The question is often asked with great concern, "What about those who have never heard the gospel?" Biblically, this is no problem. Many have had difficulty with the this question because of a failure to apply the teachings of God's word and the perfection of His character, as well as a failure to consider the witness of history.

God-consciousness is when a person becomes aware of the existence of God. He may not know what to call him, but in his own thinking, he becomes aware of the existence of a superior and powerful being who orders and controls the world around him. There are several ways a person can be made aware of God, but perhaps the most obvious is through the existence and order of the physical universe (Psalm 19:1-3; Rom. 1:19-20).

This is called the cosmological approach to awareness of God. Another way, the religio-logical approach, recognizes the very real possibility of the existence of God because of the prevalence of "god worshipers" within his society. And still a third way is called the ontological approach which accepts the existence of God because man's soul conceives of such a being and because within the soul of man is a "feeling" or "need" that such a being must indeed exist.

The only time when mankind was "right" with God was in the garden of Eden before Adam's sin of disobedience. It is at that time after Adam's sin, that mankind lost any "connection" with nature and God's presence. But that very nature is the thing that has always been a beacon of testimony to the existence and power of God.

Psalm 19:1 says that,

"the heavens are telling of the glory of God
and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

This indeed provides a "knowledge" of God which must be addressed by every human soul which is exposed to it. Paul writes that because of this "testimony," mankind is "without excuse" in regard to accountability to God. Romans 1:19-20,

"Because what is known about God is evident among them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen by being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

Paul then describes this as "knowing God" in v. 21,

"For even though they knew God. . ."

The validity of any interaction with God is established on God's terms; terms which God has faithfully provided for mankind in the bible. Any attempt to "interact" with God apart from first dealing with the sin problem the way God demands for that problem to be dealt with, falls far short of spiritual reality.

This "knowledge" of God is not gospel information about entering into a spiritual relationship with Him, but its information that points to the existence of God and reminds man of his inner need for God. It is then at this point that each person must make a personal decision concerning this universal and "natural" revelation of God. He must decide whether to "honor him as God" or not. Paul continues at Rom. 1:21,

"For even though they knew God, they did NOT honor Him as God
or give thanks (express a recognition of God's grace)."

When a person DOES express this honor-attitude toward God, it is then God's responsibility to get to that person the specific gospel information they need to enter into a "saving" relationship with God, which is necessary because all mankind is born in sin and under spiritual death, separated from God.

That gospel information has always been basically the same since it was first given to Adam and Ishah after they sinned. I.e., God would provide a savior who would defeat Satan and pay the just penalty for sin on behalf of all mankind. This is taught by understanding the meaning of Gen. 3:15 and the significance of the animal sacrifices which God instituted at Gen. 3:21 compared with Gen. 4:1-7.

The difference before and after the cross is simply the specifics of that salvation promise. Before the cross, one must trust in God's promise of a coming savior. After the cross, one must trust in the fact that God kept that promise and provided the savior in the person of Jesus Christ.

However, if upon arriving at "God-consciousness," anyone decides not to honor him as "nature" logically dictates that He should be honored, then his soul will begin seeking a "replacement" to God. This is where idolatry and religion comes from. (True Christianity is not a religion; it is a personal relationship with God based on forgiveness of sins and the imputation of divine righteousness to that person. Religion, on the other hand, is man trying to "find" God or appease God or gods on man's terms. Religion always results in some kind of oppression and slavery.)

Again, Paul discusses this at Rom. 1:21-23,

". . .but they became empty in their reasonings and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and animals and insects."

V. 25,

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator."

It needs to be recognized that no one can learn about JESUS without a "proclaimer" (Rom. 10:14-15). That proclaimer can be a book, a person, an audio -- but it is NOT received "naturally" nor does God "zap" someone with the information he needs to be "saved."

All cultures have been exposed to the truth of the gospel at some point in their history (starting back from the time of Babel). As these individual societies moved further and further away from God's message of salvation, they adopted idolatry to replace the "inner" need all men have to "relate" to God. Then as various individuals are raised in that society - each one must face the issue of God Consciousness personally.

If they reject the "revelation" of God as He is proclaimed in "the heavens" (the natural creation), then they continue in the idolatry of their culture (or even advance on it). In such situations, the "decision" toward God has already been made and God is under no obligation to provide the specifics of the gospel. But if any person "seeks for God" (Acts 17:24-27) after arriving at this consciousness, then God will SOMEHOW get him the gospel information he needs to trust in Christ.

