Instincts Regarding Determinism and Moral Responsibility

Shaun Nichols and Joshua Kolbe describe in a paper, Moral Responsibility and Determinism: The Cognitive Science of Folk Intuitions (PDF), several studies aimed at delineating common intuitions regarding the (in)compatibility of moral responsibility and determinism. Having one universe, universe A, described in which everything, including human decisions, is completely caused by the foregoing events, so that they cannot happen differently than they do, and another universe, universe B, in which human decisions are not completely caused by foregoing events, and could be different than they are, the vast majority (90%) say that the second universe is more like the one in which we live.

The participants are further asked either an abstract or a general question regarding the possibility of moral responsibility in universe A:

Of those asked the abstract question, "In Universe A, is it possible for a person to be fully morally responsible for their actions?   Yes    No", 86% responded that it is not possible for a person to be fully morally responsible for what they do.

Of those presented with the concrete scenario and question, "In Universe A, Bill stabs his wife and children to death so that he can be with his secretary. Is it possible that Bill is fully morally responsible for killing his family?", 50% responded that it is possible.

Presented with the even more detailed scenario, "In Universe A, a man named Bill has become attracted to his secretary, and he decides that the only way to be with her is to kill his wife and 3 children. He knows that it is impossible to escape from his house in the event of a fire. Before he leaves on a business trip, he sets up a device in his basement that burns down the house and kills his family. Is Bill fully morally responsible for killing his wife and children?", 72% responded that he is fully morally responsible!

The authors suggest that these contradictory intuitions suggest that the greater affective reaction to the concrete scenario.

Now, an alternative explanation would be that it was simply the concreteness of the scenarios that led to the different responses. The more concrete ways that the presents see in which the actions proceeded from Bill's intellect and will, the more likely they are to respond that he is or could be fully morally responsible.

In an attempt to exclude this possibility, the authors made another experiment in which all participants were presented with concrete situations. Some were asked:

As he has done many times in the past, Bill stalks and rapes a stranger. Is it possible that Bill is fully morally responsible for raping the stranger?

Others were asked:

As he has done many times in the past, Mark arranges to cheat on his taxes. Is it possible that Mark is fully morally responsible for cheating on his taxes?

Under the stipulation that these persons are supposed to exist in universe B, in which human decisions are not entirely caused by foregoing events, almost all responded that the persons could be fully morally responsible for their actions (95% responded that Bill could be fully morally responsible for the rape, and 89% that Mark could be fully morally responsible for cheating on his taxes).

Under the stipulation that these persons are supposed to exist in universe A, in which human decisions are entirely caused by foregoing events, nearly all responded that Mark could not be fully morally responsible for cheating on his taxes; only 23% answered that he could be fully morally responsible. 64%, on the other hand,  responded that Bill could be fully morally responsible.

The authors argue from this study that the concreteness of the question or scenario is not responsible for the different responses, but the kind of affective response elicited by the scenario.

It is an interesting study, and doubtless affect plays in a role in the responses, but there does occur to me another possible factor that the authors do not consider, namely that the participants' instinct is that, in fact, the decision to cheat on one's taxes, because it does not directly concern fundamental human goods, is only secondarily a moral matter and can be determined by circumstances and external causes, while the decision to rape someone, being more directly concerned with fundamental human good, cannot be determined by circumstances and external causes. Such an instinct would explain the results: since the persons have an intuition that the decision to rape cannot be a non-moral action, and also a belief that in a deterministic universe all actions are non-moral, their responses are close to 50-50; the persons asked about Mark have an intuition that the decision to cheat on taxes can be a non-moral action, though in normal circumstances it is a moral action, and so, since there is no conflict with their belief that in a deterministic universe full moral responsibility is impossible, the majority answer that Mark cannot be fully morally responsible.

It's All Adam's Fault!

In several recent posts, I argued that when a person is to some degree determined toward evil on account of an external cause, he is to that degree less free and responsible for doing the evil. In a similar vein someone might argue: it is practically speaking a foregone conclusions that we are going to commit many sins, because we are born sinners, and we are born sinners not because of anything we did (as in Origen's account), but because of Adam. It's his fault, not ours. He's really the one responsible for our sins!

