The unborn and infant deaths

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by npetreley, Aug 24, 2004.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    What happens to the unborn or infants who die? What happens to those who are mentally handicapped? Are they "automatically" saved?

    IMO, it presents a huge problem for Arminians/Pelagians, but no problems for Calvinists.

    We are conceived and born spiritually dead. If God saves an unborn child, God must in the process give that child a "new heart" (make him reborn from above, or born again). This is obviously done without his choice, because he is unable to choose.

    This presents a problem for Arminians/Pelagians because they argue that if God changes a person's heart without that person's permission, God is turning that person into a robot. That means all the saved unborn are robots.

    The only way to retreat from this position (and remain soteriologically consistent) is to say that God foreknows whether or not the unborn child would have "chosen to believe", and therefore saved only those unborn whom He foreknew would believe.

    (As a side comment, I hear many Arminians/Pelagians refer to an "age of accountability". As far as I can tell, this is a made-up doctrine to solve the problem of people being saved without having made a free-will choice. I find no "age of accountability" in the Bible. Regardless, even if the Arminian/Pelagian leans on this so-called "doctrine" it doesn't solve the problem of God changing the hearts of the unborn without their permission, thus turning them into robots.

    Or - if the Arminian/Pelagian concedes that changing the heart of the unborn does not turn that person into a robot, then they must also concede that changing the heart of an adult also does not change that person into a robot.

    IMO. the problem of the unborn puts the Arminian/Pelagian between a rock and a hard place, with nowhere to go but to make up fanciful non-Biblical doctrines to hold onto their belief system.

    -----------

    Calvinists, on the other hand, can take one of two perfectly consistent views.

    1. God, knowing the end from the beginning, elected all the unborn (etc.) and therefore saved them.

    2. Or, it is possible that God saves only the unborn (etc.) elect, and allows the non-elect unborn to perish, as they would have even if they were born.

    Whichever one chooses, the Calvinist does not have to make up a new doctrine about the "age of accoutability" since salvation is not by free will, and no free will accountability is necessary.
     
  2. Ray Berrian

    Ray Berrian
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    npetreley,

    You said, quote: 'Whichever one chooses, the Calvinist does not have to make up a new
    doctrine . . . ' {end quote}

    I am saying God often does not place a label on His doctrinal truth. For example, do you believe in the Trinity of the Godhead? So why is the 'Age of Accountability' not a Christian principle of faith?

    Notice Jesus did not say to the gathered children, "Mary and Bobby you are not one of the elect but send the rest of the children over here to Me." But our Lord did say, 'Suffer the children to come unto Me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.' [Matt. 19:14;Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16] Jesus called each child to Himself; the Lord was inclusive in His call, not exclusive.
     
  3. pinoybaptist

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    npetreley said:

    Many of my people, the PB's, take the first position. The second position I have heard espoused by Harold Camping, and was also my position even before I heard Harold Camping teach it. Except that the more I took a look at the matter, the more number 1 seemed to be more in line with scriptures.
     
  4. following-Him

    following-Him
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    I have found the following book useful and have lent it to others to read:

    I'll Hold You in Heaven -- by Jack W. Hayford, et al

    Sheila
     
  5. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Because there is nothing in the Bible that says the "age of accountability" exists.

    Your comparison is not valid. There is no word "trinity" in the Bible, but the Bible continually refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We just came up with a word to describe this three-in-one combination.

    Not so with "age of accountability". There is no place in the Bible that says a person is "automatically" saved until they get to a certain age. Your references do not say that. All they say is that the kingdom of heaven requires child-like faith. But not even every child has child-like faith.

    Show me a passage that says that nobody is accountable for his sin until he reaches a certain age, and then you'll have support for an "age of accountability". Otherwise you have nothing more than a fanciful notion that fixes a problem with your soteriology.
     
  6. npetreley

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    I agree. Here is a scripture that has such implications. Granted, it's only an implication, and not something upon which a doctrine can be built.

    Isaiah 57:1
    The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.


    Of course, this is referring to men and not children or the unborn. Nevertheless, it implies that God (at times) does foreordain an early death for the righteous in order to spare them evil. One could argue that the unborn elect aren't righteous until God regenerates them and imputes righteousness to them, but that's just a time perception problem with men, not with God.
     
  7. John Gilmore

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    No, instead Calvinism makes up a new doctrine of "regeneration without faith". Scripture does not teach "regeneration without faith". Faith alone is the means and instrument whereby the unborn, children, and adults lay hold of Christ, and in Christ of that righteousness which avails before God. Rom. 4:5; Eph. 2:8; Gal. 3:11; etc.
     
