The age of accountability is a very tricky concept.
The bible does not teach it directly and we certainly can not assign a particular age as a "cut off" point. Actually, the term is a bit misleading since it has nothing at all to do with age. A better concept and term is "point of God consciousness," which can occur at practically any age and at which point a person becomes "accountable" for his sinfulness and responsible for choosing or rejecting God's viewpoint and policy for salvation.

The Bible certainly teaches that all people are born in sin and under the experiential consequences and judicial penalty of sin which is spiritual death (Psalm 51:5; Rom. 3:23; 5:12; 6:23). But we know that babies are not held accountable for the reality of this sinful status, based on the historical record found at 2 Samuel 12:14-23, where David recognizes that he will go to the dead child and the child will not come back to him.

David going to the dead child indicates that the child would be in "paradise" and David would join him there when he dies.

We are also taught about man's experiential accountability to divine justice at Romans 1:18-20,

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness . . . so that they are without excuse."

At what point then does one move from being a baby or child who is unaccountable, to someone who is under God's wrath without excuse?

The answer is found in the doctrine of God consciousness.

This refers not to any particular "age" but is a sphere of consciousness concerning the existence and jurisdiction of God which is arrived at through the assimilation and processing of data in one or more categories.

The example at Romans 1 uses the declaration of God that is inherent in the created universe, (Psalm 19:1-3) which is described as "his eternal power and Godhead (or divinity)."

Once a person becomes aware of this "knowledge of God" (Romans 1:21), they are responsible for recognizing Him as God (honor at Rom. 1:21) and expressing humility (giving thanks at Romans 1:21).

Thus at the time that a child has the capacity to understand the reality of God's revelation about Himself as announced in the heavens - at that time he is now accountable to that revelation.

And only God knows "when" this happens, but it is God's responsibility to get the gospel to those who are interested. The church is simply the vehicle to communicate the gospel in whatever areas its members are located and ministering. And if need be, God will move someone from one area to another in order to get the specific gospel information to someone who is searching for it.

If someone chooses NOT to honor Him as God, then God is not obligated to provide "further" information such as the gospel of Christ. In such cases as this, the person then resorts to embracing various degrees of "darkness" viewpoint, idolatry, etc., AND may or may not ever actually here the gospel - and yet still be totally accountable to divine justice and inherit the lake of fire.

The basis for accountability to God is stated at Exodus 20:5 as, "of those who hate me."
Children are only recipients of the fathers' iniquities if they perpetuate the same attitude and action of sinfulness. However, if independent from their father, they express rebellion (hatred) against God, they are then held accountable for there own iniquity.
See Doctrine of the FAMILY CURSE or the 4 Generation curse

There is one passage that hints at an age of accountability and that's at Isaiah 7:15-16,

"He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows {enough} to refuse evil and choose good.

"For before the boy will know {enough} to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken."

When the whole context is studied, it is determined that the age of the child when this occurs is about 2-3 years old.

However, this is probably best left out of the "age of accountability" subject because an ability to choose right from wrong in a child-rearing context is certainly not to be equated with ability to truly understand one's sinfulness and God's solution.

In the New Testament, Jesus seems to suggest that little children are SAVED, but a closer examination indicates otherwise. Matthew 18:1-6 and 19:13-14 is where Jesus uses children as teaching aids to communicate principles of humility to his disciples..

Neither passage can be used with any authority for this subject because the age of the children is not specified, and because Jesus is not saying that the children are saved, but simply that they operate under the same sphere of humility that is required in order to trust in Christ as one's savior.

Again, the key passage is 1 Samuel 12, and although this is only one passage, it should be clear enough to establish the principle that babies who have no ability to perceive the issues of the gospel, are covered under the doctrine of unlimited atonement and are accordingly saved. And children who have arrived at God-consciousness, and are held accountable to the justice of God.


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İRon Wallace, Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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