Why does God allow babies to die?

Question: If God is a God of love, why does He allow babies to die?

Answer:

a) Our Expectations

Well first of all, the question is rather limited. It might have been, why does God allow anyone to die prematurely, because surely the thought of premature death is what is behind your question.

We somehow expect everyone to live on into ripe old age, but so often we don’t. People do die of heart attacks in their 30’s 40’s or whatever other age we consider ‘premature’. Why do they, and why do babies die prematurely? More often than not it can be put down to what theologians call this ‘Fallen World’.

b) The Existence of a Fallen World

The reference to ‘a Fallen World’ means the world is not perfect like it was when God first made it, because the first man and woman (the first real humans) ‘fell’ from their state of perfection by going against God’s design and in so doing, introduced what the Bible refers to as ‘Sin’ into the world. In its most simple description, ‘Sin’ is ignoring God and living contrary to His design.

It is a very simple and straight forward analogy, but if you try running a car contrary to the maker’s design, it will soon breakdown. The effect of humanity living contrary to God’s design, the Bible reveals to us, was that it created strife between human beings, fear in animals, and a general breaking down of the way the world ‘works’. Thus we now have sickness, illness and infirmity as common experiences and ultimately they all exist because of humanity’s decision to live contrary to God’s design. Those working with genetics talk about faulty genes, but these aren’t accidents, they are the ultimate result of our living contrary to God’s design.

c) Why doesn’t God intervene?

This was a key part of the original question. If God is all-powerful and loving, why doesn’t He intervene, why doesn’t He step in and stop babies and adults dying prematurely? The answer is terrible: respect! God respects and honours our free will choices which most of the time, for many people, could be summed up as ignoring or rejecting God, His presence and His design and His will.

God gives us the right to live our lives just as we want and so most of the time He will not force Himself upon us (on occasions He does impose on us in measures that demand our attention). As soon as we take note of Him, respond to His calling and surrender our lives to Him and ask His forgiveness for our folly, and ask Him to lead us and help us, then He is there and will willingly intervene as we request and when He sees that would be best. Thus when ‘life goes wrong’, although it grieves Him (for He longs to help) He will stand aside and allow us to lead our lives as we will and cope as we will with the upsets of life.

Why doesn’t He intervene and stop all premature death and illness? Because He’s given us ‘the car’ to ‘drive’, and allows us to wreck it. To stop that happening, He would have to either change the laws of science or turn us into robots that would always use ‘the car’ perfectly according to His design. Once He gave us free will, He gave us the right to misuse ‘life’ and the only alternative to what we experience today, would have been to remove that free will and that would mean we cease to be human beings and all that that means.

We need to add that He doesn’t sit back and ignore our plight when tragedy hits. God anguishes with us. The Bible speaks of Him as a God of comfort and He comforts because He feels with us and for us. Jesus came to enable a closeness to come about between us and God, and in that closeness, although He usually does not step in to stop such things, He will be there for us. Ultimately the Bible indicates that God doesn’t make mistakes but we’ll have to wait until we get to heaven and see Him face to face, to know the truth about our personal circumstances. In the meantime He is there for us, even in the midst of immense anguish.

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15 Responses to Why does God allow babies to die?

  1. Raj Penn says:

    What does anything you said have to do with a baby? Or child?.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Raj, look again at what I wrote – babies are mentioned a lot in the text but they are put in the wider context of all ‘unsatisfactory deaths’

  2. Corrotion Potion says:

    What about when four people who were close to me needlessly died whos lives could have gotten better if they were still alive while they were young? Why didn’t God heal them instead of letting them die? Is it because God is visiting upon us the evil of our doings because we are not living lives that are pleasing to Him because we are one hundred percent commited to being conceited and having no friendships one with another including everyone in our neighborhoods.?

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Corrotion, you touch on the biggest questions of the universe. Simple answers are that people die because we live in a fallen world where sin reigns and things go wrong, but why these particular people? Having thought about it over many years, my only conclusion is that we would be very unwise to make judgements on such people who died. In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus asks of people who had died in accidents that some would have mistakenly called judgements, were they any bigger sinners than the rest of the people around them, and of course the answer is No!
      It is a mystery why God seems to step in and heal some people miraculously and others die – despite constant prayer. One thing I am sure of, having known the Lord for many years, and that is when we get to heaven, if the Lord allows us to look back over our history and see all that has happened with full sight, we will not be able to criticise anything God has said or done or not done. This side of heaven, living in a fallen world sometimes means we have to trust the One who gives us so many other indicators of His love and goodness. Not easy but necessary. Thank you for writing.

