555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

481. Are Children Punished for Parents' Sin?

There is in the minds of many a misunderstanding of Scripture on this point. (Ex. 20:5.) Good authorities hold mat it does not mean that God punishes a man for the wrongdoing of his parents, but that he is punished by the acts of the parents themselves. It is inevitable that we should be affected by what our parents have done. We enjoy the privileges of our free country because these privileges were won by our forefathers; we have freedom of worship because they fought and suffered and died to secure it. Having received good, do not we inherit evil the same way? The children of a spendthrift must lack the good start in life that they might have had; the son of a father who has disgraced his name is under a reproach. That the character, habits and wickedness of an evil parent must influence his progeny is generally admitted. Natural laws cannot be escaped, and the characteristics of . a progenitor may be traced sometimes through several generations. The children who were born in Babylon, suffered in exile because their fathers had deserted God. It is a law of the natural life that the results that flow from a parent's wrongdoing are entailed on his children; but the children are not held morally accountable for the sins of their parents.