Romans 6:1-11 And Baptism


William Lane Craig says Romans 6:1-11 is a Metaphor to describe what is going on at Baptism. Not literal death but symbolic so Baptism is symbolic and is an Ordinance and not a Sacrament.


His last lines virtually concede the Catholic position! Yes, faith that leads to conversion and conviction is a gift, but ultimately one must receive baptism to receive the grace! He also says there is no reason to believe in a sacramental view of baptism given his fallible interpretations of scripture. Well of course there is! The Tradition of the Church says so! Again, Sola Scriptura simply leads to error and confusion.


I have a lot of refutations of this. But a few questions. First question: When Craig mentions people not receiving the Holy Spirit at Baptism but then receiving when Paul or Peter “lays hands on them” is that referring to Confirmation?

but to the original point: Do we Catholics believe Romans 6:1-11 is a metaphor or are we literally dead to sin and reborn.


His argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. He says that the imagery Paul uses to describe baptism of dying and rising with Christ is symbolic. That is true. We do not literally die and rise from the dead in baptism. However, if something is a true symbol, it is necessary for it to be a symbol of something. The obvious reading of the text is seemingly that dying and rising in baptism is a metaphorical way of speaking of dying to sin and rising to walk in the newness of the life of grace. If so, baptism is rightly called the efficient cause of justification as the Council of Trent taught. As Craig would have it, the text speaks metaphorically about baptism, which is true, but then he says further that baptism is only metaphorical, which means that St. Paul is giving a metaphor of a metaphor rather than a metaphor of a reality. This is in opposition to the plain meaning, where Paul says that dying and rising are accomplished in baptism rather than reenacted in it.


This raises a couple of questions:

William who? And, on whose authority does he interpret the word of God?


Craig is making a lot of fallacious assumptions. First that John’s baptism is the same as Jesus’s baptism, as if all ceremonial washings were equivalent. Not only is it never stated in Scripture that they are the same, they are expressly distinguished in Acts 19, where those who were baptized only with John’s baptism had to still be baptized with Jesus’s. Also, John himself says, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. This is in accordance with Catholic teaching, which holds that John’s baptism was not identical with Jesus’s, but only prefigured with it.

Secondly, he assumes that expressions like like “receiving,” “having,” “being filled with” etc. the Holy Spirit always signify the same thing in all places. This cannot be so. One easy way of proving this is that Christ says in John 16 that the Paraclete will not come to them if Christ does not leave them. However, the Holy Spirit was active in the world before the Ascension. For example, turn to Luke 1, where we see the promise that St. John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb, Blessed Mary being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit in the conception of her son, Elisabeth being filled with the Holy Spirit upon receiving Mary, and Zacharias being filled with the Holy Spirit when he prophesied. All this occurred before Jesus was born, much less ascended, so what happened in Luke 1 must be different from what occurred in Acts 2 at Pentecost. Additionally, the three occurrences of being with the Holy Spirit probably do not all indicate the same thing even though they occur in the same chapter. When it speaks of Elisabeth and Zacharias, it likely means that they were momentarily moved by the Holy Spirit to prophesy as they did. In John’s case, it may mean something different since he did not prophecy from his mother’s womb. The traditional interpretation is that it means he was sanctified from his mother’s womb. In any case, there is no reason to believe that these instances were when Elisabeth and Zacharias “got saved” or the moments where they began their life as Christians.

Third, he argues that because people received the Holy Spirit before the sacrament of baptism, therefore baptism does not cause the reception of the Holy Spirit. This is false because, as said before, the expression does not always indicate the same thing. But even if it is assumed that it did always mean the same thing, the conclusion still does not follow. There is more than one way to skin a cat. So just because certain people received the effects of baptism without the sacrament does not mean that people who receive the sacrament do not receive the effects of baptism.


William Lane Craig debates Atheists all the time. He goes against some pretty big name atheists, pretty good stuff. Trent Horn praises him in the forward of Answering Atheism. He uses the Cosmological Argument. He is Evangelical and a Professor of Philosophy I believe. He has these lectures and pod casts discussing everything from existence of God to now Doctrine and the Sacraments.


Here are but a few verses that destroy his ego-driven opinions:

Titus 3:5-7
5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Acts 2:38
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 22:16
16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

His “baptism as ordinance” places Christians under the law, and therefore baptism has no spiritual effect, but becomes only a work of the law. I thought that Christ freed us from the law?

As well, “baptism as an ordinance” dissolves Jesus from Divine Savior into a mere law-giver. And, we know from John’s 1st letter that any spirit which dissolves, undoes or disunites Christ is the antichrist.

1 John 4:3 (DRA)
3 And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3 (WYC)
3 and each spirit that undoeth Jesus, is not of God. And this is antichrist, of whom ye have heard, that he cometh; and right now he is in the world.

1 John 4:3 (KNOX)
and no spirit which would disunite Jesus[1] comes from God. This is the power of Antichrist, whose coming you have been told to expect; now you must know that he is here in the world already.

William whatshisname does not know the spirit that leads him. That spirit is leading him into division and it cannot, by definition, be the Holy Spirit - the Unifier.

Ephesians 4:3
Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:13
Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ;


I was being somewhat facetious. By preaching and supporting division in the Body of Christ, he gives atheists ammunition to use against the Body of Christ. Look at what scripture itself says about those whose testimony does not agree.


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