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Is it possible to be saved without knowing anything about the Bible or Jesus?

Full Question

Is it possible to be saved without knowing anything about the Bible or Jesus?

Answer

All people are called by God to know him and to please him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for” (CCC 27).

God freely gives everyone the grace to respond to his call. “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life” (CCC 1996).

So what happens to those who have the desire for God written on their hearts and are moved by grace to respond to him but never hear the gospel or know of Jesus? The Church teaches that they may attain salvation. Quoting from Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, the Catechism explains, “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation” (CCC 847).











5 comments

  1. Guy Reply

    Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 6, Chap. 4: “In these words there is suggested a description of the justification of the impious, how there is a transition from that state in which a person is born as a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of adoption as sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ our savior; indeed, this transition, once the gospel has been promulgated, CANNOT TAKE PLACE WITHOUT the laver of regeneration or a desire for it, AS IT IS WRITTEN: Unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5)."

  2. Joe Mwangi Reply

    This answer is not biblical and seems to be advocating Universalism … Jesus said I am the Way , The Truth and The Life NO ONE goes to the Father Except through me.If people can be saved without knowing Christ , then it means Jesus died for Nothing.

    1. nemirc Reply

      So you’re basically saying God would say something like “well, you never had access to a bible, so you never knew Jesus, thus you go to hell for not believing in the savior you had no way of knowing”? You’re welcome to tell me how someone who doesn’t know Christ, can know he is the way, the truth and the life, and don’t come saying “we have to spread the gospel!” because I’m not asking if we have to spread the gospel.

  3. Fr. Joseph Reply

    Why is the Law written on our hearts important?
    (Deu 30:11) This commandment, that I command thee this day is not above thee, nor far off from thee:

    (Deu 30:12) Nor is it in heaven, that thou shouldst say: Which of us can go up to heaven to bring it unto us, and we may hear and fulfil it in work?

    (Deu 30:13) Nor is it beyond the sea: that thou mayst excuse thyself, and say: Which of us can cross the sea, and bring it unto us: that we may hear, and do that which is commanded?

    (Deu 30:14) But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart, that thou mayst do it.

    This is the teaching of Moses where Moses tells the people the importance of the law being upon their hearts and how it is essential for God’s plan for humanity. We rarely see reference to these verses because they speak most profoundly against Calvinist predestination that says only some are predestined to salvation and others are predestined to hell. If the law is written on everyone’s heart by God, then for what purpose, except to provide a pathway to eternity in Christ. I heard a preacher in a small Pentecostal Church in the mountains of Kentucky say that the law on our hearts was like the Rosetta stone allowing us to understand the things of God, that the law contains the very concept of faith and this grace and this Godliness coexists with our inherent sinfulness until we are washed by the blood of the Lamb with our surrender and become pure of heart within God’s law and consequently within His will. We can not be within God’s will without obedience to this imputed law that along with inherited sin intuitively shows us the need for a Savior, Christ Jesus. This is why we have no excuse for our lack of surrender to God because He is not only evident in His creation but He is a part of our very being upon our creation.

    How could one understand God’s demands upon us without this law? How can we understand God’s will for us to live within righteousness and justice if not for this law that abides always in our conscience? We often think of God’s law as something without us but in fact it is eternal within our being that calls to intuition the will of God. This is essential for without the law we can not know God.

    Now the law on our hearts should not be confused with those external laws of men. The law written on our hearts is the law that makes us understand righteousness, justice, love and reconciliation. The law in our hearts is not the external law that can result in legalism where the letter of the law is followed at the expense of the spirit of the law. There is no other means by which we know His voice when He speaks to our spirit.

    (Heb 8:10) For this is the testament which I will make to the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my laws into their mind: and in their heart will I write them. And I will be their God: and they shall be my people.

    (Rom 10:6) But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: Say not in thy heart: Who shall ascend into heaven? That is to bring Christ down;

    (Rom 10:7) Or who shall descend into the deep? That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.

    (Rom 10:8) But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee; even in thy mouth and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.

    (Rom 10:9) For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    (Col 1:27) To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

    In Christ
    Fr. Joseph

  4. Noel David Reply

    The Bible came into print some 500 (or 800) years ago…. Even millions of Christians did not know the Bible…. So it was never possible for millions to know the Bible or about Jesus….Millions of people the world over were illiterate and millions are still illiterate this very day – so there is no question of them knowing much about the Bible…. All those people who died before knowing the Bible or hearing about Jesus surely will be saved otherwise the promise given by God to Abraham and others before Jesus came into this word and died on the Cross would have no meaning….. Not everyone who says Lord, Lord and attends daily Mass are going to be saved but everyone who lives a good life and does good to others will be saved….. Whoever does some good to the least of the people in every walk of life does it to the Lord…. And all these people who care for the least are surely going to be saved…. The Lord opened the doors to Heaven by laying down His Life as a ransom to save many…. Not all are going to be saved by His death but every man/woman (past, present and future) who is kind and merciful, who does good to others and cares for the hungry, thirsty, sick, naked, stranger and even those in prison etc. – and lives according to the Will of God, obeys His commandments of loving one another as He loves us – is surely going to saved…..

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