Righteous children?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Gina B, Oct 6, 2006.

  1. Gina B

    Gina B
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    I have a question about children being considered innocent by God simply by the merit of being a child, whether their parents are believers or not.

    This is not a trick question or in any way meant to bait or trap anyone. It is not meant as a way to say Calvinism is wrong or right, or the opposite. (although the answer to the question will certainly make an impact on my own beliefs in that area) It came to mind when I thought about the things God commanded to be done that we would think are wrong.

    Here's the question.

    If children are innocent and automatically saved until they reach a certain age (age they reach it at doesn't matter in this question), then why did God also kill or command the killing of the children of unbelievers/enemies? At the time of Noah, why were no infants saved out? When given a land, why kill all the children?
     
  2. El_Guero

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    Gina

    You? Not ask a trick question? . . . certainly . . . those kids of yours are _____.

    ;)

    OK - more seriously and down and dirty. Jesus loved the little children. Historically, people have found it difficult to believe that He would hold little children accountable if they could not rationally make a decision for Him . . . I do believe this. But, I doubt that I could give ya' much in the way of Scripture.

    Wayne
     
  3. menageriekeeper

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    I think the confusion arises here:

    There is a subtle difference in children being "saved" and children being innocent. Salvation can occur after a child is old/mature enough to understand that he/she is a sinner in need of salvation. Before that point I don't believe that they are saved.

    What I believe instead is that they are not accountable. I beleive that God chooses not to hold them accountable in the same way He chose not to hold the Isrealite children accountable for the lack of faith of their parents in not taking Canaan.

    Now, the examples you gave of God commanding the death of babies and children is a bit different. HE commanded their death, but nowhere is it shown that He commanded their eternal destruction.

    God allows folks to die everyday, it is not necessarily a punishment. He takes what He will and allows what He will to further His own purposes. But He has promised us that His purposes in the end will lead to our good.

    How can the death of a baby possibly be good for it? Because it never has to take the chance that it will not choose Christ. Essentially, it's good is ensured without ever having to face the bad. And that's pretty good!
     
  4. Clean1

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    I agree with menageriekeeper. Children are not born saved. When we are born we are born spiritually dead physically alive. God does not hold them accountable for their sins until they are old enough to know what is right and what is wrong: to make a choice of which to do.

    When a father sins, his sin, and the effects of it, are passed onto his children and future generations. Look at Adam and Eve. Adam's sin was passed down to the entire world. Then look at Achan. When he stole the treasures from Jericho he caused death to come upon his entire family not to mention the deaths of the 30 men who went into battle. They stoned his wife, children, parents, etc.

    The people of Noah's day were extremely wicked. The children of those wicked people would have turned out to be just as wicked as their parents were. God wanted to start anew with righteous holy people.

    The reason that I believe that God didn't order Noah to save the babies, children, ect. because those children would have been just as ungodly as their parents. God wanted the line of sin to be stopped.
     
  5. Gina B

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    The sin nature was passed down, I agree, but growing up evil simply because your parents are evil is something you're going to have to show me proof of in the bible. And if it's true, that leaves a whole lot of people totally hopeless.

    God didn't just allow these deaths. He ordered them.
     
  6. thjplgvp

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    Gina,

    I believe the difficulty in understanding arises when we view life from a finite position. God knows that this life is a precursor to the next and that when a person dies he is not removed but transferred. Therefore the death of an enemy’s child was an act of mercy in many ways…

    Ø First because in death their innocence was preserved
    Ø Secondly they did not grow up to take vengeance on the children of the invading army
    Ø Thirdly any diseases carried by the parents and transferred to the child was not passed on is your answer to the following question, “Why kill all the children?”
    Ø Fourthly and very importantly ‘repent and live’ became a very real life illustration for all. God’s judgment is with out mercy but his mercy is without judgment.

    For instance when God slew the 185,000 in II Kings 19 he set the stage to show mercy to these same people in Jonah 3. In the one he presents himself a God to be feared in the other a God to be revered and loved.

    How God chooses to ‘wink’ at the ignorance of young children is beyond all of us but in the consistency of his character I am convinced that he does. The thing to keep in mind is that his ways are above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts and one day we will see him as he is and our understanding shall be opened. At that time we will not just fall down and worship God in relation to his power but will worship God with the perfect understanding of his majesty which will present his whole being to our heightened senses.


    Thjplgvp
     
  7. Clean1

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    What I was trying to say, concerning the whole sin nature passed down thing, is that the fathers sin will be passed down to his children (I know that you understand that). Therefore his children will most likely do, or continue, that sin. Unfortunately the sins that I see in my dad I see in myself.
    I guess what I was trying to get across was this: The wicked things that those people did in Noah's day were going to be passed down to the children. To stop the chain and prevent the continuance of those sins God had to order death.
     
