It is written:
“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)
“Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.” (Deuteronomy 1:39)
We have been studying the Calvinistic doctrine of total hereditary depravity. We have learned that the passages of Scripture which our Calvinist friends use to try and justify the doctrine do not actually teach the notion.
Now, we are going to begin studying some passages from Scripture which clearly demonstrate the sinlessness and innocence of infants and of small children.
When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they were told by God not to eat from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17). When they chose to do this, they died spiritually and the Creation was cursed as it also began to experience physical death (Genesis 3:17-19).
When the devil was tempting them, he explained that when they sinned they would be like God, “knowing good and evil.” This carries with it the idea of knowing good versus evil more fully. So, in that state where they had not sinned and were still innocent, they did not “know good and evil.”
It is this very description-that of being innocent and sinless-that Moses says babies and small children enjoy. This is a powerful indicator that babies and small children are not wicked little sinners, but are instead pure and free from sin.
“In Eccl. 7.29, the preacher said: “Behold, this only have I found; that God made man upright; but they have sought many inventions.” Similarly, in Dt. 1.39, while God told the Israelites that they couldn’t enter the promised land because of their sins, He said their children would: Moreover, your little ones, that ye said should be a prey, and your children, that this day have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it. God presents quite a different attitude toward children than Calvinists do. God didn’t understand that by ordinary generation the children of Israel were born in sin, or “wholly defiled in all the faculties of soul and body.” Nor did He believe they were “by nature children of wrath.” Instead, God said they had “no knowledge of good or evil,” that is, they were like Adam and Eve before they sinned. The Old Testament teaches no such thing as total hereditary depravity.” (Samuel G. Dawson, Denominational Doctrines: Explained, Examined, Exposed, 627-632 (Kindle Edition); Bowie, TX; SGD Press)
This is the first of many passages which we will examine which demonstrates the sinlessness of infants and small children.