What Happens to Infants When They Die?

*This is not a definitive answer on the topic but I hope it is useful food for thought.

What Happens to Infants When They Die?

The full question:

What would you say to the parents of the child who died during the birth process? Is there anything that could be said to the family that would console them in their grief?

ABSTRACT

The loss of a child, particularly during the birth process, is one of the most traumatic experiences someone can go through. So, what can be said to comfort parents in such a situation? By studying scripture, it is clear that God cares deeply for children. Nevertheless, they are guilty because of Adam’s representation, and so need salvation. God mercifully gives the salvation that they need through Christ. Therefore, parents can take hope in the fact that their child is safe in the arms of God. Which leads to pastoral lessons, such as that there is hope and that God cares for them. This is the hope that the gospel offers to parents in the face of such a tragedy.

1. INTRODUCTION

The death of an infant is one of the greatest tragedies of this world. It is an event that can sap the hope from even the most stalwart of believers. Sadly, it is an all-too-common occurrence. It is estimated that up to one in four pregnancies end in miscarriages before 20 weeks,[1] and that 1 in 120 births will be a stillborn.[2] While in God’s mercy the infant mortality rate has decreased consistently in Australia since the early 1900s,[3] the sheer severity of the issue means that even a relatively small number can impact greatly on those concerned. It must also be noted that this is not the case around the world: in Angola 96 out of 1,000 children born will die.[4] [5] Despite the increase in medical advancements miscarriages and deaths still happen. Further, around 25% of pregnancies in Australia will end in abortion,[6] and between one-quarter and one-third of Australian women will experience an abortion.[7] There can be no doubt that the death of infants and unborn babies is a huge issue: both in terms of what happens to the infant, and how to support and care for the parents involved.

So what hope does the bible offer to parents in the face of such a devastating event? What comfort can pastors give? This essay will seek to demonstrate that, despite the tragedy, there is still hope. It will begin by considering the theological framework, and then moving to the pastoral implications

2. THE THEOLOGY

2.1 God’s Special Care for Infants

The starting point is to consider how God feels towards infants. The bible is clear that God cares a great deal for all people,[8] but that He has particular concern for infants and children. Indeed, children actually belong to God and are merely on loan to parents. This is seen in passages such as Psalm 127:3, where God declares that children are a ‘heritage’ and a ‘reward’ from the Lord, and in Ezekiel 16:20-21 where God accuses the Israelites of ‘slaughtering [His] children.’ It is clear that children actually belong to God, as well as to their parents.[9] Therefore it makes sense that God would have a special interest in them, as they are His children.

Scripture also expresses God’s deep concern for the children of unbelievers. This is seen in passages such as Jeremiah 19:4-5, where the Israelites are said to have ‘filled this place with the blood of the innocent,’ with the ‘innocent’ here referring to children. While the parents are accountable for their rebellion against God, the children are seen in a different light: they are described as ‘innocent.’ This does not conflict with the fact that children also have a sinful nature, but rather shows that children are not considered guilty because of their parent’s sinful actions. God is angry at the parents for their treatment of the children, thus showing his concern for children, including the children of unbelievers. This is an important point because it shows that God’s care for children is wider than just the children of believers: God cares for all children.

Jesus also had a particular concern for children. This is seen in passages such as Mark 10:13-16 and Matthew 19:13-15, where children are brought to Jesus and he blesses them.[10] How striking it is that the maker of the universe takes time out of his limited ministry on earth to bless little children.[11] It shows clearly the heart of Jesus: he cares deeply for them. As Calvin notes, ‘[they] still have no understanding that they should seek his blessing. Yet when they are brought He receives them kindly and lovingly.’[12] If this is how Jesus, the very person of God, cares for little children, then there can be no doubt that the Father also loves them in the same way. Thus, as a starting point it is clear that God cares deeply for infants and children.

2.2 The Sinfulness of Humanity

Nevertheless, the bible makes clear that all people are sinful and guilty.[13] The bible presents a humanity that is ‘completely disinclined, incapacitated, and opposed to all spiritual good, and wholly inclined to all evil.’[14] Humans are guilty in two ways: through their own personal sin and rejection of God, and through the sinful representation of Adam.

