Original Sin, the Age of Accountability, and Pro-Life Questions from the “Pit of Hell”

Original Sin, the Age of Accountability, and Pro-Life Questions from the “Pit of Hell”

Original Sin, the Age of Accountability, and Pro-Life Questions from the “Pit of Hell”

Is God as Pro-Life as Christian, faith-based Pro-Life organizations?

This is a question introduced in two previous blog posts, A Letter to Pro-Life Crisis Center Director and Good News at Life’s Choices.

Let’s begin by defining terms.
Pro-Life definition

Most people who identify as Pro-Life prefer this adjective to be defined in the positive, that is, they’re “in favor of life.” What does this look like, to be in favor of life? It could range from something as simple as one quietly holding a Pro-Life mindset or worldview to something as extreme as adopting fifteen babies with Down Syndrome. Regardless of where one falls on the Pro-Life spectrum, the foundational principle is that life is valuable.

faith-based definition

Not all Pro-Life organizations are associated with religion. There are atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other secularists who are Pro-Life based solely on scientific or philosophical reasons. For the purpose of this blog post, the focus will be on faith-based Pro-Life organizations only. Why? Because “faith” is a loaded word, and a faith-based organization consists of people with motives and intentions influenced or even dictated by religious doctrine.

What is faith?

In the book of Hebrews (11:1, Berean Literal Translation) “faith” is defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not being seen.”

If you support or participate in an organization in favor of life, and this organization upholds a certain set of beliefs or doctrines, then it follows that the organization’s beliefs or doctrines should also be in favor of life. The Pro-Life movement consists mainly of evangelical Protestants and Catholics.

So, what exactly, do evangelical Protestants and Catholics hope for? Of what “things not (yet) being seen” are they convinced?

Three tools to share faith…

In Good News at Life’s Choices I wrote,

To both my relief and delight, Life’s Choices of Lake County does NOT require peer counselors to believe and teach the doctrine of eternal torment in Hell — something that happens behind the scenes in many Pro-Life ministries, which automatically excludes believers like me who reject the doctrine.

Marcia explained that procedures and practices have evolved over the past decade. Currently, peer counselors at Life’s Choices may use one of three “tools” to share their faith (none of which mention eternal torment in Hell), or they can choose not to use tools at all, and just tell their story in their own words. The idea is to introduce each woman to the Maker of the baby inside her and invite her into a relationship with the Creator of all life.

The three tools have commonalities that reveal the hope of evangelical Protestants and Catholics:

  • Tool 1: “everlasting life… heaven”
  • Tool 2: “gift of eternal life”
  • Tool 3: “the gift of eternal life”

Evangelical Protestants and Catholics who use these or similar tools share their hope with the women who visit crisis pregnancy centers in order that these women might avoid consequences:

  • Tool 1: “we deserve to die and be separated from God forever”
  • Tool 2: “God’s punishment for your sin is death and separation from God forever”
  • Tool 3: “the soul that sins, it shall die… [God] is just and must punish sin”
Do aborted babies have eternal life? Do aborted babies go to heaven?

Most evangelicals would either say “yes” outright, or lean very heavily toward “yes.”  The theological problem with the auto-yes response is the doctrine of original sin. Care Net, one of the largest networks of pregnancy centers in North America (Life’s Choices is part of this network), indirectly references original sin in its statement of faith:

4. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential, and that this salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and not as a result of good works.

The fate of babies who grow up and reject God…

Traditional evangelical Protestants and Catholics believe sin is both inherent and personal, in other words, if you are human, you are a sinner, even if you are not old enough to have ever personally committed any sins. There are differing views on exactly how or why unborn babies, as well as infants, children, and adults who do not have the ability to reason go to heaven. For more information, read this article. For our purposes, we can focus on babies whose lives do not end in natural or clinical abortion, who grow and mature to gain the ability to reason, and according to number four of Care Net’s statement of faith, must receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord or be damned:

6. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.

What is this damnation? According to the “tools” we examined earlier, damnation is the punishment for sin: death followed by conscious eternal separation from God. The prevailing doctrine embraced by evangelical Protestants and Catholics defines eternal separation from God as eternal torment in hell or the Lake of Fire. A less popular but tolerated view of separation from God is annihilationism, the belief that damned souls, being separated from God, cease to exist. A growing minority of evangelical Protestants and Catholics believe in a more hopeful third view, which is, unfortunately, systematically condemned in many churches. You can read about it in Julie Ferwerda’s book, Raising Hell available in print or free PDF download. See also the list of resources on the home page of WhatGodDoes.com.