  8. Allan

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    What he is trying to say is those children will have more of a tendency toward the sins within their families, (even when they did not realize they were sinning). We find this in the natural relm, where a child born to an alcohalic parent has more of a tendency to grow up and be tempted to drink than one who was not involved in that influence. this does not mean those not under the influence of it in family life will never drink but the tendency toward THAT particular sin is an inherited trait that can be either accepted into their lives or rejected from it

    Just an example (from my side of life)

    My dad - drug addict (no more though) and Alcoholice (no more either

    My brother and sisters - same as dads past and struggling to get free

    Me - by the grace of God - saw what it did to family and friends, and though I wanted to, I could not. I did not want to become like them.
     
  9. Marcia

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    I think God had whole groups of people killed because he blotted out that culture and their worship of false gods (which included usually a host of evil things such as sacrificing children, licentious orgies, etc.). In God's own wisdom, the way to do this was to have everyone killed. I agree with others that this did not mean that the children did not go to heaven.

    I disagree with the sin being passed down as meaning something like alchoholism or tendencies toward that. While it's true that those tendencies and sins exist, I doubt this was understood in those times and culture, and I don't think the Bible is talking about that kind of sin.

    I think the sin being passed down was the worship of false gods. This is the main sin that God railed against through his OT prophets - Israel turning from the one true God and worshipping false ones. Read Isaiah and Ezekiel as well as 1 and 2 Kings and you'll see this. When parents worshipped false gods, they taught their children to do this - it was passed on as part of their culture and beliefs. This entailed other things I mentioned above, such as the sacrifice of children to false gods like Molech, ritualistic orgies, and sexual impure acts, etc. God abhorred these behaviors and had people wiped out for doing them.
     
  10. Fred Moritz

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    Righteous Children

    Check out Augustus Hopkins Strong's section on the salvation of children in his Systematic Theology. Also, Robert P. Lightner has a great little book entitled Heaven for Those Who Can't Believe. I believe Kregel publishes it.
     
  11. Gina B

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    Surely you do not mean to state that inherited tendencies are only passed down in unbelieving families!

    Marcia, don't forget that newborns and children in the womb were surely among those numbered to die. How would the worship of false gods be passed down to them?

    I cannot agree with the idea that death in children is good because it means they're automatically saved. That makes no sense to me. If it's an act of mercy from God and loving, why wouldn't it be an act of mercy and love if we did it with our own children and assured their salvation?
    No, that can't be because nothing we do can secure the salvation of another individual.

    I appreciate your answers, I really do, but they're just not making sense to me right now.
     
  12. Helen

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    A few points here, Gina.

    Ezekiel tells us that the sons are not punished for the sins of the father. Each is accountable for himself. HOWEVER, the consequences of sins are passed down. A man who fathers a child and then, through some criminal act, ends up in jail, ensures his child will not have a father to help and guide him. The child pays, therefore, in that way, for the father's sin. He gets the consequences. A pregnant woman who takes drugs and gives birth to an addicted child....that child is definitely reaping the consequences of the mother's sin. God tells us that these effects go down through several generations. Each person commits his or her own sins, but the vast majority of sins also affect others, and therefore the consequences spread far beyond the sinner personally.

    In the same way physical death means separation from the body, spiritual death means separation from God. In John 17:3, Jesus informs us that eternal life is KNOWING the Father and the Son. Therefore eternal death is NOT KNOWING them. This sort of knowing has nothing to do with intellectual knowledge, but with the sort of intimate relationship the Bible refers to when it says "Adam knew his wife and she bore a son...."

    I read above that someone mentioned (and I know this is the Calvinist view) that children are born dead spiritually. No way. They are not separated from the Father. They have not sinned yet. Sure, they have sin natures, and will sin, guaranteed. But, first of all, their angels always see the face of the Father in heaven, Jesus tells us, and heaven is like them, He also tells us.

    But, actually, the sin argument is moot. Jesus died for them, too. He tasted death for every person we learn in Hebrews (2). Separation from God -- spiritual death -- is not a matter of sinning, because of Jesus. It is a matter of not believing; of refusing Him (John 3:16-18 and a multitude of other verses). That means you have to know enough to refuse Him! Or at least to consistently refuse the truth and prefer the lie...(Romans 1). Either way, it is not a matter of sinning, but a matter of a total life trust in Him.

    How old must you be to trust that much? Children are under the authority of their parents at least until their mid-teens. Therefore, as much as those who claim they or their children accepted Christ at a young age, their lives were not theirs to give yet. It is not until later in life that a person can consciously accept or reject on his or her own and not as a matter of peer pressure, pleasing parents, submitting to emotionalism, or whatever.

