Going off my previous “What happens to the souls of…
Going off my previous “What happens to the souls of babies”, it’s also important to consider the question:
“What about those who’ve never heard of Christ?”
Now, I know Romans 1 says that we are without excuse because of creation, but I don’t see how that makes people know specifically about the Christian God. Most cultures the world see creation and believe in their own God (Thor, Zeus, etc.), but believing in a false god will not save them. I think it comes down to a few options:
1. Predestination: God simply didn’t elect them or predestined them to be saved, so they will go to hell. This may be the simplest solution, but obviously one that calls into question God’s love.it also doesn’t explain why God created them in the first place, as it seems that not existing would be better than burning in hell.
2. Middle Knowledge: God knows what people would do, so anyone who would want to be saved is saved in the actual world. This assumes that everyone who isn’t saved, including those who don’t hear, would never freely accept God in the first place. But that again raises the question as to why God would simply not create those who He knows would reject Him.
3. Annihilationism: Those who don’t hear simply cease to exist, rather than burning in hell.
4. Universalism: People may go to hell temporarily, but all will eventually repent and go to heaven
5. “Escapism”: The unreached are saved in the same manner as OT saints; they may go to hell originally but eventually escape. However, unlike universalism, not everyone will choose to freely accept God while in hell.
Which of the options is the most likely to be accurate? I think all of these have problems, but some are better than others.