An Unborn Child Is Most Likely Damned Through Calvinism’s Doctrine of Unconditional Election

Calvinist says – If anyone ends up in hell, it’s because they deserve to be there on account of their sins. They will be there justly/in justice. That anyone is saved from hell is a matter of mercy and grace. Grace and mercy, by definition, are not obligated. If it were obligated, then it would be justice, not mercy or grace.

My response – A significant error in your Calvinistic beliefs is that, according to your doctrine of unconditional election, God essentially chooses whom he will and conversely not save. Consider what if a child dies in the womb or is otherwise aborted. Has this child actually sinned? No! So, even if this child had a ‘sin nature’, the unborn child has not sinned. Yet if God didn’t unconditionally elect this child, then God is damning someone who is innocent of sin.

Calvinist says – It’s an in-house debate among Calvinists whether any or all infants dying in infancy are elect and saved. Calvinists are free to believe none, all or some are elect and saved. I suspect most Calvinists believe that at least some are saved.

God is sovereign in His distribution of grace. Grace and Mercy, by definition, aren’t obligated. If they were obligated, it would be justice, not grace or mercy. The fact remains that in Calvinism, everyone who ends up in hell will JUSTLY be there due to sin.

My Response – An in-house debate among Calvinists? Calvinists are free to exercise variance within the doctrine of grace – specifically unconditional election? I’d be surprised if that is true. Perhaps there’s some sort of Calvinistic special dispensation that God places upon unborn children who die in the womb. But I’ve never heard or read anything to that effect within Calvin’s Institutes of Religion or from any significant protagonist of Reform Theology. It therefore only stands to reason that because of the Calvinist belief whereby God has chosen (from the foundation of the world) who is elect and subsequently who is reprobate, those dying in the womb must by definition be ‘elect’ in the same proportion as those who die outside the womb. I know of nothing within the doctrines of grace making allowance for such things as in the womb, age of accountability or mental infirmity. And for a Calvinist to argue otherwise, I submit, diminishes or otherwise undercuts one’s belief in Calvinist doctrines. So, I’ll reiterate my earlier point that even if the unborn child has a ‘sin nature’, this child is not guilty of any sin.

Calvinist says – Calvinist expert Curt Daniel argued that while there are differing views among Calvinists, the majority of Calvinists believed all infants are saved. He says it’s “by far and away the prevailing view.” It’s the view found among paedo Baptists like Charles Hodge and B.B. Warfield, as well as credo Baptists like Charles Spurgeon. Low Calvinists like Lewis Sperry Chafer. High Calvinists like Augustus. Hyper-Calvinists like John Gill. He says this in his 75-lecture series titled, “The History and Theology of Calvinism” which is available online. See specifically his lecture titled, “The Election of Dying Infants.” See also Charles Spurgeon’s available online sermon, “Infant Baptism.” See Loraine Boettner’s classic book “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” where he addresses the topic of infant salvation. The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith states, “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how he pleases.”

Comparing the elect unborn vs the elect who die outside the womb is a non-sequitur which doesn’t logically follow at all. And such things as being in the womb, age of accountability or mental infirmity are irrelevant. What matters is that God is sovereign. Therefore, God could have sovereignly elected most or all infants dying in infancy to be saved. It seems that you might really be objecting to a version of Original Sin that affirms that Adam’s guilt is passed on to infants. But that’s not unique to Calvinism.

My response – You list out lots of positions as to Calvinist perspectives with regard to the unborn being saved from wrath. Yet, the most telling part of your response is, “God is sovereign. Therefore, God could have sovereignly elected most or all infants dying in infancy to be saved.” And just as easily, per unconditional election, you can believe that God could have sovereignly not elected infants who died in the womb. Seriously, why can’t Calvinists, per their own doctrine of unconditional election, immediately agree that if God hasn’t unconditionally elected someone from the foundation of the world, then that unelected person, even though they die in the womb before having had any opportunity to sin, is subject to eternal separation and damnation? Calvinists, by necessity, must therefore accept that God punishes babies who’ve not sinned. Is there any other entity within Christian faith that imagines God, being perfect in love, doing any such thing? Perhaps it’s just too embarrassing for one steeped in Calvinist doctrine to logically admit that God delights in sending unborn children to hell. After all, it’s all for his glory, right?


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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