Were other nations that never knew God going to hell in the Old Testament?

It’s actually my sister question me about God of the Bible. How were the fate of other nations that never knew God in the old testament? Were they going straight to hell? If that so then was it unfair for them? For they didn’t know who they should worship? Need your help. Thank you and God bless you.


What a great question your sister brings up! There are so many components to it and rabbit trails that one can go down in discussing it, so, if I may take a stab at it, I just wanted to break the question down for a second…

It sounds like she is concerned with a number of things, but I hear her struggling to comes to grips with God’s justice. Her understanding of fairness in the world seems to be at odds with how she understands God’s judgement. Would you agree?

You know, I do actually agree with her. If ‘the nations’ (either then or now) didn’t know, then God would be unjust to hold them accountable for whatever it is that they didn’t know. How can one reject something one never had the chance to accept? Ultimately, I know that God will judge justly, and that everyone will be held accountable for the knowledge we’ve each been given. Both Jesus and Paul talk about that…Jesus in His many discussions with the teachers of the Law and Paul in a number of his pastoral letters.

Additionally, it might also be helpful to question and open up her understanding of the overall narrative of God’s judgement.

  1. One of my personal burning questions is: Is there such a thing as someone (or a nation) that ‘never knew God’? :thinking: And what do we need to know in order to not go ‘straight to hell’?
  2. How do we understand heaven/hell and Judgement Day? What does the Bible actually say about these things? Is the story we believe about those things more cultural or Biblical?
  3. What is the purpose of our earthly life with regards to eternity? …to gain heaven? …to avoid hell? …or to know God and the life that is in Him?

This opens up so much stuff, but I’d be curious to know how others would begin to address it. :slight_smile:

Until then, I have attached a couple of past episodes of Ask Away that may help shed light on not only how God reveals Himself to and interacts with the Old Testament world, but also how we can understand the nature of ultimate judgement.


@KMac hello Kathleen. Thank you so much for your reply. This question actually have so.many thing in it. And thank you for opening my mind and address the issue within the question. It was indeed open up so much stuff to dig in. But I won’t complaint. Would be an interesting topic to discover. Thank you so much. God bless you.

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