Dwight from Virginia asks, “Are babies born sinners?”
Yes. There’s an important biblical truth that dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Every person born after Adam’s sin was born with a sin nature. We do not become sinners when we commit our first sin. We commit our first sin because we were born with a sin nature. So in that sense, yes, babies are born sinners. Before they commit any sin, they have a sin nature. Let me pose two more questions that will help clarify this important issue.
When does a baby become a sinner?
Some people may suggest that babies and young children are not sinners, but I imagine it would be hard to find any parent who agrees.
Parents understand that it doesn’t take long for a baby to being acting sinfully. They cry out of selfishness, they learn to say “no” to their parents, they hoard their toys and refuse to share.
Others might claim that babies are born without a sin nature in the womb, and remain sinless until they commit a sin after birth; but again, this is not what we find in the Bible.
David writes in Psalm 51, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Babies in their mother’s wombs are developing sin natures as they develop physically, and they commit sinful actions after birth.
For those moms and dads reading this who have lost a baby, either before birth or after, let me offer you some encouragement with this second question.
Do babies who die go to Heaven?
In 2 Samuel 12, King David loses a son after birth, and he says, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” David knows that his baby was taken up to God when he died, and David trusts the promise that he will one day be reunited with his child in Heaven.
I can confidently encourage you that babies do go to Heaven based on Romans 1, where the apostle Paul declares that humans are without excuse for their sin because they suppress the truth about God and deny the authority of His law.
But babies and young children are not able to comprehend God’s law, or actively suppress the truth. They may become aware that their parents do not like what they are doing, but they don’t immediately understand that their actions also violate God’s law, or even that their parents have been given authority by God.
There is no exact age when a child does become aware of these things, but at whatever moment when they realize the truth of God and the reality of His law, they become eternally responsible for their sinful actions, and must place their faith in the saving work of Jesus. Until then, they will not be held in judgment by God.