When a person died 4,000 years ago in what is now Peru, where did he go?
You asking where his soul went, presumably?
Well a) he lived 2,000 years before Christ
b) had no chance to learn about God as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Him.
God holds us responsible only to the extent that we possess knowledge to act upon. So as long as your Peruvian did his best to live a moral life and abide by God’s law as he knew it, he would probably be OK.
When Gentiles,who do not possess the law,do instinctively what the law requires,these,though not having the law,are a law to themselves. They show that what the law reqires is written on their hearts,to which their own conscience also bears witness; and their conflicting thoughts will accuse or perhaps excuse them on the day when,according to my gospel,God,throught Jesus Christ,will judge the secret thoughts of all.
I asked a priest about that and he said that Christ revealed Himself and gave the souls of the dead the opportunity to be saved when He spent the three days in the grave prior to His ressurection. Anyone know if that is a Church teaching?
Yup - that’s the way we understand the line of the creed ‘he descended to the dead’. From the Catechism:
"633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.480 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham’s bosom”:481 "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham’s bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell."482 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.483
634 "The gospel was preached even to the dead."484 The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.
635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that "the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."485 Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed "him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage."486 Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth."487 "
What about a faithful Hindu or Buddhist today who lives in a part of the world where he has no possibility of learning about Christ? Is his ignorance the same as the “Peruvian’s” ignorance and therefore he will be judged by whatever knowledge he has?
Thank you for your thoughts.
I think so. God doesn’t expect us to do the impossible, so if it’s impossible to learn about Christ he won’t judge them by it.