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When an infant dies and goes to heaven, is it limited to its infantile intellect, or is it able to communicate as though having lived longer?
When a child is in heaven he is able to communicate as a fully developed intellect.After reading your question I thought I would share this article that was written in 1977. It provides my beliefs in relation to this questions. It was given by a member of the 12 apostles of the LDS church.The Salvation of Little ChildrenBy Bruce R. McConkieNowhere does the Easter message of resurrection ring so triumphant.Among all the glorious gospel verities given of God to his people there is scarcely a doctrine so sweet, so soul satisfying, and so soul sanctifying, as the one which proclaims—Little children shall be saved. They are alive in Christ and shall have eternal life. For them the family unit will continue, and the fulness of exaltation is theirs. No blessing shall be withheld. They shall rise in immortal glory, grow to full maturity, and live forever in the highest heaven of the celestial kingdom—all through the merits and mercy and grace of the Holy Messiah, all because of the atoning sacrifice of Him who died that we might live.One of the great benefits of the recent addition to the Pearl of Great Price of Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom is the opportunity it affords to study anew the doctrine relative to the salvation of children. There are many valid questions which confront us in this field which are deserving of sound scriptural answers.Two scenes showing the infinite love, tenderness, and compassion of the Lord Jesus set the stage for our consideration of the various matters involved in the salvation of children.The first scene is set in “the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan.” Great multitudes are before him; the Pharisees are querulous, seeking to entrap; he has just preached about marriage and divorce and the family unit. “Then were there brought unto him little children,” Matthew records, “that he should put his hands on them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them, saying, There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved.“But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.“And he laid hands on them, and departed thence.” (JST, Matt. 19:13–15; italics added.)The second scene is portrayed on the American continent. That same Jesus, the Compassionate One, risen and glorified, is ministering among his Nephite kinsmen. He has just prayed as none other had ever done before. “No tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak,” the Nephite historian records. (3 Ne. 17:17.)Then Jesus wept, and said: “Behold your little ones. …“And they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.” (3 Ne. 17:23–24.)Jesus loves and blesses children. They are the companions of angels. They shall be saved. Of such is the kingdom of heaven.Now let us record brief answers to the more commonly asked questions about the salvation of children.What is a child and who are children?A child is an adult spirit in a newly born body, a body capable of growing and maturing according to the providences of Him whose spirit children we all are. Children are the sons and daughters of God. They lived and dwelt with him for ages and eons before their mortal birth. They are adults before birth; they are adults at death. Christ himself, the Firstborn of the Father, rose to a state of glory and exaltation before he was ever suckled at Mary’s breast.What is mortal birth?It is the process by which mature, sentient, intelligent beings pass from preexistence into a mortal sphere. It is the process by which we bring from premortality to mortality the traits and talents acquired and developed in our long years of spirit existence. It is the process by which a mortal body is created from the dust of the earth to house an eternal spirit offspring of the Father of us all. Mortality is fully upon us when we first breathe the breath of life.Why are we born upon this earth?We come here to gain bodies, bodies of flesh and blood, bodies which—following the natural death—we will receive back again in immortality. Those of us who arrive at the years of accountability are here to develop and to be tried and tested, to see if we can so live as to regain the state of innocence and purity which we enjoyed as children, and thereby be qualified to go where God and Christ are.What is original sin?This is the false doctrine that the sin of Adam passes upon all men and that, therefore, all men—infants included—must be baptized to be saved. It is, however, a fundamental principle of true religion “that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” (A of F 1:2)Are children tainted with original sin?Absolutely not. There is no such thing as original sin as such is defined in the creeds of Christendom. Such a concept denies the efficacy of the atonement. Our revelation says: “Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning”—meaning that spirits started out in a state of purity and innocence in preexistence—“and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God” (D&C 93:38)—meaning that all children start out their mortal probation in purity and innocence because of the atonement. Our revelations