Dictionary defines it as "the having committed a specified or implied offence". To say that a man is guilty means that he is the man who committed the deed either actually or through an agent, and carries with it the necessity of his having been privy to the act. It is impossible for a man to be accounted guilty of having committed an action which was done before his birth by a man of whom he has never heard! Such theology springs from ignorance of the meaning of words, and the absence of any ordinary sense of justice. It is a grievous thing to attribute to the Almighty an outrageous act of injustice which would be criminal in a man! "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen. 18,25). "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" (Luke 12,57).
N.B. 1. It may be well to refer here to Exod. 20,5, which is generally misquoted by leaving out the last five words "of them that hate me". If sons follow their father's hatred of God and share in their sins, then of course they will share in their punishment, but not otherwise, e.g. Joshua 7,24. It would have been difficult for Achan to have dug up the floor of his tent without the knowledge of his family! It is of course impossible for The Lord, who is righteous in all His ways, to blame children for what their parents have done: and in the Bible God makes this very plain. Yet the theory we are considering makes God break His own law and commit an injustice which is forbidden to men. Amaziah did not kill the children of his father's murderers, that he might obey God; neither did God Himself kill the children of Korah in spite of their father's sin.22 Yet God is represented as having killed all Adam's children for what Adam did! No: the whole eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel is a deliberate repudiation by God of just this doctrine, held by Jews and lately by Christians, that the children's teeth are set on edge by their father's sins!23 Cain and Abel were not born "Dead in Sin" because of what their father had done. They died in spirit because of what they themselves did, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5,12).
N.B. 2. 1 Cor. 15,22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive", is often brought forward to support this theory. But this verse, and the whole chapter,