How can you believe in a God that wants to send most of the world to Hell?

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
It's a dishonest question right out of the gate. He doesn't "want" to send people to hell.
Exactly.

"As surely as I live, declares the Lord GOD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked should turn from their ways and live." (Ezekiel 33:11)

"Do you disregard the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you to repentance?" (Romans 2:4)

"God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)

"God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
 

Snowflake

Well-Known Member
The problem a lot of people have with Hell is that the punishment seems out of proportion to the crime.

Let's say we have an average person. Hasn't killed anyone, hasn't robbed a bank, really just your normal, milquetoast kind of person.

But as the Word says, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

This person never accepts Christ, never seeks God for forgiveness.

This person is condemned for all eternity.

Someone struggling with the concept of Hell will point to that and ask why this theoretical person is punished...in fire...for all eternity with no hope of ever getting out.

It's a legitimate question.

If someone robbed my house, would I send them to a fiery punishment forever? No normal person would do that. Anyone who does would be a candidate for psychological evaluation. So am I more merciful than God? (Reverend Turner asks the same question in Thief In The Night.)

We don't see things as God sees things. We don't see the heart, we don't see what is in the mind of the unsaved person. I don't think we even honestly see what is in our own minds. So far be it from me to call God cruel when he issues that punishment.

But the unsaved don't see things this way, so they are led to (in a world view) a perfectly reasonable question. One that Christians have a difficult time answering in a manner that an unsaved person will understand.

I can say that God sets the standard, he is sovereign, he does what he wants, and it is right. And if we have a problem with it, it is our understanding that is deficient or that it is our moral compass that is off-centre.

Any Christian will understand that argument. (This is essentially the conclusion drawn from the book of Job.)

But it doesn't work with the unsaved. And so the problem with Hell they continue to have.
 

jjmundt

Member
Q. If I walk up to a donkey and slap it on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The donkey might look at me, wonder why I slapped it, maybe give me a hee-haw, hee-haw...that's about it.

Q. If I walk up to a police officer and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The officer will spin me around, slap cuffs on me, and arrest me for assault. I will go to jail. When I stand before a judge, I may just get probation for a first offense, but I'll have a record.

Q. If I walk up to the President of the United States and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The Secret Service will throw me to the ground and I will go to prison. I'll spend hard time in a place with some very bad people.

Here we have the exact offense committed three times, but the penalties are vastly different...why? Obviously, it's because of the victim. So then, punishment for a crime has more to do with the victim of the crime than the crime itself. I slap a donkey?...I'm not too guilty. I slap a President?...I'm really guilty.

Q. If I walk up to the infinite, holy God of the universe - the God who made all things and through whom all things hold together - and I slap Him across the face, what will happen to me?
A. Infinite justice, infinite punishment.

Aaron Rodgers - and maybe a few others who read this - may not like the God of the Bible, but this is the God with whom Aaron, you, and I will have to deal.
 

mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Excellent thread! I really like @jjmundt's argument. I'm taking it! :lol.

But ultimately the issue is not our sins, but our sin nature. Our sins are simply the manifestation of the nature that is opposed to God, the fallen nature that resulted from our common ancestor's deliberate disobedience to the will and the words of God. It is that nature that results in even our greatest acts of holiness being "filthy rags" in God's sight (Isaiah 64:6). After all, we are ALL unclean. And, absent faith in Christ's finished work on the Cross, all eternally separated from God.

The one place in the Bible where it says our sins or iniquities have separated us from God is Isaiah 59:2. The New Testament does not use that wording ... at least, not in the original Greek. But that is because God more fully opened up the concept of sin to Paul. The Hebrews, of course, did not understand the concept of the sin nature; that was a truth revealed to the apostle Paul and which the Holy Spirit expanded on in detail in Romans 5 through 8. The closest thing to the concept of fundamental uncleanness that the Hebrews had was leprosy. God used this disease as a type of sin, which you can clearly see as you study Levitical law on that subject (something I highly recommend: there are some great truths hidden there.) But in the new Testament epistles of Paul we see the truth of the sin nature exposed.

If you look at the Greek of the epistles, you will see the word for sin in two forms-- with and without the definite article. (In English the definite article is the word "the". In Greek it is actually three words, depending on whether the noun it is attached to is masculine, feminine, or neuter. And each changes spelling depending on whether it is nominative, accusative, genetive or dative and whether those are singular or plural! So there are a total of 24 forms of "the" in koiné Greek and all tell us different things. Thank heavens they do not have a word for "a" !!!)

