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Why Doesn’t God Just Obliterate the Devil and thus Get Rid of Evil? December 02, 2008

Posted by preacherwin in Apologetics, Reflections.
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Why doesn’t God just obliterate the Devil?

 

            One of the projects that we engage in at Rocky Bayou Christian School is that of helping to train students how to defend their faith when it is challenged.  One of the ways in which we do so is to pose questions to the student body that challenge the faith and then challenge them to write out a response for a prize.  Each of these questions are drawn from atheistic websites, blogs, books, or movies to ensure that the questions we use are ones actually being presented by unbelievers.

            This month’s question is, “Why doesn’t God just obliterate the Devil and thus get rid of evil—and if he can, what is he waiting for?”  The question itself comes from the trailer for Bill Mayer’s new movie, “Religulous.”  The movie is presented as a documentary—more a “mock-u-mentary,” designed to poke fun at religious people.  In his interview on Larry King Live this past August, Mayer gives the motivation for asking this question.  Mayer states that religion is “the ultimate hustle,” that Christian leaders “need” the Devil, “because if God got rid of the devil—and he could because he is all-powerful—then there is no fear, there is no reason to come to church, there is no reason to pass the plate, we are all out of a job…”  This statement falls on the heels of the comment, “at some point, mankind is going to have to shed this skin (Religion) if he is going to move forward.  I do have a serious intellectual problem with it, and on another level, it just ticks me off…”

            It is worth making one more comment about the interview on an indirectly related note:  when speaking about the afterlife and the Christian’s view that we know what will happen to us after we die, Mayer makes a wonderfully true comment.  Mayer states, “unless a God told you personally what happens to you when you die, it all came from another person with no more mental powers than you.”  And that is exactly the point.  God did come and tell us what will happen to us when we die, and he tells us the way that leads to eternal life, which is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and the way that leads to death, which is the way that Mayer seems to have chosen to pursue—to reject Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  And we have these words of God recorded for us in the Bible.

            How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not the writings of men, as I would presume Mayer would assert?  While my point here is not to present a full defense for the inspiration and inerrancy of the Holy Scriptures (as others have written excellent volumes on just that subject), let me set forth several basic points. 

            The first thing that we must present is that the Bible itself claims to be God’s word.  Now, your initial response very well may be to assert that a statement like this is circular reasoning.  And on some level, it is.  But let us pose the question, what might be true about the Bible if this statement about it being God’s word is true?  We would expect, were it written by God, that all of the facts that it contains are true.  And indeed, while evolutionists would assert that the creation story is untrue, evolution is a theory based on a speculation of the order of events.  The “mountains” of evidence that so many evolutionists point toward are illusory, and Creation Scientists can present interpretations of the evidence that are arguably more compelling than the evolutionary models, and which are consistent with Scripture.  If you doubt this, try getting a college Biology professor to agree to debate with a Creation Scientist—you will find it to be a rather challenging task.  The Creation Scientists are willing, but the evolutionists are not—basic logic should tell you that they are hiding something if they are unwilling to engage in such debates.

            But let us look at events that are clearly documented in history.  What we find when we examine the archaeological evidence is that there is nothing to contradict the historical Biblical account.  In addition, when we compare Biblical records of historical events with extra-Biblical documents of the same age, we find once again that there are no contradictions.  There are more textual accounts, for example, to the life of Jesus than there are for example to the life of Julius Caesar, but no-one doubts that Julius Caesar lived, nor do they doubt the historicity of his writings. 

            In addition, we might not only expect that the history that the Bible records is accurate, but we might also expect that the things that it foretells is also accurate.  Now, certainly all of the things that the Bible foretells have not yet come to pass, but there are hundreds upon hundreds of prophesies that the Bible did foretell that did come to pass.  For example, Isaiah prophesied that the man who would be used of God to return the exiles to Jerusalem would be named Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1), a prophesy that was given roughly 200 years before the event took place.  There are numerous prophesies that are given about the coming Messiah as well—that he was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that a forerunner would be sent (Malachi 3:1), that he would be rejected by his people (Psalm 118:22-23), numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12), that the soldiers would divide Jesus’ garments (Psalm 22:18), and that in his death his bones would not be broken, but his side pierced (Exodus 12:46, Zechariah 12:10).  We could go on, as there are many more, but as a friend of mine who used to be in the meat packing industry regularly says, “If the sample is true and free from bacteria, the whole lot is likely true and free from bacteria.”  In other words, to prove that a tree has roots you don’t need to dig up every tree, but only a representative sample.  Time after time, it can be documented that Biblical prophesies have come to pass.  By every scientific measure, then, one must accept the validity of the whole.

            One might also suggest that if the Bible were written by God himself, it would be true and without contradictions.  And indeed, that is exactly the case.  It is granted that there are some people who would point out that the Bible does seem to contradict itself on occasion, but in each of these cases, the contradictions are only apparent ones noted from a surface reading of the text.  Reasonable explanations can be given for each of these apparent contradictions.  One thing that we have learned from the discipline of forensic science is that in crimes, oftentimes very unusual events take place.  And while a crime may at first seem to have taken place in one way, when all of the evidence is examined, rational explanations can be given for why the initial assumptions were wrong.  If one is going to seek to say that the Bible contradicts itself, all of the evidence, both internal and external, must be examined before any rational conclusions can be reached.  I suggest that once that examination is made, the Scriptures will be recognized to be internally consistent.

            Though I don’t mean to belabor the point, but I want to make several more practical observations about the Bible that only seek to affirm that it is God’s word.  First of all, one of the things that separate the Bible from mythic and religious writings of the ancient times is that it gives accurate names as well as detailed historical as well as geographical information.  Most ancient religious documents are rather vague when it comes to such details so that they cannot be refuted.  The Bible presents this kind of information, and as noted above, it is not found in error when challenged.  Secondly, the Bible has had a greater impact on the events of worldwide history in a way that no other book can claim.  Nations have risen and fallen around the contents and teachings of this book.  Philosophies have emerged with the contents of this book as their foundations.  The bible is the most widely-read book in history and even non-believers have benefited from its insights and wisdom into human nature.  In addition, people have been willing to die for the veracity of this book in a way that no other book can claim in history.  And finally, on a very pastoral note, the Bible has the ability to bring peace to a dying person’s heart unlike any other book in human history.  When folks are on their deathbeds, they typically do not ask for someone to read from Shakespeare’s sonnets, but regularly ask to have some of the Psalms read to them.  This again is a sign that the words of this book transcend humanity and are found to be of divine origin.  No other book, religious or secular, can claim the authority that the Bible claims for itself, and it is irrational to ask for a higher authority to attest to the divinity of the Bible than God himself because God himself is the highest authority—and He claims thousands of times in the scriptures that these words are his own.  If you doubt that this book is truly God’s word, I challenge you to sit down and give the Bible an honest read from cover to cover, examining the evidence for and against, before you seek to challenge its authority.

            Now, as to answering Mayer’s specific question about why God does not destroy the Devil and thus rid the world of evil?  To answer this question well, there are several things we need to take into account.  First of all, there is an important distinction that needs to be made between the Devil and evil in the sense that even if the Devil were to cease to exist tomorrow, there would still be evil in the world.  The name “Devil” comes from the Greek term, dia/boloß (diabolos), which literally refers to one who engages in slander against another (certainly something that Mayer is guilty of when it comes to God).  In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, dia/boloß (diabolos) is typically used to translate !j’f’ (Satan), which means, “accuser.”  Satan is described as the accuser of the faithful (Zechariah 3:1-2; Job 1) and one who incites to sin (1 Chronicles 21:1).  The Devil, in turn, is described as tempter (Matthew 4:1), enemy of God (Matthew 13:39), betrayer (John 6:70), murderer and Father of Lies (John 8:44), oppressor of God’s people (Acts 10:38), enemy of righteousness (Acts 13:10), the one who sets snares for God’s people (1 Timothy 3:7), and the father of those who make a practice of sinning (1 John 3:7-10).  Ultimately it will be the devil and those who serve him who will be thrown into the lake of fire to be tormented eternally (Revelation 20:10,15).  Thus, in a sense, part of Meyer’s answer is answered.  God has promised that he will destroy the devil, but such will not take place until all of God’s elect have been brought to faith (arguably Christ’s return is keyed to the death of the last martyr [Revelation 7:11]). 

            Before I address the question of evil and it being taken out of the world, I want to address the follow-up question that Meyer posed—what is God waiting for?  In other words, the question can be rephrased—why doesn’t God just get on with it?  In a sense, the answer was given just above—God is waiting for the final predestined believer to come to faith/the last martyr to give his life for the Holy faith.  To understand this better, it is important to look at how Peter addressed this very question in his second epistle.  Peter was dealing with those who were scoffing and saying “nothing has changed since the old days—where is this God of yours?”  It is almost as if Peter were writing to Mayer on this very issue—or perhaps Mayer isn’t overly creative in asking questions.  Peter states that the reason God is taking what seems to us to be a long time is not because God is slow to act, but because God is patient, being willing to endure the mocking and scoffing of unbelievers until the very last member of his elect has been brought to faith (2 Peter 3:8-10).  Thus, in God’s eternal decree before the foundation of the earth, when he chose his elect throughout history (Ephesians 1:4), God also determined to stay his hand of eternal judgment long enough for the very last believer would be brought to faith—he will not lose even one of those who he has so ordained to become his own (John 10:28).

            Finally, we are left with the question of evil.  The first thing to note is that while the concept of sin is related to the concept of evil, they are not synonymous.  The Old Testament word for sin derives from the Hebrew verb aj’x’ (chata), which means to miss the mark or target that one is aiming at.  Thus, sin is missing the mark of God’s righteous character or not being able to live up to his standard.  In turn, the antonym of sin is righteousness.  In contrast, the Hebrew word for evil is [r: (ra), and it is typically used as the antonym of bAT (tov), or “good.”  Deuteronomy 30:15 presents this contrast quite clearly where Moses presents the people with the following statement:  “See, I put before you this day the life and the good—the death and the evil.”  In other words, that which is good and that which is evil are seen as the necessary results of obedience or disobedience respectively, or in the context of our discussion—good and evil are the results of a righteous lifestyle or a sinful lifestyle.  One might take the concept one step farther, understanding the fall of mankind as described in Genesis 3 as the entrance of evil into the world, that good is ultimately reflected in what it was like to live in an unfallen world and evil is reflected in what it is like to live in a fallen world.

            So why does God permit us to live in a world that is less than perfect and is often filled with evil rather than with good?  Admittedly, such a time is only for a season, for there will come a time when Jesus will return and remake the heavens and the earth free from the effects of evil—restoring the world to an unfallen state, but with one catch—we will no longer be able to fall into sin.  Yet, for now, we live in a fallen world and not only do we sin, but we are forced to endure not only evil people all around us, but also evil events that take place—events that are reflective of the fall of mankind.  So why does a good God permit such evil?  First of all, God permits such to go on in the world around us to remind us of the effects of our sinful actions and hopefully compel us to grieve over our own sin as well as the sins of others.  Secondly, evil in the world around us stands as a constant testimony against the secular humanists and almost every other religious system.  Most religions and the secular humanists believe that deep down mankind is good and that it will only truly become good when it “sheds the skin” of religion and moves forward apart from God.  The Bible tells us quite the opposite.  We are born in sin (Psalm 51:5) and we pursue sin (Romans 3:10-12) with all of our strength apart from a movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  If mankind were good, then mankind would be perfecting itself and wars and political oppression and greed would come to an end.  Yet we are sinners, and thus we stumble and fall into sin.  Mankind is fallen and evil is a constant testimony to that fallenness.  A final reason for God’s permission of evil in the world is that he uses evil to strengthen Christians in their faith.  Facing evil, trials, and tribulations force us to draw closer to God and to rely on his strength and thus grow in our relationship to him.

