God Haters from Birth?

I stumbled across this article by Galyn Wiemers that I believe is worthy of consideration and discussion. I do not know Galyn, so while I cannot endorse him outright I will say that I agree with his arguments in this article. Enjoy!


HATERS OF GOD?

By Galyn Wiemers

It is hard to find scriptural support explicitly saying men are born hating God. Some theologies can get there by implication and then from there make such statements.

I would say men become haters of God during their life through a process of suppressing Truth, rejecting Light (God), and pursuing the desires of their own fallen nature. Again, I think becoming a hater of God is a process, yet it is scriptural that all are born in darkness in a state of depravity and spiritual death. All are in need of a salvation source beyond themselves.

I would say men are born indifferent to God, but not “haters of God.” Men are born consumed with self (or, the flesh, sarx in the Greek translated as “sin nature” in NIV and “flesh” in KJ) and the world system (kosmos) which is under Satan’s control.

  • Ephesians 2:1-3 – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

Here is the process, I would tend to support (there are many other supporting scriptures if they are ever needed): Men are born in the image of Adam since all our human natures come from a man who rebelled against God and altered the physical and spiritual condition of man.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:22 – “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

Man’s nature is fallen and aligned with the darkness of the world, thus they are comfortable in the darkness. Being comfortable in the darkness means men are uncomfortable in the light since it exposes their weakness, mortality, and sinfulness.

  • John 3:19 – “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”

Men are born basically indifferent to God and are consumed with concern for the things of their own interest in the world and of their flesh. Not the things of God. This is not hate, but indifference.

  •  John 1:4, 5, 10, 11 – “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome (understood) it…He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

Some men respond to God’s offer of salvation with positive volition and are removed from this kingdom of darkness and are “born again” to receive a new life source and a new nature empowered by God himself and indwelt by the Holy Spirit:

  • Ephesians 5:8-14, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”
  • 1 Peter 1:23 – “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Men’s indifference can turn to hate as they progressively reject God’s revelation of himself. Man can become a hater of God. Notice the progression Paul details in Romans 1:

  •  Romans 1:18-32, – “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse. For
    • although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but
    • their thinking became futile and
    • their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise,
    • they became fools…Therefore
    • God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity…because of this,
    • God gave them over to shameful lusts….since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God
    • he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.
    • (RESULT) They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful…
    • Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”
  • James 4:4, “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against (Hatred toward) God? Therefore anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

Hatred of God – sample text that mention men hating God…never a birth issue, but a hatred developed/refined in life:

  • Exodus 20:5 – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
  • Deuteronomy 5:9 – “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
  • Deuteronomy 7:10 – “those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction; he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him.”
  • Deuteronomy 32:41 – “when I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me.”
  • 2 Chronicles 19:2 – “Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, ‘Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is on you.’ ”
  • John 15:23-25 – “Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
  • Psalm 35:19 – “Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.”
  • Psalm 69:4 – “Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”

To say all men are born hating God is an oversimplification and an overstatement.

This position is often rushed into by Calvinist with Reformed Theology developed in the 1500’s and 1600’s specifically by John Calvin who basically updated the writings of Augustine from 400 AD. Martin Luther was in agreement and wrote such monumental works as “The Bondage of the Will.” (…)

Men are born in darkness, are comfortable in darkness and conceal their own failures and sinfulness in darkness. The light calls them to salvation (freely) which requires them to accept the convicting truth that they are wrong, God is right, Jesus has died to give them a new nature and they must confess they are wrong and accept Jesus as Lord. There are only two ways to respond: Yes, which leads to fulfillment and love of the truth and light; or, No, which drives men further into the darkness to conceal their wickedness and to justify their own sinful self and evil practices. This hardening of the heart will eventually lead to a hatred of light, truth, God and anything/anyone associated with the light, truth and God.

  • John 15:18-19 – Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
  • Luke 21:17 – Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me.”
  • Mark 13:13- Jesus said, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”
  • Matthew 24:9 – Jesus said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:15-17

 


*Note: Some of the original formatting was adjusted for this blog site and one parenthetical comment was omitted from the source article.

ADDED NOTE: Some have asked about passages such as Ps. 58:3, which states, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.”

