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Father Oleg Molenko Answers Questions

  Alexander Vasilchuk, Zvenigorod, Russia

Father Oleg,

I have this question: there are people who never knew or heard nothing about God and went into eternity (for example, American Indians before the Discovery by Columbus). Do they have a chance to be in Heaven?

Also, I am a psychologist and let’s suppose a child was brought up in a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ home and was taught in their faith. Whether we understand it or not, but that’s his fathers’ faith and HE UNDESRTANDS THAT IT’S THE RIGHT WAY and LIVES all of his life THAT WAY and dies. If he lived right according to his faith’s requirements, does he have a chance to be in Heaven?

I’ll be very grateful for an answer.

  Father Oleg's Answer

Alexander, for one thing, read my answer to Irina’s question # 265, which is the same as yours in essence.

Questions like this (as abstract questions in general) arise because of people’s ignorance of God, haughty self-conceit, ignorance and disrespect for Lord God (mistrust). They hide grudges and chagrins towards God as well as blasphemy. Also, the man doesn’t even notice how he exalts himself and his own opinions over God’s opinions and providence, while not possessing God’s omniscience, His wisdom or other attributes.

If we believed sacredly and undoubtedly that God’s wisdom is incomparably beyond ours, that He’s omnipotent, that He’s the very essence of love and goodness, that He is unlimitedly merciful and man-loving and that there isn’t and cannot be any unrighteousness with Him, that He lacks no foreknowledge or perfection, we would never even dare asking such questions. Because such questions abase God in endeavor to show Him as being unrighteous, unjust or unmerciful. They say, “How could He forget to take care of savages and American Indians before the Discovery by Amerigo Vespucci and Columbus?”

The flaw in such thinking is that it’s unnatural, abstract and is not connected with God’s providential care for mankind, nations or specific people. Such questions are related to ungraspable, unsearchable ways of God, searching of which is deadly and impossible in nature.

The man cannot give a full, comprehensive and fulsome answer to those questions. In similar cases say to my brash children, mind your own salvation; when you get saved and stand before God, then, if you dare to ask about anything like that, God may want to explain His ways to you. But if you forsake repentance and engage in studying such questions and, as a result, you die and will be assigned to hell for eternity, then you will never know the answers to those questions.

But, being tolerant to human weakness, something can be said on this subject. The first and most important thing to do is to remind yourself that:

1. There is no unrighteousness with God;
2. God doesn’t take pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he turn from his ways and be saved, that is, he who was born into this life.
3. God is love which has mercy upon all creation and compassion for man, the love sacrificial, demonstrated and proven by the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross.
4. God gives light to every man who comes into this world.
5. God does not show favoritism.

Acts 10
34 And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
35 but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him.

If we keep all of this in mind, then we’ll enter the area of truth and will see everything more correctly. Then we will realize that the Lord God does not enlighten or give faith to certain people and tribes not because of His stubbornness or anything similar, but because of the character of those people. If He obeyed you and gave faith to the savages, they would trample on it and would become more guilty before God, condemning themselves to a more intense eternal suffering. Read again Acts 10:35 more attentively and you’ll see that it’s all about people. To the savages the Creator gave the book of nature, so they are without excuse.

Romans 1
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness;
19 because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:
21 because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things
24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:
25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Pay close attention to verse 20.

As for the question of inheriting of fathers’ faith or circumstances, may your error be proven wrong by Moses who was brought up in all of Egypt’s wisdom:

Hebrews 11
24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 accounting the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he looked unto the recompense of reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 By faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.

May you also be convinced by the example of Saul (who later became the great Apostle Paul):

Galatians 1
13 For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it:
14 and I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.

There are many more similar examples of turning away from false beliefs of parents and forefathers, thus, those trying to justify themselves with such arguments will be without excuse. It’s appropriate to mention the conversion of centurion Cornelius:

Acts 10
1 Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, Cornelius by name, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, who gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
3 He saw in a vision openly, as it were about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in unto him, and saying to him, Cornelius.
4 And he, fastening his eyes upon him, and being affrighted, said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and fetch one Simon, who is surnamed Peter:
6 he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side. He will tell you what you must do."

Thus, we see that any man is saved individually, irrespectively of beliefs of his fathers, forefathers or his own people, for God will not leave any craving for the truth unnoticed or without help. If someone sticks to their parents’ ungodliness or false beliefs, it’s their decision, a choice by natural, carnal standards and inclinations which won’t allow God to enlighten such a man.

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Fr. Oleg Molenko