Not Angels, Children of God
One of the first sentences out of our doctor's mouth when coming back into the hospital room to consult with us after we learned that our daughter no longer had a heartbeat was that we now had our own “angel” looking over us. We knew his comment was intended to give a measure of comfort, yet, we also knew it was not literally true.
We found solid comfort in the truths of Scripture about our hope of our daughter's present reality. These were truths we re-visited again and again in grief to resonate with our daughter's joy. That is why I want to share with you today six reasons we can rejoice that our sons and daughters are still human beings in heaven:
“It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.”
(1 Peter 1:12)
I have the hope my child is loved and known by God. The Bible may not give salvific details about how my child is specifically saved into the family of God. But, I know that it is only through the blood of Jesus that she is. In Scripture, angels, however, are not beneficiaries of salvation through the atonement of Christ. How wonderful that my child will exist to the praise of His excellent grace, a grace that angels have experienced longing to understand!
“He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”
Just as angels who sin are not saved though the cross, angels are also not adopted into the family of God as sons and daughters. Jesus Christ is forever fully God and fully man. Through Jesus, the perfect Son of God, my daughter—and this is only possibly as a human being—is adopted into the family of God forever. She belongs. They may not be able to interact with her earthly family. But she is already part of an eternal family that I will one day meet fully in glory too.
(3) Individual Personhood
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
(1 John 3:2)
When others have told me that my child is an angel in heaven, perhaps they are using a nickname—like how I might say endearingly that my daughter was “perfect to me,” without that comment being a negation of my theological belief that she was conceived with a nature of sin. Yet, I also suspect that, for anyone without a biblical framework, there is a tremendous deal of mystery surrounding death—and that mystery is connected to the “angel” comment I have received. This mystery has been an opportunity for me to share about the certainty that I have—that my baby did not transform into another kind of being or figure. She has personhood that, yes, has gone through a glorious heavenly transformation. But she is still herself. I have the hope of a beautiful reunion with her because I will meet her for who she uniquely is and was from conception! And though, from a heavenly perspective, I have been separated from her for a little while, I will have an eternity to know her. And it will still be her. Why do I believe this? In heaven, the bodies of Jesus’ people will be transformed to resemble Jesus' glorified body. When Jesus appeared to His disciples back on earth after His resurrection, even if a little difficult to recognize through earthly eyes, He was still Himself and was able to still be know for Himself (Luke 24:36-49).
(4) Made in His Image
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Perhaps ascribing the title of “angel” to pre-born babies is especially appealing because of the sinfully diminished value of the pre-born in our country and culture. But this diminished value is not reality. Praise God that He defines what is valid and true! Babies, from the very moment of conception, are valuable human beings created in the image of God. As far as I have understood or read, the Bible never explicitly teaches that angels are made in the image of God. The image of God given to humans appears to be unique, and it is of certain God-given value. No human notion can dispel this truth. My baby has this intrinsic, God-given value from conception through eternity.
(5) Known Location
“We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5:8)
When I think about the cultural concept of ethereal beings who watch over me, whether floating around me or watching down from somewhere above, it brings the question of where exactly these beings would be. I have the hope my baby is present with the Lord. In precise location, she is near Him. She is with Him. She is in the light of His presence. She knows no evil or sorrow. There is nowhere better in all of creation for her to be than where she is presently residing.
(6) Assurance as Mothers
“The law of the Lord is perfect”
I have assurance about all of the truths above through the authoritative testimony of Scripture. I do not have to wonder if my baby is loved, if she belongs, if she exists as herself, if she is valuable, or if she is with God. I know all of this to be true because God’s Word is perfect. My baby is a loved child of God, uniquely known by the Father to worship Him and display His redeeming grace for all eternity in the heavenly places where all believers will one day join to worship Him too!
This post was originally published at Hope Mommies.