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Question

I know about original sin and how we are all born with it, but is that the reason why babies are dying? Why do they not get a chance?

Answer

Thank you for your question. Sin and death are very difficult subjects, not least because of how emotive they can be. I hope I can help you in how to think these things through.

To answer your question directly, sin is the reason some babies die before they have a chance to live. Original sin is how sin and its curse is passed on, but I am uncomfortable about linking original sin and babies dying directly.

Sin is the reason death exists, the Bible is very clear on that. James 1:15 tells us that sin brings death, which fits with God's original command to Adam in Genesis 2:17: that if Adam were to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he will die. And our natural disposition to sin comes from our connection to Adam, as Romans 5:12-14 says:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

However, we must be careful not to draw a link between an individual's death and their sin, or even their state as a sinner because of original sin. When Jesus was asked about an atrocity in Luke 13:1-5, He said that we should not think those who suffer more suffer because they sin. In fact in verse 4 He mentions a disaster where those who died could not be blamed in any way for it, a tower falling on eighteen people, and says that it was not because their sin was worse than anyone else's.

All people are affected by the sin which we all are collectively responsible for, but how badly each individual is affected does not necessarily have anything to do with their personal sin.

In fact we can be clearer than that, the Bible admits that how people live and how they prosper or suffer is never fair. Psalm 73 is an entire Psalm written all about how the wicked prosper; the book of Ecclesiastes is an entire book written about how there is no reward in this life for right living and all are equal in the end.

What it is even more clear, and can encourage us greatly, is that God will be fair in the end. Whatever the injustices of this life we can trust that God will be fair and at the judgement will right every wrong. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says, for we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

On the specific subject of children dying in childbirth or before they are born, the Bible doesn't speak directly on this issue. In 2 Samuel 12:23 when King David's first son with Bathsheba died in infancy he said "Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me." He showed a simple trust that God is righteous in all he does, and that is as far as I believe we can go. In situations like this where as far as we can tell there is no right resolution all we can do is trust that God will do what is right.

More importantly, in all these things we are pointed towards our own state before God.

In Luke 13:1-5 Jesus ended His answers about the fate of those who died saying "unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

The hopeless cry of injustice in Psalm 73 ends with Asaph saying:

Who have I in heaven but you?
  And there is nothing on earth that I desire beside you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
  but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;
  you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God;
  I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
  that I may tell of all your works. (Psalm 73:25-28)

The theme of Romans 5, where Paul writes about how death came to all men through Adam, runs towards the wonder of Jesus bringing life to all! Romans 5:19 says, for as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible came earlier in that chapter: Romans 5:8 says that God shows his love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Corinthians 5 begins with thoughts of God's judgement and ends with these words: We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

In summary, I hope this answer has helped you reconcile how we are all under sin and our own responsibility for that, with the way that the effect of sin affects all people with no particular connection to what they deserve. I hope the assurance that God will one day bring justice to all is a comfort.

I hope more than all of that, that these things will cause you to think of how you stand before God, how you will fare in the judgement, and that you will run towards Jesus who can cleanse any sin and be your saviour. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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