“Where does it say in the bible that when we are born we are children of the devil?”

A friend and I were conducting a church service at a Juvenile Detention Center when in response to a controversial and provocative answer given by my friend (a fellow Gideon), one of the participants in the audience (apparently out of amazement) challenged us by asking , “where does it say in the bible that when we are born we are children of the devil?”

I answered the question by referring the audience to the 3rd chapter (verse 19) of John’s gospel where I pointed out that Christ condemns us for innately (innate because of Adam’s sin nature that we inherit as his offspring) preferring darkness over light because we are inclined to choose evil; obviously this is an unexpected criticism for someone that is born as a child of God. I also took the audience to Romans 3 to establish the fact that:

…There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. [We] are all gone out of the way, [We] are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. [Our] throat is an open sepulchre; with [our] tongues [we] have used deceit; the poison of asps is under [our] lips: [Our] mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: [Our] feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in [our] ways: And the way of peace have [we] not known: There is no fear of God before [our]  eyes. (Romans 3:10-18)

Once again, I pointed out that these aren’t exactly the attributes that you would expect from people that were born as children of God. When I got home that evening, I re-read the handout that my friend had prepared for our service and realized that one of the verses he included on the handout provided another answer to the “children of the devil” question. In the verse included on the handout (John 8:46-47) Christ says:

Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.

This verse definitively pronounces that we are not God’s children since only those that are born believing in God (i.e. none of us) can claim that they belong to God.

To be sure, there is no one verse in the bible that states specifically that “when man is born he is a child of the devil”; however, this truth is a good and necessary consequence that follows from numerous propositions in scripture. Let’s look at a few of them:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
(1 John 3:8-10)

This seems to be the most conclusive of the verses in scripture that portray us as who we really are (that is before believing in Christ): children of the devil. Since we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) and any one that committeth sin is [born] of the devil (1 John 3:8), then it follows by good and necessary consequence that we are all born children of the devil.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
(John 1:12)

As the verse above implies, we do not become children of God until we receive (or believe in) Him.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(Ephesians 1:5)

If we were born as children of God then we wouldn’t need adoption into God’s family. The fact that we must be adopted demonstrates that we are not born as God’s children.

I will end this article by quoting my pastor, Lon Solomon. He  preached a sermon on this very topic (back in 2005) in a series called: Jesus’ Most Outrageous Sayings. Incidentally, I highly recommend this series; in fact, in my opinion, it is his best series to date. The sermon entitled “You are of your father the devil” established from the scriptures why we are not all God’s children in contrast to the popular notion held and uttered by many.

In this sermon, among other things, Pastor Solomon proclaims: “To be a child of God is a privilege that is reserved exclusively to those that place their personal faith and trust in Jesus Christ and what He did for them on the cross, it’s then and only then that we enter into a family relationship with God… then we become God’s children and He becomes our heavenly Father.”

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2 comments so far

  1. kevin on

    I need to ask this question than! I agree whosoever puts their faith and trust in Christ will be saved, but what about children? this only comes to the conclusion that if a child is indeed born of the devil , than that child if he or she dies is going to hell? IF that is the case than why does Jesus call the children as such as the kingdom of heaven? My God i know would never put that wrath on such as a child who is unable to comprehend!
    you need better back up scripture for this topic

    • 1john22 on

      Your question is an important one. Children are no different than adults in that they also are born sinners. Sinners are not excused simply because they are infants; of course, if this were the case then Christ did not need to die for the sins of the world as God should simply have killed us in our infancy in order to make sure that we all end up in heaven. Yes, all children are born as children of the devil and this status doesn’t change until we obey the Gospel. Does this mean that all persons that then die in infancy automatically go to hell (as your question suggests)? No, a child that dies does not automatically go to hell. The fate of that person, though, is only known to God. More specifically, the eternal fate of every single person that will ever live was already determined by God before He created the world (See Acts 15:18 and Revelations 17:8). God’s determination, we are told, is based upon information that he knows ahead of time (1 Peter 1:2). This information is not restricted to things that will definitely happen but also includes things that would have happened had the opportunity presented itself (Matthew 11:21, Matthew 24:22). For example, in Mark 13:19-20 we are told of an event that would have definitely occurred (the complete annihilation of those living during the great tribulation) but will definitely not occur; therefore, God’s omniscience is not limited to actual history but also includes potential history. Moreover, logically, God’s foreknowledge must be His knowing whether or not we will obey the Gospel. I have written in-depth about this subject in a blog entitled “Is HEBIASED?”

      The bible says that God is a just God (Psalms 98:9, Genesis 18:25); so, we know that God would not perpetrate any act that is unjust. Notwithstanding, it behooves us to understand that no one will automatically become a child of God simply because they die as a child. The fate of a dead infant is not a problem for God despite any difficulty we may have in ascertaining the infant’s eternal outcome since, again, the names of all eventual children of God were written in God’s Book of Life before the world began (Revelations 17:8, Revelations 20:12, Revelations 20:15). If the child goes to heaven, it will be because the child has obeyed the Gospel according to the foreknowledge of God. On the other hand, if the child ends up going to hell, it will be because the child has disobeyed the Gospel according to the foreknowledge of God (Acts 15:18, Revelations 20:12). The bible teaches that the Gospel will be preached to EVERY person and EVERY person will have an opportunity to choose eternal life or hell (Romans 10:18, Colossians 1:23, 1 Peter 4:6, 1 Peter 3:19, Matthew 13:18-23).

      Finally, regarding your usage of the Matthew 19:14 passage, please note that the phrase “of such” does not imply infant inclusion of any sort. In other words, and according to Albert Barnes commentary on the verse: “Of such as these – that is, of persons with such tempers as these – is the church to be composed. He does not say of those infants, but of such persons as resemble them, or are like them in temper, is the kingdom of heaven made up.”


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