Addressing The Number 1 Objection To The Age Of Accountability

If you’ve read my writings, you’ll know that I believe in “The Age Of Accountability”. This view says that people who die in the womb, in infancy, or as toddlers go directly to Heaven to be with Jesus Christ. They do not go to Hell. Babies are not old enough to commit any action that The Bible calls a sin (murder, theft, adultery, rape, theft, cursing, taking The Lord’s name in vein, coveting, etc. etc. etc.) and therefore God has nothing to hold against them. It is only when they are older are they able to commit evil. I think we have very powerful philosophical reasons to accept The Age Of Accountability view over Infant Damnation, but I also think we have good biblical reasons to accept this view. If you want to see those reasons, go read my article titled “Where Do Babies Go When They Die?”

This blog post is meant to address the number 1 objection to the age of accountability that skeptics often bring up. They argue that if babies go directly to Heaven when they die, then it would be more moral to kill people before they ever have a chance to grow up. After all, if they’re allowed to grow up, there’s a good chance they’d sin and reject Jesus Christ as their Savior. If they reject Jesus Christ as their Savior, then they’d go to Hell. Therefore, it’s more loving to be pro-choice. This is the argument the skeptic makes; that The Age of Accountability logically entails an absurd view (i.e that infanticide/abortion is moral) and therefore, The Age Of Accountability must also be absurd. This is what’s known as reductio ad absurdum. However, if we reject The Age Of Accountability then we must conclude that God is evil. After all, it’s obviously unjust to punish someone either for something they couldn’t help, or for something they’ve never done. Babies can’t do anything sinful, so how can it be just for God to send them to Hell? So we run into a dilemma here. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t (pun intended).

Is there any way to accept The Age Of Accountability without running into this problem? Obviously, any view that logically entails the conclusion “infanticide is moral” must be rejected. Does the skeptic’s reductio ad absurdum succeed?

I don’t think it does…for several reasons.

God Is Sovereign Over Life And Death, We Are Not

The Bible explicitly tells us not to murder innocent people (see Exodus 20:13). God tells us not to kill another human being. This is one of The Ten Commandments. As such, abortion and infanticide are both moral abominations, they’re evil. It is evil to kill a baby or anyone else for that matter. Now, God is the author of life and as such He has the right to take life as He sees fit (See Job 1:21, 1 Samuel 2:6, Psalm 75:7, Deuteronomy 32:39). God has a right to decide when we enter the afterlife, we do not. Since He’s the author of life, He has the right to take it. The Bible even says that God has ordained the date of our deaths (see Job 14:5 and Psalm 139:16). Therefore, only God can decide when a fetus or an infant comes into the afterlife. Not us. We are human beings. We are not the authors of life. God is.

Whenever a human being takes a life, he is putting himself in the place of God. God is the author of life and therefore only He has the right to take it.

God has the authority to bring His children home when He wants to. We do not. God has not made us the judge over them.

God Has A Plan For Every Human Life

It’s true that if everyone had an abortion, or killed their infants, that they would send them to Heaven, but they would also be likely radically altering the future for the worse! Yes, they (the babies) would be far happier in Heaven than they ever would be living in this horrible world, but God has plans for those babies. Each human being radically effects the lives of those around them. This was beautifully illustrated in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Each human life affects the lives of those around them…either for better or for worse. Think about the possible consequences of ending the life of an unborn child. That child might have become a firefighter who would have saved many lives in a burning building, one of those lives being that of a child who would grow up to be a police officer, and that police officer would save the life of a child from a serial killer, and the child saved from the serial killer would grow up to be a scientist who discovers the cure for blindness or cancer or something. By ending the life of that unborn baby, yes you’d be sending them to Heaven, but you would also rob the world of a great gift. In this illustration, you would prevent the cure for blindness being discovered. If only you chose not to have the abortion.

Or even worse; what if the child would grow up to be the next Billy Graham? In this case, hundreds or thousands of souls who would have been saved actually end up damned because the child wasn’t able to grow up and become a preacher! So yeah, you sent that child to Heaven. But at the same time, you’d ended up sending far more people to Hell…because perhaps the only possible world where these people would have given their lives to Christ is a possible world where that unborn baby grows up and holds Billy Graham type crusades.

Would you really want to risk the souls of hundreds or thousands just to send 1 person to Heaven?

If The Swords Cuts At All, It Cuts Both Ways

Most of the time, I receive this objection from Atheists. It usually happens after I tell them that the Canaanite children went to Heaven. So this next objection wouldn’t affect the Calvinist who makes this same argument.

But for the atheist who makes this argument, I would like to tell them that they could justify abortion even on the atheistic view (in which there is no such thing as Heaven or Hell). Think about it, since we all go through great suffering in this life, every time a baby is born into the world, abort it. Why let it live? It’ll just go through a lot of suffering. This is the rationale some women have for getting an abortion in the first place (i.e “I don’t want to bring a baby into such a horrible world”). It’s also possible that they could grow up to be serial killers, burglars, or thugs who engage in gang violence. Maybe they should be aborted to ensure that that doesn’t happen. Oh sure, he or she COULD be next Stephen Hawking or Mother Teresa but let’s abort him or her anyway, after all, we would be doing the child a favor. The child wouldn’t have to live in a world of meaningless suffering (I don’t believe it’s meaningless on the theistic worldview by the way), and would also ensure that the next holocaust and the next 9/11 never happens. By robbing them of all the opportunities that this life has to offer, we’d be preventing them from living a life of suffering. We also might save lives just in case this fetus becomes the next Jack The Ripper. Tell me, would you seriously advocate the killing of children regardless of whether the theistic or atheistic worldview is true? I wouldn’t. As you can see, this argument, if it cuts at all, it cuts both ways.

The same argument that the atheist uses against advocates of The Age Of Accountability also can be used against him.

In conclusion, I don’t think that the view that all babies go to Heaven logically entails abortion and infanticide being good things. They are still very much bad. God still prohibits human beings taking the life of other human beings (Exodus 20:13), This is one of The Ten Commandments. As such, abortion and infanticide are both moral abominations, they’re evil. It is evil to kill a baby or anyone else for that matter. Now, God is the author of life and as such He has the right to take life as He sees fit (See Job 1:21, 1 Samuel 2:6, Psalm 75:7, Deuteronomy 32:39). God has a right to decide when we enter the afterlife, we do not. Since He’s the author of life, He has the right to take it. Moreover, each human life radically affects the lives of those around them. Preventing a person from being born or from growing up would likely have negative effects on the future. In addition to this, the argument could be used to argue for abortion even if you assume an atheistic worldview. So if you would be against infanticide and abortion on the atheistic view, you should also be against it on the theistic view as well.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jonny

    Hi Evan, I agree with what you’ve written, but I wonder if you could comment on how this differs when weighing up whether to have children or not in the first place?

    If a child has not been conceived then there is no heaven or hell for them. The Bible even talks in some places of it having been “better if they had not been born”, with regard to certain sins or damned people. Jesus and Paul didn’t have children so I don’t think an argument of there being a mandate to have children individually, and yet the Bible clearly holds children up as a very good thing; a blessing.

    Provocatively phrased, are Christians exposing “innocent” beings to the risk of hell, by creating them, for their own blessing? God obviously did this in creating us, but it feels like a very different equation for a human to do so.

    For me, the original line of thinking that lead to this question was imaging the pain of having a unbelieving child. When I asked other, older Christians about this, some with unbelieving children themselves, most couldn’t even entertain it as a question.
    I would very much be interested to hear your take 🙂

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