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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 7/30/2005 10:43:29 AM EDT
My belief is that everyone must answer to God on the day of judgement. What are you're thoughts on those babies which die pre-maturely, or those who died at an age before being able to comprehend right and wrong ? And what of the mentally disabled ?

The bible teaches all have sinned and fallen from grace but through the sacrifice and atonement of Christ's death we are saved through our belief. How can the ones I mentioned be held accountable?

Please lets not make this a "my religion is better than yours" I have my belief but I have questions too
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 11:49:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2005 12:02:19 PM EDT by Mr-H]
I am on my break and do not really have time to type my own response. However, Norman Geisler's Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics covers all the major views on this issue. I will copy and paste it below. ETA: The bold letters and larger fonts in certain areas did not seem to carry over from the original, so this may be a little hard to read. The bold letters words precede the beginning of a related sub-topic, so if you come to a sentence like "Statement of the View." that seems out of place, that's what it is. I tied to put gaps in between the sub-topics, but I am in a bit of a hurry and probably missed some. I will come and clean it up after work.

Infants, Salvation of.
Many critics have impugned the justice of God because of the status of the unborn. Belief is considered a necessary condition for salvation (John 3:18–19; Acts 16:31), and yet innocent young children have not yet reached the age at which they can believe. But it seems eminently unjust to condemn innocent infants who have not yet committed a sin nor are even old enough to believe and be saved.
Christians have struggled with the issue of the eternal status of infants. Yet nowhere does the Bible directly treat the issue. Hence, we are left to arguments based on general principle and inference from Scripture.

Baptized Infants Only. This view is held by sacramentalists, who believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. Some Roman Catholics, some Lutherans, and Anglicans espouse the position.

Statement of the View. Ambrose set forth this position: “no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven, except by means of the sacrament of baptism. . . . Moreover to this there is no exception, not the infant, nor he who is unavoidably prevented.” He adds mercifully, “They have however immunity from pains” (cited by Sanders, 291). In Ambrose’s notion that babies sent into damnation would at least be immune from pain is found the beginnings of a doctrine of “limbo.”
Augustine was less charitable. Born within the fall, infants inherit real depravity, so the wrath of God abides on unbaptized babies (Augustine, 1.28, 33–35). He did allow, however, that unbaptized infants must not suffer as severely as those who lived to adulthood and committed actual sins (ibid., 1.21). The argument for this position is straightforward: Baptism is essential for salvation. No unbaptized person—including infants—can be saved.
Augustine’s nemesis Pelagius reacted against this harsh view on unbaptized infant damnation, saying, “where they are not, I know; where they are, I know not” (cited in Sanders, 292). Pelagius was certain infants were not in hell, although he was not certain where they were. Eventually he conceived of a middle place between heaven and hell later called limbo. Thomas Aquinas held Augustine’s view but softened it by claiming that unbaptized infants do not experience the pain of hell.
Other theologians have used the Catholic idea of “baptism of desire” to solve the problem—that is, that some can be saved who desired baptism but were prevented from obtaining it. Since it is difficult to see how infants could desire baptism, some posited that their parents’ or the church’s desire was sufficient. This idea goes back at least to Hincmar Rheims (a.d. 860; ibid., 293). But how can the desire of someone else be effective for infants?
Critique of the View. This entire scenario depends on a sacramental theology which demands infant baptism as a condition for salvation. The Reformed and most Anabaptists (except those in the Campbellite theological tradition) reject this in favor of the biblical exhortation that personal faith is the only condition for salvation (John 3:16, 36; 5:24; Acts 16:31; Rom. 1:17; 4:5). After all, baptism is a “work of righteousness” (Matt. 3:15), and the Bible makes it clear that we are not saved by works of righteousness (Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–7). Those in the Campbellite theological tradition, for example, Disciples of Christ, are sacramentalists regarding adult baptism, but they do not accept infant baptism or regard it as needed for salvation.
The sacramental view of infant salvation seems harsh and cruel, whereas the Bible reveals a God of infinite mercy and grace. Some have asked how a child innocent of any personal fault can be banned from heaven? Are not people held responsible only for their personal sins and not those of others? Did not Ezekiel write: “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him” (Ezek. 18:20). While such passages are about personal righteousness, not inherited depravity from the fall, nonetheless, many hold that the principle seems to apply.

“Elect Infants” Only. Another view asserts that among infants only “elect” babies go to heaven. Since Protestants believe in only two possible destinies, this implies that all nonelect infants go to hell. Many who hold this view are agnostic about whether some or all infants are “elect.” They state the issue thus because the Bible is silent on the issue. Christians who take this view are in the covenant theology tradition.

