Theological speculation


#1

We know for a long time there was speculation about Limbo, and now recently the Church has said they have some theologians working on this topic, and the CCC says that we must trust in the mercy of God as relates to their salvation.

Here is how I came to a theory on what happens to ones like unborn babies - it occurred to me one day that everything God seems to do with man is based on “choice”. He didn’t just give man salvation, He wants us to use our free will to choose Him over evil. Adam and Eve had to choose. Mary had to choose, Israel had to choose, the angels had to choose, Moses had to choose (Pharaoh or God), the list goes on and on. Here’s another one – after Christ died on the cross, he descended into Sheol and preached the Gospel; presumably people there chose Christ (or not). So no one, angels or humans, gets to be with God without choosing Him in their heart and through their actions. It is the purpose of our time on earth.

So my theory is that what would happen with say an unborn infant is that somehow God will mature its soul to the point where it is able to to make a choice; to choose God, or not. It could be a test like Adam/Eve, or something different. However the opportunity for choice is presented, that is how the final disposition of their soul will be determined. I think there is a theological basis for a soul “maturing”, as I believe I have read that when a soul goes to Heaven it will grow in its understanding about God for the rest of eternity. Even if that is false, we certainly will grow in our understanding of God instantaneously once we arrive at Heaven, as we don’t have full revelation about God now. (So we are only unsure about the presence of time in the process, just like the process of purgatory).

When I think of how this might occur, it really sounds similar to what angels may have gone through - they had to choose God, or not, yet did not have the benefit of the beatific vision to influence their decision. They obviously had some basis on which to make their decision, we don’t know what that was (like we know the basis of Adam/Eve’s decision).

There is another argument supporting that we don’t completely “mature” immediately upon entrance to heaven, by the fact that we learn about all of mankind’s judgment on final judgment day at the end of the earth. That argues there are some things we don’t know while we are just a soul in heaven not united with our bodies.

So whether it takes all eternity or a fraction of time (or I could say whether this takes place within or outside of time), our soul has to “mature” in our understanding of who God is. The soul of an unborn is not restricted by anything of the body, so it is surely capable of the same maturation as the souls of older people who have had a chance to choose God on earth.

I just don’t see God giving anyone a free ride where they don’t have to use their free will to choose to love God, God doesn’t value that because it will be much less fulfilling to that person. Also, this theory seems theologically sound because it builds on/is consistent with principles revealed to us through the lives of the people in the Bible, the things we know about how people get to Heaven, and teachings like purgatory.

This is speculation of course - the only truth here is that Scripture does not reveal this to be true, nor does it reveal that it couldn’t be true. I just wanted to toss the idea to see what you think, since I have not seen this idea before.


#2

A baby or child that cannot sin is therefore without sin, period. They cannot choose to sin, they did not choose to have original sin on their souls, they have made no choice at all against God and therefore dwell perfectly with God, hence no place such as limbo, they go straight to Heaven. A soul that dwells in unbroken union with God since conception is with God He in them and them in Him, of course they have had little opportunity to do good, but by their very innocent presence are a lesson of good to all. The fact they have made no choice against God is a lesson to us all, not a scenario to persecute these unborn children and young unbaptised children who have lost their lives only to find life.

Nothing except sin seperates us from God, therefore these children are not seperated from God.

God is merciful and any child who loses His life will enter the Kingdom of Heaven because it is to such a child that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs and there is scriptural reference to that.


#3

We certainly hope and pray that is the case but we do not know for sure and the Church does not teach that.


#4

Yet…this is why limbo is being re-examined…

Then what did Christ mean by His words?

‘The Kingdom of heaven belongs to these children but I will keep them out and leave them away from Me when I have not been apart from them while alive on earth?’ That makes no sense.


#5

BlessedStar, have you reviewed your Catholic Catechism before making the above statement? None of us choose to have original sin on our souls. If God gives us our souls at our conceptions as many believe, we would then have no choice in the matter, if original sin is “attached” to our souls at that moment. My two cents worth.


#6

Yes I have read it thank you.

At Baptism we (or our parents) choose against orignal sin, renounce sin, renounce satan and die and rise in Christ Jesus choosing the Divine life in God. A child cannot make a decision for or against Baptism this side of life, their parents could desire Baptism for them and recieve the Baptism of Desire for their deceased children. I trust you understand this so there is no need for me to explain further seeing as you know your Catechism. I also trust you understand what an innocent is, such as the slaughter of the innocents.

We do not trust God is merciful, we know God is merciful, He has revealed it many times, we are too closed to see it. Who can refuse a tiny child? Jesus said whoever receives a tiny child receives Him. Why then would God, who is Love, refuse a tiny child?

It is one thing to understand and refuse Baptism it is quite another thing to have never have had the opportunity.


#7

BlessedStar, all the Church teaches on this topic is that we trust God is merciful. Anything else is conjecture and speculation, by all of us.

CCC 1283 is the extent of Church teaching:

With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God’s mercy and to pray for their salvation.

And that trust stems from this in 1257:

The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

%between%


#8

I too have faith God will protect his littlest ones. Tomorrow I will be facilitating a portion of our parish’s RCIA session and will focus on the Gospel reading from Mark’s second chapter when Jesus says, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

I also trust you understand what an innocent is, such as the slaughter of the innocents.

Absolutely, we often pray in our family and in RCIA for the souls of all children, born and unborn.

Thank you, and God bless you.


#9

I actualy liked the idea of Limbo :frowning:


#10

I don’t doubt that this has and presently is held true. Jesus said ‘Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for man.’ The Sacraments are there to aid us to draw closer to God and to live with Him in this life and the next. A child by it’s very nature of lack of understanding cannot commit sin, just as an adult who does not know they have sinned have therefore not committed a sin. Can you ask a baby, or a little child, do you know you have original sin on your soul? Those who can speak will not know what you mean and those who cannot speak will not know what you mean and if they do not know it then they are not guilty of it.

For those of us that know it we are culpable and for those parents that know then they are responsible for their children and must have them Baptised, but for those who do not know it then how can they be culpable? They cannot. As for those that desired Baptism for their child but did not get the opportunity before their child died, that child in the mercy of God has a Baptism of Desire.

Jesus said the merciful will obtain mercy. This is not a God we ‘trust’ to be merciful, this is a God who is merciful. There is no-one besides God more forgiving than a child. If we cannot be merciful to a little child what sort of mercy do we expect to obtain?

Read the psalms and the Gospel, it is full of God’s Mercy.


#11

That’s beautiful :slight_smile:


#12

BlessedStar, our hearts are in the right place, I think. I will be reminded of your strong faith tomorrow in RCIA.

Awalt, 1261 also seems to be pertinent.


#13

Of course, I can see everyone here is desiring to do God’s will.

I hope soon the Majesterium says the Word on this soon and we can all be faithful to that.:slight_smile:


#14

I know of at least five threads on Limbo across the Catholic Answers boards. Two in Apologetics were merged together, one in Non-Catholic Religions, one in Eastern Christianity, and one in Catholic News. As the theory of limbo seems to have no substantive connection to Spirituality, I ask you to please search out one of the other threads to continue this discussion.

May God Bless You All Abundantly,
Catherine


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