            In other words, for the Christian, while evil is something that we never desire to enter into our lives, when it does, such evil things are not necessarily bad.  In fact, in many cases, the scriptures remind us that it is good to face evil things so long as we are relying upon God, for such cases will grow us to be stronger in our relationship with Jesus Christ.  One final note—while the final destruction of the Devil will not take place before the second coming of our Lord, Jesus did once and for all time defeat the power of the devil upon the cross of Calvary.  Yet, though Satan has been defeated, we must endure for a little while longer while God works out his plan in the world.

            In a nutshell—God does has already destroyed the Devil and has promised to cast him in the lake of fire in the end times.  Second, God is waiting for the last of the elect to come to faith and/or the last martyr to die.  Third, even if the Devil were thrown into the pit tomorrow, we would still have evil in the world due to the fall of man and man’s sin—something that can only be remedied through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Fourth, evil is not always bad though it is always unpleasant.  God often uses evil to bring about his work in this world as well as using it to sanctify and mature us in the faith.

 

 

            

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Comments»

1. dee - October 29, 2009

another question. take two 5 year old boys. one is born into a loving family, and one is born into an abusive family. the one born into a loving family has a disease that is not painful however causes him to die one night at the age of 5 painlessly while being held in the loving arms of his mother. the other 5 year old has no fatal disease, but sadly, dies at the hands of his abusive father after being beaten brutally. I assume they both end up in heaven? why did one have to endure more torture/pain then the other. would you venture to say there are levels in heaven? for example, the boy who went thru more pain on earth gets to sit closer to God? either way, let’s say, afterwards in heaven they either both get the same treatment, or there are different levels to attain to? otherwise what was the point of the child suffering? I first posed this question to a friend but my example was of a man.. of course the answer had to do with the choices they made, etc. but when I posed the question using the example of a child, where we can’t really put their choices too much into that equation, the question was not answered. When I take away the layer of a human understanding the concept of conscious choices/etc, it aids in helping us answer the question more directly to its point. will you touch on this?

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preacherwin - October 29, 2009

To begin with, I would call your attention to Matthew 20 and Jesus’ parable of the laborers in the vineyard–all worked different hours, all toiled in the sun for different amounts of time, and some brought in greater amounts of harvest than others–yet all were given the same wage. While I recognize that Medieval theology built a theology of a tiered heaven, there is really very little in scripture to build that theology on–in fact, the weight of scripture is that we are but “unworthy servants” (see Luke 17:10). The Apostle Paul, who suffered more than most of us could ever dream (see 2 Corinthians 11 for a run down of this), said that his own works were like dung (Philippians 3:8). So to answer the one element of your question, no, when one suffers more, one does not attain a better place in glory.

So is God unfair? Yes, in a sense, but not in the way you are thinking. We are all sinners and thus guilty of eternal condemnation. What we all deserve is a life on earth wracked with pain and suffering and then to be eternally judged in final condemnation. So, in terms of “unfairness” in the truest sense, it is those who receive relatively little pain in life to whom God is being more unfair. And, since even the worst day in the worst place on earth is paradise in contrast to a minute in Hell, even the most wretched existence has experienced this unfairness of God. Personally, I typically choose to call this “grace,” but it is an unfair act in the most elementary sense.

In terms of those who suffer even apart from their own decisions, our state is sinful and we live in a fallen world–a world filled with sin and death. The reality is that we need to come to terms with the fact that these terrible things are ordained by God to be a constant testimony to us that we need a redeemer. We should see the effect of sin in the world around us and grieve deeply that human beings do wicked things to one another (in the case of the abusive father) and that we live in a world that has disease and death (my own children are getting over having strep throat as I am writing this…).

Ultimately, God uses even the acts of his wicked to bring about his work in the world–and he has sought counsel from no one (Romans 11:34). He is sovereign and we only see part of the picture. It is like when we were in grade-school. We were taught that one should never end a sentence with a preposition. Yet, as we have gotten older, we find out that on occasion it is appropriate to do so. Winston Churchill’s comment once was: “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something that from now on up with I shall not put. There is a rule that runs deeper than the ordinary rules of grammar–such is the same with God. God uses pain to bring about his will, to refine his own for glory, and to testify about our need amongst other things.

Hopefully this proves helpful

Win

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2. dee - October 31, 2009

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I can tell that you truly try to first see the point from where a person is coming from … and then from there respond to a question. I appreciate that. (and I hope your little ones are feeling better)

Regarding the reasoning that God is actually being more unfair to the boy who received less suffering is a great response and does almost answer my question, but my question is now just posed in a vice versa context. Why then is he unfair to the least sufferer? What’s the point of fair vs. unfair?

Then the boy who received the less suffering could turn around while he’s up there in heaven and say “man! I wish I coulda had a little more suffering down there! I sure missed out!” (I say that with some humor but you see my point right?)

And I understand we live in a fallen world with disease and death. but Why? Let me ask you this (another question.. going very deep, removing the layers and getting right down to the basic core question) God is the most perfect, unflawed, all knowing Creator (creator emphasized) all powerful.. according to the scriptures, correct?
I’m going to answer that as a Yes. Because it can’t be a No. if it’s a No, stop me right there. So going off the answer being a yes, then it would follow through to say that evil can only exist thru the creation of God. If we say it was created from the Devil, then that’s under the umbrella of God. If it’s created by humans, then it’s under the umbrella as well. Anything that comes into existence is under the umbrella of God’s creation. How is it even possible that such a thing as sin exists? For example, if all this is because God gave us the power of choice, and now all this revolves around the power of choice, why is my choice only rewarded if I choose one path over the other? Why even complicate this whole process with a non righteous path to even exist? I’m just having a hard time with these basic fundamental questions. Essentially, any answer still leaves me to this paradox. If the answer has to do with God wanting to so call weed out the bad from the good, well then why even create the bad? If it has to do with humans creating this on our own, then why bother creating us? If it has to do with God wanting some company up there in Heaven, then what’s the big secret about? I see this going either one of two ways. Either God created this entire thing, all its good, its evil, and not one single thing is wrong with it..And for some reason.. we have now started blaming all this evil on the devil or on us as humans, when in fact, all this time, it’s been God. Or he created this entire thing.. and somewhere during the creation process ended up put a little too much “salt” in the cake mixture… and oops! Freedom of choice, great, now we all have to choose not to disappoint our creator and please him and not fall into temptation..(which implies that God makes mistakes and leaves us to repair the damages)…that darn devil, disobeying God.. and God just not obliterating him right off the bat.. he totally had the power!

Furthermore, and I say with the most upmost respect, but in your answer you said “God is sovereign and we only see part of the picture” but yet we place our upmost EVERYTHING, our lives, our hearts, our actions, on something we only know a part of? and we seem to have all the answers. so if we technically do not have all the answers, then how can we be so sure that what we’re saying is in line with God? since there is a chance that what we’re saying, could potentially be in that realm of the unknown? Apparently the Bible answers everything but is this not the case? Obviously God is leaving something out from our understanding. So then, I don’t have all the facts to make a wise, intelligent, and honest decision on what’s righteous.
The main thing.. is that I’m just having a very hard time seeing the point in all this? What is the point of it all? I feel like each time I ask that to myself, the closest way I can answer that is to go to the beginning.. but the beginning keeps bringing me to the creator.. which is where I then start to go in circles with these paradoxes.
Again, I very much appreciate you taking the time to respond to me.

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preacherwin - October 31, 2009

The big answer to your question is that the reason and purpose for our lives is to glorify God. The tendency (a fallen tendency) is to be way to anthrocentric in our thinking when we really need to be theocentric. Thus, God is choosing to glorify himself in our lives in a variety of ways–despite ourselves and despite what we all deserve (which is judgment and eternal condemnation. But I started with the end of your argument, let me work backwards some.

The point of God being “unfair” really has to do with his showing of grace and mercy. He manifests that grace in people’s lives in different ways for the sole end of revealing his glory. Sometimes that is hard for us to see from within the trenches of life, though often when we look back with hindsight, we can see God’s wisdom in this. Ultimately, I believe that we will see the great wisdom of God’s plan in eternity even if we don’t see it here. Remember how God presents himself to Moses in Exodus 34: “showing mercy upon those who I will show mercy and grace upon those I will show grace.”

Your other question is one that people have debated over for generations: why did God create a world with evil in it–or at least, why did God create a world where evil was possible? I think that the best answer is the answer that Augustine gave–and that is as a demonstration of God’s love. We would never have known the sacrificial nature of Christ’s love for his own if we had never sinned and fallen. Thus, in God’s plan, the fall was a means to an end–that the elect of God might know the depth of Christ’s sacrificial love. Seems to me as good an answer as there is.

Blessings,

Win

(and yes, the kids are feeling better, thanks for asking…w.)

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Many - April 15, 2013

To answer to your question, I was having difficulties with some of this questions that didn’t seem to make sense to me. Then I put myself a little in God shoes, think about the bible say God is love, it doesn’t say God has love it say God is love only to assume that God has to be all the essential feelings we have such as justice, care, yes angry too. God gets angry too, people don’t understand God is perfect in all sense off the word, but also has all of our feelings because does feeling comes from him. There’s one thing I want to bring out, even thought people may ask why did God allowe evil to exist, if he wount allowed evil to exist then he could not allowed good to exist. God is justice, everything he does has to be justified. The angels had to choose just like we do, just because God permits things to allowed it to happend doesn’t mean he plan all this for you to suffer. In another note remember the big picture is that you are here on earth on a trial basis depends on how you do it depends we’re you end up, is no different than most of this movies I see all the time we have to earn our medals once you become a Christian of course. Evil is done by man, even if God permits it the facts is man love doing the wrong thing. I would say let’s stop asking ourself those questions that only will make you question God more, and lets start loving one another and God. We can’t change what happend but we could change our decisions in life and that should be the most important thing in life. Trust The Lord and he would give all the answer you need.

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3. Janice Egbaiyelo - November 19, 2009

Hello Win,

I’ve been taught that God knew us before we were even born. He knows what our entire life and life choices are going to be. Why would He allow someone to be born and he already knows they are destined for hell and burn for entirety? Where is the love in that? Why would God that is all knowing create (Satan) knowing that he would rebel against him; tempt Eve and Adam to eat from the tree of life and therefore allow sin to enter into this world? Why would he do this? He had the Angels to praise and worship him and I feel that he didn’t need us (humans). I also have a God that speaks of Love and Forgiveness will not forgive those in the end that for whatever reason did not accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour to burn in hell for an entirety. That means that you, me and other Christians will have to see and watch people we have loved very much on this earth be thrown into hell and suffer. Could you spend eternity in Heaven in joy with a loved ones in Hell?

