Does the Sin of Adam and Eve Condemn Unsaved Innocents to Hell?

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, December 15, 2014 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

There are many parts to this week’s question of whether the sin of Adam and Eve condemns unsaved innocents to hell. We at the ministry of Worldview Warriors have been often asked this question, so it’s now time to answer it.

The first part is, what is the sin of Adam and Eve? To find out more about this, please go read this post on original sin. Here’s the short version: God told Adam and Eve (the first people) not to sin, but they did anyway, and at that time evil and sin entered the entire world. To read the story of their sin, check out Genesis 2 and 3.

The next part of this question is who or what is an “unsaved innocent.” This can have multiple interpretations depending on your point of view. Unsaved typically refers to anyone who has not experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But what about “innocent”? I just wrote that sin and evil entered the entire world when Adam and Eve sinned, so is anyone really innocent? Nope. We are all born with original sin in us, even kids who are too young to understand what sin is. But, many people believe that before kids understand sin, they are considered innocent because they don’t know they’re sinning. From that point of view, then, unsaved innocents would be infants and children too young to understand.

The third part of this question is what or where is hell. Read more about my views on hell here, but I’ll give you a summary too. Hell does exist because the Bible tells us about it, but we really don’t know many details. The gist of hell is that it is an existence completely without God, which will be torture. Even if you don’t believe in God, He is still present around you in this world; but He won’t be in hell.

The context of this question is also important when looking at the answer. Often it is asked in the context of an infant’s death, whether through a miscarriage, stillborn, or even after they’re born. Another form of this question is often asked as well, but speaking of those who have not heard the good news of Jesus Christ’s salvation for us, whether they are condemned to hell or not.

So after all that setup, what’s the answer? Are unsaved innocents condemned to hell because Adam and Eve sinned? The answer is that we don’t know.

God is the one true judge, and the choice in judgement is His and His alone. Does He love everyone and desire for everyone to be with Him forever in heaven? Yes - just read 1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9, and John 17:21-23 for evidence of that. But, God also set the rules pretty clearly back in Genesis 2:16-17. God promised that the first man and woman would surely die if they disobeyed Him, which they did. God is a just God, and He follows His Word to judge people for their actions and the choices they make, even as He loves each one of us.

Personally, I know I’m glad that God is the judge and I am not. It’s not my choice whether any particular person goes to heaven or hell, except for being responsible for my own life. All we can do is be as obedient to God as we can, both by making right choices and by sharing His good news to as many people as we can. Beyond that, we trust in God’s good and perfect will to do what He deems right.