“I rejoice to know that the souls of all infants, as soon as they die, speed their way to paradise.” -Charles Spurgeon
Yesterday was an emotional and difficult day. We buried a precious six-month-old girl named Rebekah Miller. Just a over a month ago I had her on the platform with me at church during a baby dedication, and yesterday I preached her funeral from that same platform. I often have received this question from families, and the short answer is, I believe infants who die are with the Lord. Let me give you several Biblical reasons why I believe infants go to be with the LORD in heaven when they die:
1. Because God is sovereign and wise and good and trustworthy. (Psalms 25:8; 107:1; 135:3) We can always have an assurance when any of our loved ones die, because God is good and he always does what is right.
2. Because in Deuteronomy 1:39, God judges the rebellious adults of Israel differently than their little children. In this example we see that God does not hold the sins of the parents against their children. He allows the children to go to the Promised Land, but their parents would never see it!
3. Because there is a direct correlation between having knowledge of creation & God and accountability during judgment. Romans 1:19-21 is not about children, but it clearly shows God’s principles on justice. Infants lack the physical and cognitive ability to know God’s glory and see his work in creation. Therefore, since this knowledge is not available to infants, Paul implies, they really would be with “excuse” at the judgment. No adults fall into this category of being with “excuse”, with the exception of severely mentally challenged individuals. I believe that since they are with excuse, that God will apply to infants the blood and righteousness of Christ in a way that we do not comprehend.
4. Because King David had a clear confidence he would see his dead infant son again (2 Samuel 12:15-18). King David wept and pleaded in prayer for his son. But when his baby died, David confessed his confidence in seeing the boy again and comforted his wife.
5. Because Scripture makes a distinction between original sin and actual sins. The Bible clearly teaches that we are all born with a sin nature as a result of being descended from Adam (Romans 5:12). This is what is called the doctrine of original sin. However there is a distinction between original sin and actual (or volitional) sins. While all are guilty of original sin, moral responsibility and understanding is necessary for our being accountable for actual sins (James 4:17; Isaiah 7:16).
6. Jesus affirmed that the kingdom of God belonged to little children (Luke 18:15-17). In this passage in Luke we are called to a childlike faith for salvation, which seems to imply children are in heaven. Jesus loves little children!
It is important to remember that anyone who is saved is saved because of the grace of God and the saving work of Jesus Christ. Infants need salvation just like all of mankind who have lived, with the exception of Jesus Christ. Abraham said, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The answer is a wholehearted “YES! God will always do what is right!” I look forward to seeing Rebekah Miller in heaven again, and I look forward to greeting those who were lost in infancy or miscarriages.