Updated: Oct 11, 2022
I am occasionally asked questions concerning my thoughts on the salvation of people groups, who have been cut off from society, for many years. Do these people, who have never heard of the Bible or Jesus, go to heaven? Or shall they be eternally damned for their ignorance? Thankfully, there shouldn’t be much guesswork on this question since the Bible informs us of the answer.
“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made]…” Romans 1:20 (AMP)
This verse means that the Bible and Jesus are not the only things which reveal a knowledge of God and His character. Indeed, the book of nature abounds in spiritual lessons waiting to be discovered by the honest and inquisitive seeker of truth. Such is the case of our reality, which was created by God and through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16; John 1:10; 1 Corinthians 8:6). Since Jesus had a better understanding of spiritual truth than anyone who has ever existed, He chose to design our world based on spiritual truths and principles.
Christ bids us to learn of the Creator through creation. Such was one of the many mediums God has used to convey light to a world covered in darkness. This light, or knowledge of God, is an essential ingredient in the process of salvation. For one must have a degree of knowledge of something to believe or have faith in it. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.
For instance, young or unborn children cannot lose their souls as they are not aware of God, or His law, and thus have no ability to sin or choose to believe or believe not in Jesus Christ. There is no need to baptize newborns in a superstitious, unbiblical attempt to preserve their soul, as the God of the Bible is love (1 John 4:8, 16) and would never burn innocent children for eternity.
Let us compare some teachings from the Good Book and the book of nature to get a better view of the handwriting of Omnipotence.
When Jesus taught the masses, he often used parables or stories of things they were familiar with, which carried a spiritual meaning. One of the main object lessons found in the natural world which reveal spiritual truths is agriculture and the development of plant life. In Matthew chapter 13 we find the popular parable of the sower given by Jesus, where He taught the principles of how the Gospel is received in the heart and which conditions allow for the truth to flourish and which destroy truth.
“Behold, a sower went forth to sow.” Matthew 13:3. During Christ’s time in the East, things were pretty chaotic and dangerous, so people generally dwelt in towns which were walled off from outsiders. The husbandman, or whoever was the head of the household, would go outside of the walls to do their daily work--this is the physical reality. The spiritual reality is that Christ, the heavenly sower of truth, left His home in heaven, His security and peace, His glory He had with the Father, and His position on the throne of the universe.
In literal farming, the sower sows’ seeds. In spiritual farming, the sower sows the Word of God (Mark 4:14). Thus, in our reality we can learn of the Word of God by learning of the seed, and vice versa. Just as a seed has within itself a germinating principle, so too does the Word of God have life inherent. Indeed, God says concerning His Word’s “they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. In all the commands and promises of God lies a creative power to accomplish the thing spoken. However, what will happen if you leave a seed sitting in a dark closet for years? It shall lay dormant. Plants need water, sunlight, and nutrients--just like humans. That being said, Jesus satisfies each of the aforementioned needs: He is the living water (John 4:14); He is the sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2); He is the light to the world (John 9:5); and He is the bread of life (John 6:35).
I consider this a spiritual law: as in the physical (seen), so in the spiritual (unseen).
When one ponders the things of nature in relation to the Scriptures, one can find an immense depth of truth just waiting below the surface. Just as there is a correlation between the seed and the truth of the Gospel, likewise, are there many more lessons concerning each phase of development, each part of the plant, conditions of plants, etc. For instance, how do plants procure their food to sustain them? They receive sustenance through their roots, which are hidden beneath the surface. Similarly, Christians get their spiritual sustenance from their unseen connection with Jesus. You cannot see the connection on the surface, but you can see the result of the connection: a plentiful harvest of the fruits of the spirit. Indeed, those who have accepted Christ as their Savior are clothed in the robes of His righteousness, and as the Scriptures declare: “the root of the righteous yields fruit.” Proverbs 12:12.
“Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord And whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord. For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, That spreads out its roots by the river; And will not fear the heat when it comes; But its leaves will be green and moist. And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought Nor stop bearing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8 (AMP)
The beginning of spiritual life is exemplified by the germination of the seed, and the growth of a plant correlates to the development and growth of one’s character. In both cases, growth is silent and imperceptible, and death can only arise when no growth occurs, just as a shark must stay in motion lest it die. Concerning the Messiah, it was prophesied that “he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground,” and surely enough, we are informed that as Jesus was growing up He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” Isaiah 53:2 and Luke 2:52.
It appears Abraham Lincoln understood the truth of character development when he said: “A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.” This is a truth found in many aspects of our reality. A practical example is when someone wants to get in shape. They begin eating healthier and exercising, but the day to day progress is imperceptible. This is where before-and-after pictures are very helpful in motivating us by showing ourselves how far we have come.
Such is the case in the spiritual walk. You may not be the best person around, but when we read of and ponder the life and love of Christ, He will inspire and help us to be better people, but the change is rarely instantaneous. Scripture says that “a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.” Proverbs 24:16. You see, the righteous man continues trying again and again, even when he fails. This differs from the wicked man who falls and stays down. You must stick with your goals if you want to see real progress. Enjoy the scenery of the journey, or the process, rather than focusing on the destination, and life will be much more enjoyable and fulfilling to you.
Put your seed in the right conditions and there shall be growth. We must cultivate the soil of our heart. We must break up its hardness by repenting of the sins we have committed. Uproot the weeds seeking to choke out the new life within your soul. Anyone who has ever had to get rid of pesky weeds in an overgrown garden will testify to how irritating the process can be. It takes diligent effort to get all the weeds--and you must strike at the root, or it the weeds will return with a vengeance. Likewise, the evil tendencies of the natural, fallen heart can only be overcome by earnest effort in the name and power of Christ. The Lord bids us “Break up your hard rocky soil; don’t plant among the thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3. “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap faithful love; break up your unplanted ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” Hosea 10:12.
Next time you become impatient waiting for results in your life, look at a beautiful fruit tree and know it did not spring up and blossom overnight. Good things take time. Don’t rush the process- learn to enjoy it.
I pray this topic was a blessing to you and will cause you to look at nature in a new light, seeking the face of the Creator in His handiwork. Remember, as in the seen, so in the unseen. The spiritual reality is reciprocated in the physical. The seen demonstrates truths of the unseen.
Next time we shall examine more deeply the parable of the sower and the different heart conditions which truth may find itself in.