This article has been written in response to questions asked by a fellow hubber from http://www.hubpages.com after having read my hub “The Truth About Hell”. Hopefully it will answer the questions of others also. Always keep in mind that here on earth, during our time of grace; we will never have all the answers. God tells us all that we need to know for our salvation in His word. Beyond that we live by faith.
1. What happens to the billions of people who ever lived who have never heard the Gospel?
Jesus talks about the end of the world in Matthew 24. In verse 14 He states; And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. He is telling us here that the end of the world will not come until the gospel has reached all people.
In our world today it is pretty safe to say that all have had a chance to hear the Gospel, but still there may be some who have not. This is also a reminder to us who believe to reach out to others with the life giving Word of God, both at home and in faraway lands. If we are unable to go and if we don’t have money to support missions, we can still do our part by remembering in prayer those who don’t know Christ. We can pray also, that God would open doors for missionaries. In Acts 13:47 the Apostle Paul reminds us; For this is what the Lord has commanded us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
2. What about those that heard a false gospel and responded to that thinking it was the right one. An example would be the billions of people during the 1000 years when Catholicism was the only religion and people couldn’t even read the Bible themselves.
This is a difficult one and I am not sure how to answer you. I can say this though; the word of God has always been in existence, although like you say, there have been times when it was not so readily available. God tells us in Deuteronomy 30: 11-14 that His word is written in our hearts. He says; Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” NO, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
Although we are born sinners and enemies of God, we have a natural knowledge of God in our hearts. We know there is a God without being told. For those who truly search for the truth, it will be revealed to them in some way by the Holy Spirit. I think here of Martin Luther who reformed the church on October 31, 1517. He is the founder of the Lutheran Church.
He was studying to become a monk. He had many questions and doubts about what the Catholic Church taught. He was advised by the head of the monastery to search the Bible for answers to his questions. When he searched the scriptures, he found the truth. The church opposed his sharing the truth of God’s word with others which lead him to publicly oppose the church by nailing his 95 Theses (or concerns) on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany for all to see.
Today the Bible is readily available to all people, especially here in the U.S. It is very important that all of us search the scriptures so that we know what our own church teaches. We want to be sure it does not go against what God tells us in His word. If the teachings of your church contradict what God says in His word, you need to look for a church home that teaches the truth. Jesus Himself warns us in Matthew 7:15; Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. He then goes on to say; By their fruit you will recognize them. In other words we can tell by the way people live and act and speak whether they love God and follow His teachings.
3. What about people like my mother who is Schizophrenic and has a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is a figment of her mind or her imagination?
As far as your Mom who is Schizophrenic is concerned – If she had faith and loved the Lord before she got sick she will go to heaven. God does not condemn people because of sickness and disease, whether it be physical or mental. If you are not sure if she ever had faith, then I would continue to tell her about Jesus whenever possible. The Holy Spirit can perform miracles and He has the power to put faith in her heart even though her mind is confused.
In the end there are some things we just have to leave in God’s hands and trust Him. We can’t begin to know His mind. He tells us what we need to know for our salvation, in His word. The Bible defines faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) There are things we in our human state are unable to understand, but we believe by faith.
For those in the past who have died without knowing Him, there is no way for us to know for sure if they are in heaven or not. Only God knows what is in each of our hearts. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future and that is what we are here to do. We need to make sure to the best of our ability that all people we meet have had that chance to know the Lord. If they choose to reject it, then it is out of our hands. We should however, continue to pray for them and never give up. There is power in prayer. God hears and answers us, but He doesn’t force anyone to believe in Him.
4. Can you show me the specific verses where it says that Satan is a fallen angel who was once good and then decided to become evil?
God does not tell us at what point Satan fell from Grace. We first hear about him in Genesis chapter three where man’s fall into sin is recorded. We know that he was created perfect along with all of the angels because Genesis 1:31 tells us; God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. He created all things perfect.
In 2 Corinthians 11:14 the apostle Paul tells us For Satan masquerades as an angel of light. In John 8:44 Jesus rebukes the Jewish leaders for their unbelief and tells them You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire, He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. God also warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, Be self-controlled and alert, Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
5. We seem to have this idea that Satan is getting as many people as possible thrown into hell. What would be the reason for this? Just to spite God? I mean, clearly Satan won the war. He got about 95% of humanity. I wouldn’t call it a victory for God unless God has something else up His sleeve that we don’t know about?
It is incorrect to say that Satan won the war. Jesus conquered death and Satan when He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. 1 Corinthians 15: 56 tells us The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. The devil lost the war and He wants to take whoever he can down with him. He has power on earth for now, but on judgment day he will be thrown into hell along with all unbelievers to suffer eternally. Although Satan is powerful, he is not as powerful as God. He is not Omniscient (having all knowledge), Omnipotent (All Powerful), and Omnipresent (present everywhere) like God. He cannot accomplish anything God does not allow him to. A good example of this is the story of Job. In Job 1:6-12 God reveals to us His conversation with Satan regarding Job.
6. Why do we think Satan is behind abortion or the killing of children? He is sending all these people to heaven! That is not very smart of him. I thought his job was to bring everyone to hell. Considering the odds, if he lets them live, they have a 95% chance of going to hell, whereas if he kills them in the womb or before a certain age, they have a 0% chance. Can you let me know your logic on that?
I will just say this; Satan is behind all evil in our world today including abortion. Satan does not have the power to send anyone to heaven. Only God does. As for babies both unborn and born, God does not tell us anywhere in scripture that babies, born or unborn automatically go to heaven. If your church believes babies are without sin, it is wrong because God tells us in Psalm 51:5; Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Babies are little sinners too and need God’s forgiveness. That is where baptism comes in. Baptism is a gift from God. It is not something we do for God, but something He does for us. Through baptism we receive faith from the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of our sins and we become a part of God’s family. The Holy Spirit puts faith in the hearts of little babies who are otherwise not able to understand or believe. It is then our duty as parents of that child to teach them about God through word and example as they grow. It is our responsibility to bring them up in the Lord.
I know many churches do not believe in baptizing infants, but Scripture teaches otherwise. God does command baptism when He tells us in the last chapter of Matthew verse 19; Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Children are included in all nations. He isn’t saying; “Go and baptize all adults and those old enough to understand.” He is saying and including all people.
I have tried to address all of your concerns. I know you will still have questions. We all do. We fly by faith in our Almighty Creator God. He tells us everything we need to know for our salvation in His word. There is much that our human mind is unable to grasp, but when we arrive in heaven we will have perfect knowledge and all our questions will be answered. If you would like to discuss this further with me feel free to email me. I am glad to answer any questions I can. I am here to tell the story and happy to do so.