Saturday, July 31, 2010

Do Babies who die go to Heaven?

This is a very difficult question to answer. Undoubtedly, most people who believe in heaven will quickly and confidently answer will a resounding “YES”! But, hold on a minute, can we really answer in the affirmative so quickly? Hasn’t God has laid out a very specific requirement for going to heaven, which is to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and to be “born again”? Do babies meet this requirement?

To form an argument for answering NO to this question, let’s look at the two dominate soteriologicial views, those of Calvinism and Arminianism. John Calvin and his followers say that God, before the universe was even created, decided which person would go to heaven and which person would not. There is nothing any person can do to change this decision; if you are one of the “elect”, you are going to be saved and you have no choice in the matter. If you are not one of the “elect”, then you will not accept the gospel message as truth and you’ll reject Christ.

Jacob Arminius and his followers say that every person who hears the gospel of Christ has the free will to accept or deny what they hear; any person can be saved if only they choose to believe. The “elect” then are those whom God knew, from the beginning, would accept His Son and be saved.

Although these two views are polar opposites, they do have one thing in common—in order for a person to be saved, they must HEAR the gospel of Christ and ACCEPT it. In one view that acceptance is forced upon the person and in the other view that acceptance is a free choice; but in both views that acceptance was made by a person who knew what they were doing.

Infants and small children are not capable of making that choice; they cannot ACCEPT the gospel because they do not know what it is or what it means. If Jesus’ gospel is not accepted, then admittance into heaven is not granted. Therefore, any person, no matter their age, who dies without accepting Christ, will never enter heaven

To form an argument for answering YES to this question, let’s look at what happened to King David and his response. David arranged for a man to be killed in order to take that man’s wife for himself; David’s union with that woman, Bathsheba, produced a son. God punished David by causing the child to become ill and then die when it was only seven days old.

While the child was ill, David prayed and fasted, but once the child died, David worshipped God. David’s servants were confused by these actions and questioned him about it. David replied, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” 2 Samuel 12:22-23

So, it seems from David’s words and actions that he was assured that his child would go to heaven, and by extension, if David’s child went to heaven then that must mean that all babies who die go to heaven.

Or does it? Even though the answers that the Bible provides for our questions are to be believed 100%, it does not answer every question we can ask. But, it seems to me that the answer for how a person gets into heaven today is clearly recorded in Act 4:12, where speaking of Jesus it says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

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