Thursday, October 18, 2007

Question via e-mail of a Bible Student

Question: Do babies (aborted or miscarried or stillborn) stay babies in heaven or do they grow up in heaven?

Background: I have been in a post-abortion Bible Study for over a year now and a question came up this week that we wanted your feedback.

For example, my (aborted) baby died in _______ and I picture him as a baby although if he lived he would have been ___ in June of this year. Is he [the age he would have been] and hanging out with Jesus or is he still a baby in Jesus arms?

Follow-up Questions: Similar question could be asked about children that die. How would you counsel a believing mom about her child that she is mourning?

Short Answer: I don't know.

Speculative Answer: (I try to let my speculations be framed not by my preferences and hopes but by the teaching and principles that can be culled from the Scriptures.) You have a couple of issues here--among them: Who we are in the eternal state? Who goes to the eternal state? First, a couple of guidelines:
  1. All answers and speculations must not contradict clear teaching of Scripture.

  2. The character of God can be trusted to be merciful, loving, just, righteous, etc., even when we are in the dark as to the particulars.

  3. All answers and speculations must not contradict what has been revealed in Scripture concerning the nature and character of God.

All those who are "in Christ" by faith are destined for heaven, no matter what their state of sanctification at the point of death. (cf. John 1:12-13, 3:16; Romans 10:11-17; 1 John 5:9-12 etc.) But, what about those who could not believe? What about those who die in childbirth, die by abortion, die by miscarriage, die before they can hear and respond to the gospel? What about children who are severely retarded or born with little more than a brain stem?

My opinion: First, those who are saved are saved by the grace of God. Second, children who die before hearing the gospel are saved on the same basis--grace. I wish I had more time to develop this, but others have done it for us. I would recommend the following books.

Heaven for those Who Can't Beleive, Robert Lightner; This is the oldest of the one's I am recommending and probably the shortest.

Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child, John MacArthur; This is probably the most pastoral and comforting.

When a Baby Dies, Ronald Nash, this is the most recent offering on the subject. I have the first and last in my personal library. They are both very good. MacArthur's view is closest to mine for what it is worth.

Now to the other question, what age will he/she appear? Again, any answer is pure speculative. Personally, I think we will all be at our peak physical and intellectual strength and that would include infants who "died before their time."

I hope this is of some help to you. My prayers will perhaps be more helpful than anything I have written here. You have them my sister.


Craver Vii said...

I will have to check the library for that MacArthur book. This is something that I really want to have a better understanding of, but an open discussion might unnecessarily aggravate another person's old wounds.

Laura said...

Marty, thanks for sharing the question/answer.

Craver, your sensitivity is appreciated. Talking about hurts can be part of the healing process.