Infant Death and Salvation

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Darrell C, Jul 6, 2016.

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Do Babies/Young Children/Mentally Impaired go to Hell?

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  1. 1. No

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  2. 2. Yes

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  1. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    In a conference that had some of the biggest names in Reformed Teachers known today, there was a Q and A session in which the one question that seems to be on the minds of many came up...

    ...does God send babies to Hell? And the question extends to anyone that never has/had the chance to respond to Revelation.

    So, in light of a recent thread, where this issue took center stage, I thought I would pose that question for all here to answer.

    The question looks at the fact that all men are conceived in the condition of separation from God, and so a question that arises is...what happens to those who die before getting the opportunity to hear the Gospel, or, to respond even to that revelation provided to all men (the internal witness of God, Romans 2:11-16)?

    The responses at the Conference were, in my view, disappointing, because the question was not really answered. Great teachers, no doubt, but, this one question seemed to stump them.

    Anyone here like to give it a shot?


    God bless.
     
  2. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    In a conference that had some of the biggest names in Reformed Teachers known today, there was a Q and A session in which the one question that seems to be on the minds of many came up...

    ...does God send babies to Hell? And the question extends to anyone that never has/had the chance to respond to Revelation.

    So, in light of a recent thread, where this issue took center stage, I thought I would pose that question for all here to answer.

    The question looks at the fact that all men are conceived in the condition of separation from God, and so a question that arises is...what happens to those who die before getting the opportunity to hear the Gospel, or, to respond even to that revelation provided to all men (the internal witness of God, Romans 2:11-16)?

    The responses at the Conference were, in my view, disappointing, because the question was not really answered. Great teachers, no doubt, but, this one question seemed to stump them.

    Anyone here like to give it a shot?


    God bless.
     
  3. annsni

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    From what we can see in Scripture, God is right, God is just and God is loving. He has never allowed someone to go to hell that doesn't deserve to go there and there is no one who has gone to heaven who has deserved to go there apart from His saving grace. This we know.

    What we don't know is how God deals with those who cannot make the choice as we see the choice to be made. But God is good and God is able to save those who are to be saved even should they not be able to respond in the way we think they would. How do we know that God cannot call an infant's heart to Him? I know He can do it. But I have full and absolute faith that God is good and God is just and I accept what He does to those who have been created and die before an "age of accountability" or never have the development to be able to understand the language to hear the Gospel as we teach it.

    The bottom line is that we cannot know but we can trust a good God.
     
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  4. utilyan

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    Well if you start with the premise conceived separated from God then all souls start in hell.

    Separation from God is hell. Some might soften this understanding to a we are all dead already.

    I don't believe that's the case. I'm just clarifying if you want to be consistent.

    The miracles and statements of Jesus.

    Jesus brings girl back to life. I never read she was baptized nor did I read she accepted Jesus as Lord and savior. I didn't read that she was elect, nor anything about having faith.

    Even with Lazarus its so they would believe.


    Luke 18
    15And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. 16But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.

    brephē = Babies

    Even sounds the same.


    Who knows how to receive the kingdom of God like a child better then a child? Babies even.


    We put our faith in the great mercy of God. We don't PRETEND he's most merciful. If there is no chance you would send that child to hell, God is more merciful.


    Finally the parent, any parent with half a heart will call wherever that child is heaven.

    Parents may cry, God's tears are bigger.
     
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  5. TCassidy

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    I believe those who die in infancy (including mental infancy) are numbered among the elect.

    2 Samuel 12:18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
    19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
    20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
    21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
    22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
    23 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.

    Where did David, a man after God's own heart, go when he died? :)
     
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  6. Iconoclast

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    I do not think anyone can say it better than what was written here;
    Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling
    1._____ Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, he is pleased in his appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.
    ( Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10, 11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17, 18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19; Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4 )
    2._____ This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.
    ( 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19, 20 )

    3._____ Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
    ( John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 )


    4._____ Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.
    ( Matthew 22:14; Matthew 13:20, 21; Hebrews 6:4, 5; John 6:44, 45, 65; 1 John 2:24, 25; Acts 4:12; John 4:22; John 17:3 )
     
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  7. ReformedBaptist

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  8. Squire Robertsson

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    To hold otherwise is be guilty of the charge of child murder laid against the Baptists by Witherspoon during the Obadiah Holmes case.
     
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  9. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I think we can know, Ann, as we see throughout Redemptive History that God is always just in His dealings with men, and that the pattern set forth is that God judges based on the response to the revelation provided to men. Just as an example, we see in Hebrews 10:26-29 that those who reject Christ, His Sacrifice, the New Covenant, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit...will be judged in a more severe manner than those who rejected Moses' Law (The Covenant of Law).

    We see the same principle set forth in Romans 5:13, in my view. We also see in Romans 2:11-16 a principle of internal witness, where men will be judged not just in the Law, but outside the Law, and it is seen that those outside the Law (not privy to the revelation it provided) still have the ability to keep the Law, showing the works of the Law written on their hearts.

