Infants dying in infancy

Status
Not open for further replies.

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
OK so what happens to the child who dies in infancy without being baptized.. The bible reveals that we are born marked by original sin, so we cannot claim that infants are born in a state of innocence. Any biblical answer to the question of infant salvation must start from the understanding that infants are born with a sin nature.

As a Baptist I know that baptism (Credo or infant) does not save. As a Baptist, baptism is reserved for believers-not for infants. I also know that scripture does not teach a position which denies infants admission to heaven. Maybe there I am answering my own question.

Those who divide infants into the elect & non elect seek to affirm the clear and undeniable doctrine of divine election. The bible teaches that God elects persons to salvation from eternity & that our salvation is all of grace. So what if all who die in infancy are among the elect? Do we have a biblical basis for believing that all persons who die in infancy are among the elect?

We Baptists believe that Scripture does indeed teach that all persons who die in infancy are among the elect.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Steve, I suggest you read the 1689 LBC on infants dying in infancy. The confessions says, "elect infants dying in infancy." the qualifier "elect" presupposes there are some infants who are not elect. But infants dying in infancy is not the topic of this thread. Carry that subject to another thread if you wish to discuss it.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
OK Bill but doesn't the bible teach that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed "in the body" That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of orig sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer "according to what he has done," and not for the sin of Adam..... We will answer for our own, but what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body. I think not.....as I have lost a child in infancy. OK Gone
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Steve,

Periodically this topic comes up for discussion. Perhaps this one of those times. My heart is sensitive to the pastoral side of this issue. What do we say to offer comfort to the parents of infants who have died in infancy and still be on solid theological ground?
 

Grimmson

Puritan Board Sophomore
OK Bill but doesn't the bible teach that we are to be judged on the basis of our deeds committed "in the body" That is, we will face the judgment seat of Christ and be judged, not on the basis of orig sin, but for our sins committed during our own lifetimes. Each will answer "according to what he has done," and not for the sin of Adam..... We will answer for our own, but what about infants? Have those who die in infancy committed such sins in the body. I think not.....as I have lost a child in infancy. OK Gone

I would make the case that infants have committed sins against God on the basis of Matthew 22, because of the probability that they do not love God with all their heart, soul, and mind. And due to their selfish nature, love not their neighbor as themselves, as you can see when there a toy that both crawling infants like and want. So I think God does have the right to damn them, even though I want to make it clear that I do not think God does. And Steve I am sorry for your lost.
 

Kiffin

Puritan Board Freshman
What do we say to offer comfort to the parents of infants who have died in infancy and still be on solid theological ground?
We can tell them that since God is righteous, we can find comfort in the fact that God always does what is right. We can rest in His righteousness.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
What do we say to offer comfort to the parents of infants who have died in infancy and still be on solid theological ground?
We can tell them that since God is righteous, we can find comfort in the fact that God always does what is right. We can rest in His righteousness.

The gospel is given from heaven to teach not only that God is just, but that He is the justifier. It is a message of sovereign grace. Righteousness without grace is terrifying to a sinner, not comforting.

To answer Bill's question, Psalm 48:14 shows the extent to which the covenant promise to Abraham is to be extended -- "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death." The covenant child, raised in the consciousness not only of sin but of salvation freely offered in Christ, is saved by Christ, irrespective of his ability to provide cognitive definition. The comfort to be ministered to believing parents of a departed infant is not the watered down righteousness of God nor a vague wideness in God's mercy, but the righteous mercy of God in Christ.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all.... I console my wife & myself through Charles Spurgeon " Now, let every mother & father here present know assuredly that it is well with the child, if God hath taken it away from you in its infant days." 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 go there , too? 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, & 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?

Also consolation comes from promises of the Scriptures and the assurance of the grace of our Lord. Genesis 18:25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Also "Permit the children to come to Me, do not hinder them; for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

I place my faith in Christ & trust Him to be faithful to his Word. I claim the promises of the grace of our Lord & I know that heaven will be filled with those who never grew to maturity on earth but in heaven will greet us completed in Christ. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
*bump*

