Question 2: I have not been able to find any verses regarding the age of accountability. Are there any Scriptures on this?

Answer: The reason you have not been able to find any verses that discuss the age of accountability is simple: The Bible never talks about an age of accountability.

The term “age of accountability” developed in early church history. There were infants and children who died before reaching the point in their life where they could make a specific decision, and the church raised the question what would happen to them. In some segments of the church, a teaching developed that there is an age of accountability, and if a child dies before that age, he is guaranteed salvation. Other segments of the church were not sure of this and came up with the doctrine of the baptism of regeneration. They taught that the baptism of a baby guarantees his salvation, regardless of the age of his death. That was the time when infant baptism came into being.

The fact is, the Bible itself never talks about such an age, nor does it specify one way or the other what happens to infants when they die. I certainly know what I wish to believe, but if I were forced to produce a verse, I would not be able to do so. It is one of those questions that must be left in God’s hands, although it is not always comforting to a parent who has lost a small child.

There are also those who are convinced that all children who die end up in hell since they are already born under the condemnation of sin. Here again, the Bible does not specify that teaching either. From my perspective, because the Bible does not speak to it, my response is that we cannot know. But we can be sure that the Judge of all the earth shall do right, and whatever He does in this case, we will all someday understand that it was the right decision.

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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

7 thoughts on “Question 2: I have not been able to find any verses regarding the age of accountability. Are there any Scriptures on this?

  1. Well I thought when David and Bathsheba’s baby died and David said I will see you Sheol proves baby’s go to heaven.

  2. Re Arnold Answers, Question #2.
    In 2 Samuel 12:23 we read, “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.”

    To me this says David expects to see him after he dies. Since David expects to go to heaven and be with God, he expects to find his infant son there.

    While it does not address “the age of accountability” subject, it implies that God in His love does bring babies into heaven. One can then use this verse to argue for other situations, eg., very young, mentally handicapped, etc. That is getting into human suppositions based on extending the interpretation of this verse.

  3. David was merely stating that he too would die and join his son in the place of the dead, and that the reverse would not occur. To state dogmatically that he was implying the baby would be with him in heaven implies a view of the afterlife that I’m not sure you and David both share. It may hint toward that, but not strongly enough to make up a doctrinal position for it.

    I too will trust Messiah Jesus to make a proper judgement and leave it at that.

  4. Even if one could make the case that David would, in fact, see his child in the eternal order (i.e. child would not go to lake of fire, ultimately), one could not extrapolate that to mean that ALL babies “go to heaven.” The best you could conclude from this is that David’s child would. To do so would be to make the logical/interpretive error of making a descriptive passage into a prescriptive one.

  5. We need to be mindful that salvation belongs to Jesus, since he purchased it with His blood. Furthermore, Jesus is eager to save and not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

    Also, the salvation passage in Romans 10:9-10 tells us what to do to be saved. But it’s doesn’t say that all who don’t do this are not saved. Based on the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, we can be confident about how Jesus will chose to act concerning anyone who confesses and believes according to Romans 10:9-10. But this doesn’t diminish the fact that each salvation is a specific decision and act by Jesus. Salvation belongs to Jesus, our all-knowing Savior and LORD, and He applies to whom He will based on His own knowledge of the facts about that person’s life and his abounding mercy and grace.

    Although there is no specific verse stating “everyone under age ‘x’ is automatically saved”, I feel confident trusting Jesus to make the right decision concerning each baby (and every other soul). The opposite notion would be that of a Jesus who says to Himself, “I really wish I could save this person who couldn’t possibly have met the requirements of confession and belief, but the rules are the rules, so off to the Lake of Fire you go.” The idea that Jesus’s authority to save is hindered by red tape is patently absurd.

    In conclusion, I would ask: if we are willing to trust Jesus with our own eternal souls, can we not also trust Him with the souls of our infant children as well?

    • Gen. 18:25—-ll Sam. 12:23
      Matt. 19:14—-Deu. 1:39
      These scriptures seem to
      Indicate child salvation, with that said our names were written down before the foundation of the world, and weather we likie it or not God does with as his good pleasure dictates. So I believe in infant salvation.

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