2.2.1 Sinful Nature

First, humans are guilty because of their own personal sin.[15] So sinful is the human heart that Paul can say that ‘None is righteous, no, not one…no one does good, not even one.’[16] This is a remarkable comment, that of the billions of people who have ever lived not even one of them is good.[17] This sinful nature begins right from the beginning, with Psalm 51:5 saying that humans are conceived in sin.[18] If humans are even conceived in sin then sin pervades into every aspect of their being.

The objection, though, is that infants are not of an age to consciously sin. The bible refers to such as these in Jonah 4:11 and Deuteronomy 1:39, where children are said to ‘have no knowledge of good or evil.’ This is in the context of those who knowingly reject God’s promise of entering the Promised Land, compared to those who do not.[19] This shows that there is indeed an element of innocence until the time when someone has the mental capacity to knowingly morally transgress.[20] However this does not mean that infants are innocent and deserving of heaven, because there is still the issue of Original Sin.[21]

2.2.2 Original Sin

As well as their own personal sin, humans are also guilty because of Adam’s representation of humanity.[22] This is known as Original Sin,[23] and is seen particularly in Romans 5:12-21. Paul says that all are sinful because of Adam. While some have claimed that this merely means Adam was a negative influence leading people to their own sin,[24] [25] [26] the use of the aorist ἥμαρτον seems to indicate that it is not referring to many sins throughout the ages, but rather one specific sin: Adam’s.[27] This guilt-through-representation is shown by the fact that all people die, regardless of whether they have knowingly broken God’s law.[28] [29] Others argue that Adam’s sin only affected him, and thus that humans are born morally neutral.[30] [31] [32] They say that infants are born innocent, and only take on Adam’s sin when they consciously decide to rebel.[33] However this again ignores the logic of Paul’s argument: the fact that all die shows that all are guilty because of Adam’s representation. And so while this makes the case for infants simple,[34] it ignores key scriptural verses such as Psalm 143:2, Romans 3 and Acts 17:30. These all show humans to be sinful and in need of repentance: humans are not neutral, they are guilty. Further, if Adam was merely an example then Christ must have been merely an example as well. But this is not the case: Adam sinned as a representative for humanity, just as Christ died as a representative for humanity.[35] Thus, the consistent message of the bible is that all people are guilty because of Adam’s representation,[36] including infants.

2.2.3 Verdict

What can be concluded? It is that infants are indeed guilty, though perhaps not as guilty as grown adults. They are guilty because Adam acted as their representative: Adam spoke for all people when he sinned.[37] If they were not then they would not die.[38] [39] But they are still under death, which is ‘even over those who [do] not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.’[40] Thus, it is safe to say that infants are guilty because Adam represented them in his rejection of God. Nevertheless, infants have not yet consciously and willingly rejected God, and therefore are not guilty in the same way that a grown adult is.[41]

2.3 Salvation through God’s Mercy

While this may initially seem like good news, there is still the issue of their sinful status because Adam spoke for them. As Shedd notes, infants ‘have no claim upon divine mercy.’[42] Thus infants ‘need divine clemency like the rest of mankind.[43] What hope is there then? It would be hopeless, if not for God’s mercy. But God has provided a salvation that is based completely on grace: a salvation that comes through faith in His Son Jesus.[44] [45] It is this faith alone that saves:[46] if one acknowledges God as Lord, and puts their faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, then they are forgiven.[47] Further, they no longer have Adam as their representative, but rather Jesus.

The issue, however, is that this is[48] a mental decision.[49] One must understand and put their faith in these truths. And yet infants do not seem to have the mental capacity to know and understand the gospel, and thus to put their faith in Jesus for salvation. Thus, one might reach the conclusion that they cannot be saved. MacArthur tells of an encounter that one of his elders had with such a person: the man was convinced that his lost child was in hell because they had not had put their faith in Christ.[50] This, however, would be a premature conclusion to jump to, because no-one is saved by their own intellect or decision: it is merely by God’s mercy. And in the same way, infants can be saved by God’s mercy regardless of their mental capacity to know and understand the gospel.

