The Theology of Infant Salvation by R. A. Webb - Chapter 4 - The Sinlessness of Infants
We now come to chapter 4 concerning "the sinlessness of infants. If the bible says we are born in sin, are infants not sinless? If infants are sinful, how will they go to heaven when they die?
We know infants go to heaven but how do we get around the fact that even they are born in sin? How can they be considered born in sin, if they have not actually committed a single sin?
These are the questions Dr Webb will try to answer in this chapter. He starts by discussing Pelagianism.
Pelagianism believes that Man is neither sinful nor holy. He is born a clean slate. The fall of Adam only damaged himself. There was no lasting effect on his offspring. Every infant is born "a blank sheet of paper" There is no original sin. The infant has no inclination toward good or evil. Good or evil comes totally from self-will. The argument is an infant is savable because it is not damnable. They are a moral negative - neither holy or evil.
Webb then gives 6 reasons why infants are not moral negatives:
- If they were they could never be anything else. In physics a body at rest can not put itself in motion. A non moral being can not make itself moral.An animal is non-moral. They can not develop a conscience.
- All moral beings are either good or bad. There is no middle ground. Infants must be born morally good or morally bad.
- Pelagianism says all infants are born non-moral but have the potential of developing into a moral creature. But if moral is always good or bad the original potential must be good of bad. There must be a bend in one direction or the other. In the end the outcome of all adults is more or less wicked.
- The Bible says a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree bad fruit, but neither can product the opposite of their nature. If an infant is a moral negative they would grow up to be an adult moral negative.
- Adam was created in God's image - a moral good but he was mutable. He was under probation, he had the ability to sin of not to sin. By his sin he changed himself into a positive evil. If Adam is the head of the race all of his posterity could not be moral negitives but would be positive evil
- If infants are moral negatives why do all of them sin as they grow older? All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
- The bible says there is none righteous
- If men wee not sinners there would be no need of atonement
- There would have been no need of priests or sacrifice
- Our own conscience tells us we have sinned
- Even our own sayings show we all sin - "no one is perfect", "I am only human", etc.
- There was only one sinless person in history - Jesus
- Infants die - Sin causes death - if there is no sin there is no death.
- Scripture says we are born in iniquity
Next Blog: Chapter 5: Infants Incapable
Check back next time when we study a new chapter