What about those who have not heard? Part 1
I want to tackel the thorny subject of those who have not heard the Gospel message during their lifetimes. There are a number of views held amongst Evangelicals as to their fate. Some Christians have hold to a strict Restrictivist position that holds that such people have no opportunity to receive eternal life. To show this is problematic, I will use a deductive argument.
(1) God loves all individuals.
(2) If God loves an individual He desires for her the greatest possible good.
(3) Eternal punishment is contrary to the greatest possible good.
(4) Therefore God wants all individuals to avoid eternal punishment.
(5) If God wants all individuals to avoid eternal punishment, He will desire to use some means to enable them to avoid eternal punishment.
(6) Therefore we can expect that God has provided some means for all individuals to avoid eternal punishment.
All Christians except some Calvinists agree with (1). I find it difficult to see how one could argue that (2) does not result from (1). Of course, God may have some other desire that means He is unable to make possible the greatest possible good for an individual, but He must at least desire the greatest possible good for all.
I think this argument is pretty sound. In the next post on this subject, I intend to consider the different approaches to the question of the unevangelized.