Examining abortion in light of doctrine…

Andrea Yates who killed all five of her children, said:

The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.

If it is true that unborn babies, infants, children, and adults who do not have the ability to reason go to heaven, then didn’t Andrea Yates technically do her children a favor by drowning them one by one in the bathtub? Otherwise, they might have grown up and rejected the plan of salvation. Don’t her actions ensure their place in heaven? Isn’t it true that no one needs to worry about the eternal destiny of her children, since they died before reaching the age of accountability? (If you haven’t heard about the age of accountability, please do your homework.)

Some readers may feel a sense of outrage at the previous paragraph. It’s as if I’m condoning murder. How comfortable and convenient it is to be outraged at hard questions! Outrage deflects attention away from the questions themselves and toward the question-asker.

This is the approach Randy Alcorn, author and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries, takes in his article, If an unborn baby is better off in God’s presence, then why do Christians consider abortion a crime against the unborn? Alcorn presents a series of questions that make an argument condoning abortion, and then he says:

This argument is based on a sterile logic so chilling as to suggest its place of origin—the pit of hell.

His article purports to answer questions, but it really just uses sanctimonious outrage to avoid questions. Sure, the questions can be considered offensive, but that doesn’t mean the questions aren’t legitimate and can be dismissed unanswered.

Let’s stop deflecting and avoiding hard questions. Instead we should bring each and every argument to its logical conclusion. In doing so, we will discover the inevitable outcome — we need to reexamine traditional Christian doctrines. Pro-Life efforts will continue to be hindered otherwise.

In the next blog post we’ll look at Alcorn’s article.

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert August 30, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    Alice, hasn’t it ever occurred to you that taking an argument to its logical conclusion is HUMAN reasoning which rarely accurately expresses the God’s will. You really need to include a disclaimer at the top of every page that you elevate human thought above the Holy Bible which you hold to be just a collection of man’s “Christian” thoughts and writings. You have NO sure foundation for you incorrectly titled site. Worse yet is it is a woman’s emotional reasoning, the least reliable kind of logic.

  • Lanny A. Eichert August 31, 2015 at 1:15 am

    This blog, as with many others Alice has written, is so chilling as to suggest its place of origin—the pit of hell.
    Any Fundamentalist can see this.

    • Lanny A. Eichert August 31, 2015 at 1:17 am

      Even a Fundamentalist woman.

  • Mary Vanderplas August 31, 2015 at 5:10 am

    I get your point that a case could be made, at least theoretically, for justifying abortion if one subscribes to the doctrine of eternal torment on the grounds that abortion would prevent the possibility of a “greater evil” – namely, consignment to eternal torment for the unbelieving. And I think you’re right that all questions – even difficult ones that offend our moral sensibilities – need to be asked in the interest of determining what is true and right and good. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “sanctimonious outrage,” though, to express revulsion at the thought that the destruction of human life by aborting a fetus is rationalized on the grounds of the fetus being in a better place. It’s a fair assessment of and response to this line of thinking, in my view. That this author doesn’t venture to address difficult questions that would call into question the doctrine of eternal torment, though, is unfortunate. I do think you’re right that to be (outspokenly) pro-life while embracing the doctrine of eternal torment is to invite legitimate criticism.

    Not all evangelicals would argue that hell is the punishment God inflicts on the unbelieving and unrepentant. Some would say that it is the self-chosen destiny of those who are intransigent in their rebellion against God and pursuit of evil ways by which they move further away from the relationship with God for which we were created and thereby further away from their true humanity. They thus become monsters who choose to live in a state of separation from God and from other humans.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 1, 2015 at 12:14 am

      offend our moral sensibilities? What about God’s moral sensibilities? Mary, you add yourself to Alice’s company to offend God with such thinking.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 1, 2015 at 12:31 am

      determining what is true and right and good. That’s your way of saying you determine what is true and right and good by your own standard, not God’s; for you have made yourself the authority of what is true and right and good. You have also designed your god according to your own liking and no wonder you cannot have an immediate one time for all of time and eternity salvation/deliverance. Your freedom is always in the process and never accomplished, meaning your god is incapable of saving your mortal life and your logic is incapable of any proper explanation. You two are not exceptional women and therefore neither one of you , differing as you do, are capable of doing what a decent man can logically do. Mary can’t free herself and Alice can’t make the real timing between judgment and punishment work.

