Re: [asa] Infant Baptism and Original Sin

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Fri Mar 14 2008 - 09:04:01 EDT

While reading about the character and nature of original sin, about 'semi-biological' inheritance and the acknowledgement of biological and social processes, a thought came to me re: yet another example of something that doesn't evolve. It makes no sense to say that 'baptism evolves (into being or having become).' This backs up the stress that George places on infant baptism as touching on 'essential matters.'
  It sounds a bit odd to my ears to hear 'abandonment of inherited sin' - why so abrupt (exclusive) as 'abandon'? I agree with Jon about there being a range of explanations for Adam and the origin of original sin. Though it may seem self-explanatory or even obvious to speak of things that don't evolve to natural scientists and theologians, the non-evolution of baptism and original sin presents another example of why/where it is necessary to question the universality of evolution. In human-social thought evolution is a faulty, misleading (yet nonetheless rampant) explanation. Biology plays a relatively small (though not insignificant) role.

  Jon Tandy <> wrote:
          Even more fundamentally, it touches on the very nature of original sin, and whether sin is something inherited semi-biologically, whether it's something acquired only after exposure to the truth by someone who is accountable for his actions, or possibly some combination of the two. Which leads to how a person comes to acquire original and actual sin; through biological or social processes or both. Which can certainly influence one's range of explanations for Adam and the origin of original sin.
  I just read the interesting discourse which touched on this question, between John A. McIntyre's "The Real Adam and Original Sin" and his critics in the PSCF, June 2006 ( I think McIntyre has some good points, as do his critics. Note that Perry Yoder's response has an incorrect link, it should be In particular on this subject, Yoder responds,
  "The abandonment of inherited sin, from my Mennonite tradition, causes little difficulty. In this tradition, children are held to be in a state of innocence until they come to the age of accountability. That is, children are innocent until they themselves become responsible for their own choices to do wrong. There is no “original sin” for which they need cleansing by baptism as infants. Sin may be inevitable, part of the human condition, but it is not logically necessary, imposed upon them, so to speak, through no fault of their own."
  Jon Tandy
  -----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Friday, March 14, 2008 6:08 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Why couldn't you write your d*mn book more clearly?

  I realize that this could take the discussion well out of the science-religion area but it's already going that way.
  Infant baptism is not an "obscure, internal doctrinal issue." What is at issue is not just a procedural question about the best time to administer baptism about about whether or not the baptism of an infant is valid. This touches upon essential matters such as whether or not a person is a member of the church.

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Received on Fri Mar 14 09:04:56 2008

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