The Damnation of Infants

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by jonathan.borland, Feb 25, 2015.

  1. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    To start this thread, I offer up the more mature thoughts of Augustine (De praedestinatione sanctorum 2.31) regarding the eternal state of infants:

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    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.

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    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?
     
  2. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    More from Augustine on the matter:

    De peccatorum meritis et remissione 1.21

    It may therefore be correctly affirmed, that such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: “Judgment from one offence to condemnation,”68 and again a little after: “By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation.”69


    De peccatorum meritis et remissione 1.28
    Now if they who are baptized are, by virtue of the excellence and administration of so great a sacrament, nevertheless reckoned in the number of the faithful, although by their own heart and mouth they do not literally perform what appertains to the action of faith and confession; surely they who have lacked the sacrament must be classed amongst those who do not believe on the Son, and therefore, if they shall depart this life without this grace, they will have to encounter what is written concerning such — they shall not have life, but the wrath of God abideth on them.


    De peccatorum meritis et remissione 1.30

    Again, let me be informed, why out of the body of baptized infants themselves, one is taken away, so that his understanding undergoes no change from a wicked life,93 and the other survives, destined to become an impious man? Suppose both were carried off, would not both enter the kingdom of heaven? And yet there is no unrighteousness with God.


    De peccatorum meritis et remissione 1.35

    So that infants, unless they pass into the number of believers through the sacrament which was divinely instituted for this purpose, will undoubtedly remain in this darkness.


    De peccatorum meritis et remissione 1.36

    but, strange to say, we see how reluctant infants are to submit to baptism, resisting even with strong crying. And this ignorance of theirs we think lightly of at their time of life, so that we fully administer the sacraments, which we know to be serviceable to them, even although they struggle against them.

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    Now the last one I find a little humorous, but anyway, it seems to me a little ironic that the salvation of infants basically comes down to man forcing baptism upon the child, and the damnation of infants to not being partakers of this sacrament, which is rationalized by Augustine in the first excerpt that God predestines all man's actions including whether or not the baby gets baptized.
     
  3. jonathan.borland

    jonathan.borland
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    Perhaps some would like to venture a more biblically satisfying answer to the question of the eternal state of infants, and we might even say young children, who die prematurely?

    It might be important to note that much of Augustine's argument was due to original sin and in the context of battling the Pelagian heresy, which denied original sin. So perhaps infants were simply the collateral damage of Augustine's doctrinal battles, but who knows?
     
  4. PreachTony

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    Logical furtherance of this statement would also indicate that a saved person who is not baptized would therefore not be counted among the saved. But wouldn't that make Jesus a liar? (Which we know He is not.) After all, Jesus told the thief on the cross that they would be together in Paradise. The thief didn't come off the cross long enough to be baptized.

    I agree. This is kinda funny.
     
  5. The Archangel

    The Archangel
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  6. Aaron

    Aaron
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    Again? Jacob and Esau were both circumcised (the OT equivalent of baptism), both were of the same parents. One was loved, the other hated.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Yes Jesus loves me.....the Bible tells me sooooooo:thumbs:

    Thank ya, thank ya very much...I will be here till Friday!
     
  8. percho

    percho
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    Does that mean one is saved and the other is lost? After all this was stated before they were born.
     
  9. percho

    percho
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  10. OldRegular

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  11. OldRegular

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    Not really Baptism is for believers only.
     
  12. percho

    percho
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    Of what is the new born baby, born of? The kingdom of God, to enter therein, would the new born baby need to become a new born baby? Born of what?
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    And that's why I changed my theological address from Presbyterian to Baptist.
     

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