Does Psalm 51 imply that an unborn child will have no sin? Assuming that is true, are there any denominations that support that all unborn children have salvation? Is there newer scripture (in the NT) that reverses this?

Psalm 51:3-5 ESV

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, (K)I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 51:3-5 CEV

I know about my sins, and I cannot forget my terrible guilt.

You are really the one I have sinned against; I have disobeyed you and have done wrong. So it is right and fair for you to correct and punish me.

I have sinned and done wrong since the day I was born.

  • Neither. The child is guilty before conception. As soon as the child is able to perform an moral action the child sins. Why? Because the guilt is passed onto the child before it exists, as it (humanity) died and inherited guilt for sin in Adam. This is the historical doctrine known as 'original sin'.
    – Mike
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 2:06
  • 2
    I think the moderator edit made this a more confusing question. Dan has an interesting idea here, but I think it needs much rewording.
    – pterandon
    Commented May 11, 2013 at 12:48
  • Source of question: I asked this question because I was thinking about my wife. She had a miscarriage with twins at 14 weeks - pretty rough on her. It made me think, "are those children in hell because they never accepted Jesus?" @Mike's comment would suggest that be true. It's a horrible thought to have. Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 12:55
  • @DanAndrews - I do not think theology is meant to answer every question. God is a person that we believe not a set of well organized dogma. Sometimes when it 'seems' that a loved one such as parents, spouse, infants are 'going to hell' it is our duty to have 'hope against hope' knowing God can raise from the dead. That's how Abraham was willing to kill his son by faith without clear reason. Faith rises higher then our ability to explain it. Cheers.
    – Mike
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 13:15
  • The Mormons believe that all children are sinless until the age of accountability (8 years old), after that, the only sins attached to them are the ones they commit themselves, and do not repent of.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


No, Psalm 51:5 does not claim that an unborn child is sinless, quite the opposite, it says (in every translation I checked except the CEV) that they were either "conceived in sin" or "sinful since conception" which I would take to be equivalent in any case.

We are tainted by Adam's curse at conception; at no point are we without sin until we are washed of it by the blood of Christ. Therefore unborn children are as much destined to hell as any unrepentant sinner outside of the womb.

That said, there is the doctrine of the "age of accountability" that many Christians hold to, which while not strictly part of this question may be relevant to the overall answer.

  • Good answer and very close to what I'd consider as the selected answer. Please add some references to strengthen your answer. Commented May 13, 2013 at 12:38
  • Regarding the age of accountability: "little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them;" (Moroni 8:8)
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 22:04

Innocent until conception or birth?

The answer is neither. A person is guilty of sin only when s/he committing that sin not before. Because sin is different than guilt. When Adam sinned he is gulty hypostatically, his human nature is affected by the penalty of that sin but not guilty of it. Because guilt is a predicament of hypostasis not nature. In Latin theology there is a distinction between the penalty or stain of original sin and that of guilt, the two are not the same. This is why Theotokos is innocent and immaculate because when she was conceived in sin guilt is not involved. In our divine liturgy we sing hymns to her by calling her, panagia, meaning all holy. The Logos assumed the same fallen humanity from the Theotokos. Unless He was conceived in sin (not guilt) then the humanity which He assumed would not saved us. Because only that which He assumed is healed. About dying infants they all died innocently and guiltless.

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