Do Babies Go To Heaven?

The fundamental belief of Christianity is that all who accept and believe in Jesus will go to Heaven. (Acts 16:30-1) But what about babies who die before they are baptised? They are clearly not capable of understanding Christianity or Jesus and can’t make any decisions in that regard. So the question is, do they go to Heaven? On the one had they clearly don’t  meet the requirements, but on the other hand it would have to be an especially cruel God that sends innocent little babies to Hell.

This is not a small point. Infant mortality was an enormous killer until the 1950s in Ireland and still is today in the Third World. This argument could also be used for people with disabilities that prevent them from understanding religion. The Catholic Church tried to solve this by creating Limbo, a place that is neither Heaven nor Hell. However they have since declared that no such place exists.

One of Christianity’s main (and worst) beliefs is that of Original Sin. This is the belief that all humans are born sinful and terrible. It is only true Jesus that this can be washed away and they can become pure and good. Those that do not accept Jesus remain dirty and go to Hell. I personally find it atrocious that anyone could look at a newborn baby and see a degenerate creature. The reason for this is particularly absurd, being based on a ridiculous fictional story (Adam and Eve). The idea that all humanity is punished for the eating of an apple is so daft it’s hard to believe anyone can believe it with a straight face. Apparently the Church doesn’t see why collective punishment is wrong.

Let’s say babies go to Heaven. Why? The main reason is because God is described as full of love. It would be a truly heartless bastard that would send innocent babies to eternal torture in Hell. If god loves us all then he will surely forgive babies (especially as they have done no wrong). The problem with this argument is that it is based neither on the Bible nor on Church teaching. The Bible and the Church repeatedly say that it is only through baptism that you can go to Heaven. Apologists regularly ignore Original Sin, which essentially says we are guilty until proven innocent, a chance babies don’t have. God never said there were any buts or exceptions, only those who believe in Jesus go to Heaven. It is bizarre that the Bible never addresses this point, especially as infant mortality was extremely high when it was written. Apologists say there is little to suggest babies don’t go to Heaven, but there is equally little to suggest they do.

If they do get to go to Heaven, this raises another problem. If babies can go to Heaven without belief, can everyone else also get in? Can Atheists like myself? If they can go to Heaven then there seems little need for faith at all. There is no need to pray or read the Bible or be a Christian. The whole foundations of the Churches would be gone. Most Protestant churches have the Lutheran principle of “Faith by Salvation Alone”. This clearly rules out babies going to Heaven and if it didn’t it would render the Church meaningless.

One defence I have heard is based on free will. It is argued that non believers don’t go to Heaven because they rejected Jesus, whereas babies have not. This views Heaven as a place where you opt out of rather than somewhere you have to earn a place in. This argument flies in the face of everything the Bible, Jesus and Church says and has many problems, but let’s run with it. Let’s say babies can go to Heaven because they never heard of Jesus, so therefore could not reject him. Then why does the Church have missionaries? Surely these people were (like babies) destined for Heaven for the same reason (they never heard of Jesus, therefore could not reject him).

If you could get to Heaven through ignorance, then surely we should burn every Bible, close down all the churches and fire every priest. If no one knows about Jesus, then no one can reject him, then all of us, adults and children, can go to Heaven.

However, that’s not possible (if it was the Church would have no power and wouldn’t that be awful?). The Church says you must know about Jesus, be baptised, undergo various ceremonies and obey the Church’s rules. Otherwise you can’t go to Heaven. So basically, we are back at square one. Essentially, if you follow any argument that would allow babies to go to Heaven, it eventually becomes self-contradictory.

There is also a somewhat disturbing conclusion that can be drawn from God sending babies to Heaven. If this is so, then we should rejoice every time a baby dies. They are now in a state of eternal bliss without having the delay of life on Earth. Many of them would not have even got to Heaven had they lived life. There is a similar argument made in response to the claim that aborted foetuses go to Heaven. If this is true then surely abortions are a good thing. Likewise if babies go to Heaven, then infant mortality is a good not a bad thing. Christians should aim to have it as high as possible, as every baby saved is a baby denied a place in Heaven. I think the death of children is a tragedy because they haven’t seen or experienced life. If they’re guaranteed a place in Heaven then it isn’t a tragedy at all.

It seems revolting that God could send babies to Hell and most Christians refuse to believe he could do such a thing. However, God has no trouble sending non-believers to Hell. Roughly two thirds of the population of the world are not Christian. This is not out of choice, it is a simple fact that 99% of people are the religion they were born with. It seems incredibly heartless that billions of people will suffer for ever because of the luck of birth. This figure is even higher if only certain branches of Christianity go to Heaven. Then there are the people who lived and died for hundreds of thousands of years before the time of Jesus. If God can easily send them to Hell, he can send innocent babies.