Statement of the View. In his interaction with the Augustinian doctrine of salvation, John Calvin rejected the idea that only baptized infants are saved. He included in his soteriology a provision that elect infants go to heaven (Calvin, 4.16.17). He contended that while salvation is ordinarily obtained through hearing the Word of God, nonetheless, God is not limited to that means. Infants who are saved are not saved because they are innocent. They are radically depraved in Adam (Rom. 5:12). Some elect die in infancy and others grow to become adults. Thus, Calvin implied that nonelect infants go to hell.
Except among the Puritans, most Reformed writers have avoided the issue of what happens to the nonelect infants and have stressed God’s ability to save infants as he elects to do so in his wisdom and mercy. The Canons of Dort reassure that “godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleased God to call out of this life in their infancy” (art. 17). The Westminster Confession of 1646 affirms that “elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ” (10.3). The Westminster divines had no consensus about what extent of infants might be “elect.” Some have argued that elect infants are those born to parents who are themselves inside the covenant community.
The rationale for only elect infants being saved is that since God chose the elect before they were born, even before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; cf. Rom. 8:29), it is reasonable to infer that he chose at least some infants to be saved, though perhaps not all. Ultimately, salvation does not come from the will of man (Rom. 9:16). Indeed, God has to give faith to the elect (Eph. 2:8–9; Phil. 1:29). So, it is possible that, through the blood of Christ, he can impute righteousness to elect infants who are not old enough to believe for themselves.
As for the justice of God according to this view, it is argued that God justly condemns the whole human race because of Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12–21). We are all sinners by nature (Eph. 2:3), from the moment of conception (Ps. 51:5), who deserve eternal hell. God has no obligation to save anyone. Only by his grace and Christ’s sacrifice can he give some the righteousness necessary to stand in his presence. Christ’s death was sufficient to atone for all human beings, although it efficiently applies only to those the Holy Spirit draws to him. Among these, God is at least able and is surely willing to include infants. But just as with adults, only those who are justified can go to heaven.

Critique of the View. The elect infant view has not found a home outside of very strong Calvinistic circles. It denies universally accessible salvation. The Bible affirms that Christ did not just die for the elect but for all. And salvation is not offered only to the elect; it is offered to all. The Bible clearly affirms that Christ died for all, not just for some. John wrote that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world” (1 John 2:2). In the same context he adds that “world” means the entire unbelieving, fallen world (vss. 15–17). Peter spoke of the apostate as being “bought” by Christ’s blood (2 Peter 2:1). But if salvation is for all, then why limit its availability only to elect infants?
These passages must be taken in light of Scripture at large so as not to advance universal salvation. For adults at least, Christ’s atonement saves only those who accept him as Savior and Lord.
The Bible states that God desires to save everyone. Peter wrote: God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Paul speaks of God “who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). But if God really desires all to be saved, and it is possible to save some infants apart from their personal faith, then why does he not elect all of them to salvation? In other words, if there can be universal salvation for the children of the elect apart from their personal faith, then why not a universal salvation for the children of nonelect parents?
It is of no comfort to know that elect infants are saved. Limiting salvation to only infants of believing parents, as some do, would offer no hope for the heathen (see “Heathen,” Salvation of). This problem is especially acute in view of the fact that the heathen have not heard the Gospel. It is reassuring to believe that God could still be calling out a people for his sake from “every tribe, kindred and nation” (Rev. 7:9), from among infants in nations that have not heard the Gospel.
The elect-infant-only view entails a very severe concept of God’s justice. While all orthodox theologians accept that humans are born in sin, not all see this as sufficient grounds for excluding God’s mercy from anyone. That is, while there is nothing in fallen humans that merits salvation, there is something in an all-loving God that prompts him to try to save all, namely, his infinite love (John 3:16; Rom. 5:6–8; 1 Tim. 2:4).
This view fails to distinguish between an inherited sin nature (on which all orthodox Christians agree) and a personal rebellion against God which only those old enough to sin can do consciously (John 9:41). That is, the natural bent toward sin is one thing but personal rebellion against God is another. Since infants have not exercised the latter, they are not in the same category as rebellious adults.
Admittedly, it is difficult to reconcile the infant election view with the seemingly universal demand that one believe in order to be saved (John 3:36; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:17). Yet there seems to be no way a tiny infant can express conscious explicit faith in God. So-called implicit faith will sooner or later have to become explicit and conscious in heaven—otherwise they would be in eternal limbo. Further, the verses that seem to say faith is a gift of God are rejected as support of this view on two grounds. First, none of them clearly teach that faith is a gift which God gives only to some. For example, in Ephesians 2:8–9 it is not faith that is the gift but salvation. For the “it” in the phrase “It is the gift of God” is neuter in form as opposed to “faith” which is feminine. Further, it would contradict the rest of Scripture to say faith is a gift given only to some, since the Bible everywhere calls on people to believe (Rom. 10:13–14) and condemns them for not believing (John 3:18–19). This presumes they have the ability to believe.

Those God “Foreknows.” According to this position, God, as an omniscient Being, foreknew which infants would have believed if they had lived long enough. God saved only those infants. The rest are lost, since they would not have believed if they had lived long enough to do so.

