Scientists have now proved that traumatic memories and their accompanying phobias can pass from parent to child biologically through their inherited DNA, in my view lending credence to the idea of trans-generational patterns of behavior (including family sin tendencies, etc.)
However, think of the “flip-side” of this reality”: If it is true that traumatic experiences can “hard-wire” negative emotions, and, by extension and consequence, their accompanying negative behaviors into our DNA so that these tendencies are passed down to our children, it also stands to reason that positive experiences can “hard-wire” positive emotions and behavioral tendencies into our DNA so they are passed on to our children and later descendants.
What does this mean for each one of us and for those around us that we are ministering to?
Never underestimate the power of profound spiritual experiences that come as the result of participating in intense worship, engaging in passionate prayer, or hearing the Bible preached with God-given passion. Even a cursory examination of the Gospels and the Book of Acts shows that the normal, New Testament Christian life includes moments of deep emotion and strong spiritual experience. The scientific research highlighted by the BBC helps us understand that these intense experiences have the power to not only impact our spirits, but also to “re-wire” our DNA, “fixing” negative tendencies that have been passed down to us from our ancestors; “breaking” trans-generational patterns of sinful behaviors that have been prevalent in our families for generation; and facilitating positive behaviors in the lives of our children.
Here’s the “bottom-line”: For good reason, God never intended faith in Jesus to only be a matter of our heads, but also our hearts!
It is interesting to read the entirety of Ezekiel chapter 18 in this regard. Trans-generational tendencies were so obvious to the Israelites that they often said (my paraphrase) , “If a parent eats sour grapes, the children’s teeth will be set on edge.” (vs. 2) God’s response to this was to say that among His people, He promised that this would no longer be the case!
Here are some other great passages to ponder:
Jeremiah 31:29–34 (NIV84) — 29 “In those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ 30 Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—his own teeth will be set on edge. 31 “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Deuteronomy 7:9 (NIV84) — 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
John 8:32, 36 (NIV84) — 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”…36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 9:1–3 (NIV84) — 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
Acts 16:31 (NIV84) — 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”
Galatians 3:13 (NIV84) — 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV84) — 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Thank God for the power of the cross of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the Holy Spirit He has sent into our hearts to deliver us from the patterns of the past!