Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is my baby in Heaven?

This was a topic I was going to write about when we first heard we were having twins . I have always held the position that when a baby dies it goes to Heaven, but it wasn't until my Aunt delivered a still born earlier this year that I really dove into the subject to see why I held this position.

There is not one verse that says "Babies go to Heaven" or anything like that, so a look at the entire scope of the Bible is needed to answer the question. Earlier this year (before my wife got pregnant) I became more convinced than ever, that when a baby dies it goes to Heaven. I came to this conclusion from many implicit references in the Bible (again there are no explicit references about this).

I decided to give you the arguments and writings of one who has already written about this (no need re-inventing the wheel, right?). So I recommend the following resources to you from Pastor John MacArthur.

You can listen for free to his sermon series, "What Happens to Babies Who Die?" (which include Jesus Loves The Little Children, and two sermons that get deeper into answering the question that I really really recommend listening to both The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 1 & The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 2 )

If you are more of the book nerd type then you can get this in book form (called, "Safe in the Arms of God" which I am reading right now). The book starts off:

"What about a two-year-old baby crushed at the bottom of the World Trade Center?"

The question was fired at me by Larry King. I had been invited to participate as a panel member on the Larry King Live television program one Saturday evening. The program was taped in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Even though we had been discussing issues of life and death, grief and hope, as part of this program, Larry's question seemed to come out of nowhere.

"Instant heaven," I immediately replied.

Larry fired back a second question: "He wasn't a sinner?"

I again answered, "Instant heaven."

Larry's compelling questions revealed a nagging, troubling issue in the human heart.

What is the future of a baby crushed by the rubble of the collapsing World Trade Center? What about any baby that dies? What happens to an unborn child, an infant, a child, or even a physically mature but mentally handicapped adult with the mental capacity of a child after he dies? What is the fate of that "little one" as he or she enters eternity? The questions are agonizing ones for many parents, Christians and non-Christians alike.

A number of rather strange and ill-founded answers have been given to these questions in the past. The correct answer, however, begins very simply: "Instant heaven."

In the sound-bite environment of a program such as Larry King Live, I had no opportunity to follow up with an explanation for my statement and, frankly, Larry didn't ask for one. He seemed satisfied with my quick and decisive response and went on to other questions related to the ways in which our nation was grieving and recovering from the aftermath of that terrible day of tragedy.

But I believe you deserve an expanded answer because in all likelihood, you are reading this book after having experienced the loss of a child-or perhaps because you are a person in a position, as I have been too many times as pastor, to counsel or encourage someone who has lost a child. My heart grieves with any parent who loses a child, and that is what motivated me to search Scriptures on this subject so I could reach out and offer biblically founded words of comfort and encouragement...

After examining the Biblical evidence, Vanessa and I have been convinced that when a child dies they go to Heaven. This is consistant with the orthodox Christian view that we are saved by grace but damned by works. If you disagree, don't have a clue, or are not sure why you hold that position I would really recommend the above resources.

Soli Deo Gloria!

jason d.


Anonymous said...

I was directed to your page yesterday and have been so encouraged. Your family has been in my prayers. Yes, the book you mentioned by MacArthur is wonderful. I highly reccommend it.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for recommending the sermons and book. We've just gone through our third miscarriage and do believe our little ones are in heaven. But I've always held this view and haven't really studied the subject and really want to. I read your blog for the first time last night and was really encouraged at how the Lord is working in and through you. Thank you for being so open and honest. I am praying for you and your family. Blessed be His name!

Ice Kareem said...


I've been taking a class on Judaism and the same question was asked; The Rabbi gave an interesting response:

We are not concerned with the hereafter. The purpose of this life is to make the world a better place.

How do you feel about such a statement?

Jason and Vanessa said...

ice kareem (aka Farrohk),

regarding the response that Rabbi gave:

"We are not concerned with the hereafter. The purpose of this life is to make the world a better place.

I would ask him why he believes that. If God's concern is to make the earth a better place then why make humans at all? Was it not humans who caused God to destroy the earth in judgment (some Old Testament examples that a Rabbi would be familiar with is the fall [Genesis 3] God destroying the world through flood [Genesis 6], destroying a city like Sodom & Gomorrah [Genesis 19], plus all the examples of God destroying citys, armies, and civilizations.) I think a quick overview would reveal that taking care of the earth is not God's biggest concern.

