hat about Infants?
A free will Christian posted the following question, which actually is a good question. I will attempt to give a Biblical answer from my point of view as a blood bought, King James Bible believer who fully believes in the doctrines of God’s electing grace unto the salvation of His elect people.
Mr. P. asks: “Why are non elect fetuses and infants that die in their Total Depravity damned to hell and the lake of fire?”
Hi Mr. P. Good question. However it should be pointed out that you are not looking for answers as much as you are looking for excuses to not believe in the doctrines of sovereign electing grace. Instead, you are hoping to prop up your false theology of “I chose of my own free will to believe the gospel.”
You don’t really believe in what is called Total Depravity for a second. If you did, you would not be a free willer. Total Depravity does not mean that every man is as bad as he could be. It simply means that spiritually speaking, he is as bad off as he can be.
Scripture teaches us that “by one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” and “through the offence of one (Adam) many be dead” and “by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners” (Romans 5:12, 15 and 19).
The Bible also teaches us that by nature man is born dead in sins and trespasses (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13) and that “They are ALL under sin; There is NONE righteous, no, not one; there is NONE that seeketh after God; there is NONE that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:9-12) THAT is the Biblical doctrine of Total Depravity.
Let’s look more closely at your question. Are non elect infants damned to hell and the lake of fire? Well, if ANYBODY is not one of the Elect whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, then they are lost, whether they by babies, boys, girls, women, men or "will of the flesh" religionists. If you are not elect, then you are not elect. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?
Let me approach this issue from two different angles. The first is to point out that God would be perfectly just and holy in condemning ALL men, women and children to the fires of hell. That would be what we all deserve, whether you find this palatable or to your liking or not. God is not really concerned about what YOU, nor I for that matter, happen to think of Him.
Does God Himself kill little babies and command others to do the same. Yes, He does. The first major instance of God killing off thousands and perhaps millions of children, infants and pregnant women was when He sent the waters of the flood to destroy the earth and drown all the inhabitants of it except one small family of Noah who found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
Another well known time when God killed off thousands more was when He slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn. And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. Exodus 4:22-23
“Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.” Exodus 11:4-5
In Numbers 31 the LORD commands Moses to avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites, and Moses, in turn, commands them - “Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.” Numbers 31:1-2 and 17.
In conquering the land of Canaan and wiping out the inhabitants of the land it is recorded - “And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people...and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain.” and “utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city.” Deuteronomy 2:33-34; 3:6
In Deuteronomy 32 God brings judgment upon His own disobedient people and He says: “I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them...The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.” Deut. 32:23-25
In 1 Samuel 15 God commands Saul - “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel...Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling...” 1 Samuel 15:2-3
When king David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed, Bathsheba had a child by David. But God Himself kills the little child - “the child that is born unto thee shall surely die...And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick...And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died.” 2 Samuel 12:13-18.
When God sends judgment upon the city of Jerusalem in Ezekiel chapter 9 the LORD Himself commands the angel - “Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women; but come not near any man that has the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.” Ezekiel 9:6
And finally for now, in the book of Hosea when God is once again bringing judgment upon Israel the prophet cries out - “Give them, O LORD: what wilt Thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts...yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.” Hosea 9:14-16.
So, what happens to all these children, infants and aborted fetuses that God Himself killed or had others kill? Would He be “just” in sending them all to hell to suffer varying degrees of punishment? He cannot allow the presence of sin in heaven, so what happens to them?
As I understand the Scriptures, God chose His elect from before the foundation of the world - "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." Ephesians 1:4-5.
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." 2 Thessalonians 2:13
"For God hath not APPOINTED US to wrath, but TO OBTAIN SALVATION by our Lord Jesus Christ" 1 Thessalonians 5:9
Romans chapter 9 tells us that God's election is NOT of the will of man, but solely of God Himself. He even illustrates His election from the womb, as in the case of specific individuals like Jacob and Esau. Let's look at the passage in question. Romans 9:7-16
7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
The argument seems clear that God loved one and not the other; He has mercy on whom He wills to have mercy and whom He wills to harden, He hardens, and all of this is NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
And the context is talking about two babies in the womb of one mother. I did not write the Book; and neither did you. Keep that in mind. We only know what is true by what God has been pleased to reveal to us in His Book. I happen to (by His grace alone) believe what the Book says.