In English translations you'll see the words "the sin" written simply as "sin", without the definite article "the". But the use of the definite article in Greek is highly significant, because when a noun in Greek was written with the definite article it usually did not refer to a specific instance of whatever the noun represented (as would be the case in English) but to a principle or concept involving the noun. In other words, "the" sin in Greek is not necessarily speaking of a specific sin but of a principle called sin. Let me give an example:

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." (Romans 6:6)​

It actually reads, literally: "This knowing that the old of us self was together crucified (with Him being understood by the context) so that brought to naught (annulled, abolished, rendered inoperative) might be the body of the sin so that no longer enslaved (are) we to the sin."

Reading it, thus, in the original form shows us that God is here speaking of the sin principle --the sin nature-- not sins. He is saying that Christ's death rendered our sin nature inoperative (that is to say it no longer has absolute power over us) so that we no longer need be controlled by the sin nature.

And this technique holds true through the vast majority of verses, from Romans onward. In fact, it is a safe practice for you to view EVERY mention of "sin" in the epistles as referring to the sin nature ... unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

Here are a couple more examples:

"That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:21)​

In the Greek it reads "that as the sin hath reigned." It is the sin nature or sin principle that rules in us before salvation, but grace trumps it.

Here is another:

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" (Romans 6:1)​

It literally reads "shall we continue in the sin;" so it is speaking of the sin nature, in other words continuing in living in obedience to, or cooperation with, it.

I'm not suggesting we change our translations, because the issue is a lot more complicated than I have outlined. Not every appearance of the word "sin" with the definite article in the Pauline epistles refers to the sin principle, even though most do. I am simply sharing an understanding that can help you grasp NT references to sin in the epistles a bit more accurately; namely, in a given instance, is the word "sin" a reference to a specific sin or group of sins? Or is it referring to the principle of sin (ie: the sin nature) that rules in our fallen bodies?

I pray this helps someone today.
 

Almost Heaven

Well-Known Member
Q. If I walk up to a donkey and slap it on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The donkey might look at me, wonder why I slapped it, maybe give me a hee-haw, hee-haw...that's about it.

Q. If I walk up to a police officer and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The officer will spin me around, slap cuffs on me, and arrest me for assault. I will go to jail. When I stand before a judge, I may just get probation for a first offense, but I'll have a record.

Q. If I walk up to the President of the United States and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The Secret Service will throw me to the ground and I will go to prison. I'll spend hard time in a place with some very bad people.

Here we have the exact offense committed three times, but the penalties are vastly different...why? Obviously, it's because of the victim. So then, punishment for a crime has more to do with the victim of the crime than the crime itself. I slap a donkey?...I'm not too guilty. I slap a President?...I'm really guilty.

Q. If I walk up to the infinite, holy God of the universe - the God who made all things and through whom all things hold together - and I slap Him across the face, what will happen to me?
A. Infinite justice, infinite punishment.

Aaron Rodgers - and maybe a few others who read this - may not like the God of the Bible, but this is the God with whom Aaron, you, and I will have to deal.
I am so using this!
 

PhilR

Well-Known Member
Aaron Rodgers seemed like an ok guy at first, but his statement makes me wonder. He attended and played for Univ. of Cal Berkeley. He was probably exposed to the far left godless teachings of professors and activists there.
But also, he sounds like he caught onto some Calvinism somewhere along the line.

Just for the record, I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian; I am a Biblicist. I believe God offers and wants eternal salvation to ALL persons; knowing that not all will accept his free gift of salvation. God, knowing who all will accept his Son, has predestined all those whom he knows will be believers to be eternally his. People need to read the Bible for themselves and not follow mere man-made teachings and doctrines like Calvinism and Arminianism.
 
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mattfivefour

Administrator
Staff member
Just for the record, I am neither Calvinist nor Arminian; I am a Biblicist. I believe God offers and wants eternal salvation to ALL persons; knowing that not all will accept his free gift of salvation. God, knowing who all will accept his Son, has predestined all those whom he knows will be believers to be eternally his. People need to read the Bible for themselves and not follow mere man-made teachings and doctrines like Calvinism and Arminianism.
There's a name for the theology that you and we at RF believe. It's called "proportion theology." There's a good chart showing how it reconciles the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, at https://www.buzzardhut.net/index/htm/prop.htm . Buzz's site sometimes triggers a warning from some antivirus programs; but it is safe. Buzz is a good guy and helped Chris set up RF.
 