  8. npetreley

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    Actually, I don't even know what Calvinists in general think about whether or not the unborn are saved, but I think you're jumping to conclusions.

    There's no reason why God cannot regenerate and give faith as a gift to an unborn child the same way God regenerates and gives faith as a gift to an adult. We know from the example of John the Baptist jumping for joy in his mother's womb that the unborn are capable of more than "scientists" may credit, especially when one considers that John the Baptist may already have had the Spirit at that point.

    It's also possible that God does not save the unborn at all.

    My point was simply that the Calvinist does not have to make up a doctrine to account for the unborn or mentally retarded person, regardless of what he believes about what happens to them. Calvinism is not based on a person having the ability to make a mature "free will" decision about anything. It is based entirely on what God chooses to do with that person.
     
  9. Ray Berrian

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    If I recall correctly a few of the O.T. prophets were filled with the Holy Spirit while they were being created within the mother. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, had this experience which is found in Luke 1:15.

    If God can save the Baptist before he was even born, then it is not impossible for the Lord to save all minors (in age) persons.
     
  10. npetreley

    npetreley
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    And if God saves these babies before they're old enough to make a free-will choice in the matter, then why do Arminians/Pelagians believe doing so makes a person a robot?
     
  11. Johnv

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    Many agree with the concept of "age of accountability" or "state of accountability". In Revelation, Jesus says "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door...". That implies that one has the ability to hear the knock. Certainly, there are persons who are prevented, through no fault of their own, from hearing the knock at the door: children who die at a young age, the mentally infirmed and retarded, those who are separated by geography, etc. To think that the Lord provides these souls an opportunity to accept salvation on an individual basis that we're not a party to, is entirely reasonable.
     
  12. John Gilmore

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    Actually, I don't even know what Calvinists in general think about whether or not the unborn are saved, but I think you're jumping to conclusions.

    There's no reason why God cannot regenerate and give faith as a gift to an unborn child the same way God regenerates and gives faith as a gift to an adult. We know from the example of John the Baptist jumping for joy in his mother's womb that the unborn are capable of more than "scientists" may credit, especially when one considers that John the Baptist may already have had the Spirit at that point.

    It's also possible that God does not save the unborn at all.

    My point was simply that the Calvinist does not have to make up a doctrine to account for the unborn or mentally retarded person, regardless of what he believes about what happens to them. Calvinism is not based on a person having the ability to make a mature "free will" decision about anything. It is based entirely on what God chooses to do with that person.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Actually the following Calvinist confessions do not exclude the possibility of faith in elect infants so I apologize if I have misrepresented the Calvinist position. I don't understand why elect infants are incapable of the outward call.

    Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
    1689 London Baptist Confession

    Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit,[who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
    Westminster Confession of Faith
     
  13. npetreley

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    So what you're saying is that the Lord takes these unborn babies, grows them up enough in heaven to understand the concept of salvation, and then offers it the opportunity to accept it or reject it?
     
  14. Primitive Baptist

    Primitive Baptist
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    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Primitive Baptist

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    God illustrated election in the case of Jacob and Esau. God hated Esau while he was yet in the womb. Yes, God hated a baby. David confessed that he was shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. We are Adam multiplied, but I sense that even amongst Calvinist circles there is a tendency to view babies as "pure" and "innocent." Election is unconditional. All of you who say that God "foreknew" they would die in infancy and chose them on that basis, explain how that is UNCONDITIONAL election. If ANY condition obligated God to choose anyone, it is not unconditional. I have heard PB preachers stand behind the pulpit and say that there are no infants that God hates. So what does that mean? God starts to hate them after they reach a certain point I suppose. Here we go back to the "age of accountability" principle. I wish folks would be more consistent, even my PB brethren.
     
  16. EaglewingIS4031

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    I haven't posted in this debate forum much but I am a 5 pointer. My wife had three miscarages before we were blessed with a beutiful daughter.
    I know that infants and unborns who die are saved because the Bible says God is merciful, "rich in mercy and abounding in love". I believe that He has so much mercy that he elected the these young saints to live whith him in glory and spare them from the hardships of this life.
    # 1 is the only option for a calvinist
    # 2 I see no biblical suport for it and Harrold Camping is scary I used to listen to him on Shortwave.

    Saved infants causes a delema for the Arminean.

    Eaglewing
     
  17. pinoybaptist

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    Amen to that ! [​IMG]

    He doesn't scare me, though. He irritates me, and sometimes makes me laugh hard. Especially when he goes to that prisoner-in-a-dark-dungeon-hears-of-a-merciful-king allegory, and when he expounds on how totally depraved unregenerate man is and then turns right around and advices his listeners to put themselves in an environment where God can save them by opening their Bibles and reading them !!

