27604Re: [apologetics and theology] "Age of accountablity"
- Mar 20, 2014
From: Jozinky <jozinky@...>
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:03 AM
Subject: Re: [apologetics and theology] "Age of accountablity"
On 3/18/2014 3:26 PM, Mike Jones wrote:
> I suggest you stop believing Paul died for your sins.
Where you get that notion from??---Mike: from most fundamentalist Christians who by their actions express far more concern about Paul than they do about Jesus.
> You may intellectually acknowledge that Christianity started with
> Jesus, but in your works, you act like it started with Paul.
Maybe you're confusing me with someone else??
James... aka Jozinky---Mike: it was a generalizing statement applicable to all fundie Christians who have the habit of leaning on Paul's theological statements far more than they do on Jesus's theological statements.
> *From:* Jozinky <jozinky@...>
> *To:* firstname.lastname@example.org
> *Sent:* Monday, March 17, 2014 7:01 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [apologetics and theology] "Age of accountablity"
> On 3/17/2014 9:33 PM, Stephen Lord wrote:
> > Age of accountability?
> > A.Scripture affirms that there is a time in a child’s life that the
> > Lord considers them innocent, not knowing right from wrong (cf. */Is.
> > 7:15-16; Matt. 18:1-6/*).
> First, knowing or not knowing how to refuse evil and choose good does
> not render a person unaccountable. Knowledge of good & evil has no
> bearing on guilt. Men are guilty of sin whether or not they know they
> sinned. Romans 2. Second the Isaiah passage is talking about Messiah who
> never sinned so that has nothing to do with an age of accountability.
> Third the Matt passage says nothing of an age of accountability.
> > B.However, at some point, a child moves from that stage of innocence
> > to one of guilt (*/Pr. 22:15; /*
> */Prov 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; the rod of
> correction shall drive it far from him.
> Verse says nothing about a child moving from that stage of innocence to
> one of guilt /*¿
> > */Gen. 8:21/*).
> 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet odor. And the LORD said in His heart, I
> will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, because the
> imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. And I will not again
> smite every living thing as I have done.
> That one shows people are guilty right from their youth so no age of
> accountability or a child moving from that stage of innocence to one of
> guilt there either. All men are born under guilt and condemnation. Jesus
> said so in John 3.
> > We describe this transition with the non-Scriptural phrase, “the age
> > of accountability,” often using biology (puberty) as a marker.
> Correct. Non Scriptural; because Scripture does not teach an age of
> accountability. The passages you give certainly do not.
> > C.Where did we come up with this notion that puberty marks that age of
> > accountability when a child is no longer in that special realm of
> > innocence and grace in God’s eyes?
> Goo question mon! Now consider these passages;
> Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my
> mother conceive me.
> Psalm 48:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from
> the womb, speaking lies.
> Isa 48:8 Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from of
> old thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou didst deal very
> treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.
> This is the Biblical doctrine of human depravity. Age of Accountability
> negates that doctrine and has humans conceived and born in a state of
> "innocency" with no sin/no accountability.
> > 1.Our social service agencies permit leaving a 12 year old home alone,
> > but frown on leaving a younger child alone [Whiddon, 4-5].
> > 2.Middle School is markedly different from Elementary School in
> > approaches to instruction.
> > 3.Long ago the rabbis set age 12 and 1 day for girls, and age 13 and 1
> > day for boys as the point in their lives when they could make
> > independent and legally binding vows (/Mishnah/, Niddah 5:6).
> > 4.The /bar Mitzvah/, dating back to the 13^th century a.d., marks when
> > a Jewish male, age 13 and 1 day, becomes a “son of the commandment”.He
> > is now legally accountable to the Law and part of the /minyan/—the
> > necessary number of 10 adult males required to form a synagogue.
> > D.It is entirely probable that Christians simply and somewhat
> > unconsciously borrowed from the Jewish traditions in arriving at an
> > “age of accountability”.An examination of Scripture and biology,
> > however, might give us a much different answer.(If there really is an
> > “age of accountability” to begin with; perhaps it is a concept foreign
> > to the Bible that we impose upon it, thus adding to the confusion.)
> > the teen brain:
> > A.*/Num. 13-14/*records the “Ten Spy Rebellion”.Ten of the twelve men
> > who spied out the Promised Land for 40 days convinced almost all the
> > Israelites that an invasion was folly.They would lose.They expressed
> > the concern that their “children” (NIV, “little ones” ESV) would fall
> > victim to the inhabitants of Canaan (*/14:2-5/*).
