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Q. What happens to those worldwide who have never heard the gospel? Does God send them to hell? I know some really kind, caring atheists who put so-called Christians to shame. I can't believe God would condemn them.


This question and the question about why God allows suffering are the two most frequently asked questions among unbelievers. I pray we can do justice to your sincere question.

Seeker's Prayer

If a person sincerely seeks the truth God will reach them with the gospel message. However, many atheists turn against reason itself to justify their hatred. We see this especially in countries like North Korea and Communist regimes.

Many converts at some point in their lives prayed something like this: "Please, God, if you are real then let me know you exist and let me know the truth about Jesus Christ." For those of us who prayed like this we can look back and see many events, sermons, and books which led us to a belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ within a relatively short period of time after praying this request.

Must Believe God Exists

However, please understand. If a person sincerely wants to know God the Bible says, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6, NKJV).

Study of Apologetics

To that end there are numerous books on apologetics (evidences) proving from science, prophecy, and other disciplines that God exists. To those who refuse to consider the evidences the Lord says they are "fools." "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1&53:1).

Salvation available to All

The Apostle Paul proclaims that "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Ro. 10:13) - a direct quote from the Old Testament from Joel 2:32 to emphasize that salvation is available to all nations and races of men.

In Romans 10:18 the Apostle Paul also says,

"…have they not heard? Yes indeed:

'Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.'"

Paul directly quoted the Septuagint (LXX) translation of Psalm 19:4 to reveal that even David clearly understood that God's revelation of Himself had reached all the earth.

Hardwired to know God

Not only have all men who seek God heard the gospel, but God has hard-wired all mankind to know Him. He has written His law in their conscience and through the testimony of creation, "because that which is known about God is evident within them - for God made it evident to them" (Romans 1:19). Paul continues:

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Ro. 1:20, NASB).

In a stunning counter argument against evolution or Mother Earth worship, Paul continues,

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…" (Ro. 1:25).

DNA Code

For example, the discovery of the DNA code should have put evolutionary theory to bed permanently. There is nothing in the DNA code that allows a fish to turn into a bird. There is great variety within "kinds" such as toy poodles versus wolves. But canines are still canines. They do not become cats. Fish don't become reptiles. Neither do apes become men.

In fact, mutations generally lead to defects and death - not to functional improvements in species. But, atheists and hostile unbelievers turn against reason itself in order to justify their hatred and rejection of God. They do not want to become accountable to God. They would rather spend eternity in Hell - and so they will.

God reaches men through Various Ways

There are many and various ways God gets the truth to those who sincerely want to know Him. He sends missionaries (Acts 10). He can work through radio or television or through a Gideon's Bible. Psalm 119:130 explains "The revelation of Your words brings light and gives understanding to the inexperienced" (HCSB). The Lord sometimes brings visions or angels to seekers (Daniel 2 or Revelation 14:6). In fact, numerous Moslems in hostile nations claim to have seen a vision of Christ or an angel who testified the truth to them. Through this miraculous intervention God even reaches those who live in areas untouched by the Christian gospel of salvation.

Tiny View of a Majestic Creator

We have a limited, small, puny little view of God if we think the Majestic Creator who sustains trillions of swirling galaxies is unable to reach all men who wish to know Him.

But, the point is that you have heard the truth.

What are you going to do with it?



Eastman, Mark&Chuck Missler. The Creator series: 20th century evidence for a transcendent Creator and the supernatural origin of the Bible. (MP3 CD-ROM). Coeur d'Alene, ID: Koinonia House.

McDowell, Josh. 2003. New evidence that demands a verdict. (Tape). Coeur d'Alene, ID: Compass Intl.

Muncaster, Ralph. 2004. Examine the evidence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

Ross, Hugh. 1996. Beyond the cosmos. Colorado Springs: NavPress.

Authors Ken Emilio holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Louisiana Baptist University. Valorie received her MA in History from UCLA focusing upon Christian origins.

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