Age of Accountability (AOA)

Commonly believed, the Age of Accountability is defined as the threshold for being accountable to making a decision to follow God's direction by Faith in the Old Testament's dispensation or in the New Testament era of accepting Jesus the Christ's payment on the cross.  Dying before the age implies that God will allow the person to make the decision after death before entering Heaven or being eternally exiled with damnation.  The benchmark age appears to be 20 or 21.

There are several questions concerning this possibly implied Biblical docturine based on the scripture evidence.

  1. Can mankind who has never heard about God be saved, especially if they are under the AOA?
  2. If there is an AOA then is there a reference to those who enter eternity with God in the Bible?
  3. Maybe the AOA is merely the age when the punishment or penalties are under a lesser scale?
  4. What about babies and small children who can barely discern right from wrong?

Some scripture references which may apply in the positive sense of an AOA:

1 Num 1:45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel,
2 Num 14:29 your corpses will fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me.  This was excluding those who would eventually see the promise land.
3 Deu 1:39 'Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it.  (These were the offspring of Exodus who were 20 years or younger along with Joshua and Calib.)
4 1 Chr 27:23 But David did not count those twenty years of age and under, because the LORD had said He would multiply Israel as the stars of heaven.  (Note that God had told David not to in the remaing parts of the verse but notice it was permissable to count those above that age.)
5 Isaiah 7:16 For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
6 2 Sam 12:23 David's son from adultery with Bathsheba which is born and dies quickly is indicated to have gone to upper Sheol (paradise).  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.
3 Mat 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Some scripture references which may apply in the negative sense of there even being an AOA.

1 Pro 20:11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
2 Psa 58:3 This seems to indicate damnation from birth but there is a qualifier as the wicked where there is no word used such as "all".  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

 

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