Scriptures

Do Babies Go To Heaven When They Die?

Introduction

This has to me one of the most emotionally sensitive questions that people ask, do babies go to heaven when they die? Sadly, many people won’t even attempt to answer the question because they simply don’t know the answer, others avoid answering the question by saying things like, ‘that’s up to God, He will decide!’ Others are about as subtle as a brick and say, ‘they were sinners; therefore, they will go to hell!’

I’ve read some articles which claim that even a baby that was still born will be condemned, I’ve also read other articles which claim that a baby which was aborted will be condemned. Let’s go ahead and try and understand what the Scriptures actually teach on this subject.

‘For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Romans 3:23

Many Christians are quick to point out that ‘ALL’ have sinned, therefore everyone on the planet is a sinner, despite their age. But is this the case? Are babies, young children and those born with or who develop mental health issues at a young age capable of knowing right from wrong? Can they be held accountable for their actions if they don’t know any better?

The Age Of Accountability

The age of accountability differs from child to child, this is because some children mature a lot quicker than others. Isaiah gives us a hint as to when this happens when he writes, ‘The child shall know to REFUSE THE EVIL AND CHOOSE THE GOOD.’ Isaiah 7:16

Later, Jonah also gives us another hint as to when a child becomes accountable for their actions, when he writes, ‘And am I not to have mercy on Nineveh, that great town, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons without the power of JUDGING BETWEEN RIGHT AND LEFT, as well as much cattle?’ Jonah 4:11

The Bible suggests that there is a moment in a child’s life when they will know the difference between right and wrong, but until then, they can’t be held accountable for their actions.

How can anyone be held accountable for something which they don’t know is right or wrong? Babies, young children and those born with or who develop mental health problems at a young age would certainly fall into this category,

‘What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN WHAT SIN WAS HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE LAW. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I FOUND THAT THE VERY COMMANDMENT THAT WAS INTENDED TO BRING LIFE ACTUALLY BROUGHT DEATH.’ Romans 7:7-10

Here in Romans Paul speaks about the accountability for sins and he describes the moment he became accountable and condemned with the death penalty for his sins. Paul makes it clear that it was by the Law of God either through his conscience, Romans 2:11-16 or by the testimony of the Scripture that made in his development as a child accountable for his sins.

Notice it wasn’t until he became aware of the law that he ‘died’, it’s then he became accountable for his sins and subject to sins wages, Romans 6:23. It’s then, when he realises the difference between right and wrong, that he turns to Christ for forgiveness, Romans 3:10-26.

Once again, we see there’s a point in most children’s lives when they become aware of what is right and what is wrong. How can anyone be held accountable for something which they don’t know is right or wrong? How can a still born baby or an aborted baby be held accountable if they’ve barely lived?

‘Whoever BELIEVES and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.’ Mark 16:16

Jesus tells us that the first requirement for salvation is to ‘believe’. I don’t mean this disrespectfully, but I’ve met a few adults over the years who weren’t capable of believing, simply because they had mental health issues which meant they had the understanding of a very young child. Babies, young children and those with mental health problems would certainly come into this category of not being capable of believing.

Do we really believe Jesus would hold them accountable if they weren’t capable of believing! Do we really believe He would condemn them to hell, if they weren’t capable of knowing right from wrong or understanding the Gospel and what they must do to be saved!

Do Babies Go To Heaven When They Die?

I believe that the Scriptures clearly teach that babies go to heaven when they die. Look at the following example from the Old Testament.

‘After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, ‘While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.’ David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. ‘Is the child dead?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ they replied, ‘he is dead.’ Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, ‘Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!’ He answered, ‘WHILE THE CHILD WAS STILL ALIVE, I FASTED AND WEPT. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I WILL GO TO HIM, but he will not return to me.’ 2 Samuel 12:15-23

Notice that David stopped weeping and fasting once the child had died, why? Because David knew the child was beyond his reach and notice that David looked forward to the time when he would die, because he knew he would join his son again. In other words, David knew exactly where his son was, he was with God.

When we compare David’s reactions and thoughts here with his reactions and thoughts when his other son Absalom dies, it’s clear that David had no such hope of seeing his son Absalom again, 2 Samuel 18:33 / 2 Samuel 19:4.

‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like LITTLE CHILDREN, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’ Matthew 18:3-5

‘Let the LITTLE CHILDREN come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a LITTLE CHILD will never enter it.’ Luke 18:16-17

In both these passages Jesus clearly says that ‘little children’ retain the qualities that make a person qualified to inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, babies and little children that die are safe from condemnation and will live forever in heaven.

Conclusion

You won’t find any Scripture which says that babies and young children go to hell when they die. Are babies, young children and those born with or who develop mental health issues at a young age capable of knowing right from wrong? Can they be held accountable for their actions if they don’t know any better? The Scriptures say, no. Are they safe in heaven? The Scriptures say, yes.

If you’ve suffered the loss of a baby or a young child, then please rest in the assurance that your baby or child is very much alive, they are safe and secure in heaven, and if you remain faithful to the Lord, then you will join them and be with them again.

‘Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.’ 2 Samuel 12:23

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Matthew 5:16

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