There are a couple of complementary ways to approach this objection. First, we may insist, as the Early Church Fathers, as well as nearly all the Eastern Fathers tend to do, that we still retain the basic freedom to choose what is good; the divine spark and light of the Spirit in the soul has been dimmed, but not totally extinguished from the soul. This is the objective approach to answering the objection.

But how do we reconcile all these affirmations, that (1) to the degree that one person's bad action is predictable on account of the agency of another person, the former is less free and less responsible for that bad action, that (2) on account of Adam's sin, we are virtually certain to commit numerous sins, and that (3) we remain free and responsible for our sins?

The first way of doing so is to recognize that our present freedom, while real freedom, is merely a dim shadow of the freedom that is possible to the human spirit. The freedom of all of our free acts and choices, both good and evil, is a shadow of the freedom of a man whose spirit possesses true mastery of choice, for whom the "perishable body" does not weigh down the soul. If our sins are ten thousand times less voluntary than Adam's sin (which may or may not be true), this does not mean that our sins are involuntary, or that we are not free, but that Adam's freedom was a freedom greater than we can possibly imagine.

The other way to answer the objection is that whatever the cause of our sinfulness, that is, our separation from the holiness of God and our tendency to sin, the fact remains that it is we who are sinful, we who sin, we who so often act in disgraceful and shameful fashions. C.S. Lewis illustrates this well in the Problem of Pain:

Theoretically, I suppose, we might say 'Yes: we behave like vermin, but then that is because we are vermin. And that, at any rate, is not our fault.' But the fact that we are vermin, so far from being felt as an excuse, is a greater shame and grief to us than any of the particular acts which it leads us to commit. The situation is not nearly so hard to understand as some people make out. It arises among human beings whenever a very badly brought up boy is introduced into a decent family. They rightly remind themselves that it is 'not his own fault' that he is a bully, a coward, a tale-bearer and a liar. But none the less, however it came there, his present character is detestable. They not only hate it, but ought to hate it. They cannot love him for what he is, they can only try to turn him into what he is not. In the meantime, though the boy is most unfortunate in having been so brought up, you cannot quite call his character a 'misfortune' as if he were one thing and his character another. It is he—he himself—who bullies and sneaks and likes doing it. And if he begins to mend he will inevitably feel shame and guilt at what he is just beginning to cease to be.

Augustine emphasizes (in some respects excessively) this second approach to the state of sinfulness in which we are born. This approach, in contrast to the first, is principally subjective, focusing on our experience of a separation from God, our corresponding behavior, and consequent shame. Though this second approach would not suffice on its own to answer the objection that would deny our responsibility for sin, it is a valuable complement to the first approach.

Are They Few Who Sin?

In the posts Is predictability incompatible with responsibility for sin and The Difference Between Truth and Error, I argued that external causes (genetics, upbringing, circumstances, etc.) that are not the result of a person's will, and yet make it more likely that that person will commit an objectively evil act, decrease the voluntariness of that act. As pointed out in a comment, this principle could be used to absolve almost everyone of responsibility for sin, and in fact is not infrequently so used in modern times. Clarence Darrow argued in the trial of Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold for murder: "Nature is strong and she is pitiless. She works in mysterious ways, and we are her victims. We have not much to do with it ourselves. Nature takes this job in hand, and we only play our parts…. What had this boy had to do with it? He was not his own father; he was not his own mother….All of this was handed to him. He did not surround himself with governesses and wealth. He did not make himself. And yet he is to be compelled to pay." Though this argument was not credited by the judge, who stated that it did not pertain to the court to make a judgment of ultimate responsibility, one might argue that God judges precisely on the basis of ultimate responsibility, and does not condemn a person for an act to which he was largely led by upbringing, circumstances, etc.

What to say about this? For the sake of illustration, and in the spirit of modern science, let's describe a person's amount of responsibility with a number from 0 to 1, where 0 means the person is totally free of responsibility, and 1 means he is totally responsible. Where is the dividing line between the acts of sin for which God holds a man accountable, and the acts for which God does not hold a man accountable? If God does not condemn a person for sin unless he is at least 0.99999 responsible for it, the view that nearly everyone goes to heaven might be quite a bit more plausible. Conversely, if God condemns a person for sin if he is even 0.00001 responsible for it, the view that nearly everyone goes to hell would become more likely.