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preacherwin - November 20, 2009

God says to Jeremiah, I knew you before I formed you in the womb (Jer. 1:5), and that is often put together with places like Ephesians 1:4 to infer the principle that God did know us (recognizing that the Hebraic notion of knowing has to do with relationship–so he had relationship with us) from before the foundation of the earth. In both of these senses, though, the object of God’s knowing deals with the elect. That does not mean that God is somehow clueless about the existence of the unbelievers, but it does mean that he has not set his affections upon them. Yet in electing to choose to set his eternal affections on some due to his grace, he still knows who he has chosen not to elect and has ordained them to be vessels of wrath (Romans 9:21-23). The point is that you were taught right, God is sovereign and chooses his own.

So why would he allow someone to be born that he already has destined to hell? If we look back to Romans 9:21-23, the Apostle Paul gives us the answer, and that is to glorify himself by demonstrating his power. You may not find that very satisfactory, but that is what God says of himself. To get your brain around this you need to recognize that because of sin, what we all deserve is eternal condemnation for God is a just and righteous God. He has chosen to shed his grace on some and others not. In Genesis 3:15, we see another clue that helps us to understand, for God pronounces judgment and speaks of two lines or families, the line of the woman and the line of the serpent. 1 John 3 picks this idea up and presents the same thing, though humans may all be of one race biologically, there are two races spiritually. One race are children of God (whom he has set His affection on) and the other race is made up of the children of the devil who are the enemies of God. Remember, God states in his word that he hated Essau (Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:13).

In terms of God and the Devil. Augustine argued that the reason that God ordained the fall was so that he could demonstrate his sacrificial love in his Son coming, taking on flesh, and dying for mankind (and note that it was the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil that the fall was connected to).

You are right in saying that God did not need us as he still does not need us. Instead he created us so that we can enjoy his goodness and grace. What a wonderful thing it is to delight in Christ!

In terms of knowing that there are loved ones burning in hell–we still find joy in heaven because true joy is focused not on humans or earthly relationships, but on Christ. I had a dear friend of mine pass away from cancer 4 or 5 years ago who was an unbeliever. Though I take little pleasure in knowing of my friend’s torment; I find pleasure even in that earthly sorrow because Christ is glorified even in my friend’s judgment. I grant that a lot of people struggle with a view like that, but that is the Biblical presentation. God is just and he is right to condemn a man or woman for his or her sins; he is under no obligation to redeem any–yet he does in a wonderful way. That is something to rejoice in!

w.

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Many - April 15, 2013

Look at it like this, if you are God and because you are God you cannot because of your holiness interfere with humans decisions because of your own word, what would you do to try to get the attention of those that are dying and going to he’ll. Another point is, God knows the past, present and future right…then maybe have you ask the question he knows who will follow him and who will not, in his power he try’s to reach out to does who doesn’t seem to care for him but at the end it has to be there decision. Is like the word of God say, at the end your own actions is that is going to condemned you or save you.

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4. Pete - August 30, 2011

Hi. I’ve read what you have said about the scientific accuracy of the Bible and that it is literally true and not an allegory.
But in Genesis 1, it says that on the first day God Created the Heavens and Earth, Light, and day and night.
But God doesn’t create the Sun until the fourth day. And the day and night come from the rotation of the earth. So whomever wrote that doesn’t seem to know that the sun produces the light.

Also, on the 3rd day plants are created. But how can they grow without light the sun? The sun must already exist.

I’m sure whomever wrote Genesis felt connected to God. And I’m sure you can come up with an explanation as to why there was light, day and night when there was no sun.

But why should I reject the simplest explanation: the the author didn’t understand that light came from the sun? And that it is the work of men?
And why is it necessary for the Bible to be without error in order for it be a great book and worthy of study?

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preacherwin - August 30, 2011

Pete, Let me field your objections in the order that you raise them:

First of all, as I mention in my reflections, the light that is found in Day 1 comes not from the sun, but from the light of the glory of God. When we arrive at the book of Revelation, it is noted that in the new creation there will be no sun because God will dwell with men. In the design of God’s creation, the purpose for which the sun was created will cease to be necessary and thus will not be present. In turn, it is by the light of God, between day 3 and day 4 that the plants began to grow and thrive. One might even argue that the plants will do just fine for 24 hours without light (certainly there are parts of the world that have darkness for long seasons as winter approaches), but I am not making that argument, simply that the light that existed to mark day and night was entirely supernatural of origin.

Secondly, it is to be sure that Moses understood that the sun produces light. First of all, he grew up in the Egyptian courts and thus would have been privy to the scientific developments of his day. Of course, the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation even later still (between 90 & 95 AD). Hundreds of years before that the Pythagoreans had posited the presence of a central fire around which the planets (and the sun) rotated and which provided light and heat.

I find your comment about the “simplest” explanation interesting because up until the last 150 years or so, everyone considered the divine origin of the universe to be the simplest explanation, and is is certainly the natural reading of the text. You are reading your presuppositions into the text and on the basis of your assumptions positing that your modern naturalistic view is the simplest. I would suggest that it is your view that is much more complicated because it simply discards all of the creation account as allegory and subject to the winds of speculation. Also, to just write the ancient culture as backwards and ignorant because they do not share your modern presuppositions is a case of chronological snobbery, as CS Lewis would describe it.

It is not necessary for the Bible to be without error to be considered a great book worthy of study. I did my undergraduate work in the English Department wherein we spent a great deal of time studying many great works that were worthy of our care: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Coleridge, Poe, etc… Yet worthy of study does not mean one ought to base one’s life upon them. And worthy of study does not provide the assurance that the answers to life’s most pressing questions (why am I here? and what happens to me when I die?) are correct. These are questions for which we want absolute and not speculative answers.

The Bible does not present itself simply as a book of literature, as does Beowulf or the works of Homer. The Bible presents itself as the divinely spoken word of God. Over 600 times in the Old Testament, we find the statement: “Thus says the Lord…” And that is not to mention the many comments that are made affirming the same in principle without explicitly making the statement. Similarly, the New Testament affirms that the scriptures were “breathed out” by God and that the authors were “moved” by the wind of the Holy Spirit, thus writing what God would command and not what their preferences would dictate.

And, it then logically follows, that if God is incapable of error (he would not be God if he were), then his word is without error and is binding upon men. All men.

Thus, Pete, it is you who are presenting the novel interpretation of the text, one which none of the authors of the Biblical text would have supported. And in turn, it is our responsibility to harmonize our understanding of science with the plain reading of scripture and not the other way around. That does not mean we run around as some have done and imagine that the world is flat (the Biblical authors never held that assumption), but that we do not write off supernatural causes for things because a naturalistic worldview that is prevalent in the culture would not be comfortable with miracles.

Blessings,

win

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5. John P Pelton - December 01, 2011

I’m not sure if I posited this question on this site or not, (as I have asked this question on many sites with no satisfying answer), but I seek an answer that does not seem to be able to be answered. I am a Christian and agree on all doctrines that I have been exposed to thus far, except for one doctrine. The doctrine of Last Things, specifically including Gods` final judgment. Simply put, I understand a just God judging and so on, as there will be no sin in heaven, but hear me out.
This is the difficult question to answer: I believe my God is a just and loving God; He is the only God, yet He confuses me with this — Why does an all loving God condemn people to an active, eternal torment when they do not follow him. These are people who seem to have no say as to whether they even chose to exist or not, as they did not ask to be born and to be gifted with the state of living. Why this state of active, eternal torment, when he or she didn`t even ask to be born in the first place.
It seems to me that a God of love would simply `destroy` a person of evil, never to be thought of or heard from again (this seems to me, the most loving thing to do, under the circumstances), why this eternal torture to someone who had absolutely no say in the matter of possessing life in the first place … any answers … John :)

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preacherwin - December 01, 2011

John,

Thanks for the comment, and no, I do not believe that you have posted this question on this particular site, but let it be said that this question is one that has been asked and debated throughout history. Even going back to the fourth century you had a monk named Pelagius posing the question in a similar way by stating that if God expects us to live a righteous life (including the person who never hears the Gospel), we ought to be able to do that. The man who responded to Pelagius was a man named Augustine, who pointed out a basic principle of logic, that “ought” does not imply “ability.” To assume that since one ought to do something that they must have the ability is what is technically called a “Moralistic Fallacy” today.

Let me approach your answer, though, beginning with Scripture. The Apostle Paul speaks to your specific question in Romans 1:18-20. Essentially, what Paul is saying is that people (regardless of where in the world or in history they have lived) are aware of the being of God. In other words, God has created the universe in such a way that it points to him and his existence and that when people look at the created order, the natural response is to look for a creator God who has made all things and to recognize his invisible attributes (orderliness, creativity, etc…). In choosing to reject the existence of God, people “suppress” what they know deep down to be true and they give credit for the creation to one who is not the creator. In failing to give credit to the rightful author of creation, they stand in rebellion against him.

To compound things is the matter of what we typically refer to as “Federal Headship.” Many times in scripture we find God stating that he will punish the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation. In other words, when I stand in judgment, I am culpable not only for my personal sins, but for the sins of my father, Grandfather, and Great-Grandfather. And, if we want to recognize that my Great-Grandfather is also guilty of the sins of his Great-Grandfather, there is a compounding of guilt that goes all of the way back to Adam and Eve.

Punishment for sin, thus reflects two elements. First, the severity of the guilt and second, the significance of the one against whom you have sinned. We have already mentioned the severity of the guilt in the terms of Federal Headship. If we are infinitely guilty of sin before a perfect God, one should expect the punishment to be infinite in its severity. In addition, the more important a person, the more intense the offense. Were you to punch me in the nose, that would not be good, but it likely would not land you in jail. Yet, were you to punch the President of the United States in the nose, you would probably land yourself in jail for a long, long time. God is infinitely greater and more important than the President, so you probably get the picture as to where I am going.

Let me take the thought one step further because you ask why not annihilation. First of all, the idea is not found in the Bible, so those proposing a theology of divine annihilation of the ungodly is importing human ideas or preferences into the Bible. Jesus does speak of being destroyed (Matthew 10:28), but in the context of the torment he speaks of in other places, the implication is that Hell is a place of eternally being destroyed.

The more specific matter is whether God is being more Righteous by eternally tormenting with a punishment that fits the crime or simply causing someone to cease to exist. This, of course, is at the heart of your question. I would suggest, though, that the just thing to do is to punish appropriately and when we understand the magnitude of our sin before God, we then begin to come to terms with the nature of God’s punishment. God is Gracious and loving too, but the way in which God demonstrated his love (John 3:16) was to send Jesus to die in our place so that we would then be under his Federal Headship (Romans 5:12-17). He showed his mercy in Christ and if people then reject that mercy it would seem that righteous judgment would prevail.

Put it on human terms, for sin not only affects the one against whom sin is directed (God) but also affects the community in which the sin is perpetrated (God’s Kingdom). If for example, there is a man in your community that is captured after kidnapping, raping, and torturing 14 little girls across a period of several years. Forgive my choice of illustration as it hits home for many people, but I am trying to think of about the most heinous crime I can think of. This man is caught, arrested, and is found guilty on all counts in a court of law. Which is more appropriate: punishment or exiling the person to an abandoned island, effectively removing them from any human influence. True, the analogy breaks down between exile and annihilation, but follow the logic. I would argue that were a judge to exile in a case like this, that the community would rise up and recognize the judge of an unrighteous judgment. The church is not so much rising up and saying God isn’t punishing unbelievers enough, God’s righteousness is perfect, but the idea is that a just God would execute just punishment in a fashion that would satisfy the need for retribution.

