What age people will be in heaven is a common question. In part, it concerns how people will look. The question also relates to what people will be able to do, since babies and the elderly, for example, have more physical limitations than people in other age groups. Questions about babies are especially poignant because elderly people got to experience a full life on Earth whereas babies didn’t.
Many Bible scholars believe that babies who die on Earth will not permanently remain babies in heaven. Some believe that in heaven babies, like other people, will immediately be their optimum physical age, such as in their 20s or 30s. Others believe that babies in heaven will grow up to their optimal age.
What could be considered a theological problem with babies remaining babies in heaven for all eternity? What is the “frozen in time” argument? Is the the “optimum age” view? How old is the optimum age? Keep reading to learn more.
Also see Who Will Not Go To Heaven? to learn more.
What does the Bible say about babies in heaven?
The Bible doesn’t directly answer the question about whether or not babies will remain their age in heaven or be older. However, many theologians believe that people can have a good idea of what the answer to the question is from the implications that result from certain passages.
Is there an inherent theological problem with babies remaining their age in heaven? Potentially. Babies who die in the womb and those that die at an early age after birth don’t have the mental capacity for activities the Bible says will occur in heaven. For example, fetuses and newborns don’t have the capacity to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of God. Likewise, they wouldn’t be able to worship God in heaven unless they were older.
Do some believe people’s age will be frozen in time? Some speculate that this is the case. If a baby dies at 14 months, he or she will be 14 months for eternity. If a man or woman dies at 95, they will be 95 for eternity. With regard to an elderly person, the theological issue that arises is that aging is a result of sin, and neither sin nor its effects will be part of the experience of heaven. Following this argument, if elderly people won’t be the same age, then babies won’t be either.
Could the same person be seen as a different age by different people in heaven? Some believe that people in heaven will see others according to the age their relationship determines. For instance, a woman will be seen as middle-aged by her children, and that same woman will be seen as a young lady by her mother. There is no direct biblical support for this view, but nothing about it contradicts Scripture’s teaching in heaven.
Also see Will There Be Marriage In Heaven? to learn more.
What does the Bible say about the optimal age of human beings?
The Bible values life of all ages. God celebrates babies in the womb (e.g. Jer. 1:5), people who have gray hair (e.g. Prov. 16:31), and everyone in between. When people refer to the “optimal age” of a person, they aren’t referring to their inherent value of a person, but the peak physical condition of their body.
How do scientists determine the optimal age of a person? Infancy isn’t considered the optimal age because a baby hasn’t fully developed. For example, their muscles are not as strong as they will be later in life. Old age isn’t considered optimal either, because an elderly person’s body doesn’t have the strength and abilities it did when they were much younger.
Scientists and theologians speculate that the optimal age of a person is in their 20s or 30s. An optimal age may vary according to a person’s genetics. 28 may be the optimal age for one person while for another it’s 30. The point of the speculation is to suggest that a person’s optimal age is when their mind and body are maximized, at least to the extent that they can be in this world, and mental and physical deterioration have yet to start.
“Our DNA is programmed in such a way that, at a particular point, we reach optimum development from a functional perspective. For the most part, it appears that we reach this stage somewhere in our twenties or thirties. Prior to this stage, the development of our bodies (anabolism) exceeds the devolution of our bodies (catabolism.” (Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection, p. 133)
Is there any evidence for the optimal age theory in the Bible? One story people point to is Adam and Eve. Before sin entered the world, Adam Eve experienced life in a sinless environment, such as heaven will be. God didn’t create the pair as infants or elderly. Adam was old enough to work (2:16) and understand right from wrong (2:17-18).
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:16-18, ESV)
As the passage continues, readers learn that there was no suitable helper for Adam in the animal kingdom, so God created Eve. God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to become one flesh, which in part, suggests reproduction. This may suggest that Adam and Eve were at an age where reproduction was possible.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Gen. 2:24-25, ESV)
Could Adam and Eve have been younger than their 20s or 30s? Based on being able to work and possessing the ability to reproduce, Adam and Eve could have been teenagers. Yet the argument based on “optimal age” isn’t based on the ability to reproduce, but on when a human body is in peak physical condition.
Scientists continue to study what the optimal age of a person is. The common view is that peak physical condition occurs in a person’s 20s or 30s. Other characteristics like knowledge peak later in life, according to one study.
“So what are we to take away from these findings? Crudely speaking, you may conclude that you are at your sexual peak in your 20s, your physical peak in your 30s, your mental peak in your 40s and 50s and at your happiest in your 60s – but these are just averages, so your own trajectories may follow very different paths.” 
Also see How Old Is Heaven? to learn more.
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