Friday, January 6, 2012

A Consideration of Infants, Salvation, Divine Sovereignty and the Advocacy of Christ (Part 1)

Over at Theological I was interacting with a topic on infant salvation (the thread is worth reading even if only for the sake of observing how spiritual children react to information they have never encountered as well as those who rarely can endure anything but echoes of their cloistered theological exposure). A proposal was made that infants can be saved in the womb via some kind of imposed faith by a preemptive act of divine sovereignty. Resisting the temptation to address the issue of John the Baptist and why his being filled by the Holy Spirit "out of the womb" of his mother is not the same as our being regenerated, allow me to present the follow-up response and my rebuttal to it to my original bringing to attention the issue of using divine sovereignty as the "get out of jail free" card in trying to explain how God might save infants and how, biblically, all infants and those incapable of exercising their volition, are saved by Christ automatically. I have refined my comments from the orignal post.

(Other person) I understand that God, in his sovereignty, does not act contrary to himself. But I do think there are times we can think or assume that we know how God will act in every single situation, and make the mistake that tries to "put God in a box". I acknowledge it is a worn-out cliché, but cannot think of a better way to put it just now.

(Me) While I certainly appreciate the reaility that we cannot "know how God will act in every single situation" I do believe we can know how he will not act in many, many situations based on his protocol which he, himself, does not and will not violate. It is not a worn out cliche but I believe one that is improperly unqualified.

And so when an appeal is made to divine sovereignty as an argument for God doing as he pleases in order to explain how things happen which we cannot explain otherwise or at least reconcile with our theology, I believe the problem is with our theology and its weaknesses and divine sovereignty is used as the get out of jail free card. And as I said earlier, I believe divine sovereignty is fundamentally misunderstood by Calvinism/Reformed theology with respect to its primary function and its secondary or even anecdotal functions and objectives.

And in this case of regeneration we know God does not take over the volition of another which is why volitionally capable beings are answerable to the offer and command, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" - and this not taking over one's volition by God includes infants who are incapable of exercising their volition since it requires recognizing certain realities and willfully acting upon them (in other words how can infants believe on Christ in order to be saved if they have no volitional capacity to respond to the gospel? So to solve this the Augustinian/Reformed/Calvinist (ARC) student calls on an exemption in the name of divine sovereignty where God controls the volition of the incapable one so they may believe, of course this is a grave theological error).

So how do infants get saved, then? And of course you have already read my appeal (though I will reiterate it) but the first thing we can know it is not going to be by God violating his own protocol which is to control the volition of another. He never, never and again, never does that, ever. And since God does not do that and since to exercise one's volition one must be at a point of capacity to do so we know infants and the volitionally incapable must be saved by Christ by another means and that means is provided in, by and through the function and extent of the office of Divine Advocate (1 John 2:1-2) which is assigned by God to the incapable and fulfilled in and by Christ who is that Advocate.

So we have preservation of Christ as the means of salvation for even infants and we have the preservation of God's integrity with out attempting to force God to act contra through appeals that his "divine sovereignty" gives him license to do so.

Clearly this is based on a view of the properties of the divine judiciary and one may argue otherwise, feel free to do so.

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