Theological Underpinnings of Baptism for the Dead
“Lord, are there few that be saved?” (Luke 13:23). This question has troubled thinkers from Christianity’s beginning, generally known as the soteriological problem of evil, which stems from the logical tension between three propositions: (1) God is perfectly loving and just and desires that all of his children be saved; (2) salvation comes only through an individual’s appropriation of Christ’s salvific gifts; and (3) countless numbers of God’s children have lived and died without having a chance to hear about, much less accept, these saving gifts. Would a truly loving and just God condemn his children simply because they never heard of his Son or his salvific gifts?
The authors of this study explore three beliefs that offer an LDS answer to the soteriological problem of evil, although each of the three has been seriously challenged in the history of Christianity. These three beliefs are: the necessity of baptism for salvation, vicarious salvation, and salvation after death.