    You can say that again.
     
  18. npetreley

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    That was my point. And the silence from the Arminians/Pelagians is deafening.

    According to their own logic, God does not save adults apart from their own free will because that would make them robots. Therefore, according to the same logic, God does not save infants who cannot yet exercise their free will, because that would make them robots, too.

    That's what happens when you make up doctrines (robots, age of accountability, etc.) out of thin air.
     
  19. BobRyan

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    Finally! A Calvinist argument that is good! :eek: [​IMG]

    I love it! (though your set of solutions is lacking). ;)

    Certainly we can ALL agree that saving SOME infants and roasting the rest of them in the lake of fire forever - fits PERFECTLY in Calvinism where arbitrary selection is "the rule" even for adults - why not infants.

    So Nick is right - this problem is NO different for infants than for adults in Calvinism!

    Correct - my friend.

    Nick is ALSO right in that this is NOT the standard case for the Arminian model to solve. We ALWAYS like dealing with intelligent - thinking adults that can be DRAWN and MOTIVATED to act.

    "Come unto ME ALL who are weary and heavy ladened and I WILL give you rest"

    The infant is not going to do that today - OR in heaven.

    "Behold I STAND at the door AND KNOCK if anyone HEARS my voice AND OPENS the door I will come in"

    The infant is not going to do that EITHER - not on earh and not in heaven.

    So Nick is right to say that these Bible modes for Arminianism are not available for the case of the infant.

    As I said - I love it when a Calvinist makes a good point. It does not happen very often.

    But lets review a few basic facts that might show how the Arminian model survives. [​IMG]

    #1. When the infant dies - they are not a THINKING intelligent being "making moral choices". In heaven - they are the same.

    #2. When the infant dies they have a sinful nature. In heaven they do not.

    #3. When the adult dies they TOO have a sinful nature. In heaven they do not.

    #4. The infant is making NO MORE choices in heaven than they were making on earth. No different choices - no other choices. This is also true of the adult.

    When the infant grows to the point of actually having the ability to know an abstract thought or a moral choice - to do ANYTHING but react out of a sinful or sinless nature - they WILL have to CHOOSE and they will do so without the handicap of a sinFUL nature. They will have to review the facts - the data and CHOOSE to be faithful.

    Adam and Eve were not born with "lots of facts pre-recorded" so they too had to CHOOSE, without having much previous history to go on. The infant in heaven will not be doing as much as Adam was doing on his first day in paradise.

    Nick's idea of "pick the one that WOULD have chosen life IN THIS sinful world" is interesting but not needed in the Arminian model.

    ONLY in the Calvinist model do people make CHOICES solely because something about their environment or genetics MADE them choose it. IF you assume CALVINISM at the start when trying to solve the Arminian problem then YES - the defect is already "programmed in" by the time the child is born such that EVEN in the drawing context of the Gospel they WILL choose sin.

    But that is the Calvinist model.

    In the arminian model - an infant that has their sinful nature removed, that lives in heaven and that has no demons to tempt them - SHOULD not choose hell "anyway" as there is no compelling reason to choose hell.

    In the arminian model BOTH adults and infants have their sinful natures "removed instantly" at the point of death/resurrection.

    The problem is not as hard as you claimed for Arminian but it IS a good stresser for the Arminian view and it DOESN't change Calvinism in the least ... so - good one! [​IMG]

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. npetreley

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    That is not the Calvinist model. Environment and or genetics have nothing to do with Calvinism. But you are right that they will sin by nature.

    The point remains that you can't have it both ways. You (not you specifically, but Arminians/Pelagians in general) complain that if God changes the heart of a person without that person's free-will consent, then that makes that person a robot.

    Are you going to argue that an unborn child is spiritually alive? I hope not. Even unborn children are spiritually dead, since they inherited that condition through Adam.

    It follows, therefore, that if God changes the heart of an infant -- that is, quickens them (makes their spirit alive through the Spirit) -- without their free-will consent, then God has changed them without their free-will consent. That makes every aborted child in heaven a robot according to those Arminians/Pelagians. Yes, even you Arminians/Pelagians who cringe at the thought that God would do such a horrible thing as save someone without their consent.

    The problem for Arminians/Pelagians is therefore two-fold. First, scripture says in numerous places that God CAN, PLANS and DOES change the hearts of people without consulting them. Second, if the Arminians/Pelagians simply ignore or "reinterpret" these scriptures, they still cannot get around the fact that God MUST do this to an unborn child if the Arminian/Pelagian is going to insist that the unborn child is automatically saved.

    That means there will be millions of robots in heaven.
     

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