Dear Pastor Gallups, “What about all the people in the world who have never heard of Jesus?” “Surely God wouldn’t send innocent people to hell?”

J.K., Pensacola


Dear J.K., I do not remember exactly where I got the outline of the answer that I will give you in this article so I will not take credit for it. But I do believe it will help you and the readers understand this issue.


People often express disappointment in the gospel message, erroneously thinking that it condemns innocent pagans in distant corners of the world. If God could condemn such people to eternal punishment "just because" they had never heard of or believed on His Son, then He must be unjust. 


At first, this seems like a difficult question and the perfect argument against Christianity. However, it is based on wrong assumptions. The Bible is very clear in the answer.


The first incorrect assumption is that of innocence.  Jesus clearly said that we are “condemned already” because of our sin nature.  (John 3:16-19)  The Bible also says that ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect glory. (Romans 3:10).  No one is ever innocent before Holy God.


The second wrong assumption is that of ignorance. (Romans 2:14-15).

Every one of us is born with some knowledge of right and wrong. Without the Bible, we cannot know the whole will of God, or the truth about His Son Jesus Christ, but we are not left in total ignorance. We all have a conscience, which rebukes us when we sin, but we choose to sin, regardless.


Impossibility is the third erroneous assumption--that people cannot be led to knowledge of Christ except through a missionary or in a church service. However, the Bible is clear that this is not always the case. Abraham received a personal call from God Himself.  On top of this, the Bible says that God has spoken to everyone through creation: (Romans 1:18-23).


God has also spoken through conscience. Everyone is born with a God-consciousness (Romans 2:15) and (Ecclesiastes 3:11)


The biggest heartache to me is that there are millions upon millions who have heard, who have access to Bibles and preachers and churches who will perish, not in the dark, but in the light!