Children who die, how are they raised up?

Certainly, hardly anything seems more tragic than a young child dying way before his time. This topic is one that I do not know well, but I am wondering several things:

  1. Are kids saved, even if they have never repented of their sins?The church I grew up in did not allow infant baptism, believing that baptism can only be associated with a confession of faith, which a baby cannot make. They taught that there is an age of accountability before which even if a child has not made a confession of faith, their sins would still be forgiven.I guess I still believe this, but I admit, I cannot think of any biblical support for this belief.
  2. What sort of body would such a child be raised up in? As the adult that they never were, or do they raise up as a child? Paul does touch on resurrection bodies in I Corinthians 15. However, as far as I know, there is nothing in the Bible that answers this question.

Any ideas?

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@manbooks I tend to assume an adult body because that is how Christ was raised, but there is no definitive evidence on this one as far as I know. The following thread addresses the issue of salvation for young children. Hope it is helpful :slight_smile:

“There is the consistent testimony of Scripture that people are judged on the basis of sins committed voluntary and consciously in the body (see 2 Cor. 5:10; [1 Cor. 6:9–10]). In other words, eternal judgment is always based on conscious rejection of divine revelation (whether in creation, conscience, or Christ) and willful disobedience. Are infants capable of either? There is no explicit account in Scripture of any other judgment based on any other grounds. Thus, those dying in infancy are saved because they do not (indeed cannot) satisfy the conditions for divine judgment.”

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Hi @manbooks,

I remember throwing this question pompously at my Christian cousin when I was a non-believer.

When I became a believer, a non-believer friend’s mum ask me this question too and reminded me to look it up.

My simple exegetic answer is simply derived from 2 Sam 12 when David mourned his child with Bathsheba for 7 days, whom God said will die. And when he heard that the child is dead, he stop mourning and his curious attendants asked him why he fasted and wept while the child is still alive, but as soon as the child died, he stop mourning and start eating.

2 Sam 12:22-23 NKJV
And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ 23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Of course the assumption is David was sure he will go to heaven, and biblically, David did go to heaven. But I heard the counter-argument who said that David was just talking about the realm of dead, not necessarily heaven or hell.

And regarding your first question, there is indeed an age of accountability, found in Isaiah 7:15-16 “Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings.” So I concur with @SeanO that infants would not meet the criteria for divine judgment.

Anyway, regarding “uncertain” after-life fates, I always hold on to Gen 18:25b “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” At the end, if we have established that God is all-good and fair, no one will be able to say they got the short end of the stick. Everybody will know they got exactly what they deserve, no one can feel hard done by God.

Hope it helps. Feel free for anyone to CMIIW.

Blessings in Christ.
Roy

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Thank you. I too have always believed that children always are saved. David writes:
" Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

Later on, he explains that the reason God does not hold him to account regarding his sins is that he repented. Of course, a child who dies at a young age may not have the opportunity to repent, so if God is not holding their sin against them, there must be another factor. As you cited, indeed all that God does is right, our limited understanding not withstanding.

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My Baby sister Lorretta died when she was 3 1/2 years old, hospitalized from the age of one year. Jesus Loves the Children above us all . He Summons new Angels to share Heaven with him and all the saved as well.

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I had to say that my basic understanding is that God will judge fairly according to his will not what we mortal could understand. To say that “all children” will be saved is highly untrue because the bible never mentioned that clause. In my father’s days it was unthinkable for a group of children to commit robbery and murder or even suicidal. Nowadays these cases are just too common. Having that said I don’t believe that young age is a free pass to heaven to escape judgement day. Everyone should be judged.

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Having lost one myself (plus a miscarriage) I wept while watching Perry Stone talking about children in heaven: Infants in Heaven
I tend to think of my first son as having lots of fun in heaven with his younger sister (I just feel that it was a girl) and cheering for us when we - their parents and siblings - here on Earth overcome something with God’s help and grow in faith.
God is just, but having this as an answer is the result of a 10+ year journey with God. I started off with reasoning why they must be in heaven, so I could hold onto that to be able to create a vision outside my desperation and misery. I think answering these questions is a God-led journey for each parent. We can support them by providing a shoulder to cry on, showing compassion, empathy, and support, helping them to find peace. Whatever they believe for that moment, if it brings peace to them, then we just sit with them and listen to them, and let God to lead them to better understanding, at a pace that fits them.

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Hi @manbrooks,

I found some interesting resources by both Matt Perman and Sam Storms on this question; their thoughts were important and helpful to me in thinking through this question. So, I will draw from the verses they referenced and some of their thoughts in answering you.

The main tension seems to be that we are familiar with what the Bible teaches about sin and salvation. In particular, that we are all made in God’s image, yet have become sinful rebels, and can only be saved through a relationship with Christ.

What would it mean, then, for an infant or young child to have a relationship with Christ and experience salvation?

However, there is a persistent sense that children are a unique case. More importantly, the Scriptures give us some reason to understand why this is.

We might find ways to justify to ourselves what we want (this is a very common human tendency and it is no better when Christians do it than when others do it).

So I think it is important, on such a delicate and sensitive subject, to carefully look at what the Bible explains to us.

In the first place, we have evidence of infants who appear to be saved by God. We see that this is David’s testimony of his own life (Psalm 22:9-10). This was also the experience of John the Baptist (Luke 1:15). In addition, David expected to meet his first son, who died very early, in the next life (2 Samuel 12:23).

Secondly, Deuteronomy 1:39 speaks about children, “who today have no knowledge of good or evil.” These children were exempt from God’s judgment upon the Israelites. The adults were forbidden from going into Canaan because of their sin and rebellion against God. However, their innocent children were allowed to go into the land.

Third, this idea is reinforced by Jesus’ teaching in John 9:41. Jesus says to the Pharisees, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt.” However, they are able to see God’s truth (and God himself in the flesh!) and yet they reject it for their own ways. To the degree that a child is ‘blind’ to the things of God due to their age or undeveloped cognitive capacity, we may be encouraged that they will not be held accountable to God.

Finally, we can be assured of God’s goodness. In Psalm 119:68 we read, “You are good and do good.” What a poetic and beautiful way to declare the complete goodness of God!

On the basis of these verses, and what seems to me to be careful reflection on them, I think we should be assured of God’s salvation for the unborn and for young children.

At the same time, we should be eager to teach our children about God, that they might never know a time when they did not know him. We see in Matthew 19 that Jesus was glad to have the children brought to him - it is the delight of every Christian parent to pray with their children and introduce them to Jesus from their first breath.

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