God communicates in different ways. The Bible is his message to us today.


Throughout recorded history, people have always had a God-consciousness. The Bible says that God is love, and we have every reason to believe he loved our early ancestors as much as he loves us.

That raises questions like this: How did God deal with people before the Judeo-Christian era? How does he deal with people today who have never heard of Jesus Christ or who don’t have enough information or mental capacity to understand?

Answers: We don’t know. We can speculate, but we really don’t know for sure because God hasn’t yet chosen to tell us.

We do know that God has different ways of dealing with people at different times depending upon the degree of revelation given to them. Even within the Bible there are different ways: The Old Testament way (see Topics 33 and 34) and the New Testament way (see Topics 36-38). For all we know, God could have other ways as well; for those who are not part of the Bible’s audience.

However interesting it may be to speculate on how God has dealt with other people at other times, and with people who have lesser information, the important thing is for us to recognize how God deals with us today. Like it or not, we are in the audience to which the Bible is addressed and therefore the full Bible message applies to us.

We don’t have the option of choosing our approach to God. We must respond to him according to the revelation he’s given to us. God’s way for us is spelled out in the New Testament and it’s the only way God will accept us regardless of how he’s accepted others in different circumstances.

We’re privileged to be recipients of God’s highest revelation thus far and with that privilege comes responsibility for understanding and acting upon it.


Since God uses ‘progressive revelation’ (see Topic 27) to parcel out information a little at a time, and since not everyone gets the same information at the same time, it’s reasonable to wonder if God has different degrees of accountability for people, depending upon what they know.

Among Christians, there are two views on this:

VIEW 1 – Human beings are part of a family – a race – and God deals with us corporately. The transgressions of some have doomed us all (although none of us are completely innocent), and eternal punishment is the fate of the entire human race. God offers salvation from our condition through Jesus Christ. Those who are fortunate enough to learn about this salvation and accept it are saved from the punishment. But without this individual salvation from group punishment, everyone is doomed to hell.

VIEW 2 – God is just and will not punish a person for failing to respond to a message the person has never heard. Therefore, God must have different levels of accountability for different people – even different ‘ways’ to him – depending upon how much of his revelation they’ve heard.

As a practical matter, VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 bring us to about the same position because nearly everyone in the United States – and certainly everyone reading this resource – has received God’s highest degree of revelation; or at least has been put on notice that the Bible contains this revelation. God holds us accountable for what we know, or can easily learn, so for us it’s only an academic exercise to speculate on how God deals with others who don’t have this information. Furthermore:

Both views agree that everyone is a sinner; born with a sin nature and frequently disobedient to God. Everyone is in need of salvation from the power and penalty of sin.

Both views agree that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only salvation for mankind, and both views repudiate any suggestion that all roads lead to heaven. The Bible says clearly: ‘Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12). VIEW 2 holds, however, that the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection may automatically apply to some people who don’t understand it but who respond to God in the best way they know with their limited understanding.

Examples: Abraham didn’t know about Jesus, but the Bible says he received salvation through him; Rahab, an enemy prostitute, didn’t know about Jesus, but she was considered righteous by God because she helped the Israelites; a thief on the cross beside Jesus barely knew him, but Jesus said he’ll be in heaven because of his last-minute simple faith. Apparently these people, and others, did the best with what information they had about God, and apparently God imputed to them the benefits of Jesus’ death and resurrection, even though they didn’t understand how it works. Both VIEW 1 and VIEW 2 agree, however, that because of the extensive written information given to us today, our only salvation is by confession and personal faith in Jesus Christ, as explained in the Bible.

Both views agree on the need for missionary activity. VIEW 1 holds that because we’re born with a sin nature, people can go to hell even if they haven’t heard that salvation is available through personal faith in Jesus Christ (ignorance is no excuse for the law), and therefore Christians should, in compassion, engage in missionary activity to tell non-Christians of their condition and help save them from it. VIEW 2 holds that Christians are God’s agents (ambassadors) in the progressive revelation process and should tell non-Christians about Jesus Christ in obedient response to his instructions to spread this good news throughout the entire world, even though the telling sometimes makes matters worse for those who reject the news.


Some people refuse to consider their own relationship with God, or lack of it, because they say God is unfair in his dealings with others. But they don’t have facts to back it up.

God is sovereign and can do whatever he wants to do. He offers information and salvation in his own way, in his own timing. We’re in no position to judge him and say he’s unfair in the way he deals with others because we’re not privy to those dealings.

What we do know is how he deals with us today. We can’t honestly say he’s unfair to us, because what he offers as a complete remedy for our sin condition is absolutely free and immediate.

The key point is this: It makes no difference to us how God may deal with people outside of the Bible’s audience and we have no grounds for saying he’s unfair. Nevermind others, God will deal appropriately with them. For us, we have the Bible, and we’re responsible for knowing and responding to the information contained in it.

Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.

Hebrews 1:1
In earlier times, God spoke in many ways, but now his message is through Jesus Christ

Acts 4:12
All roads do not lead to heaven; for us, Jesus Christ is the only way

Galatians 3:6-14
Abraham given salvation through Jesus Christ even though Abraham didn’t know about him

Joshua 2:1-21, Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25
Rehab is considered righteous by God for helping Israelite spies

Luke 23:42-43
Thief on the cross given salvation because he asked for it in faith, even though he didn’t confess or have much under­ standing

For help, see Topic 29.

