* If...this life is a vapor,
* And...it’s infinitely better to be with God in heaven,
* And...babies (including the unborn) and children who die below that elusive age of accountability go to heaven (as I believe)
* Then...why do some Christians consider abortion such a crime against the unborn?
If a baby who dies in that grace of innocence gets taken straight to God’s presence—what’s the problem?
“Okay, Soul, choose between Door #1 and Door #2. Behind Door #1 is your life on earth. There you will be born into a brutal and broken world in which you will experience great pain. At the end of it, if you have chosen Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and lived for Him, you will enter God’s presence.
“I know that sounds good, but wait, you haven’t heard what’s behind Door #2 yet.
“Behind Door #2 you can skip that whole little detour altogether. You can skip the pain, skip the brokenness, and skip the scars. Instead, you can enter directly into God’s presence. Today!
“Now, Soul, think carefully. Which Door will you choose?”
This is an argument I’ve heard a number of times throughout the years: “Babies will go to heaven anyway, so abortion isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s actually in the child’s ultimate best interests.” Though this letter wasn’t written by a pastor, two pastors (not from my church) have expressed the same idea.
One church’s statement against rescuing/civil disobedience at abortion clinics reassures us that “...the death of the children will not alter the sovereign plan of God. The testimony of David was that he would see his dead infant son (2 Sam. 12:16-23) and Jesus spoke of children taking part in His kingdom (Mt. 19:13-14).”
Ah, now we can feel relieved. Abortion really isn’t so bad for the babies. And since God is sovereign, why not let them die? I have actually been told, “Don’t you believe babies go to heaven when they die? That means they’re better off anyway. In fact, if you ‘rescue’ them, they may grow up to be non-Christians who go to hell. Dying now is probably the best thing for them.”
This argument is based on a sterile logic so chilling as to suggest its place of origin—the pit of hell.
Does Scripture buy into such logic? Not for a moment. God hates the shedding of innocent blood in an unqualified way. There is no hint here that the babies are better off because they’ve been killed:
“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 18:21)
“The LORD said...’Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him....by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name.... If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech...I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him.’“ (Leviticus 20:1-5)
“Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed.” (Deuteronomy 19:10)
“The LORD sent Babylonian, Aramean, Moabite and Ammonite raiders against him. He sent them to destroy Judah, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by his servants the prophets. Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive.” (2 Kings 24:2-4)
“For God will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.” (Psalm 72:12-14)
“There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
“Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you.” (Ezekiel 35:6).
God wants us to be appalled at and shrink from the shedding of innocent blood, not to construct theological arguments that minimize its horror.
Consider the implications of the “let them die and go to heaven” approach. If it is sound logic for opposing rescuing, it also must apply to legal attempts at life-saving. Why write letters, vote, or counsel pregnant women not to have abortions? Indeed, why not actively encourage abortions if they are really in the best interests of the children?
Shall we kill our own children in their sleep so that they will go to heaven? Otherwise they will grow up, pass “the age of accountability” (a term not used in Scripture) and possibly go to hell. If a believer is about to be killed in cold blood shall we passively let him die? If we see a Christian friend about to fall off a one-hundred-foot cliff to a certain death, shouldn’t we let him fall so he can be better off in heaven?
Are we absolutely sure of the eternal destiny of all babies who die? Having wrestled with this a great deal, I personally believe they are covered by God’s grace and will be in heaven. But this is my subjective belief based largely on God’s mercy and Christ’s treatment of children. It is not an obvious teaching of Scripture. The Bible certainly does not make this as clear as is often taught from one or two proof texts. In fact, the doctrine of human depravity, developed in the early chapters of Romans, can be used to make a strong case the other way.
Does Scripture really teach that children are saved until they reach a certain age, when they become lost? Or does it teach all people are sinners from conception and we are lost until we become saved? But even if you are absolutely sure all children go to heaven when they die, never does Scripture even hint at using such an argument to minimize the devastation of child-killing.
If one’s eternal destination is all that matters, why should we feed the hungry, clothe the naked and meet the material needs of people? Perhaps we could justify keeping pagans alive just long enough to see them come to Christ, but that’s it. Then we could just let them die so they could leave their miserable existence here on earth. Why keep believers alive when they’d be better off if we let them die and go to heaven? Apparently Jesus doesn’t follow the “let them die and go to heaven” logic. In fact, he puts even greater stress on meeting the material needs of fellow believers, those going to heaven, than he does on those whose current eternal destiny is hell (Mt. 25:34-40; Gal. 6:10).
Where is our compassion to save the child from the agonizing pain of abortion? I emphatically agree that life in this world is not our ultimate focus, but it is a life that God values, that he gives, and that he alone has the right to take. And it is a life for which God has told us to actively intervene, not to passively stand by while it is brutally taken.
If we take this position, clearly our logic is in direct violation of Scripture. We must recognize the Bible as our authority, not our logic. Ultimately this argument appeals to the worst in us, by seducing us into using a theological argument to minimize what God says is absolutely horrible. It makes us feel better, rest more easily with child-killing, which is utterly appalling in the sight of a holy God.
Jesus said Satan is a murderer and a liar (John 8:44). These two aspects come together in this argument. Satan carries out his murders and desensitizes us to their horror by getting us to believe lies, including “children are better off being killed.” If the argument seems sound to us, it’s only because it’s a cohesive lie. Jesus said of Satan, “when he lies he speaks his native language.” He makes lies sound natural, truthful.
Nowhere is the logic of this argument expressed in Scripture. Always we are called upon to intervene for the weak and the needy, to defend their rights (Proverbs 31:8-9). Never are we to abandon them through indifference, callousness or turns of twisted logic.
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