Tuesday, May 22, 2007

An Age of Accountability?

I've always struggled with the notion of an "Age of Accountability." Biblically I've had a hard time trying to find solid defenses for it. But a thought occurred to me the other day that maybe here is a "behavioral psychological"argument:

So we had a friend of mine from Liberia and his wife over for dinner the other night. After dinner we were sitting out in the living room talking about exciting ministry plans we have for this summer and in comes running a buck-naked Elayna holding her jammies and a pull-up ready for some help getting ready for bed. It occurred to me that though children are born with a sin-nature, fully depraved, they don't come with that built-in sense of shame that Adam and Eve experienced first after the Fall.

True, Elayna, recognizes when she has done something wrong that displeases Daddy or Mommy, but the whole element of awareness of my sinful standing before God and as a sin-scarred human vulnerable in front of others doesn't seem to be innate at the beginning... So here's the question: Since this seems to have an onset gradually and at different ages for different people (especially for the mentally disabled), is this evidence (human-behaviorally) for a so-called Age of Accountability? What do you think?

1 comment:

Joseph Gould said...

Thanks for the insightful article. One thing that has influenced my thoughts regarding this matter has been Jonathan Edward's writings on the human will. Drawing from his distinction between natural and moral ability, I question whether extremely young children have the natural ability to repent and believe. All of that being said, I am very non-committal on this issue, and I don't believe we can answer the question definatively.