Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Does God Really Send Us to Hell?

One of the most difficult questions asked of a Christian is "A loving God would not send billions of people to hell?"  This very logic  has been the defense, or stumbling block for many athesist not believing in God. At First the question makes perfect sense; A loving God would not want to harm his children and sending people to hell is harmful! Right?

However, at the root of this logic is is the incorrect worldview of Godly love. Godly love is not permissive whereby we can do whatever we like and never have to address the reporcussions of our actions. God has put law and rule in place so that he may guide us into the fullness of life. In a society where the individual have no laws or authority to uphold those law there is anarchcy.

Rich Deem show the simplisity of thei concept in a family enviornment , on his  Evidenc for God  website he writes; This  permissive kind of "love"  isn't love at all. Any of you who are parents will recognize that allowing your children to do whatever they want to so is not loving (them) at all. If you were to do this, your children would grow up to be spoiled selfish brats incapable of loving other people.
So we can see that the law ( moral law of God) which stop anarchy and allows us to live in harmony with each other. just as your parent did not require you for follow rules just because they are bigger than you, God has not put moral law into the earth just because He is greater then us, but rather because He loves us.

God is RighteousThe bible tell us that God is Righteous (psalm  ) and that his righteousness is as much a part of His charcter as Love, or mercy. [1] Righteousness deals with justice and justice deal with the law. this means that God will always do that which is right, and he does that according to the righteous Law that He has set forth. (Slick)   Now consider the logical statment above on a much smaller scale, "A loving judge would never send his child to jail?  What is wrong with this statement? Well the first thing is that it implies injustice. It says that no matter what the crime the judge would get his guilty child off while forcing other people children to due time in jail.

What would you think if a judge fined you $1000 for racing your car down the street where there were school age children, but let his son whom you were racing against go without any punishment at all? Or maybe the jury found a man guilty of rape, grand theft, assault or some other crime but because he was the judge’s child he was not punished at all?

Would you be OK with that? I mean think about it, the judge is a father that loves his child. And because he loves his child he should never sentence him to prison; he should let him go unpunished even if it means others will be treated unjustly because of it. You understand that don’t you? There was no harm done, heck you were wrong for what you did so why are you worrying about someone else? You need to just mind your own business and take your punishment like a man!
 Or would you feel that the judge had wrong you and all those that voted for him and put him in office. Maybe you would feel that he was unjustly using the power invested in him by the city or state to benefit his family, and even possibly his friends. Maybe you would feel that even if in every other case (that didn’t involve his family or friends) he was perfectly fair and honest there are still some questions about his right to be a judge.
In fact it only takes one single case where you suspect he was giving favors to his family before you would label him a corrupt judge. Tell me is this the type of judge you would want to stand before if you were accused of even a small crime?
Why then do you desire God to be corrupt when it comes to judging us by our iniquities? Why do we think that because God loves us we don’t deserve punishment? Why do we think that the love of God will cover our sins? As a whole the natural man has over utilized the concept of God’s love. In fact the concept of God’s love has been used for so many reasons that it has voided out all the other attributes of God. Though it may not be quickly seen this error thinking is hinged on the hopes that the attribute of Love will supersede the attribute of Justice in God. Since God is immutable (unchanging) He cannot turn off the attribute of justice so that Love can reign. Therefore, every crime must be punished, either in this life of in another.
For many people this just does not make sense. The major argument of atheists and unsaved Christians is “How can a good and holy God send people to hell?” And at first this argument may seem valid, except it is founded on false assumptions about God and even love for that matter. Two points that we must not forget is that God is Just, and true Love is not permissive to evil.  
Consider this, we all love our children yet we do not permit them to play with matches, guns, drink bleach, put small toys up their noses, run out in the street or disrespect elders. Instead when they do these things we punish them, not because we hate them but because we love them. Because we love them we require them to live by a standard, and we set the boundaries of that standard not them.
How many times have we seen other people’s children what we know would grounds for punishment in our house but simply watched and shook our head at their misbehavior?  Shouldn’t we have grab the toddler by his arm and washed his mouth out with soap for the way he was speaking to his mother? Or maybe we should have snatched him up from the restaurant table and taken him into the men’s room for an attitude adjustment, but instead we did nothing. The reason we did nothing was because he/she was not our child, we could not set the boundaries of his behavior like we can our own child. And no matter how hard this is to say we just don’t love him like we do our won children.
In the same way, because of His Love for us God has set a standard of living for us, and requires us to meet that standard or else be punished for not meeting it. If God did not love us there would be no standard and we could do whatever we wanted, just like the stranger’s child that you allowed to get away with misbehaving.
So the punishment of hell and eternal damnation is not a sign of God not loving us, but an expression of His love for us. You may not have understood as child but as an adult you completely understand what your parents meant when they said “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” It always hurt a loving parent to cause pain to their child because of their misbehavior, and God is more loving than any parent could be.
Luke 11:11-13 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
I remember seeing my daughter take her first needle after being diagnosis as a diabetic, I cried harder than she. just like every other parent, I was unable to comfortably stand by and see my child go through pain. Now imagine how difficult it must be for God to see just one of his children regulated to an eternal damnation and to suffer for all of eternity in agony and gnashing of teeth?
Matthew 18:14 says “…it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
It is never God’s choice that you would go to hell, yet God cannot put aside the His eternal attribute of justice so that His Love can be bestowed on you. For this we pain God in our iniquities, because He never desires to punish whom he loves, therefore by our iniquities we sentence ourselves to hell. Take a moment to consider these two (2) passages from Hosea. (God is speaking in these passages)
Hosea 6:4 “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.”
Hosea 11:8 “How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.”
Here we see that God is torn between the justice that He must do with the love and mercy He desires for Ephraim and Judah.[2] One moment Ephraim and Judah are following after God, the next moment they are following after idols. One moment God sees the need for His Mercy toward them, and the next His wrath. And it is because God never desires to punish, He hold off until maybe  Ephraim will repent, or Judah but before he can bestow His mercy they fall right back into their sin.  Adam Clark gives commentary of Hosea 11:8 in this way;
Mine heart is turned within me -Justice demands thy punishment; Mercy pleads for thy life. As thou changest, Justice resolves to destroy, or Mercy to save. My heart is oppressed, and I am weary with repenting - with so frequently changing my purpose. All this, though spoken after the manner of men, shows how merciful, compassionate, and loath to punish the God of heaven is. What sinner or saint upon earth has not been a subject of these gracious operations?
This is the longsuffering of God toward us, were he restrains his justice so that he might give us his mercy. Holding on just a little bit longer, so we would turn from our idolatry and turn back to him (repent) (Psalm 103:8-9) However, if you would read Hosea 11:8 we see the finality of God wrath “How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim?” two cities that alone with Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed by His wrath.  
We must understand that God goes out of his way not to punish us; it’s not God’s desire that even one of us should perish; that God does not deal with us according to our sins (Psalm 103:10) ; but deals with us with longsuffering and Mercy and graciousness, that He is slow to anger and even when angry He won’t  hold on to His anger forever. (Psalm 103:9) Let us not make a mistake it is not God that sends us to hell, it is us that refuse to be saved. 

Your Brother in Christ
Soli Deo Gloria

[1] From the Carm.org website ( Matt Slick) A Loving God would Never send us to hell
[2 ] TheCities of Admah and Zeboim were the other two cities destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah