By Hank Hanegraaff
One of the most frequently asked questions on the Bible Answer Man broadcast is “What happens to people who die without ever hearing of Jesus?” Will God condemn people to hell for not believing in someone they have never heard of?
First, people are not condemned to hell for not believing in Jesus. Rather, they are already condemned because of their sin. Thus, the real question is not how can God send someone to hell, but how can God condescend to save any one of us?
Furthermore, ignorance is not a ticket to heaven. If it were, the greatest evangelistic enterprise would not be crusade evangelism but a concerted cover-up campaign. Such a campaign would focus on ending evangelism, burning Bibles, and closing churches. Soon no one will have heard of Christ, and everyone will be on their way to heaven.
Finally, it should be emphasized that everyone has the light of both creation and conscience. God is not capricious! If we respond to the light we have, God will give us more light. In the words of the apostle Paul, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26–27).
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
John 14:6 NJKV
For further study, see Ronald H. Nash, Is Jesus the Only Savior? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994); see also Hank Hanegraaff, “Is Jesus the Only Way,”.
***Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***