also say, “The Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.” (Moses 6:54.)Are children conceived in sin?Since there is no such thing as original sin, as that expression is used in modern Christendom, it follows that children are not conceived in sin. They do not come into the world with any taint of impurity whatever. When our scriptures say that “children are conceived in sin,” they are using words in an entirely different way than when the same language is recited in the creeds of the world. The scriptural meaning is that they are born into a world of sin so that “when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” (Moses 6:55.)What about infant baptism?Few false doctrines have ever deserved and received such a vigorous and forceful denunciation as that heaped upon infant baptism by the prophet Mormon. When that inspired author inquired of the Lord concerning the baptism of little children, he was told: “Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them.”Thereupon Mormon, speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost, taught that “it is solemn mockery” to baptize little children; that they “are alive in Christ from the foundation of the world”; that it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of Christ to them; that such a belief sets at naught the power of Christ’s redemption; that those who believe such a false concept are “in the bonds of iniquity” and if cut off while in the thought shall be thrust down to hell; and that those who humble themselves and repent and are baptized shall “be saved with their little children.” (Moro. 8:8–25.)Are all little children saved automatically in the celestial kingdom?To this question the answer is a thunderous yes, which echoes and re-echoes from one end of heaven to the other. Jesus taught it to his disciples. Mormon said it over and over again. Many of the prophets have spoken about it, and it is implicit in the whole plan of salvation. If it were not so the redemption would not be infinite in its application. And so, as we would expect, Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom contains this statement: “And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.” (D&C 137:10)It is sometimes asked if this applies to children of all races, and of course the answer is that when the revelation says all children it means all children. There is no restriction as to race, kindred, or tongue. Little children are little children and they are all alive in Christ, and all are saved by him, through and because of the atonement.Speaking of the Prophet’s statement that all children are saved in the celestial kingdom, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “This would mean the children of every race. All the spirits that come to this world come from the presence of God and, therefore, must have been in his kingdom. … Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and all who rebelled were cast out; therefore, all who remained are entitled to the blessings of the gospel.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:55.)How and why are they saved?They are saved through the atonement and because they are free from sin. They come from God in purity; no sin or taint attaches to them in this life; and they return in purity to their Maker. Accountable persons must become pure through repentance and baptism and obedience. Those who are not accountable for sins never fall spiritually and need not be redeemed from a spiritual fall which they never experienced. Hence the expression that little children are alive in Christ. “Little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten,” the Lord says. (D&C 29:46.)Will they have eternal life?Eternal life is life in the highest heaven of the celestial world; it is exaltation; it is the name of the kind of life God lives. It consists of a continuation of the family unit in eternity. We have quoted scriptures saying that children will be saved in the celestial kingdom, but now face the further query as to whether this includes the greatest of all the gifts of God—the gift of eternal life. And in the providences of Him who is infinitely wise, the answer is in the affirmative. Salvation means eternal life; the two terms are synonymous; they mean exactly the same thing. Joseph Smith said, “Salvation consists in the glory, authority, majesty, power and dominion which Jehovah possesses and in nothing else.” (Lectures on Faith, pp. 63–67.) We have come to speak of this salvation as exaltation—which it is—but all of the scriptures in all of the standard works call it salvation. I know of only three passages in all our scriptures which use salvation to mean something other and less than exaltation.Abinadi said, “Little children also have eternal life.” (Mosiah 15:25.) Joseph Smith taught, “Children will be enthroned in the presence of God and the Lamb; … they will there enjoy the fulness of that light, glory, and intelligence, which is prepared in the celestial kingdom.