Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hell: Reason and Necessity.

The thought of God condemning people to hell seems to be a problem for many people. The problem is perhaps increased if we listen to some who say that God does not desire to throw any of mankind into hell but will do so anyway. So what is the situation regarding hell and what were God’s alternatives? Why does there need to be a “hell” and why does anyone need to be condemned to it?

Maybe we can look at some differing scenarios:

1) God allows a moral free-for-all in which no one is held accountable for anything. Therefore no need for hell. (But this earth would be as bad as hell anyway with no moral restraints).

2) God denies mankind any freedom of choice at all. He programmes everyone to be (and to remain) morally perfect. In other words he ends up with a puppet race controlled entirely by Himself. (But there can't be much joy in a family made up of dolls that say "I love you daddy" every time you press the right button). In such a scenario there would be no need for any of mankind to be thrown in hell.

3) Repeat the "denial of choice" scenario of alternative 2, but this time God actually WANTS to throw the majority of mankind into hell. He selects a chosen few (“the elect”) whom He has predestined to save, but He predestines the rest to burn for eternity as a demonstration of His justice. This will bring Him great glory.
Of course those who are thrown in hell are treated in this way because they are depraved sinners and not because God brought them into existence with a depraved and sinful nature: even though they had no choice about that nature and no opportunity to be free from it – that nature being a result of God’s sovereign choice. [Oh the wonders of Calvinism!]

4) God creates mankind with the ability to choose, so that He can obtain a people who will willingly follow Him. This option cuts both ways. The freedom to choose obedience also creates the freedom to rebel.

Such a scenario seems fine in theory, but what if we can’t live up to the standard God expects? According to the bible God has provided for that reality by putting everyone on a level playing field where no one is more advantaged/disadvantaged than anyone else. Romans 11 states that ALL were bound over to disobedience so that He may have mercy on ALL. In this scenario NO ONE is able to fulfil God’s expectations according to our own efforts, but He has provided a way for us to be acceptable through relying on His mercy. This is the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ through which He has made it possible for the worst of men to turn towards God and be changed from a sinner to a saint.

Not only does God give us the choice of turning towards Him, He also adds a big incentive to do so. To the obedient He promises an eventual new creation which will NOT have the potential for evil; from which all rebellion will be barred. It will be populated by only those who have already chosen His (the creator's) way in this current creation.



However, what becomes of those who reject God and His promise?
Jesus describes their destiny in the terms of a garbage dump; using Gehenna, Jerusalem's dump as an illustration.
Like anything that does not fulfil its intended purpose, those who continue in rebellion against God' purpose for them will be thrown out as garbage.

This is NOT done arbitrarily. We ALL have the choice to recognise and respond to our creator in the way that He desires. But most prefer to go their own way and kick against any idea of there being a greater authority to whom they are accountable. Such is the arrogance of mankind. And hell is the ultimate result of ignoring personal accountability in a moral universe created by a Holy, Just and Righteous God

13 comments:

Paul G said...

Onesimus;
Because of my big hyper inflated EGO I have regrettably offended many brothers in the Lord, so then, if I say something out of line, please feel free to tell me off.
I offend easily, but I myself am not easily offended.
I love you brother!

Comment to your post;
I am not sure where to start without causing you some pain and anguish.
The way you present things is just not the ways of the Lord!
In all your explanations you always put the cart before the horse, men before God and works before grace.
In seeing things like that, your soul will never be satisfied and the end result will be a gospel which is not according to the Scripture.

Onesimus, I am not trying to pick on you, but it is worth while to reconsider your understanding of the Scripture and the gospel of salvation.
Paul

bossmanham said...

Good post. I like how you divided the options into four points, showing the absurdity of the first three. Look at what the first three do to the character of God!

Onesimus said...

Paul,
I am putting what GOD has said before what some theologian has said. I am putting HIS revealed plan ahead of man's vain imagination.
The gospel is GOD's idea and it is GOD's plan for the salvation of mankind.
I see that He desires a willing bride for His Son and not a Stepford wife.
My God is big enough and secure enough to give mankind the opportunity to turn to Him or to continue in rebellion against Him.
He has provided everything necessary to enable ALL to turn to Him through the power of the gospel and the prompting of His Holy Spirit.
And those who turn to Him He equips.