This issue seems to be tangled in a knot. It would be a gross injustice for God to send babies to Hell, yet it doesn’t make sense to allow them into Heaven. I await any comments that might square this circle from a religious viewpoint.

38 thoughts on “Do Babies Go To Heaven?”

  1. Hej Robert,

    Thank you for another awesome and provocative article. I enjoy reading it.

    I believe given your understanding of “Christianity”, namely do x and get y, Arminianism seteriology, nature of God and Fall(Adam and Eve as representers of Humanity) seen in this post, I totally understand and would share the same problem.

    My wife helped me when I were an atheist, by challenging me to understand something at its best before disagreeing or ridiculing.

    I now hold to a Reformed position of seteriology namely our salvation is totally God’s alone free and sovereign choice.

    I chose Christ because God(the Fathe) chose me first and drew me to His Son. According to Gospel John, Jesus stated thet no one has an ability to came to Him as a representer.

    King David, we are told, explained that God is in heaven and does what He pleases and Paul penciled that God has mercy on whom He have mercy.

    According to Christianity God is just, meaning we are judged from what we know and chose not to acknowledge. Adam represented what each person would have done given his place, and Christian believe that in Jesus, we now have a new representer(second Adam). But none is judged because of what Adam did, but what we do.(I follow Augustine view of the Genesis both historical and poetic)

    Given Christian knowledge that God is just and knows what each would do left by their own, then God, alike men has no problem with judging. We have problem judging because we have limited knowledge, but this cannot be said to God. Moreover if Reformed view of seteriology is true, then we have no problem, since God chose/elect not because of what we have done but because of his own will and pleasure.

    Robert, I will recommend to read the book of John and Romans, just like you read William Shakespeare or John Ronald Reuel Tolkien or Charles Darwin and try to understand each the nature of God and soteriology. Find a Systematic Theology and dive in not to agree but to understand, because before we do that Robert, we are simply unfair and intellectually dishonest.

    I was dishonest even after becoming a Christian. I were dishonest in misrepreseting evolution and ridicule and disagree with it. I had never read Origin of Species by Natural Selection nor read awesome Richard Dawkins books The Selfish Gene and River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life.

    I am simply a fool learning to understand before disagreeing.


    Btw: you may wish to know Augustine answer: read chapter 24, its very short.

    1. Hello Daniel.

      According to Christianity God is just, meaning we are judged from what we know and chose not to acknowledge.

      This is not justice. Justice pertains to our actions, not our beliefs.

        1. Yes, but justice is predicated on the physical manifestation of those beliefs, not on the beliefs themselves. The concept of thought-crime is, in fact, considered to be unjust, in a free society.

            1. Umm?

              The quote I pasted from you seems to claim that justice is served, by God, on what we believe and acknowledge, not on what actions we take as a result of that belief. Or did I misunderstand?

              1. I believe you misunderstood. We are judged for what we know but choose not to acknowledge. Example, I may know stealing is wrong, but I choose not to acknowledge this knowlege by stealing.

                Thus as I pointed God does not judge us for what Adam did, but what we do.(Adam simply represent what we will do given his position. I want to be god of my own. I want to do what I think is good even though it might not be good to others.)

                Does it make sense Daz 🙂 I can be hard to understand.


                1. Acknowledgement is still merely a statement about what one thinks. To refuse to acknowledge that stealing is wrong, is not the same as actually stealing.

                  You’re still talking about a thought-crime. Justice is served on those who steal, not on those who hold beliefs or philosophical stances about stealing.

                  1. O Daz,

                    I know stealing is wrong and choose not to acknowledge by acting against my knowledge and do act on it by stealing.

                    This is why I think you just stated by point 🙂


                    1. Hmm…

                      Okay, given your definition of ‘not to acknowledge’ I’ll concede that one.

                      My own definition of what you mean would be something like ‘a lack of acknowledgement plus an action based on that lack’, so it seems we’re differing on semantics, is all.


                      Now then, shall we begin on your contention that we should read portions of the Bible, in order to know God?

                      I offer the contention that unless the existence of God is supported by evidence, then reading texts discussing his/her/its nature, is akin to discussing the emperor’s new clothes, or the pattern on Russell’s teapot.

                      Certainly one could discuss what such a being might be like, in its physical properties, but to discuss its personality and so forth as if it actually exists, without evidence that it exists, is a presumption built on a presumption.

  2. If babies do go to heaven – do they grow up in heaven or remain babies forever? If they do mature and grow in heaven and their parents arrive many decades later will they miss their child’s growth into a mature adult? If they don’t grow in heaven will the baby remain a shitting, vomiting, slobbering, crying annoyance throughout the entirety of their parent’s eternal bliss, which will subsequently become eternal hell, even though they’re in heaven?