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 200.) President Joseph Fielding Smith spoke very expressly on this point: “The Lord will grant unto these children the privilege of all the sealing blessings which pertain to the exaltation. We were all mature spirits before we were born, and the bodies of little children will grow after the resurrection to the full stature of the spirit, and all the blessings will be theirs through their obedience, the same as if they had lived to maturity and received them on the earth. The Lord is just and will not deprive any person of a blessing, simply because he dies before that blessing can be received. It would be manifestly unfair to deprive a little child of the privilege of receiving all the blessings of exaltation in the world to come simply because it died in infancy. … Children who die in childhood will not be deprived of any blessing. When they grow, after the resurrection, to the full maturity of the spirit, they will be entitled to all the blessings which they would have been entitled to had they been privileged to tarry here and receive them.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:54.)Will children be married and live in the family unit?Certainly. There can be no question about this. If they gain salvation, which is eternal life, which is exaltation, it means that they are married and live in the family unit. President Joseph Fielding Smith has so stated in plain words, and it is something that must necessarily be so. (See Doctrines of Salvation, 2:49–57.)Why do some children die and others live? Are those who die better off than those who remain in mortality?We may rest assured that all things are controlled and governed by Him whose spirit children we are. He knows the end from the beginning, and he provides for each of us the testings and trials which he knows we need. President Joseph Fielding Smith once told me that we must assume that the Lord knows and arranges beforehand who shall be taken in infancy and who shall remain on earth to undergo whatever tests are needed in their cases. This accords with Joseph Smith’s statement: “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth.” (Teachings, pp. 196–97.) It is implicit in the whole scheme of things that those of us who have arrived at the years of accountability need the tests and trials to which we are subject and that our problem is to overcome the world and attain that spotless and pure state which little children already possess.How much do children know before their mortal birth about God and the plan of salvation?Every person born into the world comes from the presence of God. We all saw him in that eternal world. We heard his voice. He taught us his laws. We learned about Christ and chose to follow him when he was chosen to be our Savior and Redeemer. We understood and knew the gospel plan and shouted for joy at the privilege of getting our mortal bodies as part of that great plan of salvation. Returning pure and spotless to their Maker, children—who in reality are adults—will again have that gospel knowledge which once was theirs.Will children ever be tested?Absolutely not! Any idea that they will be tested in paradise or during the millennium or after the millennium is pure fantasy. Why would a resurrected being, who has already come forth from the grave with a celestial body and whose salvation is guaranteed, be tested? Would the Lord test someone who cannot fail the test and whose exaltation is guaranteed? For that matter, all those billions of people who will be born during the millennium, when Satan is bound, “shall grow up without sin unto salvation” (D&C 45:58) and therefore will not be tested. “Satan cannot tempt little children in this life, nor in the spirit world, nor after their resurrection. Little children who die before reaching the years of accountability will not be tempted.” (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:56–57.) Such is the emphatic language of President Joseph Fielding Smith.What is the age of accountability?Accountability does not burst full-bloom upon a child at any given moment in his life. Children become accountable gradually, over a number of years. Becoming accountable is a process, not a goal to be attained when a specified number of years, days, and hours have elapsed. In our revelation the Lord says, “They cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.” (D&C 29:47.) There comes a time, however, when accountability is real and actual and sin is attributed in the lives of those who develop normally. It is eight years of age, the age of baptism. (D&C 68:27.)This principle of accountability has been twisted and perverted and even lost at various times. It was at the root of Mormon’s inquiry to the Lord about infant baptism. (See Moro. 8.) One of our most instructive passages on the point contains the words spoken by the Lord to Abraham. “My people have gone astray from my precepts, and have not kept mine ordinances, which I gave unto their fathers,” the Lord said.