The wicked are estranged from the womb Psalm 58:3 – no support for a sinful nature

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES (Psalm 58:3) 

This verse is sometimes used as some kind of support for that babies are born sinful because we have all inherited Adam’s sin. However, this is a PSALM and psalms can be read either literally or figuratively depending on context. Some people also take Psalm 51:5 as support for the sinful nature, but then they believe babies are sinful upon CONCEPTION (it says David was conceived in sin, and you can read about this psalm too on my Blog). So which one is it? Do we get the mysterious ”sinful gene” when we are conceived or when we are born? I suggest NEITHER. Check the context:

Ps 58:1 Do ye indeed SPEAK righteousness, O congregation? do ye JUDGE uprightly, O ye sons of MEN2Yea, in heart ye WORK wickedness; ye WEIGH the violence of your hands in the earth. 3The wicked are estranged from the womb: they GO ASTRAY as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES4Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear5Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. 6Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. 7Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces.

We can see that the psalmist starts out addressing a ”congregation” and apparently they are old enough to SPEAK since they are asked if they speak righteousness. They are also old enough to JUDGE (albeit not necessarily uprightly), they are able to WORK WICKEDNESS in their hearts and WEIGH the violence of their hands. Babies are unable to do any of that, and it’s the WICKED that ”are estrange”. Notice the words ”go astray as soon as they are born”.  If someone goes astray it means it must have started from a position where it was not ”astray”. How many babies do we know who speak LIES Who can speak at all when they are newly born? Can we really say that innocent little newborn babies have poison like serpents? How could newborn babies choose to ”stop their ears” and not hearken? How many babies do we know who have TEETH in their mouths when they are born? Is God seeking to break the teeth of little infants? And cut them in pieces?

No this is about God taking vengeance on the WICKED who have done nothing but engaged themselves in violence and bloodshed, and they must be ADULTS in order to do that. They must be old enough to be able to make decisions, or else it wouldn’t make sense that God would punish the for something they haven’t chosen to do themselves. Psalm 58 is not a about our nature at the time of  birth. The rest of Psalm 58:

8As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. 9Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath. 10The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

In verse 10 and 11 we can read about righteous people who do NOT go astray, so this shows that all are not wicked since only the wicked go astray.

It’s never a good idea to take poetic verses out of context (such as those is Psalms, Proverbs and Job) and make doctrines out of them, in combination with ignoring loads of other clear verses in the Bible which tell us another story. Nowhere in the Bible will you see the teaching that man is born with a sinful nature, and/or that we have inherited Adam’s sin. Sinning is a choice which can’t be inherited. 

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