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Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Mountain Man] #90550
07/12/07 08:14 PM
07/12/07 08:14 PM
Rosangela  Offline
5500+ Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,153
Brazil
 Quote:
Of course God condemns fallen flesh nature. But He doesn't condemn us.

If this were true, He could condemn our sins without condemning us.

 Quote:
Are nature and character synonymous?

Of course they are (naturally I am referring to moral nature, as distinct from physical nature). The fact that our nature is depraved just means our character is depraved.

“The human character is depraved, deformed by sin, and terribly unlike that of the first man as he came from the hands of the Creator.” {RH, November 24, 1885 par. 9}

 Quote:
The point is, we do not inherit character, instead, we inherit traits and tendencies that cause us to develop character. And, we naturally nurture and cultivate sinful character, which is why God can truthfully say, "All have sinned" and why Sister White repeatedly wrote - "character is not transferable".

Nobody transfers his character to others, but transmits traits of his character to his children. The sum total of these traits is the character of the child. Adam had a character – and a righteous character - when he came from the hands of the Creator, although he hadn’t yet cultivated it. What you are saying is contradictory – a baby does not have a character when he is born, but sins even before he is born. If he sins, he is already cultivating his sinful tendencies and, therefore, developing his character.

 Quote:
Sister White is clear. Jesus' human nature was "perfectly identical with our own nature". The only difference is - He didn't sin.

No. He was born without the taint of sin. What does this mean?

“He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family.” - Letter 97, 1898, p. 5.

Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Rosangela] #90572
07/13/07 08:55 PM
07/13/07 08:55 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
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 Quote:
If this were true, He could condemn our sins without condemning us.

They're not our sins, right? We do not inherit the character our parents cultivated. So, they are their sins, not ours. The traits and tendencies we inherit do not constitute character.

 Quote:
Of course they are (naturally I am referring to moral nature, as distinct from physical nature). The fact that our nature is depraved just means our character is depraved.

I disagree. The physical, mental, and moral nature we inherit at birth is simply the tools or faculties we use to cultivate character. The characters we cultivate did not exist before we were born.

Born again believers possess fallen, sinful, corrupt, depraved natures nevertheless they are, while abiding in Jesus and partaking of the divine nature, able to cultivate sinless, righteous characters. Thus, having a depraved nature does not necessarily mean they have depraved characters.

 Quote:
Nobody transfers his character to others, but transmits traits of his character to his children. The sum total of these traits is the character of the child. Adam had a character – and a righteous character - when he came from the hands of the Creator, although he hadn’t yet cultivated it.

I agree with you that character is not transferable, that we only inherit traits and tendencies from our parents. We form character by repeatedly acting out the unholy thoughts and feelings that tempt us from within and without.

 Quote:
What you are saying is contradictory – a baby does not have a character when he is born, but sins even before he is born. If he sins, he is already cultivating his sinful tendencies and, therefore, developing his character.

According to the SOP, character is the product of repetition, not the result of one or two deeds. It takes time to form character. It must become a habit first. An infant hasn't been alive long enough to develop a well defined character. Yes, some are born with strong predispositions, and certain character traits are sure to follow, however, they haven't technically developed character.

Here's how Sister White describes character development:

 Quote:
The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts. (SC 57)

Any one act, either good or evil, does not form the character; but thoughts and feelings indulged prepare the way for acts and deeds of the same kind. It is . . . by a repetition of acts that habits are established and character confirmed. (CG 199)

It is not through one act that the character is formed, but by a repetition of acts that habits are established and character confirmed. (ST 4-30-1894)

Character does not come by chance. It is not determined by one outburst of temper, one step in the wrong direction. It is the repetition of the act that causes it to become habit, and molds the character either for good or for evil. (CG 164)

A well-balanced character is formed by single acts well performed. One defect, cultivated instead of being overcome, makes the man imperfect, and closes against him the gate of the Holy City. (FLB 44)

Nothing about the quotes posted above suggests we are born with a character. True, we are born with traits of character, but we are not born with a character.

