521. But, my friend, parents are the only source of inherited evil; not the evil itself which a man actually commits, but the inclination thereto. Everyone who combines reason and experience will acknowledge that this is so. Who does not know that children are born with a general resemblance to their parents in features, manners, and disposition, and even grandchildren and great-grandchildren with a resemblance to grandparents and great-grandparents; also that many are able thus to distinguish families from each other, and even nations, as Africans from Europeans, Neapolitans from Germans, Englishmen from Frenchmen, and so on? Who does not recognize a Jew by his face, eyes, speech and gestures? And if you were sensible of the sphere of life flowing out from the native genius of everyone, you would in like manner be convinced of the resemblance of dispositions and minds.  From all this it follows, that man is not born into actual evils, but only into an inclination to evils, but with a greater or lesser proclivity towards particular evils; consequently after death man is not judged from any inherited evil, but from the actual evils which he himself has committed. This is also evident from the following statute of the Lord:
The father shall not die for the son, and the son shall not die for the father; everyone shall die for his own sin (Deut. 24:16). This was made certain to me in the spiritual world from the state of those who die in infancy; in that they have only an inclination to evils, and thus favor them in will, but do not commit them; for they are educated under the auspices of the Lord and are saved.  The aforesaid inclination and proclivity to the evils that are transmitted by parents to children and their posterity, are broken only by the new birth from the Lord, which is called regeneration. Without this, that inclination not only continues uninterrupted, but is also increased by successive parents, and becomes a stronger proclivity to evil, and at length a proclivity to every kind of evil. It is from this that the Jews are still images of their father Judah, who took a Canaanitish woman to wife, and committed adultery with Tamar his daughter-in-law, and thus begat three branches of them. Therefore, this inherited disposition has in process of time so increased in them that they are still unable to embrace the Christian religion with a hearty faith. They are said to be unable to do so, because the interior will of their minds is adverse thereto, and this adverse will is the cause of their inability.