owing to their God-given nature? Is not our practice the very opposite of our theory? We treat them as if they ought to be ashamed for having behaved so badly, when there was no need to do so. It is only in theological controversy that we blame Adam for what our neighbours have done. In ordinary life we blame them!
The third theory is a rebound from the folly of the first two. Realising that it is impossible for God to blame the sinner for his sinful nature, for which he is not responsible, it boldly declares that God does not blame man for sinning for He knows that he could not avoid it, but only for refusing to be saved from that sin. It is not till the Gospel is heard and rejected that man is condemned.
This theory also involves itself in a mass of difficulties. In the first place it means that the unevangelised heathen cannot be condemned by God, no matter how wicked they may be! In this way it is a direct contradiction of Romans chapters 1-3, which declare that all men have knowledge of God quite apart from the Gospel, and are guilty before Him for not living up to that knowledge. This theory however makes it impossible for God to judge the vast majority of mankind at all: for only a very small proportion of those who have lived since Christ rose from the dead have ever heard of His Name.
Also in the second place it would really be safer never to have heard the Gospel and so to be in no danger of judgement! The Missionary would be obliged to tell his audience that up to his arrival they were secure from judgement, but that now they are in real danger! Neither would he be able to tell them that God was angry with them for what they had already done, however cruel: but only that, if they refused his preaching, God would begin to be angry with them for the first time. They might well wish that he had never come to preach to them!
In the third place even at the Last Judgement The Lord would be unable to deal with those folk who had never heard the Gospel: for they would be able to plead in their defence that they had only lived according to their nature for which