Some question God’s morality when there are thousands, if not millions, around the world who never hear the gospel and die without salvation. They say things like: “If God is so good, why do those people die and go to hell?” or “He cannot be good if He lets people be in places that guarantee they will not hear the gospel.” and “I just cannot believe in such an evil God because of His condemning people without ever giving them a chance to believe.”
Some people have concluded that those people will have a chance after death to believe. This view is known as postmortem evangelism. This view teaches that after death people will have an opportunity to believe before their judgment is determined. This does not comport with Scripture and must be rejected. We know from certain Scriptures that once we die we either go to eternity with the Lord or into eternal torment away from the Lord (Matt.7:21-23; 13:36-43; Luke 16:19-31; John 5:28-29; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:21; Heb. 9:27). There is not a chance after that last breath is taken here. So, how, then, is God still morally pure if those who never hear are condemned?
This question is a haunting one for many people. It is hard to understand how people who have never heard of the saving work of Jesus Christ can be condemned. Yet, all must believe upon Jesus to come unto the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). It is because of the scattering of people throughout the world that Christ has left us with a charge to go and share (Matt. 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; John 20:21;). And why the apostle Paul went all over and proclaimed the saving message to as many as would hear, as seen throughout the book of Acts and his missionary journies and by what he says in Romans 10:14-17. In that passage he said that people must call on the name of the Lord to be saved and to do so they must hear of Him first. People have to take that message to them so they can. This is what Christ said to do and what Paul says to do.
Yet, still many never hear and never know. How is that still just and morally right? Because God has not left them without a witness. This witness is in all humanities consciences and nature through all creation. Romans 2:15 states that we all have the law written in our hearts telling us something is right and wrong. John Blanchard says of this, “[Everyone] has some conception of the difference between right and wrong; he approves of honesty; he responds to love and kindness; he resents it if someone steals his goods or tries to injure him. In other words, he has a conscience which passes judgment on his behavior and the behavior of others, something the Bible calls a law written on his heart” (Whatever Happened to Hell? 113).
Not only do we all have this conscience that should make us wonder why we think that way, but we have the creation. Psalm 19:1-6 tells us that all of creation “declares the glory of God” that it “shows His handiwork” that even though it does not talk, it reveals Him. Also, in Romans 1:20 Paul says that creation is what makes God’s “invisible attributes…clearly seen.” There is no reason for anyone to not see that there is a God.
Now, we know that this may let them know there is a God and creator, but this alone does not save since Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is through Christ and His finished work at the cross (John 3:16; 5:24; 11:25-26; Acts 4:12; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). So, how then can this general revelation allow them to believe?
I believe that to those who truly seek to gain more light, God will send them more light. We see this in the story with Cornelius in Acts 10. He was a man who knew God existed and was devout but he was not saved yet. He prayed for more light and Peter was sent to his house to preach the gospel so Cornelius could hear and be saved. This is just one example of many others in the world where people claim to have felt there was a God and sought this God and received more light through either a Bible being turned up, a random missionary wandering in, even dreams. In an article on faithalone.org, Bob Wilkin addresses this issue agreeing it is possible and links an article from the Southeastern Theological Journal about the same topic, that supports his thoughts. It is not beyond God to use dreams to reach people.
God, I believe, does this because He is a just and righteous God. His will is that all be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). He does not enjoy the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11). He doesn’t want anyone to perish but all to turn to Him (2 Pet. 3:9). Yet, many do not and do not use the light given to seek more light. Sadly, they do not become saved and spend eternity in separation from God. Even in this God is just and fair. He has made provisions for all to believe and makes a way for them to do so. “Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the Almighty will not pervert justice” (Job. 34:12). We can all say with Abraham when discoursing with God over Sodom and Gomorrah and seeking for Him to not destroy it, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Gen. 18:25). God is just and righteous. We can rest in knowing that He is morally perfect and has made provision for all. It is up to all to accept that provision and believe or receive more light so they can believe. Therefore, we believers must go and share the great news of salvation through Jesus Christ with all we can.