    So in short, when we consider the infant, or the young child, or even the mentally impaired, it seems that if we keep them within the same Pattern God has always shown, we can understand they will receive of the Grace of God in regards to their separation from Him, which is their primary problem.

    Just as the Old Testament Saints received of this Grace, and their eternal destiny was secure through faith in God, yet died not having their sins redeemed and prior to Christ obtaining Eternal Redemption for the faithful (Hebrews 9:12-15), even so I think we can know not just that infants that die will go to be with God, but why.


    God bless.
     
  10. Darrell C

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    I think we would have to count them in the Elect seeing they will be with God in eternity. This brings, in my view, a perspective to Election perhaps not many consider.


    While it is a much debated issue, and some great men of God (like John MacArthur, for example) believe the faithful and just have always gone to Heaven, it is my own view that David, when he died, went into Sheol/Hades. It's a great debate, though, and a rewarding one if we follow it through.


    God bless.
     
  11. Darrell C

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    Now here is the interesting thing that might be discussed: regeneration primarily refers to the spiritual resurrection God effects in the physical life of a believer. Now my own position, that men were not regenerated under Old Testament Economies, allows that the Old Testament Saint was made perfect (complete in regards to Atonement and thus reconciled to God) which can be, I think, seen paralled in this issue.

    So here is the question: when is the infant's separation from God removed? While yet alive? or at death?

    Secondly, we do not really see the opportunity for the infant to receive revelation (some babies are aborted, for example, in very early stages of development, which many of us would still recognize as an individual human being), so do we not see God's Grace at it's greatest in the instance of the aborted child?


    Agree with that entirely.

    I agree with that too, however, that is going to generate a question for some, if we make it a matter of Election (which has for some the counterpart, the non-elect), which is the question of the OP: are there non-elect babies that do not benefit from the Grace of God?

    I think most of us would say no, but as I said in the OP, several very well known Reformed teachers could not really answer the question, and those who did, did so poorly (but you know how critical I am, lol). I think that for some of them, they would have answered "Yes, babies that are non-elect go to Hell," had they answered it. I'm going to listen to that again, because I seem to remember one of them giving the implication.

    This is an interesting statement: it implies, in my view, that there is a calling that is not effectual.

    Where is this taken from?


    God bless.
     
  12. Darrell C

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    To Moderation: merging these threads disallows those from Other Denominations from participating. These are actually two entirely different forums and I have run the same thread in both forums on a number of occasions and never had them merged. There are members who participate in one or the other.


    God bless.
     
  13. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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  14. Darrell C

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    Do you have a position on the issue?


    God bless.
     
  15. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I would not consider or compare physical conception and birth to be Hell, or, the Lake of Fire.

    Quite a difference there, Utilyan.


    No, Hell is the final judgment that will, by far, exceed any torment suffered here on earth.


    Not sure how it has anything to do with my own consistency, nor yours. Not sure why you would introduce these concepts if you do not embrace them. But glad you don't either way.

    And what significance would we ascribe to the fact that Christ ministered under the Covenant of Law? Do you see that as a significant factor or no?

    Secondly, what text do you consider has this girl "confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior?" We could full well speculate that her salvation from death would warrant a view that He was her Savior, but, we keep in mind this was a physical resurrection.

    And as far as no mention of being elect, we only see the Lord use this term a few times (comparatively speaking). Just because it isn't mentioned often doesn't mean we can't identify the elect.


    As Abraham said, "Though one rose from the dead (if they believe not Moses and the Prophets) they will not believe."

    Not even the disciples.


    The OP actually has a focus on the infant in the womb, though young children are mentioned. I think even young children can understand the simplicity of the Gospel, though.

    The infant is more in view because we have conditions which we don't have after birth, which is the increase of one's understanding and their ability to respond to the Gospel, or, the revelation God provides internally.

    But we do not usually correlate the Lord's statement here to infants, right?


    In a sense I would agree: even the babe develops at a young age a dependency on their mother (the one usually tending to the child the most). THat is the faith I think the Lord calls men to.


    Just not good reasoning, Utilyan, because parents will make excuses for their children even when they commit terrible sin. God will punish sin when the parent will not. And it is not love, or mercy, that allows for sin the lives of those they love. When that condition exists, in my own view this is a pure and deceived form of hatred.


    Agreed. We might even find this in the atheist. Because the infant is, in our eyes, about as innocent as we are going to get in regards to humanity, its natural for most to combat grief with the belief that they have gone to a better place. And I believe they are right, despite why they think this.

    Agree with that as well. Christ wept over His people, who had at every turn rejected Him and His will for them.

    But that doesn't mean that though it grieves God to allow those who reject Him to remain separated, and this into eternity, He is still Holy and Just, and He will, as He tells us, judge sin righteously.

    God does not send anyone to Hell, they choose that fate by rejecting the revelation provided that they might not suffer that fate. Going back to Abraham (Luke 16), he does not say "They can hear the Gospel of Christ," but that they have Moses (The Law) and the Prophets, which indicates that His Word, His revelation, even under Law, was sufficient for men to escape eternal separation.


