Do the Souls of Babies and Young Children Go to Heaven When They Die Too Early?

jesus-loves-the-little-children-3-638by Rob Lundberg

Incidents in recent news of a child being dragged into the lagoon at Disney World have sparked a great question from my daughter, which I am sure some may have asked or have yet to ask.  As we have seen in the media, the two year old child wanders away from their parents into an area of a lagoon that contained an alligator.

As we read or heard on the news, the events of this situation were tragic in our hearing the the child lost their life.When my daughter and I were discussing this news piece this evening, it sparked in her mind a question, “did the child go to Heaven?” Whenever tragedy strikes, we often wonder where God is in the situation, and what about the victims?

Obviously the death of the child or any child for that matter is too early, in our human minds.  Let’s just admit this again, the death of an innocent child at ANY age is TOO EARLY, let alone tragic.  This Disney World event is truly a horrific tragedy.  So what I would like to do in this posting, is provide what I think is a biblically balanced answer, despite it being a difficult and yet thorny subject. 

As a preamble to my response, I hoping to cover this issue from the perspective of the pre-born to the young child learning to be accountable for right and wrong choices. The issue of abortion is a hot button topic in our culture on a broader scale, and yet there are those families on a local scale that are impacted by tragedies as grave as the Disney World tragedy.

Two Biblical Observations.

I think there is quite a bit of evidence both scientifically and biblically that life begins right at the point conception. Scripture is also clear that an unborn baby is known by the Lord, even from that point of time at conception (Psalm 139:13-16). While the Bible does not mention abortion or aborted babies, we do have two observations to help us comprehend and apprehend the answer to this thorny question of whether the souls of  babies go to heaven.

The first observation is from the only passage in the Old Testament of the Bible where there is something very specific that is said about the death of infants. In 2 Samuel 12 we learn of David’s affair with Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite’s wife. David was rebuked 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 dies, David gets 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 observation in dealing with this issue is from an abridged, yet systematic view from Scripture that is directed toward an understanding of the character and attributes of God. We do know that 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 infant, nor an aborted baby has had the opportunity to willfully sin; however, every child conceived bears the sin nature inherited from Adam (Psalm 51:5) and is therefore subject to judgment. 

At the same time, God reveals Himself as a God of goodness and mercy (Psalm 136:26). He is “gracious in all His works” (Psalm 145:17). It could very well be that God, in His grace, applies the sacrifice of Christ to the unborn victims of abortion. We know Christ’s blood is sufficient for such a thing. After all, Jesus died “for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Concluding Point

The Bible does not specifically say whether or not an unborn or young child who dies goes to heaven. Without a clear passage, we can only speculate. However, we do know of God’s love, His goodness, and His compassion. We also know of David’s confidence that he would be with his child again. And equally important, we do know that Jesus invited the children to come to Him (Luke 18:16).  

So based upon these sureties, I believe it is appropriate to conclude that the souls of children are immediately in the presence of God, especially when their lives are cut short by abortion.

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