Infant VS Adult and Other "Baptism" Q's - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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originally posted by SuperPickle: Here's a question for anyone out there: Pres. and Meth.'s practice infant baptism. Is that conservative or liberal? I mean, in Biblical times, it was adult baptism. But ever since the Roman Catholic times until the radical baptists came in the scene, it was infant baptism. NOw the evangelicals and baptists do adult and the mainline & liturgical churches do infant. SO which wold you consider the conservative practice?
My grandpa was sprinkled as the form of his baptism in a Baptist church at Infancy! (circa 1921 or so)

My parents, My Wife, and Myself were all baptised as a teen or adult.

I've always been taught that it must be a choice that you personally make - to follow Christ - and Baptism is an outward symbol of an inward committment to take the seriousness of your relationship with Christ to the next level... a parallel might be moving from an "engagement" period to the point of "marriage" with baptism being that marriage ceremony. You are taking a stand to Stand with Christ

If it is a choice that I must personally make - then I must have reached an age where I could conceivable consciously MAKE that decision.

Now the next question - the one that has been debated in circles that I've fellowshipped with - is the debate between the Biblical example of Baptism by Immersion and the Water Conservation Method (Sprinkling)

As for whether or not it is Conservative vs. Liberal. I've been taught that it was the more liberal denominations that Baptised you as a small child (w/o your consent, and/or knowledge of the levity of the situation - in fact - you haven't even reached an age of accountability - so it is more to pacify the parents or put them at peace about your salvation than for your own salvation and/or commitment to Christ)

From my perspective it must be a personal choice as to whether or not you should be baptized.

FYI: my grandpa died a few years ago - and the minister who came to visit him asked him if he would like to be baptized "the right way" - since he was "only sprinkled" as a small child - My grandpa made it clear that his commitment was to the Lord and not to a church or a method of Baptism...
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#2 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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I have a hard time calling one demonination conservative and another liberal, because sometimes even within one denomination (such as Southern Baptist) you can have both liberals and conservatives. Although I think the terms used more among SB's are fundamental and moderate (I'm a moderate).

Ok, back to baptisms. I'm obviously from a dunk 'em when their older and after they'd made their own decision to accept salvation. To me, just as telling people you've been saved (the more traditional churches still want you to "walk the aisle" to down front for this), baptism is a profession of something spiritual that has already happened just between the person and God. Therefore, it is not a requirement for spiritual salvation, which means in my book, I don't really care how it's done. I choose to follow the SB tradition of full dunking, because I like the symbolism of being buried (as in the contemporary 6-feet under variety of the rock covered cave Jesus was buried in) in Christ and raised up to a new life, and to me it also illustrates jumping whole hog into God's grace. There are some in my denomination that would insist that someone who was sprinkled still needed dunking, but I am not one of those people.

I don't know what any of my response has to do with what I consider liberal or conservative - I just found it an interesting topic, LOL!
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#3 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 02:38 PM
 
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This is an interesting topic, not whether it is liberal or conservative--save me from those kinds of labels! But just thinking about baptism in general.

It seems to me baptism is a form of Christian initiation, a purification rite. Saying to yourself, god, and the community that you know you are not your body. Washing in water is a first step in symbolically acknowledging that.

Further, Christ was said to baptize in air (wind or "spirit," actually pneuma in Greek), and fire. We are born in the first element, earth, then transcend this to move onwards and upwards to a spiritual connection with the infinite, ineffable God beyond gods.

Some early Christians would fan the baptismal water, and/or dip a burning candle into it, for the further recommended baptisms.

(OT, I was watching the eucharist being performed on a catholic TV station last night, and the priest really got his mouth right over the cup as he said the words to sanctify it, seemingly with his pneuma! Let's hope he wasn't breeding a cold! Again, yogis and yoginis really emphasize being in touch with your breath as a way to meditate/grow in enlightenment.)