 Quote:
No. He was born without the taint of sin. What does this mean?

Without the taint of sin, to me, means He did not sin in the womb or as an infant or at anytime during His life. He did, however, take our sinful, fallen human nature upon His pure, sinless divine nature. That is, He took upon Himself the "physical, mental, and moral degeneracy [that] prevailed throughout the human family" at the time of His incarnation.

He took our fallen nature, with our infirmities, our weaknesses, our sins, our temptations. Jesus became sin. The following insight describes the type of nature He took upon Himself. "His physical and moral dignity were in so great a degree destroyed that he bore but a faint resemblance in character and noble perfection of form to the dignified Adam in Eden."

The following quotes reiterate the fact Jesus took upon Himself our fallen form and nature:

 Quote:
It was in the order of God that Christ should take upon himself the form and nature of fallen man, that he might be made perfect through suffering, and endure himself the strength of Satan's temptations, that he might the better know how to succor those who should be tempted. {4aSG 115.3}

The Son of God humbled Himself and took man's nature after the race had wandered four thousand years from Eden, and from their original state of purity and uprightness. Sin had been making its terrible marks upon the race for ages; and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy prevailed throughout the human family. {Con 31.3}

Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing, each successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom, and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden. Christ bore the sins and the infirmities of the race as they existed when He came to the earth to help man. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon Him, He was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points on which man could be assailed. {Con 32.1}

Since the fall, the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. In order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might be qualified to reach man and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him. {Con 32.3}

By his subtility and untiring efforts he had controlled the appetite and excited and strengthened the passions to so fearful a degree that he had defaced and almost obliterated the image of God in man. His physical and moral dignity were in so great a degree destroyed that he bore but a faint resemblance in character and noble perfection of form to the dignified Adam in Eden. {Con 34.2}

He was to bear the trial of temptation as a man, in man's behalf, under the most trying circumstances, and leave an example of faith and perfect trust in His heavenly Father. {Con 44.1}

In what way do you think Jesus' human nature was different than ours?

Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Mountain Man] #90579
07/14/07 01:11 AM
07/14/07 01:11 AM
Rosangela  Offline
5500+ Member
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,153
Brazil
 Quote:
They're not our sins, right? We do not inherit the character our parents cultivated. So, they are their sins, not ours.

They are in us. How can God condemn something in a person without condemning the person?
So what you are affirming is that we are only condemned for our acts and not for the sinful tendencies of our character?

 Quote:
According to the SOP, character is the product of repetition, not the result of one or two deeds. It takes time to form character.

How many times is it necessary that an act be repeated before it becomes a habit? How do you know how many times a baby repeated an act in the womb?

“Bad habits are more easily formed than good ones” {2MCP 599.2}

 Quote:
Nothing about the quotes posted above suggests we are born with a character.

Nothing in the following quotes suggests we are not born with a character:

“God expects every one who claims to be his child to reveal to the world not their natural, hereditary, sinful character, but a representation of the character of Christ.” {HM, December 1, 1894 par. 4}

“They [children who attend our schools] have inherited the defective characters of their parents, and the discipline of the home has been no help in the formation of right character.” {2MCP 550.1}

Hereditary and cultivated deformity of human character, as also beauty of character, will have to be met” {FE 277.1}

“God gave our first parents a pure and upright character, in harmony with His law; and had they remained obedient, they would have bequeathed the same character to their posterity.” {BEcho, July 29, 1895 par. 2}

“Their parents were accountable in a great degree for the characters developed by their children, which are transmitted from generation to generation.” {2SM 424.1}

“Your entire life has been molded by the legacy of character transmitted to you at birth.” {RH, July 18, 1899 par. 2}

“From babyhood the character of the child is to be molded and fashioned in accordance with the divine plan.” {CG 193.2}

 Quote:
In what way do you think Jesus' human nature was different than ours?

Jesus loved truth and virtue and was inclined to them, not disinclined to them.

