Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Apostle Paul Answers the Question, "What about Those Who Never Heard?"

In his open-air address to the Athenian philosophers on the Areopagus, the Apostle Paul explained:

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and...gives all men life and breath and everything else.  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. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'" (Acts 17:24-28)1

As philosopher and theologian William Lane Craig explains, these verses plausibly argue that those who would respond to the gospel, hear it:

"God in His providence has so arranged the world that those who would respond to the gospel if they heard it, do hear it.  The sovereign God has so ordered human history that as the gospel spreads out from first-century Palestine, He places people in its path who would believe it if they heard it.  Once the gospel reaches a people, God providentially places there persons who He knew would respond to it if they heard it.  In His love and mercy, God ensures that no one who would believe the gospel if he heard is born at a time and place in history where he fails to hear it.  Those who don't respond to God's general revelation in nature and conscience and never hear the gospel wouldn't respond to it if they did hear it.  Hence, no one is lost because of historical or geographical accident.  Anyone who wants or even would want to be saved will be saved."2

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

Footnotes:
1. Acts 17:24-28 as quoted by William Lane Craig, On Guard, p. 281.
2. Ibid. p. 280-281.

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