All that God does is done to show his glory to us as humans, so even in the suffering of unbelievers in judgment, God is being glorified because his righteous nature is being vindicated in that punishment.

Certainly there is tension here–there must be. God is good and loving; God is also just and perfectly righteous. So his justice is loving and his loving is just.

I hope that this helps get you on the right track with regards to the matter at hand. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you continue on your path of working this through. Thanks for the dialogue.

win

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6. Tom - April 20, 2012

Hello, I have a question that I haven’t been able to get a rational and impartial answer to. Before asking though, I’d like to make it known that I am definitely a believer w/ my mind on the good things of God. My question is: It seems so illogical to think that our good and very fair Father would make the criteria for spending eternity in heaven dependent on accepting Jesus as our Lord. Here’s why…it seems that people raised in “Christain Countries” have an unfair advantage over people raised in Muslim or Buddist countries, especially a hundred years ago when communication was not as advanced as now. Any thoughts? Thanks.

Tom

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preacherwin - April 20, 2012

Thanks for your question, Tom, it is one that I many people struggle with, so it is worth discussing. That said, let me reframe your question slightly, in what I believe is a more Biblical form.

“If God is good and very fair, it seems illogical that he would send his Son to save anyone.”

Jesus, of course, makes it clear that only those trusting in him will be granted admittance to heaven (John 6:44; 8:24; 14:6; etc…), so that is our starting point. The other place that we need to start is in Revelation 20:11-15, where the final judgment is portrayed. What we have there is all people who ever walked the face of the earth — Christians and non-Christians — standing before God and being judged by their works and all falling short of God’s standard on the sole basis of works. It is then, only those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of Life who are spared being thrown into the pit. As Paul writes, it is a work of God’s grace by which we are saved, not our own works of piety (Romans 11:6).

I am assuming that up until this point I am going over old territory. My point in doing so is not so much to rehearse information that you already know, but to set a foundation on which we can build the rest of our discussion, so be patient with me in this.

What is interesting, though, is that this “Book of Life” is described by scripture as having been written since “before the foundation of the earth” (Revelation 13:8; 17:8). This is consistent with the language of Ephesians 1:4, where it speaks of God choosing (or electing) believers since before the foundation of the earth.

While it is true that the idea of a God who elects who he will choose to bring to himself is an idea that many Christians find uncomfortable, it is something that the Bible teaches over and over. The idea is that we live in a world where ALL deserve eternal wrath, but God chooses to save some from the eternal fires of hell through his Son, Jesus Christ. On what basis does God choose? Not on our works, but on the basis of his grace. He pours out his grace first and it is that grace that even enables us to believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior in the first place.

Paul uses the analogy in Romans 9:19-23 of a potter working with clay and making some vessels for glory and some for destruction. Do we consider the potter unfair that he makes some vessels that will be used to show his wrath? No, it is the potter’s right to do so. A potter today might make both fine vessels and clay targets for trap shooting. He has the right to do so and is not being unjust to the target clay if it is getting what it rightfully deserves in the first place.

If you want to say that God is “unfair” then what we need to say is that God is unfair in saving any of us. If we rightly understand our sin, we will rightly understand that we are a million miles away from deserving the grace God offers us in Christ. In a sense, the Gospel is the tool by which we share with people that God is unfair and that all who cling to Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be passed over — much like the people of Israel were passed over from the 10th plague because the blood of the Lamb was over their doorposts.

It is true that being raised in a “Christian Country” means that the Gospel is heard more freely than in Muslim nations. That being said, the Gospel is going out in those Muslim nations, though in the midst of great persecution. God has promised he will not let his word return void. And sadly, there is much disbelief in our own nation where the Gospel is freely preached. Why? It takes the work of the Holy Spirit to give re-birth (John 3:3) to a soul which is dead in sin. And all whom God has elected to be in the Lamb’s Book of Life will hear the Gospel and be saved, for our God is a sovereign potter working with his clay.

Hopefully that is helpful in reframing your question somewhat. If you want to continue the discussion, Tom, feel free, I would enjoy the dialogue.

Blessings, Win

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Tom - April 23, 2012

Win,

Thanks for the reply.

I understand what you are saying but in order to consider this view the verses below would have to be explained to me.
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Also, to my understanding Romans 9:19-23 is implying that the unsaved person was not barred from being saved but chose not to be. However, God could still use him to fulfill a purpose, e.g., King Cyrus freeing the Hebrew captives.

In getting back to my original question, I’m more so seeking insight that anything else. It seems so illogical that God would exclude, for the most part anyway, entire nations from heaven simply because they never had the gospel clearly explained to them.

Once again, thanks for your time.

Tom

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preacherwin - April 24, 2012

Tom,

Let me offer an interpretation of the passages you mentioned.

The first was 1 Timothy 2:4:
In context, Paul begins chapter 2 with the language of prayer for “all” people. The word “all” that Paul employs is the Greek word “pas” which can be used to refer to everyone without exception within a group but more often than not, “pas” is used to refer to individuals within a group. In other words, he is not saying “all people without exception,” but is speaking of all people without distinction. Thus, in verse 2, Paul gives examples of the kinds of people we are to pray for — namely those in power over us. Paul surely is not suggesting that every Christian commit every political leader into their prayer list (though such would not be a bad thing), but instead, we are to pray for the leaders whose decisions affect our lives. This interpretation is reinforced in verse 8 where the same word is chosen to speak of our praying in every place…surely that is not to infer we are to pray to God in every location of the planet, but of the gathered body.

2 Peter 3:9
In this passage, the operable question is “who is this you? In context, the “you” is speaking of the elect throughout the generations. Remember, Peter is writing to Christians, not to pagans. The “you” denotes that he is speaking to this Christian audience here.

I suppose the more important insight that I can offer, though, is to look at the entire canon of scripture and ask yourself, what does God teach in this context. Is God the wimpy guy in the clouds hoping that we will choose him, or is God a sovereign God who draws people to himself. I propose that the Bible presents God as the latter. Then to interpret the anomalous verses in light of the clear. Blessings,

win

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Many - April 15, 2013

I want to add just a few word to it, I just people to remember that the bible say the The Lord will not return until everybody has heard his message…just something to think about. Now saying that, it might be a little more difficult for a person which was raise a Muslim to a person that has been in a Christian country to accept the word of God, but at the end is that person choice. Once a choice is presented and you choose to follow God, he will help you accomplish your task here on earth.

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preacherwin - April 16, 2013

Many,

First of all, we are not God, so to put ourselves in God’s shoes is both impossible (as we are finite) and rather subjective. Instead, we must rely upon what God has revealed about himself. That said, while yes, the Bible does say that God is love, the Bible also says that God is just and God is holy. In fact, while the Bible does not say that God is “love, love, love” the Bible does say that God is “holy, holy, holy.” That in itself should cause you to pause in your line of thought. Holiness is purity and means being set apart from sin and the effects thereof. For God to bring us into relationship with himself (something he desires for his elect), he must first deal with our sinful state. That he did through Jesus Christ. But he did so not for all men without distinction, but for all of those who he called to himself. Read Romans 8:29-30 — “For those whom eh FOREKNEW he also PREDESTINED (this speaks of election) to be conformed into the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn amongst many brothers. And those whom he PREDESTINED he also CALLED, and those whom he CALLED he also JUSTIFIED, and those whom he JUSTIFIED he also GLORIFIED.”

Pardon my capitals, but I wanted to emphasize the causal chain that Paul plainly lays out before us. It all begins with the decree of God and it is worked out in our lives by God’s hand entirely, not by our choice. We do not choose God (Romans 3:10-11); God chooses us (Romans 9:16).

Follow the language to Jesus’ own mouth: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.’” John 6:35-37

In Jesus’ language, he parallels “coming” with “believing” thus making them essentially one in the same thing. Belief brings about coming to Jesus and those who come are only able to come because the Father has sent them (election) — and those the Father sends will be saved eternally. Continue reading here in John and Jesus will hammer that issue home even further.

The permission for suffering is part of this plan. It is a means by which the wicked get a foretaste of their own eternal destiny, those who are believers yet stumbling in sin are chastised and their hearts turned toward God, and by which believers are refined for glory. Remember, Jesus himself did not live a comfortable life in this world, but instead, one of suffering. If such a life was good enough for our Lord, why do we feel that it is not good enough for us as well?

You seem to want to conform God to your preferences rather than conforming your ideas and preferences to the Revelation of God. Don’t think of earth so much as a trial basis — we do not earn our way to heaven — it is given by Grace and by Grace alone (Romans 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9) so that we might not boast in our work. Any good works we do are prepared beforehand by God (Ephesians 2:10), which thus means that God gets all of the credit, not us.

In terms of the Lord returning — the Bible does not say what you are saying. It says that no man will know the day or the hour when Christ will return (Mark 13:32) and seems to imply that all of those ordained to be martyred for their faith will die (Revelation 6:11), but never explicitly every person without distinction. That is drawn by inference from the Great Commission that we are to take the Gospel to all the world and from the pronouncement that Jesus will call a people to himself from every tribe and nation. That does not mean that all people are to be saved, but that all people groups will have elect representatives and thus we are to take the Gospel to them — blessed are the feet of those who bring the good news…

So, to use your example of a Muslim, yes, we must evangelize them and yes, many Muslims are coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ — which is part of the reason that the Arabs hate us so much. Nevertheless, Muslims who genuinely come to faith do so not because of the cleverness of our arguments, but by the call of God (John 6 again).

Many, I hope that this is helpful to you as you sort these things through.

Blessings,

win

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7. Tom - April 24, 2012

Good morning and thanks once again for your reply. I follow your reasoning on this topic but it opens the door for so many more questions. As time permits I will post them and hopefully gain more insight. Have a blessed day. Tom

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preacherwin - April 24, 2012

Tom, always happy to dialogue. And you are right, there are a lot of questions that this discussion opens, like that of the extent of God’s omnipotence and the role of our wills.

One thing that I forgot to note last night, was the reference to King Cyrus. Use the interaction with the Egyptian Pharaoh when Israel was in bondage and during the plagues. After each plague there is a short-lived repentance and then a hardening of the heart. After some of the plagues, it states that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but in others, it says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God stated that the purpose of this was to bring Egypt into judgment.

In seeing the example of Pharaoh, I would suggest that the account is not consistent with the idea of a God who genuinely desires that every man and woman and child in creation without exception be saved. Rather it makes more sense, at least as I read the texts, to see a God who sovereignly chooses who he will save from the rightful judgment that they deserve. I suppose that brings me back to one of my original comments, it is his Grace to us that is unfair, not his dealing justice fairly to the unbelieving world. Remember Romans 1, that God revealed enough of his own character in the world around us to point people to himself (not to save them, but to hold them responsible with the implication that you seek the truth), but people choose to suppress that knowledge and worship the creation rather than the creator. Sadly, many in our own communities fall into that category as well.

