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The Fate of Infants and Unborn Children Who Die - Part 3

Passages which seem to apply (but are difficult to put into either previous group)

Posted Monday, January 30, 2006 by Sam Yeiter

               In this brief post we will deal with only three passages.  They do not seem to lean decidedly in either direction, with regard to the redemption of the unborn.  They do, however, introduce concepts that will become important in later discussions.  I have attempted to be thorough in my inclusion of relevant texts, but if you feel that I am omitting any key passages, please let me know (with or without your interpretive comment is fine).

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”


This verse is representative of the many verses that talk about salvation coming as a result of faith, not works.  These passages seem to cut both ways.  The gift aspect resulting from grace and not works seems to make this passage lean toward the inclusion of infants.  However, the fact that salvation comes through faith makes this a definite problem passage for those who hold to any form of infant salvation.  Again this is not necessarily a complete theology of salvation, but was speaking to living people for whom this was true.  Regardless of our conclusion on this text, we cannot escape from the overall tenor of the New Testament that seems to make faith essential to salvation.  For now I will leave the tension intact.  We will try to deal with this issue of faith later.


               Matthew 10:14, 15 “And whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust of your feet.  Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement, than for that city.”


These two are similar in wording and concept, so we will deal with them together.


Luke 10:10-16 “But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’  I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.  Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment, than for you.  And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!  The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”


               We see one very important concept emerge in these passages.  On this concept there seems to be almost universal agreement.  “With great power comes great responsibility,” says Peter Parker.  One might paraphrase Jesus to say, “With great revelation comes great judgement.” John Nolland says, “Privilege brings responsibility to those who are beneficiaries of the ministry either of Jesus’ messengers or of Jesus himself.  Here the measure of the privilege is that what comes their way is so exceptional that it would have brought to repentance the most notorious of ancient sinful cities” (556).  The seemingly incontrovertible truth is that there are varying degrees of punishment for those who reject God’s self-revelation that is dealt out in accordance with the amount of that revelation to which they had access.


How does this effect our conversation about infants?  At the very least it seems that if any infants go to hell their torment would be far less than those who had time to live out their rebellion.  This begins to connect with a concept that we will deal with later, the Light Principle, so I will do as I have done many times already, and put this off until a bit later.  Sorry.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:22 PM

Charlie wrote:  Thanks for making my reading easier and splitting up your posts!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 2:29 PM

Sam wrote: No Problem No Problem.  You set a good example...

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