My Sister, still-births, and abortions


In 1958 my father paid a reluctant RC Chaplain to baptise a small lifeless baby, because he didn’t want her stuck in Limbo.

I’ve often thought about my sister, and those like her, and I’d like thoughts on the following questions.

Is this world really necessary?

Do we gain anything by being here?

If so, how do those who live no more than a few minusts or hours get what we get, and make it to where we (as Universalists, or not) hope we’re goning?

How and when do they gain the knowledge of good and evil, learn grow, and develope?

Are they again incarnated in the flesh, resurrected to a pre=glorified, physical life, or do they some participate in this life through us (prhaps by sharing in our expeiences through something like Jung’s collective subconscious)?

Any thoughful replies would be appreciated.


Michael ~

in 1984, my mother convinced a reluctant RC chaplain to baptize both myself and my sister, born months premature, and with slim chances of survival. again, out of fear of limbo. my sister lived no more than two or three days, and i was allowed to live many times longer.

it can seem like there was no reason for your sister or for mine to be born. why give someone life, only to take it back minutes, days, or months later? i believe God gives us life out of love, and appoints a time for us to die out of His wisdom. why, is probably not something we’ll be in any way able to know on this side of the divide.

as to where infants or small children go, i believe that Christ in His mercy welcomes them readily, as He did with the children brought to Him in Judea. of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, according to Him, and that surely means more than a vague or winsome sentiment.


Sorry to hear about both your sisters, it must be hard. You both raise some big, difficult to answer, questions. My guess would be that this life is necessary, or at least very useful, for the purpose God has for bringing people into a relationship with him. This is reinforced by the fact God bodily resurrects us back onto this earth. Which raises the question of what age will your sisters be when she is resurrected? In the new earth, will they have to learn to walk and talk?

If it turns out to be indeed a necessary experience in order to learn the difference between good & evil, I imagine there must be someway/somewhere more, for those who only experience a very small about of it :confused:

As far as I know, Calvinists insist that we are born sinful (which is probably right, although I’m not entirely sure) and therefore if we die (at whatever age) before we accept Christ, it’s a problem. Usually they say “we just don’t know/aren’t told” but in order for those people to be saved, they would require salvation after death, which is usually something they deny is possible! :astonished:

The good thing from a EU perspective is that I can be confident that God has their best interests in mind (before & after death) and will be working in them and with them, wherever they end up, to get them to be truly alive with Him & everyone else :sunglasses:



You pose some difficult questions–I really don’t think we can know the answers–at least I know **I **don’t have any answers for you.

I do trust that God loves these little ones–as others also said–that they are safe with Him and we will meet them again. I wish I could give you more.



Thank you Sonia.


I do too, unless they do participate in our experience now somehow.

(I’ve ordered a book by Sergius Bulgakov called “Jacob’s Ladder” that may have something to say about that, but I still haven’t read it.)

I’m also very interested in that new book by Robin you mentioned on another thread (is it available in book stores yet?)

Thank you Alex.



You sure know how to lay it out there! I love your heart.

I’ll just say that since there are no pat answers to such questions, there is the Cross. And that’s where I bring all my unanswered Q’s. If God is the sort of God who would climb up on the Cross and let the world do that to him, if he loves the world THAT much, then I can trust that whatever happens post-mortem…it’ll be consistent with the same love with which he took the world to the Cross with him. And that’s were I leave it…(while I also keep researching and thinking and trying to answer things the best I can!).



I’m going to make a guess. I guess that everyone who dies under the age of an adult (whatever that age is) will be resurrected at the same age as they died, and then will continue to grow until they reach adulthood ----- whether they are 12, 6, or one year old — or even if they are fetuses or zygotes. (Please don’t ask me where they’ll live as fetuses or zygotes until they are born.)

#9 … o_Moltmann

Should also be on Amazon by the end of the year.


That’s my hunch too. I’m trying to remember where C.S. Lewis described it like that… or maybe I was thinking of Tolkien’s Elves.

:laughing: The mind boggles!


As mortals, or immortals?

Jesus says something about being like the angels of heaven in the resurrection (in Matt. 22:30), but I suspect He was talking about the resurrection of the just there (and if it weren’t real painful for me to go rummaging arround looking through things right now, I’d try to find a reverse interlinear to see if the definite article is used in the question put to Him, and His answer.)

What about the resurrection to Judgment?

Are the judged raised immortal, and incorruptible, or are they raised mortal?


I feel forced to speculate that reincarnation (if that’s even the right word to use for the incarnation of souls who never really had any experience of life in the flesh) is a viable option for my sister (and those like her.)

Here is a quote (from a Roman Catholic web site) that I found interesting.

I think Gregory of Nyssa had some good arguments against reincarnation being the normal operating procedure, and Paul’s whole argument about Jacob being chosen over Esau before either of them had done anything good or bad would seem to presuppose that soul’s don’t necessarily have any pre-existence, but I don’t see anythng to suggest that reincarnation is impossible.