“The duty of intelligent souls is to hold to the truth, to practice virtue. We are born with a disinclination to both. It is sad to find in one's own constitution an opposition to virtues that are commendable in the sight of God, as submission, charity, sweetness of spirit, and patience that will not be provoked.” {TDG 34.3}

“His [Christ’s] inclination to right was a constant gratification to his parents.” {YI, September 8, 1898 par. 7}

Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Rosangela] #90591
07/15/07 05:43 PM
07/15/07 05:43 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
SDA
Charter Member
Active Member 2019

20000+ Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Okay. Where do we stand? "Nobody transfers his character to others, but transmits traits of his character to his children." We both agree we do not inherit the character our parents cultivated. We both agree we inherit their sinful traits and tendencies.

So, what is character? And, what are traits and tendencies? How do they differ?

Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Mountain Man] #90611
07/16/07 08:11 PM
07/16/07 08:11 PM
asygo  Offline
SDA
Active Member 2016

5500+ Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 5,567
California, USA
 Originally Posted By: Mountain Man
So, what is character?


"If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character." {5T 310.1}

Anyone with thoughts and feelings has a character.

If an infant has thoughts and feelings, it has character. If not, then it does not.


By God's grace,
Arnold

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. RH 12/20/1892
Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Mountain Man] #90612
07/16/07 08:29 PM
07/16/07 08:29 PM
asygo  Offline
SDA
Active Member 2016

5500+ Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 5,567
California, USA
 Originally Posted By: Mountain Man
Otherwise, theoretically a person could go through life without ever sinning, making God a liar.


Here's where I am most uncomfortable with the postlapsarian definition of sin. Consider the following:

 Quote:
John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. {AH 274.3}


Now, a series of "carefully crafted questions" (as my pastor refers to my style of investigation). They're all Yes/No, so it should be easy:
  1. While filled with the Spirit, was it possible for John to keep from sinning?
  2. If so, was it possible for John to remain filled with the Spirit every moment of his life?
  3. If so, was it theoretically possible for John to go through life without sinning?
  4. If so, would Romans 3:23 still hold true for him?
  5. If so, what was the difference between the infant John and the infant Jesus in terms of their ability to be a specimen of perfect humanity?

So far, the answers I've received from postlapsarians reveal that they generally do not believe it is possible to always be filled with the Spirit. And that concession is made for the sake of preserving the belief that sin and character must be volitional.

MM (and anyone else interested), I would like to get your answers to these questions to see how your understanding of character and sin fits with the rest of the puzzle. Thanks.


By God's grace,
Arnold

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. RH 12/20/1892
Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: Mountain Man] #90618
07/17/07 02:53 PM
07/17/07 02:53 PM
asygo  Offline
SDA
Active Member 2016

5500+ Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 5,567
California, USA
 Originally Posted By: Mountain Man
the SOP says Jesus inherited everything we inherit at birth.


He might have inherited them, but to a lesser degree. For example, I inherited a disposition to eat unhealthy things. Maybe He inherited the same disposition, but not as strong as mine. WDYT?


By God's grace,
Arnold

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. RH 12/20/1892
Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: asygo] #90627
07/17/07 11:30 PM
07/17/07 11:30 PM
C
crater  Offline
Veteran Member
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 989
United States
 Originally Posted By: asygo
 Originally Posted By: Mountain Man
Otherwise, theoretically a person could go through life without ever sinning, making God a liar.


Here's where I am most uncomfortable with the postlapsarian definition of sin. Consider the following:

 Quote:
John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. {AH 274.3}

Since Romans 3:4 advises us "that God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;" Something must be wrong with man's thinking, not God's.

asygo, I have been considering your quote from AH, regarding "John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth."

Sorry, I haven't been following the discussion to closely so you may have already considered this. But my study brings me to acknowledge that, there is much to be considered about prenatal influence in the life of a child and in character development. Ellen has written some on this; if I might share some of what I have found in her writing, as well as in scripture, to be considered.

Luke 1:15 also states that "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."

Doesn't Luke 1:6 say of the parents of "John the baptist": "And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."