PhilR

Well-Known Member
There's a name for the theology that you and we at RF believe. It's called "proportion theology." There's a good chart showing how it reconciles the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, at https://www.buzzardhut.net/index/htm/prop.htm . Buzz's site sometimes triggers a warning from some antivirus programs; but it is safe. Buzz is a good guy and helped Chris set up RF.
Matt, I am also strong on rightly dividing the word in truth, that God deals differently under different terms with different peoples in different ages , dispensations.
 

Rocky Rivera

Well-Known Member
Q. If I walk up to a donkey and slap it on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The donkey might look at me, wonder why I slapped it, maybe give me a hee-haw, hee-haw...that's about it.

Q. If I walk up to a police officer and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The officer will spin me around, slap cuffs on me, and arrest me for assault. I will go to jail. When I stand before a judge, I may just get probation for a first offense, but I'll have a record.

Q. If I walk up to the President of the United States and slap him on the face, what will happen to me?
A. The Secret Service will throw me to the ground and I will go to prison. I'll spend hard time in a place with some very bad people.

Here we have the exact offense committed three times, but the penalties are vastly different...why? Obviously, it's because of the victim. So then, punishment for a crime has more to do with the victim of the crime than the crime itself. I slap a donkey?...I'm not too guilty. I slap a President?...I'm really guilty.

Q. If I walk up to the infinite, holy God of the universe - the God who made all things and through whom all things hold together - and I slap Him across the face, what will happen to me?
A. Infinite justice, infinite punishment.

Aaron Rodgers - and maybe a few others who read this - may not like the God of the Bible, but this is the God with whom Aaron, you, and I will have to deal.
Great illustration. If you even talk about harming the President of the United States, expect a visit from the Secret Service. Try that with a Middle-Eastern or Asian head of state, and you'd be executed.

Anyone who would sin against Holy God deserves Hell. When He visited this earth in mortal flesh, they did more than slap Him across the face. They pulled out His beard, spat on Him, struck Him with punches, and finally drove nails through His hands and feet. They said, "His blood be upon us, and our children!" Of course these evil people deserve Hell. But, what did He do? He said, "Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do..." It is the ultimate insult to Holy God, and the height of sinful pride if we ignore or dismiss so great a pardon. Do you want to be saved? Hopefully, your answer will not be, "No thanks, I'm good..."
 

TimothyK

Member
God isn't eager to send anyone to Hell and would rather we all repent. He Himself provided the means of reconciliation while we were still lost, long before any of us today were even born. The message of Jesus Christ has been sent out to all the world. There are people that confuse it, misconstrue it, and outright abuse it.

Every other Christian will tell you a horror story or two about their church life or their upbringing and early pursuits. Sound doctrine is getting rarer and rarer. If it's an issue Aaron Rodgers (and others like him) honestly cares about, he'll look into it. He'll seek out the truth. He'll challenge himself and allow himself to be challenged on these things in the pursuit of truth.

And I pray that he should find it, and with it salvation for him and his house.
 

Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
God isn't eager to send anyone to Hell and would rather we all repent. He Himself provided the means of reconciliation while we were still lost, long before any of us today were even born. The message of Jesus Christ has been sent out to all the world. There are people that confuse it, misconstrue it, and outright abuse it.

Every other Christian will tell you a horror story or two about their church life or their upbringing and early pursuits. Sound doctrine is getting rarer and rarer. If it's an issue Aaron Rodgers (and others like him) honestly cares about, he'll look into it. He'll seek out the truth. He'll challenge himself and allow himself to be challenged on these things in the pursuit of truth.

And I pray that he should find it, and with it salvation for him and his house.
What's crazy is that sin and redemption is hardly a thought in the unbeliever's mind. Before Christ, I never thought about it at all. I had a strong conscious because of going to Christian pre-school and I guess a seed was planted. I always thought I could just "change myself" and "try harder" seeking to be better but I finally realized that it was impossible on my own. I sought all kinds of religions and self help, buddhism, spirituality, etc. One day I had an epiphany, "Why have I looked into everything BUT the Bible?" Its funny because unbelievers will literally seek everything else first - aliens, nothing making everything, monkeys being our fathers, being reborn as a beatle, "being the universe," and completely discount the Bible because the Bible is "too crazy" LOL.

