Is Sin Genetic?
by John Athanasiou
Scientists claim that conditions such as homosexuality, violence and alcoholism are very likely, in some cases, to have a genetic contributing factor. If proven, this will be a biological fact.
The world’s interpretation will be that this discovery mitigates a person’s culpability for a crime.
The Christian interpretation should remain that there is no mitigation. However, we must have sound reasons for this claim, otherwise it is only dogma. Below is an example of dogma, bad logic and fallacy.
God is Just; He Doesn’t Command the Impossible
God is just (Rom. 3:26). If God genetically predisposed certain men to sexual immorality, He can’t require abstinence from such conduct, because He is a just God. Since God condemns sexual immorality, principles of justice demand that we conclude it’s impossible for God to genetically predispose anyone to sexual sin.
(Excerpt from biblestudyguide.org)
This is what scripture has to say on the subject.
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11-13)
Blood is bloodline or pedigree, the will of the flesh is nature (including genes) and the will of man is nurture. Whichever one (or combination) of these predisposes a person to sin, the new birth supersedes them all. The new birth should not merely supplement nature and nurture but replace them as the new governing factor for our lives.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. (Matthew 23:29-31)
If the Pharisees were God’s children, then they would not identify themselves as children of their murderous forefathers.
So it makes sense to say,
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:9)
Jesus is not telling people not to call their dad ‘dad’. By ‘call no man your father’ he means regard no man as your father; your truest father is God. The shackles of nature and nurture are broken at the new birth. By faith a new nature, – super-nature, is possible. When fully grown, it replaces the old nature where sin and even disease are concerned.
The basis for guilt then, even cases of genetic predisposition, is the same as ever. Freedom from sin is freely available in Christ through repentance and faith, and men fall into sin when they do not turn to him.