God Bless you, Tom, I am happy to dialogue whenever on topics like this.

win

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8. Christie - August 04, 2012

THANK YOU for this blog. I had an unsaved friend that asked me this question yesterday and I answered it with as much scripture as I knew, but this clarifies and refines my answer much better!

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preacherwin - August 04, 2012

You are certainly welcome. I am glad you found this useful,

Blessings,

win

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9. Chris - August 20, 2012

Bill Maher.
and evolutionists find creationists too stupid, really.
just kidding, kind of.
this seems a rather biased version of events.
just as I expected, not much of an answer.

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preacherwin - August 20, 2012

Okay, Chris, I am game; explain why you think this is a “biased version” and “not much of an answer.” You see, the problem with people like Bill Maher is that they like to make fun of people that don’t believe the same things they do, but they never provide a reasoned argument as to why — they simply name-call, which is essentially what you have done here as well. So, here is your chance, if you have a challenge, then make it; don’t simply poke fun and walk away.

win

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10. Deandra - September 12, 2012

Hi, I stumbled upon your article today and I have a few questions. I am a believer but sometimes I get paranoid. For instance, you say that God knows we are all sinners and therefore, paid the price for our sins as long as we believe in him and accept him as our lord and savior. Or at least that’s what I took away from your other comments and is something I’ve been taught as well. Sometimes I worry because one of the scriptures in the Bible explains that narrow and small is the gate to life which few find and wide is the path to destruction. If this is true, then how is it that just by accepting Christ as my savior I will be saved from sin? It just seems too easy and I feel that many people, not few have accepted him already. Christianity is the number one religion in the world after all.

Also, this may be a silly question but I’ve heard people say that if you die before repenting of a sin then you will go to hell. Is this true? If that were the case then we would be repenting non stop all the time and hope we didn’t miss an unrepented sin which seems virtually impossible.

Also, you said that God has already picked his chosen ones, so does that mean we are incapable of changing our fate? Like if you weren’t chosen then you cannot become a believer and if you were chosen you are destined to become and stay a believer? I guess I get worried because although I have accepted Christ as my lord and savior, sometimes my faith wavers as I find questions I need answers to and hear things from people that make me question my salvation. Is my waivering faith a sign i haven’t been chosen? It’s very discouraging. Have you ever questioned yours?

Also, what are your thoughts on once saved always saved? I find myself fighting with sin sometimes but continue sinning although I know it may be wrong. Does that mean if I were to die now I’d go to hell?

So many questions I know, I guess the main reason I question my faith is because I feel hopeless and not deserving of heaven sometimes while other days I feel free of sin. Its really an internal battle. If you could answer any of these questions I’d greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,
Deandra

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preacherwin - September 14, 2012

Deandra,

Thank you for your questions and your willingness to be open about your doubts and fears. Many are afraid that they will “say the wrong thing” and keep their fears and doubts to themselves and thus struggle with them in ways they should not have to do.

Let me answer your questions in a slightly different order than you asked them because I think they all tie together. First of all, yes, I do believe “once saved always saved” though I would not label the view that way. I would describe the view as the “Perseverance of the Saints.” This is what is meant by that statement: those who are genuinely born again/saved will remain faithful throughout their lives. They may stumble and fall into sin, but the believer recognizes his sin, confesses it to God, and is forgiven.

Jesus told a parable (Matthew 13:1-9;18-23) about a sower planting seed. In that parable he describes seed (which is the Word of God through the preaching of the Good News) being sown on various kinds of soils. On some it never penetrates the surface — these are the hardened unbelievers who will reject truth always. On some it falls on rocky or thorny soil where it takes root for a season and then dies off — these are those who seemingly respond to the Gospel but one never sees any fruit in their life and eventually they fall away from the church. Finally there are some who are fertile ground and who bear fruit — that is the believer in whom the Gospel takes root. Sometimes we find ourselves encountering a rabid atheist who was once a member of a church; these are most likely the rocky or thorny ground of which Jesus was speaking.

Scripture speaks a great deal about assurance. Jesus teaches that no one can pull the elect out of his hand (John 6:35-40). In that passage, Jesus points out that he came for the purpose of raising up in the last day all those that the Father has given him. This is a past tense statement, so the “has given” is implied to be complete. In fact, In Ephesians 1:4, Paul speaks of God choosing us before the foundations of the earth. That is as past tense as it gets.

Election should not be a doctrine to run from — in fact the word shows up in that context more than 50 times in the New Testament. The doctrine ought to encourage you, not make you fear, for if God has begun doing a work in you and you see it by the witness of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-24) and not the fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21). John wrote an entire letter designed to help us have assurance that what we believe about our being saved is genuinely true (1 John 5:13). The point that John makes in this letter is that if you pursue sin, lies, and hatred or if you deny your own sin, then you probably are not a believer. Yet, if sin grieves your heart and drives you to repent, if you try to live to honor Christ, and you speak Truth, particularly as to who Jesus is, then that is a pretty good indication that you are saved. That does not mean you won’t stumble into sin (read Romans 7:14-25 for the Apostle Paul’s struggle and 8:1-39 for his hope).

Will you go to hell if you die without repenting of a specific sin? If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the answer is no. If you are an unbeliever, the answer is yes. The question is not so much the sin, as we are sinners and are constantly sinning, but the question is whose righteousness are we judged by? The believer is judged by the righteousness of Christ, not his or her own.

Jesus said that you must be “born again” or “born from above” to go to heaven (John 3:1-8) and that this work is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. In other words, we do not initiate faith, God gives us new birth and initiates faith in us to which we then respond to the Gospel. Remember the parable of the sower and the seed, the way that Good ground becomes good ground is because the owner of the farm has worked the soil up, fertilized it, etc… God has to do that work on our heart, we cannot respond of our own will because if we did, Grace would no longer be grace (Romans 11:6). As is said several times in the Bible, God has mercy on those whom he wills and he hardens those whom he wills (Romans 9:18; Exodus 33:19). The comforting thing about that is that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). Also, the Spirit himself testifies to our spirits as to the reality of our salvation (Romans 8:16). If it were possible for us to fall away, that would make the Spirit to be a liar, which he is not. In fact, He is called the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26).

Does God’s choosing mean we are fated and can do nothing? That is not the best way to look at the question. Instead, those that God has passed over are facing rightful judgment that they have deserved for sin. They have made their bed and have chosen to sleep in it and would never flee to Christ no matter how much we might plead with them. Those who do come to Christ in a genuine way are those that God has called and led to himself. We receive grace instead of judgment to the praise of our God, not because of what we have done.

It sounds to me, Deandra, that you are struggling with exactly the right questions and that because you are struggling with them, God is working on you…that means you are a genuine believer. Great or small, sin is sin and we need to put that sin to death, so I would urge you to repent of those sins you mentioned that you tend to go back to and walk away, striving not to stumble into them away. Find a local Christian friend in a church to hold you accountable as well. You will still stumble, we all do, but don’t stay with your face in the mud, you are a child of the King.

Blessings to you in Christ,

w

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preacherwin - September 14, 2012

One more thing…you mentioned the two paths. In context, Jesus is talking about the pathway of the believer vs. the unbeliever. While coming to faith in Jesus Christ, accepting him as your Lord and Savior is easy in a sense because God is doing the work in your, your response to God’s work in your is a life marked by taking up your cross and following Him. That life, the life of the narrow way, is hard because it goes against our sinful nature. The very fact that you struggle with these things, again sounds to me that you are experiencing the difficulty of this pathway. At the same time, trust in God to lead you through for he will not put any obstacle before you that is too hard to resist or has no way to get around (1 Corinthians 10:13). And all of these struggles are designed to conform you into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).

Blessings,

win

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Deandra - September 14, 2012

Thank you for your thorough response, it was comforting to hear. I do have another possibly harder question that I have been struggling with. I understand that there is an unpardonable or unforgivable sin which is blasphemy against the holy spirit. I have been so afraid that I have committed this sin accidently on several occasions. This has been my biggest fear because I realize that I would be utterly helpless and doomed if I have actually done this. I’ve looked online but so many sites have different interpretations of what it means to blaspheme the holy spirit. Can it be done by accident or if you say something you didn’t really mean?
On one occasion I was watching a video on the internet of a girl’s near death experience and what she called a vision of Jesus, where he supposedly took her through hell and heaven. I know it sounds weird but I google the most random things. When I watched it I was really believing her and told my boyfriend about it and told him he needed to watch it and that God would want him too. He told me i should be careful with what i say because satan can also work in visions and influence people. He laughed it off and said he was just kidding but my heart sank when he said it. As of now I’m neutral on her experience and won’t judge whether it was a true account or not, just that it was her testimony. Her name is Angelica by the way in case you wanted to look her up. It’s a somewhat popular video.

Another time I felt I could have commited the sin was when I was talking about the Bible with a friend. I know that the Bible is a perfect doctrine of the word of God and that there are no contradictions in it. However, for people like me, sometimes it can be easy to find contradictions when not reading it in the proper context. Well me and my friend were going back and forth about different topics in the Bible and while doing so we kept feeling that although in one part of the Bible it says one thing, another passage may seemingly say the opposite. We were getting frustrated particularly me and a little upset because I was wondering why the Bible just couldn’t be black and white and simple. Here’s the kicker, in my frustration I blurted something that I immediately wished I could take back and even said that I didn’t mean it right after I said it. So here it is, I actually in a moment of frustration and ignorance said The Bible was “dumb.” What scares me is I know that it was written by the power of the holy spirit and now I feel so terrible! I have prayed and told God how sorry I was but I realize that if I’ve commited the unpardonable sin there is no amount praying that can help me.

There have also been other possible moments. Like I remember a preacher saying that if you have ever questioned people speaking in tongues then you should be worried. To be honest I don’t remember ever really saying anything about it, but I do remember questioning it for sure in my head when I saw it on television. But that was when I was ignorant and didn’t know better.

What are your thoughts about the unpardonable sin? How do you interpret blasphemy against the holy spirit? And do you believe I’ve commited it? To be honest this is another big reason I have felt my faith lessen because I realize that no amount of faith can save you once this sin is committed. It’s even kept me from going to church in a while as bad as that sounds. I do need to go though because I love my church, Bay Area Fellowship, it is actually one of the top 100 fasted growing churches in America.

I know this is long and I want to thank you again for answering my previous questions. Any help with this topic is also appreciated.

~D

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preacherwin - September 14, 2012

Deandra,

Jesus teaches about the “unpardonable sin” or the “sin against the Holy Spirit” in Mark 3:22-30 (and parallels in Matthew 12:25-32 & Luke 11:17-22) and it is true that there are lots of differing opinions as to specifically what sin Jesus is speaking of. And, sadly, it sounds from your description, that you have heard a wide range of opinions, though what you have described seems to be the opinions of those who are largely taking the statement that Jesus made in isolation from the events that transpire around it.

The rule of thumb when interpreting a hard Biblical passage is to do two things: First, ask what the context of the larger passage happens to be. Second, because the Bible is given to us entirely by God, how do those Biblical teachings that are clear help us to understand those teachings that seem unclear.

