Many months ago, a brief discussion broke out in our Sunday School class about whether babies that die go to heaven. One classmate held that babies go to heaven. Another person argued rigorously that they do not.
I know what I believe, and I know the scripture that backs that up - but I wanted more evidence. I wanted to really research this one well.
See, I cannot accept that a loving God would condemn an infant to hell who never had time to grow and develop mentally and spiritually and never had a chance to learn to make a choice of free will to accept or reject God. Turns out, scripture is in my favor, as are the vast majority of publications by Christian authors on the topic.
Wrong, but right:
Catholics believe baptism is required for salvation, and therefore baptized babies go to Heaven. They also believe unbaptized babies go to purgatory, and can be redeemed later. Although both of these beliefs are completely false, the notion that babies go to Heaven is true, so they reach the same conclusion.
Back to what's right:
There are many issues surrounding this concept, and this article touches on almost all the main points. It comes in question-and-answer format, and makes for easy reading.
In fact, in all the research I did, I could only find small segments of people who actually believe that babies who die go to Hell. Of those, the majority were Calvinists. So let me expand on that for a moment.
Calvinism and the fate of babies that die:
First off, Calvinism is heresy. It is an utterly false teaching. Those that teach it are, by definition, false prophets - something the Lord does not look kindly on.
Secondly, from a Calvinists' point of view: God is in Heaven, playing with His dolls (people) and deciding whom to send to Heaven and whom to send to Hell - much like a small boy deciding which toy Army men die and which ones live. Based on this very notion, a Calvinist who was being honest with himself would have to admit that some babies will go to Heaven due to their election. Still, the whole notion is not only absurd, but completely false, but I did want to point out the possibility.
Multiple scriptures point to the fact that condemnation to Hell is by way of sin. If someone has not sinned (blameless) then they can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. For those of us who have sinned, we can become blameless through Salvation.Yes, mankind has a sin nature, but we are not punished for the nature, but we are punished for the sin!
A great article on the topic.
The list goes on.
An alternate idea:
Suggested reading. A really interesting concept. This author points out belief that babies that die go to Heaven for a time - as do people who never heard the Gospel. At the end of the 1000 years predicted in the book of Revelation, these people have the opportunity to choose Christ or reject Him.
Not sure if I believe this or not, but wanted to share, as the article backs up every point with scripture in context.
I conclude, in absence of any scripture to the contrary, that babies and children not yet at the "age of accountability" who die will go to Heaven.
Post-edit: The individual who was part of the inspiration of this post has made a blog post wherein he stated: "That child, of course, went to heaven like all babies who die do..." Of course, this is in direct opposition to what he argued that Sunday morning. But then, this particular individual has some very strange ideas and some even stranger ways of "communicating" them.