Question:

When reading the Bible all the revelations seem to only be to people in the east, on continents like Asia and Africa. But what about civilizations in the west in north and South America? Did they not get the revelations?

Also, it seems they say “the whole earth” when referring to the eastern continents, could this be an ignorance of the existence of western continents across the ocean? If so does this give an example of the Bible being man-made and not God-made?

Answer:

Formulating a position based on a lack of evidence is a weak stance. For example, the Bible only records the life events of four apostles: Peter, James, Paul, and John. What about the other eight? Do we conclude that their work wasn't inspired or do we accept Jesus' statement that he would be with all of them and the Holy Spirit would guide them?

We know from the Bible that God dealt with heads of families. We see Him giving instruction to Pharoah (Genesis 12:17), Abimelech (Genesis 20:3-7), and Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4). We can read about non-Israelite prophets, such as Job and Balaam. From this evidence, we can conclude that God did not limit His dealings only to one lineage. We have no reason to conclude that God did not deal with other heads of families in other parts of the world.

In fact, Paul makes the argument that sin cannot be charged against people without law. "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned -- for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come" (Romans 5:12-14). Because sin existed, Paul uses this to prove that people who lived prior to Moses had laws from God. But Paul also argued that sin is universal (Romans 3:23); therefore, the entire world must have had access to some laws. "For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them" (Romans 2:14-15). Again, we cannot conclude that God did not have dealings with other nations, no matter how remote.

The language of the Bible is typically that of the everyday man. Terms like "the whole earth" are used as the people who received the message would understand them. The "whole earth" or "all creation" generally meant reaching to the furthest known places. It was further than you might suspect. See Proclaimed in All Creation for more information.

But consider one more thing: People tend to forget about the power of geometric progressions. It wasn't just twelve men preaching the gospel. These twelve on the day of Pentecost taught a large crowd, of whom 3,000 responded (Acts 2:41). More were soon added (Acts 4:4). And when persecution hit the church, "Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). Those they taught would also take up the task. There would have been hundreds of thousands of people who seriously took it as their duty to teach others the gospel. No wonder the world heard the gospel in such short order.

You probably heard the idea that there are six degrees of separation between every person in the world. It comes from the fact that each person has a number of people they know. Those people in turn know a number of people. As a result, you can give a person a letter to be delivered to any person in the world, they can pass that letter on through friends, and it will arrive at the determined person passing through, on average, only six hands.

Let's say the average person knows a hundred people well. Then if you include the person and all his friends, they know 10,000 people. If you include the original person, his friends, and their friends, then they know a million people. If you include all million people, they would know a hundred million people. Add in the fifth set of people and you now cover 10 billion people -- more than the world's current population. Of course, there is going to be an overlap of common friends, but I think you see that it doesn't take long to find connections between people. (That is why pyramid sales schemes are illegal, there aren't enough people in the world to allow to sustain recruitment very long.) The world's population was a lot less in the days of the early church. So yes, it is possible for every person in the world to have heard of the gospel message. It doesn't mean they all responded to the message, but it also doesn't mean it was unknown.

My point is that every individual may not have had direct contact with God or his message, but it is not difficult to imagine it reaching a region far greater than just the area we now call the Middle East.

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