Many Christians claim infants are “sinful” and “manipulative.” This is based on an inaccurate interpretation of Psalm 51:5 which states:
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB).
Even many Bible versions inaccurately translate this verse to say that David was “sinful” from birth. What I believe the verse is actually saying is that David’s mother was sinning when he was conceived. Other verses seem to contradict the church doctrine of infants being born “sinful.” Let’s look at some.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” ( James 4:17, NASB).
“Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39, NASB).
“For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law” (Romans 5:13, ESV).
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'” (Matthew 19:14, NASB).
As we can see, infants and young children are not ever considered “sinful” in the Bible. We will all eventually sin in our lives and will need Jesus to save us from our sins, but infants do not even know what sin is, therefore, they cannot understand what sin is. They re so young and are totally in the present moment. They cannot plan ahead.
Also, if we truly observe infants in an objective manner, we’ll see that they are eager to interact with us. And as soon as they can physically do it, they will offer toys and food to us. It may be slobbery, but they love to share with us and interact with us.
A “sinful” infant wouldn’t get joy from taking turns with us and interacting with us. A “sinful” infant would never ever be satisfied with us. I must point out that some infants are born with special needs and can’t interact the way typical infants can. Other infants are very high needs. These infants are not “sinful.”
No infants are ever “sinful.” Infants are totally innocent. It is very important for us to understand that infants’ wants are also their needs. Infants are incapable of manipulating us during their first year of life. Yes, as they get older, they can wait a bit for a need to be met as long as we tell them we will meet it soon and follow through. But even wanting to be held is an actual need for infants.
Let’s do our best to treat infants in a manner that will allow them to keep their innocence for as long as possible instead of treating them harshly, making them learn to be selfish.