Hell For Those Who Never Heard?|
Q.I can't believe your God would send humans to an eternal hell who never had the chance to hear the gospel. What kind of a message is that? It is so unfair! It is horribly unloving to the rational mind.
Capricious, Eratic, or Sovereign God?
I realize this is a hard teaching and seems brutal and uncaring. For many years it seems pastors and teachers dodged this kind of question. In fact, your assessment might be true if we didn't believe in a God who was sovereign over all things.
Truly, the God you speak of is capricious or erratic. Everything is left to chance and luck. But, I don't believe in that kind of God nor do I believe the bible teaches this kind of creator.
The God of the Bible is revealed as personal and loving (see Psalm 103:8 or 1 John 4:10). He determines when we are born and where men live so we can find Him if we seek Him. Here is one scripture passage you might consider:
…He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things - and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us - for in Him we live and move and exist…" (Acts 17:25-28, NASB).
This speaks of a God who determines where each individual lives on the earth. Hearing the salvation message is not left to chance because God knows in advance those who will respond to the gospel message in a positive way when they hear it.
Testimony of Science&Conscience
The loving God I know judges men based on what they do know through the testimony of creation (i.e. the wonders of science) and their conscience as described in Romans 1:20, 2:12-15).
The very premise upon which your question is based is in error. This is because every person who has ever lived upon the earth has had a chance to be saved. Romans 1:18-20 says,
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them - for God made it evident to them" (NASB).
God-Factor in our DNA
In other words, the "God factor" is in our DNA make-up. We know He exists from reason and will. It is instinctual and God-given. Paul explains this even more clearly in Romans 2:14-16. He says,
"For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus."
This is a "spooky" passage. Not only are we told that we know the truth instinctively, but we are also warned it is possible that our minds, our brains, will "play back" everything we have thought when we stand before the Lord in judgment. Therefore, every one of us is without excuse.
God sends Missionaries
There are several ways God can reach those who seek to know Him. He can send missionaries to them. A biblical example is when the devout, Roman captain, Cornelius, prayed to God. In response an angel brought a message to Him and led him to Peter so that he could hear and accept the gospel message of salvation (Acts 10). In this instance God also trained Peter to accept Gentiles as worthy human beings who might also seek God.
In addition to sending missionaries to the unsaved, God also often uses radio broadcasts or television programs or copies of the Bible to reach people with the gospel. Psalm 119:130 says, "The teaching of your word gives light, so even the simple can understand" (NLT). The famous prophecy teacher, Hal Lindsey, is one who recounts his salvation by reading a Gideon's Bible in a lonely hotel room.
Recently it has become clear that God also uses visions or dreams to reach people in dark lands - such as Iran. Numerous converts have claimed to see visions of Jesus who spoke the truth to them. Daniel 2 or Revelation 14:6 mentions visions or angels. Nebuchadnezzar is given a vision. Furthermore, an angel flies through the sky carrying the gospel to "every nation, tribe, language, and people" in the last book of the Bible (Rev. 14:6).
So men are without excuse when they reject the gospel. God will hold all of us accountable for what we have heard. He will hold us responsible for seeing clearly the evidences for God's existence in nature and science.
Psalm 8 says,
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name
In all the earth,
Who have displayed
Your splendor above the
From the mouth of
Infants and nursing
Babes You have
Because of Your
To make the enemy and
The revengeful cease.
When I consider Your
Heavens, the work of
The moon and the stars,
Which You have
What is man that You
Take thought of him,
And the son of man that
You care for him?