Statement of the View. This view has common aspects with the elect-infant-only view (above) and the evangelization-after-death view (below). It argues that the Bible declares that God is omniscient (Ps. 139:1–6). As such, he knows “the end from the beginning” (Isa. 46:10). Indeed, he “foreknew” the elect (Rom. 8:29). And there seems to be no logical reason why these could not have included persons who would die in infancy among the elect.
One advantage over the elect-infant view is that the foreknowledge approach avoids the criticism that God is unmerciful and/or unjust in not trying to save all he possibly can. It takes account of the need for faith as a condition for receiving salvation (John 3:16–19). That is, it avoids the criticism that God saves some apart from their willingness to receive salvation. Another value of the view is that it preserves God’s omnibenevolence, his manifest love for all.
Critique of the View. There are some drawbacks to this position. God’s foreknowledge is based on human free will rather than in himself as the sovereign God. That is, it holds that God saves these infants because of foreseen faith. This negates the unmerited grace of God who acts solely “out of the good pleasure of his will” (Eph. 1:5) and not based on anything we do (Eph. 2:8–9).
However, since one need not hold that God’s foreknowledge is based on anyone’s free choice but simply, as the Scripture’s say, in accord with it (cf. 1 Peter 1:2). They are simply coordinate, coeternal acts of God with no dependence of God on anything we do. God could have simply and graciously ordained that their potential free choice would be the means through which he would elect them. It is difficult to understand just how God could save people simply in view of their potential faith. If the free choice of believing is a necessary condition for receiving salvation, then it is difficult to understand how the fact that God knew that they would have believed is sufficient. This is knowledge of an alternative reality and so not knowledge in the sense of precognition. Of course, on the assumption that babies “grow up” in heaven they have a chance to actually believe. This would resolve the difficulty of how potential belief can count for actual belief. But if this is the case, it is no longer a matter of infant salvation, since they would have been actually saved after they were infants when they were old enough to believe for themselves. Also, salvation would be effected, not by potential or implicit faith, but through explicit faith.
Like the first view, this view lacks clear biblical support. It seems to be merely a theological possibility. There are no Scriptures declaring this is what God will do with infants.
Can someone be saved by potential faith? If faith is an absolute condition for salvation, then simply knowing that they could have believed is not enough. And responding that they not only would but do believe after death (when they “grow up”) is to reduce the view to the view that only those infants who believe when evangelized after death are saved (see below).
Some modern Catholic theologians speak of infants as exercising “implicit faith,” but it is very difficult to make sense out of the concept. How can someone whose faculties are not even developed enough to think or make moral choices possibly express any kind of faith? Certainly babies are dependent on their parents for food and other things, but they make no deliberate choice to do this. It is instinctive. But faith, at least conscious faith, is not automatic; it is voluntary. And this infants cannot do as infants.
This foreknowledge view involves the seemingly horrible injustice of condemning to eternal damnation tiny infants who have never sinned, which seems harshly unjust. A proponent of this view could argue that all who die in infancy would have believed had they lived long enough. Of course, one cannot deny this possibility. But then this modified position fades into the next one, that God in his mercy will save all infants.

All Infants.
Since the seventeenth century the view that all infants are saved has become the most popular in varying theological traditions. Some believe that all infants will eventually believe. Others believe that God will save infants apart from the condition that they would believe.

