Are all people God’s children? Or, rather, do we only become God’s adopted children through baptism and incorporation into the body of Christ? I have heard both statements from Catholic sources. Thanks.
I believe that we are all God’s children, but that we are adopted into His family in a special way when we receive Baptism and become heirs with Christ. I just read on another thread that Pope Francis was just speaking about something like this today - that we are all God’s children, no matter what. And this is true, we just come to Him more especially when we are baptized and become Catholic.
May God bless you abundantly and forever!
Thank you, Richard. I am wondering if you can point me to any resources on this question, especially scripture-based? I too saw Pope Francis’ new prayer-intention video, which is actually what prompted me to pose this question.
We would have to say both, but one in a more precise sense, the other in a broader sense.
In a broader sense, we can rightfully say all men are children of God because God created us. However, in that sense alone, that makes us merely creatures. But we can use the term “children” because we are rational creatures and in that sense, since we share the same nature, we are all brothers.
But in a more precise sense, which better reflects what “children” are, only the baptized are adopted children of God because of our natures being different from that of God. I use the analogy of a dog. We can adopt a dog, but a dog will only ever be a pet. He can be more loyal and faithful than any human we know, but a dog will never be our child. It will never be entitled to our name and heritage, or any other rights that comes with one being a child. The simple reason is because the dog does not share our nature.
Well, we are much, much lower from God than a dog is from us. But God in his love for us wanted to make us his adopted children despite that gap in nature, which is why the Second Person became man, and brought that manhood into the Godhead. Because humanity is in the Godhead, it allows us to share or partake in the divine nature. That is what baptism does; it infuses us with God’s very life, allowing us to share in the divine nature, transforming us and making us “adoptable.” We had to, so to speak “become God” so that we can be adopted by God. This happens only at Baptism.
In light of that, only the baptized are, “true”, ontological children of God, while the rest of humanity are children of God only in a looser, broader, rational sense.
Here is something that I just recently read from Romans 3:26-30 (emphasis mine):
Through the forbearance of God, for the shewing of his justice in this time; that he himself may be just, and the justifier of him, who is of the faith of Jesus Christ. Where is then thy boasting? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For it is one God, that justifieth circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Again, may God bless you always!
The answer is yes, we are all children of God. In fact, the Pope just spoke on this recently:
According to the Council of Trent, human persons become adopted children of God by baptism with water (“the laver of regeneration”), “or the desire thereof”. So the baptized are children of God and heirs with Christ in a special way, which does not apply to human persons who have not received some form of baptism into the state of grace. However, this definition of adopted children of God applies to baptized Christians and to non-Christians who enter the state of grace by a baptism of desire (which can be implicit), or a baptism of blood.
All human persons are made in the image of God. Only persons who enter the state of grace, which includes the three infused theological virtues of love, faith, hope, are adopted children of God as the Council of Trent taught.
The Pope’s video is speaking on the topic of believers, and specifically those believers who also love God and neighbor. So these persons, including non-Christian believers, have both faith and love (implying that they also have hope), and, if indeed they have these three virtues, then they are in the state of grace. So Pope Francis is saying that all faithful loving believers are children of God in the sense of adopted children, just as the Council of Trent taught.
We cannot restrict the phrase “children of God” to only baptized Christians.
I don’t think that your reasoning is correct. Non-Christians are not in the state of grace and do not have the gifts of faith, hope, and charity in the way that the validly baptized do because these gifts are given to us by God through Baptism alone. In addition, the state of grace can only be achieved after first being ahed by the waters of Baptism as you mentioned earlier in your post. Pope Francis is not departing from the teaching of the Church. He is merely relating the Truth that everyone on this earth is a child of God. However, it is through the Sacrament of Baptism that we enter into His family and become His heirs in Our Lord Jesus Christ His Son.
May God bless you abundantly and forever!
False; non-Christians can be in the state of grace by a baptism of desire, which can be implicit.
Catholic dogma is that any form of baptism – water, desire, blood – grants the state of grace and the three theological virtues. And any form of baptism is sufficient for salvation, so that a person might die in the state of grace.
The Council of Trent was clear that a baptism of desire makes one an adopted son of God: “By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”
Pope Pius XII: “Above all, the state of grace is absolutely necessary at the moment of death; without it, salvation and supernatural happiness – the beatific vision of God – are impossible. An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism.”
Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X:
16 Q. Is Baptism necessary to salvation?
A. Baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation, for our Lord has expressly said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”
17 Q. Can the absence of Baptism be supplied in any other way?
A. The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire.
I believe that all people are the children of God, regardless of faith. He did create us all, regardless if someone is Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or whatever faith one might believe (or not believe) in.
Yes, this of course is true. I was not thinking about Baptism of Blood or Desire in my response.