Was Abraham "born again"? If so, how? He was certainly not baptized


#1

Was Abraham “born again”? If so, how? He was certainly not baptized.

Was it “baptism of desire”? :confused:


#2

There’s a reason why we say in the Apostles’ Creed of Christ that ‘He descended to the dead’ (sometimes said, somewhat amiguously, as ‘He descended to hell’). We’re taught that the righteous who lived before Christ were in limbo (not hell of the damned) before His death opened heaven for them, and that after the Crucifixion He went there to free them. One reason why on Easter He told Mary Magdalene that He had not yet gone to the Father.

Presumably these souls in Limbo all accepted Christ, as the story of the rich man and Lazarus shows that unrepentant sinners even at that time went straight to the other place. But not having their physical bodies with them (apart from Enoch and Elijah), water baptism simply wouldn’t have even been possible, so some sort of baptism of desire would’ve had to occur.

Then again, the departed seemed to be quite aware of Christ even before this - some of them prophesied His coming, after all, and He says ‘your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day’. So maybe that part of the process was completed beforehand? :hmmm:


#3

Why do we need to assume that the souls in Abraham’s bosom needed to be Baptized or “born again”? God makes the rules for us, but as the rule maker he can make exceptions any time he pleases. We are taught that he descended into hell(the Bosom of Abraham, a state like that of limbo for the righteous dead) but we have no exact idea of what transpired there.


#4

Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)

So Abraham needed to be “born again”.


#5

Abraham and Other Prophets, including Adam and Eve,
was taken to heaven when Christ descended to the dead, This is part of the Traditions of the Church. Christ as God can apply the fruits of his Crucifixion and Salvation to whom he desires.


#6

Romans 4 goes into great detail about Abraham and how he was saved. I’m sorry I can’t produce that here but for some reason, my computer won’t let me copy and paste anything this morning.

To summarize, in the Old Testament, the Jews were saved the same way we are: by Christ’s atonement on the cross. The only difference is that they looked forward to the event while we look back on it.

Because Christ had not yet come, the Jews expressed their faith in God in the keeping of the law until Christ came to end the law. You can think of this as a sort of spiritual escrow account.

Those faithful Jews who kept the law in anticipation of Christ’s work on their behalf went to a place called Abraham’s Bosom when they died to await the completion of Christ’s work.


#7

Abraham is “our father in faith.” Abraham had faith in what he could not see (note that when God asks him to count the stars, it is still daytime). Abraham had faith in God’s promises, even it he could not fully “see” them: the promise of the land, the promise of the multitude of descendents, and the promise that he would be the father of a great blessing. Therefore, he believed in Jesus Christ.

Abraham was circumcised as the sign of the covenant. Baptism supercedes circumcision, and encompasses it. Therefore, Abraham was in the covenant via the “baptism” symbolized by circumcision.


#8

Many Christians who practice infant baptism do so because they understand infant baptism as the new covenant equivalent of circumcision. In this view, just as circumcision joined a Hebrew to the Abrahamic and Mosaic covenants, so baptism joined a person to the New Covenant of salvation through Jesus Christ. This view is unbiblical.

The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as the New Covenant replacement for Old Covenant circumcision. The New Testament nowhere describes baptism as a sign of the New Covenant. It is faith in Jesus Christ that enables a person to enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant (1 Corinthians 11:25; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15).


#9

Paul declares baptism to be the new covenant circumcision:

In [Christ] also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ; and 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. (Col. 2:11-12)

The rejection of infant baptism derives from an “unbiblical” notion of faith and an unbiblical notion of covenant. Moreover, infant baptism is a separate subject from whether baptism represents New Covenant circumcision. Both adults and infants were circumcised into the Old Covenant. (Remember Acts 16 where Paul had Timothy circumcised to satisfy the Jews?)

The actual practice of the first century Christians was to baptize infants, as is witnessed in sources such as the Didache. But take this to an “infant baptism” thread. Apparently they did not believe the practice to be “unbiblical.”

Are you suggesting that the faith of Abraham did not place him under the covenant of salvation?


