At Arminianism Today the question of the eternal state of infants was pondered. I'll briefly correct the understanding of the "standard Calvinist answer," and then offer some brief critical remarks of the two Arminian positions offered.
1. "However, the standard Calvinist answer is that Jesus died only for the elect so therefore not all babies born are the elect so some do not go to heaven when they die."
The "standard Calvinist answer" is non-committal. It is true that the standard answer is that Jesus died only for the elect. It would follow from this that the standard Calvinist view would be that Jesus died only for those infants who die in infancy that are elect. It is a qualitative stance, period. What is not entailed, or inferred by, this claim is the quantitative position on how many infants who die in infancy are elect. The "standard answer" is consistent with 1 or 1,000,000 (or however many infants die in infancy). You will find some Calvinists who believe that all infants that die in infancy are elect, and some who believe that not all are. Both views are entirely consistent with the standard Calvinist answer. It is dishonest to pretend that there are disparate views by Calvinists on this matter as concerns quality. Those who believe that all infants who die in infancy are elect are not holding to the Arminian position, as the author falsely claims, for they hold that those infants were elected. Indeed, there is only one Calvinist answer - elect infants that die go to heaven.
2. "The standard Arminian answer is that all children go to heaven by virtue of the cross of Christ and the mercy of God given in Christ. Arminians further appeal to the unlimited atonement of Jesus Christ as basis for infants being in God's presence. While Calvinist insist that Jesus died for only the elect, Arminians insist that the atonement was for all. What keeps sinful man from enjoying this salvation from sin and its power? Unbelief, and since babies can not either believe or have unbelief, they simply can not be condemned."
It appears that this view states that Jesus died for all and secured their salvation. Every single person comes into this world saved, then it is "up to them" whether they "lose" this salvation by rejecting Jesus' death for them. Thus no person is born condemned. Not born sinners in need of a savior. Later, if they don't believe, then they lose this salvation. Then, later, if they believe again, they get it back again.
So, even the native in the jungle is born saved. He never hears of Jesus, why does he go to hell, then? The answer is given:
2. a. "Romans 1:18-32 clearly shows that God has revealed Himself to all men through both creation and their conscience but men reject the truth for lies. But babies are not even capable of doing so neither are those who are severely handicapped. Where would the justice of God be in condemning children who have yet the mental ability to even know they are alive let alone sinful?"
But, it is one of the most agreed upon truths of the Christian faith that natural revelation does not reveal salvific truths. It reveals, simply, that God exists and that we are guilty. So the native in the jungle is born saved, and doesn't believe because he has never heard of Jesus death on the cross for him. How can he be held responsible for not believing in a Jesus he never heard about?
At any rate, this Arminian view posits that we are born saved and that we can lose this salvation. Needless to say, the idea that all men whoever are born saved is completely foreign from Scripture. In fact, the opposite seems the case. For example, Ephesians 2 doesn't claim that "once we were alive, then dead in sins, then alive again." It doesn't say that we were all first children of grace, then children of wrath, then children of grace again."
3. However, is it possible that infants are born not guilty for Adam's sin but they are born "saved" standing in original grace given to Adam and restored through Christ, the second Adam? While Adam's sin most certainly brought physical death (and thus why some infants die), does this also mean that Adam also brought spiritual death to infants as well? In fact, if Romans 5:12 establishes the reality of total depravity in all then Romans 5:15 must also signal that all now have original grace in all as well. Romans 5:14 seems to hint at infants when it says, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come" (NASB).
i) But position two also logically implies that all are born saved. It does so because if any person whoever dies in infancy, then they go to heaven because Christ died for them, then this means that all men whoever are born saved. So it's hard to see how this position is different that point two.
ii) I am unclear as to how Romans 5:14 hints at supporting this Arminian interpretation? The passage doesn't say that that the "those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam," did not sin at all. Indeed, it implies the opposite, or so it seems. Moo claims that those who did not sin "after" is an important Pauline category meaning "copy" or "likeness" in a "sense which is not identical to, but resembles in some important way, that with which it is concerned" (333, n.84).
iii) Paul is probably talking about people who lived between Adam and Moses, they didn't have special revelation from God in the form of commands (so Schreiner, p.279).
iv) Paul is establishing more than physical death, as v. 16 shows (condemnation, legal categories).
v) If all infants are not spiritually dead, then they are spiritually alive. So, we are spiritually alive, then dead, then alive.
vi) If infants are born in original grace, how is this not Pelagian?
vii) If they are not born guilty, why did Christ have to die for them? He didn't. Hence, since Jesus never died for the millions of babies that die in infancy, then this is millions of people never died for, and so it looks like "all" doesn't mean "all."