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The Fate of Infants and Unborn Children Who Die - Part 6

Conclusions and Closing Thoughts

Posted Saturday, February 18, 2006 by Sam Yeiter

In this final post I offer what I consider to be the most and least likely responses to the data at hand.  In some ways I feel like my conclusion is too brief...but perhaps I'm just spent by this point.  I've been editing, re-writing, and re-thinking all along the way, and yet have come to the same conclusions.  If you have experienced the sort of grief we've been talking about, I hope that this paper has helped you work through some of that.  If you want to carry on the conversation with me on a personal basis, my e-mail is always open, I'd be glad to talk with you.

                                                                                                    - Sam

Least Likely Suggestions

Based on all that we have seen I believe we must reject the thoughts which make the child’s destiny based on his parents salvation or upon baptism.  These are both external to the child and yet salvation is personal.  I believe that the passages concerning Sodom and Gomorrah rule out the possibility of an infant receiving the same punishment in Hell as the one who lived out his life in rebellion of God. I would suggest that while we cannot definitively state that no babies go to Hell, based on the scriptures and concepts we have seen, the thought that no babies go to Heaven is among the least likely of the suggestions.


Most Likely Suggestions

The most likely suggestions are that either all babies go to Heaven, possibly with a different level of reward (though the parable of the workmen who worked varying hours and all received the same pay may suggest otherwise) or all elect babies go to Heaven.  The latter sounds rather theological, and may satisfy some, and may even be correct, but I cannot imagine it would offer much comfort for the grieving parent.  In a sense it is a non-answer.  It leaves open the question, which babies are elect?  For this we may only answer, those which God has chosen.  This does nothing to really solve any issues.


My Stand

This is a difficult topic, and one in which we must be careful not let our emotions guide our theology.  I hope that the scriptures have guided my thinking.  At the end of the day, I feel confident that God gives salvation to all unborn and young children.  I base this on what is revealed about God’s mercy and grace.  I base it on the many scripture passages in which Jesus embraces the children and says that they are inheriting the kingdom.  I base it on the Light Principle and the Rapture, both of which have significant implications.   I believe it is possible because God can do anything that pleases him.  If we think we understand the atonement and salvation so well that God cannot save the infant, then I think we have reached the heights of arrogance.  Just as the one who may have said that God was unjust for pardoning David did not understand God’s full plan, it may well be that we, who seem to know so much, may be in the dark about a good many things.


Places We Ought Not Go and Things We Ought Not Say

Some who do not have children find it rather easy to be cold and precise on this topic.  At one time I fell into this category.  When you do not have a beautiful daughter who squeals with glee at you, it is easy to work your cold theology, parse your verbs, and call it a day.  However, once you begin to experience this love, you get a little bit more of the taste of the love God must have for us.  I would suggest that if one in any position of authority does not believe that babies go to Heaven, perhaps they ought not proclaim it too loudly.  So many people have lost children they will constantly inflict unnecessary pain without meaning to or realizing it.  If they are asked, they could say that they do not know, but will leave it to God.  In reality, we do not know.  I wish I could say, “I know all babies go to Heaven,” but all I can say is, “I have excellent reason to believe all babies go to Heaven.”  When we are dealing with women who were practically forced to have an abortion, when we are dealing with women who have had miscarriage after miscarriage (perhaps never telling anyone), when we are dealing with grieving parents over the loss of their child, if we cannot offer comfort, we ought to keep silent about this belief and instead focus on the love, provision and goodness of our Father.  Likewise, if we who believe babies go to Heaven are talking with a woman who is considering an abortion, perhaps we ought to keep silent about that belief...we may be wrong.


Back to Reality

As I stated at the beginning, there is no one verse that clearly states what happens to an unborn or very young child that dies.  This discussion has been all too brief.  There is more work to be done, more study to be had.  This is an awful subject.  Every moment lives slip away.  How will we respond?  If this paper has achieved anything, I hope that it has helped us look compassionately at the cold reality around us.  I hope that it shows us that there are no easy answers and certainly, for trite answers, there is no room.  We must do real theology, searching out the heart of God our Saviour.  In the final analysis, we may rest character of our Father.  His ways are higher than ours, and we can trust him.


If you are as worn out as I am, may I suggest the 131st Psalm:

O Yahweh, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me.  Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.  O Israel, hope in Yahweh from this time forth and forever.”

Thursday, February 23, 2006 7:08 PM

Charlie wrote:  Good thoughts, Sam. I enjoyed your last posting the most out of all your posts. You end up in the same place I do on the issue and respond the same way to situations, although I had not considered the context of a woman considering an abortion. The issue seems to be about trusting God: are we willing to trust God and not have certainty on the issue? Dwelling on God seems to be the best way to go, rather than going to any extended proof about whether babies are saved or not. That is simply just not a question that the Biblical authors decided to address. I do wonder why they didn't, though.

Friday, February 24, 2006 7:23 AM

Sam wrote: Thanks, and Two Reasons
Thanks, Chuck...
I also wonder sometimes...but it seems like another one of those unanswerable questions....though, as with most other unanswerable questions, I have some suggested answers.  First, as I noted throughout the paper, the biblical letters were written to living people, exclusively adults, about their salvation and relationship with God.  And second, they were occasional texts, answering problems or issues that were on the table...the text seldom seems to wander off into random thoughts.  I think an implication of the second thought is that the issue was probably resolved in the minds of ancient near-eastern people (at least judaeo-christian near-eastern people).  The problem then, is getting a sense of what they thought.  After the giving of the gospels, in which Jesus speaks highly of the unworthy state of children, which makes them the ultimate receptor of God's grace, I would tend to think that the issue would be resolved in favor of the salvation of infants, etc...
I also agree that we must trust in the character of sad that I do that so grudgingly sometimes...
Thoughts, O bearded one?

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