Summary: Death—including the death of children—is a consequence of man’s rebellion against God, and serves as a continual reminder for us to hate sin.
When analyzing the problem of evil, and specifically the death of children, it is important to remember the antecedent cause of death. Death is the product of man’s rebellion against God, and the presence of evil and suffering is a direct result of a fractured creation, rather than an inherent aspect of God’s original design. Consequentially, people of all ages now die—due to disease, natural disaster, and the negligent or abhorrent actions of others—thereby serving as a continual reminder to abstain from sin. Retrospectively, there were only two feasible ways for God to eliminate the death of children; 1) He could remove human free will—reducing humanity to preprogrammed automatons—thereby eliminating the possibility of evil’s existence, or 2) He could make children invincible.1
Free will is essential to the human experience, and people intuitively recognize the superiority of freedom to slavery. Therefore, it is easy to comprehend why a loving God would grant humans free will, despite knowing that humans could potentially abuse this freedom. Similarly, it is not difficult to imagine the negative consequences of producing indestructible humans. Dr. Clay Jones explains, “In such a world, children wouldn’t learn morality because many of their choices would lack moral consequences… Many important spiritual lessons are learned from the suffering and/or death of children—courage, patience, compassion, selflessness, humility, and so on…”2 Our mortality is valuable in that it focuses our attention toward an eternal perspective, while concurrently communicating valuable moral lessons. Moreover, the tragedy of death—particularly the death of children—ought to serve as a constant reminder that sin is detrimental, provoking us to repent and seek reconciliation with God.
- This course of action inherently prompts subsequent questions (e.g., “Should all humans be immortal or just children?” “At what age should mortality become active?”).
- Clay Jones, “Why Did God Let That Child Die?” Christian Research Institute, August 12, 2016, https://www.equip.org/article/god-let-child-die-2/.