‘Progressive revelation’ is an important key to understanding God and the Bible.


God’s revelation of himself and his creation is ‘progressive.’ He parcels out information to us a little at a time, as we show interest and make discoveries. This progressive revelation is extremely long-term. He doesn’t reveal everything in our lifetime, or even in our millennium.

God began telling about himself to the first man and woman (see Topic 6) and he’s been telling more and more to successive generations ever since. He revealed much about himself through Abraham, and later through Moses and the prophets. His greatest revelation was through Jesus Christ, and then through the apostles and the Bible. Today he’s revealing himself to us through his Holy Spirit.

God has been progressively revealing his creation to us, too; allowing us to gradually discover his atomic building blocks and physical laws.

In both the spiritual and physical realms, we experience progress when we care enough to make discoveries and use each new discovery as a bridge to another one. Each discovery provides another piece of the big picture of life. Today we know more about God and his creation than mankind has ever known.

God’s disclosure of himself and his universe will continue even after we die. In our next state of being (heaven or hell) we’ll know considerably more than we know now. We can’t even comprehend this thought, but perhaps his unfolding revelation will continue through all eternity!


There are millions of questions people would like to ask God about himself, his creation, as well as his spiritual and physical laws; and the reasons for them. What we know now about the whole scope and scheme of things is so little, and every time we get an answer, it raises still more questions.

Even if we take the combined knowledge from the Bible and from all the world’s science books – an astonishing compilation of God’s revelation thus far – what we know about time and space and life is still pathetically small.

However, this should not diminish the importance of what we do know. Even though we’re still learning, we already have a considerable amount of knowledge of what life is all about and how best to live it.

The purpose of this resource is to summarize what we do know about the big picture, as revealed to us in the Bible. This site leaves a lot of questions unanswered because the Bible is silent on them. However, it answers all the questions that are essential to us at this point in time.

Even though we don’t yet know everything we’d like to know, we do know – or have the source for learning – everything we NEED to know.


The world is full of exciting things waiting to be discovered. But most people are unaware of the abundant resources and opportunities all around us; mostly because they don't bother to investigate.

Usually, a person becomes an expert in a few fields – profession, trade, science, art, sport, business, academic pursuit – but is largely unaware of what's happening in other fields. This pattern carries over to spiritual matters, too. Most people think that personal knowledge of God is something for clergymen or others who happen to be particularly interested in religion. They regard the spiritual dimension of life as an optional matter – almost like an avocation – rather than as the key to everyone's ultimate success in life.

Most people still don't know how to have sins totally forgiven or how to qualify for heaven. Because we have the Bible – God's clearest revelation so far – these things are now easily discovered when we care enough to look.

For people who want to experience something big and wonderful, nothing can top the experience of a genuine Christian life. Other experiences may offer thrills for a while, but they don't give lasting satisfaction. Anyone who says that Christianity is restrictive, boring and irrelevant hasn’t yet discovered it!

For a genuine Christian (see Topics 11 and 62), life has meaning and purpose because he understands how he fits into the grand scheme of things. Whatever his physical or socio-economic condition, he can enjoy life right now, and he knows that the best is yet to come. The Christian life is the ultimate in living because it’s in harmony with God.

Here’s real Christianity: A good clean feeling because sins are forgiven. A new nature that wants to do right things and an inner power to do them. A personal intimacy with God. No fear of death; but rather an assurance and happy anticipation of eternal life. Properly understood, everyone wants this kind of life and the Bible reveals how to get it.


At the time of Christ, the Roman empire was the strongest political power on earth. Rome had conquered Palestine (Holy Land) and made it a Roman province. The primitive religion of Rome was animism. Each person worshiped the gods of his own farm and home, personifying the forces he encountered in daily life. There were gods of the sky, forest, field and stream. There were gods of the sowing and gods of the harvest. The gods were worshiped in prescribed places, times and manners, often with special feasts and rites.

In urban areas at that time, the worship of local deities had begun to give way to emperor worship. There was a growing popularity of ‘mystery religions,’ mostly of Eastern origin, which had classless brotherhoods, rituals and many other characteristics of modern secret societies.

Intertwined with all this was worship of the occult, and practice of astrology and magic, with widespread belief that the entire world was inhabited by spirits and demons who could be invoked or commanded to do certain things if the correct rite or formula were known.

The early Christians burst upon this scene in the first century A.D. They excitedly told about their personal discovery of new life through Jesus Christ. They told how God had visited our planet and now, in Spirit, lives within everyone who understands and believes what Jesus Christ did for us. They also circulated letters about this new life, writings said to be given by God himself. These writings – 27 of them – comprise the part of the Bible we know today as the New Testament.

Christians today are still excitedly telling about the good news contained in the Bible and how it has radically changed their lives for the better.


God's clearest revelation – the biggest piece of information he's given to us thus far, and the piece that's most important to us – is what the Bible and theologians call the ‘gospel’ (a Greek word meaning ‘good news’). This is explained in Topic 52.

Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.

Deuteronomy 29:29
Some things God keeps secret from us and other things he reveals

John 14:9-10
Jesus is the revelation of God

Romans 16:23-26
Mysteries of past ages are now being revealed to us

I Corinthians 2:10-14
God is revealing himself to us through his Spirit

For help, see Topic 29.