We are no doubt called to be good stewards of the earth, and to do good to our neighbor, but our highest call is to "love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might." This is because God has created us for His glory, and God is primarily concerned for His glory, or His Name as other Scriptures will put it.

The Old Testament does also talk about the afterlife as being a eternal state (Isaiah 66:22-24, Daniel 12:2, ect,...) and contrast the fate of the faithful with the wicked,...those being resurrected to everlasting life and others to everlasting contempt.

The preacher of Ecclesiastes calls this life "but a vapor",...this is in contrast to eternity. I would ask him if he is really not concerned with the eternal state, then he would have to remove alot of his Old Testament (especially the Psalms). And I would ask why a sacrifice for sin is needed, if the hereafter does not matter (that would cause him to have to remove most of the Torah).

God has revealed through Scripture that He has a passion for His fame, His name, His renown, throughout all the earth, and that He will be exalted in all the earth. He has revealed in His Word to us that He created us for His glory, and all the Old Testament types and shadows all point to Jesus Christ, God in flesh, the only one who can save us from our sins so that we can spend eternity with God, who is our highest joy. I would plead with your Rabbi to realize that the Old Testament prophecies about the Christ has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ (there are hundreds of fullfilled prophecies, but I would first take him to Psalm 22, and Isaiah 52-53) Jesus Christ is the ONLY mediator between God and men, and He is the way the truth and the life, NOONE comes to the Father but by Him.

Hope that would help him,


Soli Deo Gloria!

jason d.

Courtney Kay said...

i read/listened to the links. I am so glad that i did they really help explain how God loves children and how close to heaven they are

Ice Kareem said...

I'm not Jewish by any means, I just want to learn about their traditions/beliefs so I can understand all the things I've been taught growing up in a new context.

I don't really think he was saying that it didn't matter. I think he was saying that its not ultimately in our hands so we shouldn't be concerned with it. At the end of the day, God is the decider of what happens after life on earth.

Interesting point about Isaiah 52-53 and Psalms 22. I'll be sure to ask about it in class later.

Jason and Vanessa said...

ice kareem (aka Farrohk),

Ya, it is hard to respond to a quote, especially when I do not know the context of it, so thanks for adding in the part of what you believe he is getting at. I must however respond to the following:

"I think he was saying that its not ultimately in our hands so we shouldn't be concerned with it. At the end of the day, God is the decider of what happens after life on earth."

It is true that ultimately God decides what happens to us after life on earth, but that does not mean we are not responsible to respond to what God has given.

What do I mean by this?

Well, first, God has revealed Himself to us by nature, so we all know there is a God, and if we don't believe that it is because we are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness:

"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen."
Romans 1:19-25

"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard."
Psalms 19:1-3

Secondly, God has given everyone a conscience, we know when we do right and wrong, even if we have never read the Bible, or heard the gospel, we are a law unto ourselves:

"For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus."
Romans 2:14-16

We don't have to wonder what happens to us after death:

"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)

God has revealed it to us, and it is more than just believing that God exist, for there will be some who say they did works in His name, but they will not go to Heaven:

"You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'"
Matthew 7:16-23

Bro, this is a sobering statement that Jesus makes. So the question is,...are you a worker of lawlessness? Meaning, have you broken God's law, the 10 commandments,...lied? stolen? failed to honor your parents? coveted? adultery? lust? murder? hated someone? ect... if you even said yes to one of these then you are guilty of breaking the entire law of God and are accountable to God:

"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it."
James 2:10

So you are right that in the end of the day God decides, and if one breaks His law then God will justly pour out His wrath which is deserved by us. It will not be the Kingdom of God (Heaven) for that soul:

"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."
1 Corinthians 6:9-10

I trust that your Rabbi is a learned man, and I respect that you want to learn about their belief and traditions so you can know more about what you grew up with in a different context (growing up in a private Christian school, I am assuming you are referring to Christianity), but I must tell you that unless the Rabbi points you to Christ then he can be of no help in this matter. A new context and a religion won't help you in this situation. Christ and Christ alone can.

Though we are guilty and rightly deserving the wrath of God, Christ took the punishment that we deserve if we would repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not
perish but have everlasting life."

John 3:16

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him
up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give
us all things?"

Romans 8:32

"But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to
grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering…"

Isaiah 53:10

"He poured out His soul unto death, and He was
numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of
many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Isaiah 53:12

Jesus, God’s Son, took our wrath and punishment
through His death on the cross. Then God raised Him
from the dead, and He lives forever. His resurrection
proves that 100% of the punishment for sin was paid.

