Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Original Sin and Infants

Adam was the representative of all mankind, and because of his sin, God holds all of us personally accountable.

In Romans 5:12-20 we see a wonderful contrast between the the wrath of God brought about by Adam’s sin and the peace of God brought about by the death and resurrection of the Second Adam, who is Jesus Christ. I believe that this passage teaches a concept that theologians call Original Sin. I want to briefly outline what I think is taught here, and then I want to discuss how this doctrine affects babies and the mentally impaired.

What is Original Sin?
The doctrine of original sin means that Adam’s sin is directly counted against all of mankind. His sin is imputed to us. Adam was the representative of all mankind, and because of his sin, God holds all of us personally accountable. While preparing the Sunday School lesson, I learned an important concept.We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. Because of Adam’s sin, we are born into a life of darkness. We may claim that it is unfair that God judges all of us for the actions of one man, but the good news is that because of the Second Adam (Jesus Christ), His acts of a perfectly righteous life are also imputed to us. Just as we are made enemies of God by Adam, we are able to have peace with God because of the Second Adam.

What about Infants and the Mentally Handicapped?
The easy answer is to avoid answering the question because the Bible doesn’t speak about infants and salvation. Before attempting to make sense of this situation, I want to be careful not to read into scripture something that isn’t there. I believe that the concept of Original Sin is clearly taught in the above passage, and it is damaging to scripture to read into it what we want it to say. I have seen a couple of verses that seem to support that it is possible for infants to be saved.

In 2 Samuel 12 we read that because of David’s sin, his unborn son died. In verse 23, David makes the claim that he will join his son after death. Thank you to our two visitors Sunday Morning for this reference.

In Luke 1:15 we read that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born.

I honestly don’t understand how it works, hopefully someone can enlighten me. I believe in Original Sin, but I also want to hold to the teaching that God is not willing that any should perish, but all come to repentance. God is gracious and merciful, and I hope that He can or will impute the righteousness of the Second Adam on infants (born and unborn) and the mentally handicapped.

1 Comment:

  1. Betty Newman said...
    I believe this is where prevenient grace comes into play. (As the old saying goes) "I don't understand all I know about this" but I believe it is salvation when we are unable to surrender to Christ on our own.

    When my Mother-in-law began to lose her "will" due to Alzheimer's Disease, I asked a pastor friend of mine, "If we are saved through the surrender of our will to Jesus, what happens when the will is gone?"

    He spoke to me of prevenient grace, of God's calling and saving when we could not.

    God not only knew John in the womb, He knew and called Jeremiah as well. David also speaks in the Psalms of God "knowing" him as he was being formed in his mother's womb.

    I think some things are just too deep for us to understand...

    Betty Newman

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