I have a good understanding of this question and how God would reveal himself to those who truly seek Him, but I have a question for those who have not been revealed to God. Personally, I believe that God did not reveal himself to those people because He knew that they would still reject him and follow their own desires; an example could be an atheist. If this is true, would this mean that people in the ancient world who were pagans acted on their own will than seeking out who God truly is? Your thoughts on this matter?
Hmm. I am glad that you have share this question with us. My question with that theory, though, is the people who reject him after they are presented with evidence. And, with that, what would be the point of missions? I am not trying to disprove your perspective, and I hope we can get along as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Howdy sister, thank you for taking your time to reply, I know what your talking about and I completely understand it, but I guess I’m asking what happended to the people before missionary work were a thing. Example, people in Asia while the Old Testament was taking its course. Anyways, thanks for your insight and have a blessed day!!!
I do not claim to have the perfect answers. I just hope this will be helpful.
Romans 2:7-8 “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
Paul is saying that eternal life is available for those who earnestly seek goodness, glory and honor. Hebrews chapter 11 mentions the great heroes of faith like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc. These men never heard of Jesus nor were baptized. But we know Enoch walked with God, by faith Noah obeyed God and was found righteous in the sight of God, and so on. God’s judgement upon them will be according to their righteousness.
The Bible proclaims (Romans 1:20) that people are without excuse for not believing in God: “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities– His eternal power and divine nature– have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
Paul was passing through Athens when he saw altars dedicated to “the unknown God”. People may not have heard about Jesus but they all have some knowledge of God. Paul explained that what he was preaching is the God yet unknown to the Athenians and four people were converted that very day. Nature, the creation of God reveals God. The Bible, the written word of God, reveals God. Jesus is the living, walking and talking revelation of God. He is fully God and became fully God in order to reach down to us because as sinners we cannot reach up to where he is.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1- 4).
The universe is an effect and the cause is God. The universe reveals the existence of God. The universe carries the message of an omnipotent, an all-powerful God the Creator. It is never silent. It speaks of a perfect divine designer. It tells of the beauty of God’s creations. It conveys the greatness, the glory and the majesty of the Almighty God.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has set eternity in the heart of everyman. “He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
Paraphrasing this verse to make it easier to understand:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, without which man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
Eternity is embedded in every heart. Whether someone has heard the gospel or not, he or she have a sense of the presence of a supernatural and powerful God. Everyone of every race and nation seek God. There will be a vacuum in our hearts until we find God.
God has revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ who took on flesh and blood and dwelt among man. He is the unblemished sacrificial lamb of God who paid the penalty of our sins in full on the cross. Death could not hold him and he rose from the dead. Whoever believes in him will partake in life eternal in the presence of God in heaven. This is the gospel of Christ, the message of salvation. With the resurrection, the Great Commission was given. This is where evangelism starts… we are commanded to preach it to every nation. We are mere sinful human beings and we cannot fathom the ways of God. Though he has revealed himself to us in the Bible and through Jesus Christ, part of him will remain a mystery. We must be content with the fact that he will judge everyone justly and without partiality. Our priority now is to preach the good news to the unreached as commanded by Christ himself and not leave them to chance or an uncertain eternal fate.
Thank you so much for your reply brother!!! One question, what does it mean by eternity, does it mean that God embedded in our hearts to seek him or can it mean to pursue truth and live a righteous life?
Good question, @ljhan40. I believe that what God breathed into man at the dawn of creation was His own reflection, the image of God in man - and it is eternal - it will continue somewhere forever. The body may return to dust, but every human soul will outlast the universe.
But not only is the soul eternal in its very nature, but it also longs for the Eternal One from whom it was given. As @SelieVisa has so ably described, across the ages, men in every culture have gazed into the heavens pondering eternity and longing to unravel the mysteries around them. They’ve longed to connect with the Beyond, to have deep wisdom, power over nature, the gift of foresight, endless life - in short, men have always longed to be something more than we now appear - to be supernatural!
But the great irony is that the very reason men long for this is because we are supernatural! What was breathed into us at the start was not of the dust of this world.
When we peer into the cosmic depths and feel these stirrings within, it’s because our souls feel eternity calling, and something inside us longs to answer.
I hope this will help you with this verse.
“Got has set eternity in our hearts.” This means we know that there is a divine being who must have created the world, the celestial bodies high above and can impart the breathe of life. So, there is a longing, a thirst to know who this supernatural being is.
I belongs to one of the tribal communities known as the Nagas. My forefathers were headhunters. Some outsiders assumed that the Naga people also practiced cannabalism but this is not true. Several of those headhunters are still alive. The Nagas are now almost 100% Christians. One main factor which converted us to Christianity within a comparatively short duration of time is the fact that we believed in a supernatural being who created everything and who is able to give life. We believed in spirits some of which are evil and some of which are good. We also believed that death is not the end and there is life after death. These similarities with the Christian faith accelerated our acceptance of Jesus Christ. The initial persecution of the first converts did not last long.
@ljhan40 - Many answers are already given, but I thought of adding a few more scriptures in context to your question.
Romans 8:27 says, he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
So, to answer your question, just like you and I know certain people never heard about God in the past or in the present, the Spirit also knows, and as we exchange this Q&A, I believe that the spirit intercedes. However, it is also our responsibility to pray for them.
Romans 8:28-30 says that For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified
Ephesians 1:13b When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession to the praise of his glory,
So, God is all the time at work transforming the people.
I would suggest that God is the God of love and He loves everyone equally including Atheists and those who may be rejecting God. (Romans 2:11 For there is no partiality with God) With full disclosure, I rejected God and pursued my own desire for over 10+ years. Since God knew me, He could have given up on me during those 10+ years. But because He is also God of love, he transformed my heart based on where I was. Why do I say so confidently? When I rejected God, I knew what is it mean to accept the truth? Yet I rejected many times but still God showed His mercy. I also believe that prayers and intercessions are the only reason for my heart’s transformation.