Do all children who die go to heaven?

Last updated on December 8, 2022

Do all children who die go to heaven?

When a child dies, there can be a question mark in the mind of the parents: where did their child go? The Bible gives no explicit answer to this question, but we can find enough to point us in the right direction.

No one is born completely innocent

David says in Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” We need to repent of our sins and receive forgiveness, each and every one of us.

However, children and mentally handicapped people are not able to understand their sinfulness and consciously choose to turn to Jesus. Would not God be gracious and mercifully allow them entrance to heaven? We believe that there is enough reason to say yes to this question.

Situation of David

David committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband killed and lost the baby as a result. When the baby was sick, David cried to the Lord in the hope that He would hear him and would let the child live. But when the baby finally died, David got up, washed, changed and ate, to the astonishment of his servants. They could not understand how he could do all these things when the child had died. This is David’s answer: “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22-23). David believed that the child was in heaven and that one day, he would join him there.

God’s heart for children

The Bible also gives us insight in God’s heart for children when we look at how Jesus related to them. In Matthew 18:1-9, Jesus’ love for children is very clear. We are even taught to be like the children if we want to enter the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Later on, in chapter 19:13-15, Jesus again demonstrates his love for children when He allows them to come close and when He blesses them. The disciples receive a sharp rebuke from Him when they try to prevent the children from coming close to Jesus: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).

It is up to God to apply the atonement of Christ to any person He wishes. It is a fact that Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). God is sovereign (Acts 4:24), He is good (Psalm 103:8) and He loves us (John 3:16). We can trust Him completely that He judges justly and full of mercy and love. Such is His character. While the Bible does not explicitly state that children who die at a young age will all go to heaven, neither when exactly they reach the age of accountability, we can be certain of God’s love for children and the range of his love for mankind.

Summary

Many people wonder what happens to little children who die. Although the Bible does not address this specifically, we can find clues. Jesus welcomed children into His kingdom. And God is loving and gracious. So, although He is the one who judges about who will have eternal life, we can fully trust that His judgement will be loving and righteous.

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