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God has punished and continues to punishe humanity for the sins of our ancestors.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 844 times Debate No: 34137
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Resolved: God punishes descendants for the sins of ancestors.

God: the Christian god.

In this debate I will accept that god is real, that being is a personal god and a judge for all of us. As the only reference for god’s word and actions is the bible (you may choose the version, but please make it an English translation) we must accept this as a valid source.

I will hold the burden of proof that god does in fact punish people for the misdeeds of the long since dead. Your will need to show how I am wrong.


1. Acceptance, Pros opening argument and Cons rebuttal/ opening argument.

2. Rebuttal

3. Final Statements (interpret this freely)

I thank anyone who decides to take up this challenge. I am very curious to see what will come of a good debate on this topic.

Definitive proof?

“I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” -Exodus 20:5-6

“Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” -Exodus 34:5-7

“The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.” -Numbers 14:18

“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned. To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam” -Romans 5: 13-14

“Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite, and his seed.” -Jeremiah 29:32

I believe I have made it clear that throughout the bible god admits to, and is said to act as though, he punishes generations following for the sins of the previous. This is as good as a confession of the resolution of this debate.

A case of semantics:

One could make the case that it’s not that we inherit our ancestor’s punishment, we inherit their sins and for those sins we are punished. But if we take into account that god made man as it says in Genesis, then he also made it so that we could inherit the actual sins themselves, a hereditary curse. Thus we can actually follow our entire lineage of sin and punishment to the original sin of Adam and Eve, since like them every generation, by design, inherits the aptitude for sin which was apparently built into them. Paul (Saul of Tarsus) who is, as some would argue, the founding father of the Christian popularity movement even exclaims this truth.

This point alone should be enough to prove my point. God himself admits to the act.

Canon of Canaan

Noah, a descendant of the first man Adam, was the “most righteous man on earth” " and was chosen by god for his mission (Genesis 7:1) (Ezekiel 14:14) (Genesis 6:9) (2 Peter 2:5) (Hebrews 11:7). God’s initial flaw in humanity, inheritance of sin across generations and thus permanent hereditary punishment, had by now spread through the generations and created a hostile environment and corrupt earth. Noah was instructed to build an ark to house the last of humanity (Noah’s family) and 2 of each creature. He then flooded the earth, killing every living creature he deemed was corrupted by his initial flaw, as well as other beasts, in favor of the few he saw as fitting to repopulate the earth. This is the well known, even by children, story of Noah’s Ark. What happened afterwards?

Many interpretations Noah’s post flood story exists, but all of them end the same way. In case anyone is unfamiliar with I will point out a few of these interpretations since it may have relevance to god’s actions. I will leave that up to you (both Con and readers).

Noah was extremely drunk off wine and was in his tent, this is where the interpretations diverge. One interpretation is that Ham sodomized Noah taking advantage of him in his drunken state, this I believe was Samuels deduction based on another biblical incident in which the phrase "and he saw" indicated copulation.

Another (which I personally find to be more likely) is that Ham saw Noah having sex with his wife, and “seeing the nakedness of a man” is thought to be a common Hebrew expression describing that event.

Another is that Ham castrated Noah this is inferred from the fact that Noah had no children after the flood, therefore being deprived of a fourth son. This is a deduction based on the actions Noah took, cursing Hams 4th son Cannan.
In the end of the story god in his omniscience, knowingly chose a man that would intentionally curse\ punish his own grandson (Canaan), and his descendants in perpetuity, for the “sin” of the father (Noah’s son) Ham. It is only with god’s assistance that the curse would be in effect as Noah gets his abilities, much like Moses, from the blessing of god.


Ok, first of all, thank you to Pro for setting up this debate. I'm looking forward to it, and I hope we can both have an enjoyable debate.


All scriptures are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.

"The soul that is sinning, it itself will die. A son himself will bear nothing because of the error of the father, and a father himself will bear nothing because of the error of the son. Upon his own self the very righteousness of the righteous one will come to be, and upon his own self the very wickedness of a wicked one will come to be." - Ezekiel 18:20

"But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath and of the revealing of God"s righteous judgment. And he will render to each one according to his works" - Romans 2:5,6

"Do not be misled: God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap;" - Galatians 6:7

These scriptures show that, rather than punishing people based upon actions of their progenitors, God judges everyone on their own actions. That would seem to contradict the scriptures you quoted, but that is not the case. It is important to remember that the scriptures you quoted from Exodus and Numbers were spoken to the Israelites at the same time as they were given the law, which they made a covenant with God to obey. If they obeyed God's commands then they would be blessed, but if they disobeyed then they would be punished. Now, if their fathers were being punished, then there would inevitably be some hardships for their offspring, even though they were not being punished directly themselves. So those scriptures, rather than referring to God vengefully attacking children, are an exhortation to any would-be sinners to think off the ramifications that their bad course would have for their children. It can then be seen that the scriptures I quoted above fit in nicely - God won't hold sins of previous generations against someone, but they may be affected by the fallout from them.