I would tend to agree with Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, who writes:

The wicked are estranged from the womb – The allusion here undoubtedly is to the persons principally referred to in the psalm – the enemies of David. But their conduct toward him suggests a more general reflection in regard to “all” the wicked as having the same characteristics. The psalmist, therefore, instead of confining his remarks to them, makes his observations general, on the principle that all wicked men have essentially the same character, and especially in respect to the thing here affirmed, that they go astray early; that they are apostate and alienated from God from their very birth. The words, “the wicked,” here do not necessarily refer to the whole human family (though what is thus affirmed is true of all the human race), but to people who in their lives develop a wicked character; and the affirmation in regard to them is that they go astray early in life – from their very infancy.

Strictly speaking, therefore, it cannot be shown that the psalmist in this declaration had reference to the whole human race, or that he meant to make a universal declaration in regard to man as being early estranged or alienated from God; and the passage, therefore, cannot directly, and with exact propriety, be adduced to prove the doctrine that “original sin” pertains to all the race – whatever may be true on that point. If, however, it is demonstrated from “other” passages, and from facts, that all men “are” “wicked” or depraved, then the assertion here becomes a proof that this is from the womb – from their very birth – that they begin life with a propensity to evil – and that all their subsequent acts are but developments of the depravity or corruption with which they are born. It is only, therefore, after it is proved that people “are” depraved or “wicked,” that this passage can be cited in favor of the doctrine of original sin.

The word rendered are “estranged” – זרוּ zorû – means properly, “to go off, to turn aside,” or “away, to depart;” and then it comes to mean “to be strange,” or “a stranger.” The proper idea in the word is that one is a stranger, or a foreigner, and the word would be properly applied to one of another tribe or nation, like the Latin “hostis,” and the Greek ξείνος xeinos Exodus 30:33; Isaiah 1:7; Isaiah 25:2; Isaiah 29:5; Psalm 44:20. The meaning of the term as thus explained is, that, from earliest childhood, they are “as if” they belonged to another people than the people of God; they manifest another spirit; they are governed by other principles than those which pertain to the righteous. Compare Ephesians 2:19. Their first indications of character are not those of the children of God, but are “alien, strange, hostile” to him. The phrase “from the womb,” refers, undoubtedly, to their birth; and the idea is, that as soon as they begin to act they act wrong; they show that they are strangers to God. Strictly speaking, this passage does not affirm anything directly of what exists in the heart “before” people begin to act, for it is by their “speaking lies” that they show their estrangement; yet it is proper to “infer” that where this is universal, there “is” something lying back of this which makes it certain that they “will” act thus – just as when a tree always bears the same kind of fruit, we infer that there is something “in” the tree, back of the actual “bearing” of the fruit, which makes it certain that it “will” bear such fruit and no other. This “something” in the heart of a child is what is commonly meant by “original sin.”

They go astray – The Hebrew word used here means to go astray, to wander, to err. It is used in reference to drunken persons who reel, Isaiah 28:7; and to the soul, as erring or wandering from the paths of truth and piety, Ezekiel 48:11; Psalm 95:10; Psalm 119:110; Proverbs 21:16. The “manner” in which the persons here referred to did this, is indicated here by their “speaking lies.”

As soon as they be born – Margin, as in Hebrew, “from the belly.” The meaning is, not that they speak lies “as soon as” they are born, which could not be literally true, but that this is the “first act.” The first thing “done” is not an act of holiness, but an act of sin – showing what is in the heart.

Speaking lies – They are false in their statements; false in their promises; false in their general character. This is one of the forms of sin, indicating original depravity; and it is undoubtedly selected here because this was particularly manifested by the enemies of David. They were false, perfidious, and could not be trusted. If it be proved, therefore, that all people are wicked, then “this” passage becomes a proper and an important text to demonstrate that this wickedness is not the result of temptation or example, but that it is the expression of the depravity of the heart by nature; that the tendency of man by nature is not to goodness, but to sin; that the first developments of character are sinful; that there is something lying of sinful acts in people which makes it certain that they will act as they do; and that this always manifests itself in the first acts which they perform.

 

12 thoughts on “God Haters from Birth?

  1. If we were not conceived in sin, as the Psalmist declares, infants would never die in the womb or shortly after birth. In the post the author stated we are born in darkness. 100% of the children born commit sin even before they know it. A baby is fed, has on a clean diaper and has been rocked to sleep. Then she awakens and screams her head off for attention. This is a falsehood spoken in the only language known to her. If indeed we were not born in sin we would see some children who would never lie nor would they disobey.

    They come by it honestly. Yet the good news is that Our Lord has instituted his means of the Spirit to give new life to our children. Initially in Holy Baptism they receive the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then we bring them up in the awe of God and teach them the Holy Gospel from infancy. The baby is in learning mode as she will never be again. Those lessons are in there and Our Lord brings them to mind. I am afraid the idea that infants are born perfect has us raising future Atheists and those who will forsake Our Lord when the going gets tough.

