Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do People Who Have Never Heard Of Jesus Go To Hell?

This is a question that often comes up when dealing with the topic of hell. The reason being that it seems unfair that someone who never had a "chance" to be saved should not be given over to eternal flame. That premise must be the one which we deal with first.

When Romans teaches that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (3:23). Does that include the one who has never heard the gospel? Also, when Paul writes, "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God," doesn't that also include the one who has never heard? (cf. Romans 3:10-11). I would say that it does.

I believe that the person who never hears the gospel is still a rebel who hates God and is guilty of all sorts of horrible atrocities against God's name. Therefore, when he dies he goes to hell because it is right that he should go there. He is, after all, a guilty blasphemer.

Perhaps this makes some go, "Wait...but he never had a chance! No fair!" Criminals do not deserve a chance. That is why it is only by grace that anyone is saved. It is unmerited, undeserved, and quite stunning. God is not obligated to save anyone, and He does no injustice to anyone for allowing their sins to condemn them.

17 comments:

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Joe said...
Good post.

I hate people who tell me that I'm asking the wrong question, don't you?

But you know what? That's the wrong question.

The question is: WHY HAVEN'T THEY HEARD?

We were told to go to all nations and preach the gospel and baptize them and teach them all things.

In this day, I can think of absolutely no reason why everybody has not heard, except that we (collectively) have not followed the instruction of our leader.

(Sorry for the deletion...I goofed up the last sentence and needed to re-write)

brother terry said...

Whew! I'm glad to see someone else comment...

I was beginning to feel like a stalker. I was starting to think maybe the LDS post had run everybody else off.

LOL

Another fine post, you can get to the heart of the matter in fewer words than most!

peace,

Anonymous said...

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who SUPPRESS THE TRUTH in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is evident among them, for God has shown it to them." Romans 1:18-19
If there is a "god fearer", God at least by the NT example with the Ethiopian eunuch(Acts 8) and Cornelius(Acts 10), God can get the message of the Gospel to them. Also, in the future during the end times, God even uses angels to share the gospel with people(Rev 14:6) God has limitless tools to get the Gospel to people if they respond to His drawing them.....KA in LV

ColinM said...

Romans 1:20 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

They are without excuse, which clearly places the burden and responsibility upon each individual, not those that have failed to reach them. That "The Acts of the Apostles" could have rightly been called "The Acts of Jesus Christ" is so true, for Luke clearly demonstrates Christ continuing work in building His church, and we see the acting out in obedience the work of the apostles and messengers of Christ. For, Christ Himself has built, and will continue to build, his church.

Fantastic post, Brad.

Gummby said...

Right on, man.

Of course, we don't rejoice in this fact--it should grieve us, just as it grieves that Father.

I shy away from using the word "fair" at our house, because with the kids what that usually means is "I didn't get what I wanted." We try to focus on justice, grace, and mercy, not because I'm super-spiritual, but because they need to understand that life isn't always fair, and that's not always bad. Sometimes, we deserve justice but we get mercy or grace.

Most of the time (but not always), when that question comes up in an evangelistic discussion, it's really a red herring to dodge the real issue. But even if there is genuine concern there, a proper understanding of sin will leave one saying "it's not fair--I deserved judgment and death, but Christ got it instead."

Thanks for this post.

Jim said...

I think Joe has a valid point here. We are commanded to preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.

It is the love of Christ that compels us to reach the lost and go to the distant shores. We all have opportunity at home as well to share the good news.

Of course, I think to fully understand this we must resort to the sovereignty of God, and that He is completely just, righteous, and full of love.

God is not willing that any should perish; I believe this is where prevailing prayer becomes effective, when we realize that Christ is longing for us to intercede for the lost and dying world.

Just like the trinity, I find understanding God's justice and mercy at the same time something hard to fathom.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I have to completly disagree with this blog.

I came on the internet looking for answers, because it really does concern me about the fate of the souls who are unevangelized. I have been fortunate enough to hear the gospel, and I truly believe in my heart that Jesus is my savior.

However, I feel that God is just, and not unreasonable. Yes, it is true that we all sin. And yes, we all fall short of the glory of God. However, How can you be condemed for something you do not realize is wrong? That's like forcing someone to play a game, and refusing to tell them the rules. Of course they will lose.

And what of the mentally handicapped, the stillborns, aborted fetuses, and others like them? Do you believe God would condemn these people to eternal torment?

I cannot imagine God putting someone who had such a rough time on Earth, such as people who live in secluded jungles, or in Africa with no luxuries who live day to day, into even more torment after they die, while allowing those who have been blessed on Earth and know of Jesus to flourish some more in Heaven. He does say mention that those who were last will later be first.

Not to mention that it is not our place to condemn people to Hell. So rather than giving up and saying they will burn, I will hold out hope, and pray for these wandering souls. We may be criminals as you put it, but we ALL deserve a chance. If we didn't, then what was Jesus for? God wants everyone to be saved!

I understand that as Christians, we must spread the gospel. But it is impossible to reach every single human. Even though people turn their backs on God, he never turns his back on them. However, those who renounce Christ are lost until they accept him. But if you didn't know Christ to renounce, how could you be punished?

I will pray for you. I hope that even if you do continue to feel this way, you will at least reconsider your thoughts, and see my point. God Bless.

David said...