Now, I would say baptism is definitely for the older person who understands the implications. Baptising a baby is unneccessary and superstitious. It is a socially acceptable way of just introducing the baby to the community, which would be more frankly done with a blessingway or naming ceremony, or Outdooring (as the Ghanaians do!) IMO.
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#4 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Many modern evangelical type churches - will have baby dedication services - to present the child (introduce) to the congregation. The congregation is asked to keep the parents accountable and to help - as a community - in raising the child in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord"

This is definitely NOT a baptism.
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#5 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 03:40 PM
 
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What is with this conservative vs. liberal kick you are on lately?: does it really matter?

isn't the issue really infant vs. adult?

I too believe it is a personal choice of the one being baptised. It is not mine to make for my child, it is THEIR ETERNITY not mine. Of course I hope and pray my child follows after me, and decides to be baptised. I hope to see them in Heaven, and I hope they chose the same church as me, but I can't decide FOR them...it's not my right to do that!

I don't think there is harm in baptising a baby, but I don't think that it is truly a commitment to the Lord. The parents have decided for that child, but when it all comes down to it...that child is going to be held accountable for his/her own actions and decisions. So baptising your child does no good for their adult life.

But...if your child is dying in the hospital and you feel like you need to have them baptised then I see no harm done. If it makes the grieving process better for you, then go for it! I know that is off topic tho.
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#6 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 03:57 PM
 
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IMHO babtism is about telling the world what happened in your heart. So you made the desicion to follow Christ you get babtized to show everyone else you have done this. I don't think it effectes your salvation in any way to babtized or not. baptisim is just a symbol of what has already happened. I was baptised (I obviously have no clue how to spell this word) as an infant (well I was three and remember being none to pleased about the whole ordeal) as a 5th grader because it was what you had to do to join the church and then again in high school because after all that I finally knew God and had a relationship with him.

i guess you caould say I am against aptizing children. It doesn't save thier souls and may lead someparents to slack off in thier spiritual responsabilities because they think they are covered because the dribbled a little water on thier kids head. We do dedications with our children and that makes more sense to me. it fulfills the need for a formal welcoming to the religous community and puts the resposibilty on the parents to raise the child in Christ's love.

I don't think baptism should ever be done just to become a member of a specific church (as in well sure you were babtised but you weren't baptized our way) What is the point of that. It just makes no sense to me.

Since I see babtism as a largely symbolic act I don't thin k there is a right or wrong way to do it. I prefer immersion because that is how Jesus did it but whateve ends up with water and confessions of faith works for me.

As for conservative vs. liberal I don't think you can draw a line here. Catholics sprinkle and you certainly can't call the catholic church liberal. Otherwise it would seem from my observation the more conservative churches dunk and the more liberal ones sprinkle but I think it depends on a lot of other factors and tradition.

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#7 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 07:59 PM
 
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If anyone is interested, here is the Latter-day Saint view of infant baptism, straight from the Book of Mormon:

Moroni 8:19-20, 22

"Little children cannot repent; wherefore, it is awful wickedness to deny the pure mercies of God untothem, for they are all alive in him because of his mercy.

"And he that saith that little children need baptism denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption.

"For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or he that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such baptism availeth nothing."

I've just been reading about this just last night. Interesting to read others' thoughts and beliefs.
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#8 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 08:12 PM
 
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Would I be correct in assuming that LDS don't believe in an age of accountability then?

What I mean is....that no matter what, if an infant is born and dies then if his/her parents don't baptise him/her then they will go to hell?

hmmm that is interesting....I know there are more people who believe that than just the LDS
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#9 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 08:18 PM
 
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rwikene, I think you have it backwards. LDS doesn't believe in infant baptism. In fact a Mormon boy I dated in college told me he had been taught that 'infant baptism is an abomination'. I am not aware of ant religopn that teaches that infants go to hell. I was raised Roman Catholic, by the way.
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#10 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 09:09 PM
 
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I dont think it matters. What matters is in your heart not whether or not you were dunked or sprinkled.

