What is God’s plan for the lost? Unknown Billions have died without Christ. Estimates of the pre-flood population range from 750 million to four billion. Could be higher. Add the population before Christ. Only in recent centuries did statistics become better than guessing. About 31.5% of the 6 billion people alive now self-identify as Christian, so we can add another four billion or so to the unknown total of those who died unsaved. The best we can state for certain is: “unknown billions have died without Christ–the vast majority of mankind who ever lived. Their total number cannot be known.”
Are they lost forever? What is God’s Plan for them? The answer is hidden in God’s work of predestination, His election of certain individuals to be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. Evidently, even “dying lost” cannot separate those whom He foreknew in love, from Him:
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39 KJV)
While we must infer much from the data of scripture, and some of these inferences are without doubt “speculative”, the elegance manifest by so many “divine paradoxes” of scripture being resolved, logically dictates the following hypothesis is God’s truth:
Before creating the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1) God knew all (Isa. 46:9-10) who would come into existence (Rom. 4:17), both angels and men. In His Omniscient knowledge, a special group rose above the rest like “bolded text” stands out in a paragraph. God foreknew these before all others, experiencing their communion with God in love. Knowing how they loved God after He loved them first (1 John 4:19), He loved them even more.
But God realized the Fall of creation would corrupt many of these He foreknew. A sinful world would cause many to die unsaved rebels against God, or ignorant of the glorious gospel of salvation in His Son Jesus Christ. That was intolerable. Losing even one of these would result in God eternally mourning their absence, their loving fellowship.
God’s solution was elegantly simple, lest any of these God foreknew be lost because of a sinful world, God predestined those He Foreknew be conformed to the image of His Son, even if they must endure hell first whose refining fire removes the dross of sin (Zech. 13:9; 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Pet. 4:6).
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:28-32 KJV)