Statement of the View. According to proponents of this teaching, there is no heaven for those who will not believe. Those who willingly reject God’s offer of salvation will perish (John 3:18; 2 Peter 3:9). But there is no verse that says those who cannot believe because they are not old enough to do so will be excluded from heaven (see Lightner). They appeal to a number of verses for support.
Jesus said “little children” are part of “the kingdom of God.” Mark wrote Jesus’ words, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14b). Yet Jesus made it clear that “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). It would follow, therefore, that these little children would all be in heaven.
Those who object point out that there is no proof that the term “children” refers to infants or those prior to an age of belief. Further, the phrase “the kingdom of God belongs to these” could refer to the fact that all must become as little children (and humble themselves) in order to enter the kingdom (Matt. 18:4).
King David prayed for his fatally ill child until the child died. Then he immediately ceased praying and said, “But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam. 12:23). King David went to heaven (Ps. 16:10–11; Heb. 11:32). And surely his hope that he would see the child again encompassed more than their bodies being in the same grave. Hence, it would follow that David’s baby went to heaven.
Critics of this interpretation point out that the phrase might mean no more than “The dead do not return; we go to be with the dead.” In the Old Testament, the conception of life after death was not explicit. But David clearly anticipated resurrection (Ps. 16:10–11) as did Job (cf. Job 19:25–26).
Psalm 139:13–16 speaks to God of creating and knowing him in his mother’s womb. His life was recorded before it began. David refers to himself as a person, an “I” in the womb. This is taken by some to mean that God not only personally knows little embryos and infants but he covers them with his love so that they are written in his book in heaven.
Critics note that the “book” may be a figure of speech of God’s omniscience or the book of his remembrance. There is no clear indication that it refers to the book of life of Revelation 20:12.
As to the age of accountability, Isaiah spoke of a little child before “he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right” (Isa. 7:15). This seems to imply that there is an age of moral accountability. Jesus said even of adults, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:41). How much more would this apply to infants who do not yet know moral right from wrong?
In response, critics observe that even if this referred to an age of accountability, it would not thereby prove all infants are saved. For there are still at least two other issues that must be settled before one can prove this, namely, that inherited depravity in itself is not enough to send one to hell and that faith is not an absolute essential to salvation. In short, Isaiah’s reference to a young child not yet knowing good and evil may refer only to personal or social guilt, not to inherited sin.
Paul declared explicitly that “just as through the disobedience of the one man the many [i.e., all] were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many [i.e., all] will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19, emphasis added). Since the text is clear that all are made righteous by Christ’s death, it remains to ask in what sense were all saved by Christ’s death.
Since universalism is clearly excluded by the context and by other Scriptures, this can not mean they were all actually made righteous. Further, it does not appear to refer to declaring us righteous in the sense of justification, for that comes only by faith (Rom. 1:17; 3:21–26). It can mean, however, that original sin brought about by Adam is canceled by Christ. If so, then no human being is hell-bound because of Adam’s sin. They must commit sins of their own to go there. In this case, since infants have not committed personal sins, they could all be saved even though they are not yet old enough to believe. The judicial condemnation brought by Adam (Rom. 5:12) was reversed, and God is free to save any and all. This being the case, there is no reason that God must condemn infants. Christ died for them. God can save them if he wishes to do so. But since God is long-suffering, not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), and since the infants cannot believe, God saves them through the finished work of Christ.
Critics of this view point to its novelty and deny its necessity. It is possible and traditional to interpret the verse in other ways. They also observe that this view tends toward universalism. In fact, universalists take all being “made righteous” to support their view. Most importantly, it eliminates faith as a necessary condition of salvation.
Critique of the View. The merits of this view is that it both satisfies the justice of God and magnifies God’s omnibenevolence. In addition, it offers some plausible basis in Scripture. Nonetheless, it is hard to find clear scriptural justification for it and plenty of statements that faith is a necessary condition for receiving the gift of eternal life (John 3:36; Acts 16:31; Heb. 11:6). In response, it can be argued that faith is a normative requirement for salvation but not an absolute one. That is to say, faith may normally be a condition for salvation; it is the way God requires of all adults. But there may be no inherent necessity that little children must believe in order to be saved.
It is argued that, by its very nature, salvation of free creatures involves a free consent. It is not possible to force someone to be saved. Saving infants against their will is no more possible than saving adults against their will. Free creatures cannot be forced into the fold.
In response, proponents note that infants are not saved against their will but simply apart from their will—because they are too young to believe. They insist that there is a significant difference in God saving persons who will not believe and saving those who cannot believe—because they are not yet old enough to believe. The fact remains that they are saved without believing—which violates the belief that faith is necessary for salvation.
It is always possible that all infants are the class of those who would have believed had they been old enough to do so. And that they will be given the opportunity to do so when they “mature” in heaven. In this case, the problem of faith and freedom is resolved.
Critics point out that nowhere does the Bible spell out any age of accountability. Thus, it is purely speculative. In response, it is noteworthy that there is some evidence in Scripture that there is some point of moral responsibility in one’s life. In addition, both experience and common consent inform us that tiny children are not morally responsible. This is why small children do not stand trial for wrongs they do. Psychologically, when they are infants and small children, their rational faculties have not even developed to discern good from evil. Finally, the fact that it is difficult to point to a precise age at which this occurs is not an insurmountable problem. Like self-consciousness, even if we do not know precisely when it occurs, we know that it occurs. In fact, the precise age of accountability may differ individually, depending on their moral development. Perhaps it is earlier for those who are exposed to concepts of moral right and wrong earlier. At any rate, it probably occurs sometime between ages four and twelve. The point at which it occurs is when the individual is old enough to understand the difference between moral right and wrong and the consequences of making moral choices. In biblical terms, when they are aware of the “law written in their hearts” (Rom. 2:15). They are morally accountable when they are old enough to know that what they do is against the moral law of God. Or, as Isaiah said, they are morally responsible when they are old enough to “to reject the wrong and choose the right” (Isa. 7:15).
Criticisms of this view are not definitive. It is theologically possible and biblically plausible. The most problematic issue is the need for these infants to eventually exercise conscious faith of their own. This, however, is not insurmountable, especially in view of the possibility that God foreknew that they would be among those who would eventually “grow up” and believe. At this point, of course, the view merges with both the foreknowledge view and the evangelization after death view.
In Limbo. The above views all assume there are only two possible places for infants to go. Perhaps there is a third place or condition—limbo.
Statement of the View. Some Roman Catholic theologians have posited limbo for babies who die unbaptized (= unsaved). It is possible to detach limbo from a sacramental theology and simply argue that all nonelect babies go there or all babies who would not have believed had they been old enough to exercise it.
Even proponents find it difficult to adduce Scripture in support of limbo. It is more a result of theological speculation. The argument seems to be that God cannot justly allow them into heaven nor can he mercifully send them to hell. Hence, he sends them to a kind of neutral place, or at least a painless condition.