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#11 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 09:26 PM
 
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Hi:

It's my understanding that in the middle ages children were not baptized until after they had recieved a certain amount of religious schooling. It's also my understanding that unbaptized children were thought to go to purgatory or hell. Aquinas defined a "kids room" off of purgatory (limbus puerorum) where unbaptized children could avoid the sufferings of purgatory proper.
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#12 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 09:42 PM
 
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Yes, that was the teaching then. It no longer is. I am not sure though about any period in the Roman Churchs history when Baptism was delayed. I would be interested to read more about that if you can recall where the info came from.
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#13 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 09:44 PM
 
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Well in the middle ages childen were not considered to have souls until they were about 8 anyways..

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#14 of 29 Old 11-13-2002, 10:11 PM
 
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Okay, I poked around a bit online. I haven't come across any support yet that the RCC (or anyone) denied that babies have souls or that they delayed Baptism. I did find some interesting things. This is an essay by a Lutheran minister claiming clear scriptural precedent for infant Baptism. This other is by a Baptist minister essentially arguing the exact opposite and also claiming scriptural support. The second says a few things about the fate of un-Baptized babes but is a little vague.
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#15 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 12:05 AM
 
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Sorry if I got it wrong...maybe I misunderstood what Bekka posted.

Why then are infants baptised? If not to "save them" from hell? Just curious. I have never gone to a church where people believe in infant baptism....more like dedication. So I really have no clue
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#16 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 12:55 AM
 
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Sorry, I didn't post the whole story. We absolutely do not believe in infant baptism, as stated in the scripture that I quoted before.

We don't do infant baptism--we believe in an age of accountability, which by latter-day revelation was given as the age of eight. We also believe in baptism being a conscience choice.
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#17 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 01:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe that DaryLLL was attempting to discuss Holy Spirit baptism. Theologians refer to the study of the Holy Spirit as "Pneumatology"

Is that correct DaryLLL??
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#18 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 03:47 AM
 
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I'm sorry if I am confusing you rwikene. There was a time (depending on who you believe, anyway) when the common understanding, starting with the Apostles and other early Christians that an unBaptized babe would go to hell. Or at least not go to Heaven. Because Jesus was kind of clear about the whole Baptism requirement thing and he didn't specifically make allowances for babies, the mentally retarded, etc. So, for quite a long time infant Baptism was the norm among Christians/ Catholics.

Then in the Middle Ages a lot of people started questioning and examining just about everything. Some people rejected infant Baptism totally and even among churches that maintained a belief that infant Baptism was important the idea took root that a loving God would not condemn a newborn babe to eternal damnation. Catholic doctrine described a place called Limbo where all the souls of those departed babies lingered, not able to enter Heaven but not in any suffering either.

I am pretty sure Catholicism no longer teaches Limbo but I'm not sure what they are teaching in it's place. Baptism has to do with joining the Church and with salvation too.
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#19 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 05:06 AM
 
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I was CAtholic in the 70s and we were told about Limbo. It was a huge thing that if your baby was dying you actually had the right(and the responsibility) to baptise him or her, using regular water, if necessary(although we always had holy water anyway) so that the baby would not go to limbo.
OK, here is my take on the baptism thing. I do not think that baptism has anything to do with our salvation. The only person from the new testament that we are sure went to heaven didnot get baptised. I was attendng a church that did believe that baptism is part of salvation(and no, this was not teh Cathoic church) and the church jsut did not show us the love of the Lord at all.
I dont think it matters then, whether you are sprinkled or dunked. That is just a legalistic qunadary, imo.
When our 2 oldest boys were born, we were attending the episcopal church. They were both baptised. It was a very nice service. It did not have anything to do with their salvation. They are not accountable yet, so regardless, they would go to Heaven. It was a beautiful ceremony where the whole congregation stands up and pledges to help this child grow in the Lord, and also welcomes this child into the community. All the kids came adn sat up on teh steps to watch, and a few of them got to help with the sprinkling. Then we walked the baby donw the aisle so everyone got a chance to see. When Eli was born, we were attending a dunker church. So, he had a dedication instead. It was extremely similar to teh baptism, but no water. Prayers for the baby, welcome to the community, we promise to help him row in the Lord.
I was baptised as a baby(dont remember it) and again as an adult. The adult baptism was very cool. A real sign of my commitment to Jesus. I think that the "liberals" view Confirmation as much the same thing. It is a time when children are welcomed into the community as adult members of teh Christian family and they receive the Holy Spirit.
We are returnig to teh Episcopal church as our house of worship. However, if my boys want to be rebaptized as adults, we will welcome it adn celebrate with them
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#20 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by boysrus
... The only person from the new testament that we are sure went to heaven did not get baptised...
Who was that?
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#21 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 12:34 PM
 
