Age of accountability

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The age of accountability is a teaching within Christian theology, which states that children who die before they reach the point in their development to where they can understand right from wrong (and thus cannot make a faith decision with full understanding), are thus not held accountable for their own sins, and thus go to Heaven after death.

The concept is not directly supported in the Bible, though King David's statement in II Samuel 12:23 about his son who died (the one conceived through his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba) is often used as a supporting text.[1] Also, there is no set age among those who hold to the teaching; generally it depends on both the age and mental development of the person.[2]

The teaching is generally held within Christianity; however, there is a minority position which denies the teaching.[3]


  1. "But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."
  2. It is therefore possible, that a person born with severe mental retardation may never reach that age, even in adulthood.
  3. The Age of Accountability? - Gentle Reformation