Thinking Cap #5 - The Question: Does a Slain Child go Straight to Heaven?

One of the very few consoling facts of the tragedy of abortion is that we believe the slain infants will go straight to heaven. Most also believe that very small children and even those who are older, but severely mentally handicapped will go to heaven when they die. There is considered to be a concept called the "age of accountability," such that a child under that age will go to heaven when he dies. A child or adult older than that age would go to heaven only if they had placed their faith and trust in what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross and had repented of their sins.

Is there any Biblical support to this belief, or is it just wishful thinking? Your responses are due by midnight, February 8, 1995 (you get extra time on this one because I will be at a preaching conference in Jacksonville, FL over the weekend, so take advantage of the "thinking time.")

Here, for what it is worth is how I would approach this topic.

  • We are all born with a sin nature, passed down from Adam through our natural fathers. That sin nature not only condemns us to death (spiritual --- the 2nd death), but also gives us a propensity to do wrong
  • God is Holy and must punish our sin (Ex. 34:7). But, God is also "Love" (1 Jo. 4:8) and wants us to be with Him for eternity (2 Pe. 3:9).
  • Through Adam, we all face the penalty of death, but in Christ we "all" also have the potential of everlasting life in Heaven (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:18).
  • Dt. 1:39 makes a provision for "little ones" who had no knowledge of good and evil to escape the judgement and pass into the promised land.
  • For individuals who have reach a stage of cognizance of their sin, this transaction (being saved and "reserving" your home in heaven) is consummated when you repent of your sins and place your faith and trust in what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross Ro. 10:9-10).
  • How does God balance His holiness and His love for those who are not yet old enough to do this, or who are so mentally handicapped that they are unable to do this? An excellent example in found in 2 Sam 12:1-23. The baby born as a result of David's adulterous act with Bathsheba died. David, who had been weeping and fasting for the child, makes a profound statement in verse 23. The child shall not come back from the dead, but David shall go to be with the child.
  • Heb. 11:32 tells us that David was a man of faith. Acts 13:22 tells us that David was a man after God's own heart (as does 1 Sam. 13:14). David was consider to be God's servant and anointed with oil (Ps. 89:20).
  • We can thus safely surmise that David was going to heaven when he died and thus, it was there that he would once again see the baby that had died.
  • It would be unwise and dangerous to attempt to place an age whereby the transition is made from being taken by God in His mercy to heaven to the point where you are now accountable for making your own decision. It does occur and it will be different for each person. That is what gives us the imperative to make sure that children learn of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as soon as possible, giving them the chance to place their trust in Him. Look at Rom. 7:8-14 for a treatment of this concept:
  • v. 9 - Paul was "alive without the law once" = as a child, Rom. 4:15
  • v. 9 - "when the commandment came... I [Paul} died" = with understanding came death (also reference Heb. 5:14)
  • v. 13 - "become exceeding sinful" = sometimes with a child sin is just doing wrong, a bad thing. It doesn't become sin, until they understand the weight of the transgression as sin. That comes only when they are so burdened with the wrong as sin and it becomes "exceeding sinful." They then are under conviction by the Holy Spirt because they understand and reach that "age of accountability."
  • Pleasant Thinking
    Kent Haralson


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