Some try to explain away or get around this election of the vessels of mercy which He afore prepared unto glory, but telling us that Jacob and Esau are representative of nations and not individuals, but the text does not say this at all. In fact, God seems to go out of His way to make it patently clear that He is talking about individual people, one of whom He loves and the one He hates. But even if we take their interpretation as being true, then their case becomes even worse. Now God hates an entire nation!
Then some try to tell us that this section of Scripture is merely talking about Esau serving Jacob, and has nothing to do with whether Esau was saved or not. The "free willers" will go to any extreme to twist the Scriptures in order to hang on to their idol known as "my free will".
The entire chapter is talking about those who are the children of God and those who are not. THAT is the whole point of this entire chapter. In addition to this, if we go back and read the history recorded about Jacob and Esau we see in the book of Genesis that Jacob, though a cheat and a liar, is blessed of God and Jacob frequently calls upon and prays to the Lord as his God.
But there is not a recorded instance in the whole Bible where we ever see Esau calling upon God or even mentioning Him. There is NO indication at all that Esau ever even believed in God, much less called upon Him. Esau was the father of the Edomites, who were perpetual enemies of the Israelites.
In fact, God tells us in Malachi 1:1-4 -
1. The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.
2 I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob,
3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.
4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever. "
So, Scripture seems to clearly teach that even concerning those in the womb, some of them are God's elect and some are not.
The second approach I would like to take with your question about What happens to fetuses and infants and whether they are elect or not is to point out a couple of Scriptures that lead me to believe that at least some and perhaps many fetuses, infants and small children may indeed be among the elect and God takes them home early.
The first instance is one we have already briefly looked at. It occurs when God strikes the child born of Bathsheba and David in their adulterous affair. The baby dies by the direct action of the LORD Himself, yet when he dies king David expresses these thoughts, saying: “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I SHALL GO TO HIM, but he shall not return to me.”
How did David know that he would one day be re-united with his dead son whom the Lord Himself had killed? I believe God revealed this to him in the midst of his sorrow to comfort him with the fact that in the next world he would be with his son in glory.
The second Scripture that makes me believe that young children and babies are among the elect of God is found by comparing a verse in the N.T. with the Old Testament reference. It is recorded in Matthew chapter two that shortly after the birth of the child Jesus, king Herod tried to kill him. Herod sent forth and had all the children that were in Bethlehem and the surrounding region killed that were two years old and under.
Then we read: “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matthew 2:16-16.
However when we go back and look at this prophecy in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah 31:15-17 we find not only the prophecy of the death of the children but we also read these words of comfort - “Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; AND THEY SHALL COME AGAIN FROM THE LAND OF THE ENEMY. AND THERE IS HOPE IN THINE END, saith the LORD, THAT THY CHILDREN SHALL COME AGAIN TO THEIR OWN BORDER.”
This clearly seems to be a promise from God that these children who were killed by Herod will one day COME AGAIN FROM THE LAND OF THE ENEMY = “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26 - and be reunited with their godly parents in Paradise.
So, in the final analysis as I understand the Scriptures at this point, How do I address the issue of what happens to fetuses, infants and children who die, whether elect or non elect?
I have to say that at this point if they are among the elect, then they obviously will be saved. If they are not elect, then they will not be saved. But God may have many of his elect among the babies that are aborted or die in their infancy.
Let's trust God with this issue as Abraham did and was able to say “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25
Brother Ken Matto has written a very thought provoking Bible based study on what is commonly called The Age of Accountability. He offers some different views on the subject of elect and non-elect children and I believe he has some very good points to make. I offer it here for your consideration.
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