> > B.As punishment for Israel’s lack of faith, God said _no one age 20 or
> > older_ would enter the Promised Land save Joshua and Caleb.Everyone
> > else would perish during 40 years of wilderness wandering, at the end
> > of which their “little ones,” whom they said would be victims, would
> > enter the land (*/14:28-33/*).
> > 1.A legitimate question here is whether it was exclusively the
> > enrolled military men aged twenty and up who were excluded from the
> > Promised Land or if it was nearly everyone over twenty, but
> > /especially/ the military men.The text is ambiguous on this point.
> > 2.Passages like */Num. 14:29; 26:64-65; Dt. 2:14-16/* and */Josh. 5:4,
> > 6/* place the emphasis on those who were enrolled to fight in the army
> > without mention of any other Israelites.
> > 3.Passages like */Num. 14:3, 31, 33/* (no allowance for their wives to
> > enter the land); */32:8-14; Pss. 95:10-11; 106:24-26; Ezek. 20:15-18;
> > 1 Cor. 10:1-5; Heb. 3:8-11, 15-19/* describe the entire generation
> > that came up out of Egypt as dying in the wilderness rather than just
> > the soldiers.
> > C.Examine */Dt. 1:34-39/*.This is an inspired re-telling of the events
> > of */Num. 13-14/*.Note particularly how God describes those age 19 and
> > under whom he did not hold accountable for the Ten Spy Rebellion:“Your
> > little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today
> > have no knowledge of good and evil” (*/1:39/*).We must face squarely
> > and honestly the fact that this is God’s own assessment of the 19 and
> > under set in this instance—they have no knowledge of good and evil.
> > D.To be frank, the passage has caused me a bit of struggle.I knew a
> > thing or two about good and evil when I was 15, even younger.(Yet had
> > I actually developed my own sense of good and evil, or was I simply
> > conditioned by what I was told was right and wrong?)Either way, how
> > could God say he would not hold the 19 and under set accountable,
> > describing them as “little ones” having “no knowledge of good and
> > evil”?This passage is not alone in marking age 20 as a threshold.
> > 1.The ½ Shekel that was levied for the Sanctuary as atonement and
> > ransom money was levied only on those 20 and over (*/Ex. 30:11-16;
> > 38:26; 2 Chr. 24:4-10/*).Nineteen year old males did not need to make
> > atonement.Why?(No women paid the atonement money.)
> > 2.In the Roman Republic, military duty began at age 16.In ancient
> > Athens it was 18.In the United States it is usually 18.God would not
> > allow the enrollment of anyone under 20 for military duty (*/Num.
> > 1:2-3, 45-56; 26:2; 2 Chr. 25:5/*).Why?
> > 3.In the time of David, Levitical service began at age 20 (*/1 Chr.
> > 23:24-32; 2 Chr. 31:17; Ezra 3:8/*).
> > 4.What is so special in God’s eyes about age 20?Why did he use it as a
> > threshold for punishment, atonement, military duty, Levitical
> > service?Was it an arbitrary age or selected for a reason?
> > E.Enter biology.Return, for a moment, to the law of circumcision on
> > the 8^th day.Why not the 1^st day, or 3^rd , or 10^th ?“Two key
> > elements that are necessary for normal clotting of blood—vitamin K and
> > prothrombin—are not present in sufficient amounts in a male child
> > until the eighth day of life.Without these, any bleeding can produce
> > hemorrhages that might lead to serious health problems or death”
> > [Barfield, 75].These clotting agents reach their highest concentration
> > on the 8^th day and then begin to level off.In short, the Creator had
> > some inside information regarding biology that he seems to have
> > factored in to the command to be circumcised on the 8^th day.
> > F.Just as biology may have played a role in God setting circumcision
> > on the 8^th day, could it be that the Creator knew something of
> > adolescent biology that factored in to his describing them as not yet
> > really knowing good from evil?Is that why he let them off the hook at
> > the Rebellion?Recent medical studies suggest that possibility [see
> > Brownlee; Spinks].
> > 1.Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), neuroscientists
> > have discovered that the brain, as a physical organ, is not fully
> > developed in the average person until approximately age 20.We know
> > that different parts of our bodies grow at different rates.The brain
> > develops more slowly than the outer body.Just because a teen is
> > outwardly as large as an adult does not mean that they are adult.Their
> > brains are still maturing physically.
> > 2.“The neural circuitry...isn’t completely installed in most people
> > until their early 20’s.”
