Life in Four Stages – The Wonder of Childhood

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
May 6, 2018

This article contains an excerpt from the first chapter of my new e-book, Life in Four Stages. Click here to download the entire book for free. 

Chapter 1 – The Wonder of Childhood

I will take any excuse to talk about my grandsons, Benjamin and Henry. If you could see a picture of them, you would see the joy they radiate. The exuberance of a child helps to demonstrate why even the face of one child demands a theological answer.

John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This verse encapsulates the joy of the gospel and the promise of salvation. God gave his Son to secure salvation for all who would believe in him. When the Father gave his Son, he not only gave him as a sacrifice for sin. He gave him first as an infant. We talk about this at Christmas. Christians around the world celebrate the season known as “advent.” Christians, however, fail to recognize the wonder of the truths declared in the Christmas season. The Word of God, the divine Logos, the One who spoke the cosmos into existence, the One who as Paul said, “who has all creation under his feet,” broke into the world not as a mighty man, or even a child. He came as a newborn infant.

Luke 2:40 makes clear the progression and growth of Christ. Luke records, “And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and the favor of God was upon him.” In that very same chapter, we have the account of Jesus as he was in the temple as a 12-year-old. At that stage of life we read of him: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

It is important for us to recognize that in the incarnation, Christ himself, in becoming as we are, became as we are as an infant. The most stunningly clarifying aspect of infancy in this regard is the fact that of all the live birth organisms we know in the cosmos, the most helpless and incompetent one is a human infant.

The evolutionary worldview has to handle this and has to explain why babies are as they are, whether they’re animal babies or human babies. So evolutionists long ago made the argument that the reason why infants and the reason why the young of every species are cute is so that we will see them as cute and give them attention, because if we didn’t give them attention, they would wither and die.

Evolutionists note that the young of almost all species have certain common traits, and those certain common traits come down to outsized heads and outsized eyes. The evolutionists argued that we are attracted to outsized heads and to outsized eyes. Someone brings a little bundle with an outsized head and outsized eyes, and we immediately say, “That’s cute,” whether it is a brother or a sister or a hippo. With that big head and those big eyes, you just say, “Isn’t that cute?” You want to hold it, and you want to tickle it.

Of course, the evolutionists will say the whole point is you want to feed it, you want to take care of it, and you want to protect it. This reveals, on the one hand, the ingenuity, and on the other hand, the sterility of the evolutionary worldview. The evolutionists are saying that all there is in terms of a mother’s attachment to her baby is just attachment that leads to nurture. This attachment cannot even be described as love in the evolutionary worldview. It is just that a baby is seen by its mother, and the mother sees the big head and the big eyes and says, “I’m going to take care of this rather than abandon it.” Is that all it is?

I do not think that is very plausible. The biblical worldview tells us that childhood and infancy is a part of God’s plan, and thus reflects God’s glory. God’s glory is demonstrated in the fact that we are born as an absolute need, but first as an absolute gift…

Children are a gift

The first thing to see in terms of what Scripture says about a child is that children represent “gift.” Every single child is a gift from the Lord. In Psalm 127, we read, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. The fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

The Bible’s witness is absolutely consistent. Every single child is made in the image of God. Every single child at every single stage and age is an undiluted gift and is to be celebrated. Every single child is to be cared for and welcomed. Even though this child is primarily the responsibility of its parents, the child is actually the responsibility of all. Contrast that view of children with what is going on in our society today. First of all, the horror of abortion where children are being killed in the womb because they are not welcomed or celebrated is occurring all around us. Then the pernicious and maligned neglect of so many children also signifies that there is an unwelcome sentiment towards children in general.

In recent days on my podcast The Briefing, I discussed a New York Times story about the declining fertility rate in the United States. This story is particularly interesting because the rate is even lower than what women want. Now what does that say? It says this declining trend is not really even about babies that might be defined as inconvenient. It is just that babies are not valuable to even the women who want them. What kind of sick society produces that kind of headline? It is not a society that is ruled by Scripture. It’s not a society that is imbued with what the Scripture gives us as the glory of God in the child. Every single child is to be seen as a gift. Every single child, regardless of whether or not that child meets the expectations of the society as “acceptable” or “beautiful,” is to be celebrated.


R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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