[From "Unbaptized Infants Suffer Fire and Limbo is a Heretical Pelagian Fable"]
Conclusion: supralapsarianism and docility
The Jansenists were right about this. We have seen that it has been defined that unbaptized infants have the punishment of fire in hell with the devil and that it has been condemned to say that they have some place anywhere of rest and happiness. As such it is heretical to deny the fiery fate of infants or to attempt to revive the Pelagian fable of Limbo. No pope or Scholastic can change that. The infants die guilty of original sin and are punished for it in the fire.
However, original sin provides only a partial explanation, because it may be asked why – if all are subject to suffering because they deserve it due to Adam’s sin, which they have inherited – why did God not create a different man who was as free in soul as Adam was, whom he foresaw would not sin? Then there would have been no original sin, none would have been created guilty and all this suffering would not have been justified. Presumably such a man was possible, given the infinite number of possible men whom God could have created. Indeed, Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary lived her whole life without sin: so if God is good and wills only good to his creatures, why did he not create a sinless first couple, shall we say, Mary and Martin rather than the sinful Adam and Eve? Why did God not create an entire race of Marys and Martins? Why did he choose rather to create a first couple that he foresaw would sin and then hold their progeny guilty of that sin? Did he not create the world with people the way that he wanted them to be? as fundamentalists are wont to protest against homosexuals when they say that God made not Adam and Steve. It would be incoherent to say that God could not have created a world without evil and suffering: God is all-knowing, all-powerful and eminently prudent, that is, he is perfectly wise; the wise man always first decides what he wants to achieve and then acts so as to accomplish his end. So, why is there all this suffering?
The Dominican Thomists, following the doctrine of Aquinas, teach that God created the universe to manifest to the utmost his goodness in his creatures: and that his aim is best accomplished through the creation of the greatest variety, which includes creatures that fail in the accomplishment of their ends, their goods, and so suffer. Reprobation is a part of God’s providence, that he should allow some to fail. For thereby the goodness of his justice and wrath is manifest and not only the goodness of his mercy and loving-kindness. With people, that entails that they not only suffer in this life, but also that they fail to attain salvation, die guilty and so manifest the goodness of God’s justice in the eternal sufferings they experience in hell. This explanation is known as supralapsarianism, the doctrine that God willed even prior to the fall of humanity in Adam to reprobate creatures and to inflict punishments upon people. That is, God willed to damn infants in hellfire from all eternity. The infralapsarian position – which maintains that God willed evil to his creatures only after the fall – seems incoherent for the reasons given above. Indeed, God could have just created all people in heaven, free but sinless like the glorified saints now, including those baptized infants who never chose God but were chosen by him, for none would refuse the beatific vision as it is good under every aspect. We have argued this from the writings of Aquinas in the essay, ‘Does God Want All to be Saved?’
One should be worshipfully docile in this matter. God is to be adored because he punishes infants and has chosen to do so from all eternity, not because they deserve it, for he permitted their guilt only that he might punish them for the sake of his glory. It would be rebellion against the righteous God not to submit oneself to his wonderful justice and wisdom and to worshipfully join our will to his – whether it regard the merciless punishments of infants in this world or the next. We have a responsibility to protect infants from harm, though the extent of that responsibility is disputed, whether it extends to children not our own, home or abroad. But the guilt had by negligent adults does not change the providential character of God’s permission of that negligence, which he permits so that his justice should be manifest in the punishments suffered by the infants. There is nothing unjust about this. God deliberately permits infants to be burnt alive in fires and to die without baptism and to go to hell to be burnt for all eternity, all for his own glory and may he be praised for it!
This may be a “hard teaching” to some, like unto that according to which some no longer walked with Jesus (St. John 6) but those who have caritas, even the divine and supernatural virtue of the love of God, will be disposed to accept his will and to believe in him as he really is and to accept these teachings about his salvific will. It is impossible to be saved without caritas (charity) and those who do not love God for his own sake but are motivated in their religion by cupiditas, that is, by a worldly love that is not properly ordered to God, may well refuse to accept this doctrine because they love the world above God, saying that they are swayed by their emotions regarding the fate of the infants. The two loves produce contrary motions, affections, causing ambivalence but God gives victory to his elect through delight, an affectionate cleaving unto him. He gives his elect to know him and to love him as he is and to accept the doctrines regarding him. God saves whomsoever he wants by making them lovingly faithful. If people reject this doctrine of infants, it is because they do not love God as he is, they hate him and prefer the world over him. Concupiscent delight has conquered in them and has produced the bitter fruit of blasphemy.
It is a false and harmful charity that seeks to obscure ‘hard teachings’ and to hide the gratuitous nature of God’s love for his creatures and the nature of the loving response that he gratuitously puts into the hearts of his elect. Indeed, if God is eminently prudent, then the devil is thoroughly cheeky and his demons delight to incite people to despise the true God and to thus damn themselves, blaspheming him in their inordinate worldly concern for the reprobate and in their refusal to know him and to adore him as he is. They are wont to utter such dreadful blasphemies as that, Such a God would be unjust, cruel, the devil himself and eminently unlovable! Thus the devil constructs a blasphemous parody of the true religion to damn people in, sometimes called Pelagianism or Molinism. It is almost impossible to find an orthodox Christian these days, who really loves God. People who teach a false doctrine that compromises the doctrines about God, original sin and the punishments that he subjects people to, unite themselves with the demons, inciting blasphemy. Historically, the Jansenists represented honesty and the Jesuits represented doctrinal and moral compromise. The elect are few, the damned many.