In context, Jesus is being accused by the Pharisees of being in cahoots with Beelzebul and the demons. Jesus’ response is to ask how a house that is divided can stand. In other words, if Jesus really were working with Beelzebul, he would not be casting out demons because that would just be weakening their forces. Instead, Jesus goes on, if you are going to loot a strong man’s house, you must first bind the strong man. Jesus is speaking of Satan as the strong man and that Jesus has bound him in the incarnation and is about the work of looting the strong man’s house. As we are born in sin, we are all born in the strong man’s realm, but Jesus chooses to redeem his elect, pulling us out of that bondage to sin and death.

It is in that context that Jesus goes on and says that sins against him will be forgiven (as Jesus does on the cross) but sins against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And then Mark goes on (in verse 30) to remind us that the reason Jesus makes this statement is because the Pharisees said that Jesus had an unclean spirit.

As I walk away from that text, it seems that the context is saying that these Pharisees were not only resisting the call of the Gospel as preached by Jesus (like Pharaoh rejecting Moses’ pleas), but they were accusing the Holy Spirit to be a demon as well (Jesus does what he does by the power of the Spirit…).

Jesus is not talking about someone with doubts or someone who might accidentally (or carelessly) say the wrong thing, but he is speaking about those who persist with a hardened heart against the call of the Spirit, rejecting him as Holy. The very fact that you are humbly repenting of sin and pursuing that relationship with Christ is a pretty clear sign that you have not committed such a sin.

A final note is that your boyfriend is right, Satan does like to play games with people and scripture even tells us that he can masquerade as an angel of light. Be careful about all you read and hear with respect to things like tongues or after-death experiences, etc… John says that we are to test every spirit (1 John 4:1-6) and should evaluate it on the basis of what they say about Jesus and how they line up with God’s word. Scripture is our ultimate guide for faith and life, we must mark our lives by committing to that word. Lots of people believe whatever they want to believe and end up ignoring a lot of scripture; we must not fall into that trap. Paul speaks on tongues, for example, and states that when people are gathered in worship that no more than 2-3 people should ever speak in tongues and then if they do, they should only do so with an interpreter so that people will understand what is being said (1 Corinthians 14:27-33). Never in the Bible is it described as a “private prayer language” either, in fact Paul also says that when he prays he does not pray in tongues because that would leave his mind unfruitful, but he prays with his mind as well as his spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14-19). He goes even further to point out that the purpose of tongues is a fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11-12 and a sign of judgment against the Jewish people (1 Corinthians 14:20-22), going as far as to say that tongues are a sign not for believers, but for unbelievers. Personally I would say that 98% of what is practiced today and called “tongues” is not the Biblical teaching on what tongues is. I teach overseas in eastern Ukraine for several weeks each summer. Now were I to all of a sudden start speaking in perfect Russian, then that would be speaking in tongues (Biblically). Again, people must also always be there to interpret.

Hopefully this has been helpful; know that your questions are always welcome; you will be in my prayers as well.

Blessings in Christ,

win

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Deandra - September 14, 2012

Thank you for your help, I’m sure I’ll have more questions in the future and I will definitely come here to ask them when I do. Who knows, maybe God has lead me to this site because I’ve been asking him for some clarity on these topics. I definitely still need to work on myself and my relationship with God, but your blog has helped lessen any fears I have. Thank you and of course, blessings to you an your ministry.

~D

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preacherwin - September 14, 2012

Thank you for the kind words. I pray that God uses some of these questions to draw you deeper into his Word. Blessings to you in Christ,

w

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11. KT - September 16, 2012

PreacherWin

I commend your faith and belief. Most people do ask why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. Christians do not have right answers to make non believers to think in their way.

Let me pu this way by reading Bible.

Please correct me if I am wrong. The main thrust of Bible is Love, not life. Love is non binding, non conditioning and non karmic that means it has to have full FREEDOM to express. As we read in genesis God gave us free will to express love. The risk of full freedom is to commit evil things. It is that powerful evil that totured and murdered Jesus, not that he paid our sins by simply cosuming a poison or jumping off a bridge. Bible is very clear about the vivid details of his torture, agony and killing of Jesus in public. It is not God who was blood thirsty o free us from sins, but it is His utmost restrain on that Good Friday inspite of heartful pleading by his son. God did not use his power or authority. It is true even now, Cancer, birth defects, famine, tsunami etc keep happening, God cannot undo these adversaries because he knows by undoing such acts amounts to los of FREEDOM inturn loss of Love.

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preacherwin - September 20, 2012

KT,

One of the rules of Biblical interpretation is that the Bible must speak for itself. We are not given the privilege to import our own ideas and preferences into the Biblical text, nor are we permitted to take a single theme and use that single theme to the exclusion of other major themes in the Bible. What you have done is to take the idea of love, interpret it the way you prefer to, and then apply that theme as the only characteristic of God worth noting.

It is right that God is Love, love beyond our ability to comprehend, but God is also just and faithful to himself. Scripture teaches clearly in both testaments that there will come a time when unbelievers will face judgment and be cast into the fires of eternal damnation. God also has ordained all things that have come to pass and ever will come to pass (and all for his own glory), thus the fall and the cross did not come as a surprise to God, they were part of his design of redemption.

One final note: love is binding. Love binds believers to God and our love for us binds us to obedience. True freedom is only found within that obedience.

Blessings to you,

w

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12. jason - September 21, 2012

dear win,
ive started to lose faith lately…blogs like this help, and so do crosses and church n roseries, but im lost, how do i get my faith back?

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13. jason - September 21, 2012

also i must let u know i m a strong believer

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14. jason - September 21, 2012

i mean, y woud he create us with strong sexual temptations, and imperfectness, yet nudge us twoards perfection…..im confused but i know him. heres a personal miracle. once i asked God to prove himself. a coin dropped next 2 me OUT OF NOWHERE. i looked at it, and it was dirty except for the text, in god we trust, so help me pllllz?

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preacherwin - September 21, 2012

Jason,

To begin with, faith is something created in us by God through the work of the Holy Spirit. No amount of work or effort on your part can generate that faith, it must be given. Thus, rosaries and other things that are often found in Roman circles, we tend to find as distractions. Just like the father with the demon-possessed son coming to Jesus (Mark 9:14-29), you must ask God to give you the faith that you lack.

Yet, as I read between the lines of your message, my sense is not so much that you don’t have faith, but more that your faith is all over the map as to where you are seeking to find your strength in those dark times of difficulty, depression, and temptation. There are times when God feels close and those are easy times to be assured that God is with you. Yet there are also times of distress when God does not seem close. It is in these times that you must remember and focus on the many promises of God’s word. Psalm 23 is a wonderful example of that, for though we may find ourselves walking through the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death, not able to see God at work leading us, our minds must remind our hearts that he is there and that his rod and staff will provide direction and safety along with comfort. Jesus, in John 10:28 promises again that no one can snatch us out of his hand, a sentiment picked up and expanded on by Paul in Romans 8:28ff.

In terms of sexual temptations, I will remind you of what Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9 — “Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, etc…” “think on these things and practice what I have taught you.” It is true that all of us are sinners and struggle with sin in this life. We get up, we fall down, we get up again, and fall down again. Yet, in Christ there is forgiveness when we repent (1 John 1:9) and those sins are washed away from our life, making us white as snow. Ultimately, though, with repeated sin and temptation, there comes a point where intellectually you say, “no, I will not go there again.” And when temptation arises, pull out your Bible and consume yourself with those things of God. The old saying holds true: “idle hands and an idle mind are the devil’s playground”, so let yourself be found busy with kingdom work.

I have appreciated this advice from Jerome of Hieronymus:
“Never take your hand or your eyes off your book (the Bible); learn the psalms word for word, pray without ceasing, be always alert, and let no vain thoughts lay upon you. Direct both body and mind to the Lord, overcome wrath by patience, love the knowledge of Scripture, and you will no longer love the sins of the flesh. Do not let your mind become a prey to excitement, for if this creates a lodging in your breast it will have dominion over your and will lead you into the great transgression. Always have some work on hand, that the devil may find you busy.”

Wise counsel indeed. May God give you the focus and direction that you need and the faith that you desire to steady your soul.

in Christ,

win

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jason - September 21, 2012

Thanks. Im actually a teen trying to stay as holy as possible, but freakin hormones do not help ): For example peer pressure

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preacherwin - September 22, 2012

Nope, that can be a rough time of life; it has been a while, but I was a teenager once myself. Do understand, though, the lusts and temptations you face now will not go away when you break through the teenage years into your twenties, or thirties, or forties. They just change the way they tempt you. The key is that the stronger you become now, the stronger you will be when other temptations come before you as you get older. Your mind must become a warrior against the thoughts that your heart might through before you. As I noted below, Paul’s advice to the Philippians to set their mind on that which is pure and right is amazing counsel. Bottom line, hormones or no, you need to make a decision to walk away from those temptations. That won’t change as you go through life. At the same time, God will sustain you through the process.

Blessings,

win

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15. jason - September 22, 2012

thx

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16. susan - September 23, 2012

Okay, I have three questions…First, this doesnt have much to do with the title, but does illuminati exist? Also, why do demons posses people? Lastly, why does a spirit hang around in its old home when it cant interact with it, and it would be much better off in heaven instead of scaring the people who try to move in?

-Susan R.

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preacherwin - September 25, 2012

Okay, Susan, here are my answers, I hope they prove helpful.

First, the illuminati is a name that has been taken by a variety of secret societies through history, namely the Bavarian Illuminati. In terms of whether there is a modern day conspiracy to control the world, as with most conspiracy theories, I place little weight in them. The lure of the conspiracy is that they can never be proven and there usually is enough circumstantial evidence to at least raise some interesting questions, though the conclusions are often way off. The symbol of the illuminati (the ever-seeing eye in the triangle) has been used for centuries by Christian groups to signify the omniscience of God. Prior to that, there is some evidence of Egyptian cults having used similar symbolism. Arguably it is this (Christian) use that helps explain the use of the Ever-Seeing Eye on the American seal (and hence on the $1 bill). Our early founding fathers believed that God had blessed America providentially and rightly so.

Second. Demons are fallen angels and servants of the devil. The devil’s aim is to destroy the good creation of God. Humans are made in the image of God, so their wrath (having been unable to attain victory over Jesus — Jesus rose again from the Grave! Hallelujah!) is to torment and obscure that image in humans. And some, who give themselves over to wickedness, do certainly become possessed and others can be oppressed by demons. The bottom line is to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, for then (and only then) demons have no power over you for you belong to God.

Third: Demons have no access to heaven. They chose their fate and are being readied for eternal judgment in the fires of hell. They may indeed seek to “haunt” an area, but can be cast out through prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. If you mean “ghosts” by your question, I do not believe that ghosts exist as such. The Bible presents our souls either going directly to heaven or directly to hell upon our death with our bodies to follow in the resurrection. Demons can, though, disguise themselves in many ways and might manifest themselves as ghosts if it served their purposes. Bottom line, commit yourself and your family into the hands of Jesus Christ for no demon can exercise power over a child of the king.

If you are experiencing something that feels “haunted” then you need to commit the situation to prayer and ask Jesus to take away any evil spirits from your presence.

