ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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What if someone never heard about Jesus ?

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Email: What happens to those who have never heard the gospel? I find it difficult to believe that a so called a loving God would send people to hell just because they didn't hear about him.

Response: This is a very commonly asked question. There are two possible responses. First, it could be that those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ will go to hell. Second, it could be that those who have never heard of Jesus Christ and the gospel will be judged in a different way than those who have heard of Jesus.

The Bible does not tell us specifically about what happens to those who have never heard. But it does say that Jesus is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12). If it is possible that someone who has not heard the gospel can be saved, it must be through Jesus Christ and him alone (John 14:6). But, it could not be that a person who is not heard of Jesus can make it to heaven based upon being good since that would violate the scriptural teaching that no one is good (Rom. 3:10-12).

If all people who have never heard of the gospel of Jesus Christ end up in hell, then that would be right because God would never do anything that is improper. On the other hand, if any of them end up in heaven, then it would be the right thing to do for the same reason.

But, if righteousness before God can be achieved through being good, or sincere, or by following various laws, then Jesus died needlessly: "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).

Because the Scripture does not specifically address this issue, we cannot make an absolute statement concerning it. However, since the Bible does state that salvation is only through Jesus and that a person must receive Christ, then logically we conclude that those who have not heard the gospel are lost. This is all the more reason to preach the gospel to everyone.

"for Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?" (Rom. 10:13-14).

Following are some verses that relate to this topic:

John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.
Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”
Rom. 10:12-15 "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be saved.” 14 How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!”
1 Tim. 2:5-6, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time."
1 John 5:11-12, "And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life."
Rev. 20:15, "And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."





Answer: All people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.” The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God's grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known.

The problem is “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). People reject the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in their own hearts, and instead decide to worship a “god” of their own creation. It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to hell.

Instead of debating the fate of those who have never heard, we, as Christians, should be doing our best to make sure they do hear. We are called to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:Cool. We know people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, and that must motivate us to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only by accepting God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ can people be saved from their sins and rescued from an eternity apart from God.

If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we will run into a terrible problem. If people who never hear the gospel are saved, it is logical that we should make sure no one ever hears the gospel. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. People who do not hear the gospel must be condemned, or else there is no motivation for evangelism. Why run the risk of people possibly rejecting the gospel and condemning themselves when they were previously saved because they had never heard the gospel?





The rest of the question, usually in the mind of the person asking it, is, “You mean God is going to send people to Hell just because they haven’t believed in a Christ they never heard of?”

The short answer is, “No, God will not send anyone to Hell because they have never heard of Jesus.” Notice I did not say, “People will not go to Hell.” But the truth is that no one will go to Hell because they have not heard of Jesus. Hell is not the penalty for ignorance, it is the penalty for sin. God will not send anyone to Hell for their ignorance. It is sin that by its very nature condemns us and sentences to an eternal separation from God in hell. But that need not be the end.

The Bible says that no one is ignorant when it comes to God. (Romans 1:19-21)

There are several ways God reveals Himself in this world.

a. The light of Creation
(Rom 1:20 & Ps 19:1-3)
Every person of every language and dialect has “heard” the voice of God through what He has made. It is the light of creation that shines on every heart and opens every mind that does not shut Him out.

b. The light of Conscience
In Romans 2, God’s Word says that every person’s conscience will either accuse or excuse him on the day when God will judge the secrets of their hearts. God has placed in everyone the knowledge of right and wrong, He has given us a moral compass. We can choose to sear the conscience through immoral and ungodly behavior, but we’re still responsible. No one is able to completely turn off his or her moral conscience. There is always something there that tells us what is right and what is wrong, even if we try to convince ourselves that the thing we are doing is OK.

No one can hide behind the claim of ignorance. No one can say because they have never been given the Ten Commandments they aren’t guilty. The law is written on every heart. (Rom 2:1,3)

God uses the light of Creation and light of Conscience to get the attention of every person on the face of the earth. We are judged according to the way we respond to the light we have been given, not on the basis of something we have never heard. People are not condemned for what they don’t know or haven’t done, but for what they DO know and for what they HAVE done. And God is perfectly just and therefore, will judge each one perfectly.

c. The light of Christ
Not everyone in the world has this light. The only way to receive grace and mercy instead of simply justice is to receive the light of Christ. This is where we as Christians come in. It’s our responsibility to share the light of Christ with others. We need to share the Gospel with those who have never heard or who have never really listened.

Romans 1- All have seen the light of Creation and are without excuse.
Romans 2- All have heard the light of Conscience and are without excuse.
Romans 3- It’s our responsibility to take the light of Christ to those who have no excuse.

When you feel a person is bringing up the “heathen in Africa” argument simply as a smoke-screen and diversion, you might respond something like this: “If you’re truly concerned about the person in Africa who hasn’t heard, why don’t you just come to Christ and then go tell them about Him yourself?” That should be enough to clear the smoke away.

NO one will ever be condemned for not believing in a Christ he never knew. He will be condemned for rejecting the God he did know and for worshipping the idols he set up in God’s place; And he will be condemned for what he has done when his conscience told him not to do it. People will be condemned for their ingratitude for the light and for the gifts God has given to them and for the sins they have committed when they knew they were wrong. It is "sin" that condemns… that is why we need a Savior.

Ask anyone, anywhere in the world if they have ever done something they believed to be wrong. Know what they will say? “Ha, ha, ha, of course, everybody has.” We all know we have done things wrong. If all men condemn themselves, why should they be surprised if God also condemns them?


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