Friday, May 23, 2008

The Doctrine of Original Sin

4 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

original sin

Professor Howdy goes nuts!;)

Jeff said...

Russ,

Thanks for that link to your blog article from last year. I have been taught that children who die before the "age of accountability" will go to Heaven, but I have never seen any reasoning for it, other than human emotion. I also appreciate your addressing the issue concerning the death of mentally deficient individuals, as well.

I have wondered about the fact that, if we have a sinful nature as soon as we are born, then how can children who die escape judgment, since they have a sinful nature just as adults do? You address this point very well when you say in your article:

A non-regenerated child or mentally deficient person would still have a corrupt nature unacceptable for God’s presence, but I speculate that a certain mental capacity is required to be everlastingly punished for sinful deeds.

On the other hand, this confuses me a bit:

There is the understanding that all elect children will be saved, despite the incapability of response. Collins (1996: 560). The children have no claim to salvation themselves, but receive the same sovereign grace as elected adults. Collins (1996: 560).

So is that saying that some who die as children will be saved, while others who die during childhood will not be saved? Even though I believe in Election, that strikes me as a bit odd. Therefore I appreciate it when you say:

It could be stated within Reformed tradition, at least, that children and the mentally deficient outside of the New Covenant of Christ, could be everlastingly separated from God and judged according to deeds within their limited knowledge. Since children and all persons have corrupt natures, they do sin, and therefore could be everlastingly judged for these deeds and a nature which opposes God's, without having a competent understanding of God they are rejecting and the punishment they are receiving. It is possible that their punishment shall be at the level of limited understanding. I view this as a theological possibility that cannot be overlooked. But, the concept of everlasting separation in the New Testament appears to be one of God separating those from his presence that embraced their sinful nature and committed sinful deeds with a definite, competent and not largely deficient understanding.

God is sovereign, and is omniscient, and we are finite beings with limited knowledge. Therefore, we cannot hope to completely understand everything God does. Some things will be a mystery until we get to Heaven. And, even then, I think it will take all eternity to fully understand God, because His knowledge is infinitely beyond ours.

Another excellent point you address is when you say:

Biblically persons appear to be judged for sins, which result from a sinful nature, and not for the sinful nature itself. In Revelation 20:12, those persons who are thrown into the lake of fire are judged for their deeds, and therefore persons are judged for deeds and not nature.

I have heard unbelievers say that God is unfair to judge them for Adam's sins, or for a sinful nature they are born with. Your point concerning this is very well made.

thekingpin68 said...

So is that saying that some who die as children will be saved, while others who die during childhood will not be saved? Even though I believe in Election, that strikes me as a bit odd. Therefore I appreciate it when you say:

I cautiously lean towards salvation for children (or like) that cannot reject God in choice in an adultlike manner. They would have to be regenerated like all the elect. I personally doubt that when Revelation 20:12 mentions persons being judged for their deeds this includes a six week old India that dies. But, I cannot deny the possibility that the child could be punished relatively. I totally deny a notion that God will punish a person for deeds he/she would have done if he/she would have lived.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

I totally deny a notion that God will punish a person for deeds he/she would have done if he/she would have lived.

I agree. I don't think God punishes anybody for sins they never committed.