Critique of the View. Many contemporary Catholic theologians reject limbo as purely speculative. There is a total lack of references to any such view in the Bible. All references that can be appealed to in support speak merely about the baby having not yet reached a state of consciousness or one where they are no longer conscious of this world (cf. Job 3). And why should not God do the same for the heathen who have not heard the Gospel? After all, like infants they have not rejected Christ, since they have not even heard about him. Yet there is no evidence that God has a limbo for the heathen.
The very status of limbo is nondescript. Would it be a place of annihilation? If so, there are serious objections (see Annihilationism). Are individuals alive but not conscious—as in a coma? There are more questions than answers.
Evangelization after Death. The remaining position contends that infants will mature or grow up after death, at which time they will be given an opportunity to believe. Those who believe will go to heaven. Those who do not (if there are any) will be lost.
Statement of the View. A minority view holds that young children will be allowed to “grow up” in heaven, hear the Gospel, and decide for themselves where they will spend eternity. This belief goes back at least to Gregory of Nyssa in the fourth century. Some Roman Catholic theologians now hold it (Boros, 109–11). Sanders summarizes it: “People are condemned to hell for their own willful sin. Jesus died for all people, including young children who die. All people receive sufficient grace for salvation. The act of faith is necessary for salvation” (Sanders, 298). The belief that young children who die receive an opportunity to accept Christ is one of the few positions that does justice to all four premises.
Critique of the View. Admittedly, there is an absence of any biblical text which states that infants will “grow up” in heaven, although this is not an uncommon belief as applied to the size and shape of the resurrection body. In response, proponents point out that neither are there biblical texts explicitly stating the doctrine of the Trinity, but that does not mean it has no foundation in Scripture. Doctrines can be properly deduced or inferred from other biblical teachings.
However, even if infants do mature in heaven, there is no evidence that they will be evangelized there. The only place for evangelism mentioned in the Bible is earth (Matt. 28:18–20). It is explicitly stated in Scripture that there is no hope for salvation beyond the grave. For “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Heb. 9:27; cf. Luke 16:26–31; John 8:24). In response, it is argued that these texts apply only to those who have lived to an age of accountability and have rejected the light God has given them, not to those who have not.
Conclusion. All the views have difficulties. The foreknowledge, salvation for all, and evangelization after death views seem to be the best options, having the most merit and indirect biblical and theological support.
If faith is not absolutely essential, then a distinction must be drawn between personal innocence and conscious rejection by adults. If so it makes more sense to speak of all infants being saved. If faith is an absolute essential for salvation—and numerous Bible passages seem to affirm that it is—there is no heaven for those who cannot believe. All must believe to enter. In this case, belief that infants will mature in heaven and be given a chance to believe makes more sense.
If God does not offer a real opportunity to believe, then the views that affirm only baptized or elect infants go to heaven makes sense. But the Bible seems to say that God genuinely offers salvation to all. If so, then it would follow logically that those who would believe, if they die before they can, will be given a chance after they die. God’s love and/or justice would seem to demand that this be so.
Inherited Depravity and Condemnation. If innate, radical depravity is inherited from the womb, then it would seem that only baptized infants or elect infants might go to be with God. If, however, one’s own personal decision in rejecting God’s message is needed before one goes to hell, then they lose plausibility. The salvation-for-all view depends on the fact that children have not had the opportunity to reject Christ, and that makes the difference.
It is worth noting that the views that allow for the possible salvation of all infants are not only compatible with God’s justice and love, but they also help solve the problem of heathen salvation. Since God is just and since one cannot be saved without the Gospel (see Christ, Uniqueness of; Pluralism, Religious; World Religions and Christianity) and since many heathen lands have not had the Gospel, it is reasonable to infer that God’s elect will be taken from every tribe, kindred, and tongue could have been taken from the infants who die. Since it is estimated that in heathen countries one-half of the babies born die before the age of accountability, then it follows that there will be innumerable heathen in heaven who never heard the Gospel—possibly all the infants who died before they could even understand the Gospel.
Sources
J. Arminius, The Writings of James Arminius, Vol. 1
Augustine, On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins and on the Baptism of Infants
L. Boros, The Mystery of Death
J. Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk. 4, chap. 16
R. Lightner, Heaven for Those Who Cannot Believe
M. Luther, Luther’s Works, 54:56–58
P. Melanchthon, On Christian Doctrine
J. Sanders, “Limbo” in The New Catholic Encyclopedia
———, No Other Name, Appendix
B. B. Warfield, Studies in Theology
R. A. Webb, The Theology of Infant Salvation
Geisler, N. L. 1999. Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics. Baker reference library . Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Mich.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 11:57:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 19suburban96:
My belief is that everyone must answer to God on the day of judgement. What are you're thoughts on those babies which die pre-maturely, or those who died at an age before being able to comprehend right and wrong ? And what of the mentally disabled ?

The bible teaches all have sinned and fallen from grace but through the sacrifice and atonement of Christ's death we are saved through our belief. How can the ones I mentioned be held accountable?

Please lets not make this a "my religion is better than yours" I have my belief but I have questions too



One of the great unanswered questions of Christianity.