"…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was
raised because of our justification."

Romans 4:25

If you repent of your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ then you will be saved:

A change of heart to turn from loving yourself and sin
and to begin to love and obey God is called

A new confidence in Christ to forgive all your sin and
to be your new Lord (Boss) is called FAITH.

REPENTANCE and FAITH are essential for salvation.

"…how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but
proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and
from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to
Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our
Lord Jesus Christ."

Acts 20:20-21

Soli Deo Gloria!

jason d.

Anonymous said...

Such a good proclamation of the clear and simple truth, Jason. God is using you well through your most difficult life experience.
Soli Deo Gloria indeed!

a blog reader in Oregon

Stacey said...


Mel said...

Hello. I'm not usually this forward, but I have been praying for your family the last few months. I read this post and thought of I book I read by Rev. Jack Hayford called "I'll Hold You in Heaven" it deals with just such thoughts.
Blessings on your family.

Anonymous said...

You both have been an amazing encouragemant to my husband and I. Our son was still born at 41 weeks on November 2006. I thank God for you. I am going to check out that sermon for sure. This is something I have had a real hard time with. Thank you for encouraging me to research this more. In Jesus name.

Larson said...

I'll just recommend you all to Rich Lusk's book, "Paedofaith." It's a fantastic book.

My wife is carrying our 34 week old boy, Levi who has anencephaly - which means he will not live. We are, however, confident that all of God's promises to His covenant people extend to Levi. Not all babies go to heaven, but covenant kids do. God's promise was to Abraham, his children, and to his children's children.

Jason and Vanessa said...


Thank you for your recommendation. We are creadobaptist, so we have a different view than our paedobaptist brothers and sisters in the faith.

I have studied the paedobaptist position some, heard debates, and consulted the Scriptures but have not been convinced of it.

We believe there is a difference in the national covenant God made with Israel and the covenant He made with His bride,...the church.

It is true as you say, "God's promise was to Abraham, his children, and to his children's children." but this is for those spiritual children, not physical descendants. As Romans 9 says not all Israel is Israel:

"For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but 'Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.' This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring."
- Romans 9:6-8

and in Galatians we are told:

"Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, 'In you shall all the nations be blessed.' So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith."

"...if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise."

- Galatians 3:7-9;29

We are not saved by physical descent, or of flesh or blood, but by God's grace:

"who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
- John 1:13

Consider this,...
Before Abraham was born Job (not a physical son of Abraham) argues in Job 3 that it would have been better for him not to of been born alive, cause then he would have rest (the references to rest can only refer to Heaven):

"Why did I not die at birth,
come out from the womb and expire?
Why did the knees receive me?
Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,..."

"...Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
as infants who never see the light?
There the wicked cease from troubling,
and there the weary are at rest.
There the prisoners are at ease together;
they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
The small and the great are there,
and the slave is free from his master.

- Job 3:11-13;16-19

There are many other examples for God saving children of pagan nations (not Israel children) like Nineveh (in Jonah) and many other examples that this book goes through.

That issue aside, I am very sorry for the condition of your baby and want you to know that we will be praying for you, cause this is not a easy thing to go through.

My wife and I still at times hold each other at night and cry.

I actually have a extra copy of this book that I will send to you if you would like.

Soli Deo Gloria!

jason d.

Larson said...

Thanks Jason! I'd love to give the book a read.

I think you may be simplifying the paedo position. God's promise has never been simply a national or physical covenant. He didn't switch gears and change plans with Christ. Several verses you quoted support that this has always been God's plan.

The question here is what did circumcision do and what does baptism do. I believe they serve the same purpose - it is the mark of God's covenant. Who are the branches which Christ chops off and throws into the fire? The elect?

I believe baptism objectively brings you into the family of God and requires faithfulness to God's covenant. I'm not raising my kids like pagans, but in the fear and nurture of God. I believe they are promised salvation and I am raising them to believe it. I hope they can look back on their lives when they're old and not remember a time when they did not love Jesus.

However, baptism does not equal election. At the same time, it's not an empty sign. Baptism grants you access to the table, fellowship with God's people, His blessings, and His Word. But there is such thing as apostasy. The apostate are those that Christ throws into the fire. They were once truly connected to the tree - God's historic Chruch, but because they were unfaithful to the covenant, they were loped off (of the eschatological church) and thrown into the fire. (I think that the historic/eschatological distinction is more helpful than the visible/invisible church distinction. I believe the latter tempts us to look around at church wondering who the real Christians are. I think our pastors can better shepherd the flock when they can talk to them all as Paul did, as "the elect of God." W/the historic/eschatological distinction, I can look around and say that all of those baptized Christian around me are fellow heirs of Christ, though I know that might fall away.)