Blessings,
w

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17. Susan - September 29, 2012

okay, those definitive answer the questions, but about Illuminati, watch this video..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L53gjP-TtGE
Kanye West is BLATANTLY conveying a message, clearly ‘ i am devil, demons are eager to my coming, i have power” i mean the song is called Power. Its crazy and that iz some scary stuff. Also, I am very interested in revelations. It says that the devil will be thrown into a lake of fire for torture after a brutal war, including a brutal narcissistic Antichrist who will recruit many people, several years of satan hunting down tortured Christians, and thousands of demons fighting angels. here’s a question, when the war comes, cant god just go *snap* and Satan turns to dust? your answer for this article is clear, but during a war i don’t see your answers for this applying…

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18. Susan - September 29, 2012

LOOK AT ALL DEM FREAKING DEMONS

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19. Susan - September 29, 2012

oh and my name is different becuase i did the last question on a labtop but its still the same susan ^ ^

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preacherwin - October 02, 2012

Susan, Yes, that video is pretty freakish and contains a lot of evil imagery. For what it is worth, I might suggest some different viewing, something that will be more edifying. The bottom line is that the world only will look at themselves and their needs; as Christians, we are to find our needs met in Christ and look toward him and His glory.

In terms of the book of Revelation, do know that there are lots of different interpretations of the passages you speak. Remember, though, that the book of Revelation is prophesy and prophesy throughout the Old Testament is filled with imagery and thus a literal interpretation of prophetic imagery begins with understanding what those images refer to. For example, Daniel speaks of a giant idol made from various metals. A literal understanding of this idol is not to expect a giant physical thing to be built, but to recognize that each part of that idol represents kingdoms that will come between Daniel’s day and the coming of Christ and his church. Thus, I think that those who prefer to interpret Revelation as containing literal statues coming to life and literal beasts coming from land and sea are missing the point of how prophesy is meant to be understood.

Your question about Satan turning to dust is a good one, and yes, he can, but he has chosen in his divine wisdom not to. The answer as to why, I think can be found in places like 1 Peter 3, James 1, and Romans 8 where scripture reminds us that we (Christians) are made mature in our faith through trials and persecution (Remember the Beatitudes that begin the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5). Think about it this way, Jesus’ path to glory led through the cross; if it was good for him to do so, why are we surprised when God also places a cross on our shoulders to bear? Also, in God’s allowing Satan to thrash about in his death throes, he promises us that he will keep us safe in his hand (John 10:28) and at the same time, Satan heaps condemnation upon condemnation upon himself. Ultimately in it all, God is glorified and his people are sanctified. Not an easy path, but it is a path that leads to our good.

I hope this helps,

w

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20. Susan - October 06, 2012

god is so wise
it does help-thx!

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21. jason - October 07, 2012

Hello again
OK, so i was recently on a chat site, and i came across a guy who, well worships Satan. however not really really bad. he just believes in his ” overlord”. he refuses to tell me who that is. i think hes mental or just really evil. he says he has no parents and no school, and he doesn’t know alot about normal stuff. however, i asked him why he chose evil over god, and he bought up a good point that i cant argue to. you definitely know the story of Lucifer im sure. i explained to him, and he reworded it cutting me off. he said ” yes yes and then Lucifer gets kicked from heaven for having different views” i thought about it. god made angels to serve him, but shouldn’t at least one have a right to a different view? All angels HAVE to love God. Even then, banishment from heaven is a bit much… The guy who has no name i think then said “poor, poor, satan” i hate to admit i felt for him. i dont obey him now, but i think god was wrong now. he wasnt. can u explain?

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preacherwin - October 08, 2012

Jason, well, you can let your “overlord” acquaintance know that his argument is not a new one, though it has been repackaged in a variety of ways. Peter Ustinov forwarded a similar argument in his book, The Old Man and Mr. Smith.

There are a bunch of pieces to this argument, so let me put some things on the table first.

First of all, Good does not need evil to exist to be recognized. Ustinov states, for example, that God had to perform the first evil action (kicking Satan out of heaven) so his goodness could be known — kind of making Satan the punchline of an eternal joke. This is a very wrong way of thinking. Good can exist on its own while evil is a perversion of the good. Some have tried to suggest that evil is the absence of good, and that is not quite right either. For evil to be understood, there must be a baseline upon which one may understand why something is evil. To borrow from CS Lewis, evil is a parasite. Good must be present for evil to exist, not the other way around. If you want to explore this idea, I would commend to you Augustine’s work, Against the Manichaeans.

The next piece of the equation is that Satan’s removal from heaven was not a matter of having a different opinion, but instead was a result of outright rebellion. Revelation 12 records the Dragon (Satan) and his angels waging war against Michael (the arch-angel) and his angels in heaven. As a result, Satan was thrown down. He is a deceiver and the father of all lies and set himself against the Holy One of Truth, God himself. Banishment and judgment are the rightful response for such rebellion. They looked upon the face of God himself in all his radiance and glory and still chose to rebel. Surely this is not simply a difference of opinion like you and I might like different foods, kinds of cars, or football teams…

Mankind fell too (Genesis 3) and also is equally as guilty of sin and deserving of eternal judgment. We deserve the same treatment that Satan and his angels received for our rebellion against God, though if one might judge degrees, the fallen angels are more culpable as they had seen God’s radiance in full, where we have not.

Thus it is God’s choice to redeem. And the writer of Hebrews addresses this question to some degree by stating that for a group to be redeemed, God the Son must take their form and become one with them. In choosing to redeem fallen men and not fallen angels, Jesus took the form of men, not the form of an angel (See Hebrews 2:14-18).

So why did God choose to redeem fallen man and not fallen angels? Well, the answer probably won’t be satisfying to “Overlord”, but the answer is that God is God. He shows grace and mercy to those to whom he chooses (Exodus 33-34). Paul writes in Romans that God chooses those whom he wishes to harden and those whom he wishes to redeem so that his purpose of election might continue (Romans 9:11). He goes on further to cite Exodus 34 and then again to use the analogy of the sculptor and his clay. We (and the angels) are the clay in God’s hands. He has the right to choose some for redeeming and some for rightful judgment.

In perspective, there is no “poor, poor Satan, that is just one more of Satan’s deceptions. Yes, we are called to love God — he is the one worthy of our love and affection. Choosing to love a lie is not praiseworthy for a moment. And, the object of Satan’s love was not only a lie, but it was himself (Pride).

Blessings,

w

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22. Jason - October 08, 2012

Oh. You mustve done like 50 years of studying as a priest…

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preacherwin - October 09, 2012

Jason, no, not 50 years nor as a priest, but thank you for the compliment just the same.

w

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Deandra - October 09, 2012

Hi Preacherwin,
I had another question I’ve been thinking about lately. All my life, I have learned to believe in The Trinity. That God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are distinct yet co-exist as one being . I’ve come across some people lately who don’t believe in it and I’ve have even done a little research. The arguments they bring up are valid however aren’t there moments in the Bible where Jesus refers to himself as the Lord? If this is the case it would support the theory of the Trinity. Also, this would explain how Jesus was able to live a perfect life, something no man has been able to come close to accomplishing. However, the Bible also makes clear that Jesus is the son of God. Many people feel this distinction totally separates them in a way which proves the idea of the Trinity is false. My question to you is what are your beliefs about this subject? And is it possible for two people with differing views regarding this subject to both be truly Christian? In other words, how important is it to believe or not believe in the Trinity if you are a Christian. Personally, I believe in it.

Thank you,
Deandra

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preacherwin - October 09, 2012

Deandra,

The doctrine of the Trinity has been one the church has stood on and held to be an essential tenet of the Christian faith from the earliest times. The reason this doctrine is so important is because it deals with the very nature of the God we worship and the God who redeemed us. So yes, it is one of those doctrines that is essential to hold if one wants to proclaim themselves to be Christian.

When questions were raised, Martin Luther went to John 1:1-2 as his starting prooftext. The WORD is a term applied to Jesus and he uses the language of Genesis 1:1. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” The language of “In the beginning is language of pre-existence. Before the beginning, only God existed. It was not Gods (plural) or God plus something else. The statement is that God existed and then brought everything that is into existence. Thus, John is claiming that Jesus is pre-existent and uncreated (thus is God), yet distinguishes by stating that the Word was God and “was with” God. They are one God, yet two separate persons, join them with God the Holy Spirit and you have the doctrine of the Trinity. Mormons try and translate the passage from John 1:1 as “the Word was a god” but that is not a legitimate translation of the ancient Greek, something that were they to study the Greek language would become apparent.

There are lots of other places that one can go, for example, God states in Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our own image.” Here we find the plurality of the Godhead speaking within itself. Some try and suggest that this is speaking of God talking with angels, but if you look at the descriptions of most of the angels in the Bible, we hardly resemble them.

We also see Jesus applying the divine names to himself, like Lord as you mention; him speaking with divine authority and privilege; and working the works of his Father, something that no mortal could do. Remember also that the Jews wanted to see Jesus dead because he was claiming to be God, so even those in his immediate context clearly understood what he was saying when he spoke of himself.

Jesus could not have lived a sinless life nor could he have taken the burden of our sins on his shoulders were he not God. Even a fraction of the judgment a man deserves would result in eternal torment were Jesus not God. And, it is because he is God, we can trust in his promises and have hope. To reject the Trinity is to reject Christianity and hope. It is one of the main errors of Mormonism to deny that Jesus is the Eternal Son and God himself in the flesh.

Hopefully this proves helpful as you run into such discussions,

Blessings,

w

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23. Deandra - October 09, 2012

I realized i posted my first comment on another person’s post so im correcting it. None the less, thank you for clarifying. To be honest my mom is one of the people questioning it. A lot of her family are Jehovas Witnesses and although she claims not to be one, she said she doesn’t believe in the Trinity. She says that we pray to God but in Jesus’ name but they aren’t the same. We were going back and forth but I stopped because I wanted to make sure I was right as I didn’t want to blaspheme God in any way. I am confident in the doctrine of the Trinity and I am going to try to convince my mother too.

Thanks again,
~D

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preacherwin - October 15, 2012

I will be praying for you and that conversation. Remember, in Jesus’ day there were lots of so-called messiah’s claiming to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures in one way or another. The Jews did not seem to mind them so much. Jesus got himself in trouble with the Jewish authorities because he claimed to be God with statements like “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). If the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, the Muslims, and the Jews are right, that Jesus was just an exalted man and not God, then he would never have gotten attacked and killed in the way he did. In fact, recognizing this, the Muslims even say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross, but that he ascended into heaven leaving some other poor bloke to die in his stead. Crazy ideas abound in the world around us, but that is the Devil’s tactic, distract people from what is true. Blessings on your conversations with your mom.

w

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Deandra - October 19, 2012

Thank you so much!! I’ll try to talk to her but she keeps thinking I’m trying to attack her and she says that we are all entitled to our personal beliefs and its not right for me to judge her, only God can. That’s true but our beliefs can have eternal consequences and I’m just trying to help her. I’ll just keep being persistent and pray that God shows her the truth.
~D

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preacherwin - October 24, 2012

Blessings to you in that. In Christ,

w

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24. XColeen - November 12, 2012

Hi Preacherwin ^^!
Here is what I’ve been wondering with all the Illuminati and 2012; Revelations rumors being tossed around in modern day society. I cannot seem to find an answer so a friend recommended this site to me. Hopefully you know why! So, why does God have to make The End, or Revelations, so scary and painful. The four horsemen riding in, the Angels’ holy horns being blown, one disaster for each blow. Flames and millions of faithful followers dead? I mean, it says Jesus will come after 7 years of that madness. At least that’s what I heard. I try to read the bible, but its very confusing ): And to wordy with the thees and thy and such. Anyways, I don’t see why so many must die before Jesus, God, his angels and holy army can just toss Satan into The Lake Of Fire. The political powerful Antichrist, the beasts and sea creatures. Some say that it is all just a big metaphor, not meant to be taken so literally, only some parts. However that’s confusing….why would Jesus use such a convincingly real metaphor in his Scriptures? His Words? I’m not sure…get back to me soon on this one! Thanks ^^!