How does this work? While it is true that God is a just God,[51] [52] he is also a merciful God, who delights in the salvation of his creation.[53] Indeed, God desires all people to come to know Him.[54] [55] Thus God somehow works his mercy in infants, through His Holy Spirit, to bring them to salvation. They are saved undeservingly, by God’s mercy. The question though, is how exactly are they saved?

2.4 How Salvation is Achieved

2.4.1 Baptism

Some have argued that baptism is the means by which infants enter into salvation.[56] Indeed, Krauth argues that Calvinism is flawed in its treatment of infants because it states that baptism plays no part in their salvation.[57] Thus, they claim, baptism is necessary to enter into God’s salvation: it is a sign of God’s covenant, and so any infant who is baptised will be saved.[58] As Shedd notes, this is correct to a degree, but it is not limited to those who are baptised.[59] If it were only those who are baptised that are saved, then it would[60] only be the infants of believers who are saved. But as demonstrated above, God cares for all infants, including the infants of unbelievers. Further, this means that God saves by baptism, not by his mercy.[61] Thus, it cannot be baptism that determines whether an infant is saved.

2.4.2 Christ’s Atoning Work

Rather, it is through Christ’s atoning work that infants are saved. That is the only way to be saved. While infants may not be able to consciously put their faith in Christ, nevertheless God can bring salvation to those whom he chooses: there are no limits to God’s power, and what He is able to do if he so desires. Therefore ‘nothing can stop God from bringing an infant to newness of life:’[62] there is no reason to suggest that God could not pour his Holy Spirit out on an infant in the womb, giving them a heart of flesh,[63] and bringing them to saving faith. While infants in the womb do not have the mental capacity of an adult, God is powerful enough to overcome this if He so desires: He can use Christ’s atoning work to forgive them.[64]

2.5 The Verdict on Infant Salvation

What, then, is the verdict? There are four common views. The first says that no children go to heaven.[65] This position seems untenable when one considers the numerous scriptural examples of infants being saved. For example, John the Baptist “leapt for joy” in the womb when he met Jesus,[66] which shows that even as an infant in the womb John recognised Jesus. It was undoubtedly a powerful work of God,[67] and demonstrates that God can work his will in even unborn infants.[68] Further, Luke 1:15-16 says that John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. Since possessing the Holy Spirit is a mark of salvation,[69] [70] it is clear that John was saved before he was born. There are also the cases of Psalm 22:9-10, where David says that ‘from my mother’s womb you have been my God,’ and Jeremiah 1:5, where God chose Jeremiah from the womb.[71] It is clear that God saved them while in the womb.[72] And finally, in 2 Samuel 12:15-23 David says ‘I’ll go to him [his lost infant], but he will never return to me,’ with the inference being that the child is in heaven.[73] Thus it is clear that at least some infants are saved, and ‘if this sort of thing happens even once, it can certainly happen in other cases.’[74] Thus, this is not a scriptural position to hold.

The second position is that only the children of believers go to heaven.[75] [76] This is often based on a particular interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7:14-16, where children are said to be saved by a believing parent.[77] [78] It is true that children of believers are said to be in the covenant until they are of an age to choose for themselves.[79] However, Paul is not speaking about infants who die here, but rather of children and their current status. Therefore, just because children of believers are considered to be ‘set apart for God’ and children of unbelievers ‘corrupt,’ it does not necessarily mean that they do not go to heaven. Instead, that their children are outside of the covenant and need to actively choose to enter it as they grow up.[80] Thus, the particular situation that Paul is addressing here seems to be somewhat different to the question of infants dying. A third[81] view says that some infants go to heaven, but not all: only God’s chosen elect do, but no-one can ever know who is within this limited number.[82] Both of these views begin with sound doctrine[83] but do not take into consideration many of the theological points made earlier in this essay.

