Babies In Heaven

In 2007 my wife and I experienced the unspeakable heartbreak of losing a child to
Trisomy 13, which is the worst of the chromosome related defects. It generally results in stillbirth. Those who do go to term usually only survive, at best, for a few days. Still, we held onto hope that ours would be one of the few who beat the odds. Nonetheless, when we went for a routine ultrasound, neither of us were prepared to hear “There is no heartbeat.”

The following week was the most hellish few days of my life, as we had to go through the agonizing process of delivering Bella’s little body, and arranging the funeral and burial. As a believer, the one source of comfort was knowing that my daughter and I will one day be reunited.

Infant salvation is obviously an emotional yet needlessly controversial topic. Sadly, many Christians who have experienced this incompatible loss continue to struggle with it even though the Bible is very clear. Do babies who die go to Heaven? Absolutely! But for a different reason than you may think.

When asked why babies go to Heaven, the instinctive response is generally “Because they are innocent.” However, that is an oversimplification. To understand this, we must touch on a difficult and sometimes troubling theme in the Bible and that is the doctrine of original sin. In other words, how the sin of Adam and its results are passed along to every person:

  • Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5 ESV
  • The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. Psalm 58:3 ESV.
  • Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned Romans 5:12 ESV
  • … by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:2?-?3 ESV

It has often been observed how children do not need to be taught how to misbehave. That comes naturally to them. Proper behavior is something they have to learn. That is a consequence of original sin. So how are babies saved? The same way as anyone else, by the grace and mercy of God. He offers this grace in a special way to children.

For example, when King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, she became pregnant. Sadly, the child died soon after. The grieving father takes refuge in knowing he will see his child again. “… can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23, emphasis added).

The best known passage on this subject is Matthew 19:14, in which Jesus says to “Permit the little children, and forbid them not, to come to me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” or

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