When a Child Dies

Search Resources

What happens when children die? The Lord takes them up into heaven where angels take care of them. The teachings of the New Church describe how children grow up in heaven and become angels.

The Lord does not want children to suffer from illness or tragedy. But He does permit such things to happen for the sake of human freedom.

Teachings from the Heavenly Doctrines for the New Church:

  • The death of the body is but a continuation and also a perfecting of life (see Arcana Coelestia 1854).
  • A person immediately after death is in the other life, and their life in this world is wholly continued there and is of the same quality as it had been in this world (Arcana Coelestia 5006:4).
  • “Every little child, wherever born, whether in the Church or outside of it, whether of pious or impious parents, is received by the Lord when they die and is educated in heaven” (Heaven and Hell 329).
  • “All little children who die, are raised again by the Lord and are taken up into heaven. They are brought up and instructed among angels who have the care of them” (see Arcana Coelestia 2289).
  • “A love of little children remains after death, especially in women. As soon as little children are resuscitated (which takes place immediately after death), they are raised into heaven and entrusted to angels of the feminine sex who, in the life of their body in the world, loved little children and at the same time revered God. Because they had loved all little children with a motherly tenderness, they receive these little children as their own” (Conjugial Love 410).

Reflections on the teachings about children in heaven:

  • “Those who die as children come into their spiritual life at exactly the same stage of development. They are given the most loving, tender care imaginable until they become angels. And, they all do become angels and live forever in heaven, no matter what the circumstances of their birth and life” (Bruce Henderson in “Children in Heaven”).
  • “It is clear that children who die continue to be a permanent part of those they leave behind. Bodies die, but love does not. Bodies die, but memories do not. Our children live on, not only in our hearts, but in a new and beautiful life…. Children who die are still connected to their families by love and understand they will someday be together again” (Donnette R. Alfelt in “When a Child Dies”).
  • “Only God can see what is best for us in this world and in the next. This does not mean that He wants or causes children to die. (“It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14). But He does allow things to happen which He does not will, for the sake of our freedom and for the sake of the spiritual potential of each one of us (Bruce Henderson in “Children in Heaven”).

Read more about children going to heaven:

Projects and activities for various ages:

  • What Heaven Is Like Video (ages 4-10)
    Presents a sweet simple picture of heaven for young children.
  • The Lord Receiving Children into Heaven Coloring Page
    Remind children that the Lord is caring for us all, whether we are in heaven or on earth. You might ask them to close their eyes and picture the Lord smiling at them and seeing them as future angels.
  • His Everlasting Arms (ages 4-10)
    Use this line drawing of the Lord to show Him holding you, your family, or planet earth in His arms. A group of children might enjoy singing "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
  • Imagine What Heaven Is Like (ages 4-12)
    What does this painting tell you about heaven? What do you think heaven looks like? If you were to draw a picture of heaven, what would you show there?
  • Waking Up in Heaven by Robert Glenn
    Two angels welcome a girl waking up in heaven.
  • Remembering a Child in Heaven (for all ages)
    Parents who have lost a child may want to keep a journal or scrapbook about the child in heaven. Imagine what your child might look like now. Talk with your children about what the child in heaven might enjoy doing and what story in the Word might be her favorite. Consider what you would like to ask or tell the child when you are reunited.

Sign up to receive notification when new highlights like this are published. Subscribe.