Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wishing Meets Reality

I had a comment I chose not to publish on my blog last week, even though frankly I can’t afford to get very choosy since I have less than a dozen comments a year. (That’s what I’m talkin’ about!) The reason I chose not to publish the comment was that it was so far erroneous as far as doctrine went that I feared it might encourage that rare reader who comes to my blog unbidden.

The reader who commented evidently thought Scripture to be something which needed to be corrected; the wise person could “reset” the button on what God really meant. Thus, in the final analysis, God becomes defined by man. In this comment, the writer’s central thesis is that there is no hell, there is no judgment, and the times that Jesus did mention hell are because the “copies” of original manuscripts are errant. The comment was so full of errors that answering them one by one would probably take several responses. The author’s ulterior motive becomes more clear when I found his listed web site with a book on the topic of no hell. I thoughtfully and prayerfully did not include his website here.

But the question I wish to examine today is whether there is really a hell awaiting nonrepentant men. There is, of course, nothing more sure in this lifetime. “God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17) At the outset of this discussion we need to establish that God has long established the means for everyone to be saved. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) It cannot be said that God is not inclusive as he does make the gift of salvation available to all.

But what happens to the one who does not believe? “He that believeth not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.” (John 3:18) God asks only one thing of us—that we believe him. Nothing more, but also nothing less. Abraham believed God and it was reckoned unto him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3) The scripture is quite plain on this point, and Jesus does spend a lot of time warning the religious leaders of his time about impending doom if they chose not to repent.

A final word on the reality of God. God is who he is. We do not have a “wish God”. Our God is absolute and real. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change to fit our preferences. We may decide that He should do this, or He should do that, but it is not us who are in control. It is our very responsible duty to figure out from his word who he is and what he wants from us. If we decide we can make God whatever we want him to be we begin the process of reinventing God. The scripture is clear on this point in many places. God is sovereign. We may want to have a God who wags his parental finger at our nonbelief when we die, and says to us, “That’s okay, but don’t do it next time.” But it is no matter what we wish—we have a God who warns us most severely that we are “sinners in the hands of an angry God.” It remains a fact that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only way to eternal life No one comes to the Father except through Him. Hard facts? It is who God tells us he is.


Dracon said...

Although much of what The Bible says is literal truth, a good portion of it should be taken with a grain of salt. The key to any relationship is tolerance. We need to accept that some people do not believe the same things that we do, and that their beliefs are just as valid (if not more so) than our own. Belief is useful for finding joy and fulfillment in our lives, and people have been using belief for thousands of years, even before the birth of Christianity. I think even God would forgive a heretic for not believing in Him if said heretic had good reason to doubt Gods existence.

Mr. D said...

You are making a serious philosophical mistake. See methodological solipsism in Wikepaedia. Do you really want to state that all beliefs are equal in validity? Surely you would allow that some beliefs are so silly as to be false on the face, whether or not people find them useful.
Before Christianity, people were saved just as they are now: they believed God. Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.If you do not believe God, what will save you?

Dracon said...

Mr. D,
I'll admit that i'm prone to make mistakes. I took an epistemology class and received a D because I did not turn in my assignments. I'm not the only one though, and your mistake is assuming that I believe all religions are equal. I think that is a romantic concept, but some religions do hold more power over the masses than others. I do however, believe that all Humans are created equal. That we all have the potential to do good, to help one another and to be the change we want to see in the world. When you say that these people were "saved" simply because they believed God, I ask what did god tell them? Let's discuss religious War shall we? If The Bible says "Thou Shalt Not Kill" how can anyone justify the approximate 1.5 million killed during the Crusades? I believe God wants the best for his children, like any good parent, and even problem children deserve forgiveness. If one does not believe God then maybe, just maybe, they'll be forced to save themselves.