This is the 3rd in a series of blogs that seek to answer difficult questions encountered by SR&F Outreach Ministers....
3. Do Babies Who Die Go To Heaven
There’s a Celtic tradition of prayer that I’ve practiced for decades that has been a most helpful aide to keeping my prayers relevant and fresh. This spiritual disciple entails praying for specific requests…on specific days of the week…that are naturally associated with that day of the week. For example, one of the things to pray for on Friday’s has to do with praying for the parents who have lost a child, based on the fact that the Heavenly Father’s Son died on a Friday.
Such prayers are almost always deeply appreciated. Grieving parents, experience what is considered by most people as the greatest agony anyone can encounter on earth – the loss of a child. So it should not come as a surprise that this is one of the first questions asked by new Christians who have suffered a miscarriage or who have had to bury their child...or even more poignant, have aborted a child earlier in life! Thus it should not be surprising that SR&F local church missionaries (coaches, league directors etc.) may well encounter such a question, and would be wise to be ready for this inquiry.
Do Babies who die go to heaven?
Matthew 19:13-15 “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 1.15 “… for he will be great before the Lord….even from his mother’s womb.”
Jeremiah 1.5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
2 Samuel 12:15.23 “…I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
So there you are, in the parking lot after your volleyball game and the gal form work you invited to join your church's volleyball league asks if she can ask you a personal question. You of course say yes, but are totally unprepared for just how personal a question it is. "Will the little girl I aborted be in heaven?" Now you know why she waited until you were in the parking lot...far away from prying eyes and ears!
When such a question is asked, I encourage you to listen rather than talk! This is a perfect time to “live out the Gospel” (“weep with those who weep" - Romans 12.15-18). While it’s certain co-worker will want to hear what you have to say, they will more so remember how you responded and how they felt about this encounter. While words are heard, love is felt; and those feelings most often outlive, and communicate for deeper, than what is said. Yet, what is said is crucial and hopefully reassuring and comforting. The following verses and concepts are best shared in a private conversation that is not rushed…and a box of Kleenex is recommended.
An Important Concept
An important concept to be shared is that a person is judged (condemned…as in not allowed into heaven) based on their willful, conscious rejection of God’s love and will for their life. ( 2 Corinthians 5.10; 1Corinthians 6.9; Revelation 20.12) This alone would suggest that not only the preborn and the infant, but also those who are mentally incapacitated, are incapable of willfully and consciously rejecting God...and thus would certainly seem to indicate their welcome into the arms of Jesus in heaven.
Other scriptures that bring comfort include David’s statement about his infant son who died shortly after birth; children being chosen in their mother’s womb and Jesus’s own encounters with children. (see below)
The account of David grieving the loss of his infant son is profound in two ways. First it clearly demonstrates the deep sorrow of a grieving father. Second it communicates the foundational Christian belief that while the departed son cannot come back to his father, the father will see that child again in heaven! (2 Samuel 12.15-23)
In addition, there are passages that can encourage the hearts of grieving parents in the fact they teach that children were formed, chosen and consecrated in their mother’s womb. (Luke 1.15; Jeremiah 1.5) This teaches that death cannot “steal” a child from God.
Then of course, there is the most wonderful story related in the gospels that record Jesus’s great love for the little children…and his claim that they belong to His kingdom. ( Matthew 19.13-15; Mark 10.13-16; Luke 18.15-17) All I can say is; Hallelujah, what a Savior!
All of this of course lines up with what the entire Bible teaches about God being a loving Father and can be a great source of comfort to grieving parents when lovingly and sensitively shared in the midst of a SR&F Outreach Ministry. Of course, it must be pointed out that this is a controversial subject and that regardless of one’s position or belief, a baby’s eternal status is up to God and we can find comfort in trusting God with this.
I further recommend you add these verses to the file on your phone entitled: Answers to Difficult Questions. You never know when you'll need them.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's book to be released in late 2019 or early 2020 entitled: The Saving of Sports Outreach: The Soteriology of Sports Outreach - The 4th book in the Sports Outreach Institutes Series.
Dr. Linville's books can be purchased through the CSRM website -
Dr. Greg Linville
CSRM's Director of Resource Development