a sin nature. That is why Jesus, the only one who was not born with a sin nature, was born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit so He could be the perfect sacrifice for all our sins and be raised from the dead to become the first-born [born-again] from the dead. Now you and I can become new creations through faith in Him. In other words, faith in Jesus Christ in the only way to receive a new nature (2 Cor 5:17-21).
Emmanuel says:
Your explanation may be contradictory, you said babies are born with sinful nature but they go to heaven when they die. Can the sinful nature inherit the kingdom of God? No.

Also you claimed that babies go to heaven when they die because David said, “I will go to him", this also doesn't sound truthful because David was said to have “slept with his fathers" when he died. Should one then concluded that these fathers are in heaven?
sydney says:
Ping says:
Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned." Does this exclude babies from having sinful nature?