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NM-

Matt 3:11--

John the Baptist speaking: "I baptize you with water, for repentance; but the one who comes after me is mightier than I am...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit ("pneuma"-Gk for air) and with fire."

Luke 3:16--

John: "I baptize you with water...He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

So are all y'all Christians getting the air/breath/spirit and fire treatment too? What does that symbolize?

John says the purpose of baptism is repentance, in Matt. So baptizing babies would be out--they ain't got nuthin to repent of!
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#22 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is debated fiercely between certain denominations...
What are the evidences of it? Do you HAVE to speak in tongues? In public? In privacy of your home/car/closet? etc.

Radio Bible Class (RBC) - the organization that publishes "Our Daily Bread" daily devotionals - has this to say about it...
I think they go over some views in a pamphlet format.

Filled with the Holy Spirit?
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#23 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 02:38 PM
 
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Hmmm.. I coulda sworn Limbo went out in the Second Vatican Council. I'll get back to you on that! As far as why a babe would need Baptism (again, this is Catholicism, which is what the early church sorta turned in to) we are all born with Original Sin. That is the taint on us from the very first sin committed by Adam and Eve.
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#24 of 29 Old 11-14-2002, 04:08 PM
 
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Interesting discussion. Darylll, I know I've read Matthew many times before, but I never noticed that verse. What Bible are you using? Do you know Greek or is that footnote in your Bible?

I have a hard time believing that God, who I see as being infinitely merciful and loving, would send a baby to hell for being unbaptized. Talk about suffering for the sins of your parents!
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#25 of 29 Old 11-15-2002, 02:06 AM
 
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Wow I just finished reading up on the spirit's baptism. the article was very intriguing, but since I was just reading the excerpt from my "Basic Theology" by Charles Ryrie and not actually reading alongside with the scripture I won't comment on that b/c my mind is still spinning.

Anyway as far as the infant vs adult baptism. I believe that scripture clearly teaches that babptism is an act of obedience and public profession/confession of ones' faith in Christ. I think it is much like the observing the "Lord's table" it is not a requirement for salvation, but an ordiance to the believer to identify oneself with Christ and his suffering.

Like several have mentioned this is a huge issue that divides denomination. This was one of Martin Luter's ninety-five thesis that were nailed on the Catholic church at Wittenburg. He himself was a theologian and catholic minister. This is also one of the great things that lead the puritans and separatist to leave England and then Sweeden. They wanted to be able to practise religion without any interference from the government and the Catholic and Anglican church. History records many great denominations that have sprung up from this and several other primary conflicts with the RCC. Praise God that Luther had the courage and audacity to be a forerunner of the protestant reformantion. If if had not been for him and many other great men of his time we wouldn't even have the freedom to discuss this in an open forum as we are.

As for our family we had a lovely dedication service for my two sons. I really don't think of it as their dedication service, but more as a dedication of my husband and myself to be faithful in raising our children in a way the will instruct them in the ways of God. Our service was a nice prayer service for us as parents as opposed for the salvation of our children.

As a few others have commented on, I do believe that my children were born sinners, ie having a sin nature. Although they have a sin nature I don't believe they are anywhere being an age where they can comprehend the results of their sin. If they were to die today I believe they would go to heaven. This has been a very interesting thread. I thought there would have been more comments from others with differing views.
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#26 of 29 Old 11-15-2002, 02:54 AM
 
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Grew up Mennonite here.

Mennonites, whether conservative or liberal, all consider the "Believer's Baptism" or Adult Baptism to be the way to go. We have a parallel to the infant baptism, called confirmation or dedication....basically the same as a baptism sans water...parents and community pledge to raise / help raise and support the child and parents in a Christian atmosphere.

