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What we know about heaven and hell

Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Argette » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:26 pm

> From your original comment: “Romans 5.13 says, "for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law." In other words, people cannot be held accountable for what they could not possibly have known.”

If God is presumably just, than this should be by merit and/or what little knowledge of Christianity. (I feel as if this is a safe assumption, and also takes influence from comments in this chain. If this is too big of an assumption, then I apologize). Then again, I can’t prsume what God plans/knows. I was taught good works and faith both play a factor (with faith being the decider.) If ignorance doesn’t lead to eternal torture, than good works or merits should play a bigger part in judgement.

> “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.”

I haven’t heard this before; this seems to agree more with the idea its solely by faith rather than actions, regardless of knowledge, which seems to contradict you above. Unless you mean it’s by faith, considering knowledge, at which point why tell? And, if it is solely determined by faith and not merit, it seems the opposite of just and loving. (This argument may be going a bit off track, I’m sorry.)
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:26 pm

> If God is presumably just, than this should be by merit and/or what little knowledge of Christianity.

Not necessarily. These are not the only choices, for sure. What about the possibility of what their mind was telling them about the existence of God, what their thoughts about it were and how they dealt with those thoughts? There are surely more choices than just merit or knowledge of Christianity.

> I haven’t heard this before

Wow, that's a little disconcerting.

Ephesians 2.8-9: It's by grace you are saved on the basis of faith. It's nothing you could have done yourself because it is of necessity a gift from God. It's not by merit so that no one can credit themselves with having earned it.

Isaiah 64.5-6: How can any of us be saved by doing right, since we are all sinners? Our alleged meritorious behavior is like filthy rags when it comes to earning our way. We might as well be dry leaves blown away by the wind.

Romans 4.2-5: If Abraham was justified by being good, he could be proud of himself, but not before God. No, instead Abraham was justified by his faith. If you think merit earns you anything, then what you get can't be considered a gift but rather an obligation—you earned it. But God justifies by faith, not by being good.

Romans 11.6: If we are saved by grace, then we are not saved by merit, because then we would have earned it. But salvation is by grace.

Faith is always by knowledge and evidence. Faith is making an assumption of truth based on enough evidence to make that assumption reasonable. You'll notice in the Bible that evidence precedes faith. There is no "close your eyes and jump off a cliff" and good luck to ya! God appears to Moses in a burning bush before He expects him to believe. He gave signs to take back to Pharaoh and the Israelite people, so they could see the signs before they were expected to believe. So also through the whole OT. In the NT, Jesus started off with turning water into wine, healing some people, casting out demons, and then he taught them about faith. And they couldn't possibly understand the resurrection until there was some evidence to go on.

When you read the Bible, people came to Jesus to be healed because they had heard about other people who had been healed. They had seen other people whom Jesus had healed. People had heard him teach. Their faith was based on evidence. Jesus kept giving them new information, and they gained new knowledge from it. Based on that knowledge, they acted with more faith. People came to him to make requests. See how it works? My belief in God is based on my knowledge of the credibility of those writings, the logic of the teaching, and the historical evidence behind it all. The resurrection, for instance, has evidences that give it credibility that motivate me to believe in it. My faith in the resurrection is an assumption of truth based on enough evidence that makes it reasonable to hold that assumption. Jesus could have just ascended to heaven, the disciples figured out that he had prophesied it, and went around telling people He rose. But that's not what happened. He walked around and let them touch him, talk to him, eat with him, and THEN he said, "Believe that I have risen from the dead." The same is true for my belief in the existence of God, my belief that the Bible is God's word, and my understanding of how life works.

And this is certainly how the Bible defines faith.

Hebrews 11.1 tells us that faith is the certainty about what we hope for and the evidence of what we can't see. The Greek words are ὑπόστασις, the assurance of actuality, reality in contrast to what merely seems to be; and ἔλεγχος, "Proof; evidence; certainty."

John 17.8 says the disciples the disciples knew with certainty. This was no blind trust, but a knowledge based on evidence. The Greek words are ἔγνωσαν ἀληθῶς: to know fully and truly. Faith is a judgment of certainty based on evidence.

In John 14.11 Jesus says he expects his disciples to believe on the weight of evidence.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Chill Out » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:52 pm

I think the more important point would be that these people would have to be judged based on their actions, as compared to those who will be judged on their actions and whether they were convinced of particular supernatural claims. That's a way better deal.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:53 pm

I doubt it. The Bible is quite clear that no one gets to heaven based on their actions. We're not told on what criteria these people will be judged, but we can be virtually certain, if not absolutely certain, that actions are NOT it. That's the one we can rule out.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Freddy Johns » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:16 pm

You keep quoting letters Paul wrote as having the answers on such weighty matters as "hell", "heaven", and the Mind of God. That's quite a bit of credibility to give one man who lived 2000 years ago who says he heard voices and saw a bright light, don't you think?
I would say a much better way to find these answers is to ask God yourself, right now.
Freddy Johns
 

Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:16 pm

If God truly does exist, it wouldn't surprise me at all that He talks to people. Just because the hearing of voices can be associated with schizophrenia doesn't mean that all such phenomena are a sign of mental illness.

> I would say a much better way to find these answers is to ask God yourself, right now.

I'll take this as tongue-in-cheek. I talk to God quite regularly, but He talks to me in the Bible (Paul, Moses, and the other people who saw a bright light and heard voices). I trust Paul's experiences of God as I do my own. And since Paul's answers about hell and heaven match Jesus's, I give them credibility. You and I have spoken many times before. There are many reasons and evidences on which I consider the writings of the Bible to be authoritative and credible.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Thunder Butt » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:05 pm

Well, "the bible" doesn't really support anything you said. "Hell" was unknown to Jesus. It's a relatively modern creation.

So, do you have any kind of citation from Jesus in the Bible supporting what you said?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:09 pm

> Well, "the bible" doesn't really support anything you said

Everything I said comes from the Bible. Which particular piece would you like me to substantiate?

> "Hell" was unknown to Jesus

Matthew 5.22, 29, 30; 10.28; 18.9; 23.15, 33

> So, do you have any kind of citation from Jesus in the Bible supporting what you said?

It's all supported. What piece would you like?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Thunder Butt » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:13 pm

It's the "murder all babies" argument, at the base of it.

In Christianity, it's better to kill all babies as soon as they are born since there is a 100% chance they go to heaven. Letting them live means there is a chance they go to hell. And any chance of eternal torment is simply too much to risk.

And, before you die you simply ask forgiveness for all those murders and BINGO - you get to go to heaven also.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:13 pm

> It's the "murder all babies" argument, at the base of it.

Whaaaaattt? "In Christianity, it's better to kill all babies as soon as they are born since there is a 100% chance they go to heaven. Letting them live means there is a chance they go to hell. And any chance of eternal torment is simply too much to risk." There is nothing true about this. It's a terrible distortion.
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