Paul G said...

Onesimus;
I know that you have a love for the Lord Jesus and His Word and that you do not believe every so called theologian and I respect you for that.

Yes, it is God's idea and His plan.
But the plan is not that the sinner can go and save himself.
Salvation belongs to the Lord! He alone is the savior of His people.
The Lord Jesus does not save a sinner and give him a new birth and a new life with the help and the cooperation of the sinner.
New life and salvation is only the work of the Lord and not the work of the flesh or the will of a man. I am not saying that a man can not be willing to be saved, but his will and even his faith and trust in Jesus can not give him new life and salvation.

The churches today are full of people who say they believe in Jesus.
You and I know that many of them are not born again.
That is because they preach a gospel which says, 'listen! Jesus wants to save you; all you have to DO is believe and put your faith and trust in Jesus, and then you are saved.'
That is just not true!

If that would be true, then even the Devil would have a chance to be saved, and that is not possible because the Lord Jesus raised him up for the purpose of destruction.
Paul

Da Bomb said...

Well put Tim!

Paul G.

Onesimus was by no means promoting salvation by works.

Jesus did say ... If you love Me keep my commands. It is on us to live for God and in His ways...we are a workmanship living and walking in Him every day.

It is through God's grace that we are saved ONLY. We can get nowhere in our good works without Jesus being the way of grace.

James mentions faith without works is dead.

In return for God's grace we should actively repent and rely on Jesus...ultimately becoming more like Him.

Onesimus said...

Paul,
It is God's will that ALL be saved. It is God's desire for ALL to experience His mercy.

His salvation plan has made that possible. But His salvation plan puts the responsibility on mankind to receive what God has freely made available.

The "gospel" you present is no gospel at all. And in your desire to glorify God you actually malign His name.
Deny Calvinsm as much as you like - but your theology is infected by the same poison.

I agree man can not save Himself - but having faith in God's provision is NOT saving yourself. It is a recognition of our condition and our inability to please God and that it is only through Christ and His righteousness that we can be brought into relationship with the Father.

Your God, like the god of Calvinism is more correctly named GAD - the ancient god of luck; the god of the lottery, who favours those whose names are pulled out of his salvation hat.

Onesimus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Onesimus said...

Paul G said:
"If that would be true, then even the Devil would have a chance to be saved, and that is not possible because the Lord Jesus raised him up for the purpose of destruction"

-------

Just like He supposedly raised up the majority of mankind for the purpose of destruction? (according to calvinism!)

There is no promise and no provision for the devil to be saved. Hell was prepared as the final destiny for the devil and his angels NOT for mankind.

However, mankind rebelled against God and most choose to remain in rebellion, despite the fact that God has made a way for us all to be reconciled to Him. So those who choose to remain in their rebellion and reject God's gracious gift of salvation will share the fate of those angelic rebels.

Paul G said...

Onesimus;
You said that God made salvation 'AVAILABLE'.
By that you mean that salvation is available to every person in this world, so that whosoever will, can have it, it is all their choice.
You said that God has made a 'PROVISION'.
In saying that, you are presenting to this dying world the Lord Jesus as a salvation PROVIDER and not as a mighty savior.
You are saying that the Lord Jesus wants to save every sinner, but He cannot do it unless the sinner lets Him or gives Him the permission to do so.
It seems to me to be some kind of 'SMORGASBOARD' salvation.
Where Jesus has done it all and now it's up to you!
No Onesimus!
Provision and availability for salvation is nowhere found in the Bible, in fact no one ever preached that kind of gospel.
So then, why do you?
I don't!

I know it sounds like I am accusing you, but that is not my intention.

A short analogy of the gospel you preach.
A father who is known to be a champion swimmer, his little girl whom he fervently loves fell into a raging river. In panic and fear she called her daddy to save her, so he quickly throws her a hoop and said, grab the hoop and hold on and don’t let go.
Because of the waves and the torrent the little girl could not grab the hoop and died.
The father said to the bystanders, I really wanted to save her and I have done all I could, but she would not grab the hoop, if only she would have grabbed the hoop, I could have saved her.
Lots of love
Paul

Paul G said...

