Many in our Christianity hold to a form of universalism or pluralism, whether it be intellectual or practical.
Intellectually, this view consciously thinks there are multiple paths to God while practically it is often practiced in many Christian’s lives. Most of the time this is an emotional decision because we don’t like to think about the reality of man’s predicament, but yet we don’t want to do anything about that predicament either.
What about innocent people, you know, the ones who never heard?
What happens to the innocent man in the middle of Africa who has never heard of Jesus? Does he go to heaven? To really answer this question we must look at some absolute truths. And where do we turn to find these truths – the Bible.
Everyone has knowledge of God – “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them… so that people are without excuse.” Rom 1:19,20
Everyone has rejected God – “people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness…For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” Rom 1:18,21,25
Therefore everyone is guilty – “God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.” Rom 2:2
Everyone, because of this guilt is condemned – to death – “for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger” Rom 2:8
God has provided a solution – it is Jesus Christ and it is a universal solution – “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Rom 3:21-22
All are justified freely by His grace – “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Rom 3:23
There is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ – “No one comes to the Father except by me” John 14:6
So, what happens to the innocent man in the middle of Africa who has never heard of Jesus? Does he go to heaven?
Answer – he doesn’t exist
“There is no one righteous”
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away, they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good, not even one.” Rom 3:10-12
Some may feel and argue God is not fair for allowing people who have never heard of Jesus to go to hell. In part 2 we will take a look at this very point