What Makes Us Who We Are?

Goodboy

On my way up!
My older sister asks me questions now and then. Most of her questions I can easily answer based on the bible. Today however, she asked me a question that I could not respond to with a good answer. The question was, why do siblings and even twins think differently about things even though they were raised by the same parents. Even Cain and Able could be a good example of that from the bible.

The only answer I could give her is that God has made us all unique even if we are in the same family. That still did not satisfy her, she still did not understand what would drive one child to be totally sinful and another to be as righteous as they are capable of?

Well she stumped me on that one. Does anyone have a good answer for that question?
 
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Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
I don't have a good answer, but I have an observation from my personal experience raising 4 children. It seems to me that at birth they were already individuals in terms of personality and whatnot. I watched all four of my children, with whom I was blessed to be able to spend a lot of time, grow up to have the same traits that they showed when they were knee high to grasshoppers. I think, as parents, that we can influence the good in our children and help diminish the bad in them with love and proper encouragement and correction, but at the end of the day, they're each individuals, who seem to be at least partially set at birth, and who, at the end of the day, will have to make their own way.

A year or two ago a man came up to me at church and was telling me how great all of my children turned out and how good a job I did with them. Of course, he only knows what he's seen and has no ideas of the struggles that each of my children have in their lives. I basically told him what I shared above, that it seemed each of my children were born with a lot of the characteristics they have as adults, so I really can't claim responsibility for doing a good job other than reinforcing the good and trying to help them away from any bad in their lives. When I told him that, as parents, we shouldn't hold ourselves responsible if one or more of our children has a rough time, does bad things, maybe ends up in prison (or should be in prison). If we did the best we could, what more could we ask of ourselves? By the time I finished my little speech the man was in tears. Apparently he'd been blaming himself for a very long time for a child who had problems in life, and was blessed by what I shared. If I were to start a family with the experience I have now, I would certainly do a lot differently, but at the time I did the best I could.

Even when I look at myself, I can see, insofar as I can remember, that I still have the predominant traits now that I had when I was a youngster. I'm one of 8 children. Two are dead. I feel particularly close to one sister who is still alive and I have one younger brother whom I feel I don't even know. Why am I close to some siblings and not so close to others? I have no idea. My two boys enjoy each other's company. My two girls both tend to isolate themselves a good bit from the rest of the family. I don't understand that at all but I accept, I must accept that they are who they are.
 

Eric Nicholas

Well-Known Member
Perhaps the answer is that we are simply individuals and act as such, being free agents. As unsatisfactory as it may be, it seems to be the best reflection of reality about us. Otherwise, naysayers and skeptics may calculate that the problem is answered by genetic determinism, which I wager is self-defeating and frankly, a non starter.
 
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ByGod'sGrace

under His wings - Psalm 91:4
I am one of five kids, and my Mom has told me how different we all were, even as babies. For instance, I never cried when I was a baby unless I had dirty diapers, and I loved sitting in the grass touching all the flowers around me; Mom took pictures of me doing that when I could barely sit on my own. I think that is me in a nutshell. I think God crafts our hearts and minds and talents in such unique ways, and we can truly be who He made us to be if we walk with Him. Like a clay pot that has been glazed and burned in the kiln (saved) as opposed to just being shaped and not glazed or burned (not saved).
 

Sojourner414

Well-Known Member
Perhaps the answer is that we are simply individuals and act as such, being free agents. As unsatisfactory as it may be, it seems to be the best reflection of reality about us. Otherwise, naysayers and skeptics may calculate that the problem is answered by genetic determinism, which I wager is self-defeating and frankly, a non starter.
I am one of five kids, and my Mom has told me how different we all were, even as babies. For instance, I never cried when I was a baby unless I had dirty diapers, and I loved sitting in the grass touching all the flowers around me; Mom took pictures of me doing that when I could barely sit on my own. I think that is me in a nutshell. I think God crafts our hearts and minds and talents in such unique ways, and we can truly be who He made us to be if we walk with Him. Like a clay pot that has been glazed and burned in the kiln (saved) as opposed to just being shaped and not glazed or burned (not saved).
I think you're both correct on this one. I think we have freedom of choice, and as such we are inherently our own people insofar as how we choose and decide. That said, I also think the Lord gave us a "base" set to work with, but it is up to us to "grow and shape" it. As for "genetics": while that may confer certain things about us, I maintain that they are not the final say on who we are as people, anymore than the blueprint of a house determines who would live there.
 
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