Do Babies Automatically Go To Heaven When They Die?
This is a controversial question but we need to look at it from a Biblical perspective and see what the Bible says about this. We are going to look at this question from a few different angles.
First lets discuss the unborn baby. God speaks very clearly in the Bible on the value of unborn children. God's Word says that He personally made each one of us, and has a plan for each life:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
Even before I was born, God had chosen me to be His.
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mothers womb… Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
—Psalm 139:13, 16
Your hands shaped me and made me… Did You not clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life.
This is what the Lord says—He who made you, who formed you in the womb
Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One form us both within our mothers?
Because man is made in God's own image (Genesis 1:27), each life is of great value to God:
Children are a gift from God.
He even calls our children His own:
You took your sons and daughters whom you bore to Me and sacrificed them… You slaughtered My children.
The Bible says of our Creator,
In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being
God, the giver of life, commands us not to take the life of an innocent person:
Do not shed innocent blood.
Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person
You shall not murder.
Taking the life of the unborn is clearly murder—
He didn't kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave.
—and God vowed to punish those who…
ripped open the women with child
The unborn child was granted equal protection in the law; if he lost his life, the one who caused his death must lose his own life:
If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined …if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life
Life is a gift created by God, and is not to be taken away by abortion. God tells us clearly the only acceptable choice to make:
I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Now that we see the value God places on unborn babies, are there any verses that apply to them going to heaven?
There are two key Scriptural principles which help us know the answer. The first is in 2 Samuel 12. We learn of David's affair with Bathsheba, another man's wife. David was informed by the prophet Nathan that the child produced by that union would die. David then began to fast and pray, asking the Lord to not carry out His judgment. When the child did die, David got up from praying and fasting and ate something.
When asked about this behavior, David uttered the words recorded in 2 Samuel 12:23, "Now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." David's words reflect a clear understanding that the child could not come back to earth, but David would be with his child one day in heaven. This indicates not only David's assurance of his own future in heaven (Psalm 23:6), but also the assurance that his child would share that future. From this account, we can conclude that infants who die are destined for heaven.
The second principle is an understanding of sin and the character and attributes of God. A God of justice must punish sin, for the Bible teaches us that "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Neither an unborn child, nor an aborted baby, has had the opportunity to willfully sin. The same is for a baby when it is born but at some point they reach what is commonly called an "age of accountability" and sin, immediately falling under judgment. It depends on your theology of original sin whether or not every child conceived bears the sin nature inherited from Adam. There are several verses that must be interpreted:
Psalm 51:5 - "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me."
Proverbs 22:15a - "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child"
The word for "child" is נַעַר (Strong's #5288) and means "(concretely) a boy (as active), from the age of infancy to adolescence; by implication a servant; also (by interchange of sex), a girl (of similar latitude in age): - babe, boy, child, damsel [from the margin], lad, servant, young (man)." But this word "child" used in this verse applies to a baby such as Moses (Exodus 2:6), as well as people who can butcher a calf (Genesis 18:7), are servant to the captain of the guard (Genesis 41:12), Joshua (Exodus 33:11), the spies (Joshua 6:23), armorbearers (Judges 9:54; 1 Samuel 14:1, 6; 2 Samuel 18:15), in charge of workers (Ruth 2:5, 6), can have children (2 Samuel 19:17), can blaspheme God (2 Kings 19:6; Isaiah 37:6) and can sin (1 Samuel 2:17; Psalm 119:9; Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 23:13; Proverbs 29:15). David was a "youth" with this word when he slew Goliath (1 Samuel 17:33, 42, 55, 58) and Jeremiah when he was called to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:6, 7).
Genesis 8:21 - "And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done." The word for "youth" is נְעֻרָה (Strong's #5271) and means "youth, early life." But the "youth" this word refers to also know God in many verses, get married (Proverbs 5:18; Isaiah 54:6; Joel 1:8; Malachi 2:14, 15), labor (Isaiah 47:12, 15; Zecheriah 13:5), and commit whoredom (Ezekiel 23:3, 8, 19, 21) so this word applies to those past any age of accountability.
Ephesians 2:1-3 - "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others."
Romans 5:12 - "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned"
Does this apply to the unborn? Well, the Bible does not specifically say whether or not an unborn child who dies goes to heaven. Without a clear passage, we can only speculate and look at revelation by the Holy Spirit or experiences of people going to heaven. We also have an understanding of sin and a knowledge of God's love, goodness, and compassion. We know of David's confidence that he would be with his child again. Most people who have asked God this specific questions are convinced that babies automatically go to heaven. Based on all these reasons, we believe it is appropriate to conclude that the souls of children are immediately in the presence of God when their lives are cut short. Babies are not born with sin or a sin nature that they are accountable for, as has been traditionally taught by the Catholic Church and often Christian churches. Babies are born with no moral guilt before God. If they are born and continue to live, they will invariably sin and incur moral guilt before God. Children past their age of accountability will have their heart judged by a loving and graceful heavenly Father. God knows if they would have known God (Matthew 7:21-23) and "learned to love" Him or not.
So I believe all unborn babies and babies who haven't incurred moral guilt/reached an age of accountability go to heaven. However, we are left with the difficult thought that abortion doctors are the greatest "soul winners" while performing some of the greatest evil this world has ever known.
© Todd Tyszka
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