> > 3.In teens, the prefrontal cortex, where judgment and “executive
> > functions” are formed, is underdeveloped.In contrast, the limbic
> > system, seat of emotions, is in hyperdrive.
> > 4.fMRIs reveal that when teens are processing information like facial
> > expressions, the prefrontal cortex is essentially inactive while the
> > limbic is raging (consequently, they misread most of the facial
> > expressions).Adults shown the same stimuli revealed more activity in
> > the prefrontal cortex and less in the limbic region.Adults also
> > correctly identified all the facial expressions used in the test, ¾’s
> > of the teens did not!(The correct answer to the question, “What were
> > you thinking?” when confronting a teen who did something unwise is
> > they weren’t.They were going with their glands.)
> > 5.In teens, the seat of judgment (prefrontal cortex) is physically
> > immature, underdeveloped, and a mess of redundant neurons that
> > actually befuddles information.In adults the bulk of those redundant
> > neurons have been pruned, simplifying the information pathways.
> > 6.Nerve shafts are coated with a myelin sheath that prevents the
> > degrading of the signals as they are passed along (like the coating on
> > coaxial cable).That sheathing isn’t in place until around age
> > 20.(Multiple sclerosis involves the destruction of the myelin sheath,
> > just to illustrate how important the sheath is.)
> > 7.In short, adolescent brains lack certain physical structures fully
> > adult brains have.The teen brain is wired differently than the adult
> > brain (the limbic—emotional center—is larger than in adults, while the
> > cognitive center is smaller).Teen brains even work differently than
> > fully developed adult brains, processing information through the
> > emotive more than the cognitive centers.
> > G.Does all the above biological data mean that teens can’t and
> > shouldn’t be held responsible and accountable?No.Rather, the
> > discoveries reveal how critically important this stage is in the
> > development of a child.The physical brain is pliable.“Teenagers are
> > choosing what their brains are going to be good at—learning right from
> > wrong, responsibility or impulsiveness, thinking or video games.”One
> > neuroscientist called it “brain sculpting”—the activities and
> > responsibilities given to a teen are actually influencing how the
> > brain is pruning redundant neural connections and hard-wiring itself
> > to be more efficient at those tasks.“So if a teen is doing music or
> > sports or academics, those are the cells and connections that will be
> > hard-wired.If they’re lying on the couch or playing video games or
> > [watching] MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to
> > survive [the pruning process].”
> > 1.Adolescence is the critical time to “train up a child in the way”
> > he/she should go (*/Pr. 22:6/*).(The word “train” in this passage
> > means to dedicate someone or something—set them on the path they need
> > to take.In */Prov/*. there are only two paths:the way of the righteous
> > or of the fool.)
> > 2.Adolescence is especially the time to be training in morality,
> > ethics, responsibility.
> > 3.The key word here is /training/!People in training are not expected
> > to perform their tasks at the same level as someone who has finished
> > the training and gained further experience “on the job”.
> > 4.The cognitive centers of the average teen brain are not yet fully
> > operational; they are physically lacking in judgment.The Creator knows
> > his biology.He made us that way.The “adult sized” teen is not yet
> > fully mature mentally, cognitively and is actually overdeveloped
> > emotionally.Their brain is not an adult brain and we cannot rightly
> > expect them, given the way their “hardware” is wired, to think in
> > adult ways.(This is why substance abuse at this age is even more
> > damaging.)
> > 5.Perhaps these biological facts entered in to why God said of those
> > 19 and under that they are “little ones . . . who today have no
> > knowledge of good and evil.”They don’t have the physical equipment for
> > /full/ discernment.
> > Barfield, Kenny./Why the Bible is Number 1:The World’s Sacred Writings
> > in the Light of Science./Reprint,
> > Eugene, OR:Wipf and Stock, 1997.
> > Brownlee, Shannon.“Inside the Teen Brain.”/U.S.News & World Report,/ 9
> > August 1999, 44-54.
> > Danby, Herbert, trans./The Mishnah./Oxford:Oxford University Press,
> > /Encyclopaedia Judaica/, s.v. “Bar Mitzvah.”
> > Spinks, Sarah, producer./Frontline:Inside the Teen Brain/.Available
> > online at
> > http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain; accessed 25
> > February 2003.
> > Whiddon, Bob Jr., ed./From Children to Brethren./Westminster,
> > CO:S.U.N. Publishing, 1992.
> > Respectfully,
> > Stephen Lord
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