Dlt;
You have a lot of good things to say!
If you would only leave the abuse aside, perhaps we might receive your comments with gladness.
My wife often is quoting me the proverb;
"A wise tongue makes knowledge acceptable".

Onesimus said...

Paul said:

You said that God made salvation 'AVAILABLE'.
By that you mean that salvation is available to every person in this world, so that whosoever will, can have it, it is all their choice.
You said that God has made a 'PROVISION'.
In saying that, you are presenting to this dying world the Lord Jesus as a salvation PROVIDER and not as a mighty savior.
----

Yes God mad e salvation available to every person in the world so that whosoever BELIEVES… and yes belief is a choice. Who do I put my trust in? Myself and my own righteousness or Christ and His righteousness. My righteousness is like a used menstrual cloth or human excrement – so there’s no use in choosing to put my faith in my righteousness to save me.
So by faith I trust in the gift of HIS righteousness.

The last sentence of yours in the quote above verges on the ridiculous. Jesus could not provide salvation if He was not the mighty saviour. His sacrifice was on behalf of all the world. He gave Himself as a ransom for ALL.

------

Paul said:You are saying that the Lord Jesus wants to save every sinner, but He cannot do it unless the sinner lets Him or gives Him the permission to do so.
---

That’s not what I am saying.
SCRIPTURE says God desires ALL to be saved, but He has made salvation conditional upon faith. Your use of the idea of the sinner giving “permission” is the problem in your statement above.
Do you need to give permission to someone to make it possible for them to OFFER a gift to you? No. The gift giver offers the gift according to their own will and according to their own ability to offer that gift. But RECEIVING the gift is YOUR choice. The gift is there to be received but your own pride and your desire to provide for yourself could prevent you from taking that gift.
--------

Paul said:
It seems to me to be some kind of 'SMORGASBOARD' salvation.
Where Jesus has done it all and now it's up to you!
--
Another of those loaded statements using a totally irrelevant and misleading illustration…
Yes Jesus HAS done it all and He has offered the fruit of His sacrifice to mankind. We can either put our faith in Him and what He has done or we can continue to trust our own efforts.


---
Paul said:
“Provision and availability for salvation is nowhere found in the Bible, in fact no one ever preached that kind of gospel.
So then, why do you?
I don't”
---

Everyone preaching the gospel in scripture preached a gospel of REPENTANCE. That is something required of us. We are the ones who need to repent and turn to God. We are the ones who need to abandon our own ways and turn to God’s ways. God gives us that choice.

I preach the gospel that Jesus and His apostles preached. Repent, Believe, Be baptised and received the Holy Spirit.

I do not preach a false gospel of luck, where lucky individuals were chosen for salvation by God and the unlucky majority are condemned to hell, also solely according to God’s choosing..

Onesimus said...

Paul G said...
Dlt;
You have a lot of good things to say!
-----

There is nothing good about any of the doctrines dlt has promoted.
They are a perversion of the truth.

That is the problem with the traditions of man like the calvinism he reveres. They make a pretense of glorifying God but in reality they malign Him and His holy, righteous and just character.

Onesimus said...

Paul, your analogy is seriously flawed. The problem with the use of analogies is that you can tailor the scenario to maximise the point you are trying to make. In your case your potential saviour (the father) remains aloof on the shore, merely throwing a life line. That is a poor representation of the true gospel.
A more accurate analogy of the true gospel would have the father jumping into the water along with his little girl, reaching out to her with his hand. In that situation the girl has the choice of taking the hand that is well within reach or turning her back on her father.
In the case of the gospel the majority refuse to take the hand of the person who has joined them in the water. This is a much better illustration of the work God has completed in providing salvation to mankind.
God Himself “jumped in the water”, humbling Himself by putting aside His heavenly glory and becoming flesh and living among us. He did not remain aloof in heaven dangling a rope of rescue. He committed Himself to saving mankind by giving His Son who became one of us and died a cruel death on our behalf.

Also your analogy does not do justice to your own version of the gospel. According to your theology (in common with the Calvinist view) the man (god) on the bank actually threw everyone (the human race) into the water and left most of them to drown; only saving a few whose names he’d randomly plucked from a hat (unconditional election).