Someone recently asked me what I thought of a doctrine out there called Generational Curses.  I'm not sure how many have heard of this teaching before but there's a movement that's been around for some time to go back into the past and dig up previous memories and history hoping to find answers for present problems. 

As a result,  marriages have been destroyed, relationships put to the test and many other bad things have resulted in such practices.  Accusations have led to many bitter and hurtful feelings.   In my reply to my friend I wrote this:

The bible is filled with curses.  Right from the beginning we see the curse of sin put upon mankind in the Garden of Eden.  We see curses against people, cities, flocks, herds and even Jesus cursed a fig tree remember?  Interesting topic for sure.  We must always go the the Word of God as our final authority. 

A curse is a pronounciation of damnation, of destruction or doom.  When we come to the cross and think about the significance of what was done for us, we understand that all doom, destruction and damnation are things of the past for the believer.  We are a new creature 2 Cor 5:17
 
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
 
The Generational Curse Doctrine  you asked me about is unbiblical.  It's erroneous doctrine coming out of the Charismatic movement that includes both Catholics and Protestants. It is NOT a Christian doctrine.   It comes erroneously from such scriptures as Exodus 34:6-7 which says:
 
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."
 
There's another in Deut 5:8-10 which says: 
 
 8 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
 
What they've done is take some OT verses out of context building a doctrine around it which is what is quite common in heresy.   Take a look at what Deut 24:16 says:
 
16 Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin. 
 
Individual responsibility is heavily taught all thru scripture.  No one will ever be denied eternal life because of what his or her forebears did or did not do.  We each will be held accountable for our own actions.  Ezekiel 18:19-20 says:
 
 19 "Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.
 
Any involved in the unbiblical teaching of Generational Curses needs to be brought to the Cross.  There is no such thing as a Generational Curse for the believer in Christ.  He set us free from sin and death and we belong to the family of God.  Gal 3:26-27 says: 
 
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
 
Colossians 1:12-14 says: 
 
12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
 
The doctrine of fear comes straight from the devil himself as he denies the work of the cross and desires that we walk in fear and defeat always looking back.  This is nothing more than worldly superstition we need to flee from.  Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim 4:18
 
18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever.
 
When we come to the cross we are NOT subject to any curses because Christ became the curse for us.   We are saved, not cursed.  Paul writes to the Galatians in 1:8, 3:10,13:
 
8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 
 
10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law
 
13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."
 
So where did this doctrine come from and what do those original verses mean about the children being punished for their father's sins? 
 
The doctrine of Generational Curses is a combination of Sigmend Freud's psychology and scripture blended together.  It's a blend of psychology and the Word of God being taken out of context as Freud's psychology is being used to interpret scripture. 
 
There is a matter of example and influence.  If you have a father dabbling in alchohol, drugs or porn or even hatred towards God etc there's a cycle that begins that has been proven can reach down as far as the 4th generation.  Sin is cumulative.   James Dobson talks frequently about this.  He's also mentioned many times the influence of good that has come thru his great grandfather who prayed for the next four generations of his family every day. 
 
Any hostility towards God may be passed on to the children thru the parent's example just as those who turn to God will be a blessing to their children.  Psalm 103:17 says:
 
 17 But from everlasting to everlasting  the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-
 
We cannot be walking in the spirit while dealing on the past blaming our parents and grandparents.  Paul wrote to the Galatians in chapter 5: 
 
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
 
Instead of looking BACK at the past for current problems Christians are instructed to look AHEAD at the finish line.  Paul writes in Philippians 3:13-14:
 
13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
As a runner and a coach, I know how positively instructive this advice is.  When we look back, we can trip and lose focus.  We are slowed in the process, not running to the best of our ability, because it's hard to run efficiently when one is looking backwards. 

 


Comments
on Jan 08, 2010

I think this is one of those cases where people read a description of something that happened in the Bible and make it into a statement of what should happen.

While it is true that sons suffer for the sins of their fathers, it is not true that we should MAKE them suffer for the sins of their fathers and nor will G-d punish sons for such sins.

The reason sons suffer for the sins of their fathers is an element of the system, not a requirement. It should make us think about how our behaviour will affect other people (i.e. our sons).

I think all the Bible really says is that your children will suffer if you teach them the wrong things. But that fact will also be counted against the fathers, not the children.

 

on Jan 09, 2010

I think this is one of those cases where people read a description of something that happened in the Bible and make it into a statement of what should happen.

Yes, it's quite common to take things like this and build whole doctrines around it forgetting what the rest of the scriptures have to say.  That's why I did this one up in the first place. 

 Because of sin we are all cursed but God in his provision wiped that away... for those who want it to be wiped away that is.  That's why we can choose blessing or cursing.  Many, I'm afraid choose cursing going their own way instead of coming to the foot of the cross and accepting what Christ did for us.  He took away the curse for our benefit. 

I think all the Bible really says is that your children will suffer if you teach them the wrong things. But that fact will also be counted against the fathers, not the children.

Yes.  Our children are a blessing to us from God and we will be held accountable for our stewardship in how we responded to what God gave to us.  Then again, the children are not off the hook either.  We each will be held responsible for our own actions.  We can't go back and blame dad or granddad for our mistakes.  Doesn't stop many in our day doing just that tho. 

on Jan 10, 2010

Interesting read.  I had been aware of the Generational Curse idea before, but I didn't know it had come about from the Bible/Freud - I had been under the impression that it was related to the "curses" used by Wicca practicioners.

on Jan 10, 2010

I had been under the impression that it was related to the "curses" used by Wicca practicioners.

They may also have their take on this as well.  I wouldn't be surprised.  I'm not familiar with their views on this.  I'll have to check on that. 

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