The final view is that all infants go to heaven, regardless of their family origins. This is based on the points made earlier, and on the fact that scripture does not say they do not go to heaven. As Alexander notes, ‘as the Holy Scriptures have not informed us that any of the human family departing in infancy will be lost, we are permitted to hope that all such will be saved.’[84] This seems like a sound position to take: Scripture does not say with absolute certainty either way, but due to the fact that it does not say they are not saved, and due to the evidence considered in this essay, it seems like the most likely option to put one’s hope in. It is also based on the fact that Romans 1:20 suggests that people are ‘without excuse’ because of general revelation. Hence, it could be argued that those who did not have general revelation have something of an excuse.[85] Further, Scripture often refers to people being judged on the basis of voluntary rejection of God.[86] Infants are not capable of this, and thus it may be said that they are not guilty in this way. And finally, if an infant were to go to hell because of Adam’s representation then there would be reasonable evidence in God’s mind, but the child would not know why they were in eternal judgement. As Webb notes, ‘it could not tell its neighbour – it could not tell itself – why it was so awfully smitten… such an infant could feel that it was in hell, but it could not explain…why it was there.’[87] All of these arguments lead to the conclusion that infants are saved, not because they are innocent or do not deserve judgement,[88] but merely because of God’s gracious mercy. Warfield summaries it in this way:

If all infants dying in infancy are saved, it is certain that they are not saved by or through the ordinances of the visible Church…nor through their own improvement of a grace common to all men… it can only be through the almighty operation of the Holy Spirit who worketh when and where and how He pleaseth.[89]

As such, it is not that they deserve heaven, but that God gives them salvation despite them not deserving it: Zwingli suggests that an infant dying could actually be a sign of election.[90] Thus, while Scripture does not give a definitive answer either way, this seems to be the most likely position to hold.

3. THE PASTORAL IMPLICATIONS

What are the pastoral implications of this? What may be said to a grieving mother and father?

3.1 God Weeps with Them

The first thing that must be said to grieving parents is that God feels their pain: He weeps with them in their grief and sadness.[91] God has experienced pain himself[92] and so He truly understands the pain of sin and death.[93] This provides great comfort in the face of unimaginable suffering and tragedy. As Dickson notes,

The God who is in control of all things… is also the God who willingly suffers. He is the one I can shout at, cry with and find comfort in… This God is able to sympathise with those who suffer not simply because he is ‘all-knowing’…but because he has experienced pain firsthand.[94]

What a marvellous comfort it is to remember this truth that God has experienced pain himself and understands what His people are going through.

3.2 There is Hope

It is also vital to offer hope to grieving parents.[95] To remind them that, despite their grief and pain, there is indeed hope: a hope in the mercy of God. God is a good God, who pours his mercy out undeservingly on His people. As such, it is vital that people are reminded of this hope in the face of what can be a hope-sapping event. It is also important to provide the hope of David in 2 Samuel 12:15-23: there is the hope that they will see their lost infant again, even if they are gone for the short-term.

3.3 God is Good

It can be helpful to be reminded of God’s goodness in the face of such a tragedy. The bible is clear that God is good, and cares for his people. Romans 8 shows that God is good and is working for the good of His people. Thus grieving parents need to be reminded that God is good: maybe not straight away, but over time they need to be comforted by the truth that God is indeed a good God.

3.4 Heartless Theology

However, it is vital to remember that there are times when theological truths are not helpful. For example, reminding grieving parents that God has a plan for their suffering[96] is not a helpful thing to hear at that moment. While it is theologically true, it is not the time for theological lessons. John 16:12 sets a precedent for the fact that there are times where spiritual truths cannot be imparted because the person receiving them is not able to hear it.[97] [98] [99] Grieving parents would fit this category: they are not able to bear the truth at the time. Thus, while it is important to help them understand at a point in the future, the initial moments are not the time to give a theological lesson. Rather, it is imperative that pastors share in the grief of their people and provide a caring and heartfelt ear to listen and offer comfort.

4. Conclusion

While the loss of an unborn infant remains one of the most traumatic experiences that anyone could go through, nevertheless there is hope found in the gospel. Hope that the infant is not permanently lost but has only gone away for a time. While it does not fully erase the grief, it at least gives hope and comfort in the face of such a terrible tragedy. And that is perhaps what is most needed in such a situation: hope.

  1. Sands Australia, ‘Sands Australia’, n.d., http://www.sands.org.au/miscarriage, (accessed May 7, 2018).

  2. Sands Australia, ‘Sands Australia’, n.d., http://www.sands.org.au/stillbirth, (accessed May 7, 2018).

  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Main Features – Infant Deaths’, September 28, 2016, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/3302.0Main%20Features52015?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=3302.0&issue=2015&num=&view=, (accessed May 7, 2018).

