I try to answer this with the following that I put together and would value any and all comments and discussion on a subject that is generally avoided
On Salvation of Children and The Mentally Incompetent
I have written previously on the principle that there is a time of innocence for children and those who cannot reason. That is those that are not mature enough to understand The Law and thus The Law that convicts is not present in them. The whole understanding that children are not saved and there is no Time of Innocence is based on an interpretation of Psalm 51 specifically Ps 51:5. However, to interpret Ps 51 to mean that man is created sinful and thus condemned I believe is to break Scripture. Specifically it is an interpretation that is stating that God created something evil which is a contradiction concerning the Nature of God and not possible.
Here is the Biblical Logic that supports the view I hold.
Everything is created by God:
- John 1:1- 3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
- God is Good and cannot create Evil:
- Mark 10:17- 18 17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
- Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness
- 1 Timothy 4:4&5 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
- Psalm 51:5 cannot mean God created us with sin which is evil. It is often interpreted this way but to do so breaks the Scriptures above and many others
- Thus Romans 5:12-14 is stating that man was under the judgement of sin which is death as Adam was. That is physical death. It also makes plain that where there is no Law there is no sin imputed.
- Romans 5:12-14 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
- This is further explained in Roman 7:6-14 which again explains that Paul did not sin (covet) until the Law brought the knowledge of sin (covetousness). He specifically states under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that he was once alive apart (separate) from The Law but when the commandment (The Law) came sin became alive and I died (spiritually died) The clear implication is and consistent with the above Scriptures is that Paul was spiritually alive before The Law came.
- Romans 7:6-14 7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “ You shall not covet .” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
The conclusion therefore is that while Ps 51 and other Scriptures make it plain that The Law is placed in our conscience and through that conscience, we have no excuse for sinning. But until our will and subsequently our conscience comes alive, we have no knowledge of The Law and thus exist as an innocent. However, through the sin of Adam we have inherited the effect of sin which is physical death. Thus, at conception we become alive under the curse of Ancestral (Original) Sin by the fact that we can physically die. And when our will and conscience become alive we experience Actual Sin and spiritual death.