CCC 406 says that Augustine was the first to begin to develop the doctrine of original sin and that its specifics were formally defined at II Orange and Trent. It has some Scriptural basis; for example, Romans 5:12 and 5:19 teach that Adam’s sin is transmitted to us, for by it “death came to all men.”
CCC 1261 on the necessity of Baptism for infants: “As regards 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.”
So we aren’t really sure. It’s possible that unbaptized babies go to hell, but because God desires all to be saved, it would make more sense for Him to offer a chance at salvation to those who are otherwise innocent. We don’t know how He might do that, but we trust that in His mercy He does so.
Absent of a satisfactory answer to these two questions, I don’t see any explicit Biblical imperative to have my newborn baptized.
Baptism really confers grace on the recipient. It initiates that recipient into the Christian life, justifies them before God, and allows God to strengthen them and work through them via the Holy Spirit. This even works for newborns, so it’s something one might consider even absent a Biblical imperative to do so. One of the wonderful things about the sacraments is that they help us draw nearer to God in this life while preparing us to be with Him in the next. Just something to keep in mind
you have to think of original sin as a state and not an act. when adam and eve were created they were in a state called original justice and holiness provided they remained in union with God. after they commited the act of sin , they lost that union with God, they lost that state of original justice and holiness. so everyone born from then are born into the state of original sin. A child is innocent in the sense that it commits no deliberate act of sin agianst God , but was born into this state brought about by sin and therfore every child is subject to suffering or death or disease.We know that Baptism cleanses our souls from this original sin, so we do not want our children to die without being Baptized.
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
“Every soul that is born into flesh is soiled by the filth of wickedness and sin. . . . In the Church, baptism is given for the remission of sins, and, according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants. If there were nothing in infants which required the remission of sins and nothing in them pertinent to forgiveness, the grace of baptism would seem superfluous” (Homilies on Leviticus 8:3 [A.D. 248]).
“The Church received from the apostles the tradition of giving baptism even to infants. The apostles, to whom were committed the secrets of the divine sacraments, knew there are in everyone innate strains of [original] sin, which must be washed away through water and the Spirit” (Commentaries on Romans 5:9 [A.D. 248]).
there are many early Church examples of infant Baptism and even arguments for them. you should have a look yourself.
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’
You asked if the Church believes that a child can go to hell. but i ask you a question. Do you believe “anyone” can go to Heaven without being Baptized?
The doctrine of original sin is right in the Bible and has been more fully articulated by the Church throughout the centuries.
Romans 5:12 specifically says that we all share in Adam’s sin. That’s what Original Sin is.
For more info, see the Catechism os the Catholic Church (CCC 396-409, in particular)
I think many of us get hung up because we confuse Original sin with actual sin. Obviously, a sweet little baby has committed no actual sin. But that doesn’t mean the baby hasn’t contracted Original Sin. Original sin is a state, not an act. And we all start off with it.
From the Catechism:
CCC 1261: As regards 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. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
The Church does not say that unbaptized babies go to hell, but the Church doesn’t say they go to heaven either. Basically, the answer is we don’t know for sure. We put our hope in God’s mercy that they can be saved. All we know for sure is that Baptism is the ordinary means by which God cleanses us of Original Sin. But that doesn’t exclude extraordinary means that God may employ. God is not bound by the sacraments and could cleanse them in another way if He sees fit. However, we would be remiss to presume this, particularly if we have ample time and opportunity with which to baptize our children.
Personally, I would tend to look at it in the opposite way. If I was unsure, I would rather err on the side of baptizing rather than not. If my child’s eternal salvation is at stake, I would far rather baptize them than not. If I have them baptized and it isn’t necessary, I haven’t lost anything or done any damage. But if I don’t baptize them and it is necessary, then I have put my child’s salvation at risk.
I had my daughter baptized within three weeks of her birth. I felt much better afterward!
As Catholics, we do know if there is an imperative to have our newborns baptized. There exists a fairly explicit answer to this question in Canon Law.
Can. 867 §1. Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks; as soon as possible after the birth or even before it, they are to go to the pastor to request the sacrament for their child and to be prepared properly for it.
This norm applies to Catholic parents. I realize you wanted some biblical references, but no one else had posted this reference for you, so I though it might be good to provide it anyway.
Sister you need to understand what Baptism is. Baptism is a Sacrament that basically does three things.
It removes all stain of sin and the temporal punishment due to sin. This includes original sin, actual sin, and any punishment due to sin. Since your child is a baby, he/she will have the taint of original sin removed only for he/she has no actual sins.
It gives us the Spirit of Adoption. In other words we receive the Holy Spirit which makes the recipient an adopted child of God. Thus he/she becomes a member of the City of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. In Baptism we die to the World and are reborn in as Children of God.
It gives us special graces that helps us live as good citizens of the City of God.
I guess what I am trying to show you is that even though you are not sure about original sin, that is only one reason to have your child baptised. Why would you hold your child back from becoming a child of God? Give him/her what you already have.
Your profile says you are Catholic. If so you are obliagted to have your child Baptized as soon as possible. I am wonderng why you would even take a chance, even if it is a miniscule chance, of endangering your childs ability to spend an eternity with God?
“I don’t see any explicit Biblical imperative to have my newborn baptized.”
instead of looking for teachings or scripture on why you should baptize your child, try finding scripture that supports the fact that you should not baptize your child. try to find something biblical that would support your decision not to have your child baptized.
I will leave you with the words of our first Pope…
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. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
it does not say to your children provided they our of a certain age. The promise has been given to your child, he or she cannot speak on their own yet. so what are you waiting for!
That’s why it’s so important to look at the writings and practices of the early Church.
I mean, look at Ignatius. He studied under the Apostle John and probably heard John discuss the “Bread of Life” discourse hundreds of times. Don’t you think at least once he asked him, “*So what did Jesus REALLY mean when He said, '*You must eat my flesh’”.
It’s ironic that “Apostolic” and “Bible” churches often have no clue what the Church was like before we had the bible.
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.
These texts show the circumcision of eight-day-old babies as the way of entering into the Old Covenant.
Connection to New Covenant
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Baptism is the new “circumcision of Christ” for all people of the New Covenant.
Do Infants Need Baptism?
1 "Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. 3 Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment? 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!
5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
We are conceived in the iniquity of sin. This shows the need for baptism from the moment of conception.
Jesus Extols Child-like Faith
2 He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus says unless we become like children, we cannot enter into heaven. So why would children be excluded from baptism?
Jesus Receives Little Children and Infants
13Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.
13People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Jesus says to let the children come to Him for the kingdom of God also belongs to them. There is no age limit on entering the kingdom, and no age limit for being eligible for baptism.
15People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
The Church Begins to Preach Baptism
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Peter did not say, “Every one of you adults”; he said, “Every one of you” without qualification and added “the promise (of the Holy Spirit) is for you and your children”. Baptism and the Holy Spirit are frequently connected throughout the Bible (cf. Ez. 36:25-27, Mt. 3:16, Jn. 3:5).
Then Peter said, 47"Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
Peter baptized the entire house of Cornelius which probably included infants and young children. There is not one word in this passage (or any other in scripture) about baptism being limited to adults.
13On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home.
Paul baptized Lydia and her entire household. The word “household” comes from the Greek word “oikos” which is a household that includes infants and children. Further, Paul baptizes the household based on Lydia’s faith, not the faith of the members of the household. This demonstrates that parents can present their children for baptism based on the parents’ faith, not the children’s faith.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Baptism of infants
1250 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.50 The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. 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.51
1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.52
1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized.53