Sorry to hear about both you losses. I’m sure you both have speculated what if would’ve been like if both were allowed to live. My Mom had a sister that died at age of two. Her and her other sisters often wondered.

On the question of her progression, assuming she is allowed to do so in whatever spiritial world there might be, isn’t it possible that, like Adam, she would become fully formed and able to function in the celestial garden? That she could enjoy the beauty of God’s creation (perhaps in some kind of angelic form, as per Jesus’ specifications in response to the Sadducees’ question) and learn to love God and her fellow creatures in His immediate Presence. We are all at varying levels of spiritual growth ourselves (as well as physical growth). I see no reason to believe that God will continue that growth in the world and kingdom to come. We will continue to learn and grow in God’s GRACE! I’m sure for those who have passed on at such tender ages, the benefits would be the same, though they never had the fortune (or perhaps misfortune) to see existence in this life.


That would leave the question of why this mortal existence is necessary for any of us?


Whatever do you mean?

Adam began in the Garden as an immortal being. He left the Garden as a mortal being. As a result we are all finding our way back. This we must freely choose to do by learning to love. That’s why it’s called GRACE. I don’t see anything different about it when we get on over the other side.


if aborted fetuses, and still born children, can reach their full human potential without the experience of mortal existence (either by being incarnated in this age, or raised to mortal existence in another), mortal existence is unecessary.

And where does it say that Adam was created immortal, or that the garden of Eden was celestial?

I believe it says that the garden was on earth, and that Adam would have had to continue eating the fruit of “the tree of life” to have gone on living forever.


Paul states in I Corinthians 15 that our bodies are sown perishable and raised imperishable. That is the case with all people, not just disciples of Christ. The resurrection body will be like Jesus’s glorified body. In some respects it was like our present, mortal bodies. Jesus ate fish with his disciples after His resurrection; it seems that bodily functions still operated. He still had the nail prints in his hands from having been nailed to the cross. On the other hand, He was able to walk through a closed door. It was the same body in which He died, but a changed body ---- raised immortal. In this sense, the resurrection body is similar to the bodies of angels. Angels don’t marry, and so resurrected people will not marry, according to Jesus. Yet, many believe (and I think it is the official Jewish explanation) that angels (often called “sons of God” in the Old Testament) married human women and that their offspring were the Nephilim ---- mighty men of old:

*Genesis 6:2,4 … the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. *

Some say that the stories of the mighty heroes in ancient Greece, such as Hercules and Zeus, also regarded as gods, do, in fact, describe Nephilim.

I do not hold to the belief that we have some sort of “soul” or “spirit” which is naturally immortal, and goes to heaven or hell at death. When we’re dead, we’re dead, and we’ll stay dead until we are raised from the dead. Paul states that unless there is a resurrection we might just as well eat, drink, and enjoy ourselves, for, he implies, there would then be no afterlife. He also states that if there is no resurrection then “those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.”
(I Corinthians 15:18).


I kinda agree with Jason here (form the thread on “Will People Be Raised Immortal Sinners”)

As I posted to him {on the same thread)


As far as the ‘celestial garden’, I was using that as a metaphor for whatever spiritual reality in which these still-born or aborted babies presently reside. I agree with your assesment that the Adamic Garden appears to have been on earth.

The definition of immortality descibes something that is not subject to death. As you well know from the story, Adam could eat from every tree of the Garden (including the Tree of Life), so as long as he steered clear of the one forbidden tree, as “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”. But notice something even in his state of innocence. All was not good in the Garden. Adam was nevertheless discontent because he was alone. God made us to interact with other beings. His spiritual progress could not progress until then.

For though little ones whose life has been cut short, I’m sure they are receiving the kind of interactions with others beings, either others who have passed on or angelic beings, so that their spiritual development can progress as well. Unless you believe in ‘soul sleep’ I don’t think they are just floating around in limbo somewhere.

Besides all that, immortality doesn’t mean we are disembodied spirits. We are promise one day to receive a spiritual body, one that is not corrupt. And I’m confident it will have the same essence as the body Jesus was raised up in. Don’t forget that Jesus was in a mortal body, yet did not sin.

Maybe you are thinking that these babies would not have the opportunity to experience temptation or sin. Maybe you are right. But that doesn’t discount the possibility of being raised in a sinless state and growing thereby nonetheless. I’m sure righteous angels learn things, too (I Peter 1:12).

I have a question for you, though, Michael. Does our ability to choose between right and wrong disappear when we are ressurrected into immortality? If not, what will keep us from making the wrong choice once we get there?

ETA: I am also entertaining the idea that the first resurrection involves everyone in two groups: 1) Those that are ‘in Christ’ past and present", who will reign with Christ 1000 years IN RESURRECTED IMMORTAL SPIRITUAL BODIES, including still-born and aborted babies and 2) everyone else that is resurrected but who were without Christ or never had a chance to hear the gospel residing outside the city with a second chance (or first chance as it may be) to repent during the millinial reign.


I think that’s an excellent point, Dondi.