We do not have direct insight into the mind and judgment of God on this matter, but we have hints about his answer; God's answer to the question of this post would seem to be similar to his answer to the question "Are they few who will be saved?"

Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24).

Whatever God's future judgment may be about those who are led to sin through their upbringing, their culture, and so on, our earnest concern should be to avoid sin and to follow Christ, and similarly to draw others away from sin and to Christ.

Aquinas On The Evidence For Original Sin

In a previous post, I quoted Newman and Chesterton speaking of evil as evidence for either the non-existence of God or the existence of original sin. Aquinas touches briefly on this topic in the Summa Contra Gentiles III, ch. 52. He outlines the argument as follows: God in his providence rewards good deeds and punishes evil deeds. But the whole human race is subject to various bodily and spiritual punishments: death, hunger, thirst, ignorance, weakness, etc. Therefore there is some sin of the human race that is being punished by these pains. Aquinas then raises the objection that all of these pains need not be punishments, since they simply follow from man's nature; being made up of various elements, man must be capable of death and corruption; again, "the sensitive appetite must incline to things in which the senses delight, and which at times are contrary to reason, and the possible intellect is in potentiality to all things intelligible, and has none of them actually, but has by its very nature to acquire them through the senses, and therefore with difficulty acquires the knowledge of truth, and is easily led astray by the imagination."

In response, Aquinas says, "one can with sufficient probability think [one can reasonably think; satis probabiliter poterit aestimare] that, divine providence having fitted each perfection to that which is to be perfected, God united a higher to a lower nature in such a way that the former would dominate the latter, and, should any obstacle to this dominion arise through a defect of nature, God by a special and supernatural act of kindness would remove it." The empirical argument for original sin presupposes more than the kind of divine providence that can be philosophically proven; it presupposes something like a providence in which God's care for man knows no limits, in which, from the very beginning, he gives man as much as possible.

Now imagine several different suppositions: (1) the atheistic position that there is no God, (2) the position that there is a God who is the cause of the world, and who intervenes in the world, but has little special concern for man, (3) the position that there is a God who is the cause of the world, but whose special providence for man regards only the future destiny of man (or man's soul), (4) the Christian (and to some extent Jewish) faith in God.

The existence of evil constitutes significant evidence for original sin only on the fourth supposition or a similar one. And conversely, the doctrine of original sin makes the world in which we live more intelligible only in light of the fourth supposition (the Christian or similar view of divine providence).

Thus rather than taking the prevalence of evil as evidence that either there is no God or that there is Original Sin, it would be more accurate to say that the prevalence of evil constitutes evidence that either the Christian view of God and divine providence is wrong, or that the Christian doctrine of original sin is correct.

St. Therese of Lisieux

Today is the feastday of St. Therese, virgin and doctor of the Church.

"Merit does not consist in doing or giving much. It consists in loving much." (Letter 142, to Celine).

"When I have committed a fault that makes me sad, I know well that this sadness is the consequence of my infidelity. But do you think I stop there? Oh no, I'm not so silly! I hurry to say to God: My God, I know that I have merited this feeling of sadness, but let me offer you all of it as a test that you send me out of love. I regret my sin, but I am content to have this suffering to offer to you. (Last words of St. Thérèse as recollected by Sr. Agnes of Jesus.)

Sayings of St. Therese of Lisieux on Love

Prenatal Adoption of Frozen Embryos

The instruction of the CDF, Dignitas Personae, takes up the question of what could be done with the frozen embryos that are already in existence. It rejects the use of these embryos for research or for the treatment of disease because this would be contrary to their dignity as persons. It further takes up the question of their being given to infertile couples as a treatment for infertility, and rejects this as ethically wrong:

The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as a treatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood;[note: Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, II, A, 1-3: AAS 80 (1988), 87-89.] this practice would also lead to other problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature.

Finally, it considers the proposal of adopting these embryos precisely to give them a chance to live:

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of "prenatal adoption". This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.