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  2. Thank you Dr. Flowers.
    This discussion, appears to parallel the same issues found in discussions concerning Judicial Hardening.

    If man is already born in a state of “TOTAL” depravity, (assuming Total Depravity means one can’t get any worse) then it begs the question, what is there left to harden?

    HERE IS AN INTERESTING PARABLE.
    Once upon a time a certain man hired the worlds best carpenters build a beautiful white house.
    The man stood in front of the house and said “IT IS GOOD”.
    Then the man proceeded to paint the house black.
    When the house was completely black, the man blamed the house for being black.
    Then he burned the house to the ground.
    Now as all this was occurring, his neighbors were curiously watching.
    Standing in front of the chard remains of his once beautiful white house, the neighbors approached and asked:
    We noticed you built the beautiful white house.
    We noticed you painted the house black.
    We noticed you blamed the house for being black.
    We noticed you burnt the house to the ground.
    Why would you bother to have a beautiful white house built, to just do all that to it?
    The man looked at them and smiled and said “For my good pleasure”.

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    1. “What is there left to harden?”

      The question assumes the Holy Spirit is sitting on his hands doing nothing in anyone’s life. If prevenient grace is working since birth against the sin nature, then there will be something to harden—the work the Holy Spirit has done, taking out stones, building a fence, plowing, building a tower, tilling the ground, planting the seed.

      If the vineyard was made not arable, how does it ever bear worthless grapes?

      Or how about the story from Ezekiel. Do you think struggling in one’s own blood at birth might just represent total inability? And YHWH walked by and said “Live!” And gave her clothing and food and wealth and incense. Now she takes all those good things, prostitutes to other lovers, and give them all those gives?

      If she was born totally unable, how did she ever give expensive gifts to other lovers?

      Shall we go on. The Pharisees have a similar story; given the Law and the Prophets, put in the seat of Moses, entrusted with the very oracles of God, and not just that. They “always resist the Holy Spirit” and “dishonored God by breaking the Law.”

      How do they resist the Holy Spirit if they are born unable? Because the Holy Spirit HAS BEEN WORKING ON THEM, lol.

      The answer key to Judicial Hardening + Total Depravity is the oft maligned, misunderstood, disparaged and disrespected, but Biblically well-attested doctrine of Prevenient Grace.

      No. Classical Arminians are not Walmart Calvinists on a rollback sale.

      We have our own sophisticated and robustly supported Biblical doctrines.

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    2. br.d wrote, “This discussion, appears to parallel the same issues found in discussions concerning Judicial Hardening.”

      Judicial hardening, as advocated by Dr. Flowers, seems to be an unique hardening of Israel in the first century in order to bring about the crucifixion of Christ and the the salvation of the gentiles. After that, I am not sure how far Dr. Flowers goes with it. Beyond that, the failure of the author to deal with Romans 8 makes the article no more than an opinion piece – which seems reasonable since it was a blog and blogs generally promote one’s personal views..

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  3. Babies are born with no good thing in their flesh and under the curse of the Law. That’s just Bible. If they are apathetic towards God, they are not fulfilling the Law of God to love him. In God’s eyes, indifference is hatred. Those who are not with Jesus are against him, not just in some gray zone on the sidelines. It is one man that damns us, and one man that saves us, and building up the goodness of man and making a righteousness by works is wrong, it’s error, it’s demonic, it’s harmful, and it’s directly an enemy of the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ which declares ALL flesh must DIE on that Cross to please God, because all sin springs from nature, and Adam’s trespass MADE everyone a SINNER by birth. We must not wobble on two legs, maybe man has a little good in him, and just needs his pinky finger nailed on that cross with Christ.

    Choose this day whether you boast ONLY in the Cross or make yourself its enemy. There is NO in between.

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  4. Men are not born indifferent. They only become indifferent when they become aware of God. Men are not born sinners. They are born into a sinful environment and become sinners when they yield to temptation, just like Adam and Eve did.