As far as sprinkling or immersion, both are done, just depends on the setting / pastor / baptee (if that's a word). Many Mennonite churches are not built with a baptimal thingy for dunking people in, but there are often baptisms done in rivers and such if someone wants to be immersed. The method of baptism isn't really an issue. It's an "outward sign of an inward commitment", and as such, we don't get to hung up on the symbols.

edited to add:
BTW...Mennonites don't really consider themselves protestant, but rather annabaptist...or the "re-baptised". Adult baptism is a definning article of faith. You are baptised when you reach the age of accountability, and get a "free pass", so to speak, before that.

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#27 of 29 Old 11-15-2002, 03:34 AM
 
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Interesting discussion! We have been on both sides of this issue and done much research, prayer and soul searching on the subject of baptism. Dh grew up Lutheran and I just grew up as a free spirit!

Our children have all been dedicated to the Lord as infants and the older ones all were baptized when they decided they wanted to. All at different ages, when the Holy Spirit led them. We also believe in a baptism of fire by the Holy Spirit. (That would be symbolic fire! ) Our family has a very earthy spirituality and are very much Spirit-led people in all we do. Our youngest children have not expressed an interest in baptism but do partake of communion with us.

Namaste,
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#28 of 29 Old 11-15-2002, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by caleb's mommy
Interesting discussion. Darylll, I know I've read Matthew many times before, but I never noticed that verse. What Bible are you using? Do you know Greek or is that footnote in your Bible?

!
Caleb's mommy--

Are you saying you don't have either of those quotes from Matt or Luke in your bible? I've got the Oxford Study Bible.

John the B then relates an allegory of wheat on the threshing floor. I believe back then, you took wheat into a large flat basket, and shook it, or fanned it (air/pneuma/spirit), til the chaff was all separated from the good grain. then burned the chaff. So will Christ, acc to this, blow off our worldly natures and then burn that off, so we are left pure and in the spirit--real eternal life, here on earth now, we don't have to wait. "Life" in the Bible, refers to life in the spirit, and "death" refers to: not after our bodies die, but just living in the body with no knowledge (gnosis) of our spirit nature/connection to Christ/God right here and now.

Besides the Bible, I have been reading many other related texts. Recently I have been reading the Jesus Mystereies. the authors of that have pointed out much of the Greek to me, as well as Hebrew and a bit of Latin. It so helps to see what the original words were! We really get cheated when we just take the contemporary trans for granted as the right one. Politics has influneced trans many times, in many ways. (eg: a "virgin shall give birth" was actually a young woman shall give birth-- not an unusual occurance! And the parting of the Red Sea was really the Reed Sea. but in that case, i think they were symbolizing a birth of the Israelites, hence Red for blood of labor.)

right now I am not taking any of the words of the Bible, OT or NT or Apocrypha or gnostic texts (banned as heresy, even tho they were the original xians), literally, or even as straight history. I find them more spiritual and enlightening when taken as mystical myths, comments on our worldly natures, and how to get more into the spirit side/closer to god. I don't take the idea of heaven and hell seriously, but with a grain of salt. I think there is much evidence for reincarnation in the bible/gnostic texts and Eastern religions, which influenced xianity as well. Jews don't believe in original sin, so why do xians?
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Thanks for the information, Darylll. I do have that verse in my Bible (NIV version) but since it's a translation and doesn't have the original Greek, I missed the part about the air. I wasn't sure if it was noted in your Bible or if you knew from another instance that they were the same word. Thanks for the references. I wish that I had time to study both Greek and Hebrew to avoid some of the problems with translation, but don't really have the time now. I do, however, enjoy hearing from and reading books by those who are more educated on the language and/or history of the Bible. I'm doing a lot of soul searching spiritually. This past year I finally admitted to myself that I didn't believe what my church believes, so I found another (UU) church and am trying to re-construct what I do believe, at least in general terms. I'm okay with not having all of the answers, but some would be nice. I'll have to pm you sometime because I'm getting off topic.
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