Monday, April 23, 2007

Babies and Heaven

Not long ago I taught on heaven in my pastor’s class. I was asked if babies who are miscarried or who die in infancy go to heaven. My answer was immediately, yes! However, I was surprised to discover that not everyone agrees with that statement. There seems to be a contingency of folk, mostly reformed in their theology, that are hesitant to state that babies who die go to heaven.

Well, I’m not, and here’s why. The most convincing passage of scripture has to be 2 Samuel 12:23. David and Bathsheba’s child dies and David rises up from prayer and states that he will go to him. He Implies that the child is in heaven, and that David will one day join him there.

Another passage is Matthew 19:14. Jesus states that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. He is referring to the faith and trust of a child that is necessary to receive Christ. It is hard to imagine that Christ would value a child-like faith so highly and then condemn babies and children to hell.

Yes, I believe in original sin. I believe that we are not born innocent, but that we tainted from conception according to Ps. 51:5 and Ro. 5:15-19. However, no where is the Bible does it state that anyone will be condemned for having a sin nature, or because we have inherited Adam’s guilt. The Bible states that the lost will be judged according to sins committed in the body. Not sins that might have been committed. The idea that God would condemn an infant to Hell that has never had the opportunity or the ability to sin is beyond me.

What the Bible does teach is that God is merciful and forgiving. This is illustrated in Deut. 1:35-39 when God exempted the children who did not know right from wrong from judgment. Babies, infants who died because of a miscarriage, will all enjoy heaven. Anyone who states differently needs to seriously reconsider their understanding of God and His great grace.

Great preachers and theologians of the past agree. The rest of this post is from a paper by Albert Mohler, he gives the position of two of the great preachers of the past.

“John Newton, the great minister who wrote the hymn Amazing Grace was certain of this truth. He wrote to close friends who had lost a young child: "I hope you are both well reconciled to the death of your child. I cannot be sorry for the death of infants. How many storms do they escape! Nor can I doubt, in my private judgment, that they are included in the election of grace."(6) The great Princeton theologians Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield held the same position.

One of the most eloquent and powerful expressions of this understanding of infant salvation came from the heart of Charles Spurgeon. Preaching to his own congregation, Spurgeon consoled grieving parents: "Now, let every mother and father here present know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God hath taken it away from you in its infant days."(7) Spurgeon turned this conviction into an evangelistic call. "Many of you are parents who have children in heaven. Is it not a desirable thing that you should go there, too? He continued: "Mother, unconverted mother, from the battlements of heaven your child beckons you to Paradise. Father, ungodly, impenitent father, the little eyes that once looked joyously on you, look down upon you now, and the lips which scarcely learned to call you father, ere they were sealed by the silence of death, may be heard as with a still small voice, saying to you this morning, ‘Father, must we be forever divided by the great gulf which no man can pass?’ Doth not nature itself put a sort of longing in your soul that you may be bound in the bundle of life with your own children?"


Charity Grace said...

Thanks for this. I remember how upset I was when I first heard someone suggest that babies don't go to heaven. I was surprised too!

Rebecca said...

We were just talking about infant salvation within our family recently, not for any specific reason, and realized that this means there are already people from every people group in heaven. Right?

Somehow that was a new thought ...

Anonymous said...

Dear Collin,

I've just found your site at the suggestion of a good friend. After reading through several of your entries, I'm impressed and find it very refreshing to hear from someone called by God, for His purpose, speaking boldly from His Word, humbly and without apology.

Though I find it uplifting and encouraging to listen to speakers such as Joel Olsteen, book stores, libraries, and television are filled with a myriad of self-help and psychological information. It doesn't take long before one begins to seek only what "feels good."

Nothing to date has been able to offer anything new or superior to God's Own Word. In Him we find all we need to make us everything He created us to be.

Looking forward to hearing more from you each week (or month).

All For His Glory,
Karen Russell
(Denham Springs, LA)