I honestly feel, as it says in Romans, that there is no punishment or conemnation where there is no law. Think of it this way, at the time when these things were written, sure - God's power was extremely evident, that's all most people knew. NOW, with all these theories and lack of Christians reaching out to others with love, places such as Africa, where the Gospel is NOT heard in many areas, there is no law taught there. When the bible taught of the law, everyone knew the law, so there was no excuse. Now the law is not taught in so many areas...so to me

because someone may not know the law because we as Christians haven't given the Law of God and God's love to others, who is to say that after death the lawless unfortunate won't wait for their salvation...or who's to limit God in His grace to reveal Himself to them through His own divine power?

praiseHim said...

Everybody is right -- to the extent that they quote the Scripture and not their own reasonings.

God is more than able to sort the wheat from the chaff among us. He created us all and knows the heart of the unborn as well as the eldest child; and He is able to save to the uttermost.

Since He is not willing that any should perish, but does not take our sovereignty of choice from us, are we not caused to recognize that He has already said, "I put before you life and death, choose life."

For those who have never been reached with the Gospel, there is plenty of evidence of God's presence in their own existance and in nature that must cause even a child to "wonder". I believe that God inhabits this human ability -- and one of Jesus' many titles is "Wonderful" for this very reason, in my opinion.

Our God is great and able to reach any soul at wherever they are. He did so before Christ was born into the world, and nothing prevents Him from speaking to His unevangelized creatures now.

Jesus spoke many times of hell and said it was an awful place. He also told us to evangelize to the ends of the earth -- reason enough to fear for those headed to hell and cart blanche to witness to them anywhere.

If we love Him, we will follow His commands to love and obey.

May God richly bless you.

Moriah said...

I completely disagree. I hope no one gives this answer/opinion to an unbeliever.
When Mary and Martha were weeping and crying out to Jesus because of their brother's (Lazarus) death, Jesus wept WITH them - knowing that He would later raise Lazarus from the dead. He had complete and utter empathy for these sisters. Jesus was arguably the only living being to truly express empathy. How could such a loving God condemn an unknowing individual to hell?
In John 15:22-24, Jesus clearly stated that those who hadn't heard of Him before were saved and had a protective "cloak" over them. God had mercy on them. God - giving His very Son to die on the cross for us sinners - would be a complete hypocrite if He were to send an unknowing child of His own to hell. It's a completely different story for those that have heard the gospel, which John 15:22-24 also implies.

Ben said...

God is love.

Love would not send a man to his death without first telling him his crimes.

And can you really blame Christians for the THOUSAND years where Christianity were confined primarily to the Middle East and Europe? And how can you betray a belief you've never been exposed to? Is hell filled with people who were just too geographically inconvenient to worry about at the time? That the Jews and Romans deserved forgiveness more than the rest of the world?

If so... my faith in a loving God is, perhaps, misplaced. In a just God, too. No justice I've ever heard of convicts a man before telling him the rules.

Joseph said...

You... uhh... You might want to leave this part out of your recruitment fliers. Just saying.

cal428 said...

I know this was posted long ago but I have a comment on Joe's comment."In this day, I can think of absolutely no reason why everybody has not heard, except that we (collectively) have not followed the instruction of our leader." Joe,have you ever lived or traveled outside of the United States? Well I have, I lived in East Africa for 4 years. Have you ever heard of the Danikil Desert? My Father went hunting big game there and they brought ice in big ice chests to kept their food and drinks cold. Not only had the natives never seen or heard of God and Jesus, they had never in their lives seen ICE!! They touched it and jumped back having never experienced cold before. They were amazed by ICE!

And Preacher Brad who thinks "I believe that the person who never hears the gospel is still a rebel who hates God and is guilty of all sorts of horrible atrocities against God's name. Therefore, when he dies he goes to hell because it is right that he should go there. He is, after all, a guilty blasphemer." How can you say that about these people? Not even knowing my Father and his friends they offered them some of their meager meal, these haters of God. If you ask me those "heathens" are going to have a high place in heaven, higher than yours who judge people they don't even know and take the words in a book that can be intrepreted a million ways literally. God is LOVE. You preach hate and condemnation against other faiths and beliefs. I feel sorry for you. I hope on judgement day you aren't judged as harshly as you judge others.

Anonymous said...

I don't really understand the logic behind this. How can you say they hate God simply because they've never heard of him?

I live in Cambodia. Here children have a 12% chance of dying before they reach 5 years old, due to lack of food, safe water, and basic medical care. They were born into lives of suffering, and died before they had a chance to do anything about it.

Is the author of this article really comparing these people to criminals? Is he serious?

People like you guys give Christians a bad name.

Anonymous said...

children as it is written have to be at the age of countability usually in jewish heritage a boy becomes a man at13 girls 12 if you read in 23 minutes in hell you will see that the man who experienced hell said he head screams of only mature voices. you should read it. the guy who went through it proved everything about what he saw in scripture. so maybe the people who don't know christ or just the same. also I can understand the part about believing in god there's evidence. but also if I were native I would probably believe in god cuz theres evidence. but would never have
thought about a Savior.

Anonymous said...

you seem to be making the assumption that it's only sinful people that have never heard about the bible.

but what about a new born baby who dies? they have had no chance to hear about Jesus, by your reasoning, they are sinners and must burn in hell forever, because they died at birth

and for an all loving, all forgiving god, that seems very petty