“And they have not observed mine anointing, and the burial, or baptism wherewith I commanded them;“But have turned from the commandment, and taken unto themselves the washing of children, and the blood of sprinkling.” (JST, Gen. 17:4–6.)Infant baptism was practiced by some even in those early days. The reason? Men no longer understood the atonement. For, as the record continues, those ancient peoples “said that the blood of the righteous Abel was shed for sins; and have not known wherein they are accountable before me.” (JST, Gen. 17:7.)Then the Lord made this promise to Abraham: “I will establish a covenant of circumcision with thee, and it shall be my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee, in their generations; that thou mayest know for ever that children are not accountable before me until they are eight years old.” (JST, Gen. 17:11.)What about the mentally deficient?It is with them as it is with little children. They never arrive at the years of accountability and are considered as though they were little children. If because of some physical deficiency, or for some other reason unknown to us, they never mature in the spiritual and moral sense, then they never become accountable for sins. They need no baptism; they are alive in Christ; and they will receive, inherit, and possess in eternity on the same basis as do all children.After revealing that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through the atoning sacrifice of Him who died to save us all, and after specifying that Satan has no power to tempt little children until they begin to become accountable, the Lord applied the same principles to those who are mentally deficient: “And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent? And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth in me to do according as it is written.” (D&C 29:49–50.)When and with what stature will children be resurrected?Because they will receive a celestial inheritance, they will come forth in the first resurrection, President Joseph F. Smith said: “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul. Thank the Lord he has revealed these principles to us.” (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455–56.)What is our responsibility to our children?“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Ps. 127:3.) Our children are our Father’s children. He has entrusted them to us for a time and a season. Our appointment is to bring them up in light and truth so they will qualify to return to his Eternal Presence.Parents in Zion have an especial responsibility for the care and well-being of the souls entrusted to them. King Benjamin summarized it in these words: “Ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.“But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.” (Mosiah 4:14–15; see also D&C 68:25–28.)What, then, of this glorious doctrine concerning the salvation of children?Truly it is one of the sweetest and most soul-satisfying doctrines of the gospel! It is also one of the great evidences of the divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In his day the fiery evangelists of Christendom were thundering from their pulpits that the road to hell is paved with the skulls of infants not a span long because careless parents had neglected to have their offspring baptized. Joseph Smith’s statements, as recorded in the Book of Mormon and latter-day revelation, came as a refreshing breeze of pure truth: little children shall be saved. Thanks be to God for the revelations of his mind where these innocent and pure souls are concerned!Let me know if you would like to discuss this.
How does a person become full of the Holy Spirit?
It is the Holy Spirit Who draws men to God (which is virtually as good as saying that GOD draws all men to Himself!)but that since God is Spirit and is THE SPIRIT, if we want to relate to Him and hear His voice we MUST be Spiritually born.. and then in this sense it is the Holy Spirit’s work.An unsaved person who has not recived Christ personally as his Lord and Saviour may, even though he has been attending a church for many years, still have only an intellectual or religious knowledge which is peripheral, but may really struggle to really understand the Word of God or the Person of God. (fairly common comment of unbelievers.. So what was THAT about???).seeing that they have no actual relationship with God and their spirits are still “dead”.Yet it is also as true that, according to John 3:16, 18 “ GOD so loved THE WORLD that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever BELIEVES in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life … WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already BECAUSE HE HAS NOT BELIEVED IN THE NAME OF GOD'S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON.”So that.. We first BELIEVE.. and THEN we see the manifestation of our confession. It is also necessary for us to believe that we receive when we pray to receive the Holy Spirit. .Salvation is received by Grace through faith…but if you do not believe in Christ Jesus then, to the best of my understanding you cannot be saved.. and if you are not saved through Christ you will remain separated from God because there is salvation in no other Name, but the Name of Jesus. No person can save Himself.Romans 10:9-10“ If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved”So then Jesus Himself, speaking about the same question you are asking, …“ Jesus declared…I tell you the truth. No one can see the Kingdom of God UNLESS HE IS BORN AGAIN…I tell you the truth. No man can ENTER the Kingdom of God UNLESS HE IS BORN OF WATER and the SPIRIT.Flesh gives birth to flesh, BUT THE SPIRIT GIVES BIRTH TO THE SPIRIT.You should not be surprised at my saying.. YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.” (and why I emphasized being born again)Testimony:I received Jesus Christ in 1976, and shortly after that I was water