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What happens to people who never heard?

Postby Turtle » Thu May 16, 2019 11:46 am

What happens to people who never got the chance to learn about god.

What if some baby, incapable of even grasping basic language, does for some reason, does it go to hell for not accepting Jesus. What if someone grows up without any interaction with a Christian and never learns of God what happens to them.
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Re: What happens to people who never heard?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 16, 2019 11:53 am

The Bible isn't explicit about such things, but the clues it gives us lets us know that God will be perfectly fair about how He deals with them.

Romans 5.13 says people who lived before the law will have a different standard of accountability before God. Deuteronomy 1.37-40 says that those too young to be held accountable are not held accountable in the same way as those who were in a position to know.

It seems like possibly you fear that if God just ignorantly sends people to hell for not knowing Jesus, that just wouldn't be fair. Here's the point the Bible makes, and on this you can hang your hat: The Bible tells us that God is perfectly fair, that He takes all kinds of things into account (access to information, moral state, environment, motives, etc.), and since He knows everything, He will make the absolute right decision and be perfectly fair with everyone.

A FAR more important question is about you in particular. Since you HAVE heard, and have at least some knowledge of Christianity and God, the real question is what happens to YOU.
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Re: What happens to people who never heard?

Postby Mad Hunter » Sun May 19, 2019 2:28 pm

I’m not OP, but as a former Christian I got to a point where for my own sanity I had to accept that whatever happens to me is entirely up to God (if there still is one) - not me.

I think it is foolish and perhaps even narcissistic to assume that we petty humans can control the situation by manipulating, negotiating, or sweet talking God into getting us off the hook.

God is in control (is He not?). If sin is as deadly serious as we are to believe, it seems almost insulting to God’s character and integrity to expect that He should save us merely because we say we’re sorry. As an example - a pedophile can cry real tears and say he’s sorry and beg for forgiveness from the court all he wants - but that doesn’t make it right.

I got to a point a long time ago that I decided to stop running around in endless theological circles and just accept that the Christian God (if He exists) is in control and knows my heart even better than I ever will. If that means I go to hell, it would be either arrogant or futile on my part to complain about it. Of course I wouldn’t want to go to hell but I’m not going to delude myself into thinking if I play all the right mental games and believe all the right things then I can get myself saved. Either salvation comes entirely from God OR we have to admit that man’s own efforts DO play a role in salvation (ie it is not God alone that saves)
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Re: What happens to people who never heard?

Postby jimwalton » Sun May 19, 2019 2:29 pm

I obviously don't know what happened to you, why you feel the way you do, and what motivated you to change your position. It sounds like it was somewhat negative, so I'm sorry you had to go through something apparently quite taxing for you.

> as a former Christian I got to a point where for my own sanity I had to accept that whatever happens to me is entirely up to God (if there still is one) - not me.

You obviously feel this way because of a negative experience, but, being formerly a Christian, you must know this is not what the Bible teaches. God forces no one to reject him, nor does (or can) He force anyone to accept Him. If salvation is not by your free response, then God is arbitrary, and therefore not God (a self-contradictory situation, and therefore impossible). What happens to you is up to you. That's the only way there can be such a thing as justice. If God is an unjust dictator, then God is not God (again).

> I think it is foolish and perhaps even narcissistic to assume that we petty humans can control the situation by manipulating, negotiating, or sweet talking God into getting us off the hook.

That's because the Bible makes no reference to any effectiveness of manipulating, negotiation, or sweet-talking God into getting us off the hook. Maybe you're just being cavalier, but if you're at all serious, then you have completely misunderstood the Bible. Repentance is a genuine self-identification of who we really are, a spiritually-honest recognition of one's situation, and a sincere turning away from that and towards God. Manipulation, negotiating, or sweet talking don't (and can't) possibly have anything to do with it. This assumes God is either ignorant, soft and pliable, or unjust. It's a very small and inaccurate picture of God.

> God is in control (is He not?).

I have never been of the persuasion that God is in control. To me it's a wildly misleading concept. If it is so, then God is responsible for sin, another untenable self-contradiction.

> If sin is as deadly serious as we are to believe, it seems almost insulting to God’s character and integrity to expect that He should save us merely because we say we’re sorry.

It's not merely because we say we're sorry. Repentance is actually a 180º turnabout. It's renouncing who you are and the direction in which you are going, a complete 180-turn, and a renewal of person. It involves becoming a new creation (Jn. 3.3; 2 Cor. 5.17). It is far from merely saying we're sorry.

> a pedophile can cry real tears and say he’s sorry and beg for forgiveness from the court all he wants - but that doesn’t make it right.

Agreed. That's not repentance and salvation are. I agree with you. If salvation were this, it would be just a potentially disingenuous.

> Either salvation comes entirely from God OR we have to admit that man’s own efforts DO play a role in salvation (ie it is not God alone that saves)

The Bible is quite clear that salvation (the price paid, the blood shed, and initiating the relationship with us by invitation and conviction) is the work of God. It is just as clear that it doesn't happen automatically but demands from us a sincere repentance, a genuine turning, a response to the offer of the gift (believing and accepting), receiving the life and presence of God inside of us ("in Christ" and "walking in the Spirit"), and a newness of life (sanctification, righteousness, and walking according to Christ). God alone saves, but our response is not only crucial but necessary. It's not a work (earning), but is a necessary role we play. God won't save us without our partnership in the process. He is the saver, but we have to sign on the line.
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