We have no concept of the numbers…
No concept of the amount of human beings who will live with or without Christ forever.
It is knowledge that is beyond us.
How many people have populated the earth since the beginning of time?
Of course – impossible to know.
Concerning numbers – there is – a certain 144,000 mentioned in the Bible. As yet such a number has not found it’s way to my scrutiny. I know it has in other cults. But I haven’t studied its context or implications.
So questions like “What happens to those who never hear the gospel of Jesus Christ?”
Or “what happens to those who live a ‘good life’, without having accepted this gospel?”
Considerations like “they will be judged by the light they have received”
All of these ponderings/considerations are common amongst Christians.
But it reminds me of The Lord when He answered the Pharisee:
28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven.
The Lord Jesus points out things lacking in the Pharisee’s understanding – 1) a big enough knowledge of the scripture and 2) his lack of experience of the power of God.
When it comes to imponderables, there are no easy answer solutions. There is a point man reaches in his reasoning powers, when in humility he must succumb to the fact that unless the Holy Spirit enlightens the scriptures by His power, we will not become knowledgable concerning certain things.
This should not hinder our faith, but bolster it, in the understanding that without faith it is impossible to please God. So when our enquiries lead us astray from a steadfast faith in Christ – we have given heed to modern fables:
I Timothy 1/4…give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do…
So godly edifying is in faith. Faith waits to be further enlightened, it waits to gain insight previously absent.
So questions we cannot immediately answer, or questions we find imperfect answers to, should not throw our faith, but rather establish even more our need for God’s help, as we admit our finite limitations.
Many start to turn away from God by virtue of the answers they seem unable to obtain.
Doubt sets in – or spiritual carelessness. And the imponderables provide an excuse to turn again to the weak and beggarly elements this world has to offer.
Paul responding to the Galatian believers – who had gone astray in their thinking – is heard to say:
I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Regardless of how difficult some things are to understand, we must hold fast to what we already know, and realise that the complexity of life means that when the age-old temptation to dismiss God arises, because we have things that disturb us – there is no reason to depart from the faith.
We think of Job and the affliction he endured – and how he just could not grasp how such a thing could happen to him – and yet he did not curse God or reject Him.
All that I have just written can be challenged by the experiences of life, but God does not change. We must change to a position of waiting on God for His further help.
But when everything cries out – “this is unfair, or how can this happen…” we against-the-odds must find grace to fall on the Rock – Christ Jesus, in confession of our dependancy on the One who has the words of eternal life.
Job is an example – when he cried: “Though he slay me – yet will I trust him”.
In light of some of the things other people have suffered and survived – surely we can handle one of the ‘imponderables’ that comes under the heading of theology, and survive with our faith intact – rejoicing that we can only know in part anyway!
I Corinthians 13/12
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.