Friday, December 04, 2015

What about children who die?

In chapter 21 of Scot McKnight's book 'The Heaven Promise' he tackles the question "What About Children Who Die? Faith's Search for Wisdom."

He starts out...
"Join me in thinking about this: If God is good and God is loving and God is fair and just, what happens to babies who die before they have an opportunity to hear about God's grace or who are snatched from life itself? As we discovered in the previous chapter, some of the most important questions and their truths about Heaven are not plainly spelled out in the Bible. Such is the case as we consider the eternal state of infants and children who die prematurely... However, as with many doctrinal and theological statements, Christian arguments can easily miss the bigger, foundational ideas -- a central focus of this book -- that should guide us... As we seek an answer to the question "What about children who die?" let's not lose sight of God. God is love. God is good. God is just."

Scot suggests there are four basic opinions regarding infants and young children who die before they are capable of embracing Christ:
  1. All will be in Heaven (the generous view).
  2. All will go to hell (the rigorous view).
  3. Some will be in Heaven (the restrictive view), often based on being baptized as children, being the children of Christians, or being children who are themselves elect or those whom God knows would have believed had they lived longer on earth.
  4. All will enter into a sphere around Heaven but will not experience Heaven's blessedness (the almost-but-not-quite view, sometimes call "limbo").
After sharing several stories and insights, Scot says he has landed on "three observations about God":
  • God is love.
  • God is good.
  • God is just.
These three observations have led him to two conclusions:
  1. Because God is loving, good, and just, God cannot send children into eternal darkness.
  2. Because God is loving, good, and just, God will send those who die in infancy or prior to their maturity into what is most right for such persons.
Scot shares this quote from Graham Twelftree:

"We have no alternative other than to leave the matter in the hands of a God we have come to trust as fully just and totally loving."

He wraps up the chapter by saying...

"So when someone asks me where an infant or a child is after a premature death, I answer with this: 'In the hands of our good God.' I am confident in the God who promises Heaven."

This was another chapter with a lot of speculation. Not that I necessarily disagree with anything, it's just hard to know.