Friday, October 14, 2005

Salvation of Infants

It started like this. C said:
If there are actually more saved than lost people in All of history, either history is going to be a lot longer than we expect, or to date we Christians really have no idea what we are talking about.
My response:
There's another possibility. I'm sure it will be controversial, but I'll throw it out there anyway. The reason there will be more saved than unsaved is that those who die in infancy are saved.

What follows is taken from a message I heard from Phil Johnson. He said that the reason he thinks there will be more people in heaven is because he thinks all infants who die are elect. I won't try to replicate all of the support he provides for his position (you can find that by pulling up his message from GraceLife at ministry_id=9 ), but I would like to highlight a couple of points.

*Infants are not saved because they are innocent, because it's clear from Scripture that they aren't. But it is conceivable that they are saved by God's grace--just like all men are saved by God's grace.
*Infants may actually be spared by dying, because they don't have to come into a sin-cursed world and deal with sinning willfully themselves.
*Calvinism is superior to an Arminian understanding in this regard, because if a man must choose, how can any infants be saved.
*If this is so, why doesn't the Bible deal with this explicitly? This is a key point, and one on which many of my own doubts rested. But his answer to this question proved to be the lynchpin (in my mind) for the whole argument. It is both logical and Biblical. Knowing man's great propensity for evil, God chose purposely not to reveal this part of His plan, because humans would twist it into some sort of sick "sacrificial evangelism," where children would be killed precisely because they would go to heaven.

Now think about this for a minute. Haven't you heard this exact argument from some who are pro-abortion? If infants are automatically saved, why would we want to stop abortion? The answer is because it is an abomination to God and to His character, and He would never want to have something like this done in His name (I'm paraphrasing here, and Phil, please forgive me if I'm not as precise as I should be on this point).

Now I recognize that it's tricky to make an argument like this when the Bible is not explicit (which is why I'm glad I'm just picking up the threads of the tapestry woven by PJ). Is it possible this what's written above is incorrect--that God would choose to deal with infants in a different way? Absolutely!

But I ask you, as you read the Bible, and as you observe God's character--how He cares for the poor and the oppressed; how He cares for the helpless; how He cares for the honor of His name--what greater picture of a loving, gracious God could there be than to extend His grace to those little ones in a special way? I'm not trying to be pie-in-the-sky or borderline universalist here; I'm saying that infants are really a picture of all of us--we were all that helpless, and without God's intervention in our lives we would also be hopeless.

Is it reasonable to conclude that a God like that might have in His redemptive plan a part that would include these helpless ones? Does it take away from God to believe this? I don't think so--PRECISELY BECAUSE THEY ARE STILL SAVED BY GOD'S GRACE.

Cent's response:
I hope to have 5 minutes to scrape together something about this before the weekend.

Now when he came back, he had decided to write the post linked above, and not to write about the subject, for the reasons he mentions (both in the post, and in the comments there). Unfortunately, even his non-post has generated loads of comments, which have required responses. And all because of me.

My original purpose was simply to present a possibility, not to argue dogmatically for a certain view (I might do that in the future, but not now). I presented some highlights of the argument that were most convincing to me, not the whole argument, all with the goal of simply saying it's possible that there are more saved people than lost people.

So Cent, I'm sorry, and to make it up to you, I'm putting this post up for all who might wish to discuss further. Come over to my blog--I am interested in discussing.


Hemsch said...

I've always kept the opinion that babies even children were saved. What the age cut off is, I don't know. You are right the bible doesn't explicitly say. But it doesn't explicitly say abortion is wrong, though as you said by knowing God's nature that it is wrong. So one of passages I use as a guidepost is Jonah 4. Where it states:
10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"

I could be totally off with this passage, what do you think mmug?

Gummby said...

I think that's one of the passages Phil Johnson uses in the link I put above. Download the MP3, listen to it, and get back to me. In the meantime, I'll keep trying to formulate more of my own thoughts about it.

Rob said...

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

Rob said...

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.