|Salvation for non-Christians in Christian theology|
|“No one comes to the Father but through me” John 14:6
Standard Christian theology teaches that no one comes to the Father but through the Son. This is the essence of Christianity, but it is also a stumbling block for inter-religious dialog, so I want to explore other possible understandings Christians could have while accepting Christian scripture.
The Catholic Church, for example, teaches that salvation is through Jesus, but they also acknowledge that full understanding of God's ways is beyond man, so they can not know for sure.
However, I think there is yet another approach. John 1:1 says EN ARCH HN O LOGOS or “In the beginning was the Word”. LOGOS not only means “word” but also the “thought” or “meaning” behind the word. Thus we could call the pre-existing LOGOS, a “primal meaning”.
In other places on these pages, I have argued that meaning lies in the relationship between things, and not in things themselves. I can give several examples here.
In quantum mechanics, a particle does not have a definite reality until it interacts. Particles, described by quantum mechanics, are probability waves until the moment of interaction when they have definite properties. Thus we could say it is the interaction that gives them meaning.
In language, words are meaningless in and of themselves, only social agreement on their meaning, and social interaction gives them meaning.
The 26 letters of our alphabet, by themselves mean very little, and yet, with them we can produce all the writing in the world. The meaning lies in the relation between the letters.
A DNA molecule by itself is just a thing, it is by interaction that it codes for a protein. In the interaction is the meaning.
These meaningful interactions are events in time, whereas objects exist in space. We could also say that our thoughts are events in time, whereas our brains are objects in space. The patterns of synapses in our brains in and of themselves have no meaning, but events map them to an outer reality. The firing of a specific connection relates one thing to another, and creates meaning.
Now, in Christian scripture Jesus is the LOGOS. And if we accept Christian scripture we can say that no one comes to God but through the LOGOS. But we can also talk about the LOGOS as "primal meaning", or "that which relates all things to all other things".
If that is true, then the statement that the relation between God and man must be through the LOGOS is just tautology. Since the relation of all things to all other things is via the LOGOS, it must be true that the relation of God and man is through the LOGOS.
Of course in other places Paul says that salvation comes from faith in Jesus. But again, if we use John 1:1, we can say that salvation comes from faith in the LOGOS, which could simply mean having faith that there is an ultimate or primal meaning.
Thus, just from Christian scripture, one could argue that salvation comes to those who believe in a LOGOS, and that while Christians believe that the LOGOS is Jesus, it can be argued that this association is not needed for salvation. Non-Christians may have faith in a LOGOS without knowing (as Christians would claim), that the LOGOS is Jesus.
Of course, I'm sure the point could be argued both ways, and certainly as a bible Christian the safest route would simply be to accept that Jesus=LOGOS and have faith in Jesus, but conversely, the Christian can not be sure that others are not saved.
Back to evidence and testimony page