I've been fortunate enough to be a member of a church that believes these things and takes them seriously. They can, on the one hand ecumenically welcome all to table fellowship who proclaim Christ and have been baptized in accordance to the Word, including children, without having an extra-biblical litmus test for election. On the other hand, they can grab someone by his baptism and say, "Hey - you're not being faithful to your baptism - knock it off!"

Anyways - I think all of this would probably require several hours (and several beers) to sort through. I'm at work now and need to get back to it. I love you man - thanks for sharing your love for God and His Word!


Larson said...

I need an editor! Sorry about all the typo's.

Paragraph 4 "But there is such *a* thing as apostasy."

P4 "I know that *some* might fall away."

Jason and Vanessa said...


I did oversimplify your position, but I was just trying to keep the conversation in the context of salvation for babies who die, and who it is for. So I apologize for the oversimplification, but as you know this gets down to the view of the covenants and can get pretty in depth (but i love stuff like that) :)

He didn't switch gears and change plans with Christ.

Just to clear up what I said (meant) I don't mean that Christ was a plan B or that the church was a plan B, but that God did make a covenant with national Israel (to lead them out of Egypt, gave them dietary laws, temple rules, land, ect,...) but He also has a everlasting covenant of salvation.

Who are the branches which Christ chops off and throws into the fire? The elect?

No, I believe all the elect make it to glory and they can't be cut off, those cut off are those who don't abide in Christ,...a false convert, apostate, false teacher, ect...

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- Romans 8:30

They were once truly connected to the tree - God's historic Chruch, but because they were unfaithful to the covenant, they were loped off (of the eschatological church) and thrown into the fire.

This is were we mainly differ, as the verse I showed above I don't believe anyone in the covenant can lose their faith, this is because I see this covenant as truly salvific, a saving work of God from beginning to end, a work which God does by His grace for His glory alone.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

- Jeremiah 31:31-34

"And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
- Ezekial 11:19-20

With those promised I see the covenant as something God does, all those "I WILL" statements, I don't see how someone in the covenant who now has a new spirit and a heart of flesh (not stone) that they may walk in God's statutes and keep God's rules and obey them,...I don't see how they can fall, if they are elect, then they will be justified, and those will be glorified,...as Romans 8 describes it is a unbreakable chain of redemption, nothing can separate those from God!

I know you believe those things (maybe in a different sense) but that is just some reasons I believe like I do, if I am wrong and convinced from Scripture of that than I will recant and change, but that just hasn't happened yet ;)

I think I will pick up that book you suggested so that I can get even more familiar with the paedobaptist position.

And by the way I do like "historic/eschatological distinction" as opposed to the "visible/invisible church distinction." Though we do need to beware of wolves and know that if someone left us they were never of us (1 John 2) (I believe that means they were never saved, or heirs with Christ, since heirs with Christ are God's children whom cannot be snatched out of God's hands). But again that would be where we differ.

I love you too dude and will have my family and church pray for you guys. It is not easy losing a child, but as we discussed, God bids us to come boldly to the throne of grace for grace and mercy in time of need. We need Him every hour!

Soli Deo Gloria!

jason d.

Jason and Vanessa said...


Forgot to mention, if you prefer audio over reading then you can just listen to the following two sermons from MacAuthur:

The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 1 & The Salvation of Babies Who Die, Part 2 )



They are free to stream online or download. Do you know of a good place that I could hear the paedo position on this?

Thanks bro,

jason d.

Larson said...

Go here: http://www.trinity-pres.net/audio/sermonindex.php

And scope out the August 17, 2008 sermon. You can listen and get the notes. This isn't a special talk, just a sermon, but it's a good primer on paedo-baptism, paedo-faith, paedo-communion, etc. (He references my theology professor a few times, Peter Leithart too!)

Rich Lusk is a stud and is one of the strongest paedo guys out there.

I'll look around some more for you and send you some links when I get some time.


Anonymous said...

Well... In scripture I forget exactly which verse, but when David's baby dies, he says that he will see it again in Heaven. If your saved, then you will see it again, but if not.. It will be up there by itself.