What happens to people who don’t believe?
Christians hold differing opinions on what happens to people who in this life have not confessed faith or demonstrated faith in Christ. Two views are summarised in a 4 minute section of this message I gave recently. There are other views but these two can both be defended well from scripture.
- Many traditional conservative believers would say that faith in Jesus in this life is all that counts, and if you have not done that or had opportunity to do that, then there is (literally) no hope for you. Is that true?
- Alternatively, as one writer put it, if vast numbers of people are consigned to some kind of hell with no hope of redemption, for billions of years, you end up with an absurd universe in which people on earth are more loving than God in heaven. Is that the case?
Watch the 4‑minute section below. Video begins at the correct point, watch it for 4 minutes:
Alternatively, if you have time, and you want the full 25m message on The End Times including the idea of a “rapture” that some Christians hold, you can view that below. The passage of scripture used is 1 Thessalonians 4.13 to 5.11
Please note that, as I had been out for the previous 2 days at a music festival helping at a church welfare tent, there are a few points where I have to “recover my voice” for a second or two 🙁
“The second coming of Christ might come outside of time!”
You’ve just blown my mind mate!
As I have an interest in science including quantum physics this is just the most amazing statement … It just makes so much sense!
Hi Chris In Post Grad Studies at an now closed College I learned that there are three main groups holding views about the salvation of individuals. The Exclusivists hold a view which you mention about salvation being obtained whilst alive — all those who do not hear or refuse are lost in this view. Inclusivists hold that God has different methods of holding out Salvation to people according to the ‘light’ they may have obtained whilst alive.…ie those who ‘believe’ in God but know little about the plan of salvation. The third group — Universalists believe that eventually all will… Read more »
Thanks for laying that out so succinctly Tina!
And there is at least one important variant: that God eventually saves all people who want to be saved through Christ. That view lies somewhere between your Inclusivist and Universalist So Steve Chalke for example speaks of the universal salvation of all people thru Christ. In fact, Karl Barth started this! … there’s a quote somewhere along the lines that Christ has already won the salvation of all people … but that’s different to “Universalism”
And completely agree .….….. we don’t know …
Thanks Chris for another thoughtful discussion. I’d be interested in your views on the theology of hell as a place of destruction rather than a place of eternal conscious punishment; (eg staying in Thessalonians in 2 Thess 1v9.) We are built for more than this one short life, so exclusion from the life to come could be considered as a considerable punishment in itself.
Yes, I think “hell supporters” have these 2 views. I don’t think I ever believed in the “eternal conscious torment” view. That makes God out to be a monster and he is not.
So then what about “Hell” as a place of annihilation? Gosh, how many books have been written on that!
(not very helpful — I know!)
Luke 16 Verses 19–31 Give a good illustration The Rich man and Lazurus. Vs 23 The Rich man was in torment in Hades — Note that he was in Torment. He was not at peace, having a good time with his mates. Vs 24 He cried for help in his state VS 26 We see that there is a great gulf between where the rich man is and where Abraham is. So the rich man in Hades was alive, He was aware of where he was, and He had regrets as to where he was. He did not want anyone else to come… Read more »
Hi Ian — let me point you to views that are alternative to yours: 1. Luke 16 and the Lazarus account — is this literal or a parable? If its literal (as you suggest) then a) it seems strange that people “in heaven” can carry on a conversation with someone “in hell”, and if such conversations occur, how are those who are saved supposed to be in bliss when they can literally talk to their loved ones who are in constant torment? b) why is this conversation occurring with Abraham at all? c) even if it is literal there is nothing… Read more »