Author Topic: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven  (Read 332 times)

Offline GUI01234

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Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« on: January 13, 2021, 08:27:02 AM »
Do we believe that baptized babies go straight to Heaven when they die? If so, doesn't that make free will useless? I mean, if God can force a select group of people, without giving them the right to choose, to go to Heaven, why doesn't he do this for everyone, instead of allowing some to go to Hell by their choice?

I can also see babies going straight to Heaven as God forcing people to love him. I don't even know if we can say that forced love is really love.

I am honestly more inclined to believe that baptized babies, in some way, are able to choose to love God or not and consequently go to Heaven or Hell, instead of believing that they have a free pass to Heaven and go straight there without even choosing it.
 

Offline Philip G.

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2021, 12:09:26 PM »
Do we believe that baptized babies go straight to Heaven when they die? If so, doesn't that make free will useless? I mean, if God can force a select group of people, without giving them the right to choose, to go to Heaven, why doesn't he do this for everyone, instead of allowing some to go to Hell by their choice?

I can also see babies going straight to Heaven as God forcing people to love him. I don't even know if we can say that forced love is really love.

I am honestly more inclined to believe that baptized babies, in some way, are able to choose to love God or not and consequently go to Heaven or Hell, instead of believing that they have a free pass to Heaven and go straight there without even choosing it.

The choice you speak of was made by the parents when they baptized the infant.  It is the reason we baptize infants. 
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Offline GUI01234

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2021, 01:13:45 PM »
Do we believe that baptized babies go straight to Heaven when they die? If so, doesn't that make free will useless? I mean, if God can force a select group of people, without giving them the right to choose, to go to Heaven, why doesn't he do this for everyone, instead of allowing some to go to Hell by their choice?

I can also see babies going straight to Heaven as God forcing people to love him. I don't even know if we can say that forced love is really love.

I am honestly more inclined to believe that baptized babies, in some way, are able to choose to love God or not and consequently go to Heaven or Hell, instead of believing that they have a free pass to Heaven and go straight there without even choosing it.

The choice you speak of was made by the parents when they baptized the infant.  It is the reason we baptize infants. 
I don't see how this solves the problem with babies' free will.
 

Offline Kent

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2021, 03:03:52 PM »
If going to Heaven were just a matter of choosing it, as though it could be chosen with no more effort, deliberation, or temptation as choosing what color pair of shoes to throw on, why even get baptized at all?  Just a rhetorical question to encourage you to consider whether you are asking the right question.

The doctrine of original sin has it that all men (usual caveats here) have fallen short of the favor of God, and specifically that they have failed to inherit the state of justification of their first parents.  That being the case, no person 'out of the box' deserves heaven.  To be made deserving, they must pass into the state of justification, which culminates in perfect love of God (charity).  A developed intellect is necessary to achieve this state because one cannot love what one does not know.  Baptism, however, infuses the theological virtue of charity (along with its concomitants: faith and hope) even in one whose intellection is still in development. Baptism justifies.  That, at any rate, is a mechanical explanation of why/how baptized infants go to Heaven.

You do bring up an interesting point about babies in Heaven not 'knowing' God, and I am extremely open to the idea that this population, prior to entering Heaven (or upon entering it) has full intellect/will capabilities.  It almost seems necessary, given that Heaven is always described as a place where God is known and loved-- something that requires a developed intellect and will (think, at minimum, that of a seven year old on earth). 
I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly
that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to
converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear
judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
 
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Offline GUI01234

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2021, 05:42:58 PM »
If going to Heaven were just a matter of choosing it, as though it could be chosen with no more effort, deliberation, or temptation as choosing what color pair of shoes to throw on, why even get baptized at all?  Just a rhetorical question to encourage you to consider whether you are asking the right question.

The doctrine of original sin has it that all men (usual caveats here) have fallen short of the favor of God, and specifically that they have failed to inherit the state of justification of their first parents.  That being the case, no person 'out of the box' deserves heaven.  To be made deserving, they must pass into the state of justification, which culminates in perfect love of God (charity).  A developed intellect is necessary to achieve this state because one cannot love what one does not know.  Baptism, however, infuses the theological virtue of charity (along with its concomitants: faith and hope) even in one whose intellection is still in development. Baptism justifies.  That, at any rate, is a mechanical explanation of why/how baptized infants go to Heaven.