There is no specific passage in The Bible that comprehensively and definitavely answers this question. When we encounter such a matter, we must look to the charachter of God as revealed in scripture.

There seems to be an element of knowledge to sin:

"17Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."

James 4:17

In human society, we do not hold children who are incapable of knowing better to the same standard we hold adults who do. We reason that because they lack intellectual capability it would be unjust to hold them accountable for their behavior.

I believe a solid Biblical case can be made that demonstrates God to be of the same mind. If a person is mentally disabled or is too young to have reached the age of accountability, the state of mind at which they are capable of understanding sin and salvation, that their lives are covered by the prevenient grace of God.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 5:34:42 PM EDT
Easy answer. Its up to God and thats good enough fo me. God does no wrong and will do as He pleases.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 6:04:37 PM EDT
Predestination
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 6:13:18 PM EDT

Since the seventeenth century the view that all infants are saved has become the most popular in varying theological traditions.

I went to a catholic private school, and this topic came-up a lot in discussion. Of course the priests and nuns said that infants went to hell. The interesting thing is that I remember one priest put forth the argument that if the general protestant belief that all infants go to heaven was true, then the largest act of love a father could commit was to kill their babies to send them to heaven.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 6:17:50 PM EDT
The Bible has a verse for tough questions like that -

"Don't you think the Judge of all the earth will do the right thing?"

However God handles that, He's done it the right way.

Link Posted: 7/30/2005 6:22:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:

Since the seventeenth century the view that all infants are saved has become the most popular in varying theological traditions.

I went to a catholic private school, and this topic came-up a lot in discussion. Of course the priests and nuns said that infants went to hell. The interesting thing is that I remember one priest put forth the argument that if the general protestant belief that all infants go to heaven was true, then the largest act of love a father could commit was to kill their babies to send them to heaven.



Those priest and nuns were seiously messed up to think that.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 7:51:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:

Since the seventeenth century the view that all infants are saved has become the most popular in varying theological traditions.

I went to a catholic private school, and this topic came-up a lot in discussion. Of course the priests and nuns said that infants went to hell. The interesting thing is that I remember one priest put forth the argument that if the general protestant belief that all infants go to heaven was true, then the largest act of love a father could commit was to kill their babies to send them to heaven.




Please do not spew this garbage because this not Catholic doctrine. I have always attended Catholic schools and what you are saying is completely against Catholic teachings.

Jesus died for all our sins, not only for those that have a say in it. Jesus will have mercy on those poor souls.
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 8:07:48 PM EDT

Please do not spew this garbage because this not Catholic doctrine.

What are you claiming is the doctrine? St Augustine's Limbo of Infants? We were consistently taught that unbaptized infants went to hell. However, it was clearly stated that it was church doctrine and not de fide(infallible). In other words, we could disagree with the doctrine without losing the true faith.

Maybe the doctrine has changed, but that is what we were taught. Heck even services in some places are held in languages other than Latin now, so it might have. I went to Catholic school from 1934 until 1942, so it's been a while.z
Link Posted: 7/30/2005 8:18:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2005 8:22:33 PM EDT by Bumblebee_Bob]
Roadhawk,

Please keep in mind zoom comes from a different generation than I presume you do. He may very well be the eldest member of arfkom. Thus what he was "taught" many, many years ago could be very different than what is now taught. As somebody said, some Catholics, and some Lutherans and some (can't remember/can't find the line) believe "No baptism, no salvation."

My own uncle died as an infant, early 1930's, and the country Lutheran church grandma and grandpa belonged to refused to let him be buried in the family plot in the church cemetary, because he hadn't yet been baptisted. I really doubt there are too many churchs that would do that anymore.

I know it makes me feel better thinking an innocent infant will go straight to heaven than straight to hell, but it's as garandman said; "Don't you think the Judge of all the earth will do the right thing?" And that's what we'll have to do. Have faith in Him.



Oh yeah, zoom beat me by a whole 11 minutes 'cause I was looking through Mr-H's post again.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 8:43:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:

Since the seventeenth century the view that all infants are saved has become the most popular in varying theological traditions.

I went to a catholic private school, and this topic came-up a lot in discussion. Of course the priests and nuns said that infants went to hell. The interesting thing is that I remember one priest put forth the argument that if the general protestant belief that all infants go to heaven was true, then the largest act of love a father could commit was to kill their babies to send them to heaven.




I also went to Catholic school and you are so far off the mark it isn't even funny.

SGta1r5
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 8:44:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By zoom:


Maybe the doctrine has changed, but that is what we were taught. Heck even services in some places are held in languages other than Latin now, so it might have. I went to Catholic school from 1934 until 1942, so it's been a while.z



Apparently , since you have even heard of the Vatican two council.

SGat1r5
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 8:45:21 AM EDT

Originally Posted By garandman:
The Bible has a verse for tough questions like that -

"Don't you think the Judge of all the earth will do the right thing?"

However God handles that, He's done it the right way.




Good answer.



Sgatr15
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 5:15:39 PM EDT
God is a loving God, and He is also just.