This thread was started by moving posts from another thread that were off topic.
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
Another view is based upon an exposition of Romans 5, understanding that passage to teach that the grace of God through Christ is applied to all who are not otherwise specifically excluded in Scripture. Charles Hodge holds this position: “All who died in infancy are saved. This is inferred from what the Bible teaches of the analogy between Adam and Christ…” [he equates the expressions ‘pantas’ in 5:18 and ‘hoi polloi’ in 5:19] He continues,
“All the descendants of Adam, except Christ, are under condemnation; all the descendents of Adam, except those of whom it is expressly revealed that they cannot inherit the kingdom of God, are saved.” He then concludes with a rather sweeping statement: “It is, therefore, the general belief of Protestants, contrary to the doctrine of Romanists and Romanizers, that all who die in infancy are saved.” (Hodge, ST, 1:26-7).
While I agree with him in that only those of whom it is “expressly stated” cannot inherit the kingdom, I would include among that class all who were ever born (save Jesus) because it is expressly stated that there is none righteous, no not one. However, I do not believe that the confession’s qualifier of “elect” implies that there must be non-elect among the infants; that is not clear in Scripture. Rather, I take it to be a reaffirmation that only the elect are saved – whether infant or adult. I see no reason to necessarily conclude that all infants might not be numbered among the elect. But then they are saved – not because they are not stained with original sin or personally culpable – but because of the rich mercies of God through the cross of Christ.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
There is an OT precedent that speaks directly to the issue of /infant salvation. The children of Israel are sent to the wilderness to die (IE that generation) after 40 yrs of wandering. However God exempts young children & infants from the death sentence with "Moreover, your little ones who you say would be prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it." The key issue here is that God specifically exempted from the judgment those who "have no knowledge of good or evil" because of their age. These "little ones" would inherit the Promised Land, and would not be judged on the basis of their fathers sins.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
There is an OT precedent that speaks directly to the issue of /infant salvation. The children of Israel are sent to the wilderness to die (IE that generation) after 40 yrs of wandering. However God exempts young children & infants from the death sentence with "Moreover, your little ones who you say would be prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good and evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it." The key issue here is that God specifically exempted from the judgment those who "have no knowledge of good or evil" because of their age. These "little ones" would inherit the Promised Land, and would not be judged on the basis of their fathers sins.

This generation was required to cut off all Canaanites regardless of age; so if your argument is pertinent it would be restricted to the covenant people. Personally I cannot accept the argument as it fails to take into consideration the difference between the typological land of promise and the antitypical rest of God. Moses was forbidden from entering the land yet he appeared in glory on the mount of transfiguration.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Then why would God have made that very exact stipulation then? He clearly sited that they are not moral agents so the punishment would not be rendered
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Then why would God have made that very exact stipulation then? He clearly sited that they are not moral agents so the punishment would not be rendered

On a moral level, it shows individual accountability and personal responsibility are important. In terms of salvation history, it is a generation marker to indicate God's continued faithfulness to His promise. But in terms of personal salvation, Hebrews 4:8 makes it clear that Joshua did not give them rest; there is too great a difference between the type and antitype to draw conclusions as to the individual participants of eternal salvation.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
As for me, I will sit with Spurgeon, Hodge, Mohler, Newton, & Warfield on their own biblical judgment that Infants are included in the election of grace.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
As for me, I will sit with Spurgeon, Hodge, Mohler, Newton, & Warfield on their own biblical judgment that Infants are included in the election of grace.

Scripture and the Westminster Confession state as much. The issue does not pertain to "infants," but "all infants." One can sympthise with the desire to see a wideness in God's mercy, but where there is no covenantal promise a person really has no place to speak for God. It must remain an undecided issue for the simple reason that Scripture does not afford the materials for deciding it.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Steve:

You might also want, together with your wife, to look at Samuel Rutherford's Letters. The second of those letters presents Rutherford's tender pastoral counsel to a woman upon the death of her child. Rutherford's Letters are freely available on the Internet. A selection is posted here:

Letters of Samuel Rutherford -* Excerpts

Warfield would have sided with Hodge, but historically the matter was muddied by the efforts of Charles A. Briggs, a modernist of that era who worked tirelessly to revise [i.e., to undo] the Westminster Standards. He found his greatest leverage in promoting the idea that the Confession teaches that some children are elect and that others are not. But Warfield was exemplary in his scholarship, pointing out that chapter 10 of the Confession deals not with the question of who is or is not saved, but rather, it deals solely with the question, in three parts, of what happens to the elect?

As the parent of a profoundly disabled child, I'm encouraged by the words in WCF 10.3, but I also find the great weight is on my own shoulders, to make my own calling and election sure, to press in to surety that I am trusting in Christ and in Him alone for my salvation.
 
Last edited:

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Steve:

You might also want, together with your wife, to look at Samuel Rutherford's Letters. The second of those letters presents Rutherford's tender pastoral counsel to a woman upon the death of her child. Rutherford's Letters are freely available on the Internet. A selection is posted here:

Letters of Samuel Rutherford -* Excerpts

Warfield would have sided with Hodge, but historically the matter was muddied by the efforts of Charles A. Briggs, a modernist of that era who worked tirelessly to revise [i.e., to undo] the Westminster Standards. He found his greatest leverage in promoting the idea that the Confession teaches that some children are elect and that others are not. But Warfield was exemplary in his scholarship, pointing out that chapter 10 of the Confession deals not with the question of who is or is not saved, but rather, it deals solely with the question, in three parts, of what happens to the elect?