    Same question for an aborted foetus. If they do go to heaven will they exist for eternity as a fishy, worm-like embryo or will they grow too? Could an aborted foetus make a mockery of hell if they went there (being unable to feel pain)?

    Do sperm go to heaven or hell?

    The mind boggles. I want answers, Christians!

      1. God may not exist but unfortunately religion does. Its claims should be questioned, challenged and its status in society demystified.

          1. You’re talking to a man who recently(ish) made a long, seriously(ish) thought-out post on problems involved in time-travel. On the face of it, that was meaningless, but I managed to discuss, to varying degrees of superficiality, the evolution of bacteria and viruses, Anglo-Saxon ‘English’, the amount of variance of accents in England, the great vowel shift (a major pronunciation change that began in the late 14th century), and medieval manners and customs. Plus passing references to a few other bits ‘n’ bobs.

            I’ve previously done the same sort of thing with ‘galactic empire’ science fiction. There are three pretty good popular-science books based around the Discworld series.

            Just ’cause something ain’t real, doesn’t mean it can’t teach us real things, or be used as aids to discussion of same.

            For instance, we’ve already learned that you define ‘Christianity’ by your own personal version of the religion; presumably excluding widely conflicting ideas of what it is to be a Christian. I quote:

            If the god you describe Robert in this post existed I would not worship it/him neither.

            Plenty of people, mainstream Christians, to boot, certainly have believed (probably still do some in places) that unbaptised children were destined for Hell or Purgatory (depending on creed). A major kerfuffle in the 19th century, very genteel and liberal, Church of England centred around the ending of the very long tradition that unbaptised babies were often refused burial in consecrated ground.

            Kinda related, many people still see cremation as desecration, or as destroying the body that the person will one day need when they ascend to heaven. One wonders, what do these people think happens to the souls of those who’ve been cremated? And, in small, densely populated countries with little land to spare, how much land is being wasted in order to provide burial plots for them?

            1. You are right Daz. One reason I left Christianity for atheism was because my knoweledge of my-sunday-school-my-priest-said king of god and a god Christians around me described.

              I never read the Church history, never read one Theological nor Philosophical foundation of Christianity book. Just like many unreasonable Christians who attack Darwinism without reading Origin of Species, I attacked the brand of Christianity I knew. My wife help me so much by asking me to understand Christianity at its best before attacking.

              Reading Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian of Carthage, Cyprian of Carthage, Athanasius of Alexandria, Georgory of Nazianzus, Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Isidore of Seville, Gottschalk of Orbais, Thomas Aquinas, Anslem of Canterbury, Bernard of Clairvauz, Thomas Bradwardine, John Wycliffe, John Hus, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, Heinrich Bullinger, and John Calvin, I came to discover the god I rejected is not the God these Christians believed.

              Daz and Robert, I believe it is fair and intellectual honest to study something, fully understand, and then reject. Because if we are talking about a god Robert described and as you, Daz, said many Christian believe, then I am surely an atheist relative to that god 🙂


  3. Looks like new thread time, then…

    Well Daz if God does not exist, then Robert question is without meaning. 🙂 If God does not exist then why ask where babies go 😉

    It’s an enquiry about what people believe happens, not about what actually happens.

    1. I have to agree with Daz here. I personally don’t believe in God but most people do, so I am questioning the specifics of their belief. In this and other posts, I am essentially reasoning that even if God did exist, I would not worship him/it

      1. If the god you describe Robert in this post existed I would not worship it/him neither.

        The problem is we deny first hand the God described by Judeo-Christian and ask an answer from the god of “what we know/described in this post”.

        Robert, to have an understand of answering this question, you atleast need to grant for argument sake that Judeo-God, revealed as He( not she, it or they) exist, then question where babies go if God of the Bible existed.

        It is meanless to ask which side of the square is longer even if some may believe that not each sides of the square are equal.

        The problem I believe is that we choose not to understand the opposite side and attack the weak-sunday-school-my-priest-said version.

        As I challenge you to read atleast John and Roman, like you would any literature, not to agree but to understand. Read Augustine, or Aquinas, who helped build the philosophical foundation of Christian, on that given subject so that when you question something, you show that you indeed understand the Christian position.

        Example: See the way I question New Atheist moral position here:

        One, I show I understand their position, two I have interract with their work and three I question their position.

        Unless we understand Robert then we are not honestly seaking knowledge but affirming what we already know and ridicule the opposite worldview.


        1. Ok, hold on a minute now. Its fair enough to say I misunderstood Christianity (I thought I hadn’t but never mind) but you should point out which part I misunderstood and correct me. You can’t say read theological books and then walk away. That would be the equivalent of saying I disliked your last article but rather than what and why I disliked, I simply said go read Hitchens. Come on fair is fair, if you make a criticism you must explain it.