When I was a seeker and I actually read the book of Matthew, I found it to be the most profound thing I had ever read in my life.
 
What's crazy is that sin and redemption is hardly a thought in the unbeliever's mind. Before Christ, I never thought about it at all. I had a strong conscious because of going to Christian pre-school and I guess a seed was planted. I always thought I could just "change myself" and "try harder" seeking to be better but I finally realized that it was impossible on my own. I sought all kinds of religions and self help, buddhism, spirituality, etc. One day I had an epiphany, "Why have I looked into everything BUT the Bible?" Its funny because unbelievers will literally seek everything else first - aliens, nothing making everything, monkeys being our fathers, being reborn as a beatle, "being the universe," and completely discount the Bible because the Bible is "too crazy" LOL.

When I was a seeker and I actually read the book of Matthew, I found it to be the most profound thing I had ever read in my life.
Some thinking out loud...

After decades of conversing with atheists, no argument will work, arguments don't actually touch the problem.

Christian's come to the argument and think logic may apply, reason can persuade.

These arguments, many of them formal arguments, these beliefs, these philosophies have been taught and thought forever, long before us, will be long after us. In other words many who proclaim these philosophies will laugh off the average Christian, the average Christian has not studied the philosophies of this world, and people can tell when that is the case. Some are very vested in these arguments, they've studied them all their life.

This subject is a prime example. It is not one based in reason or logic, it is based on perceptions of fairness.

"It is unfair for God to send me to hell, I can't be expected to believe what I don't believe exists! And God doesn't seem interested in proving to me that he exists!"

A very common "argument" from unbelievers. What I call the Fairness Argument.

And it doesn't even matter whether one used to be a believer, as they claim, or never was one, both will end up at the fairness argument, because there is no reason or logic that can touch it, it's a personal offense.

One can draw parallels between our justice system and God's justice, how they are not much different, but it cannot overcome ones perception of unfairness.

We can say God wishes that no man perish, and they will just say if God wanted them to not perish, then He should work on getting them to believe He exists.

I also acknowledge that God has His way of convincing a man He exists, but a man must be ready to receive it, accept it, like you did.

My experience has taught me that men are crafty little weasels when it comes to putting responsibility on their own shoulders. We are not immune in that, I don't consider myself immune.

I think with your experiences, you can contribute a lot to discussing these things with atheists.
 

DanLMP

Well-Known Member
This is not a critique of your post HIU, just some points to consider for others who may look into this thread.

One can draw parallels between our justice system and God's justice, how they are not much different, but it cannot overcome ones perception of unfairness.
The human justice system and God's Justice system, though similar, are not completely alike. Man's justice system is a shadow of God's Justice system.

Man's justice strives to reveal the truth of a matter and then attempts to adjudicate fairly.
God's Justice already knows the Truth and guarantees fair Justice.

Mans justice frequently allows for "mulligans".
God's Justice always adjudicates fairly and evenly according to the Will of God.

We can say God wishes that no man perish, and they will just say if God wanted them to not perish, then He should work on getting them to believe He exists.
Dying on a cross wasn't enough?

The proof of God's love and desire to have a relationship with us is very "in your face". You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.


Most of the complaints against God are based on an emotional response. Some people are just built to live emotionally, not with logic and reason. Being a person who uses logic and reason I don't have a good emotional argument for these types of people.

But in order for them to have an emotional argument against God they first need to believe in God. At least that's a start.

My logical argument against this emotional response is:

This complaint against God being unfair is the simple argument of claiming that God is immoral.

The fact that we can argue that God is immoral is proof that He is not.

Prior to God's creation of the Universe the only thing that existed was God. Everything that existed at that time, and still, was and is "of" God. Morals, justice, love, ethics, etc. didn't and don't exist outside of God, they are apart of God.

When God created the Universe He included in that creation those non material characteristics that He has into his creation. Love, morals, justice, etc.

It would have been immoral of God to put into creation lesser versions of those characteristics than He has. Therefore if God could act immorally then that would be the highest moral value He could put into creation and thereby the highest moral value we could live by.

So if God could act immorally the best that we would be able to do would be to applaud Him for acting according to His character.

But we don't. We complain that He is immoral. Which is proof that He isn't. The created can't be greater than the Creator.
 
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