      • Alice Spicer September 1, 2015 at 6:44 pm

        “You two are not exceptional women and therefore neither one of you , differing as you do, are capable of doing what a decent man can logically do.” <<< what the heck are you talking about

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 2, 2015 at 12:30 am

        neither one of you , differing as you do, are capable of doing what a decent man can logically do. Mary can’t free herself and Alice can’t make the real timing between judgment and punishment work.

    • Alice Spicer September 1, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I never could understand the “self-chosen” view of hell. Consider why there is rebellion against God — because people prefer darkness over light. Why, though? Because in the light their deeds are exposed. Rebellion is a fear-based response to the righteousness of God. The choice is based on inaccurate and inadequate understanding of God, and if there were such thing as eternal torment in hell, then the choice is also based on an inaccurate and inadequate understanding of the consequences of their rebellion. Human beings aren’t even capable of conceptualizing the word “eternal.” Think of the word “torment.” If people choose rebellion against God knowing torment awaits them, that means that their current understanding of a relationship with God seems worse to them than their current understanding of torment. And anyone who knows God knows that a relationship with God is the complete opposite of what the self-choosers imagine it to be. So they just have no clue at all about what they are doing. And God is supposedly okay with condemning them to their eternal destiny, knowing full well they made the decision without having any idea what they were actually deciding.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 2, 2015 at 12:43 am

        And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. {2 Thessalonians 2: 11, 12}}

        And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient {Romans 1: 28}

        (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. {Romans 11: 8}

        The answer you can’t find is in the perfect literal Holy Bible which you will not believe. So you make a fantasy god and are puzzled. What do you expect?

      • Mary Vanderplas September 2, 2015 at 5:21 am

        I doubt that many people who persistently rebel against God even acknowledge that God exists. For those who do, they likely would say, I think, that they don’t want to be reconciled to God or connected with those who love God, that they would rather serve their own interests than live in service to God. I don’t disagree that their response is based on a faulty, fear-based understanding of who God is and, for some, on a faulty understanding of the consequences of rebelling. Nonetheless, I think the issue is whether God will decline to force their turning around, their receiving of his grace (or, from a hopeful universalist perspective, will continue to wait for them to receive it while enabling them to want it) – not whether God will condemn them to their choices made in ignorance. It is at least possible, if hard to fathom, that some will choose forever to live in rebellion against and separation from God, even knowing that God is a God of love and grace in whose service is perfect freedom.

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 2, 2015 at 6:08 am

          Mary, you have persistently rebelled against God during our last two week dialogue and you acknowledge God exists. You don’t want to be reconciled to God nor party with me. Your problem is that you are not afraid of God as you ought to be. You also have a faulty understanding that God’s condemnation doesn’t involve everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire without remedy. God has already told you in Romans 1: 18ff He has declined to force you to turn around and has given you over to your willful deceit. Your choice is hardly made in ignorance. You have the perfect literal Holy Bible of God which you refuse to believe and you have the Westminister Confession of Faith which you also refuse to embrace wholeheartedly. Instead you elevate your reason above God’s spelt words in His Book. You are without excuse and will so perish without grace.

  • Lanny A. Eichert September 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Alice, WHERE have you been? Against Christianity, manny stories lately. Baptism on a football field. Professor fired for reverent use of Jesus name. Kentucky clerk no licenses issued. That one you’ve been wanting. Have you been following the stories? Why no blogs, then?
    waved signs, which ranged from the violent — turn to Jesus or burn —
    When is such a sign violent when God does the burning of those that don’t turn?
    Alice, you believe God burns everybody, so you don’t see “turn or burn” as violent, do you? I thought you see it as LOVING.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 3, 2015 at 5:34 pm

      Published August 13, 2015 Associated Press
      MOREHEAD, Ky. – A clerk’s office turned away gay couples who sought marriage licenses on Thursday, defying a federal judge’s order that said deeply held Christian beliefs don’t excuse officials from following the law.
      The fight in Rowan County began soon after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide in June. County Clerk Kim Davis cited her religious beliefs and decided not to issue marriage licenses to any couple, gay or straight. Five couples sued in federal court, and legal experts likened the case to the resistance some local officials in the South put up five decades ago after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage.
      “I will say that people are cruel, they are cruel, these people are cruel,” said a tearful David Ermold, who was denied a license to marry his partner of 17 years. “This is how gay people are treated in this country. This is what it’s like. This is how it feels.”
      The clerk’s office rejected the couples’ bid for licenses just hours after U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning ordered Davis to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
      Davis wasn’t at her office Thursday, but deputy clerk Nathan Davis said the office was advised by its attorneys with the Christian law firm Liberty Counsel to continue refusing same-sex couples as it appeals.

