This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inheriting the Carnal Mind

QUESTION: If a child's ancestors are all free from carnality for three generations back, how can he inherit the carnal mind?

ANSWER: He is sure to inherit racial rather than personal qualities and tendencies, even after a hundred generations of holy people. The fall of our first parents corrupted the race so that every child, however well born, is more inclined to do wrong than to do right. "Sin is entailed upon me," says Wesley, "not by immediate generation, but by my first parent. 'In Adam all died; by the disobedience of one, all men were made sinners;' all men, without exception, who were in his loins when he ate the forbidden fruit." There are mysteries in heredity which no one can explain. Parents may transmit what they do not possess. By the Salic law a woman destitute of sovereignty can, if her father is a king, transmit sovereignty to her son. It is often the case that two parents whose hair is black have a red-headed child, the color being transmitted from an ancestor a half dozen generations back. "We have," says Wesley, "a remarkable case of this in gardening; grafts on a crab  stalk bear excellent fruit; but sow the kernels of this fruit, and they produce as mere crabs (crab-­apples) as ever were seen." Another view of this subject is the impossibility of transmitting personal moral qualities of an acquired character, such as holiness which is obtained or imparted and inwrought in answer to the person's faith.

Steele's Answers pp. 216, 217.