  3. Erika says:

    I too feel the question is not answered…So lets try this….Why did God allow a 13 month old be shot to death while being pushed in her stroller today?

    • faithcatalyst says:

      Not wanting to dodge the issue of the difficulty of living in a fallen world where this sort of thing happens, how do we know that God wasn’t screaming at sixteen people in the area to act to stop the event you speak of happening? While God allows us to have free will – and we cease to be humans without it – then bad people will do bad things. That IS the cost of free will. In many ways it is that simple. That is not to say that God is not speaking to and seeking to work with millions of us – anyone in fact, who will learn to listen to Him.

  4. mike says:

    ok so there is no answer. thats is what it is. there is no answer. you will never get a straight forward answer. if any answer to the question of why do the innocent die. unborn, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, months old. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, years old . innocent or sinful death will happen and no human can give you an answer because there is no way in hell for them to know. no religion can say for sure. doesn’t matter how holy a person is he will die early are late. no person knows. live your life like this day is your last because it very well might be.

    • faithcatalyst says:

      With the greatest respect Mike, I suspect, as the saying goes, you want your cake and eat it. I think if I asked you, would you be happy if God overruled all your decisions and only let you do good things, would you be happy? I am sure you would insist on having free will, on being able to make your own choices. So where do you want this to stop? Where do you want God to intervene to stop bad things happening? The Bible indicates that God gave us free will and this means we have the ability to choose to go His way or not. The ‘not’ path is what humanity as a whole has chosen and that results in what we call a ‘fallen world’ a world that is not like it was when God first made it, a world where things ‘go wrong’ – including babies dying. Ultimately every sickness, illness, premature death etc. is because we the human race have not lived according to the Maker’s design and so things ‘go wrong’. Don’t blame God for giving us free will; you wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why babies and others die prematurely. It’s not their sin and quite possibly not the sin of the parents; it’s just that the world is broken, but God still works into it bringing good through those who are open to Him, and that is the challenge.

  5. mike says:

    oh yea. i forgot . answer the question already. why do babys die.

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  7. I have always been a strong faithed Christian. I am a sinner as we all are, but I have made Christ the center of my life and have made sure my family is brought up that way. I have one living child, but I have lost 3! 2 miscarriages and very recently a stillborn at 40 weeks (she was born on her due date, but not living). Am I being punished? Why did my babies have to die? There are people out there who are not believers or who curse God and have a dozen children who they don’t even care for and I lay here suffering in agony. My beautiful daughter is dead. A child who is so loved. Her brother and I are heartbroken. Why my daughter? What did I do to deserve such a loss?

    • faithcatalyst says:

      lydiagrace, I am sorry for what you have been through. Are you being punished? Certainly not! Jesus has died to take any punishment due to you. The tough fact of life is that we live in what we call ‘a fallen world’, it is not longer perfect like it was when God first made it. Human sin which entered at the Fall (Gen 3) means that we and the world do not ‘work’ as we were originally designed to. Things go wrong and they sometimes go wrong for Christians as well as non-Christians. However what we can say is this: 1. God loves you and feels what you feel and feels your anguish and is there, as you turn to Him for help, to bring you comfort. He is referred to as the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3) 2. Even though He allows the world to operate in this way, He constantly works for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28). At the present time you may not be able to see any good coming out of your loss. Do you ‘deserve’ such a loss? No, you don’t but it is the price we pay for free will, the world being allowed to live contrary to God’s design and suffer the consequences, which often affect us indiscriminatingly so even the innocent are affected. The best we can say from Scripture is that God feels your anguish and is there for you in it. I hope something of this may help in a small way. No, you are not being punished and almost certainly no you did not ‘deserve’ it. The Father knows what it is to lose a Son and He feels with you and is there for you.

      • Dee says:

        So why an unborn child? Again, no answer. God may not cause it, but he allows it. what did the “fallen world” do to cause it?

      • faithcatalyst says:

        Sadly the effect of sin entering the world at what we call The Fall, meant that things started ‘going wrong’ or ‘not working properly’. Sometimes we can see the consequences for they are very clear, but at other times the link is not so clear and we just have to accept that these things are things that would not have occurred before the Fall. The Fall came about ultimately because God gave us free will, which is the price of humanity. While that is there, we make wrong choices and things go wrong. Sometimes they go wrong because of our wrong actions, sometimes because of the actions of others, and sometimes just because it is not all working as well as it did before the Fall and we are unable to see specific causes. At the end of it all, Jesus is there, understanding us and feeling for us and being there for us when we need him.
        thanks for writing.

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