Gary: Now Contending for the Faith. Our question this week: “I remember from past newsletters, and I think one of Dave’s books, that you believe that children who die before the age of accountability (and I’m not quite sure what that is), anyway, they go to be with Jesus. Well, if true, that can be very comforting, yet I’ve never been comfortable with that biblically. What biblical support do you have for your view?
Tom: Dave, there are scriptures. We certainly have the example of David, and Nathan saying that God is going to take his first child, and the process that David went through, which we can refer to, but what are your thoughts on that?
Dave: Well, let’s start with David. You mentioned it. David’s son, this illegitimate son from an adulterous affair, is very ill. It’s a baby. And David is fasting and praying and crying out to God. When the baby dies (well, he’s crying out, of course, for the healing of this child), when the baby dies, and David can tell by the way his servants—they haven’t told him, but the way they’re whispering and the expressions on their faces, David knows the baby has died. And he washes his face, he dresses himself, and he asks for some food. And they say, “We don’t understand. When the baby was still alive, you were mourning and praying, and now that the baby is dead, you should be praying even more! You should be even more sorrowful.”
And David said, “No, I can’t bring him back to me, but I will join him one day.”
Now, unless we think David is in hell…
Tom: Or he could have been referring to the grave, but not from the tone of what he’s saying…
Dave: No, no. No, no. He is now happy for this child. He’s not mourning any more. The child is with God. Then, “He will not come to me, I will go to him,” David said. That’s one expression.
Now, you could say, “Well, maybe David didn’t know.” Well, I don’t think we would have that in the Bible as a lesson for us if that weren’t true.
Tom: Dave, let me just interject this. I remember Matthew Henry writing about this, and he mentioned that he believed that the baby died on the seventh day, before circumcision. And his point is that it was David’s faith and understanding of God. It wasn’t because of some covenant or some seal. But he was trusting in the Lord and his understanding of the Lord rather than…because, well, some would say—for example, Catholics would say, “Well, you know, unless they’re baptized…” It’s not official, but we always thought…we were always brought up to believe that there was Limbo for the baby that died. Get the baby baptized right away or it could end up apart from God, happy and in paradise—without God, I don’t understand that, but still…
Dave: And some popes even taught—well, they take it literally, “Except you eat My flesh and drink My blood…” if you take that literally, then babies that have not…even though they had been baptized, if they had not partaken of the Eucharist, then they went to hell as well. Some popes believed that.
Tom: Right. But there’s no covenant here. There’s no seal. There’s no law that’s covering David’s view of this. That’s my point.
Dave: Circumcision isn’t going to take a baby to heaven anyway. Otherwise it would take a lot of people to heaven. Well, there are a number of scriptures… The Bible says, “Shall…” Job says, “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” It doesn’t seem right to sentence to hell a baby that knows nothing of God, knows nothing of sin, and has never sinned. That doesn’t seem just. Jesus said, “Allow the little children to come unto me. Forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” It sounds like children have a step ahead of us as far as getting into the kingdom. Again, because they haven’t rebelled against God. They haven’t disobeyed. They haven’t willfully sinned. Then, Jesus made a strange statement, and I certainly don’t understand it, but I think it’s apropos to what we’re talking about. He said, “Their angels [speaking of children]…” And I believe that God has an angel looking after us…
Tom: Hebrews, ministering spirits.
Dave: Right. “Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who shall be the heirs of salvation?” So, Jesus said, “Their angels do always behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven.”
Now, another reason for believing this is that I believe everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life. And I have a number of biblical reasons for believing that. And I believe that it is only when they reach that point where they have rejected the gospel, and God knows there’s no hope for them, that He blots their name out of the Book of Life.
For example, I think it’s in Exodus 33, God is telling Moses, “I’m going to wipe out these people! They’re such sinners. And I will make of you a great nation.” And Moses pleads with Him, “Don’t do that, because if you do, then the heathen will say that God can’t fulfill His promises. You promised to bring them into the land.” And furthermore, Moses says, “Blot me out! Don’t blot them.”
God says, “I will blot them out of My Book.” So they must have been in the book. Now, you’re going to either believe in losing your salvation—because the Bible talks about blotting people out, and I don’t believe in that. Jesus said, “I give My sheep eternal life. They will never perish.” That’s a whole other subject.
But I believe the Bible teaches eternal security. When we belong to the Lord we are secure. So, if your name is not in the Book of Life, and then it gets written in the Book of Life when you get saved, and then it can be blotted out—then we have a problem with eternal security.
Therefore, for these and other reasons, I am driven to the conclusion that everyone’s name is written in the Book of Life because “God is not willing that any should perish.” He wants all to be saved. Now, there’s no reason, then, for damning a baby that hasn’t sinned—or blotting its name out of the Book of Life.
Tom: Right. So, that would cover accountability. In other words, until the child reaches the point where he knows that he’s sinning..
Dave: When that is, I don’t know.
Dave: God knows. So, I believe that infants, aborted babies, fetuses even, babies go to be with Christ if they die in that state.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And this is your personal view from your search of the scriptures. And we’re not imposing this on anybody else. We want them to search the scriptures so that whatever they do, whatever ideas they have, they have it by conviction, by faith.