Where Do Babies Go When They Die?


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A reader recently asked a question on the Calvinism articles about what happens to babies when they die.  The answer is very clear in the Bible, and it’s a blessing to be able to know for sure that when the tragedy of losing a baby occurs, that the child will be in Heaven forever.  I can’t think of anything more tragic then losing a little baby!  Rest assured, the Bible has an answer for this concern.

Let’s look at two very clear examples of how God deals with children and babies:

1. David and His Son.
In II Sam. 12 we read about David and his struggle with having to lose his infant child.  David knew the baby was going to die, and so he fasted and prayed in hopes that perhaps God would allow him to live.  When the child died, and David learned of it, he stopped praying and fasting.  His reasoning was that he couldn’t bring the baby back to him, but that one day he would go to where that baby was.    
II Sam. 12:18-23, “And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead?
19) But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead.
20) Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat.
21) Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread.
22) And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
23) But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”


2. The Innocent Israelite Children.
In Numbers 14 the Israelites kept complaining and failing to put faith in God, even after seeing miracle after miracle.  God told them they would have to wander in the wilderness for forty years.  However, he made an exception for the little ones, because they had no choice in the matter.  God therefore allowed the little ones to go into the promised land, and punished the parents for their actions.
Numbers 14:31-32, “But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32) But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.”

The idea behind all this is that a child is not held accountable for a decision he or she cannot make.  A baby and many little children do not have the mental ability to understand the meaning of righteousness and judgment before God.  While they know there’s a good and a bad and that Mommy and Daddy will be upset with them if they’re “naughty”, but they just don’t get it when it comes to the idea of an afterlife and being held accountable before God for their actions.  The New Testament gives us very clear doctrinal teaching on why a child is “safe” in the eyes of God and goes to Heaven if it dies too early.

Here is the New Testament doctrine on this:

1. A Baby Has a Spirit, Soul, and Body.
I Thess. 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Obviously, the body is on the outside, and the spirit and the soul are on the inside.  When a child is born, it is born with all three parts and they are all alive.  When a person dies, the spirit leaves the body (James 2:26).  Seventh Day Adventists will try and teach you that there is no such thing as a soul, but it is very clear in the Bible that there is a body, soul, and spirit.  There are many verses that demonstrate this, but one of the most obvious is the account that when Rachel died the Bible clearly states that her soul left her (Gen. 35:18).

2. A Child’s Spirit Dies at Some Point.
Rom. 7:9, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.”
The body remains alive, and the soul remains alive, but at some point the spirit dies within all of us.  Paul clearly stated that he had died, and yet he was in the middle of writing the book of Romans.  He was speaking of his spirit.  God told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, that in the day they ate of it they would surely die (Gen. 2:16-17).  They continued to live full lives, but their spirits inside of them had died the moment they ate of the fruit. 
What Paul is saying is that there came a time in his life when “the commandment came” and his spirit died.  He was talking about the time in which he understood sin for what it was.  The commandment is the law that is given in the heart of every man and woman.  This point in time is different for every child, it is commonly referred to as the age of accountability. 

3. A Child Is Not Held Accountable If They Have Not Reached the Age of Accountability.
Rom. 5:13, “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.”
As we already saw, the law of the heart, or as Paul puts it, “the commandment”, is not there early in the life of a child.  This verse shows that when there is no law, sin is not imputed.  A little boy or girl does not have to bear the consequences of sin if he doesn’t have the ability to accept Jesus.  For a person to get saved they have to be able to recognize in their heart that they are a sinner.  That doesn’t happen to a child until the age of accountability, and until that point the child’s spirit is alive and it is in an innocent state before God.

4 comments:

JTR said...

Amen! Great article. I agree - that is what I find in the Bible as well.

There has to be a notice of guilt - conviction. Like Adam and Eve when they discovered they were naked in the garden after committing their first sin. This must happen before repentance, and without repentance, salvation cannot occur.

Grammy Blick said...

Thank you for taking time to post this study. I especially like the specific points as to accountability. I shall make the notes in my own Bible for future discussions.

Rick Schworer said...

Glad it was a blessing!

CONNIE'S THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART said...

Great Post!!! I am sure that it will help many who did not know.Thanks, connie McEntire