Many of us at one time or another wonder what happens to babies, infants, and toddlers after they die. Do they go to heaven or to hell? What about the still-born, aborted fetuses, unborn fetus, mentally retarded or handicapped and those with serious mental disease who die before the age of accountability and therefore have had no chance of hearing or are incapable of understanding the gospel. In the spiritual realm, the age of accountability is the age when a person can clearly comprehend that they need a Savior because they too are sinners.
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What does the Holy Bible say? Remember the story in the Old Testament when King David and Bathsheba's 7-day-old infant child died? King David said: ''But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.'' (2 Samuel 12:23) From this biblical verse, we see King David's faith that one day he will be reunited with his son. This verse also shows that children who die are taken to Heaven. David's words give comfort and assurance to parents similarly situated that they will see their infant children in Heaven. This biblical verse also supports the view that there are no infants or little children in hell. If infant children go to heaven due to the special dispensation of the grace of our Lord God, there must be hundreds of millions of children who died as infants and unborn babies for the past thousands of years who are now in heaven.
Again, if we reconcile Luke 1:41 with 2 Samuel 12:23 which says: ''And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.'' - we can say that at the time of conception the fetus has already an eternal soul. Yes, 2 Samuel 12:23 is the biblical basis of the belief of Christians that at the time of conception, the fetus has already an eternal soul. Conception is generally understood to be the time when the egg and the sperm unite.
In fact from the biblical point of view, even before conception, the fetus has already a soul. The basis? Jeremiah 1:5 which says, ''Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee ....''
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Other verses in the Holy Bible on the subject (Are there babies in heaven) are the following:
Jesus said, ''Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.'' (Matthew 19:14)
Jesus said, ''Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'' (Matthew 18:3-4)
''Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.'' (Mark 9:37)
''Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.'' (Mark 10:15)
''Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.'' (Deuteronomy 1:39)
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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.
Be joyful and forgiving!