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What we know about heaven and hell

Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby J Lord » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:22 pm

> I think it's fair to say that people who haven't heard of Jesus will not be judged on whether they believed in Christ or not. That doesn't make any sense. They will be judged fairly given their own motivations and actions.

Does this mean that people who have heard of Jesus but are not Christians will not be judged fairly given their own motivations and actions? Is there some advantage to never hearing about Jesus as opposed to hearing about Christianity but reaching the conclusion that it probably isn't true?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:22 pm

> Does this mean that people who have heard of Jesus but are not Christians will not be judged fairly given their own motivations and actions?

We're not really told the criteria, but this (motivations and actions) makes sense to me.

> Is there some advantage to never hearing about Jesus as opposed to hearing about Christianity but reaching the conclusion that it probably isn't true?

I think there's always an advantage in knowing the truth and having access to the truth. Sometimes we're able to intuit the truth.

I happen to believe that people who never heard about Jesus will react the same way as people who hear about Him. Some are astute enough to see the signs and evidence, to consider the existence of God and live responsibility according to that understanding. Others don't give a rip, or suppress that. Those who have heard, many consider the evidence and are convinced and become believers. Others hear the same evidence but reach a different conclusion, or suppress it because they don't want it.

So what I'm saying is that I think your question misleads me to have to pick one over the other, and therefore I think it's a false choice.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby 6 to 12 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:34 pm

So is hell a temporary punishment like prison? After you've been punished for your crimes you are then released into heaven? Or do you remain in hell for all eternity?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:34 pm

There are very different perspectives on it. There are theories about reconcilationism, semi-restorationism, modified eternalism, and annihilationism, all with some kind of scriptural backing. In other words, hell isn't necessarily eternal for all who enter it. It may only be eternal for those who absolutely, stubbornly, and persistently refuse to be reconciled. (I'm not affirming some kind of Purgatory. I don't believe in Purgatory—that's a different theology altogether.)

Reconciliationism is the belief that somehow Christ will reconcile all things to himself (Col. 1.20). This is not to imply that someday all people will be saved and end up in heaven. For the spiritual powers, the reconciliation will be through their final conquest, so that now there is peace. For the souls, there are options.

Semi-restorationism: There are some who will irrevocably reject their creator God and God's offer of salvation. They will endure a time of punishment that will accord with the amount of evil they had committed. After this time of suffering they will be brought to know and experience the greatest of all goods, the good and joy of knowing and loving God. Their reconciliation with God will not be of the same unlimited quality as that of the redeemed and it will likely involve some kind of eternal stigma. They will be marked with an eternal memorial of shame that they have rejected their God and source and creator (maybe like Rev. 14.11). This view also accepts a kind of inclusivism that says that all people will have the opportunity to accept or reject God's offer of reconciliation through Jesus Christ.

Modified eternalism: This view suggests that after an appropriate time of punishment the wicked will cease to exist.

Annihilationism: The righteous will enjoy eternal life and the wicked will cease to exist.

As for me, I don't want to get anywhere near any of them. I have devoted myself completely to God, so it's not an issue for me.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Argette » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:41 pm

If people cannot he held accountable for what they don’t know, and are instead judged by the law they know or their conscience, is it better to not tell them of Christ? If they are judged by their actions without Christianity, they go to heaven or hell by merit. With knowledge of Christ, they are punished not only by their own laws, but also laws of the Bible/New Testement (even in ignorance, for not seeking more information about the law). They also would be sent to hell regardless of their actions if they don’t believe in Christ in favor of their previous beliefs (don’t know if this is a universal part of Christianity, it’s what I was taught in Coptic Church, which is an Orthodox Church), or sent to heaven regardless of their actions if they are faithful.

In summary, if God judges the ignorant based on merit, and those with knowledge on loyalty, is it better to not tell those ignorant if it prevents good people from suffering?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:42 pm

> If people cannot he held accountable for what they don’t know, and are instead judged by the law they know or their conscience, is it better to not tell them of Christ?

We cannot be certain on what criteria they will be judged, so I think knowing the truth is always better than hiding the truth.

> If they are judged by their actions without Christianity, they go to heaven or hell by merit.

Heaven or hell is never by merit, so this is very thin ice to stand on and not a firm conclusion by which to determine policy.

C.S. Lewis wrote, "Here is another thing that used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and have been able to believe in him? But the truth is God has not told us what his arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him. But in the meantime, if you are worried about the people outside, the most unreasonable thing you can do is to remain outside yourself. ... If you want to help those outside you must add your own little cell to the body of Christ who alone can help them. Cutting off a man's fingers would be an odd way of getting him to do more work. ..."
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby J Lord » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:08 pm

> We're not really told the criteria, but this (motivations and actions) makes sense to me.

Do mean to say that it makes sense to you that these will be judged fairly based on their actions? Or that they will be judged based on whether they are Christians or not?

> So what I'm saying is that I think your question misleads me to have to pick one over the other, and therefore I think it's a false choice.

I am asking whether people who have heard of Jesus are judged on the same standard as those who have not, and what those standards are in your opinion?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:08 pm

> Do mean to say that it makes sense to you that these will be judged fairly based on their actions?

What I mean is is makes sense to me that they will be evaluated on their motivations and actions (what's going on in their heads, their attitudes, how they think things through, and how they behave based on those thoughts).

> I am asking whether people who have heard of Jesus are judged on the same standard as those who have not, and what those standards are in your opinion?

I don't think those who have heard are judged on the same standard as those who have not. That would not seem fair to me. That would be like giving an exam to students who had taken the class and those who had not, but grading them all the same.

What are those standards in my opinion? My opinion is pretty worthless as an answer to that question. We're just not told. We are just assured that the assessment will be a fair conclusion based on fair criteria.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby J Lord » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:56 pm

> What I mean is is makes sense to me that they will be evaluated on their motivations and actions (what's going on in their heads, their attitudes, how they think things through, and how they behave based on those thoughts).

So does their beliefs about Jesus play into it at all? Or is it just their actions and motivations?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:56 pm

How can their beliefs about Jesus play into it when they never heard the name, know nothing about him, or might even have been before Him in history? It's an anachronistic question, like asking what Thomas Jefferson believed about television. You obviously have an angle or you wouldn't ask the question. Just say it.
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