To start this thread, I offer up the more mature thoughts of Augustine (De praedestinatione sanctorum 2.31) regarding the eternal state of infants: ===== Or shall we think that human affairs in the case of infants are not managed by Divine Providence, but by fortuitous chances, when rational souls are either to be condemned or delivered, although, indeed, not a sparrow falls to the ground without the will of our Father which is in heaven? Or must we so attribute it to the negligence of parents that infants die without baptism, as that heavenly judgments have nothing to do with it; as if they themselves who in this way die badly had of their own will chosen the negligent parents for themselves of whom they were born? What shall I say when an infant expires some time before he can possibly be advantaged by the ministry of baptism? For often when the parents are eager and the ministers prepared for giving baptism to the infants, it still is not given, because God does not choose; since He has not kept it in this life for a little while in order that baptism might be given it. What, moreover, when sometimes aid could be afforded by baptism to the children of unbelievers, that they should not go into perdition, and could not be afforded to the children of believers? In which case it is certainly shown that there is no acceptance of persons with God; otherwise He would rather deliver the children of His worshippers than the children of His enemies. ===== So God's providence in keeping an infant alive just long enough to be baptized, or in not doing so, merely reflects his prior decision from eternity to save or to damn that soul, since for Augustine baptism washes away original sin, or regenerates the baby. But for all the problems I have with this reckless handling of God's Word, I find it rather contradictory that Augustine just earlier in the same work in 2.23 remarks that even those babies who are baptized but later on live evil lives will perish eternally; but if God's providence in granting baptism for these latter ones proved ineffectual, why in the world should it be so certainly proclaimed that it it must be providentially effectual and salvific for those infants who receive it but die just afterward?