Question:

I’m a “new” Christian studying the Bible and I wanted to know if there is such a thing as “original sin” and if there is, what happens to babies that die?  Thank you for your time.

Answer:

The “original sin” (upon this earth) was when Adam and Eve sinned. Genesis 3:1-6 says, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we were all born with a “sin nature.” Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; AND SO DEATH PASSED UPON ALL MEN, for that all have sinned.”

That means that we were all born “spiritually dead.” God was very specific about it to Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:16,17 says, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.”

We know that Adam and Eve did not die physically that day, because after their sin, God handed down physical judgments upon them for the days ahead. For the woman, it would be future labor and pain in bearing children. Genesis 3:16 says, “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” For the man, he would experience labor and pain in working for a living. Genesis 3:17-19 says, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” All of the above judgments would have been meaningless, had Adam and Eve died physically that very day.

Adam and Eve did die the day that they sinned. They died spiritually. That is why Jesus said what He did to Nicodemus, a Jewish leader. Nicodemus had no doubt taught from the Book of Genesis many times. What had he taught about God’s statement that man would die the very day that he sinned? Was this a contradiction? Or did man indeed die that very day? If so, in what way did he die that day?

John 3:1-12 says, “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE FLESH IS FLESH, AND THAT WHICH IS BORN OF THE SPIRIT IS SPIRIT. MARVEL NOT THAT I SAID UNTO THEE, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, ART THOU A MASTER OF ISRAEL, AND KNOWEST NOT THESE THINGS? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” It is very clear that Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth, and Nicodemus should have known that man needed to be born again spiritually.

Even when we do get saved (repent of our sin and receive the Lord Jesus Christ by faith), we still have that old sin nature with which to contend. Romans 7:18-8:9 says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: BUT I SEE ANOTHER LAW IN MY MEMBERS, WARRING AGAINST THE LAW OF MY MIND, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” From the moment that we are conceived, we have that sin nature, and we have it until the day that we die.

Some false religions teach that “original sin” is washed away by being baptized; and thus, they baptize babies. That is clearly false doctrine, and a false hope to heaven. Acts 8:26-39 “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

A person cannot be baptized unless that person is first saved. “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” A baby cannot believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, because the baby cannot understand yet that he is a sinner, and that Jesus died on the cross for him.

Then do babies that die go to heaven, or do they go to hell? We really only have one statement in Scripture regarding that situation, and that is with the first baby that David had by Bathsheba. II Samuel 12:22,23 says, “And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 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.” David was going to heaven, not to hell. So if David was going to see the child again, then the baby went to heaven. God, in His grace, must forgive them through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, because they never came of age where they could make that personal decision.

I have heard some people speculate that all of those babies will be tested in the Millennium as to whether they will accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot accept that as scriptural, because that would mean one of two things. First, it would mean that babies go to heaven until the Millennium, and then come back to earth during the Millennium where they are tested as to whether they will receive the Lord Jesus Christ. That would mean that they were in heaven for a period of time, and then, if they reject the Lord during the Millennium, they could then spend eternity in hell. According to the Bible, that is not possible. Luke 16:19-31 says, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that THEY WHICH WOULD PASS FROM HENCE TO YOU CANNOT: NEITHER CAN THEY PASS TO US, THAT WOULD COME FROM THENCE. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

This passage is very clear that no one can pass from heaven to hell, or from hell to heaven. That means that no one can ever lose his salvation by some test in eternity. If someone goes to heaven, then that person can never be cast into hell. And so it is with those who go to hell — they can never one day get out and go to heaven. By saying that all babies go to heaven, but then are one day tested, with the possibility that they could then be cast into hell, is a clear contradiction of Scripture.

The only other option for those who believe that babies who die will be tested during the Millennium, is that they would then have to say that the babies do not go to heaven, but are in some “intermediate place” until the Millennium. That would be the same as the unscriptural error of “soul sleep,” which can be seen on this site in another question where it is refuted. When a living person dies, then that person is immediately in heaven or in hell (see Luke 16 once again). It is either one, or the other.

Babies either go to heaven and are eternally secure there, or they go to hell with no chance of ever getting out. Because of David’s statement, I believe that they go to heaven. As to any more details, I cannot say, because the Bible just does not tell us any more about that subject.