How can those who have never heard about Christ and what he did ever be saved?
REMEMBER its not that Atheists CARE about those who haven't heard they don't, this question is one of many distracting questions THEY THINK CAN'T BE ANSWERED.
Such a question can be raised only by those who have heard about Jesus Christ. So none of us belongs to the category of those who never heard about him.
Whatever the case might be, finding a proper answer to this question is important.
This answer may not be a complete answer to this question, but I hope it will begin to REVEAL how much God loves the world DESPITE the fact his church sometimes does not EXPRESS HIS LOVE AS COMMANDED!
Two extremes must be avoided when addressing the salvation of those who have never heard about Christ.
It is obvious that such a cruelty would not be consistent with his love for us, which sent Christ to die on the cross for our sins.
He hath made all (the travail, Ecc_3:10) beautiful (fit, in harmony with the whole work of God) in its time; also He hath set eternity in their heart (i. e., the heart of the sons of men, Ecc_3:10).
The word, translated “world” in the text, and “eternity” in this note, is used seven times in Ecclesiastes.
The interpretation “eternity,” is conceived in the sense of a long indefinite period of time.
Second, if all other religions were valid ways to God, the Christian claim that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only possibility for human salvation should be rejected.
John 14:6 (KJV)
Is it possible that only those who have heard about Christ can be saved?
What happens to those who haven’t heard the gospel when they die?
Can God be considered loving and just if He fails to provide large numbers of people with an opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ?
If the unevangelized have an opportunity for salvation, how is it made available to them?
Differing viewpoints on the eternal destiny of the unevangelized
1. Restrictivism (also called Particularism or Ecclesiocentrism):
2. Universalism: everyone, including the unevangelized will be saved.
3. Religious instrumentalism:
4. Universal evangelization: God ensures the gospel will somehow get to those who are searching
5. Universal opportunity at moment of death.
6. The “If” theory:
7. Postmortem evangelization:
8. Wider hope (called Inclusivism by some writers):
The un-evangelized are saved or lost on the basis of their following what light they have within them, we are ALL BORN with the commands of God in our innermost being.
This is why we gravitate toward LAWFUL actions, and Civilized Society, where else do the desires to do right OR WRONG come from?
Consciousness IS NOT OF NATURAL origin, it is of spiritual dimensions.
God never intended anyone to be out of fellowship with Him. Heaven was intended to be man’s destination, while earth was his proving ground. The thing Atheists are not willing to admit to is just what happened - MAN FAILED HIS TEST AT RULING THIS WORLD to a low life fallen Angel who thought God wouldn't be able to recover his greatest Love - MANKIND!
It was 'humanism' that failed to impress because in the face of the supernatural we bowed, but not to its HIGHEST CREATOR but to a lowly 'Archangel Megalomaniac' who couldn't keep his first estate. Satan's Failure became Man's failure, but UNLIKE Satan we can escape our final end through Obedience to God's plan, because we are God's HIGHEST CREATION.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
God’s nature prevents Him from being unfair.
Man is not in total ignorance or spiritual darkness concerning his knowledge about God.
However, this God-consciousness is not enough it is the shadow of the real thing meant only to remind us of that which we must follow.
Man must have more information than this in order to be saved.
I have heard many stories of people coming to faith in Christ as the result of a dream or vision where He appears to them, inviting them to trust in Him.
People are putting their trust in Christ, but some don’t know anything more about Him than that He is God, He loves them and He invites them to trust in Him.
So what that means is that if a person has never heard of Jesus through the preaching of the gospel, that is no obstacle for God. He can, and testimony shows that He does, appear directly to—and call a person to—have faith in Him.
A classic example of how people belonging to cultures foreign to the Judeo-Christian world can still have a revelation of God and meet him is the Magi from the east mentioned in Matthew 2,1-12.
They worshiped Jesus as king of the Jews and brought him gifts worthy of a king. Their coming to Bethlehem was obviously not customary.
The problem of humanity has never been the lack of revelation, but rather pride and the refusal of grace.
Most of Jesus’ contemporaries rejected him because they refused to believe despite all fulfilled prophecies, miracles, healings and even despite his resurrection.
God will and does go FAR out of his way to reconcile the world to himself,through the WITNESS of MEN,all of CREATION,the STARS ABOVE,DREAMS,VISIONS,EVEN GRACE REVEALLED IN DIFFERENT FALSE RELIGIONS AROUND THE WORLD!
There have been many spiritual masters who recognized the necessity of grace and the impossibility of attaining salvation by one’s own efforts.
The spiritual trend called prapatti in Hinduism and the Pure Land school of Buddhism focus on grace as the only solution for attaining liberation.
Any efforts which aim at self-justification are of no value, no matter how impressive they might be.
We have observed this attitude in the prapatti devotional trend of Hinduism, which demands giving up the control of one’s personal life to the god Vishnu and leaving to him all responsibility for attaining salvation.
“Lord, I, who am nothing, conform to your will and desist being contrary to it, and with faith and prayer, submit to you the burden of saving my soul” (Nyasadashaka 2).
The same is the case with the Pure Land School of Mahayana Buddhism, which flourished in Japan.
According to the character displayed by the God of the Bible, we can expect that he will save such people, by the grace available for all in Jesus Christ.
Whether there are many or few people in this category we cannot know.
If people can be saved without hearing about Christ, does it mean that Christian missions are futile?
By no means.
In many cases the disobedience of Christians to go into remote parts of the world would be responsible for that.
They haven’t always preached the message of love, but one of greed and hypocrisy. Therefore, God could not condemn people to hell only because his so-called followers perverted his message. This wouldn’t be at all consistent with God’s perfect justice and love for the lost.
Although this article may not offer an acceptable answer to the question in the title, nobody’s salvation depends on how convincing such an answer could be.