“Bad Blood” And The Bible

By Robert Wayne LaCoste

Ever heard of the “bad blood” theory? It goes something like this: “If and when there is a seemingly consistent negative behavior in an individual, this is due to a great extent on the biological and genetic background of that person.” Stated bluntly, this theory believes and advocates that evil in a person’s life can be blamed in part to the evil in their parents’ lives that undoubtedly too was “inherited.” In short, good or bad traits are hereditary and not the flaw, per se, of that individual.

This “theory” like many others that men believe and propagate has no biblical basis whatsoever. God’s word does not teach that the evil one commits is the result of “bad genes or blood” or because of other biological factors. Evil is thought and done by people because it is learned and taught to people. The same can be said of good. Righteousness is not inherited. It too is taught and learned. John wrote, “He that doeth righteousness is righteous . . . ” (1 Jn. 3:7). The doing of a thing is the direct result of the learning of that thing. I think most people understand that, as it relates to good. Even those who believe in the back “woodsie” theory that evil is inherited understand full well the import of “bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). If we can see and perceive how good must be taught so it may be learned and practiced, then why can’t we also see that in order for evil to be done, it too must be taught and. learned?

Shades Of Calvinism

John Calvin, the early reformer, believed that men are born “depraved.” That is, men are born in a corrupted and evil condition. Furthermore, Calvin spread this doctrine with the idea that this was so from the very beginning, that men were created good, but then sinned. Because their off-spring then were sinners, it would take God’s Spirit to change such a pitiful state. The idea of “bad blood” is much like Calvin’s suggestion. Calvin insisted that this depravity was “passed on” from generation to generation and that all men were sinful, frail creatures because their parents and all men before them were. The Catholic doctrine of “original sin” is based on this concept. Since Adam and Eve sinned, all men are now destined to “inherit” that sin and begin life in a sinful state.

All of this human wisdom dear reader is just that human thinking. We cannot blame our parents, their parents, or the first man or woman for that matter, for our sin. Our sin is so called that, because it is that – our’s. We can scream loud and long that “the devil made me do it” or I’m just from “bad makings” but in neither instance will we have a leg to stand on. God has written, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20).

Those who subscribe to the idea of “bad blood,” that evil is inherited, rather than learned, have believed Calvinism. And Calvinism is no more the truth today, than when John Calvin first uttered its false notions.

Ahaz, Hezekiah and Mannasseh

Once upon a time, there were three men who reigned and ruled over Judah. These three men were related to each other. As a matter of fact, they were direct descendants, one of the other. Ahaz (2 Kings 16:1-2) was an evil king. He was an idolater and a murderer (2 Chron. 28:3). This man even offered up children as human sacrifices. Not a very nice fellow was he? And who was his son? His son was a man called Hezekiah. Of this man, we read nothing but good. He destroyed the idols of his father, restored the Levitical priesthood to its rightful place of service and brought the people back to the law of God. So good a king was he, the Holy Spirit was compelled to write that he was the greatest king Judah ever had (2 Kings 18:5).

But who was Hezekiah’s son? His son, Manasseh (2 Kings 21) “reared up altars for Baal . . . and worshiped the stars” (2 Kings 21:1-3). Mannasseh also was a shedder of “innocent blood” (v. 16) and he brought the people down with him.

What will the advocates of “evil is inherited” do with this examination of these three men? Perhaps they will say that Hezekiah was good in spite of his father’s “bad genes.” Will they also go out on a limb and say Manasseh got the “bad genes” which caused his bad behavior, from his grandfather, rather than getting the “good genes” from Hezekiah, his father’? The facts are clear and cannot be denied. Hezekiah was righteous because, “He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did” (2 Kings 18:3). These other two men did evil because they were influenced to do so and then chose to do so!

The old expressions, “a stream cannot rise higher than its source,” or “you cannot make a silk purse out of a cow’s ear” are derived from these ideas of human “reasoning.” While genes and other biological factors are responsible for how we look and perhaps even how we feel from a health consideration; God’s word is plain they have nothing to do with whether we commit evil or do good. We are what we are and do what we do, because it is our decision to be that way or do that certain thing. Each can be happy or sad, good or bad, saved or lost, upon their own volition. When we stand before God, we will be judged by what we were by our own making and doing (2 Cor. 5:10) in this life. Where we spend eternity will depend upon how we reacted to Divine directives. If one is lost eternally, he or she will be able to blame only themselves.

Therefore, “choose you this day whom ye shall serve . . . ” (Josh. 24:15).

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 12, p. 363
June 21, 1984