Are we Punished for Sins of Forefathers to 3rd Generation?
I need some help with a question of a friend of mine. He wants to know; (Q) do we believe that we will we be punished for the sins of our forefathers? (A) We believe that you will be punished for your own sins and not for Adam's transgression. (Q)(where I am stuck) The Word of the Lord (Bible) says that for some sins the punishment will last for 3 (example) generations. Please Help.
The statement in the Articles of Faith that we won't be punished for Adam's transgression was written to oppose a Catholic concept.
The Catholics believe that we are all born with sin already upon us because we come under the curse placed upon Adam. This is why the Catholics feel it so imperative to baptize babies. For they believe that if they die without baptism they will go to hell forever.
We can feel assured that God is not that cruel, by knowing that we aren't born with sin upon us. We are born with the consequences of Adam's transgression in that we get sick and die. But we aren't born with his sins on our conscience.
The statements in the Bible that the sins of the parents are visited upon the children to the 3rd and 4th generations is relative to consequences and thinking.
For example let's suppose that I believe in committing adultery. I will teach my children that it is alright to commit adultery also. Thus my sins are visited upon the next generation. And as they teach their children who then teach their children, this false idea has reached the 4th generation. And in the intermediate generations continuing on with it the curse goes on.
However that can be broken by a generation accepting the truth. Then that can pass on to the generations to come, who will benefit by the principle of good things being passed on in stead.
So we won't be punished for the sins of our for-fathers unless we follow them in committing those sins. Ezekiel points out that any curse or blessing that God places upon anyone for their sins or righteous acts will be removed if the person changes (Ezek 33:12-16).