Heaven or hell : children dying at an early age

(Marvin Rhey Quitoras) #1


I have this question from my circle of friends – “Do we expect children dying at an early age (without knowing what’s right and wrong) to go to heaven?”

If yes, how can we reconcile our answer to Romans 3:23 saying, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God?”. I’m having a hard time answering my friends since they knew that we are all sinners and in need of a Saviour. So how can we expect children (no concept of what’s right and wrong) to enter heaven if they haven’t accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour?

Thank you,

(SeanO) #2

@mdquitoras Great question! Here is an article by Sam Storms at the Gospel Coalition on this topic. I think he does a great job of summarizing the basic arguments. Regarding your specific question about Romans 3:23, I think his 4th point is is very relevant:

“There is the consistent testimony of Scripture that people are judged on the basis of sins committed voluntary and consciously in the body (see 2 Cor. 5:10; [1 Cor. 6:9–10]). In other words, eternal judgment is always based on conscious rejection of divine revelation (whether in creation, conscience, or Christ) and willful disobedience. Are infants capable of either? There is no explicit account in Scripture of any other judgment based on any other grounds. Thus, those dying in infancy are saved because they do not (indeed cannot) satisfy the conditions for divine judgment.”

Romans 3:23 would then apply to all who have had the ability to consciously reject truth, which requires a certain mental capacity. Babies do not have said mental capacity, therefore they would go to Heaven.

Another approach is to recognize that in Jesus we see the love and goodness of God. Because we know God is good, we can trust that His judgments will be just. We may not know exactly how God deals with every person who dies, but because of what we know of God through Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, we can trust in God to do what is right. Sam Storms seems to close with a similar sentiment about trusting God’s character.

Is there a good reason why we should not give a direct answer to “Do you think I’m going to Hell?”
(Carson Weitnauer) #3

A post was split to a new topic: Unclear post

(Sandy) #4

Marvin, sadly at this very moment, as a friend is making funeral arrangements for her 9-month old, this became a very real scenario of the past few days.
Thanks Sean, I agree with what you stated, and also with trusting in the nature and character of God. Reminded of the verse in Gen 18 that Ravi.often quotes “…Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” I also take and share comfort from David’s experience in 2Sam 12:23, where he says of the baby he lost: “…Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me”
I believe with all my heart he’s in the arms of our loving Savior and “more alive than ever”, as Billy Graham wanted quoted of himself not so long ago. With this knowledge, I comfort the parents, while at the same time praying that they like David, will truly come to know God and be assured that they too can be reunited with their son one day.

(SeanO) #5

@salee Sorry to hear that - praying for your friend and their family. May the Lord of all comfort give them strength and show great mercy and grace during this time of loss and may they sense the presence of His Spirit as they grieve. The love of Christ be with you as you reach out to them.

(Omar Rushlive Lozada Arellano) #6

Thanks for sharing this article, @SeanO. The answers that were given by Sam Storms were spot on. :slight_smile:

(Sandy) #7

Thank you for your prayers Sean! Appreciate them a lot.

(SeanO) #8

@salee Sure thing - always an honor to pray for one another and those in need!