When we read about the death of children—either in the Bible, in history books, or in the current news headlines—we generally feel more disturbed than we do when we read about the death of adults. This is because God causes the death of children to be extra grievous to us.
Children are unable to take care of themselves in this world. They are desperately dependent on adults to care for them. The problem is that humans are selfish beasts and our general rule in life is that we will not give unless we can get in return. Children don’t have anything to offer us. In fact, they can be very annoying burdens. So how does God get selfish adults to get over themselves long enough to care about a baby who is screaming shrilly in a crib? He wires very strong nurturing and protective instincts into them. Both men and women are affected by this. As a general rule, women are more nurturing and men are more protective, but in the end both genders land in the same place: if they see a little child in trouble, they are far more likely to rush to the rescue than they are if they see an adult. We can easily pass by adults who are stranded by the side of the road or crying or looking lost. But if we see a child trip and fall in front of us or a girl walking around calling out for her mommy in a frightened voice, we are drawn towards them like iron filings to a magnet. This thing God has done to us is really saving us. Even with His help, we are still aborting, abusing, and abandoning our children at a horrifying rate. But if God hadn’t given us this strong internal instinct, we would never find the resources to take care of our own young. As it is, God has made the cuteness of babies and the wide marveling of eyes of young children seem like a fabulous reward to us. We don’t stop and stare when an adult smiles. We don’t start cooing in high pitched voices and marveling over their fingers and toes. But we do all this with babies because we find ourselves overwhelmed by these internal instincts God has wired into us. Gentle adults who have never struck a person in their lives will fly into violent rages if some tries to attack their children in front of them. They will go up against impossible odds. They will throw themselves into the line of fire—anything to protect their children. It’s really a very beautiful thing when it is working the way God intended it to. But it doesn’t always. Sometimes the natural instincts become disconnected and we read about terrorists gunning down children or mothers throwing their babies into dumpsters. In these cases we tend to stay focused on the adults and never look past them to see God directing the whole affair, which of course He is. But other times we are forced to see God at work when tornados wipe out schools and when we read in the Bible about Him specifically ordering Israel to slaughter children and infants. So if God is always the One ultimately responsible for the death of children, what should we make of His apparent cruelty? In the Bible, we read about pagans burning children to death on demonic altars. Where is God in such atrocity? Oh sure, He acts horrified over the whole thing, but He is still allowing it to happen. Doesn’t He care? Doesn’t He have any compassion for the innocent children who are mowed down as He meters out His Divine discipline on rebellious adults? Yes, He does. And if we could see the death of children from the Divine perspective, we’d be much less upset.
From an eternal perspective, the death of children is far less upsetting than the death of adults. In fact, the younger the child is, the more confident we can be that they ended up in Heaven. Yes, it is possible for children to go to Hell—but only if God has determined they have been given sufficient resources to understand His truths. The younger the child, the more likely it is that they have not yet reached “the age of accountability”—an age at which they have been illuminated by the Holy Spirit about who God is. It’s impossible to look at a person and discern whether they have reached this age or not. Many adults who pretend not to know about God have been intentionally defying Him for years in their hearts. Some children are able to grasp the principles of sin and salvation at a very young age. We must be careful never to spurn the spiritual abilities of children. Their untainted minds and great faith makes it far easier for them to submit to God than it is for us adults. This is why Jesus spoke so harshly against those who try to hinder children from coming to Him. We never want to tell a child they are too young to start a relationship with God. If they show any interest in Him, it is a clear indicator that they are being called by the Holy Spirit, and we should be encouraging them to follow His Voice.
God has different plans for each of us. There are mass amounts of souls who are ending up in Heaven without ever submitting to Him because they died without ever receiving illumination from the Holy Spirit. The fact that God takes babies to Heaven instead of Hell when they die demonstrates how very merciful He is. It has always been this way—even before the cross, all those infants that were sacrificed to idols were rescued by God and taken to Heaven. Today all the souls of all these babies we’re aborting are going to Heaven as well. When any young child dies, it is far more likely that they ended up in Heaven than in Hell. This should bring us great comfort.
Whenever God kills children before they are accountable, He saves them before they even have the option of ending up in Hell. He is demonstrating extreme mercy and grace. Ironically, we respond by accusing Him of extreme cruelty. Instead of recognizing the great gift He is giving to our children, we accuse Him of ripping them off—of taking them before it’s their time. Yet who is it that decides when someone’s “time” has come? God does. He never promised us all a minimum number of years down here. Every soul is on its own unique journey.
From God’s perspective, other people can play a very negative role in the spiritual development of children. Parents have great influence over their children, yet too often we use our influence to lead them away from God instead of towards Him. When we read about mass amounts of children being slaughtered in the Bible, they are almost always children of adults who are willfully defying God in their hearts. What kind of spiritual role models were these people being as they taught their children how to worship Baal and openly mocked the Authority of Yahweh? If God hadn’t taken these children when they were very young, they might well have grown up to defy Him and ended up in Hell as a result. There has always been a very consistent pattern that the majority of the human race chooses to defy God. It follows then, that if no one ever died young, there would be much fewer of us in Heaven. To date there are countless souls in Heaven who were rescued before they could choose the rebellious path. All the children who died in the Flood, all the children who were slaughtered in wars, all the infants who were sacrificed to idols, all the babies we are aborting today. We don’t have solid numbers for any of these things, but the rough estimates we make of how many children are killed before they can even make it out of the womb are staggering. Yet while this number testifies to our own depravity, at the same time, there is great comfort in knowing that God has mercifully rescued these souls from our warped hands. If we were so anxious to kill them, what kind of parents would we be? When God kills the children of abusive parents, He is saving them from even more abuse. When He kills the children of good parents, it could very well be that He knows the child will grow up to defy Him. But even if the child wasn’t heading down the wrong spiritual road, we must remember that the whole point of experiencing this earth is to prepare us for the things God wants to do with us in eternity. We all have different destinies, which means we all need different amounts of preparation. God isn’t going to keep us down here just to do it. When He sees that we have had a sufficient amount of this place to bring about the effects He wants, He moves us on. Many children die young because they are simply not going to benefit from staying down here. From the very beginning, God only ever intended for them to pass swiftly through this place. Some are only here for a brief moment, others only a few short years. But no one ever dies before they are supposed to because God is the only power who can move souls from one dimension to the next. Many like to imagine that demons have the power to move our souls about, but this is utter foolishness. Human souls are God’s property and no one takes them anywhere that He doesn’t want them to go. We can’t even kill ourselves without God’s cooperation. No man can force his own soul to change dimensions. God moves us on when He is good and ready to do so. Often He is ready far sooner than we think and we have a hard time letting go of the souls we loved. But death is a sobering reminder of how individual each path is. We are only grouped in family units here on earth—in eternity we will all be individuals. There will be no sense of parent and child in Heaven. When our children are taken from us, it is because we have reached a point in which our own journey diverges from theirs. We must be willing to follow God down the road He has assigned to us instead of trying to chase after a soul who was never intended to walk beside us forever. In this life, God is our only constant Companion.
Dealing with the Death of a Child
Behind the Scenes with God: Human Variation, Lifespans, and the Mechanics of Salvation