A miscarriage, which is when a child in the womb dies before it is able to survive on its own, is a tragedy for mothers and families. The child’s parents, as well as loved ones and friends, grieve the loss of life. Many people wonder about the eternal destination of children who die in the womb before they are able to live independently outside of it.
Miscarried babies go to heaven when they die. It doesn’t matter what caused the miscarriage. It also doesn’t matter how far along the pregnancy was because life begins at conception according to Scripture. The majority of Bible scholars and pastors agree that children who die in the womb go immediately to heaven.
How are babies, who don’t have faith, saved from sin? Are babies, whether in the womb or out of it, “sinners”? Do miscarried babies go to heaven when they die because they are innocent? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and others.
Also see How Soon After Death Do You Go To Heaven? to learn more.
How are babies, who don’t have faith, saved from sin?
The vast majority of Christian theologies since the time of Jesus Christ have held that babies go to heaven when they die.
What verse or passage teaches that miscarried babies go to heaven? There isn’t a verse or passage of Scripture that explicitly states that miscarried babies go to heaven when they die.
Instead, certain verses and passages, and the combination of all of them understood together, lead people to this conclusion. (Keep reading to learn more.)
When does God truly know a person? In one sense, family and friends know a child as soon as they are born. In another sense, they don’t know a child until they grow up in terms of, for example, their personality and passions.
The Bible teaches that God knows a person thoroughly and intimately, not just prior to their birth, but prior to any growth in the womb:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)
When a miscarried baby goes to heaven, God doesn’t greet them as strangers. The baby is God’s son or daughter who he knows intimately and loves deeply. (Also see Who Went To Heaven Without Dying?)
How did Jesus treat children? Jesus loved children. Many people in the first century didn’t value children. Jesus challenged those social norms. He loved and cared for children, and taught people that they were a perfect fit in his kingdom.
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (Matthew 19:13-14, ESV)
By welcoming, and loving children, Jesus wasn’t denying their sinful nature (more below).
According to the Bible, all people, even though they possess a sinful nature, are created in God’s image and have value and worth (Gen. 1:26-27). All people, including babies and children, are simultaneously sinful by birth and loved by God.
Is there an example in the Bible of God caring for babies that have died? Yes. In one of the darkest periods in Old Testament history, people sacrificed their children, which stirred anger in God.
His response to the guilty reads, in part, “you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering” (Ezek. 16:21, emphasis added). Even though they were born with a sinful nature, God called the children his.
Does God give angels special assignments for children? Many Bible scholars and theologians believe that Matthew 18:10 teaches that God treats children in a special way: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones [i.e., children]. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
What does “their angels” mean in Matthew 18:10? Some believe that this phrase refers to guardian angels, in which one angel is assigned to one child for purposes like guidance and protection.
Others believe that the verse doesn’t describe guardian angels per se, but that angels, in general, are given the task of watching over children in a special way. (Also see Do Aborted Babies Go to Heaven?)
Did David believe that he would be reunited with his deceased child in heaven? In 2 Samuel 12:23, David reflects, “Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
Regarding the last sentence, some believe David means death; meaning, one day David will join his child in death. Others believe that when David says “I shall go to him” he is referring to reuniting with his son in heaven.
So how exactly are babies able to go to heaven when they die? According to the Bible, there is only one way that babies can go to heaven when they and it is through Christ: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5)
God, in grace, applies the cross of Christ, and its victory over sin, to those who don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend and respond to the gospel on their own.
All people are born sinful (Rom. 3:23) and God loves them all anyway (John 3:16). The Bible gives readers reason to believe that God loves, cares for, embraces, and welcomes into heaven, miscarried babies.
“If they [i.e., babies] be saved, we believe it is not because of any natural innocence. They enter heaven by the very same way that we do; they are received in the name of Christ.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Also see Is There Sex In Heaven? to learn more.
Are babies, in the womb or out of it, considered “sinners”?
Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Does this refer to adults only or to babies, too, even those that died in the womb?
Psalm 51:5 suggests that it includes babies. David, reflecting on his own birth, writes, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (ESV)
Do miscarried babies go to heaven when they die because they are innocent? As the verses above indicate, the Bible teaches that no one is born innocent in relation to sin.
Someone could correctly say that a baby is “innocent” in relation to their experience of the world, but if they meant “innocent” in relation to sin, they would be contradicting the Bible’s teaching.
How can a baby be sinful if they haven’t made any choices or even had any thoughts? When the Bible teaches that all people are born sinful, it doesn’t mean that babies are willfully choosing rebellion from inside the womb with full awareness of their unholy defiance.
Rather, Scripture teaches that all people are born with a sinful nature. (Also see How Far Is Heaven From Earth?)
What is the difference between committing a sin and having a sinful nature? Examples of committing a sin include stealing, lying, and blasphemy.
These actions come from a heart that is disinclined toward God and his holy standards. The sins people commit are rooted in a nature that is corrupt.
Also see Do You Have To Be Baptized To Go To Heaven? to learn more.
Why do people, even babies, have a sinful nature? According to the Bible, people inherited a sinful nature from Adam.
When Adam rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, it had disastrous implications for the entire human race. Romans 5:12 says, “just as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (ESV)
“Some ground the idea of the eternal blessedness of the infant upon its innocence. We do no such thing; we believe that the infant fell in the first Adam, ‘for in Adam all died.’ All Adam’s posterity, whether infant or adult, were represented by him—he stood for them all, and when he fell, he fell for them all.” (Charles Spurgeon)
If babies are born sinful, why do people believe they go to heaven when they die? The seriousness of possessing a sinful nature can’t be overstated. It separates a person from God and, without divine intervention, has eternal ramifications.
Sin, however, isn’t more powerful than God. Even though babies don’t have the mental capacity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ, their eternal fate isn’t sealed thanks to the cross of Christ.
Also see How Many People Can Go to Heaven? to learn more.
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