"If we live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mould our little ones, even from their earliest moments."

In reading the whole quote from AH. I am given the impression that it is possible or potential for a child to be filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. Prenatally if both parents are righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." Perhaps having a laying on of hands prenatally even, by a minister of the Lord.

Samuel was also a child of special birth and one dedicated to the Lord's service. 1 Samuel 2:18 "Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod." And in 1 Samuel 3 when Samuel was yet a child that the Lord begin communicating with him.

 Quote:
Jesus Still Invites the Mothers.--Christ, the Majesty of heaven, said, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." Jesus does not send the children to the rabbis; He does not send them to the Pharisees; for He knows that these men would teach them to reject their best Friend. The mothers that brought their children to Jesus did well. . . . Let mothers now lead their children to Christ. Let ministers of the gospel take the little children in their arms and bless them in the name of Jesus. Let words of tenderest love be spoken to the little ones; for Jesus took the lambs of the flock in His arms and blessed them. {AH 274.2}

Let mothers come to Jesus with their perplexities. They will find grace sufficient to aid them in the management of their children. The gates are open for every mother who would lay her burdens at the Saviour's feet. . . . He . . . still invites the mothers to lead up their little ones to be blessed by Him. Even the babe in its mother's arms may dwell under the shadow of the Almighty through the faith of the praying mother. John the
275
Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth.
If we live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mould our little ones, even from their earliest moments. {AH 274.3}
 Quote:
Self-control & Temperance: The mother's physical needs should in no case be neglected. Two lives are depending upon her, and her wishes should be tenderly regarded, her needs generously supplied. But at this time above all others she should avoid, in diet and in every other line, whatever would lessen physical or mental strength. By the command of God Himself she is placed under the most solemn obligation to exercise self-control. The basis of a right character in the future man is made firm by habits of strict temperance in the mother prior to the birth of her child...This lesson should not be regarded with indifference. {AH 258}


 Quote:
Consecrate yourselves to God: Women have need of great patience before they are qualified to become mothers. God has ordained that they shall be fitted for this work. The work of the mother becomes infinite through her connection with Christ. It is beyond understanding. Woman's office is sacred. The presence of Jesus is needed in the home; for the mother's ministries of love may shape the home into a Bethel. The husband and the wife are to co-operate. What a world we would have if all mothers would consecrate themselves on the altar of God, and would consecrate their offspring to God, both before and after its birth! {AH 255}

Importance of Prenatal Influences: The effect of prenatal influences is by many parents looked upon as a matter of little moment; but heaven does not so regard it. The message sent by an angel of God, and twice given in the most solemn manner, shows it to be deserving of our most careful thought. In the words spoken to the Hebrew mother [the wife of Manoah], God speaks to all mothers in every age. "Let her beware," Judges 13:13 the angel said; "all that I commanded her let her observe." The well-being of the child will be affected by the habits of the mother. Her appetites and passions are to be controlled by principle. There is something for her to shun, something for her to work against, if she fulfills God's purpose for her in giving her a child...If before the birth of her child she (the Mother) is self-indulgent, if she is selfish, impatient, and exacting, these traits will be reflected in the disposition of the child. Thus many children have received as a birthright almost unconquerable tendencies to evil. But if the mother unswervingly adheres to right principles, if she is temperate and self-denying, if she is kind, gentle, and unselfish, she may give her child these same precious traits of character. {AH 255-6}

Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: crater] #90631
07/18/07 02:12 AM
07/18/07 02:12 AM
asygo  Offline
SDA
Active Member 2016

5500+ Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 5,567
California, USA
Indeed, the study of prenatal influences is very enriching, but rather scary for potential parents. I did a study on that a while back (when I was in the midst of dealing with prenatal influences), but I'm not sure where it is now.

But there's something very important here:
 Quote:
If we live in communion with God, we too may expect the divine Spirit to mould our little ones, even from their earliest moments. {AH 274.3}


John's privilege was not limited to him. The same privilege is available to "regular" people like us. Therefore, the implications of being born filled with the Spirit is very important and personally relevant to everyone.

