One of the most heated topics that people discuss is the topic of abortion. While some argue they have a right to choose to kill an unborn child, others are devastated when their unborn child dies through no choice of their own. However, at some point, the question of what happens to the person that was that child will be asked either openly or in thought. For this reason it is important that we know how to answer the question, do aborted or unborn babies that die go to heaven?
What is God’s attitude toward children?
The foundation needed to answer this question can be found as follows:
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And 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. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:1-6)
Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:10-14)
In the first passage Jesus pointed out two things about children. The first is that He uses the example of a child as an example of how someone must be to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. According to His example, they must be converted to a state of innocence. To do this he or she must humble them self, meaning that they must be willing to acknowledge that they are but children in light of God’s wisdom and power. This leads to Godly repentance that leads to everlasting life through trusting Christ as their Savior (2 Corinthians 7:9-10; James 4:8-10).
In the second passage we see the parable of the lost sheep, which most people think is about a backsliding Christian. However, in the context of Matthew 18, it is speaking about children who have not trusted Christ when they reach an age of accountability. These children, once in a state of innocence, have grown to a point where they are now held accountable for their sin and have not trusted Christ as their Savior. They were lambs, who grew to be sheep and are lost on their way to Hell.
This points to the fact that children (lambs) who grow up to be adults (sheep) without the understanding of the need for the Great Shepherd are of great concern to God. So much, that God has appointed a guardian angel that is always before the face of the Father, ready to intervene, especially if someone leads a child astray. When the child trusts Christ as their Savior, there is great rejoicing in Heaven over the fact that this child has now been returned to the flock.
When is a baby or child conceived?
There is no doubt in medical research that at the moment of conception the one-celled gamete, from where we get the term mate, contains everything genetically that makes it human. Some may refer to it as a cell or a clump of cells, but the fact is, when referring to the term conception, it is clear if one asks what was conceived. A cell? A clump of cells? No, it is clear that the answer is a baby or a child. Biologically speaking, the only difference between this child and newborn is its size and complexity of development.
While some may disagree with this fact, they certainly would not suggest to a woman who wants a child and miscarries that there is nothing to be upset about because it was only a clump of cells or a fetus, which is merely a Latin term for an unborn baby! The Bible calls an unborn child a babe in Luke 1:41:
And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
The same Greek word for an unborn babe in Luke 1:41 is used for infants in Luke 18:15:
And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
Likewise, the Bible refers to pregnant women who were “ripped up” or forced to abort as being with child in Amos 1:13:
Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, And for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; Because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, That they might enlarge their border
When does a child become a person?
The answer to this question is often used to justify aborting a child in the first trimester. The thinking is that the child does not feel pain nor have the ability to formulate thoughts so he or she is not a person. At least, that is what they think, given the limited knowledge we have about prenatal thoughts and emotions. The invention of 3-D ultrasound put to rest similar arguments about physical growth and development that were used to justify aborting a baby.
However, like psychology, knowing the innermost thoughts and understanding of a child is made more impossible by the fact that the child is in the womb. Some would then suggest that we can measure brain waves, to know for sure when there is a thinking person in the womb. However, this is assuming that consciousness and awareness can only be measured by brain waves.
The Bible tells us the following:
- The person was conceived at the moment of conception (Psalms 51:5).
- The conceived person existed and was covered with a body (Psalm 139:13-16).
- God knew the person before they were conceived and born (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalms 22:10-11).
- God has a plan for a person before they are born (Isaiah 49:5; Galatians 1:15).
What happens to an aborted or unborn baby when it dies?
Given the context of everything we have seen, it is clear that God would not forsake an aborted or unborn child that dies. Likewise, He does not forsake a child that has not reached the age of accountability either. The very notion that God would condone the barbaric killing of a child is clearly rejected in numerous places in Scripture (2 Kings 17:16-18; Psalms 106:35-38; Matthew 18:6).
With this in mind we find a clear example of what happens to a child when it dies in 2 Samuel 12:13-23. Because of David’s sin in committing adultery, the Lord decided to take the child from David and Bathsheba within a week after being born. During that time, David fasted and prayed that God would spare the child’s life. However, on the seventh day, before the child could be circumcised, the child died.
Upon hearing this, David stopped fasting and praying and washed his face and went to worship and eat. The servants could not believe that David was not fasting and weeping for the child. David replied that there is no reason to fast and pray for the child anymore because doing so would not bring back the child. He concludes by saying, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
In this simple statement we learn two things. The aborted or unborn child that dies, along with all children that die not reaching the age of accountability, are in heaven. It also tells us that the same are not in a state of “limbo,” as some believe, or else David would not be able to “go to him.” David knew that the baby was in the loving care of the Heavenly Father. He also knew that one day he would see the baby again. Thanks be to God!
God holds a special place in His heart for children. He has appointed guardian angels over them and is willing to execute wrath upon those who harm children. A child is conceived at the moment of conception. The child also becomes a person at the moment of conception. Despite this, God knows each child even before they are conceived and He has a plan for each one. When an aborted or unborn baby dies, it is immediately absent from the body and present in the Lord’s loving arms and protection. This truth makes religious rites and rituals of no effect when it comes to the eternal destiny of any child who dies not having reached the age of accountability. For those who have lost or chosen to abort a child, God’s grace is available so that one day you can spend eternity with your child.