I don't believe that people who haven't reached the age of accountability (that varies; I knew the difference between right and wrong and that one must be born again at a young age) will not be damned to hell.

I trust God to act fairly in this. I had a cousin who was born healthy and incurred brain damage at the age of 1 after running a high fever. He died when he was 8. My grandmother, a God-fearing woman who can prophecy and speak in tongues, dreamed that angels were carrying him up to Heaven. An hour later, she woke up to the phone call that he had died.

Jesus didn't want the children kept from him, because they were the closest thing to the Kingdom of God on earth. I can't fathom that children who die would go to hell.
Link Posted: 7/31/2005 5:37:28 PM EDT
"Suffer the little children to come un to Me"

Jesus knows..... We are like monkeys with crowns to think that we can know the essence of God. The bible is a handbook, but it is also but a glimpse of the power of our Creator.

that is all
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 9:31:49 AM EDT
I believe there are many areas I'm not qualified to pass judgment in, but I can rely on God to do what's right.
Link Posted: 8/1/2005 12:31:42 PM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
Easy answer. Its up to God and thats good enough fo me. God does no wrong and will do as He pleases.



Beautifully put! I was going to type something about my particular doctrine, but what you said sums it up nicely without getting specific and splitting hairs (enough of that here, anyway).

Nice post.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 7:53:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 7:54:53 AM EDT by humzai]
It is taught in Islam that the unborn and those who die before they can know right from wrong go to heaven. We believe that man is born sinless.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 10:08:55 AM EDT
Traditional Jewish Belief is that you receive your soul after 30 days, so prior to that you are not in existance. I disagree, where there is life there is soul. We lost a son to being still born, I know where he is, and it is not in Hell, oh actually Jews do't have Hell
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:06:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By sgtar15:

Originally Posted By zoom:


Maybe the doctrine has changed, but that is what we were taught. Heck even services in some places are held in languages other than Latin now, so it might have. I went to Catholic school from 1934 until 1942, so it's been a while.z



Apparently , since you have even heard of the Vatican two council.

SGat1r5




As always you leave out the details. Vatican II did not renounce the idea of "Limbus Infantum"
(childrens limbo). Augustine taught that it was a bad place to give the short version.
Vatican II has upheld the existence of Limbus Infantatum but now describes it
as such:


Those dying in original sin are said to descend into Hell, but this does not necessarily mean anything more than that they are excluded eternally from the vision of God. In this sense they are damned; they have failed to reach their supernatural destiny, and this viewed objectively is a true penalty. Thus the Council of Florence, however literally interpreted, does not deny the possibility of perfect subjective happiness for those dying in original sin, and this is all that is needed from the dogmatic viewpoint to justify the prevailing Catholic notion of the children's limbo, while form the standpoint of reason, as St. Gregory of Nazianzus pointed out long ago, no harsher view can be reconciled with a worthy concept of God's justice and other attributes.



So what has happened is Vatican II has redefined Hell to not necessarily be a bad place to be under certain conditions. Roman Catholic doctrine still teaches that children that die unbaptized are denied Beatific Vision, and that is Heaven.


And of course the stay there is only temporary, as the Church teaches (and this part most Christians agree with) that after the Second Coming, all worthy souls go to Heaven and no longer depend on any of this.

Now, the Roman Catholics will be right in to tell you that is not the truth, and their priests may not teach it as such, nor the schools. It IS however still in the doctrine of the Church, and IS therefore considered to be "infallible" if you believe in all that stuff.

The latest version of the Catechism I could find was 1997. Here now is what is said in the current
Catechism:


1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition, © 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc


So the historical and documented fact is that Vatican II DID NOT renounce Limbo in general,
nor did it renounce Limbus Infantum.

What Vatican II did was soften the explanation to avoid saying that unbaptised children
would to go "hell".

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:15:59 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 11:17:19 AM EDT by sgtar15]
Well TexasSig, for the most part, if a child is not baptized then they never entered the covantent with God. That is why Baptism is so important. That is why Catholic hate abortion, because it never gives the child a chance to be baptzed plus it kills a life. What happens to that child I do not know. But I trust God will be merciful.


That is also why Catholic have been know to baptize babies that are in their extended family butare not being taught by their own parents. It happens often.

So if you are Catholic and want your child to go to Heaven then you better baptize it...or I will.


Sgat1r5

PS I mentioned that the guy never heard of Vatican II because he refered to Latin Mass, which was also changed with Vatican II..along with MANY other things.

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:19:28 AM EDT
When I was in Catholic school I was taught they went to purgatory. Then when the preist interviewed me and my wife regarding our daughters upcoming christening he asked why we where having her baptised. I said so that God Forbid anything happens to her she wont spend eternity in purgatory. He said " We are trying to get away from the whole purgatory thing " . this confused me. Was it full ? Did it have to shut down or relocate ? And what happened to all the souls that were there ? Very confusing, my wife elbowed me and shut me up so we could have the service performed and not be thrown out of the rectory. So I really dont have the whole story
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:23:17 AM EDT
You should have asked why.

