Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)

Babies Who Die (Part I)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
what does happen to them???

This is one of those questions that every born-again saint, at some point, has to deal with. Whether they, themselves, have lost a child, or whether they simply know of someone who have lost an infant, the question comes up: Where does the little soul go? Heaven or Hell?

By default, almost everyone conclude that all infants go to Heaven. The reason? It's the most comforting thought. Bible Christians (unlike Romanists and other false religions who make salvation possible for infants by works/sacraments), though, are usually pretty varied in their conclusions on this matter. I believe there is a slim majority of Christians that believe the Bible just doesn't say enough on the matter, so they go with the "shall not the judge of all the Earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25b) mindset. Another group believe that all infants are saved. They will support their position on the following passages:

"But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:23)

"Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 19:14)

And finally, there is a third group who hold that all infants who die are condemned for simply being under the headship of Adam. They hold that without the possibility of exercising faith in Christ, they die without Him and the eternal life only He can provide. They support their position with the following Scriptures:

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

The first time I dealt with this issue, I came out of it with the "shall not the judge of all the Earth do right?" mentality. I could see the merits of the two other groups (because both supported their views with Scripture) so I was quite happy to sit on the fence. Then, I became a Calvinist and the concept of election entered the equation. If anything, the Doctrines of Grace only made me into more of a fence sitter, because a whole other series of very complicated questions came into my mind: "were the infants of the elect, elect?", and "are all the infants who die, non-elect?" are but two examples of questions I couldn't quite come to answer.

And then came John MacArthur. Roughly two years ago, I was doing some deskwork at my job when I decided that I would listen to an online sermon while working. I found a link to the Grace To You radio program, and heard a pretty good message on, you guessed it, "what happens to babies when they die" (you can read the transcripts here).

Now let me precise that I was not "looking" to have my mind changed on this matter. If the Bible were truly silent on the matter of what happens to infants who die, I would have no problem with just trusting that God will do what is right and good. But while the two MacArthur sermons were far from perfect (there are a number of points in his sermons that I think are off), it did bring my attention to key passages of Scripture which I hadn't carefully examined before. What are these Scriptures, and how did they impress me?

Stay tuned to find out.