#10

Read the passage again. Paul never says that baptism is a replacement for circumcision. In fact, the colon and the word “and” tells us that Paul is talking about two different things.

The rejection of infant baptism derives from an “unbiblical” notion of faith and an unbiblical notion of covenant. Moreover, infant baptism is a separate subject from whether baptism represents New Covenant circumcision. Both adults and infants were circumcised into the Old Covenant. (Remember Acts 16 where Paul had Timothy circumcised to satisfy the Jews?)

Except that we’re talking about baptism, not circumcision.

The actual practice of the first century Christians was to baptize infants

Which verse is that (and before you say it “whole household” does not mean infants)?

Are you suggesting that the faith of Abraham did not place him under the covenant of salvation?

Very funny.


#11

Interesting! :hmmm:

I was reading the letter of John today and I read, “If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that** every one who does right is born of him**.” (1 John 2:29)

What does it mean to be “born of God”? Is it the same thing as being “born again”? If it is so, then Abraham was born again, since he did what was right.


#12

I would agree – if one “must” apply a concept to Abraham that did not exist in his time. The question is “what does being ‘born again’ accomplish?” Salvation? Entrance into the Body of Christ? The question isn’t simple.


#13

Actually, you would not find the colon(you actually meant semicolon I believe) in the original Greek text of Paul’s letter. One has to be very careful in reading translations from the original because they always “limp.” Also the use of a colon or semicolon usually means that the thought that follows is an elucidation or expansion of the beginning of the sentence, not a whole separate idea… Your contention that a simple act of faith replaces circumcision as the entry into the New Covenant is of relatively late vintage; like maybe about four or five hundred years ago when your ancestors rebelled against the Catholic Church. :slight_smile:


#14

And Paul and I are both cool with that.


#15

I think it accomplishes divine sonship. The moment you’re “born again”, you become a son/daughter of God.


#16

Yes, we believe that Abraham was certainly born again, and therefore was baptized.However he was not born of “water and the Holy Spirit”, but most probably by “Fire and the Holy Spirit” as mentioned by John the Baptist. He was therefore saved by the sacrificial death of Christ, through his baptism and was therefore able to enter Heaven at the time of Jesus’ sacrifice, due to the covenant of circumcision he had received.

Now,the Temple is an image of Heaven, so this highly suggests Heaven as being divided. The only person able to enter into the “Holy of Holies” was the High priest. This suggests that only Christians(body of Christ) can enter into the “Heaven of Heavens”, being what is called the Kingdom of God.

Notice that while you have quoted John as saying , "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5), just before this, it reads Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Notice that jesus mentions a new birth “without water” which enables one to “perceive, or see” the Kingdom of God without actualy entering into it.
Paradise, in my opinion is not situated within the kingdom of God, and is the place for those rightious ones who received the covenant of circumcision.Therefore, the thief beside Jesus who repented did not become a christian on the cross, but was clearly a Jewish person who had repented, and was therefore able to go to Paradise. Notice that Jesus did not say to him “you will be with me in the Kingdom of God”.

It therefore would make sence of the words of Jesus concerning John the Baptist. “No one born of women is greater than him”…however, he adds “the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than He.” This was, in my opinion why John asked Jesus to baptize him instead of him baptizing Jesus…so that he could enter into the Kingdom of God. However, Jesus said to him that it was God’s will that he should be His precursor.

Andre


#17

You’ve really put some interesting thoughts here Andre!


#18

So since you are saying that Baptism doesn’t replace circumcision, then are you saying one has to be circumcised still? Why Baptism then? Why bother with Baptism if it is just all about Faith in Jesus? Why go to Church on Sunday if I alone can just have faith in Jesus?


#19

Abraham had a Baptism of Desire. Since he had Faith in Jesus, he would have desired all things Christ willed. Just as much many others who die without having a Baptism will still be saved because of their desire.


#20

When Jesus told the people they must be born again, He was speaking to them and us, where does it say he was referring to people of previous generations before the Messiah came?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.