How can God hold people responsible to Him if they have never heard the gospel of God’s grace? Can God be just and judge people who have never heard of Jesus Christ? What about those around the world who grow up under the worship of false gods? Are they still responsible to God to receive Christ? Why is every human being condemned who does not believe in Christ (John 3:18)? Every person who ever lives is responsible to God because God reveals clear information concerning His power and His deity to the entire world.
Though God is a spirit (Jn. 4:24), and a spirit is invisible (1 Tim. 1:16), He has left His visible fingerprints everywhere that make known His existence.
“Because that which is known about God is evident within 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, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Rom. 1:19-20)
The universe gives adequate information revealing God’s power and His divine nature. The sun, moon, stars, and the earth reveal God’s handiwork. God is the creator!
A clear night sky in the country is beautiful. The stars stretch from horizon to horizon. These same stars appear all over the world and continuously send out an invitation to those who would believe in Christ.
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1)
The universe is a ray of light continuously flashing God’s presence to man. The seen gives knowledge of the unseen. The known gives knowledge of that which may be known. An intricate design demands an intelligent Designer. Creation denotes a Creator. Order announces an Architect. Yet some who observe the universe see billions of years of evolutionary change and others see the handiwork of an infinite God. It is all in the eyes of the beholder.
“Look into the heavens and see and behold the clouds, they are higher than you.” (Job. 35:5)
Exactly what man sees is totally up to God.
God also reveals Himself to man by means of the conscience. He equips everyone with consciousness and a conscience. What is the difference? Consciousness is when one becomes consciously aware of something. Conscience is the feelings that occur when one has become aware. God has placed within every human being a conscience that has the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. We are born with knowledge of morality. The human race throughout history, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, has known inherently (but to varying degrees), that it is wrong to kill, to steal, or lie.
“For when the Gentiles, who have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing them witness and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” (Rom. 2:14-15)
These moral thoughts of right and wrong lead people to consider the possibility that somewhere there may exist an ultimate right and wrong. God’s law placed within the heart gives a sufficient glimpse of Him. The human race will be judged by the knowledge of this secret moral responsibility balanced against the righteousness of God made known in the gospel (Acts 17:31).
“On the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 2:16)
“We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:15-17)
God has also made His presence known through His constant care. God, through what we call “natural laws,” provides food and shelter for all humanity. Year after year God changes the seasons for all, even those who will not believe in Him. Jesus said, “It rains on the just and the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). In fact, many times the rain seems to fall more on those who do not believe than on those who do.
Some attribute this to the work of “Mother Nature.” They say that it is all the product of evolutionary processes. Others recognize these natural happenings as coming from the hand of a loving God. It is a constant witness inviting people to come to Him. God continues to be faithful year after year to provide for this fallen world.
God by his grace has also provided to mankind the safety of nationalism.
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” (Acts. 17:24-27)
God has provided a balance of power among the nations in order to protect the lives of citizens, giving to all the freedom to consider Him. Notice that it is God who appoints the times and the boundaries of all the nations. Though this creation of God is not sufficient information to give life, it is sufficient information to condemn those who observe but do not “see.”
A student was in need of money to attend college. He sought financial help from Christian friends in his local church. The gifts were usually very generous, but there was one elderly bachelor who was poor yet wanted to help. He made an offer of a small gift with sincere wishes that he could have done more. The gift was so small and seemingly insignificant to the boy, that he spurned the offer with the excuse that the man probably needed it more than he.
The old bachelor later came into a small fortune. The student, hearing of the man’s newly acquired wealth, came to him and asked for his help for college. The old man rejected his plea for help because the boy had refused his earlier meager but sincere offer.
Creation, conscience, and God’s constant care will stand as evidence at the Great White Throne that no one stands there without sufficient opportunity to know God. But in the finality of it all, God must open the eyes of the blind to understand the precious truth of the gospel. It is God who must give life to the dead.