My question today is about generational curses. I myself do not agree that generational curses are scriptural; I know that in Exodus 20:5 it states “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Preachers/Teachers have used this scripture to build this doctrine, but they always leave out the part about “of them that hate me;”… When I put Ezekiel 18:20-22 together with this scripture to me it is clear that generational curses are not Biblically sound, what are your thoughts?
I think there is a certain amount of “genetic disposition” passed from parents to children, but even more prevalent is the effect of environmental conditioning where children pick up the habits and attitudes of their parents by emulating their behavior.
Some of this is good and some is bad. And the bad part could easily be what some call generational curses. Susceptibility to certain diseases, like diabetes, could be an example. Adopting a parent’s negative behavior patterns, like short temperedness, is another.
Exodus 20:5 is given in the context of keeping the commandments and warns of the adverse consequences on future generations of not doing so. But Galatians 3:13 says that Jesus broke that cycle on the cross. Even if one’s father has earned God’s wrath, all believers are forgiven, regardless of parentage.
Ezek 18:20-22 reads,
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father; neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.”
The context of Ezekiel 18 is that in the days leading up to the Babylonian conquest, Jews had convinced themselves that the coming judgment wasn’t their fault. They thought they were just bearing the consequences of their forefathers’ disobedience. God told Ezekiel to set them straight. They weren’t being punished for their fathers’ sins, but their own. So this passage is not about generational curses, but about accepting responsibility.