Saturday, July 01, 2017

Unconditional election and infant salvation

From a Facebook exchange:

It is clear from the Institutes that Calvin taught double predestination. When, according to Calvin, does God predestine some to salvation and some to damnation? Would the predestined person's age have anything to do with anything? How could one consistently argue something different than double predestination from Calvin?

In and of themselves, election and reprobation are consistent with universal infant salvation. It's just up to God who he chose to elect or reprobate. That can't be inferred merely from the principle of double predestination.

Sounds like having your cake and eating it to. Either election is unconditional or it isn't. Seems to me you're wanting to make it conditional when it makes the doctrine more palatable.

Unclear what you think unconditional election means. The concept of unconditional election is not a restriction or imposition on God. What makes you think unconditional election means God can't elect all those who die before the age of reason, if that's what he wanted to do?

BTW, since you don't know my actual position, it would behoove you to avoid conspiratorial interpretations.

Completely true- God can do what He wants. I personally just find it inconsistent to hold to an unconditional election based solely on God's sovereignty, but then apply a condition to it (the age of reason).

The basic principle of unconditional election is that since all Adam's posterity will be guilty as well as unresponsive to spiritual good apart from grace, there's nothing to distinguish one human from another that accounts for God's choice. God could choose fewer or God could choose more. If everyone is in the same boat, choosing a particular subclass of the total (e.g. all who die before the age of discretion) is perfectly consistent with the unconditionality of election.

There's an ambiguity to how you're using "condition". To take a crazy hypothetical for illustrative purposes, suppose God elected all and only people with green eyes. Would that make it "conditional" election. If the notion is that having green eyes causes, constrains, or impels God to choose people with green eyes, then that would be conditional. If, however, the elect status of green-eyed people is the effect or result of God's choice, then that's not conditional.

Like I said, I would think from an unconditional election point of view, that God is sovereign. He can do what He wants. Not really interested in what He might do. I think he has declared what He will do: he who believes is not condemned. 

Hypotheticals are a way of testing whether a generalization is true or false in principle.

There's an elementary difference between what an individual Reformed theologian believes, and whether his position is a logical implication of Calvinism. Put another way, a difference between what's consistent with Calvinism and what's entailed by Calvinism.

Traditionally, the original rationale for infant baptism was to remove the stain of original sin. Unbaptized babies who died were consigned to hell. That wasn't based on Calvinism. What was the position of Arminian Anglicans like John and Charles Wesley?

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