The question we ended with last time was if a loving God could allow anyone to go to Hell. As believers, it must be said that our Scriptures do teach this. It’s a sad reality and one that we shouldn’t take any delight in whatsoever. I will also add that I think Ezekiel 18 is quite clear in that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked.
Yet, it happens.
Couldn’t God just look the other way? It’s not that big a deal now is it? After all, if I wrong you, you might be willing in yourself to look the other way. If you can do that, then surely a God who is all love could do the same? If that’s the case, then it must be that God will not let anyone go to Hell for he is more loving than we are, but yet, they go.
And God is still more loving?
The analogy with human beings being able to forgive fails because our natures are different from God. To sin against us is to sin against a finite being. To sin against God is not only a sin against an infinite being, but it is a sin against love itself. This is why when we answer this question we must start from who God is.
If Christianity is true, God is the greatest good and indeed, goodness itself.. Keep in mind that aspect “If Christianity is true.” The question of Hell is about an internal conflict within Christianity. It’s not saying Christianity isn’t true because there’s no evidence Jesus rose from the dead, something that would be based on an external criteria. It’s saying Christianity isn’t true because the system itself is incoherent. When arguing against a system like that, one accepts the premises of Christianity for the sake of argument and then examines those premises to see if the worldview is consistent.
If God is goodness itself, and he is also perfect in all he is, then he treats everything in reality as it is. He cannot treat a lesser good as a greater good, which in fact was the sin of Satan. If we have a sin against goodness itself, God must treat it the way it really is. He must treat it as a wicked and heinous act and he cannot deny his goodness.
What would be the goal of just forgiving someone? It would be exalting their good over his own good. God, again, cannot do this for he cannot treat the lesser as if it was the greater. God is the only being in the universe who can properly seek his own glory for he alone is glorious and awesome by nature. For us, it would be egotistical. For him, it’s simply affirming his own nature and being true.
If God treats it as if it doesn’t matter, then what he is saying is that he doesn’t matter. If he doesn’t matter, then can he really be called God? The only way to bypass this is by grace. That is what repentance does. It is affirming that God is God and we are not. The cross fits in here in that that is the means whereby sin is punished, for God must punish also if he is to treat himself as the greatest good. Any affront to his nature must be treated seriously.
It does not mean that God delights in it. I can’t say he does and this blogger certainly doesn’t either. It is a sad reality that people go through life and reject God. Of course, I have a different view of Hell than some people do. At this point, I am hoping that many of you are wondering what exactly I have in mind when I think of Hell.
I guess you’ll have to wait till the next blog won’t you?