    This is why children are not spiritually held accountable. It is not that they don't sin; they do. It is not that they don't rebel; they do. It is that their sins and rebellion are not directed at God but at the authority in their lives: their parents, teachers, etc. And that does not condemn a person to hell.

    But somewhere in the mid teens to early twenties a person detaches from the parents mentally and emotionally (it's a ripping experience for both parent and child in many ways) and starts to make up his or her own mind about a variety of things -- and, at some point then or later in life, about God Himself. That is the decison which counts.
     
  13. Helen

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    a further note, reading back on some of the replies:

    Why would God kill all the kids and babies in catastrophes like the Deluge?

    The clue is in the conversation Abraham has with the Lord before Sodom is destroyed. Abraham is begging for the city (in much the way we might). If there are only fifty righteous there? What about 45...40....etc. Way down to ten. But there were not even ten rightous men there.

    Why would that mean anything? Because the righteous men would be like 'yeast' and their influence would still be able to spread, even in the rotten dough of Sodom. The kids would have a choice. They would have a chance.

    But where there is no rightousness, where there is no fear of God, what choice or chance do the children have? They will grow up to imitate the only culture they know, and if that is unremittingly evil and violent, then their choices will reflect that.

    You are the mother of three beautiful girls. Would you send them to a summer camp run by pedophiles? Would you drop them in the middle of the ocean without a life preserver?

    God is the same only better. If a child will not have a choice in the future, God brings the child home to Himself.

    And that has NOTHING to do with any sick excuses about aborting kids so they will be with the Lord or killing children. God has HIS plans and HIS ways and He has a plan for every life He has created. To try to second guess Him is to do exactly what Satan wanted to do -- challenge God and ascend to a place higher than God Himself. We are the creation; He is the Creator. He knows what He is doing, and part of faith is to trust that entirely, even when we don't understand.
     
  14. Gina B

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    I agree with the idea of that. In fact, here's a post I made earlier about it on another forum:
    My problem is that my belief in the concept of children being secure in Christ (which is relatively new for me, I didn't accept this until around 2 years ago) doesn't jive with the idea of God ordering children to be killed. I want to understand why he ordered the children to be killed, making no exceptions for even newborns or those still in the womb.
    Why order the killing of innocents? It seems to go against his own nature.

    Edited to add I didn't see the second post before which appears to be dealing with this...will go back and read now.

    Editing once again to add:
    My assumption was that if the family was killed and the children were spared, the Israelites would be the ones raising the children of the parents they killed.
     
    #14 Gina B, Oct 8, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2006
  15. Fred Moritz

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    Righteous Children

    On second thought, I believe the title of Lightner's book has now been changed to: Safe in the Arms of Jesus
     
  16. Helen

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    My assumption was that if the family was killed and the children were spared, the Israelites would be the ones raising the children of the parents they killed.

    Please remember that slavery was common among the Israelites, too, at the time. The children would have been raised as slaves.

    Another thought to consider is that there may have been some kind of genetic defect or venereal disease which was prevalent in the population at that point and God did not want the Israelites affected.

    We cannot judge the mind of God or know His reasons until and unless He tells us, but those two things are things I have thought about in the past and just want to run past you to consider.
     
  17. Karen

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    I am one of those people who claim that. I know that I truly trusted Christ when I was 11 years old. I can believe that there are many people just as you describe. I just don't see any Biblical basis to say that all people are as you describe.
     
  18. webdog

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    I see past the physical death of the children, since we are all appointed to die. God is saving the children's soul, which is far more important.
     
  19. Allan

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    Gina Stated:
    That was not even insinuated in what I said. I was making a GENERAL statement regarding mankind and their unique tentendenies toward certain sins that were/are found with in families.

    However, Lest we forget these civilizations were under the judgment of God. Just as one in authority answers for all under them, so to those who are under that authority and following it lead will be judged. So to as a people that is set against God, they will be judged as a people. These had the opportunity to turn (leave or give dissenting opinions/views) but did not. We do find however that God is merciful PRIOR to judgment that if any will turn (like the spies that went to Jerico and housed with Rahab) they are shown mercy. But once God sets forth His jugement, as says the scriptures...it is without mercy.
     
  20. Marcia

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    The worship of false gods would be passed down to them after they were born. God often destroyed whole populations (look at Sodom and Gomorrah) that contained pregnant women and children. Evil acts were part of the culture and were being passed on from generation to generation. Their physical destruction was a sign of God's judgment on their sin. I do not think this means unborn babies and young children were sent to eternal punishment.
     

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