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faye's avatar

What happened to all the peoples of the world who died before Christianity?

Asked by faye (17827points) October 11th, 2010

Inspired by @onlyneffie’s question. If God made all the world and all the people in it, what happened to all the people who didn’t get a chance to take Jesus into their hearts? I’m sorry to say but it sounds like countries with cruel leaders who say my way or no way.

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33 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

In my opinion, the same thing that happened or will happen to people who have died and will die since and after the advent of Christianity, what ever that might be.

poisonedantidote's avatar

maybe this quote will help.

Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
Priest: “No, not if you did not know.”
Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?””

faye's avatar

@poisonedantidote I like that. @lillycoyote my view, too

Rarebear's avatar

They decompose.

FutureMemory's avatar

They missed out, apparently. You win some you lose some.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
faye's avatar

@wesdavis those are names from the bible. I am asking about caveman and forward. Tribes in North and South America, Africans, Tasmanians, etc

Seek's avatar

@faye Don’t be silly. There were no people before the Bible. “In the Beginning” and all.

* eyeroll *

Nullo's avatar

One theory is that Jesus, during His three-day tour of Hell (a conceptual placeholder, since it wasn’t called Hell yet), effectively offered everyone the opportunity to convert, posthumously.

@Seek_Kolinahr It was a little while before anything got written down, and a while longer before the collected Books were called a Bible. :\

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No one knows. Does it matter?

everephebe's avatar

Maybe they were reincarnated so that they had a true chance to accept the ”Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. Or the Christian church like almost every religion is guilty of massive hubris.

Nullo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir The group specified by the OP includes such notables as all of ancient Israel. The Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man states that the pre-Christian righteous go to a place called the Bosom of Abraham, which Wikipedia says is a subset of Sheol.

FutureMemory's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Does it matter?

Sure, if you believe in fairy tales more than reality.

Nullo's avatar

@FutureMemory You assume that the Bible isn’t realistic. This hasn’t been demonstrated.

josie's avatar

I figure there is no Grandfathering into Heaven. If you missed salvation through Jesus Christ by being born too early, your remains simply dried up and blew away in time’s eternal wind. Because, according to God, people have always been, and continue to be, sinners (whatever that means). The human pioneers were SOL.

FutureMemory's avatar


The assumption being that if it hasn’t proven to be unrealistic that it therefore is realistic by default? Is that what one would call Christian logic?

Nullo's avatar

@FutureMemory Get ye to my post and read it.

lillycoyote's avatar

Maybe the Mormons would consider posthumously converting everyone who has died, everyone who was either not able or not willing to secure coverage, for one reason or another, under the currently available salvation plans.

Trillian's avatar

I asked my Mom about this before. When I was a kid, it really didn’t seem fair to me. According to her, and I can ask her for the reference tomorrow, those souls are at rest in the bosom of Abraham, and will be told about the gospel and given their chance to make a decision…at some point, I can’t remember when that time will be.
Of course, when I asked this as a kid, I was beaten by my father. He also beat me nearly senseless once when, as a logical child, I suggested that maybe Jesus appeared to the Native Americans in a form that they could relate to like the Great Spirit, and to people in Africa (which was my dim understanding of where we sent missionaries) as some other form that fit in with their way of living.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Trillian I am so sorry sweetie, that you had to go through that! It makes me just want to grab you up in my arms and give you about a hundred huge, monstrous hugs and a thousand stupid, silly smooches and a million eyelash kisses and then tuck you into bed and wish you sweet dreams and sit there all night just to make sure that you’re going to be o.k. Honestly, I really don’t get this way very much, not very much at all. I think it’s the merlot.

Aster's avatar

I truly believe that God will take into consideration that those peoples , through no fault of their own, were unable to learn about Jesus.

JustmeAman's avatar

Every single individual will and does have the same chance as anyone else to do what they need to in this life. The LDS do baptisms for the dead in proxy. There is nothing here that is not understood or will cause another to have less of a chance to progress as anyone else.

Seek's avatar

You know, my old pastor actually said numerous times that “If some tree-worshiping voodoo guy in Africa who had never heard of Jesus Christ really wanted to know who the real God was, God would send that man a missionary.”

So if you happen to live somewhere there are no churches or missionaries, it’s your own fault you’re going to hell.

Aster's avatar

Have you considered, SK, that your old pastor was full of it and his pronouncements should be discarded and banished from your mind and memory? He sounds poisonous.

Seek's avatar

^ Absolutely. Unfortunately, he is not alone in his insanity. There is a large and growing movement that agrees with him completely. This can not and should not be ignored.

Trillian's avatar

@lillycoyote Meh, I’m over it, that was many years ago. I’m just saying that apparently Christianity has an answer to it and I would have preferred hearing that explanation when I first asked, but as it worked out, I’m satisifed to have my questioning mind the way it stands now.

ratboy's avatar

They writhe in the flames of hell as we speak, and rightly so.

JustmeAman's avatar

There are no flames of hell.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Trillian And I’m over the merlot from last night! I’m generally not so profusely or annoyingly mushy. :-)

ratboy's avatar

@JustmeAman, they sizzle and crackle in the microwaves of hell, and rightly so.

Paradox's avatar

Here are the real answers if you take the Authorized King James Version Bible literally.

All went to different sections of a place called Sheol. Both the righteous and unrighteous. These verses explain it.

Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
Psalm 31:17 Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee : let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.
Psalm 49:14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
Isaiah 38:10 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.
Genesis 37:35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.
John 14:13 And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Psalm 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
Psalm 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave.
Isaiah 38:10 I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years.

Jesus then descended into Hades (Sheol) after his death.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

Paradise (after Jesus paying for our sins) is now above not below.

II Corinthians 5:
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the lord.
7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
8 We are confident, _I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

According to these and other versus it seems the righteous (still sinners) and unrighteous all went to a place called Sheol which was below the earth and used as a type of spiritual prison. Jesus, after his crucifixion/death descended to Shoel to offer everyone there a chance at salvation. Many may disagree with me here but even though there are several references to “hell” and “eternal suffering” my take (and personal opinion here) is that what the Bible was really talking about here is those accepting of Christ during their lifetimes will still go to a pleasant area of Sheol while the unbelievers/or unrighteous will go to a less pleasant section of Shoel. At Judgement Day all the believers who were righteous will be allowed in the real paradise (above earth), the nonbelievers will be given a chance at to accept Jesus and a righteous life, some may not accept this gift however and choose to have their souls annihilated in the Lake of Fire along with Sheol because Sheol is only temporarily.

Those accepting of Jesus and a life of righteousness will be in the paradise which to me is really the new Earth being ruled by the Lord Jesus himself not heaven. Afterall according to the Bible everyone is supposed to be literally physically resurrected not spiritually. Those few who choose to deny Jesus and to live a righteous life for whatever reason will not suffer eternally in hell (Lake of Fire) but their souls instead will be annihilated forever (no awareness or suffering just oblivion) along with Hades (Sheol).

I’m not saying I believe all this stuff, my own religious views are way different from what any religion preaches but going by the Bible this is my own take and I will admit, personal opinion.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@Paradox I think someone might give a passage where eternal suffering takes place…

Yes, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth…

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