Epigenetics and Sin

TIME magazine's cover story on the new science of epigenetics examines evidence that environmental factors like diet and stress can make an imprint on ones gene's without changing the DNA, and can be passed down from one generation to the next.

I still can't wrap my mind around the possible implications of epigenetics on the "I was born this way" argument, commonly heard from many claiming genetic predisposition for behaviors such as homosexuality and sexual infidelity. But the article reminded me of the numerous Biblical warnings about sin and its consequences passed down from fathers and succeeding generations.

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, 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." Exodus 34:6-7 (NIV)


Dude, i was just on a rant with my wife, and I posted on my facebook page today.."Do I have to repent of my epigenetic sins?" I also was being semi-silly saying that I was going to become a epigenetic theologian, so I went online to find out first-I'm not that smart, second-theology and epigenetics have already met. What is relevant about the TIME article is that it challenges us as christians (non-christians as well) to take a long view about life. In other words, to become wise, one must realize that science and theology agree that there are consequences. Also, embedded in DNA is grace, because the sins of the father and mother are not permanent but go away in a few generations. (sadly, new sins from the next generation are introduced).
The link that makes the claim that love is not only to thousands of people, but also to the thousandth generation, is here: http://biblebrowser.com/exodus/34-7.htm
Does that truely matter? It is fairly obvious that some forms of behavior are more common in given societies. Wearing Lederhosen is more common in Bavaria, having blood feuds is more common in Sicily and producing world class chess players more common in Russia and Poland. Is it more then a scientific curiousity whether that is from the genes or not?
Check out this for the conclusion that punishment is inflicted only for those who "inherit" a hatred of God: http://www.worshipmap.com/sermons/piper-names-ex34.html And check out this for the conclusion that while punishment goes to Generation 3 or 4, love is maintained for Generation 1,000. // I personally refuse to believe that God is not sovereign over genetics, epigenetics, hypersuperepigenetics, or any other such biological predestinationism someone cares to invent. He Who can reassemble a valley of dried bones into an army right in front of Ezekiel, and Who can and did restore other dead to life and will do so again, is certainly capable of decreeing "I don't care if your daddy smoked; you're not gonna be fat." So, Time Magazine, pbthththbhth!
Thanks, got it.
In any case, I always thought "my genes made me do it" carries a whiff of a lack of concern about one's own dignity. Is being called a sinner worse then calling oneself an animal?
Gina, "passed down to from one generation" needs a grammatical fix. ...//... JasonB: Thanks for the link, I'll be reading when I get time. I agree that the "epigenetic predisposition hypothesis" (EPH) is something to think about... and that just reminded me of another EPH for some reason: "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

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