In the following paragraphs, I’m going to argue the case that Pastor MacArthur made in Safe in the Arms of God. I think that he made a decent biblical case for Infant Salvation. I do not mean that he answered every question that could be posed, but I thought it was a good case for what happens to those who die in infancy and those who are disabled. I know that some Reformed people disagree with him, usually because of his Dispensationalism, but hear him out. I have also benefited from:
- Matt Perman – What happens to infants who die? – He mentions what John Piper believes.
- ChristianAnswers.Net – What is the eternal destiny of an infant or young child who dies?
- Theopedia – Infant Salvation
- Sam Storms – Do All Infants Go to Heaven?
- R.C. Sproul – What happens to children who die before they can accept the gospel?
- Loraine Boettner, Reformed Doctrine of Predestination - Infant Salvation
- Jesse Johnson - Theologians on Infant Salvation – Calvin, Hodge, Warfield, Spurgeon, Boettner.
- Albert Mohler - The Salvation of the ‘Little Ones’: Do Infants who Die Go to Heaven?
We are now approaching a very difficult and touching subject. It is very emotional and that is obviously understandable. We do not neglect our emotions, but the Scriptures are the infallible standard of truth. So our search for the answer must begin and finish with Holy Writ. What has God said on this subject? This question does not merely concern infants, but also unborn babies and the mentally disabled.
First, we must begin with the question: “Are fetuses human persons?” I believe that the biblical answer is positive. The first go-to-text is Jeremiah 1:5. There the Lord speaks about Jeremiah’s ordination and election. Before Jeremiah came out of the womb, the Lord knew him and talked about him as a “you” and not an “it.” In Psalm 139:13-16, the writer speaks of God Who formed him from the very beginning in the womb until the end. God had determined his days before there was any. The Lord saw the person, He didn’t see a fetus who became the writer of the Psalm. But He saw him who once was a little fetus. In Luke 1:41-44, upon Mary coming to Elizabeth, the baby John in Elizabeth leaped in her and could express his feelings. Elizabeth does not refer to him as a thing or as merely a fetus, but she says the baby leaped in her. He was able, even in the womb, to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15), which is only for persons and was able to express emotions. The Law gave the same protection for unborn children as for adults. In Exodus 21:22-23, we read of the punishment of someone fighting a husband and who hits his pregnant woman. If there was harm, the lex talionis was to be followed. Calvin observes on v. 22:
If men strive, and hurt a woman. This passage at first sight is ambiguous, for if the word death (39) only applies to the pregnant woman, it would not have been a capital crime to put an end to the foetus, which would be a great absurdity; for the foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, (homo,) and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which ...