As the parent of a profoundly disabled child, I'm encouraged by the words in WCF 10.3, but I also find the great weight is on my own shoulders, to make my own calling and election sure, to press in to surety that I am trusting in Christ and in Him alone for my salvation.

Gen 18:25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I agree, Matthew. It seems that we need to keep in mind that God's righteousness is not a comfort to any apart from the satisfaction of that righteousness in Christ.

What we need to remember is that Romans 5 reveals that all men have the guilt and culpability of sin immediately imputed to them as they stand in federal relation to Adam. This is why infants die. We cannot leave aside the Gospel that grace abounds all the more for those who have Christ as their federal head and if any are to be saved it is because He is the Just and Justifier.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Why is it that infants die Colonel.... I did not quite understand that justification.
 

yoyoceramic

Puritan Board Freshman
What about this passage from 1 Corinthians 7 as it applies to believing parents?

14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.(Q) Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Does this give believing parents an assurance their expired infant will have a glorified body?
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
What about this passage from 1 Corinthians 7 as it applies to believing parents?

14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband.(Q) Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

Does this give believing parents an assurance their expired infant will have a glorified body?
Your logic in this interpretation would require that the unbelieving husband/wife will also "have a glorified body." This verse alone cannot make the case for universal infant salvation.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Why is it that infants die Colonel.... I did not quite understand that justification.

All die even though they do not sin according to the likeness of Adam. Death is a result of the Curse of the Fall but Christ redeems even those under the Curse. I didn't mean to imply that infants were in any special category. The point of Paul in Romans 5 is that death reigned from Adam. All men are subject to it. The hope we have is that Christ's grace superabounds where sin abounds.
 

Cato

Puritan Board Freshman
Gentlemen, the place of the wound is the place of healing. So when Thomas sees the resurrected body of Christ, he sees something thats not supposed to be there & he can't deal with it (the wounds) just doesn't make sense. So what does Jesus do, he tells Thomas to put his finger in. Deal with the pain. Deal with the fact that I am still broken. (Recognize that Christ is still teaching us something here)

No, you're resurrected, your not supposed to have a hole in your side.

" Thomas, put your finger in my hands. Put it in my side. Now, Believe "

You cant begin to believe until you put your fingers in your own wounds, the wounds of one another & the wounds of Christ.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Steve,

I won't claim to know the pain of losing a child and this medium does not communicate intentions or empathy well. There are respondents in this thread who have lost a child and I have lost loved ones that I have no comfort that they knew the Gospel.

Please keep in mind that the point that we're making is that true comfort is not found in assuming that infants go to heaven because they are not under sin but infants go to heaven, like all others, because of a Savior. The best the Roman Catholics could come up with is the idea that an unbaptized child is in limbo because they think the Church has to do something to a person in order to deal with the sin of Adam that rests upon his progeny. They reckon, as they do with adults, that an infant needs to be infused with righteousness through something the Church does to overcome the deprivation that sin has wrought upon the world.

This world is under a Curse. It's horrible that children die. It's horrible that people die. I just learned a few days ago that a dear friend of mine from a Church Sonya and I attended committed suicide. She used to hold my son and was dear to us.

I wept at that news. I wept because God has subjected the entire Creation to Curse as a result of the Fall. When Christ stood before Lazarus' tomb, the text states that He "snorted like a horse". He wept at sin in the world in anger but not as One who was going to let it reign any longer. He came to put the power of death to death. He became sin and bore the wrath and curse of God for sin.

That's the only hope I have for myself. That's the only hope I have for my friend that killed herself. It's the only hope I have for my children - that Christ has put the power and curse of sin to death on a Cross.

You speak of wounds, friend, and it is never my intention to add to your wounds. The false prophets were condemned by Jeremiah for healing the wounds of the people lightly by preaching peace where there is no peace. There is no peace with God apart from Christ. I only wanted to give you greater comfort and confidence to reflect that Christ is an all-perfect Savior and this is why we have confidence that infants are in heaven.
 

Christopher88

Puritan Board Sophomore
Steve I'm going to speak from my heart. I with my whole heart know God is just, and one of love. While there is no clear stance of what happens to infant when they pass, my trust in in God's righteousness. I won't speak further as I have no biblical teaching to give, but trust that God is righteous in all that He does. May peace be with on this subject.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top