Here the document waffles, speaking vaguely about "various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above." Since the moral objections reference in Donum Vitae do not apply to this situation, the most reasonable way to understand the "various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above" is in reference to the "problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature" rather than to a moral evil. Thus we should read this paragraph along the following lines: the document neither intends, nor in fact does condemn embryo adoption as wrong in itself, yet expresses practical concerns of prudence regarding the issue. This interpretation is supported also by the statement of the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, that the issue of embryo adoption is "still an open issue," and that of the U.S. Bishops Conference, saying that "The document raises cautions or problems about these new issues but does not formally make a definitive judgment against them" (Questions and Answers on 'Dignitas Personae'). The principal of these concerns is probably that of material cooperation with those involved in illicit use of embryos, and the potential scandal linked with it, as is argued by John Grabowski and Christopher Gross in an article in the National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Dignitas personae and the Adoption of Frozen Embryos – A New Chill Factor?

In the end, I am inclined to think that if in fact the motive is saving the lives of persons, and known to be such, the witness provided by this more than outweighs the possible evil of material cooperation. Moreover, the resistance to prenatal adoption of frozen embryos is seen by not a few to belie the Church's own position on the human dignity of such embryos, and so is a scandal in its own right. I think, therefore, that while not ignoring the concerns alluded to by the CDF, one should see the choice of prenatal adoption of embryos that would otherwise perish as a good and positive choice.

Janet Smith wrote an article last year in favor of embryo adoption–Adopting Embryos: Why Not?–and while not rigorously argued, and lacking in precision, I think most of her instincts are correct. I also recommend a longer, more academic article by Stephen Napier, Moral Justification and Human Acts: A Reply To Christopher Oleson, which examines closely the text of Dignitas personae and Donum vitae, and argues in favor of the legitimacy of embryo adoption.

Newman and Chesterton on Original Sin

Newman, reflecting on the pervasive presence of evil in the world, "the blind evolution of what turn out to be great powers or truths… the disappointments of life, the defeat of good, the success of evil… the prevalence and intensity of sin, the pervading idolatries, the corruptions, the dreary hopeless irreligion…" (Apologia pro vita sua, 242) says that were he not certain of the existence of God, "I should be an atheist, or a pantheist, or a polytheist when I looked into the world." (Apologia pro vita sua, 241). He intends this as a statement regarding his own person, and not as a critique of arguments for the existence of God. Nonetheless he seems to take the presence of evil as objective evidence in favor of either (1) the non-existence of God, or (2) the existence of original sin:

What shall be said to this heart-piercing, reason-bewildering fact? I can only answer, that either there is no Creator, or this living society of men is in a true sense discarded from His presence…. I argue about the world; if there be a God, since there is a God, the human race is implicated in some terrible aboriginal calamity. It is out of joint with the purposes of its Creator. This is a fact, a fact as true as the fact of its existence; and thus the doctrine of what is theologically {243} called original sin becomes to me almost as certain as that the world exists, and as the existence of God. (Ibid., 242-243)

Chesterton also appears to take the manifest fact of evil in the world as proof that either (1) God does not exist, or (2) if he does, then that there is an original sin which accounts for the this evil:

Modern masters of science are much impressed with the need of beginning all inquiry with a fact. The ancient masters of religion were quite equally impressed with that necessity. They began with the fact of sin — a fact as practical as potatoes.  Whether or no man could be washed in miraculous waters, there was no doubt at any rate that he wanted washing. But certain religious leaders in London, not mere materialists, have begun in our day not to deny the highly disputable water, but to deny the indisputable dirt. Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.  … The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat. (Orthodoxy, "The Maniac")

Now, Chesterton's principal intention is to argue against the position of "certain religious leaders," naming R.J.Campbell, and thus he may not directly intend to affirm that original sin may be proven in every respect from the fact of evil. Nonetheless, the question remains, in reading both Newman and Chesterton: is the existence of God in fact compatible with evil only if one postulates original sin? Or are they making an implicit, unreasoned identification between the existence of "God" and the existence of the Christian God, with the kind of providence  that Christians believe God has for man?

James Chastek made a post a few weeks ago that touched upon the same question from another point of departure, which readers of this blog may also be interested in: Who believes in the God that the argument from evil would seek to refute?