To address the point you raised about the inheritance of sin, your argument is good, but it has one flaw - the assumption that God made a deliberate choice to make it possible for us to pass sin on to our children. However, this is not the case. Rather, it is inevitable that a human who has sinned and become imperfect cannot then produce perfect offspring. However, as I will discuss later, God has made it possible for us to be redeemed.

As regards Shemaiah, I was unable to find much about him or his offspring. Given the lack of data surrounding this event, it is impossible to say why God may have included his offspring in this curse. Nonetheless, as I am trying to demonstrate, the evidence we have shows that God would not condemn someone for their father's actions. So I am forced to conclude that there is some unstated reason for this.

Ok, moving on to the point about Canaan. Now, firstly, as you touched upon in your case, Ham had 4 sons. However, only Canaan was cursed. This would seem to indicate that in some way Canaan was at fault here, as if this was as a result of Ham's actions, logic dictates that all of Ham's sons would have been included under this curse. Secondly, at no point was Ham cursed. He did not recieve a blessing, as did his brothers, but neither was he cursed as was Canaan. Now, given the sparcity of details in the account, it is impossible to say for certain, but it seems reasonable to assume that Canaan was to blame, else why would he have been cursed, not Ham? It is interesting to note that the word translated son at Genesis 9:24 - "Finally Noah awoke from his wine and got to know what his youngest son had done to him. " - may also be translated grandson. The explanation which I favour, though I must emphasize that it is unproven, is that Canaan engaged in some form of immoral conduct with Noah while he was drunk. Ham, though knowing of this, failed to take action, and hence did not recieve the blessing given to his brothers, who acted to preserve their father's dignity. Anyway, whether or not this is correct, it would certainly appear that Canaan was fully deserving of the curse he recieved.

Now, anticipating your next argument, that the same could not be said of Canaan's descendents, we must consider that God has the ability to foretell the future (see Isaiah 46:10). Canaan's descendents, while not guilty of Canaan's sin, were certainly not pleasant people. To quote from Halley's Bible Handbook: "Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods. It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale." It would seem, then, that God knew that the Canaanites would turn out to be this kind of people, and so that they would be fully deserving of the curse.

Opening Arguments

"And in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. Three years he reigned in Jerusalem; and his mother"s name was Maacah the granddaughter of Abishalom. 3"And he went on walking in all the sins of his father that he did prior to him; and his heart did not prove to be complete with Jehovah his God, like the heart of David his forefather." - 1 Kings 15:1-3

So, here we have the account of king Abijam, who clearly was displeasing to God. (Jehovah is God's name translated into English for those who don't know). Clearly, then, if God did indeed judge children based on the actions of their forefathers then Abijam's son would not fare well.

"And Asa proceeded to do what was good and right in the eyes of Jehovah his God" - 2 Chronicles 14:2

"At that Jehovah defeated the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians took to flight." - 2 Chronicles 14:12

Based on these verses, it is clear that Asa, Abijam's son, was a god-fearing man, and that rather than punishing him based on his father's sins, God actually aided him in battle. It seems evident from this account that God does not judge children based on their forefather's actions, else Asa would have been cursed by God. The account of Abijam's grandson, Jehosephat is similar, as are other accounts which prove the same point.

Now, to return to the point raised earlier, about humanity's inherited sin, the consequence of said sin being death, consider these scriptures:

"For, indeed, Christ, while we were yet weak, died for ungodly men at the appointed time. For hardly will anyone die for a righteous [man]; indeed, for the good [man], perhaps, someone even dares to die. But God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5: 6-8

"So, then, as through one trespass the result to men of all sorts was condemnation, likewise also through one act of justification the result to men of all sorts is a declaring of them righteous for life. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were constituted sinners, likewise also through the obedience of the one [person] many will be constituted righteous." - Romans 5:18,19

Ok, so given that all of us are sinners, due to our inheritance from Adam, as covered earlier, God would be fully justified in leaving us to sort out our own messes. Same goes if He were punishing us due to our forefather's actions - He would be letting us die, with no hope of redemption. But that isn't at all what He's done. Instead, He sent His son to Earth, in order to die for us, and hence buy back what Adam lost, specifically perfect life for all his descendants. Now, why would God do all that if he were condemning us based on our forefather's actions? The fact that He has decided to extend the oportunity to be cleansed of our sins by means of Jesus has to mean that He is not going to then condemn us because of something our ancestors did before we were even born.
Debate Round No. 1


jackintosh forfeited this round.


Blackswimmer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


jackintosh forfeited this round.


Blackswimmer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Nordenkalt444 4 years ago
Didn't we just have this debate??!
Posted by stubs 4 years ago
In the title you have "punished" (past tense) but in your first round you have "punishes" (present tense). which one do you wish to debate?
Posted by serp888 4 years ago
No, the flying spaghetti monster was just mad that Italy stole Linguini from it, and so it punished humanity
Posted by jackintosh 4 years ago
Not a pagan, an atheist...
Posted by Bullish 4 years ago
You pagan.. You didn't capitalize "God" or "Bible"..
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