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« Romney's Religion Speech | Main | The One Argument in The Golden Compass »

December 07, 2007


I agree that there is no biblical basis for the age of accountability. The type of thinking you have described above is what happens when Arminianism is taken to it's logical conclusion. In our zeal to claim a part in our own salvation we inadvertently make abortion the most heaven filling activity on Earth.

The argument goes away when we are honest with ourselves about what the Bible has to say about original sin--we are born into this world with the sin of Adam already credited to our account. And just as by one man sin entered the world, by one Man it is overcome.

I recommend R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God for more study.

King David believed in some level of the age of accountability.

2 Sam 12:22
22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

That's not to say there is one. It's just saying that king David believed there was.

From this I believe that the bible implys an age of accountabilty.

I suppose it's inevitable that discussion of this post will devolve into a Calvinism/Arminianism debate. The argument as presented, though, is fallacious from either perspective, and Steve does a good job in showing why.

"4) Christians believe that if a baby dies before it is born (via abortion or some other cause), then that baby goes to heaven."

As both Tony and I have previously pointed out, somewhere between 50% and 60% of all conceptions naturally terminate, most in the first month (i.e. the woman never knows she was pregnant).

"It seems instead that the person offering this argument is assuming the unborn are not human beings..."

If they are and they don't automatically go to Heaven, then way over half the folks who have ever lived didn't (and don't) have a chance.


I agree that this argument proposes salvation by murder as a direct means for the victim to go to heaven (sort of a reverse Islamic suicide attack). Obviously God forbids murder under any pretext. However, we cannot say for certain that God saves everyone who has not "reached an age of accoubtability."

The Bible does assert the following:
- We are conceived and born in sin (fallen and guilty).
- All persons have sinned, and fallen short of God's glory.
- Salvation is only by faith in Christ's atoning sacrifice for sins.

We can reasonably assume that, because of God's grace and justice, He would spare children, disabled people, and anyone incapable of understanding the gospel. It is possible that God would not spare these people, though. They have not rejected the gospel - neither have they accepted it.

One theory is that God, who is omniscient, knows exactly what each person would decide given every possible set of circumstances, so He can determine someone's eternal destiny based on what He knows they would do even if they had no opportunity to do so. Just playing the devil's advocate here, but if we begin in sin, and must repent & believe the gospel for salvation, then it is not necessarily true that we begin in a state of grace which we then lose at some later point.

I actually believe God is merciful before a person reaches accountability, but I can find no definitive Scriptrue on it. It seems to be the only outcome consistent with God's nature.

I discussed this in another thread before, but I'll mention it again. Greg doesn't seem to think that babies going to heaven is contrary to the reformed position, since he calls his own position reformed in the following show from the archives. I left out some parts, so listen to it yourselves.

Stand to Reason, 02-05-2006, time 73:10.

Greg says:
Our view is this: That all people are fallen in Adam. So that when children are born, they are born fallen and this fallenness manifest itself when they get to maturity and active rebellion against God. But up until the time of accountability --- and we don't know what exactly that is but there is such a time because the Bible speaks of it. You'll find it in Isaiah chapter 7 (...)

So there is a time before which a child distinguishes right and wrong, and before that time they are dead spiritually in Adam, but the way I would put it is, they don't have any crimes that they personally committed against God. (...)

Now, what could be written on a child's book who dies before the age of accountability? It seems to me, nothing. (...) With that in mind my conclusion is that it may be the case that children are not judged in that way and rather they are saved by the sovereign grace of God if they die before the age of accountability.

Steve - not sure where this came from but the original discussion, as far as I know, is on my blog. Could be the questioner visited my poor obscure blog?

Perhaps even better is my post re a local minister who received a ?misdialed? call from a young lady looking for a referral to an abortion mill. His response to her - "What's your baby's name?" got very interesting results. I did send STR an email pointing to this article -

This article is linked to the article on aborted babies going to heaven.

Another way to describe the logical critique of this argument is two-fold.

Firstly, the argument falls into the logical fallacy known as "equivocation". You describe this as "the argument proves too much".
"2) Christians should desire that people to go to heaven."
This is a general statement. Yes, we should be hoping for the reconciliation of all God's elect -- but the argument jumps from this futuristic statement that depends on the timing and will of God to a conclusion that really depends on this statement meaning, "Every Christian should want every human to go to heaven no matter what the cost, no matter what the means, no matter what the evil required to get that person to heaven, despite any Biblical indication that God chooses to develop salvation through history."

Secondly, some of the axioms are debatable and simplistic, e.g. #4. Yes, there are perfectly intelligent and respectable Christians that believe #4, but not all. The author of the argument chooses the most convenient belief for his argument without considering its accuracy.

I do not even understand what you people are even arguing about half the time. You people seem to believe that the purpose of the creation is so that you can go to heaven. You seem to believe that you were created in the image of God and then manage to convince yourself that you were born evil in original sin. That deception has to rank right up there with “you will not die and will be as Gods”. God had to come into this dimension of the flush as the man you call Jesus and tell you your sins shall be forgiven, so get over this original sin deception. I remember when Jesus walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, Jesus threw around a couple of curses but never did Jesus curse Adam and Eve. How did you people manage to curse yourselves? You were not created to be Gods in the dimension of the flush. Look at the creation for what it is a space-time continuum in which you occupy some space for a time, you will surely die, and your flush will turn to dust. The stories in Genesis set the ground rules for how you would exist in this dimension of the flush and one of those messages was that you could exist here by the sweat of your brow. Try using that brow. However, when you were in the garden, Jesus had just opened your eyes, you became aware of God, and yourself, your understanding was limited. Why do you think God never wrote a book for you? God can write in stone, but at what point in this space-time continuum would you have complete understanding so that you could understand the word of God, probably never. Therefore, a prophet here or a messenger there a nudge from the Holy Spirit and the space-time continuum goes on. For what purpose does the space-time continuum go on? We Christian revolutionaries believe that, we are to come together, live as one flush, and create souls for the dimension of God. You probably believe that souls come from the Guff. For us things like abortion and not allowing the children to come unto God so they can fulfill the purpose of creation, takes on a completely new meaning. What the heck, believe what ever you are capable of understanding, but remember these words “forgive them Father for they know not what they do”, that will be true until the kingdom of God exists in this space-time continuum.

ahh, now it all becomes clear???

You can't embrace one part of the system of Christianity (saving souls) by rejecting another (murder is forbidden).

While killing the unborn does send them to heaven (I believe in an age of accountability...I'm no Calvinist) it's stupid to negate the life God wanted all of us to ideally live. Life isn't JUST about salvation. I'm sorry, but there is joy, failure, drama and beauty to participate in as properly functioning members of God's creation.

Shall we sin that grace increase? Of course not. God isn't a pragmatist, he doesn't just care about the ends. The means are just as important. So be all things to all men, but don't be a murderer.

Hi doug t, I'm shocked to see this statement from you:

"God isn't a pragmatist, he doesn't just care about the ends."

With the political stance you promote the Christian to take, it sure seemed to me like you'd have thougth God a pragmatist.

Brad B

I don't know about doug t's political positions, but I think he's onto something. What I would note as a generalization of his observation that the given postulation makes the assumption that "going to heaven" is the only thing that God desires for us, or the only thing that glorifies Him. We have at once a system of instant justification that eliminates sanctification. Why would we not think that God wants our struggle toward greater righteousness to bear the truth of His Holiness.

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