The Difference Between Truth and Error

In my previous post Is predictability incompatible with responsibility for sin? I argued that there is a difference between predictability or determination to evil and to good; since the will's first inclination is to good, a determination to or predictability of evil that comes from without (e.g., due to circumstances, etc.,) diminishes the freedom and responsibility of an act, while a determination to good need not. Another way to illustrate the same point is in terms of the classical teaching on ignorance as a cause that makes acts involuntary.

Suppose there are two persons with basically the same degree of virtue, each faced with a similar choice between a good and necessary act and an evil act, and that in normal circumstances each would be fairly likely to choose the good act. Now suppose that the first person is going to be so convincingly persuaded (by the devil, by another person, or by circumstances) to do the evil act that there is no significant possibility that he will not do it, while the other person is going to be so convincingly persuaded to do the good and necessary act that there is no significant possibility that he will not do it. In the first instance, the person acts on account of an error that is put upon him from without, while in the second case, the person acts on account of a true insight and/or opinion concerning the value and necessity of the good act. Hence the first person's act is involuntary insofar as it proceeds from an error for which he is not responsible (unless there were grave neglect involved in the process of being overwhelmed by the error), while the second person's act is voluntary.

In Aquinas's account, leaving aside the causality of original sin, the influence of other persons (human beings or the devil) reduces to making someone perceive things in a particular way, either by presenting them with an argument, concept, idea, picture, etc., or by affecting their emotions, which makes them perceive things in a particular way. This seems to imply that given someone is faced with a specific choice, temptations from without, to the extent they increase his probability of making a wrong choice, decrease the voluntariness of that choice, unless and to the degree that there is neglect involved in letting himself be affected by the temptation.

Is predictability incompatible with responsibility for sin?

Several interesting discussions developed in the comments of the post an argument against limbo. One of them revolves around the question of the compatibility of determination to sin with moral responsibility for sin? To what extent can the action of other persons make a given person likely to sin? To what extent can a person be morally responsible for an evil deed if he was practically certain to do it in the first place?

The argument was made that if a person who has a 99% chance of sinning is not held morally responsible for that sin, than a person who has a 99% chance of acting virtuously is also not morally responsible for the virtuous deed, and ultimately, no one is held morally responsible for any good or evil deeds.

There is a long-lasting argument between philosophers over a "compatibilist" or "incompatibilist" understanding of free will and determinism. The former view holds that free will is compatible with the choice's being predetermined (and in principle predictable) in the sequence of causes–even if, all things considered, there was no ultimate possibility that the person would make a different choice, the choice was free because it proceeded from his desires and deliberation–while the latter view holds that free will is incompatible with a predetermination of the choice.

The question of the responsibility for sin given that one is "very likely" to sin and given that one is "certain" to sin are not entirely the same, but are closely related. My first remark on all this is to note that in the philosophical discussions, the difference between good and evil is frequently overlooked or considered to be irrelevant. The question is reduced to a consideration of choosing A or B, and the effect of predictability or determination of the choice upon moral responsibility for that choice. If one is certain or almost certain to choose A, is one responsible for choosing A?

It seems to me fundamentally mistaken to consider the question in abstraction from the question of good and evil, or from the question of whether the action in question fulfills or harms the will's fundamental freedom and orientation.

The question of moral responsibility seems to amount to this: is the human person, as a person, the cause of the good or evil of the choice they make and the act they do? If a person hurts someone else while sleepwalking, the person is the cause of that evil, yet not as a person, since the properly human acts of reason and will are not involved in the act at all. Again, if a parent purchases medicine for a sick child and gives it to that child, unaware that a malicious person has put poison into the medicine bottle, the parent is not morally the cause of the evil of "poisoning the child," because, though they deliberately choose to given the contents of the bottle to their child, and in this sense choose something bad, the reason for the badness of the choice is not in them, but in the person who put the poison in the bottle.

