6. David may have believed he would meet his child in heaven.
Slide 6 of 10
Certain traditions within Christianity have affirmed baptismal regeneration, according to which the waters of baptism are used by God to effect the regeneration, spiritual cleansing, and forgiveness of the infant. Needless to say, this view is only as cogent as is the case for baptismal regeneration, and the case for the latter is worse than weak. In addition, it fails to address the question of what happens to the vast majority of infants in the history of the world who died without the benefit of Christian baptism.
The Roman Catholic Church has acknowledged the possibility of a state of natural blessedness or happiness in which unbaptized infants experience a form of eternal peace but not the consummate joy of heaven itself. The concept of Limbo in Roman Catholic theology is tied to their beliefs concerning original sin and the necessity of baptism for salvation.
According to Roman Catholicism, two things are accomplished in water baptism: first: the individual is purified from the guilt of both original sin and all personal sins (the latter, of course, would be relevant only in the case of adults); and second, the person experiences regeneration or the new birth. In the Catechism, we read that “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit” (Catechism, 1265).
Children are likewise to be baptized. According to the Catechism, “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. . . . The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth” (1250).
As for children who have died without baptism, “the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: ‘Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,’ allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism” (1261).
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