Ask Your Preacher
If one never knows about God or heaven, are they doomed to hell if they never even knew He existed?
Blind To The Truth?
Dear Blind To The Truth,
Let’s look at a few teachings on this topic and see what the Bible says about those who aren’t christians because they haven’t heard about Christ.
- Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault. God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8). The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
- People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence. It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure. If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
- God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him. Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse. God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
- God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell. He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5). If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.
God is the final judge. We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27). The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.
What age is it when you know right from wrong and if you sin you go to hell?
Counting The Years
Dear Counting The Years,
The age of accountability is the age when a child becomes accountable to God for their sins and would be judged for them… exactly at what age that happens is the tricky part of your question. We can tell you what the Bible says on the subject, but it doesn’t say much.
We know any baby that dies goes to heaven. David’s son died, and David made it clear that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). Also, Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11). This tells us God doesn’t have the same expectation of a child’s behavior as He does of an adult’s. Children are not bound by the same rules as adults. A child doesn’t have the mental capacity or maturity to be held accountable for their mistakes like adults are.
In order to become a christian, there are several things God expects you to be capable of doing:
- Take responsibility for your sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for your own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
If a child is not capable of doing those things, they cannot be held accountable for their eternal future.
This still doesn’t answer the question though because every child matures at a different rate. Everyone agrees that a five-year-old can’t be held accountable, and that a twenty-year-old can. It is the age spectrum in between where our judgment gets fuzzy. Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), can accurately judge the hour in which a child makes that transition into accountability.
If God knows everything that will happen in one’s life, then why does He put people on earth if He knows they are doomed to go to hell? Like, if He knows that one will go to heaven but the other will go to hell, why put sinners who are damned to hell here? Why is that? Isn’t that a little unfair?
Feeling Toyed With
Dear Feeling Toyed With,
God knows our days upon this earth, but He also gives us the freewill to shape various aspects of the world that we live in. Just because God has knowledge of how you and I will behave does not mean that He causes our behavior to happen in a certain way. Foreknowledge is not the same as causation. A doctor may know that a patient is going to die of cancer, but that doesn’t mean the doctor caused the patient to die of that ailment. God gives mankind the freedom to make decisions, but He also has the wisdom to know how those choices will affect the future (Job 12:13).
Does God hear or answer an unsaved person’s prayer? I am saved but have been wanting some Scripture to answer my question.
Is He Listening?
Dear Is He Listening,
God recognizes the prayers of the faithful only. There is no doubt that God hears the prayers of christians (Jas 5:16). God hears the prayers of the righteous, but He is far from the wicked (Pr 15:29). God is constantly listening to hear the prayers of christians, but He sets His face against those who do evil. God says that even a christian who isn’t treating others well (specifically their spouse) will have their prayers hindered (1 Pet 3:7).
God does not answer the prayers of those who are ungodly. When Israel turned away from God, He stopped answering their prayers (Micah 3:4). When Judah became wicked and followed false teachings, He stopped hearing their prayers and accepting their worship (Isa 1:13-15). The same would hold true for those who fall away today. God will stop listening to and answering their prayers. It isn’t that He doesn’t hear them – He simply ignores their requests. Those outside of Christ are promised that if they seek God, they will find Him (Lk 11:9). All of mankind has the ability to ask for truth and find it, but only christians can ask God as a child asks a father (Mat 7:11). The ability to seek God’s help through prayer is a blessing given only to those who serve God (Jhn 9:31).
What all does Satan do to us throughout our lives? What kind of stuff does he cause us to do?
Dear Feeling Forced,
Satan will do to us as much as he possibly can, but the devil’s power is only strong enough to devour us if we want him to. Satan is a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8), and he has princely power on this planet (Eph 2:2), but God has chained this lion. In the book of Job, we see that Satan is restrained by God (Job 1:12). 1 Cor 10:13 says that we cannot be tempted beyond what we are able to overcome. Satan may be strong, but he cannot attack us unless we let him. Like a rabid dog on a chain, he can only harm us if we get within the chain’s radius. Satan doesn’t have total authority on this planet; in the end, Jesus is the king of all (Php 2:9-11). Satan can’t force you to commit any sin, but he is happy to tempt you to commit as many as possible.