Roughly 50 years after Constantine legalized Christianity a man named Augustine rose in influence over the church - St. Augustine (354-430AD). The impact of his writings impact all the way to our time in 2 areas relevant for today’s Thoughts’.
Original sin and infant baptism Augustine started the the belief in ‘original sin’, as well as the related practice of water baptizing infants. This is how it happened:
Augustine believed that because Adam and Eve sinned it caused death to come to their spirit man, so every person is born with a spiritually dark or ‘dead’ spirit. St. Augustine taught original sin could only be removed by water baptism, and without water baptism a person could not get to heaven, even infants and young children.
Infant mortality was very high in those days, between 25% and 50% of babies died before age 1. Often a baby was not given a name until they reached 1 year of age; how uncertain was their survival. So the practice of water baptizing infants began, often just moments after their birth. And that is why some denominations baptize babies to this day – a tradition over 1500 years old.
American hero Paul Revere is reported to have taken his newborn son, Isannah (That is the correct spelling), Sarah and Paul’s 8th child, to be baptized immediately after his birth, but unfortunately neither Isannah nor Sarah survived. (Paul remarried Rachel (Walker), and they had 8 children, for a total of 16 children between Sarah and Rachel, 5 of whom died in infancy)
Though ‘original sin’ and infant baptism was rejected by most Protestants for bring unscriptural, the error that babies are born ‘spiritually dead’ is widely held today by believers of all backgrounds in large part perhaps, because they never thought it through.
They just say “Babies go to heaven because they never did anything wrong” while not realizing the teaching of original sin says a baby is born spiritually dead, so cannot enter heaven even though they have never sinned.
What the Bible says Fortunately Bible does not teach original sin. It teaches we are all born as Adam and Eve were originally created, alive to God, like them able to walk and talk with Him, and also like them, having not yet chosen which ‘tree’ from which they will eat.
Consider that Adam and Eve were so innocent as they walked with the Lord in the Garden that they had no idea they were naked. Incredibly smart, yet as innocent as toddlers – and that is how we can understand their spiritual condition.
What age is a person who doesn’t know nor care if they are naked? What age is a person
who naturally (often) sees angels, Jesus, and seems so sensitive to the things of God? The answer is small children – and like Adam and Eve who were created by God and so could move in His realm, so too can small children move in the things of God for they are created spiritually alive. But like us all, they too must at some point decide between good and evil, right and wrong, justice or injustice. Physical and personality traits are handed down parent to parent, but the Father alone is the creator and Father of spirits:
“We were subject to the fathers of the flesh who corrected us (according to the flesh), shall we not also be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9
“This what the Lord says, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him.” Zechariah 12:1
“This is what the Lord Got says, who created the heavens and stretched them out; He that spreads forth the earth and all (the life) that comes out of it. He who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it.” Isaiah 42:5
“You hide your face and they are troubled; you take away their breath and they die and return to the dust. You send forth your Spirit and they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.” Psalm 104:29-30
“The Spirit of God made me; and the breath (Spirit) of the Almighty has given me life.” Job 33:4
These are just a few scriptures that teach us God the Father created our spirit man – He is the Father of spirits.
Think of it this way “God (Father) is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5
“Do not be deceived brothers and sisters, every good and every perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, in whom there is no variation nor changing of His character, and of His own will He begat us as a kind of first fruits of His creation…” James 1:16-18
The Bible says we are created by Him, and He can only create life. He cannot create a human being with the nature of satan in his spirit. It isn’t just that babies and small children have committed no sin, but also that they were created alive to God – and as such may operate in His realm and go to Him if they die prematurely.
This is the spark of life at conception. No matter under what circumstances you were conceived, we can say what is bound or loosed on earth is bound or loosed in heaven, so that when that egg and sperm are ‘loosed’ to conceive on earth, the Father is loosed to impart a spirit direct from Him. That means no matter the circumstance, the Father has a plan, provision, and grace for that child.
Consider also…and then why this is important Paul spoke of his own experience in Romans 7 when he was discussing the place of the law – which brought the knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong. In Jewish culture of the day, a child would be able to recite by heart Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy by about age 5. That knowledge of the law brought the knowledge of good and evil. Paul said in Romans 7:
“Is the law sin? No! For I would did not know lust until the law said ‘Do not covet! So the law was ordained to show life, but it brought me the knowledge of sin. By means of the commandment sin found its chance to work all manner of desire and sin in me. Apart from the law, sin was dead. For I was (spiritually) alive before I knew the law, but the law came and sin came to life and I died (spiritually). Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, killed me.” v7-11
Seeing this in others, who chose the wrong ‘tree’ Speaking of those who see God in creation but harden themselves: “For although they knew God, they were not thankful nor glorified Him as God, so their thinking became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21
Notice – these were people alive to God and saw Him in nature, but chose not to acknowledge Him so their heart became darkened. If they had been born in original sin, they would have been born with ‘dark hearts’ already and Paul’s book of Romans would be in error.
Fortunately you and I and every person were born alive to God, able to walk with Him when we were young, until the knowledge of good and evil came to us, and we had to choose life or death. Most of us chose death and had to be born again – some children go right to Life. Some adults who are mentally unable to understand, remain spiritually alive to God.
Paul mentioned people in Ephesians 4:17-20 who ‘have their understanding darkened’ and ‘are past feeling’ who had so turned from God that they can no longer feel that grievance in their spirit and conscience when they sin, and are even greedy to do the sin.
A baby’s spirit is created by the Father, alive to Him, able to function in His realm and if a tragedy occurs from miscarriage to abortion to untimely death, they go to heaven and grow up to adulthood there. My point is for us to know our spirit man, to understand that the Father is the Father of spirits, has recreated the believer’s spirit, and communicates with us Spirit to spirit – next week, enlightenment and the process by which He starts to dawn on us…until then, blessings,