Do Babies Go to Heaven if They Die?

ang3welcomeHave you ever wondered, even struggled with this question? Let’s take a real look at this issue, and I know we will all be blessed and comforted in doing so.

1. Romans 1:18-20  Man is held accountable for their unbelief when they fail to respond to God’s general revelation of creation… “They are without excuse.”  The implication is that at some point early in life they had an excuse.  It was their inability to cognitively recognize the truth of God as Creator.

2.  David fasted and wept for the child while he was alive.  However, when the child dies, he responded, “Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him but he shall not return to me.” II Sam 12:23   David did not exhibit the same behavior when his son Absalom was killed.  He wept and stated, “O my son Absalom – my son my son Absalom – if only I had died in your place!”  Why the difference in response?  David believed in life after death – Psalm 23:6 – “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Was it possible that he knew he would see the young child again, but not wicked Absalom?

3.  Abijah the son of Jeroboam the king became sick.  The king sent his wife to Ahijah the prophet to see what would become of his son.  The prophet tells her that he will die when she enters the city.  Yet the prophet tells her, “ And all Israel will mourn for him…for he is the only one of Jeroboam who shall be buried, because in him there is found something good toward the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.” I Kings 14:13

4.  Moses in retelling Israel their recent history and failure to obey God which kept them out of the Promised Land – Yet their descendants would go in – “your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there…” Deut 1:39   If they have no knowledge of good and evil, can they be held accountable? Apparently not for God is permitting them to enter the Promised Land.

5.  Furthermore, only those 20 years old and older would die in the wilderness.  Those younger were not held accountable.  Why were not all of them held responsible?  Num 14:29

6.  Job lamented, “Why did I not die at birth?  Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?” …Then I would have been at rest.”  Job 3:11,13  He also believed in resurrection – “For I know My Redeemer lives,…and after my skin is destroyed this I know that in my flesh I shall see God.”  Job 19:25,26  Doesn’t it seem like either way he believed he was assured of eternity with God?  If he believed that infants go to hell, would he have said that he wished that he died at birth? He described the place that stillborn children go in Chapter 3:16-19. “The wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. …The small and the great are there…”  Doesn’t it sound like a place of peace – heaven?

7.  Ezekiel 16:21  Jerusalem’s harlotry was that they were sacrificing their children to pagan Gods.  The Lord indicts them, “you have slain My children and offered them up…”  He doesn’t say your children.  Is He not implying at least that they are His until they can consciously oppose His way?

8.  Isaiah 7:16  “For before the Child shall know to refuse evil and choose good…”  Doesn’t that imply that small children are unable to make moral choices?

9.  Deut 24:16  “…nor shall children be put to death for their father’s; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”  Children of wicked parents have a good chance of turning out wicked themselves.  But if the child dies as an infant, he will not be punished for the father’s sin.

10.  Ezekiel 18:23 “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live?”  How does an infant or a little child turn from their wicked ways?

11.  Jesus’ ministry began with Him preaching repentance to the nation of Israel.  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matt 4:17 But later in His ministry, at the most three years later, when they brought infants to Him He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for such is the kingdom of heaven.” Luke 18:15,16  “And He took them up in His arms, laid hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16   Did they repent?

12.  Jesus said, “ …you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24   What about the infants in Luke 18:15.  Could they understand who He is?

13.  Jesus never seemed too concerned about little children as far as warning them.  In fact He said …for of such (little children) is the kingdom of God. Luke 18:16 Interestingly, Jesus did not differentiate by saying believing children.  In the only accounts in Scripture He received them openly and blessed them.  Something He never did of adult pagans.

14.  Judgment would come upon Israel because they forsook God…and have filled the place with “blood of the innocents”.   They have also built high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to Baal,…” Jer 19:4   How is anyone innocent unless they’re very young and have no awareness of moral choices before God?

15.  Under the Old Testament law there was a sacrifice for unintentional sins. A female goat sacrifice was the necessary offering if committed by the common people.  Lev 4:27 Why was there no provisions for infants or young children?

16. Under the Old Testament law why didn’t the parents need to offer a sacrifice for a child when it is born?  An atoning sacrifice was necessary for the mother, but not the child. Lev 12

17.  Jesus said that men are condemned because they refuse to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18  How are infants or little ones capable of believing and understanding?

18.  The wrath of God abides on the one who does not believe. John 3:36 How can infants and very young children believe or not believe?

19.  People go to hell for actively sinning against God and rejecting the truth of the gospel.  Babies and young children sin but do not knowingly sin against God or reject the truth of the gospel. That’s why it says in Revelation 21:8 that it is the unbelieving that practice such acts that children cannot do who end up in the lake of fire.

20.  Are not children a heritage from the Lord and the fruit of the womb a reward? Psalm 127:3  What if the child dies early or at birth?  Losing the child is enough but believing God will send him/her on to hell would be devastating would it not?  How is that a reward?

21.  The character of God and nature of God.  Psalm 145;9 says that “the Lord is good to all,…”  If a baby dies a couple days after childbirth and goes to hell for all eternity, where’s the good in that?  Certainly an infant is included in ‘all’, right?  Or what about some one who is so significantly mentally impaired? A mentally impaired person can live into adulthood. Can you imagine the pain being a Christian parent believing that he could never come to a cognitive understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done – knowing that he will die and go to hell for all eternity?

23.  Salvation comes by the grace through faith.  Faith must be exercised in Christ for life to be received?  Infants and young children do not have the capacity to exercise faith?  Will God hold them accountable for something that they are incapable of doing?  Shall not the Judge of the earth do right?

24.  Luke 12:43  “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  The parable goes on to say that the servant who knew what to do and doesn’t do it receives greater condemnation.  The servant who doesn’t know his will, but commits acts worthy of punishment will receive a smaller degree of punishment.  Again the illustration appropriately is showing servants, people who are old enough to commit acts and who are responsible for knowing or not knowing.  Infants and young children do not fall into this category.

25.  I believe that all infants are born separated from God because of Adam’s sin.  I believe at some point in time and only God knows, that every person becomes responsible before Him for his sin.  In other words we sin knowingly and willfully.  Infants and young children do not sin knowingly and willfully against God.  Although they do sin, it is only apparent to us because as adults we can discern it. Under the Old Testament law the high priest made atonement upon the altar once every year for the people of Israel. Lev 16:24 The people would have included infants and young children.  All the sacrifices pointed forward to Christ and covered sin up until that point.  So wouldn’t infants or young children who died be covered by that sacrifice until Christ, Who then would take away their sin?  And if an infant or young child would be covered under the O.T. covenant, could not God apply His blood similarly to those who could not understand because of age or mental capacity now – during the age of grace – those who could not consciously or knowingly accept or reject Him?  Would that not fit with the character of God Who is “gracious and full of compassion, great in mercy, righteous in all His ways, Whose greatness is unsearchable, Who is good to all, Who blessed the little children; who is kind to the unloving and unthankful; Whose faithfulness reaches the clouds; Whose judgments are unsearchable and His ways past finding out? (Psalm 145; Mark 10:16; Luke 6:35; Psalm 36:5: Romans 11:36)

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