The loss of a child is deeply personal and painful. My wife Grace and I are very blessed to have five healthy children, but several years ago Grace also suffered a miscarriage. It was a deep loss for us both, and we’ve shed a lot of tears over the years. When someone loses a child, it is a deep emotional pain that is accompanied with a need for compassion, love, empathy, and support for those grieving. There are painful things in this life that do not make sense and raise questions that remain unanswered on this side of the Kingdom. The death of a little one has to stand near the top of that list. Beyond just an answer, a person grieving the loss of any life, especially a little life, needs time to heal by the grace of God.
However, one question that gets frequently asked when there is a miscarriage, when a young child dies, or in the case of abortion, is what the eternal fate of that child will be.
The eternal fate of unborn children and infants is a mystery that has always haunted the church. There are six options available as answers:
- All babies are reprobate sinners and thus immediately banned from Heaven, awaiting the final eternal judgment for their sin nature inherited from Adam and sentenced to Hell.
- All babies are elect by God and thus immediately translated into God’s presence in Heaven upon death.
- God chooses whom He saves and damns, therefore some babies are taken to Heaven and the rest are left to spend eternity in Hell.
- All babies are innocent until they reach the age of accountability, therefore all children who die before the age of accountability go to Heaven.
- All babies who are baptized into a covenant family are part of the New Covenant and therefore go to Heaven upon death.
- God is both the Father and Son who make the decision about salvation, the Spirit can save from the womb, and the decision is ultimately the Lord’s, whom we trust by faith.
I’ve never encountered a Christian theologian who holds to answer #1, which leaves the remaining options for consideration. We will explore each of these options in following daily devotionals.