This is based on God's character.

1. God's love for all: John 3:16 - love is the attitude that seeks what is best for His creatures. He wants what is best for them, but will not force himself upon them.

2. God's desire based on his love: 1 Tim. 2:4, "who desires all men to be saved."

3. God's righteousness and justice prevent Him from ever being unfair.


1. In the first century, apparently the gospel message was carried throughout the entire "populated" world (perhaps simply the Roman Empire -- but the language in the bible needs to be dealt with). Col. 1:6, 23; 1 Tim. 3:16; Acts 17:6

2. Historical evidence that "suggests" the fulfillment of this concept.

A. Historical quotations

1. Justin Martyr, 2nd century (Schaff, vol. 2, p.12):

There is no people, Greek or barbarian or any other race, by whatsoever appellation or manner they may be distinguished, however ignorant of art and agriculture, whether they dwell in tents or wander around in covered wagons -- among whom prayers and thanksgiving are not offered in the name of the crucified Jesus Christ to God the Father.

2. Tertullian, 2nd century (Schaff, vol. 2, p.12):

We are but of yesterday and yet already we Christians fill your cities, roam your islands, your camps, your palaces, your senate, and your forum -- we have left you only your empty temples.

3. Origen, 3rd century:

In all Greece, and among all barbarous races within our world -- there are 10's of thousonds who have left their national laws and customs, customary gods, for the word of Jesus Christ. Though to adhere to the word of Jesus Christ, they have incurred the hatred of idolaters and even though they have embraced the word, it incurs often death as well. And considering how in a few years and with no great store of teachers, in spite of the attacks which have cost us life and property -- the preaching of the word, the presentation of the gospel, has found its way into every part of the world so that Greeks and Barbarians, wise and unwise adhere to faith in Christ.

4. Eusebius, 4th century:

There flourished at that time many successors to the apostles who when they laid a continuing work of preaching the gospel and scattered abundantly over the entire earth the gospel, the wholesome seed of Jesus Christ, for a very large number of disciples carried away by a fervent love of the truth which the divine word revealed to them -- fulfilled the command of our Savior, leaving their country, they fulfilled the office of evangelist, carrying the gospel to those who had not heard the word of faith.


B. Historical evidences with regard to the spread of the gospel.

1. Letter to Pline, governor of Pontus, to the emperor Trajon.

"There are so many people who have accepted Christ that there are
very few people left who are still in a heathenistic system."

2. The queen of Abysinnia was led to Christ by two captives from Tyre, and as a result the people of Abysinnia in the 1st century, responded almost en masse (over 90 % conversion).

3. In Persia: Thadeos went to Persia and he went into one Persian town. He said, when he came there were only 18 believers; when he left, there were only 18 heathen.

4. Pontaeus of Alexandria, in the 2nd century, decided to be a missionary to India because he thought that no one had ever been burdened for the people of India. He discovered believers there and they had the gospel in their own language.

5. The people of China: In the 6th century, the Nestorians were driven out of their home and went to China where they led the ruler of China to the Lord and spearheaded a fantastic outreach and spread of Christianity.

All people regardless of what cultural or religious upbringing they received are born in sin (Ps. 51:5), that is, with a sin nature, and into the kingdom of darkness . And through the presence of the sin nature they are judicially appointed as "sinners" and under the penalty of sin, which is spiritual death (separation from God) Rom. 5:12; 6:23.

The one who has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God "has been judged ALREADY" (John 3:18) for it is appointed unto man (the unbeliever) to die once and after this comes judgment (Heb. 9:27).

However, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29; 4:42: 1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:6) and God is "now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent (Acts 17:30) because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). Therefore, "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36).

The point of all that is to establish the fact that God requires personal accountability through volitional freedom, which is the right and responsibility to "think" for oneself.

With this in view, it is only just for God to provide the information ALL peoples need in order to get saved. Jesus said, "and I, if I be lifted up from the earth (crucified) will draw ALL MEN to myself" (John 12:32).

But of course, if they don't even want anything to do with God after God-consciousness, then there is no guarantee that they will hear a gospel message. In so-called "Christian" societies, they may hear the gospel even though they do not want it, but in the "heathenistic" societies, if they do not respond to God-consciousness in a positive way, then they may never hear and still be held accountable ("they are without excuse").


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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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