What happens to those who have never known?

If NO one should enter into heaven with out excepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, what happens to those whom have never known or have not had the opportunity to find out about Jesus? What happened to my daughter who was far to young to even know Jesus exist when she passed?

A man who does well all his life. Gives back, helps and lives what he thinks is a righteous life but grew up Catholic. And no one has ever shared with him God’s word. What happens to him when he passes?


Hello @1Servant4God

Very great question.
I sense that this question of yours comes from a very deep and personal experience. I would like to send my condolonces and comfort for your daughter who passed away early. Truly, the Bible gives us assurance that God of comfort will comfort us in every hardships. (2 Corinthians 1:3) I know it is not easy, but God would sustain you to go through.

The most temptation an apologist can do in this time of situation is to give a rational answer to what happen to those who never heard of Jesus. That is necessary, but it is not enough, we as those who give answers to these kind of questions must also lead people to God.

What do I mean by that? Let me focus on the two questions you raised. I’m going to be brief here, those who people who have never given the change to hear or know about Jesus has two folds.
1.) Natural World - every details and information and beauty of our world points out to a Creator. It is the same to the people in the Old Testament, they never heard about Jesus, but they are aware that there is a God.

2.) Conscience - whether we believe in the Bible or not, we are embedded to some kind of morality inside us, to know what is right and wrong, and do what is right and despises the wrong. And that kind of sense of morality leads to a moral law to a Moral Lawgiver (God).

The clarification here, people are not judged by God based on what they do not know, but based on what they do know. On what they did on the evidence of the natural world about God and their conscience.

Moving to your question about your daughter, the Bible gives us the assurance that the Judge of all the earth shall do that which is right (Genesis 18:25). It means in the nature of God, He cannot contradict Himself, if He says He is just God, therefore we have the confidence that He would that which is right, fair, and justly.

Additionally, one of the greatest difference of God to humanity is God can navigate someone’s life into eternity. He knows best than we do. He controls life and eternity than we do. It must be hard, but the first and fundamental thing we need to play is to trust Him for who He is.

Jesus says He is the resurrection and the light, the way the truth the life, and said because I live you also shall live. Trust Him for your daughter’s life and in the present, you could do the same thing too.

I hope these helpful!


Welcome to the connect @1Servant4God! And that was well put @domingoosabel!

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Thanks for your question, @1Servant4God! I hope @domingoosabel was able to provide you with a beneficial answer.

May you find consolation in Christ with your dear daughter! I can only imagine how hard that must be!

I’d encourage you to check out this thread. Here a similar question was asked and I think it would be a blessing to you as it was for me.

Welcome to the connect! We’re glad you’ve come here to look for answers. Please feel free to ask any further questions. That’s what this forum is all about. :blush:


Dear Robert
It would be hard to give a better answer than @domingoosabel provided. There are 2 parts to the question though.

The first is children who pass from this life as your daughter has. Throughout Scripture it is made clear that there is a time that we do not know The Law and until we do there is no sin. Romans 7:7&ff makes it clear that until The Law becomes alive in us there is no sin. Additionally David is clear that he will see his son that has died 2 Samuel 12:22-23. It is through these verses and many similar that we know that there is a time of innocence when children who pass go directly to the Lord. I believe it is for this reason that Jesus said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mat 18:3).

The second is those who have reached the Age of Reason. This is the area that @domingoosabel answer is of great significance. Romans 5:6-8 is very clear that Jesus died for all persons and sinners. Through his death all are justified. Further to receive this justification that exists already someone must accept this justification to the satisfaction of the God. Better said is a person cannot refuse this free gift of justification. I believe that it is good and right for Christians to evangelize and call upon people to accept The Lord Jesus to be saved. However this emphasis sometimes leads us to say that unless someone has done this to our satisfaction they are not saved. It is to God’s satisfaction that such an acceptance of Christ is necessary not ours. Thus as @domingoosabel correctly pointed out God holds us accountable based on what we know not what we do not know. We do not know what is in the hearts of people but God does. It is good and right to have standards by which we accept someone as being a Christian and thus in the family of Christ. However these standards exist for participation and fellowship, they are not standards of God’s Judgement on a person.

May The Lord comfort you concerning the loss of your daughter in this world and place in you His Joy and Peace that you will live forever with her in heaven. I believe she greet you at heaven’s door and introduce you to all of heaven and the personage of God.


Thank you so much! @JoannaLinzey

Thank you so much for that further explanation! @dan0647

I don’t really have much to add, however, I know an OT scholar with a PhD. in the OT who I asked this exact question to (minus the part about your daughter).

He said God judges people based on what they DO know rather than what they DO NOT know. This is a double edged sword. First, if someone never knew who Jesus was or what they did for them, then I cannot imagine rightly that the “punishment” or “judgement” would really be very severe at all. Someone with this experience might experience something much closer to what the idea of purgatory is if they simply do not know anything about Jesus. That said, there is a moral law written on our hearts. As such, if we go against that a lot, I can imagine this has an effect on what rewards or punishment we get after we die. The second part of this is that it should be a wake up call to us who know much about the Gospel! We will be responsible for what we know. As such, we really need to do as much as we can in our lack of ignorance for the Kingdom of God.

God bless. I console you as I know how. Will pray for you tonight.

Hi, @1Servant4God :wave:

First, let me extend my condolences to your grief and your loss. Having lost an only son at birth, I can say that I somehow had a share of the pain you’re feeling.

The hope of resurrection gave me a positive outlook that time. I imagined Christ would be introducing me to the son I never had when that great reunion comes. But how did I came to that conclusion? Because Jesus said so.

Luke 18:16
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

I once heard some preacher say that those who are at the age of accountability are SAVED by faith. And those that are at the age of innocence are SAFE by grace.

Some might say that we can’t really tell if they have been elected by God. I say that God has revealed His heart and that He will never do any injustice or anything unrighteous. By calling my child Home early on, I say that was my son’s election. And that has spurred me on.

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Now to the second question,

Job 32:8
But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

When God gave man a spirit, He gave man a moral compass. Even a home-grown Catholic who seek God out of sincerity would know that (1) idol worship is wrong, and that (2) good deeds are insufficient because truth is hardwired to man’s sincerity to find it.

John 7:17
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

John 18:37c
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Thus he will yearn for that Unknown Father in his heart, the inner man, the spirit within and learn of Him in His Creation.

Romans 1:20
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

That man will do things the best he knows how with a clear conscience. And God will not be held unrighteous to judge him based on his circumstances.

Romans 2:14,15
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;

Ecclesiastes 12:14
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.