Those dying in infancy - another interesting topic covered in An Exposition on Deuteronomy 33 by Parkinson.

29th Mar 2015

In the footnote on pages 174-179, Parkinson gives his reasons for believing that all who die in infancy go to heaven. “Many indeed,” he writes, “believing that the Scriptures leave the question undecided, think we ought to be silent on the subject. That the Scriptures are less explicit on this article than on many others is admitted; yet, in my humble opinion, they say enough in relation to it, to authorize the comfortable conclusion, that all dying in infancy are saved. And, as this is my decided belief, and what I have often avowed, I take this opportunity of submitting to the public, some of my thoughts in regard to the matter in question.” Parkinson then proceeds to address these five propositions:

1) It is not because God would be cruel and unmerciful in not saving them: Rom. 9:14; Gen. 18:25;

2) It is not because they are innocent (Psa. 51:5; Rom.5:12): “if they were born sinless they could have no interest in salvation by Christ, seeing he came into the world to save sinners—lost sinners.” 1 Tim. 1:15; Luke 19:10.

3) It is not due to our parentage, whether believers or unbelievers: Matt. 3:8-10; 8:11-12; John 1:11-13; [see also Acts 13:46-48]

4) That the chosen and redeemed of the Lord are such while infants, yea, even before they are born, Rom. 9:11; why then, may not those who die in infancy, be of that number?

5) It does not follow, that those who die while infants, can go to heaven without regeneration (John 3:3).

He then presents the five main grounds on which he bases his belief in the salvation of those who die in a state of infancy:

1) We have biblical knowledge that some were made partakers of the Holy Spirit while in the womb, i.e. Jeremiah (Jer. 1:5) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-17);

2) That there were some, in their infancy, taken to heaven, is evident from the words of Christ, Matt. 19:13-15;

3) The saying of David respecting his deceased child: “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me,” 2 Sam. 12:13-23;

4) Rachel weeping for the martyred children is comforted by the Lord and given assurances: Jer. 31:15-17; Matt. 2: 17-18;

He concludes with what he believes to be the strongest point, which is, 5) The final condemnation of the wicked is according to their works: Matt. 25:44-46; John 5:28-29; Rom. 2:12-15; Rev. 20:11-13. “But infants, however depraved in their nature, have, properly speaking, no works, no actual transgressions, for which to be judged; and therefore do not answer the character of those who shall be finally condemned.”

Whether one agrees or not with his main premise, or all of his points, Parkinson has provided some thoughtful and helpful subjects for our consideration.