The promise of being filled with the Spirit should be most precious to us. Our hope is grounded on what the Spirit does in and through us as much as what Jesus did for us. But I tremble whenever I remember how many of those who believe that the power to overcome sin is available to us, do not believe that the power to remain constantly connected to the Spirit is also available to us.


By God's grace,
Arnold

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. RH 12/20/1892
Re: Is Character Inherited? [Re: asygo] #90633
07/18/07 05:17 AM
07/18/07 05:17 AM
C
crater  Offline
Veteran Member
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 989
United States
John Norton Loughborough tells in his book The Great Second Advent Movement, of Child preachers that where filled with the Spirit of God.

 Quote:
Children Preaching in Sweden
In this connection we will notice how the Lord wrought to introduce the
proclamation in those countries where the law forbade the preaching of anything contrary to the “established church.” Sweden was one of those countries. There the Lord used little children to introduce the work. The first of this manifestation was in the summer of 1843, in Eksjo, southern Sweden. A little girl, only five years of age, who had never learned to read or sing, one day, in a most solemn manner, sang correctly a long Lutheran hymn, and then with great power proclaimed “the hour of his judgement is come,” and exhorted the family to get ready to meet the Lord; for he was soon coming. The unconverted in the family called upon God for mercy, and found pardon. This movement spread from town to town, other children proclaiming the message. The same movement among children was manifest to some extent in Norway and Germany.

“Yes! I Had to Preach”
In 1896, while holding meetings in seventeen different parts of Sweden, I passed
through several places where the children had preached in 1843, and had opportunity to converse with those who had heard the preaching and with men who had preached when they were children. I said to one of them, “You preached the advent message when you were a boy?” He replied, “Preached! Yes, I had to preach. I had no devising in the matter. A power came upon me, and I uttered what I was compelled by that power to utter.” pg. 140

pg. 141 Children in Vision
The people informed me that those who were thus influenced by this heavenly
power were lost to everything around them. They were actually in vision from God, and spoke with a power that carried a mighty convicting influence. They said that these little children, while under that influence,
142
would speak with the force and dignity of full-grown men and women. So those who
saw it were led to conclude that it was the Lord using them prophetically to utter these solemn truths. The writer continues:-

“The people congregated in large numbers to listen to us, and our meetings
continued both day and night, and a great religious awakening was the result. Young and old were touched by the Spirit of God, and cried to the Lord for mercy confessing their sins before God and man.

“But when the priest in the church was apprised of this, many efforts were put
forth to silence us, and thus to stop the prevailing religious excitement; but all efforts were unavailing. The sheriff was then requested to cause our arrest, and during six weeks a fruitless search was made to find us in the forest, whither we had fled for refuge.

“Finally, however, we were summoned to appear before the pastor of the church.
Our number had increased so that forty young men and women presented themselves at the parsonage, where we were submitted to a long trial. All but myself and Walbom were permitted to return to their homes; but we were arrested, and on the following day were placed in custody in the Orebro prison, where we were associated with thieves in cell 14, as though we had committed some great crime.” The Great Second Advent Movement

" Ellen White told him in his later life to tell what he had seen. The church leaders were instructed to free him to go among the churches recalling how the Lord had led in the early years. Brother Loughborough wrote a history of how the church began, calling it Rise and Progress of the Seventh-day Adventists. Ellen White stated in Letter 105, 1903, "Elder Loughborough's book should receive attention. Our leading men should see what can be done for the circulation of this book."

"When the plates of the book burned in the Review fire, he revised and updated his eyewitness account, and renamed it The Great Second Advent Movement, printing it in 1905, just when Ellen White was calling for the pioneers' stories to be told."

"John Norton Loughborough was an eyewitness of the founding of the SDA church, having traveled extensively with James and Ellen White, and having seen Ellen when she was in vision some 40 times. Brother Loughborough died in 1924, being the longest-lived pioneer." About GREAT SECOND ADVENT MOVEMENT

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