Wednesday 4 December 2019

Is a baby that dies in the womb a wasted life?

Continuing on questions that Christians might consider asking themselves; what about babies that die in the womb, are born dead or die shortly after birth?

It seems likely that most of the humans who have ever existed fall into this category - but whatever the exact proportions, this group accounts for a huge number of people (billions), especially before the modern era.

So these are people who have incarnated, but never had a chance to lead an independent existence from the mother - with hardly a chance to have experience, and no possibility of making any choices.

Were all these lives then futile? If so, it seems strange that matters should be arranged thus.

Given that God is our loving Father; I think the true explanation would need to be one in which there was a purpose to all these intra-uterine deaths, a reason for such people to have lived - some benefit these billions of souls had from their short experiences.

I found an explanation that 'works for me' in Mormon theology - which has it that these people have benefited from incarnation, from 'getting a body' - and it is this mortal body, no matter how short it lives for - which enables us then to be able to become resurrected.

In other words, we need to live and die as mortal incarnates, in order that we may become immortal incarnates - it is a necessary step on the way. So, even the briefest of lives spent entirely in the womb is of tremendous potential benefit to that person.

That is my explanation based on my assumptions - the question is whether other Christian traditions have similarly coherent accounts for this phenomenon? Or is the question simply regarded as trivial?


Geoff said...

I think the pursuit of answers to those who need comfort in mourning is important, as is the curriosity of the divine plan.

As we cannot know the plan, nor understand even if we were clearly told, then these are reasons enough to look for a suitable answer of "why? And for what good?", While keeping in mind we ultimately cannot understand.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I have no particular attachment to the idea that incarnation occurs at the moment of conception, but supposing it does, it seems natural to think that those who die in the womb would simply reincarnate, trying again until they manage to get a body that survives long enough to allow the manifestation of fully human qualities.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - That would mean that God was only able to design a c50% successful system of incarnation; which I don't find believable. If our actual post-natal lives are meaningful, then such pre-natal deaths should also have meaning, it seems to me.

However, I could certainly believe that sometimes (for some people, in some times and circumstances) such deaths are reincarnated (with the consent of that soul) - and also other instances of death when the main experience/ learning of incarnation had not been achieved.