You do bring up an interesting point about babies in Heaven not 'knowing' God, and I am extremely open to the idea that this population, prior to entering Heaven (or upon entering it) has full intellect/will capabilities.  It almost seems necessary, given that Heaven is always described as a place where God is known and loved-- something that requires a developed intellect and will (think, at minimum, that of a seven year old on earth). 


So what is the point of free will if God can just force people to go to Heaven? What is the justification for God to have given us free will and consequently to have caused all the bad things that exist only because of free will? If free will is irrelevant for a soul to be in Heaven, then God could have created all people in Heaven from the beginning, without the need for us to live for a while here on Earth.
 

Offline Daniel

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2021, 11:29:14 PM »
Welcome to the forum!


This just seems to me to be a variant of the "problem of evil". If God can save people even without their willful cooperation, why doesn't He save everyone? Answer: Because He doesn't want to. Why doesn't He want to? No idea. I'd even call it a mystery.

But if unbaptized babies go to hell without any act of their own will, then why shouldn't baptized babies be able to go to heaven without an act of their own will? It seems nice and symmetrical. (The alternative would be to propose that unbaptized babies don't go to hell. But we cannot safely assert this, since it undermines the necessity of baptism. At best we can say that maybe they don't go to hell.)
« Last Edit: January 13, 2021, 11:45:12 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline GUI01234

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2021, 03:30:02 AM »
Welcome to the forum!


This just seems to me to be a variant of the "problem of evil". If God can save people even without their willful cooperation, why doesn't He save everyone? Answer: Because He doesn't want to. Why doesn't He want to? No idea. I'd even call it a mystery.

But if unbaptized babies go to hell without any act of their own will, then why shouldn't baptized babies be able to go to heaven without an act of their own will? It seems nice and symmetrical. (The alternative would be to propose that unbaptized babies don't go to hell. But we cannot safely assert this, since it undermines the necessity of baptism. At best we can say that maybe they don't go to hell.)


Thank you for your welcome!

As I also said before, I can see babies going straight to Heaven as God forcing people to love him and I don't know if we can say that forced love is really love.

The problem of evil is also a question that I never heard a convincing answer to.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2021, 07:28:09 AM by GUI01234 »
 
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2021, 01:24:01 AM »
I think it is important to remember that the Church holds that unbaptized babies are not SAVED, because they do not attain heaven (the beatific vision, the vision of God) but (as made explicit by St. Thomas) do not go to the eternal torments of hell but to the Limbo of the children, a place of natural happiness.  Limbo is technically a part of hell since it is without God, but it is a serious mistake to forget that children who have committed no personal sin are not punished by God with eternal torments.

Baptism brings Sanctifying Grace as it removes Original Sin and that is what makes it possible for a mere human to be raised to see God in heaven. Even a baby without a functioning will and intellect receives Sanctifying Grace in Baptism.  Yes I am sure that a baptized child who dies will have a functioning intellect and will in heaven to know and love God.

==
If a baptized baby dies, he  is not "forced" to love God, it is just that God is infinitely, good the ultimate choice that contains all he could desire.   There's no fooling our natural love of God when we can see Him in full and even if we saw all other goods at the same time we would necessarily but without any force choose God.
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee! Save souls!
 

Offline Kent

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2021, 12:16:34 PM »
If going to Heaven were just a matter of choosing it, as though it could be chosen with no more effort, deliberation, or temptation as choosing what color pair of shoes to throw on, why even get baptized at all?  Just a rhetorical question to encourage you to consider whether you are asking the right question.

The doctrine of original sin has it that all men (usual caveats here) have fallen short of the favor of God, and specifically that they have failed to inherit the state of justification of their first parents.  That being the case, no person 'out of the box' deserves heaven.  To be made deserving, they must pass into the state of justification, which culminates in perfect love of God (charity).  A developed intellect is necessary to achieve this state because one cannot love what one does not know.  Baptism, however, infuses the theological virtue of charity (along with its concomitants: faith and hope) even in one whose intellection is still in development. Baptism justifies.  That, at any rate, is a mechanical explanation of why/how baptized infants go to Heaven.