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  5. The author writes, “This position is often rushed into by Calvinist with Reformed Theology developed in the 1500’s and 1600’s specifically by John Calvin who basically updated the writings of Augustine from 400 AD. Martin Luther was in agreement and wrote such monumental works as “The Bondage of the Will.” (…)”

    Just a nit pick. Luther was active before Calvin really got his act together. I believe Luther had written “bondage of the Will, while Calvin was in his teens. So–It is Calvin who should be described as being in agreement with Luther as Luther really seems to have plowed the field that Calvin then planted. I doubt that there was anything new that Calvin wrote of in his institutes that had not already been said by Luther. Maybe somewhat steeped in church history can address this. If I am correct, which I think I am, then one might understand why I might think this guy a little sloppy.

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    1. Unless, of course, one describes sloppiness as an over reliance on spell check. In the next to last sentence, replacing “somewhat,” with “someone,” reads much better thereby allowing, hopefully, the reader to understand what I meant.

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    2. From what I’ve read, you are correct in the chronicle of events. Young John Calvin was about 24 when he wrote the first draft of the institutes of Augustine (1536). Luther’s “bondage of the will” was published when Calvin was 13. And Luther’s Ninety-five thesis written 6 years later when Calvin was 19.

      Luther of course started out as an Augustinian, beating himself with chains and casting himself naked into the snow as acts of penance. Later however it can be seen that Luther had a cold relationship with Augustine as he learns to question Catholic theologian’s who appealed to Augustine to defend Catholic doctrines. Luther would eventually write “Augustine wrote nothing to the purpose concerning faith”.

      Philip Melanchthon after Luther would write “Augustine is not in agreement with the doctrine of Paul, though he comes nearer to it than do the Schoolmen”.

      Most scholars of church history would probably agree that most theologians who appealed to Augustine, did so as a pragmatic matter of simply co-opting Augustine in geographical locals where Augustine’s word was considered to have authority.

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  6. The author writes, “Men are born basically indifferent to God and are consumed with concern for the things of their own interest in the world and of their flesh.”

    Romans 8 says, “For the mind set on the flesh is death,…because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God;”

    The author agrees with Paul saying, “Men…are consumed with…their flesh,” which Paul phrases as, “the mind set on the flesh is death.” Each says the same thing. The author concludes that this is “indifference,” while Paul calls it “hostility.” This hostility toward God is the nature of the person (he is depraved) and it manifests as hatred for God as we see in the verses cited by the author. It is this hostility toward God that helps us understand the behavior Paul describes in Romans 1 as this behavior defies logic.

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  7. CALVINISM’S USE OF POLYSEMOUS LANGUAGE:

    An excellent example of Calvinist doublethink/doublespeak can be found in Calvin’s classic phrase, with which he details God intentions for the people he creates. God’s intentions are – quote: “unknown but certain”.

    The word “unknown” is monosemous, while “certain” is polysemous. Polysemous words are consistent in equivocal propositions.
    The two possible meanings of “certainty” here are “Psychological Certainty” which implies a person’s ability to know something with certainty. This meaning would however be oxymoronic for Calvin, as it would equate to “unknown but known”. The other meaning for “certainty” is its meaning within the philosophy of determinism, where predetermined events are said to be “certain”. (i.e., deterministic certainty). Within the philosophy of determinism, “certainty” equates to “inevitability” and/or “unavailability”.

    Why then doesn’t Calvin craft this statement as: “unknown but inevitable”, or “unknown but unavoidable”?

    It should be obvious, both phrases, although equivocation is removed, would induce a sense of foreboding, unpalatable to the reader. If Calvin’s goal is to induce the reader to embrace the doctrine, a consistent use of unequivocal and intellectually honest language is unpropitious. And we know, a core principle in Calvinism is “the end justifies the means”. In this system polysemous words provide a high degree of utilitarian service.

    In fact, “certain”, “certainty” are a within the Calvinist’s lexicon of favorite words. There is no REAL “Psychological Certainty” within Calvinism, as all things predestined occur according to the SECRET councils of god’s will. And this is why Calvin calls them “unknown”. That is – unavoidably “unknown” to man. It a logical impossibility for man to have “Psychological Certainty” of what is “unknown”.

    Calvinists like this word because it creates an IMAGINARY degree of “Psychological Certainty” to which Calvinist theology, compared to its alternatives, lacks. What “Psychological Certainty” is lacking in the theology, the Calvinist thus cerebrally manufactures. As a matter of fact, for the non-elect-Calvinist, Jesus as savior, deliverance from total depravity, trust in a friendship with God, and hope for salvation, are nothing more than imaginary friends, induced upon the believer by god himself. Thus the word “certainty” facilitates a cerebrally manufactured sense of stability, and works to promote a sense of confidence and conciliation, which the theology can’t provide.

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