I'm bringing this up because I'm staying with a relative that finds it hard to believe that a loving God would condemn individuals sincerely seeking Him to hell. We talked about it last night over dinner. I kind of wish we hadn't because these convos really get to me, and I can't remember a bite of what I eat. Really tragic because it was supposedly this great Asian dish.
We want to believe in a loving God more than we do a holy God, a just God, a God we, as an entire race, turned out backs on. Jesus is the love of God. Hell reflects the justice and holiness of God. We forget grace and redemption. We forget the need for Jesus.
It's hard to reconcile the idea of sincere people going to hell who have never heard the name of Jesus. But the thing is, who decides what the name of Jesus is? In Arabic it's Isa. In every language it's different. In every culture God may manifest Jesus differently in order to most effectively win over the love and relationship of the people. Jesus will always be manifested as a sacrificial son, but the way he is presented to a culture may look pretty dang different. Which may make us American-Christian-culture saturated individuals skeptical about the validity of their conversion (A side note but one I think I should mention... People often ask why we were so lucky to hear the name of Jesus and then some people groups in the ends of the world have never heard. An idea not very reflective of a loving God. I think that we forget that it's not HEARING the word, it's DOING as well. It's what that verse in Matthew 7:21 is talking about, I think. "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom." Takes more than that, and sure it seems unfair that we have heard and other haven't, but that doesn't mean we're all entering the kingdom...I think a lot of those who call themselves Christians here in the West aren't headed to live with God forever).
If we want to believe in God's love and in Jesus, we need to believe in his Just nature and his Holiness, because hello, Jesus was only sent BECAUSE God is holy and just and what was just for us was eternal death apart from God. By saying that not everyone is condemned at birth, that the whole human race is not screwed, we de-value what Jesus did. It's an inaccurate view of us and our condition and an inaccurate view of God that leads us to believe that if God is loving he's not going to send anyone away from him.
In conclusion.... If God felt the need to send his SON to be beaten with these whips that had spikes on the ends of the cords, have his beard yanked out, have huge nails be pounded into his wrists and ankles, have him be spit on kicked and a crown of spikey thorns be put on his head, half naked, on a tree... And not to mention a life lived before his crucifiction where he had no home, often had no friends, was misunderstood, unrecognized, and un-thanked for his service.... I THINK it's safe to say he wants us. Real bad. That'd he go to the ends of the world to get us. Win us. Free will makes it so that we need to choose it. But aside from each of us making the personal decision to love and build a relationship with Him, he's doing all he can. He wouldn't send his only son if he wasn't totally committed to getting as much of us as possible on His side.