What should we say about a case in which one person leads another person to an evil choice? If parents, for example, persuade their ten year old daughter to kill her child by abortion? In such a case the act proceeds from her reason and will, and in this sense is a free and moral act. However, the question remains: to what is the evil of the act, and the disorder in her reason and will to be attributed? To her, or to her parents? While God alone can judge the heart, I would say that if she was in general well disposed to life and unlikely to make that choice without the influence of her parents, and under the influence of her parents unlikely not to make that choice, then the disorder of the choice is in any case to be principally attributed to her parents, and with high probability not to be attributed to her. For, when we consider her own principle of motion, we see a tendency to good action, which in this particular case is broken, hindered from coming to actuality. Since there is a highly probable explanation of this fact in her parents, it is unreasonable and improbable to attribute the explanation to the girl herself, even though it is in principle possible.

What about when one person leads another person to a good choice? If someone persuades a woman not to have an abortion? To what extent is the goodness of this choice to be attributed to the woman herself? As in the other case, if she was otherwise inclined to have an abortion, yet under the influence of someone else unlikely to have an abortion, then the correctness of the choice can be in some sense principally attributed to the person who persuades her to keep her child. However, if she is persuaded on the basis of a fundamental will for something good (rather than through some kind of trickery), then the goodness of her choice can also be attributed to her. Insofar as she had a particular inclination that would have led her to have an abortion, which was overcome through the intervention of another person, she is not morally responsible for the goodness of her choice, anymore than the girl in the other example is responsible for the badness of her choice. But insofar as the good choice comes from a more fundamental inclination of her will to good, she is responsible for its goodness, and praiseworthy for it.

Christian Children Dying Without Baptism

One of the disputed questions Aquinas deals with is: whether a child who is born in the desert where no water is available, and dies without baptism, can be saved in virtue of its mother's faith:

It seems that a child born in the desert can be saved without baptism in virtue of its parents' faith.

1.For faith in the time of grace is no less efficacious than in the time of natural law. But in the time of natural law children were saved in virtue of their parents' faith, as Gregory says. Therefore they also are so saved now in the time of grace.

2. Further, Christ did not constrict the way of salvation for men, since he says in John 10:10: "I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." But before the coming of Christ some children were saved in virtue of their parents' faith. Therefore much more are some thus saved after the coming of Christ.

But against this is what the Lord says in John 3:5, "Unless one is born of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven."

I respond, it should be said that no one can be freed from the damnation that the human race incurred on account of the sin of its first parent except through Christ, who alone is found immune from that damnation, that is, by being incorporated into him as a member to its head. Now this can take place in three ways.
First, by receiving baptism, according to Gal 3:27, "all you who have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ." Secondly, by shedding one's blood for Christ, since by this someone is conformed to Christ's passion, from which baptism receives its efficacy; hence it is said about the martyrs in Rev 7:14, that "they have washed their robes etc… in the blood of the lamb." Thirdly, by faith and love, according to Prov 15:27, "by mercy and faith sins are cleansed," and Acts 15:9, "purifying their hearts by faith"; and by faith Christ dwells in our hearts, as is seen from Eph 3; hence also baptism itself is called the sacrament of faith.

Accordingly, there is said to be three kinds of baptism, namely of water, spirit, and blood; for the other two take the place of baptism of water, so long as there is the intention of receiving that baptism of water, so that it is a case of necessity, rather than religious contempt that excludes the sacrament.

Now it is manifest that there cannot be a motion of faith and love in children who do not yet have the use of reason, nor can there be the intention of receiving baptism; and therefore they cannot be saved except by the baptism of water, or by the baptism of blood if they are killed because of Christ, through which they not only are made Christians, but also martyrs, as Augustine says about the innocents.

Thus it is evident that the child who dies in the desert without baptism does not attain salvation.

To the first, therefore, it should be said according to some persons, in the time of natural law the parents motion of faith alone was not sufficient, but some external protestation of faith by some sensible sign was required. And on this view the only difference between what was then required and what is now required for salvation, is that now the sensible sign is determinate, while then it was indeterminate, and was up to the choice of the individual.

The opinion of others is that just the interior motion of faith in reference to the child's salvation sufficed for childrens' salvation. Yet the power of faith has not now been diminished, but the degree of salvation has been increased; for now those who are saved by Christ are immediately introduced into the kingdom of heaven, which before was not the case; hence it is not unfitting if something further is required for this, namely baptism, as is said in John 3:5.

To the second it should be said that Christ enlarged the way of salvation for men in that he opened to them the gates of eternal life, which before were closed by the sin of the first parent.