Do Babies Go to Heaven? What the Bible Says About Unbaptized Infants

Do babies go to heaven?
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The Bible offers answers on nearly every subject, yet is oddly vague about the destiny of babies who die before they can be baptized.

Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Two verses address the issue, although neither specifically answers the question.

The first statement came from King David, after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, then had her husband Uriah killed in combat to cover the sin. Despite David's prayers, God struck dead the baby born from the affair.

When the infant died, David said:

"But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:23, NIV)

David knew God's grace would take David to heaven when he died, where he assumed he would meet his innocent son.

The second statement came from Jesus Christ himself, when people were bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them:

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:16-17, NIV)

Heaven belongs to them, Jesus said, because in their simple trust they were drawn to him.

Babies and Accountability

Several Christian denominations do not baptize until a person reaches the age of accountability, basically when they are able to distinguish between right and wrong.

Baptism takes place only when the child can understand the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

Other denominations baptize babies based on the belief that baptism is a sacrament and removes original sin. They point to Colossians 2:11-12, where Paul compares baptism to circumcision, a Jewish ritual performed on male babies when they were eight days old.

But what if the baby dies within the womb, in abortion? Do aborted babies go to heaven? Several theologians contend those unborn infants will go to heaven because they did not have the ability to reject Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church, which for many years proposed an in between place called "limbo," where babies went when they died, no longer teaches that theory and assumes unbaptized infants go to heaven:

"Rather, there are reasons to hope that God will save these infants precisely because it was not possible to do for them that which would have been most desirable--to baptize them in the faith of the Church and incorporate them visibly into the Body of Christ."

Christ's Blood Saves Babies

Two prominent Bible teachers say parents can rest assured their baby is in heaven because the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross provides for their salvation.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said, "We believe that our Lord graciously and freely received all those who die in infancy--not on the basis of their innocence or worthiness--but by his grace, made theirs through the atonement He purchased on the cross."

Mohler points to Deuteronomy 1:39 as proof God spared the children of rebellious Israel so they could enter the Promised Land.

That, he says, bears directly on the question of infant salvation.

John Piper, of Desiring God Ministries and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary, also trusts in Christ's work: "The way I see it is that God ordains, for his own wise purposes, that at the judgment day all the children who died in infancy will be covered by the blood of Jesus. And they will come to faith, either in heaven immediately or later in the resurrection."

God's Character Is the Key

The key to knowing how God will treat babies lies in his unchanging character. The Bible is filled with verses attesting to God's goodness:

  • The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. (Psalm 111:7, NIV)
  • The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Psalm 145:9, NIV)
  • The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him, (Nahum 1:7, NIV)
  • Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39, NIV)
  • And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. (1 John 4:16, NIV) 

Parents can depend on God because he always acts true to his character. He is incapable of doing anything unjust or merciless. 

"We can be assured that God will do what is right and loving because He is the standard of rightness and love," said John MacArthur, of Grace to You Ministries and founder of The Master's Seminary. "Those considerations alone seem to be evidence enough of God's particular, electing love shown to the unborn and those who die young."


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Zavada, Jack. "Do Babies Go to Heaven? What the Bible Says About Unbaptized Infants." ThoughtCo, Feb. 8, 2018, Zavada, Jack. (2018, February 8). Do Babies Go to Heaven? What the Bible Says About Unbaptized Infants. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "Do Babies Go to Heaven? What the Bible Says About Unbaptized Infants." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2018).