  4. Compared to 3.2 in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, “Main Features – Infant Deaths.”)

  5. Statistics, ‘Countries With The Highest Infant Mortality Rates’, in WorldAtlas, n.d., https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-infant-mortality-rates.html, (accessed May 7, 2018).

  6. Children by Choice, ‘Australian Abortion Statistics – Children by Choice’, n.d., https://www.childrenbychoice.org.au/factsandfigures/australian-abortion-statistics, (accessed May 7, 2018).

  7. Children by Choice, “Australian Abortion Statistics – Children by Choice.”

  8. For example, see Psalm 145:9 where God is said to be ‘good to everyone; His compassion rests on all He has made.’ It is clear that God cares deeply for his whole creation.

  9. William Brownlee, Ezekiel 1 – 19 (Word Biblical Commentary; Waco, Tex: Word Books, Publ, 1986), 230.

  10. R. A. Cole, The Gospel According to Mark: An Introduction and Commentary (2nd ed.; The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries 2; Leicester, England : Grand Rapids, Mich: Inter-Varsity Press ; Eerdmans, 1989), 231–232.

  11. J. C Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Mark (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2012), 159.

  12. Jean Calvin, A harmony of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke (Volume 2) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979), 251.

  13. Including children

  14. Rowland S Ward, The Westminster Confession and Catechisms in Modern English: A Modernised Text Commemorating the 350th Anniversary of the Westminster Assembly, 1643-49 (Wantirna, Vic.: New Melbourne Press, 2000), 21.

  15. John Robert Walmsley Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (Leicester: Inter-Varsity press, 1996), 100.

  16. Romans 3:10-12

  17. James Montgomery Boice, Romans (1-4) (Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Book House, 1991), 289.

  18. Jean Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: The Banner Of Truth Trust, 2014), 606.

  19. Alan S Bandy, ‘Of Age and Innocence: Scripture Is Uncomfortably Vague on Whether Children Go to Heaven When They Die’, Christianity Today 61/5 (June 2017): 62.

  20. When exactly someone has reached that age is difficult to specify, but nevertheless it seems to suggest that there is a time when someone is not conscious of transgressing God’s moral law.

  21. C. Samuel Storms, Tough Topics: Biblical Answers to 25 Challenging Questions (Re:Lit; Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2013), 110.

  22. Matt Perman, ‘What Is the Biblical Evidence for the Imputation of Adam’s Sin?’, in Desiring God, January 23, 2006, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-is-the-biblical-evidence-for-the-imputation-of-adams-sin, (accessed April 30, 2018).

  23. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1996), 244–250.

  24. Which is a biblically consistent idea: as demonstrated above, humans do indeed sin themselves.

  25. Constantine Campbell, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical And Theological Study (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 346.

  26. Richard Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2016), 578.

  27. Timothy Keller, Romans 1-7 for You (Purcellville, VA: The Good Book Company, 2014), 124.

  28. Romans 5:14

  29. Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1996), 333–334.

  30. John Michael Lawrence, ‘Pelagius and Pelagianism’, Restoration Quarterly 20/2 (1977): 98–99.

  31. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1995), 180–187.

  32. Bible Study Tools, ‘Infant Salvation As Related to Original Sin, Calvinism’, in Bible Study Tools, n.d., http://www.biblestudytools.com/classics/shedd-calvinism/infant-salvation-as-related-to-original-sin.html, (accessed May 8, 2018).

  33. Millard J Erickson, Christian theology (Volumen 2) (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1984), 639.

  34. I.e. they go to heaven because they have never sinned themselves, and are thus deserving of heaven.

  35. Jean Calvin, The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Romans and to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. Eerdmans, 1991), 112.

  36. Robert A. Peterson, Election and Free Will: God’s Gracious Choice and Our Responsibility (Phillipsburg, N.J: P&R Pub, 2007), 172.

  37. Peterson, Election and Free Will, 172.

  38. Thus is the logic of Romans 5:12-14.

  39. See also Romans 6:23, where the wages of sin is death.

  40. Romans 5:14

  41. In a sense infants are only ‘guilty,’ while adults are ‘double guilty.’

  42. William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (3rd ed.; Phillipsburg, N.J: P & R Pub, 2003), 910.

  43. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 910.

