When a baby dies, does he/she go to heaven?
The Bible talks occasionally about the afterlife of adults, but what about the afterlife of children? While we don’t have as much information there are some basic things that we can understand about children who die and it is about that which I want to direct our attention tonight.
First, babies who die are in a state of sinlessness and thereby have no barrier of fellowship with the Father. Isaiah says that it is sin that separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2). So in order to be separated one must sin. Babies have no capability to sin. They are, therefore innocent and thereby in fellowship with God. Jesus spoke regarding children, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). This statement from Jesus forever proclaims the innocence of little children. Children are thereby safe. They have not yet waded out into the dangerous currents of sin and have no need to be saved.
It is also apparent that children are not in a state of sin because sin requires one to freely choose a sinful thing. John wrote regarding sin, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). Babies have no capacity to transgress the law; therefore they have no capacity sin.
Again this leaves babies in a state of salvation–of fellowship with God. What will happen to them if they die? Well, we know that their future state is guaranteed to be with God one day in heaven, but do the souls of babies, like the souls of men, end up in the place Jesus called paradise? Or do they simply go straight to heaven to be with the Father? I am afraid that the Bible simply does not answer this question directly. However, we do have a hint at the answer in a statement that David made shortly after the death of the child he sired with Bathsheba. He said regarding that child, ” 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? 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 Samuel 12:22,23). David certainly had confidence that one day he would be with the child again and he took comfort in that thought. Losing a child to death is a terrible experience and I would not want it for anyone. However, for those who have lost children, you may take comfort in the fact that if you are faithful to God that you will one day see that child again. I do not know if this will be in the place of paradise that Jesus described or if it will be in heaven itself.