    God bless.
     
  16. Squire Robertsson

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    I voted no.
     
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  17. Iconoclast

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    "Darrell C,
    Hello DC,
    This quote from the 1689 confession of faith I believe to be the perfect answer in that it leaves all of it in God's hands....
    Who,and how many persons are elected is up to God entirely from start to finish anyway. If any person is non elect they will not be in heaven.
    That is the only proper answer, regardless of the speculations of men...even good men like Spurgeon speaks from emotion rather than scripture on this issue. God is God....we are not;
    25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
    DC.....I trust God and His wisdom...
    If he has not elected all men...he has a Holy reason not to do so...

    If he has elected all infants dying in infancy He has a holy reason for doing so.

    If he has not elected all infants who die in infancy He would also have a Holy reason for doing so

    Correct....
    1689 conf chapter 10....point 4
    4._____ Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither will nor can truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men that receive not the Christian religion be saved; be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the law of that religion they do profess.
    ( Matthew 22:14; Matthew 13:20, 21; Hebrews 6:4, 5; John 6:44, 45, 65; 1 John 2:24, 25; Acts 4:12; John 4:22; John 17:3 )
    http://www.vor.org/truth/1689/1689bc00.html see 3 and 10[/QUOTE]
     
    #17 Iconoclast, Jul 6, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  18. tyndale1946

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    [/QUOTE]

    I answered no... And if you believe in Election which the scriptures emphatically teach then it is position not condition as The Apostle Paul to the Roman brethren sets forth... And that is just one example... Brother Glen

    Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth)
     
  19. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I was hoping for perhaps the reason you would vote no. This is how we help each other, your understanding of Scripture, and the studies you have performed over the years, with your own perspective and reasoning for the conclusions you have drawn. It may be that you are more familiar with certain Books (meaning have certain Books that are favorites of yours, thus you spend or have spent much time in them) and the perspective they have on this (or any other) topic.

    I think most would vote no, but, I have seen those who affirm that if a baby is non-elect, they go to Hell, because they are not of the elect. And just to throw another issue in with the OP, we consider that in eternity it makes little sense to think that the infant that dies in the womb, for example, would be, in eternity, still an infant, or in infant or embryonic form. Most likely we are looking at the spirit of that person, which would not, in my view, be in their physical form.

    Which also brings up an underlying issue: the sin of the infant. I hope to explore the issue of what sin we might lay to the infant's charge. My own position is that the infant has not sinned personally, because they have not developed to the point where they can even calculate good and evil, process revelation from God, and make independent choices that would be judged either good or evil. John in the womb was given as an example of a babe in the womb having a capacity to process the "good news of Christ's birth."

    I will present the text we might consider in regards to that assertion (and if there is more, anyone can post the relevant verses) for whoever would like to comment to do so:


    Luke 1:13-17

    King James Version (KJV)


    13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.

    14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

    15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

    16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

    17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.





    Luke 1:39-44

    King James Version (KJV)


    39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;

    40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

    41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

    42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

    43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

    44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.



    In the first text we would have to decide if "from his mother's womb" refers to John in the womb, or when he is born.

    Consider:


    Judges 13:4-7

    King James Version (KJV)


    4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:

    5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

    6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:

    7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.



    It's my opinion that "from the womb" does in fact refer to the period in the womb, however, I think we have to impose a meaning of Samson, while being in the womb, being a Nazarite.

    In the second text above, we see the babe leap, and Elisabeth states he leaped "for joy," yet here too we have to consider that even if it is the babe's joy, rather than Elisabeth's (who was filled with the Holy Ghost at this time), can we view this as an indication of understanding in the babe in the womb?

    I think most would agree that a babe at this stage of development (six months) can certainly experience emotion, but is the leaping in the womb a matter of personal understanding in regards to the pregnancy of Mary, which can be ascribed as a revelation of the Holy Ghost, or, is this a reaction to Elisabeth being filled with the Holy Ghost and receiving this revelation, or both? All are valid possibilities, in my view, but, I haven't yet come to a conclusion I would be dogmatic about.

    So there is a point of discussion, Squire, any perspective you would care to share would be appreciated.




    God bless.
     
  20. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    And ultimately everyone has to admit that everyone that is saved is among the Elect. But, what is truly the question is whether there are non-elect that die as infants, Children, or mentally impaired. Or, might we speculate that God chose those as well?

    And this has a specific context of God's choosing the heritage of Christ. In view is the issue of Abraham's seed, there being only one offspring through which the world would be blessed. It has more to do with His bloodline than a context of Election concerning believers, and we know this because we do not view Election to be a result of being born of Isaac. In other words, if we use this as a proof-text for Election, then we must equally conclude that all of Isaac's offspring were elect, and we know this is not true from what we are told in numerous places, primarily spoken of by Christ and Paul.


    God bless.
     
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