How else does one get answers. This is all news to me anyways.



Sgat1r5
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 11:50:39 AM EDT

Originally Posted By TexasSIG:

<snip>

The latest version of the Catechism I could find was 1997. Here now is what is said in the current
Catechism:


1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition, © 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc


<snip>





1281 is actually part of the summary for the "Baptism" section. An earlier paragraph explains this more fully:


1261
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"(Mk 10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4. ) allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.



Link Posted: 8/2/2005 12:12:15 PM EDT
Judaism would assert that the soul is immortal; though we don't claim to have answers as to what happens in this afterlife, we believe this is in G-ds domain, and we leave it with him.

We often refer to Ecclisiastes "The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to G-d who gave it."



Jewish Ed
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:21:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Well TexasSig, for the most part, if a child is not baptized then they never entered the covantent with God. That is why Baptism is so important. That is why Catholic hate abortion, because it never gives the child a chance to be baptzed plus it kills a life. What happens to that child I do not know. But I trust God will be merciful.


That is also why Catholic have been know to baptize babies that are in their extended family butare not being taught by their own parents. It happens often.

So if you are Catholic and want your child to go to Heaven then you better baptize it...or I will.


Sgat1r5

PS I mentioned that the guy never heard of Vatican II because he refered to Latin Mass, which was also changed with Vatican II..along with MANY other things.




I understand that, and I certainly believe in baptism as well. The quandry for your Church comes from extraordinary circumstances; death during childbirth, death to a newborn before they can be baptised etc.

The Augustinian teaching that the Church still holds true is that these infants do not receive Beatific Vision and I just believe that God is Just and Loving and would not make an exception in such a cruel way
just because Augustine and Pius (whichever, I can't remember his number) tell me that it happens that
way.

And, to believe that God allows those innocents to be punished by being denied His prescence, while your
Pope guy alows plenary indulgences so that even those who have committed sins, even venial sins,
are afforded the opportunity to receive Beatific Vision simply by reciting Our Father and the Creed, and also adding a devout prayer on a special day in August (like he did as recently as 2002).

Your Pope also decreed that same day (and as you know Papal decrees are infallible) that those unable
to fulfill all the requirements could still receive the Apostolic Penitentiary by extraordinary means.

Your Pontiff did all of this, but he could not make a simple allowance in that same decree to allow
for prayers on behalf of deceased unbaptised infants to restore their eligibility for Beatific Vision?

Why? Because that idea of Limbo, although publicy decried as outdated Augustinian thinking,
is STILL very much the doctrine of your Church.

Because of that cruelty that your Church continues to engage in, which to me stands as a polar
opposite of what a Just and Loving God would allow and permit, Protestants continue to
argue with you about your claim of being the "One True Church".

Your Pontiffs have repeatedly ignored the opportunities to show God as Just and Loving
in ALL cases but they refuse to do so.

So as I continue to say, I Protest. I Protest to the end of my days because of the horrible
things committed by the Church of Rome by man made leaders claiming to be
the hand of God on earth.

So to answer the original posters question, those who are unborn, who die young before being
Baptised, I as a Protestant believe God is Just and Loving and Understanding and He will take
those infant souls into Heaven solely because He is Just and Loving and they
need arrive with no other "entry fee" than that. And I believe that
He will remember all of these horrible things committed in His name at some point as well.

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:23:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BayEagle:

Originally Posted By TexasSIG:

<snip>

The latest version of the Catechism I could find was 1997. Here now is what is said in the current
Catechism:


1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.--Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition, © 1994/1997 United States Catholic Conference, Inc


<snip>





1281 is actually part of the summary for the "Baptism" section. An earlier paragraph explains this more fully:


1261
As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"(Mk 10:14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4. ) allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.






And still more of the same, no renouncing of the idea of Limbus Infantum, merely the "hope"
that everything will turn out OK. Why does not the Pope decree otherwise?

Makes no sense to me at all.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 2:57:51 PM EDT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Well TexasSig, for the most part, if a child is not baptized then they never entered the covantent with God. That is why Baptism is so important. That is why Catholic hate abortion, because it never gives the child a chance to be baptzed plus it kills a life. What happens to that child I do not know. But I trust God will be merciful.


That is also why Catholic have been know to baptize babies that are in their extended family butare not being taught by their own parents. It happens often.

So if you are Catholic and want your child to go to Heaven then you better baptize it...or I will.


Sgat1r5

PS I mentioned that the guy never heard of Vatican II because he refered to Latin Mass, which was also changed with Vatican II..along with MANY other things.


_______________________________________________________________________

I would postulate that given the human condition, the idea of a child going to hell would be anathma to many parents. Judaism always assumed that a soul goes back to G-d.

How horrible it must be for some of you folks in this situation to have to deal with your children to go to ....?


Jewish Ed
Link Posted: 8/10/2005 3:15:21 AM EDT
In the Mormon faith we do not believe in infant baptism so little children that die without baptism will not go to hell. Those guilty of sin are the ones who need to worry.
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