[Linux4christians] Sin, Sin & Babies
cade_one at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 12 09:04:18 EDT 2008
I agree with much of what Rob has said. And When it comes to the death of an unbaptized infant, we (Catholics) generally trust in God's great mercy. May His will be done.
P.s. Thanks for leaving your stake and matches in the utility room ; )
>Greetings to the list, and to you, Mike.
>I'm not sure what tradition you were catechized in, so I can't really
>comment. If you'd be kind enough to reveal that datum, I have copies of
>most of the creeds and catechisms of the church, being a student of
>historical theology and church history. Please note that I said student,
>and not expert; I'm not here to pontificate.
>But I would note that there are several approaches to the whole idea of >sin,
>and the cause/effect issue of whether we sin because we're sinners, or
>whether we are sinners because we sin.
>The definition you proffered in your post, that sin is a knowing outward
>act, is what is sometimes called a casuistic perspective, that is, sin >does
>not exist except in cases of acts of sin. Now, I'm not trying to back you
>or anyone else into a corner here, but one of the logical consequences of
>this is that it follows from such an approach that Christian ethics are an
>outside-in affair; that is only those things are sin which are acts of
>volition (and volitional acts can take place in the mind as well as in the
>flesh, so that such a construct can accommodate the teaching of Jesus in >the
>Sermon on the Mount regarding lust, anger, etc.
>The strength of such an approach is that it takes very seriously the issue
>of human responsibility for acts of sin. Yet at the same time it has a
>weakness in that it doesn't really address the "why" question. If >children
>are born as ethical tabulae rasae (blank slates) who are incapable of sin,
>then where does the propensity to sin come from? At what point do >children
>become moral agents? I believe someone used the term "age of
>accountability" on this list, and although it is probably a useful term in >a
>practical sense, I'm not sure if it is one for which there is good
>Scriptural and theological support.
>Then comes the idea of Original Sin, that somehow the taint of sin affects
>At this point for the sake of honesty and openness I must disclose that I >am
>in the Reformed Tradition - I'm a Calvinist (but no one need worry; I left
>my stake and matches in the utility room). This is a tradition that takes
>Original Sin seriously, a strength which casuistic approaches to the idea >of
>But the doctrine is often misunderstood and caricatured. I'd like to
>provide an illustration of how it works, or at least an imperfect analogy
>which explains my understanding of it. I had a gel pen in the pocket of a
>white shirt, which my wife laundered along with other whites. When that
>load of laundry came out of the wash, I was in the doghouse, because the >pen
>had leaked and there wasn't a single piece of clothing in the load that >came
>out unstained. Note that there wasn't a single piece of clothing, either,
>that was dyed completely black. Some people caricature the Calvinistic
>doctrine called "Total Depravity" in this way: "Calvinists say that we >are
>all of us as bad as we can possibly get." That's not what we believe. >What
>we do believe is that there is no aspect of our being that is completely
>free from sin's deleterious effects, and these effects are with us from >our
>birth. We are born sinners, in other words, even before the sin is
>instantiated in will and action. Our nature makes it impossible that we >can
>remain free from actual sin, even though as infants we may lack the
>capability to actualize it. In other words, babies are born in need of
>salvation by grace through Jesus Christ.
>The Bible doesn't spell out what happens to babies who die. In his >dialogue
>with Nicodemus, Jesus makes two statements about the need of the new >birth.
>Both have the same point, but one seems to be epistemological and the >other
>This post is too long already, so I'll end up with a couple of final >points.
>Again, the Bible doesn't spell out what happens to babies who die. But
>there is at least one hint. When news of the death of Bathsheba's first
>baby was reported to David, among other things he said, "I will go to him,
>he will not return to me." This of course reflects an early, >pre-Christian,
>Judaic idea of the afterlife and confidence that his son would be there. >I
>think there is some comfort there.
>Next, all we need to do is remember that God is good, and merciful and >just.
>We can trust God to do what is right with babies who die.
>Lest anyone who reads this think that I engage in idle conjecture and
>theologizing, let me state unequivocally that this is NOT a theoretical
>matter for me and my wife, because we lost an unborn child between our
>oldest and middle children. I don't have a proof text to stand on, but >I'm
>standing on the character of God and the grace of Jesus Christ: My wife >and
>I believe that our Sasha is alive and with Christ, and we long for the day
>when at last we will be able to embrace all four of our children, not just
>the three who remain on earth. When someone asks how many children we >have,
>we always reply, "Three here, and one in heaven."
>I'll leave that last note to those who caricature Calvinists as those who
>want to send babies to hell. Not THIS Calvinist, nor any other that I >know
>or have read. My dead child is in heaven and has had, I trust and >believe,
>a better father than all of my living children. I don't know the details,
>or at what age Sasha will appear in heaven, but I'm confident that Sasha
>lives with Jesus. I must confess that as I write these words and recall >our
>loss after several years and my confidence that our child is with Christ, >I
>didn't expect to experience the emotions of loss all over again, but >that's
>what's happening. But there's also a kind of almost fierce joy and
>gratefulness, and confidence in thinking of my little one in the presence >of
>Kindest regards in Christ,
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