I think this a perfectly rational question, so please don’t think that I’m
trying to be insincere. What are the afterlife experiences like of aborted
fetuses, children who die very young or at childbirth, or people who die
with mental retardation? I’ve discussed this with friends, and we cannot
rationalize how these “people” would fit into an afterlife. After all, If
a child died at age two, and never understood the spectrum of human
emotions, how could it be represented as an entity in heaven? And if it
were, assuming that in the afterlife, the mental capacity of a
two-year-old would not automatically expand to that of an adult’s, would
it even be aware of its’ own presence? The same goes for the mentally
handicapped and abortions.


First of all, I do not believe for a moment that this is an insincere
question. It is absolutely a legitimate question. The problem is that
the Bible does not provide a direct answer to this question. For this
reason, we must use clear biblical teachings to infer the answer
indirectly. Let me start in Matthew 19:14. “Let the little children come
to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such
as these.” I get from this passage that little children are inoccent. It
is probably a bit of a stretch to use this single passage to “prove” that
innocent little children go to heaven automatically, but that is the
conclusion I reach. Hebrews 10:26 talks about deliberate sin, which I
believe little children are incapable of committing. Ezekiel 18:19-20
says that the child does not share the guilt of the father (or presumably
the mother). We are responsible before God for our own personal sin, not
the sin of others, and definitely not the sin of Adam. The original sin
doctrine of the Roman Catholics and others is a reprehensible false
doctrine. For these reasons, I believe that little children will be with
the saved in heaven.

As to retarded people, you will find still less in the Bible, but let me
give you my own personal take on this. I believe that for some people,
they are so low in inteligence as to be child-like their entire lives.
Therefore, they remain perpetually unable to commit sin which leads to
death. Of course, we cannot know the point at which one crosses from
sinlessness to accountability. We must allow God to be the judge of such
things. Severely retarded people, like children, will be in heaven.

You bring up another aspect of the question, which is how can one who
never was “adult”–one who was never intelligent and fully cognizant of
the human condition even have a “normal” existence with those in heaven.
My response is that, compared with God, we are all infinitely
unintelligent and slow. The difference between you and me and a child is
very small compared to the difference between you and me and God himself.
I do not know or understand in detail what we will be like in heaven, but
I do not see any reason undeveloped souls such as those of children cannot
inhabit heaven with the rest of those who are saved by the blood of Jesus.

You will probably have to settle for a degree of uncertainty on these
issues. No one will completely understand heaven until we get there, but
these are my best response with the limited material on the subject in the

John Oakes

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