I had a few real interesting conversations recently where I caught myself (too late) saying things that I don’t know to be totally true, because I was speculating outside of the Scripture.
We need to remember that “the sacred writings … are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15). So, the Bible answers questions and teaches us facts that pertain to the issue of how we are saved in Christ Jesus.
Here is a partial list of things that the Bible does not answer definitively:
1. The salvation of unreached people throughout history. It would stand to reason that all those that have never heard of Christ have not accepted Him and therefore, as Rom 1 details, they die in their sin. However, a teenager pointed out to me that Abraham was called out of his father’s house directly by God. He may have never heard of God and simply, God started preaching to him Himself until Abraham believed the Lord and it was credited to him as righteousness. However, it is also possible that Abraham was taught by his father stories going all the way back to Noah and then Adam. After all, even the ancient Sumerians preserved a flood tale.
“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher” (Rom 10:14)? So, even if you hear about Christ from a movie on TV or from a story you hear from your polytheistic father like Abraham may have, it is possible that the Biblical conditions of “hearing” have been satisfied. However, the simpler explanation is just that God Himself preached to Abraham. Either way, something supernatural has to happen for that hearing to become real hearing, where the heart is converted to Christ.
Can God do that to unreached people today? I suppose. Does He? We don’t have any evidence of it and Paul seems to make the argument that we need preachers because that’s the only way people are saved. The point is, we have no definitive answer from the Scripture.
2. The salvation of infants. As I have written previously, it would appear to take special pleading to say that infants which do not intellectually have the capacity to have faith can come to the Father through Christ. However, I suppose it is theoretically possible God can reveal Himself to an infant in their mind in a seed like way invisibly and thus save them. Again, the Scripture does not tell us this occurs. In fact, there is no compelling reasoning why God would ever act this way. However, because the Scripture does not specifically contradict it, it remains possible so even when cautioning against the opinion, I must have greater humility when doing so.
3. The nature of original sin. This is another issue I have speculated about and thankfully I made clear it was pure speculation. Why did sin come from Adam when Eve ate the fruit first? Did sin occur the moment Adam bit into the fruit or when he first thought about it? Did Adam covet the fruit at some earlier time before Eve was around?
Natural man, corrupted with sin, cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14). Nothing good dwells in our flesh (Rom 7:18), which is what we are apart from the Spirit. So, was Adam a “natural man” though he was not imputed original sin? Then where did the inclination to sin first come from? Was he compelled to sin by his non-divine and deficient nature and God knowingly made him this way? Was Adam a spiritual man and somehow grace was withdrawn from him and he is the only man ever to freely to sin against his own nature? Did Eve then sin in the same way and whose sin is imputed to her?
All I can say is if the Bible does not answer specifically, though I speculate that Adam and Eve were just like us and had the same inclinations but without having the sin of someone else imputed to them. Hence, they would be punished for their own sin and they sinned out of deficiency like us. However, this is just speculation.
Whatever we speculate, let it not contradict nor replace what the Scripture teaches specifically.