Acts 24:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 having a hope in God, which hope these men await, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
The fate of the unlearned
The fate of the unlearned, also known as the destiny of the unevangelized, is an eschatological question about the ultimate destiny of people who have not been exposed to a particular theology or doctrine and thus have no opportunity to embrace it. The question is whether those who never hear of requirements issued through divine revelations will be punished for failure to abide by those requirements.
It is sometimes addressed in combination with the similar question of the fate of the unbeliever. Differing faith traditions have different responses to the question; in Christianity, the fate of the unlearned is related to the question of original sin. As some suggest that rigid readings of religious texts require harsh punishment for those who have never heard of that religion, it is sometimes raised as an argument against the existence of God, and is generally accepted to be an extension or sub-section of the problem of evil.
The “unrighteous” that Paul spoke of are persons, who are have died prior to Armageddon and have not had an opportunity to hear the good news of the kingdom, meaning they had no opportunity to accept it or reject it. While we have spoken of these ones prior to this chapter, the following comment is first mentioned here. God knows who would have accepted the good news had they heard and who would have rejected it. Thus, we can extrapolate that the unrighteous, i.e., unevangelized or unlearned that are resurrected will likely be those that God knew would have accepted it. Unlike humans, God is able to read hearts and intentions, knowing who would be receptive to the Gospel and who would reject the truth.
These unrighteous ones are not being resurrected to face an immediate adverse judgment, to then be sent off to some eternal pit of fire. No, rather, they are entering into a judgment period of a thousand years, where they have an opportunity to act on the Word of God as well as the new book(s) that will be penned. It is at the end of that judgment period when they will be judged, not on their previous life, but on what they did during the millennium. (John 5:29)
Do All People Know God?
David Platt from Southeastern Seminary says that “all people know God the Father,” which he bases on Romans 1:18-25. These verses in Romans do not explicitly state that. Let’s start by looking at the verses and I will bold the words and phrases that Platt highlights. Note first that there is a difference between unbelief and unknowing.
Romans 1:17-25 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Unbelief and Its Consequences as the Ungodly People Are Inexcusable
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident among them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For his invisible attributes are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being perceived through what has been made, even his eternal power and divine nature, so that they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasoning, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
In short, David Platt is taking these words and phrases and then goes on to do what he calls a fundamental assumption, saying, “God has revealed himself to all men. Everyone on the planet … all people have knowledge of God the Father. It is clear, sufficient, plain so that men (all people) are without excuse.”
Just an initial observation. Platt is going beyond Scripture with his exaggerating the level of knowledge that one can have based on observing creation. Paul says that which is known about God … his invisible attributes are clearly seen from the creation of the world.” (1:19-20) What is known (Gr. gnōstos) or can be known from humans with limited knowledge, some even literarily ignorant, not knowing how to read and right, observing creation? The Greek adjective (gnōstos) that is translated known simply means knowable, something that can be knowable, recognized, what can be known, able to be known. Does this sound anything like “it is clear, sufficient, plain.” Why did Paul 21 times use and highlight the importance of the Greek word epignosis, an intensified form of gnosis (knowledge), which means accurate or full knowledge? Why did Paul say, “‘for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how will they hear without someone to preach?” (Rom. 10:14-15) Note that without someone to bring an accurate knowledge of God to the unevangelized, Paul asks ‘how will they believe.’ Therefore to know (gnōstos) about God based on observing creation alone is enough to leave a person unexcused in their not acknowledging the divine attributes (eternal power and divine nature) of a higher power, who brought everything into existence, but is it really enough for them to have faith (belief) based on an accurate knowledge of God, so that “it is clear, sufficient, plain”? If this were the case, why did God see fit to give us a special Revelation, i.e., the Bible? Why did the Father send the Son to give us the Gospel if knowing based on observing Creation leads to what “is clear, sufficient, plain”?
Romans 1:1-17: Paul introduces himself and expresses his desire to visit the congregation in Rome. Then, he gets right to the main point of his writing to the Christians in Rome. God favors no group of people over another and holds out the possibility of salvation to everyone that has faith. Paul is emphasizing the importance of faith and why it is necessary for everyone.
Romans 1:18-32: What is true about everyone is that all humans are sinners and deserve God’s wrath. This is clearly easier to see from the unevangelized unbeliever, who is without excuse as he ignores the evidence of a Creator. Because of his sinful nature as well as his lack of accurate knowledge, he lacks a correct view of God “without someone to preach” to him (Rom. 10:15), so he ends up worshiping the created thing (even if it is himself he worships, humanism) as opposed to the Creator, eventually giving into his fallen fleshly desires, to degraded practices.
Romans 2:1-29: David Pratt and others, who might sit in judgment or criticize the unevangelized unbeliever, they too can be judged. Why? The conservative evangelical Christian like David Pratt has an accurate knowledge of God’s Word and resource study tools far greater than most, and they profess to be teachers of God’s Word. The unevangelized unbeliever has the conscience that God placed in every human that prods them to do what is right as well as the evidence of a Creator within creation, leaving them unexcused if they turn from that basic knowledge. Moreover, if they ignore that conscience it can become calloused and unfeeling but still accountable. If they ignore the evidence of a Creator, they are accountable.
How Are We to Understand Titus 2:11?
Titus 2:11 American Standard Version (ASV1901)
11 For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Other Bible verses give us a similar thought as well. (John 12:32, Romans 5:18, and 1 Timothy 2:3-4) The Greek words translated “all” and “everyone” in these verses are inflected forms of the word (πᾶς pas). Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words states, “Used without the article it means ‘every,’ every kind or variety.” Therefore, in the above verses, while the literal rendering is “all,” the author meant “every kind of.” This sense of the word is also in agreement with the rest of the Bible? — Cf. Acts 10:34-35; Revelation 7:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 21.
 Fate of the unlearned – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fate_of_the_unlearned (accessed March 14, 2016).
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