You do bring up an interesting point about babies in Heaven not 'knowing' God, and I am extremely open to the idea that this population, prior to entering Heaven (or upon entering it) has full intellect/will capabilities.  It almost seems necessary, given that Heaven is always described as a place where God is known and loved-- something that requires a developed intellect and will (think, at minimum, that of a seven year old on earth). 


So what is the point of free will if God can just force people to go to Heaven? What is the justification for God to have given us free will and consequently to have caused all the bad things that exist only because of free will? If free will is irrelevant for a soul to be in Heaven, then God could have created all people in Heaven from the beginning, without the need for us to live for a while here on Earth.

I agree with Daniel that the essential point of dispute here appears to be the problem of evil, and I will explain why. You seem to be operating on the assumption that the problem of evil is 'solved' (granting that you also pointed out you are not satisfied with the theodicies you have heard) by the free will argument. Mainly, that evil is 'necessary' because free will is necessary (i.e., because God wants people to freely love Him He must give them free will, and as a result there is evil because some freely choose it).  But if there are some who go to Heaven having not made a free choice while on earth to love God, then clearly this theodicy is exposed as ultimately fraudulent.

So, the 'problem' of baptized infants going to Heaven is only really a problem because it does away with free will as an explanation for evil. Would you agree? If God just sent everyone to Heaven eventually no matter what, then there is no real problem (of evil, or of free will).
I do profess to be no less than I seem, to serve him truly
that will put me in trust, to love him that is honest, to
converse with him that is wise and says little, to fear
judgment, to fight when I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.
 

Offline St.Justin

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2021, 01:55:27 PM »
Baptizm brings about the state of Justification, in other words Sanctifying Grace. This occurs in all humans regardless of age or state of their soul.

Since no one can sin until they attain the use of reason freewill doesn't even come into play until that point in a persons life. So being in the State of Sanctifying Grace, which is the only requirement by God to attain Heaven, why should the child not go to Heave????
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2021, 05:47:56 PM »
God through His mercy saves some people who would otherwise be lost; he is like the man in the parable of the Laborers; he pays those who he paid last, the amount agreed upon; thus acting justly; but others; the last hired who only worked an hour; he paid out of generosity the amount of a full day's wages. The owner tells the murmuring laborers: "Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good? Comment: [15] "What I will": Viz., with my own, and in matters that depend on my own bounty.

God can give the "day's wages" to those who do not earn them if He so wills, because Heaven is His to give. His generosity to the young children does not make His actions to the majority of men unjust.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Prayerful

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2021, 06:26:32 PM »
Free will, predestination (God knows all of our past and future) have given rise to such bitter disputes. One Pope specifically banned the Dominicans and Jesuits even debating an aspect of the matters.
Padre Pio: Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2021, 06:45:58 PM »
Free will, predestination (God knows all of our past and future) have given rise to such bitter disputes. One Pope specifically banned the Dominicans and Jesuits even debating an aspect of the matters.
Calling each other "heretic" and other worse things.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2021, 08:40:19 PM »
God knows all of our past and future - has this been in dispute? This is a part of God's omniscience - God is outside of time. I thought those Catholics who traditionally dispute predestination all agree that God has perfect foreknowledge of our choices but disagree on how this is reconciled with our choosing freely, being punished and rewarded justly, and God being in control

I hate the bitter disputes too.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2021, 09:04:07 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee! Save souls!
 

Offline james03

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Re: Baptized babies, free will and Heaven
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2021, 04:45:22 PM »
Quote
If so, doesn't that make free will useless?
  An ambiguous question.  What would "useful" free will entail (and it is indeed useful)?  And because a baby is before the age of reason, why does this prove that people older than the age of reason have no use for free will?

Also God doesn't "force" people into heaven.  That was purchased by the Blood of the Cross.  So really, if we take what you say to the end point, we have to ask why Jesus bothered to die on the cross.

Baptized infant babies that die and go to heaven are a proof of predestination.  There is some free will involved, as someone stated, in the free will choice of parents and God parents to get the baby baptized.  But it is mostly about predestination.
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