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Posted: November 29, 2012 11:18 p.m.

Dees: Are babies born good?

Are babies born good? You may have joined the millions who have asked this question from the beginning of time. Some people say that babies are born naturally good and it is only societal influences that teach them to do what is wrong or evil. Some say that babies do not have a moral compass; they are blank slates that society impresses upon. Still others say that babies are born naturally bad and it is the job of their family, society and religion to shape them. So since we can't ask babies, how will we ever know?

The CBS News Magazine "60 Minutes" recently aired a report on the findings of "The Baby Lab" on the morality of babies. Karen Wynn and Paul Bloom facilitate the lab and have been studying infant morality for years. Wynn and Bloom use a series of puppet shows to test a baby's moral compass. Their findings are very interesting and very consistent. They have been able to show very clearly that babies can recognize right and wrong, but at the same time, babies are selfish, favoring individuals like them and often excluding those who are different. Obviously, these are just tests and as conclusive as they may seem, I am sure there will still be a debate over this issue.

There is however, another way that we could know the moral nature of a baby. God, the one who designs every baby could tell us of a baby's nature and morality, and fortunately he has. It is very interesting that what we see in the Bible lines up perfectly with the findings of the baby lab. What scientists would say we are only just now understanding God has revealed to the world thousands of years ago.

The first finding of the Baby Lab is that babies are born with a moral compass. Well the Bible makes this very clear in Romans chapter 2. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 2:15 that the law of God is written on our hearts and that our consciences bear witness to the law. In other words, from the time that we are born we know what is right and what is wrong. To quote C.S. Lewis we have all been born with a "sense of oughtness." The babies in the Baby Lab study know which puppet is good and which puppet is bad because the law of God has been given to them. Francis Shaeffer once proposed that all God would have to do to condemn us is to hang a tape recorder around our necks, then at the judgment play back for us all of the times that we made judgments in our life - all of the times we said, "That is wrong," or, "He shouldn't be doing that." He then went on to say, we would surely condemn ourselves. This is true because there is a law written on our hearts by the very hand of God.

The second finding of the Baby Lab was that even though the babies had a sense of morality, they were still very self-centered. This is also made clear in the scripture. Even though we know the law, our own "love of self" prevents us from doing what is right. Sin at its core is a loving of yourself more than you love God. The Bible explains that we have inherited this "sin disease" from our parents going all the way back to Adam and that from our mother's wombs we are sinners. This sin manifests itself in even the youngest of children; it is unavoidable.

The only hope for the babies at Baby Lab and the only hope for you and me is that God would save us from this body of sin. Paul laments in Romans 7:24, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Considering his salvation he says in verse 25, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" May God make us new and right through the salvation won for the world through Jesus, and through the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit for the eternal glory of God, this is my prayer.

Jason Dees is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, the husband of Paige and the father of Emery Anna. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington.

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