baptised, (in my friends swimming pool infront of the whole church, who stood as witnesses, welcoming me Into the Kingdom of God) which is NOT the same as infant water sprinkling or baby “baptism”.Infants have no sin,(never sinned because they are still babies) and can't personally receive Christ (salvation being by personal confession) and a child's parents can't do this on his behalf and therefore we dont do this until the child is no longer an infant and can understand what he's doing and saying and the imitations of seriousness and commitment.)When then I was water baptised by two Pastors I was filled with the Holy Spirit as I came up out of the water (as too was my eldest son in 2000). and then came the actual Spiritual manifestation as I was instructed to speak whatever sounds came on my mouth, even if they were not understood by myself…and so it was that I spoke in tongues as in the Book of Acts.“Tongues” isn't the effect of evil spirits but is by the Holy Spirit and without the Holy Spirit you won't speak in tongues because tongues is the laguage of the Holy Spirit and if you speak in tongues you dont speak to men, but to God and He HEARS and perfectly understands you.In fact, speaking in tongues is to speak forth the “mysteries” and the “secrets” of God, known to God, wheras we again often don't have the slightest understanding of the words we are speaking, (unless the Lord grants us special understanding through interpretation) and yet as we pray (speak to God in this Heavenly language) the Holy Spirit prays through us what HE heard from God..the perfect and perfectly appropriately applicable prayer = the perfect will of God, (which is important especially when we don't know what to pray) and then is not OUR will, which may be subject to ourselves but purely the will of God.I believe that the Holy Spirit will ALWAYS pray the will of God, and according to the Word of God., and since God cannot go against His Word, this is the essence of praying effectively. It is as true that if we don't have the Holy Spirit then all we can do is to pray from the flesh (active minds often have fleshly desires, influences and it's own interpretations based on OUR desires). We don't want to only pray like that because whilst not necessarily wrong, we want EFFECTIVE prayer that gets results.It's perfectly legitimate to pray for others, families and countries with our understanding in a language we can understand whilst the baptism in the Holy Spirit will relate us to what is on the heart of God.
What are the primary Biblical and theological arguments for and against infant baptism?
One of the drawbacks to studying the Bible is that there is no one still alive who would be able to answer the many questions that, at the time, were already assumed by the people back then. We speculate as to what practices were being carried out and what was not allowed. But the context that we so desperately seek just isn’t there. So the next best guess is what we are left with. So it goes with infant baptism.The argument made below is that of tradition along with there being no objection. If Jesus Himself was circumcised before the age of reason, shouldn’t infants be baptized? Fine, but at some point Jews and Catholics have to commit to that ceremony on their own. And in both cases: Bar mitzvah and First Communion/Confirmation welcome the infant who has now reached the age of reason into the community on his/her own volition. But in my mind there is still the requirement of accepting our Lord and Savior personally. Protestants use the ‘altar call’ to formally celebrate such an event.* - - - - - - - - - - - - *At Philippi, a leading city in that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony, we spent some time in that city. On the sabbath we went outside the city gate along the river where we thought there would be a place of prayer. We sat and spoke with the women who had gathered there. One of them, a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth, from the city of Thyatira, a worshiper of God, listened, and the Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized, she offered us an invitation, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my home,” and she prevailed on us. (Acts 16:12 – 15)* - - - - - - - - - - - - *Since the New Testament era, the Catholic Church has always understood baptism differently, teaching that it is a sacrament which accomplishes several things, the first of which is the remission of sin, both original sin and actual sin—only original sin in the case of infants and young children, since they are incapable of actual sin; and both original and actual sin in the case of older persons.Peter explained what happens at baptism when he said, “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 2:38). But he did not restrict this teaching to adults. He added, “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” (2:39, emphasis added). We also read: “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). These commands are universal, not restricted to adults. Further, these commands make clear the necessary connection between baptism and salvation, a connection explicitly stated in 1 Peter 3:21: “Baptism . . . now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”The historic Christian Church has always held that