  44. Derek R. W. Wood (ed.), New Bible Dictionary (3. ed ed.; Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), 1050.

  45. Westminster Assembly (ed.), The Westminster Confession of Faith. (Glasgow: Free Presbyterian Publications, 1997), 57–58.

  46. R. C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1992), 189–190.

  47. John R. W Stott, The Cross of Christ (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2006), 405.

  48. at least in part

  49. There is also obviously the work of the Holy Spirit convicting and changing the sinner’s heart first before they can put their faith in Jesus.

  50. John F. MacArthur, Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 87.

  51. See Genesis 18:25, where God is said to be a judge who will do what is just.

  52. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press [u.a.], 1994), 203–205.

  53. Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith. (n.p.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 91.

  54. 1 Timothy 2:4

  55. John R. W Stott, The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: The Life of the Local Church (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1996), 64–65.

  56. Alan H Hamilton, ‘The Doctrine of Infant Salvation’, Bibliotheca sacra 101/403 (July 1944): 354.

  57. Charles P. Krauth, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1899), 435.

  58. Francis Aloysius Sullivan, ‘The Development of Doctrine about Infants Who Die Unbaptized’, Theological Studies 72/1 (March 2011): 3.

  59. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology, 818.

  60. Or at least, should

  61. Richard J Mouw, ‘Baptism and the Salvific Status of Children: An Examination of Some Intra-Reformed Debates’, Calvin Theological Journal 41/2 (November 2006): 242.

  62. John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, New Jersey: P&R Publishing, 2013), 950.

  63. Ezekiel 36:26

  64. Regardless of their mental capacity

  65. Storms, Tough Topics, 105.

  66. Who was also in the womb of his mother Mary.

  67. Jean Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke (Volume 1) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1978), 32.

  68. Luke 1:41; 44

  69. Ephesians 1:13

  70. F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (The New International Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans, 1984), 264–265.

  71. John L Mackay, Jeremiah (Volume 1) (Fearn: Mentor, 2004), 96–98.

  72. Allan M Harman, Psalms (Fearn, Ross-shire: Mentor, 2011), 218.

  73. Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary (Volume 2) (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 393–394.

  74. Ronald Nash, When a Baby Dies (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 65.

  75. Storms, Tough Topics, 106.

  76. Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co., 1932), 143.

  77. David Prior, The Message of 1 Corinthians: Life in the Local Church (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2010), 126–127.

  78. Jean Calvin, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1989), 149–150.

  79. Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), 110.

  80. In the same way that children of believers must choose to remain in the covenant.

  81. And similar

  82. It is merely down to God’s sovereign choice.

  83. Covenantal families and God’s sovereign election

  84. James Waddel Alexander, The Life of Archibald Alexander, D.D. (1854th ed.; Bedford, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, n.d.), 585.

  85. Sam Storms, ‘Do All Infants Go to Heaven?’, The Gospel Coalition, n.d., https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/do-all-infants-go-to-heaven/, (accessed April 20, 2018).

  86. See passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-12

  87. R. A. Webb, The Theology of Infant Salvation (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle, 1981), 288–289.

  88. Because regardless of their own sin, there is at the least Adam’s sinful representation that must be dealt with.

  89. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2003), 444.

  90. Brian H Butler, ‘Infant Salvation: An Ecumenical Problem’, Foundations 14/4 (October 1971): 348.

  91. Hebrews 2:18

  92. Indeed, pain far greater than any we could ever experience.

  93. John Dickson, If I Were God, I’d End All the Pain (Kingsford, Australia: Matthias Media, 2002), 62–63.

  94. Dickson, If I Were God, I’d End All the Pain, 67–68.

  95. D. A Carson, How Long, O Lord?: Reflections on Suffering and Evil (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity, 2006), 224.

  96. Romans 8:28

  97. Andreas J. Köstenberger, John (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2004), 473–474.

  98. James Montgomery Boice, The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary (Volume 4) (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1980), 295–296.

  99. J. C Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John (Volume 3) (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2012), 110.

 

 

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