      Alice, didn’t you see the judge’s statement? a federal judge’s order that said deeply held Christian beliefs don’t excuse officials from following the law. So the government is now able to force the governed to be disobedient to their own consciences and do contrary to the moral convictions of the governed.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 4, 2015 at 12:06 am

      the judge said, he has no alternative but to keep her behind bars. Because she will interfer with her deputy clerks issuing licenses the judge will KEEP her in jail for exercising her Christian faith mandates. Her deputy clerk son will not be punished even though he will not issue licenses either just as long as the deputy clerks will. Now that’s not equal justice, just practical justice because licenses will be issued: the bottom line. Why do you address that, Alice?

      • Alice Spicer September 7, 2015 at 12:59 am

        Funny you should ask… I’ve got that blog post in draft (unpublished) now. Just need to find the time to write it.

    • Alice Spicer September 7, 2015 at 1:01 am

      I’ve been busy doing construction work so a single mom and her boy can have an affordable place to live 🙂 I’ve been following the news stories of late and thinking these are the kinds of stories I’d love to analyze. Thanks for noticing, and thanks for your patience with the long gaps between blog posts.

  • Lanny A. Eichert September 3, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Alice, the bigger picture is that Christians are not free to be employed by employers who do businesses which are hurtful or dangerous to peoples’ health. Examples: A Christian has no business working for any one making or distributing alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. A Christian has no business being employed by some one whose business involves gambling. A Christian has no business being employed by a false religious enterprise.

    Now since the government of the United States of Americe has recently expressed opposition to Christian standards, government employed Christians must evaluated quickly whether or not their job description could possibly get them in a compromising position, and if so, they must quit and find better employment. This world is NOT a friend of God; its prince is Satan who will surely compromise and destroy Christians at every opportunity. That should not be surprising to any saint except in the speed at which it occurs. The tide has changed in America.

  • Kevin September 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    So Lanny, would you be willing to answer the question? Are babies better off being killed prior to the age of accountability if it guarantees they go to heaven?

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Kevin, your question hinges on an “if”.

      Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men? Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. {Psalm 58: 1 – 5}

      The above Psalm 58 labels those “wicked” from the womb through adulthood. Where did God say the babies of the wicked go to heaven?

      I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

      It looks to me like only the babies of the righteous (the Elect) are possibly “safe” before accountability, and they are likely to get saved some time during the rest of their lives.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 9, 2015 at 11:52 pm

        Kevin, have you seen the last two verses of Psalm 58?
        The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.
        God is NOT loving His enemies. He uses them and then trashes them in hell and everlastingly in the Lake of Fire after the Judgment. They have no second chance. The Holy Bible ends with a populated Lake of Fire without remedy. READ IT & BELIEVE IT. Since you won’t, you’ll burn.

    • Lanny A. Eichert September 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Kevin, your question reveals about you that you don’t have the faith of God’s Elect. You don’t even believe the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20: 5 I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

      Jesus said Satan is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44). These two aspects come together in this argument. Satan carries out his murders and desensitizes us to their horror by getting us to believe lies, including “children are better off being killed.” If the argument seems sound to us, it’s only because it’s a cohesive lie. Jesus said of Satan, “when he lies he speaks his native language.” He makes lies sound natural, truthful.
      Randy Alcorn’s article.

      Do you see who is your “father” even whose child you are. Check out the text.

      • Lanny A. Eichert September 10, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        Alice, heed Alcorn’s John 8: 44 statement as judgment against your own heart. It is NOT sanctimonious outrage. Those who cry out against Kentucky clerk Kim Davis are using sanctimonious outrage to convict her of forcing her religion upon them, when all she wants is to be free to not compromise her Christian convictions by not authorizing sinful licenses. The same is true about the cake bakers and the photographers who will not participate in the same. Those objectors to the Christian stance are sanctimoniously trying to force their ways upon Christians.

        • Lanny A. Eichert September 10, 2015 at 4:51 pm

          Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

  • The Pro-Life Catch-22 - September 13, 2015 at 1:40 am

    […] This is a question introduced in three previous blog posts, A Letter to Pro-Life Crisis Center Director, Good News at Life’s Choices, and Original Sin, the Age of Accountability, and Pro-Life Questions from the “Pit of Hell.” […]

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