Christ’s law applies to infants as well as adults, for Jesus said that no one can enter heaven unless he has been born again of water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). His words can be taken to apply to anyone capable of belonging to his kingdom. He asserted such even for children: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14).Paul notes that baptism has replaced circumcision (Col. 2:11–12). In that passage, he refers to baptism as “the circumcision of Christ” and “the circumcision made without hands.” Of course, usually only infants were circumcised under the Old Law; circumcision of adults was rare, since there were few converts to Judaism. If Paul meant to exclude infants, he would not have chosen circumcision as a parallel for baptism.This comparison between who could receive baptism and circumcision is an appropriate one. In the Old Testament, if a man wanted to become a Jew, he had to believe in the God of Israel and be circumcised. In the New Testament, if one wants to become a Christian, one must believe in God and Jesus and be baptized. In the Old Testament, those born into Jewish households could be circumcised in anticipation of the Jewish faith in which they would be raised. Thus, in the New Testament, those born in Christian households can be baptized in anticipation of the Christian faith in which they will be raised. The pattern is the same.Even in the books of the New Testament that were written later in the first century, during the time when children were raised in the first Christian homes, we never—not even once—find an example of a child raised in a Christian home who is baptized only upon making a “decision for Christ.” Rather, it is always assumed that the children of Christian homes are already Christians, that they have already been “baptized into Christ” (Rom. 6:3). If infant baptism were not the rule, then we should have references to the children of Christian parents joining the Church only after they had come to the age of reason, and there are no such records in the Bible.In the New Testament we read that Lydia was converted by Paul’s preaching and that “She was baptized, with her household” (Acts 16:15). The Philippian jailer whom Paul and Silas had converted to the faith was baptized that night along with his household. We are told that “the same hour of the night . . . he was baptized, with all his family” (Acts 16:33). And in his greetings to the Corinthians, Paul recalled that, “I did baptize also the household of Stephanas” (1 Cor. 1:16).In all these cases, whole households or families were baptized. This means more than just the spouse; the children too were included. If the text of Acts referred simply to the Philippian jailer and his wife, then we would read that “he and his wife were baptized,” but we do not. Thus his children must have been baptized as well. The same applies to the other cases of household baptism in Scripture. Furthermore, given the New Testament pattern of household baptism, if there were to be exceptions to this rule (such as infants), they would be explicit.The present Catholic attitude accords perfectly with early Christian practices. Origen, for instance, wrote in the third century that “according to the usage of the Church, baptism is given even to infants” (Holilies on Leviticus, 8:3:11 [A.D. 244]). The Council of Carthage, in 253, condemned the opinion that baptism should be withheld from infants until the eighth day after birth. Later, Augustine taught, “The custom of Mother Church in baptizing infants is certainly not to be scorned . . . nor is it to be believed that its tradition is anything except apostolic” (Literal Interpretation of Genesis 10:23:39 [A.D. 408]).None of the Fathers or councils of the Church was claiming that the practice was contrary to Scripture or tradition. They agreed that the practice of baptizing infants was the customary and appropriate practice since the days of the early Church; the only uncertainty seemed to be when—exactly—an infant should be baptized. Further evidence that infant baptism was the accepted practice in the early Church is the fact that if infant baptism had been opposed to the religious practices of the first believers, why do we have no record of early Christian writers condemning it?It is true that Christ prescribed instruction and actual faith for adult converts (Matt. 28:19–20), but his general law on the necessity of baptism (John 3:5) puts no restriction on the subjects of baptism. Although infants are included in the law he establishes, requirements of that law that are impossible to meet because of their age are not applicable to them. The same was true of circumcision; faith in the Lord was necessary for an adult convert to receive it, but it was not necessary for the children of believers.Furthermore, the Bible never says, “Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation except for infants”; it simply says, “Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation.” In reality, the Bible indicates that infants are to be baptized, that they too are meant to inherit the kingdom of heaven. The Catholic Church is merely continuing the tradition established by the first Christians, who heeded the words of Christ: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).Infant Baptism