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The Fate of Infants and Unborn Children Who Die - Part 5

Concepts Which Seem Inclusive

Posted Thursday, February 09, 2006 by Sam Yeiter

In this fifth (and next-to-last) installment, we deal with five concepts that contribute to my view that the unborn do, in fact, receive salvation.  I introduce an idea herein that has moved some to gather kindling, firewood, and a bit of rope.  Oh well, what's a little martyrdom among friends?

                There are five concepts that we will discuss that seem to open the doors of heaven to infants.  The first is the doctrine of Election.  We know that if God has elected someone to salvation they cannot possibly be sent to hell.  It seems likely to many theologians that at least some of the unborn are elect and are thus somehow provided with salvation.  This concept surfaces in the Westminster Confession of Faith as quoted earlier.  If anyone who is now a Christian had died in infancy would they have gone to heaven or hell?  By necessity they would have gone to heaven.  This is not an unanswerable proof.  One may say that the elect cannot die until they are old enough to accept Christ.  I have included this concept because it seems significant, and has historical precedent in the Westminster Catechism.  If one wants to, it quickly turns into a discussion not unlike, “Could Christ’s bones have been broken if he had fallen off a 100 foot cliff?” (see John 19:36)


The second concept is God’s goodness and love.  It is difficult for us to say that “God is love,” and “God sends infants to hell,” in the same breath.  The deficiency of this argument is that it should be difficult for us to think of a loving God sending anyone to Hell.  What we really mean is that our sense of justice says that infants have done nothing wrong, and thus deserve no punishment.  This is problematic thinking, since all have had Adam’s guilt imputed to them.  Still, for those who have had or held newborns, the notion that God would condemn them to the fires of judgement is almost incomprehensible.  While we must keep the doctrine of God’s holiness intact, many would suggest that God can provide for these infants in a way that does not sully his righteousness. 

The third concept is, for lack of a better term, Spirit Evangelism.  I would suggest that it is possible that God sends angels to those children who are to die that they might proclaim the Gospel to them.  My biblical allowance is found in Hebrew 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Italics mine).  This verse is certainly not limited to infants, but I think it may well include infants.  The difficulty here is the issue of faith.  The scriptures seem to inextricably bind faith and salvation.  I believe it is perfectly possible for a fetus or infant to exercise faith via his spirit.  Some may object that we must think with our brain.  This seems ridiculous to me.  An angel can think, understand and remember things, but does not have a brain.  We like the angels, are spirit beings, and as such may utilize our spirit more than we realize.  I understand that this is a fairly radical idea, but it seems to me to be possible.  This concept does not solve everything, and is not flawless.  It does, however, present a means of salvation to babies in a way, that before now, I have not read anywhere.  (Maybe no one else wants to put this in print!  Ah, where angels fear to tread…)


The fourth concept is the rapture.  What happens to the Christian at the rapture?  We go bodily to meet Jesus in the clouds.  What if a woman was pregnant?  What happens to that child?  What about the infant children of Christians?  Will they be left behind to die of exposure?  Is this the sort of God we have?  I would suggest not.  At this point we must recognize that we have no explicit scriptural data, but we must also admit that this scenario will almost certainly come to pass.  If these children are left behind, how can the Christian parent look forward to the rapture?  The rapture is meant to be a future joy and a present comfort to the Christian (1 Peter 1:5-6 & 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).  Are not we to pray for the end times to come (ie “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” Psalm 122:6)?  Would God command us to pray for the death and subsequent damnation of our children?  From what I see of God’s love and his goodness to his creation, I would suggest an answer of, “Absolutely not.”


The fifth concept is the Light Principle.  We have looked at different passages that seemed to indicate that God deals with people (at least to some extent) based on how much information they have about him.  This seems especially true when talking about eternal judgement.  Jesus said that of those to whom much is given, much is expected.  This seems to have post-life implications.  Significant are the passages in which Jesus says that judgement will be more tolerable for the notoriously wicked cities of the Old Testament era than for those cities which either Jesus or his followers confronted with miracles.  From this we may derive the Light Principle.  If less information about God equals less judgement, then perhaps no information equals no judgement. 

Sunday, February 12, 2006 9:10 AM

Charlie wrote:  Thanks for your thoughts, Sam. While waiting for your conclusion, I have one thought. Your comment about Hebrews 1:14 and linking that to babies believing is a huge jump. I don't necessarily have a problem with your speculation that maybe babies can believe with their spirit, but tacking a Scripture like Hebrews 1:14 onto it doesn't help your case. Or at least that's what I think at this minute.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006 9:16 AM

Sam wrote: I Understand I understand what you are saying...my response would be this:  This comes in the section entitled "Concepts which seem inclusive," not in the earlier sections dealing with passages (where I would certainly disallow it!).  I am not using Hebrews as a proof that I am right, I am simply noting that in my logic, this passage prompted and allows for such a notion, especially the fact that it emphasizes the spirit ontology of angels (though they often manifest themselves as men - flesh and blood).

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