          1. O Robert, I did point out that the god you described in this post, if it/he existed I would not worship.

            It is not a matter or like and dislike, Robert, my subjective preference are meaningless and does not matter. If fact I like your last article, but I believe you are in that position because of what you learned about god in Christians around you, as I did in my teen-hood.

            I pointed out that you have incorrect understanding of fall (original sin does not refer to the first sin but to the result/consequence of that first sin.), soteriology and the nature/attributes of God as believed in Judeo-Christianity.

            I also explain that God as believed by Christians, if exists, is holy, righteous and just. having no limits in knowledge thus has no problem passing correct judgement to babies.(As I pointed out, we are judged not because of what Adam did, but what we do. What Adam did represented what all human will do, and are doing)

            Moreover, if Reformed view of soteriology is correct then salvation is whole God’s free and sovereign choice.(Read Roman 9). He chose who is saved before babies are born, thus babies/mental ill person(and ours) destination is whole God’s free choice.

            Robert, if you ready wish to understand(not agree) this issue, I am ready and gladly would love to help.


            1. Of course, sure the whole aim of my posts is to express ideas and debate them. Excuse me if don’t fully follow all the technical terms but what do you believe. You say God makes the correct decision, but what is this and why? How does he overcome the problems I mentioned in the post. Cheers

                    1. Well, then we take a trip toward understanding Robert. Would it be okay if we take it back and fro. I enjoy dialogue than a monologue. Will that be okay?

  4. Maybe this is arrogant, but I really can’t find the motivation right now to look into all the variants of theology and see if there is one which makes sense. The truth is that, with billions of people trying to know God, if it is possible to know Him in a true way, only a tiny minority have done it. Therefore, it is necessary to believe that, if the God of the Universe exists and desires mankind to know Him, He has made this very difficult.

    That’s just not a credible position. If there’s such thing as hell, most people are doomed. If there’s no such thing, there’s no reason to care.

  5. Wow the way some people look at life. First of all, it is a tragedy baboes die because 1; yes, they died before they even got to live, 2; they are innocent and deserved a chance to expirence breathing and all the tings in life and 3rdly; no baby should of died or been aborted becaise God had a plan for that baby. Maybe God wanted that baby to be born and possibly aborted to populate heaven because yes, hardly noone on earth makes it there.
    Babies i believe do go to heaven, even without baptism or being saved because they were bron with a different kind of sin. A natural sin. Babies deserve to go to heaven as to adults we have a choice in everything in life and babies dont. We are grown and educated. We choose are religion when we are older and wiser and understand religion as well as sins and crimes or faith and love. I was born a catholic but now i go to a christian church. I asked for the Lord to save me. I converted to christian and am being knowledged more of God. Point of story is, as adults, we have choices in life of what we wanna do and become. Babies dont have those choices. Babies were born of a natural and harmless sin. As we, adults, choose to sin and harm and have satan as to some of us choose to have faith and follow God and be clean.

    1. So you do not mourn or regret the death of a baby because it is in Heaven? Would you oppose plans to reduce infant mortality because they prevent souls from going to Heaven?

  6. Imake every effort to add to your faith goodness, and goodness, knowledge ; to knowledge self control; to self control perserverance, to perserverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brothler kindness love. Knowledge, keyword. Ur duty asn an adult is to educate urself. Read the bible. Then you will know everything then u have the choice in which as an adult you can decide what u believe in. Babies usually get baptized which washes away sin to make them innocent but regardless babies are the most innocent and harmless of all humans as for non believers that go to hel is theyr choice of no faith and no knowledge. We were giving a free will and choice. Thats the path people chose to go. As for churchs and missionaries and those who not know him obviously deals with that churchs religion. Christian churchs teaches everyone of christ. Everyone and the ways to follow God, how to get into heaven ect. Some churchs dont believe in being saved. Some dont know theres only one God, some pray to mary thinking shes the way to salvation. They only know of that religion because of a lack of knowledge ; and thats theyr choice. Its lime people lime you..

    1. U say ur an athiest.. so u must believe in evolution? Thats ur choice but we didnt form from apes and surely are not the blood line of aliens

      1. Yes like all thinking reasonable people I believe in evolution. We did evolve from monkeys whether you believe it or not. I don’t know what you’re talking about regarding aliens

      2. U say ur an athiest.. so u must believe in evolution? Thats ur choice but we didnt form from apes …

        And I should take your word for this because…? If you have a better-evidenced theory, please expound (but with improved grammar, if you could). Be advised, though; we will ask to see the evidence.

        … and surely are not the blood line of aliens

        Who said we were?

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