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preacherwin - November 12, 2012

You know, you are right that the Bible does contain some pretty frightful imagery when speaking of the end times, of course, the Bible also uses frightful imagery with respect to the times in which we are living right now (remember that Biblically, the “end times” began after Jesus’ resurrection (see Hebrews 1:1-2).

What you need to understand is that if you spend all your time worrying about how bad this world is, then you will remain in a pretty dark place (emotionally at least). If you spend all of your time focusing on the glory of Christ, then all of the trials and woes of this world are not so overwhelming. Ultimately, if we are trusting in Christ, how bad can it get? Our trials here are but a flash in the pan of eternity where we will be partakers of the glory of Christ–an eternal weight of glory to quote Paul. Not so bad, if I say so myself.

In terms of the “thee’s” and the “thou’s”, find yourself a modern edition of the Bible that is written in more up to date English. The King James Version of the Bible was a very good version for its day, but it was translated 400 years ago…the English language has changed a great deal since then. You need to be able to read it and understand it for it to be useful for study.

A final note on Revelation. Remember that the book is a book of Prophesy amongst other things. It is written also as a letter and in an Apocalyptic style, so one should expect some pretty intense images, but remember too that when one interprets prophesy, those images are not normally meant to be understood on a purely literal level. For example, Daniel interprets a dream for the king of a giant statue made up of a variety of different metal types. These metal types symbolize different empires that will rise and fall prior to the coming of Christ. The imagery becomes a metaphor that symbolizes what is to happen. The same approach should be taken with Revelation (though many fail to do so). Personally, I do not see the four horsemen as things to come, but as symbolic of the effects of sin in this world already (war, oppression, hunger, disease, etc…). Luther and Calvin identified the first Beast in Revelation 13 as the Pope (much to the chagrin of the Roman Catholic church of his day).

We tend to read the prophetic imagery of the Old Testament in hindsight, so it is easier to interpret the images. Revelation is partially behind us in terms of what it speaks of, but is also partially ahead of us. While it is an interesting and important book to study, it is also a book that we need to keep in focus the promise that God wins and that he has promised not to lose any of his chosen ones in the process. Thus, trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and there is nothing to fear.

The metaphor is meant to give shivers, but not to believers, it is unbelievers that should shudder at these pronouncements. Hope this is helpful,

Blessings in Christ,

win

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25. Ryan Davis - December 19, 2012

So in regards to the elect of God, you are saying that God creates people that He knows will never enter the kingdom of Heaven and sends them to Hell. I believe in God, and I believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but if that is true then I don’t like the way God operates. What if I’m not part of the elect? I’m just fulfilling prophecy and there is no “choice” to be redeemed and saved. It’s already predetermined. I’m having a really hard time understanding this concept of elect and how it correlates to freewill.

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preacherwin - December 20, 2012

Ryan,

I think that you are approaching the question of election from a wrong angle. Remember something, first, though, scripture speaks of God’s election all over the place. In fact, the word itself is used more than 50 times in the Greek New Testament, so whatever we think on the question, if we are going to take our Bible’s seriously, we need to address the matter in the way that the Bible does.

Try approaching the question this way; as we are born dead in sin, we can do nothing to please God on our own strength. In fact, Paul writes in Romans that we are enemies of God and none of us pursues righteousness. Jesus states that before you can enter the kingdom of God you need to be born again. It is God’s sovereign work (not our decision even) that draws us to Christ.

Now, as you wrestle with that, two other items ought to come to mind. The first is that if you are believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today, then it is God’s doing (not your own) and thus you can have assurance that you are part of the elect. The second thing is that since God is righteous and he does not change in his perfections or in his affections toward his own, if you are saved, you can also have assurance that God will not let you go — Jesus said that he lost none that the Father had given to him. That is good news.

In terms of the question of free-will, it depends on how you define the freedom of the will. For example, if you define the freedom of the will as such that at any given time you can do anything that is physically possible, then that portrays a pretty low view of God and a rather deluded view of reality. God, for example, restrains our sin (the Conscience is what we often call it) — even for the unbeliever. Also, for God to do any work in this world, that means our wills need to be constrained. In addition, marketing companies in America make billions of dollars annually by marketing products in such a way that will influence your will to buy their product over another brand. If you can allow that marketing companies work in this way (even in ways that you are not aware of) then why not also God?

The reality is that we all act in ways that are basically consistent with our characters (as flawed as those Characters may be… 8-) And God made us and our character as well. So, we act in ways consistent with God’s design for us…not as Robots, we make reasonable and real decisions, but we still make those decisions consistently with how God’ designed us. We do choose to accept God, but that choice can never be made unless the Holy Spirit has given us rebirth and is drawing us to the Father.

Blessings,

w

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Ryan Davis - December 20, 2012

“The first is that if you are believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior today, then it is God’s doing (not your own)”

But, if I’m not believing then it is my doing, not God’s??

“We do choose to accept God, but that choice can never be made unless the Holy Spirit has given us rebirth and is drawing us to the Father.”

Your first statement and your second statement seem to contradict each other.

And I’m still unclear on this: if God has an elected people then he also has an non-elected people, right? So, if God creates someone who is not among the elected, then he knows that they are going to Hell, right? How can He be a God of love and mercy if he creates a man that is not part of his elect. He knows that man’s destiny is Hell?

This is what you wrote in a previous answer: “Paul uses the analogy in Romans 9:19-23 of a potter working with clay and making some vessels for glory and some for destruction. Do we consider the potter unfair that he makes some vessels that will be used to show his wrath? No, it is the potter’s right to do so. A potter today might make both fine vessels and clay targets for trap shooting.”

The “clay targets” are equivalent to Non believers. So they are sent to Hell at no fault of their own according to this analogy. Why?Because they are not part of the elect?

That is very unfair to someone’s soul for God to just make a person with a soul and send them to Hell to “show his wrath.” If we were just clay with no souls that would be no problem, but since the non elect are made to be destroyed with souls condemned to Hell then that’s much more consequential than just destroying clay, don’t you agree?

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preacherwin - December 20, 2012

Ryan,

Thank you for the continued dialogue; this is an important issue and an issue that I don’t think many in the church are willing to wrestle with in the light of scripture.

Let me address the first part of your comment first: in terms of the two statements being contradictory. And no, they really are not meant to be, but are meant to look at the question from two sides of the coin in the hopes of helping to better understand. Unless I have been born again I cannot accept Christ. Being born again is a sovereign act of God’s grace and is not of my own doing (or even asking!). Thus, it logically follows that if I am a believer then it is because God has so changed my heart and drawn me to myself. Helpful?

To address your second comment about fairness and mercy: when you understand that our default state is wrath and hell. Hell is what we all deserve because of our sin. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that he elects to save any of us at all. So it is not that unbelievers are sent to hell on “no fault of their own” but out of every fault. They are clay — we are clay — dirt, worthy of God’s wrath. Yet God chooses to take and mold some of us for his use and purposes. In a sense, it is grace that is unfair (on human standards) yet on divine standards it is earned on our behalf by the Son. And thank God for that grace.

I commend you to go to the scriptures in Romans 9 and Ephesians 1-2 and wrestle through that language, for it is not what we have done, but because of what God has done on our behalf.

Blessings,

Win

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26. XclcX - March 03, 2013

So, why would God create us? Its inevitable that we’re going to exhaust our natural resources and all die….That’s not really a question anymore with all the global warming events and such…But why? And if that WAS what free will ended up doing to us as a whole,, what all-seeing God sits back and watches, knowing our fate. I think its a bit cruel, if he could simply dash up a new Earth or whatnot to keep his beloved children alive, why not? Will he just start the part where we all ascend to heaven just before we go extinct in our mortal lives? Or will he let us drown in our own stupidity, or free will which he knew we would abuse?

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preacherwin - March 05, 2013

Thanks for your questions, to be fair, let me address them in parts.

First, why would God create us? This is one of those foundational questions that many Christians answer poorly. God made us so that we might enjoy him and his glory. Too often people end up with an answer to this question that is focused on mankind, yet creation was not about mankind, it was about God in the overflowing fullness of his glory, created a creature that could enjoy and find fulfillment in that glory.

Second, in terms of being “inevitable and wasting resources and die…” I would not choose to use the word inevitable. God decreed the fall. He intended it to take place for through our own fall, suffering, and redemption we can best know the glory and love of God — for God sent his son into the world — one who did not need to die– that we might know what it means to be unworthy people redeemed by the sacrifice of a loving God. The end of the world is not so much about global warming or nuclear destruction and events like these; end times was and is still about a time when Jesus will return as he left us and who will ultimately bring wickedness and sin into judgment. And then there is a promise to remake the world apart from sin.

Third. God does not sit back and watch — that would be the position of the Deist. God actively governs and superintends even the most insignificant details of his creation. Proverbs 16 ends with the reminder that God ordains the answer that is given even by the drawing of lots. Both large and small things, God is sovereign. The fate: those that God redeems through faith will enjoy glory in a re-made heavens and earth. Those who do not will face the righteous judgment for their sins in hell. The ending is quite glorious by the description given in the Bible.

As bad as things get, and no matter how hard humans work to kill off every one of their own kind from the face of the earth, God has promised that he will always preserve a remnant through the trial, again for his glory. Even our wills are in submission to God’s eternal decree.

I hope this is helpful in presenting a consistently Christian worldview.

w

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27. xclcx - March 08, 2013

Thanks, those are actually great answers, and since I am not sure whether or not I’m a believer, as there are a good amount of facts and pieces of evidence for the atheist’s and believer’s side, those helped. However, just the other day, when reading through the Bible, I found that all of the sexual sins are very clearly stated in the Bible. Except masturbation. Is this act a sin, or does God allow it? If thoughts of certain people arise or provocative imagery are used during this process, is it Lust because it’s like that act is being done WITH the person? Even though the two acts have very different feels? I’m not sure on this one, and out of curiosity, I’ve come here…

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preacherwin - March 08, 2013

I commend your honesty and willingness to explore the matter of faith and belief in Jesus Christ — and would pray that the Spirit would convict you over time that you would become a believer.

In terms of masturbation, yes, I would argue that it is a sin. I think that there are two ways to make the argument and a third way that is a bit of a cop out, for many Christians would teach that the sin of Onan (Genesis 38:8-10). Yet, I would argue that which was “wicked in the sight of the Lord” was failing to provide an heir for his brother’s widow.

Thus I argue it so on two principles:

First, Jesus clearly teaches that if you lust after a woman in her heart you are guilty of breaking the seventh commandment (see Matthew 5:28). In context, Jesus is driving home the spirit of the Ten Commandments and making sure that we understand that we are all guilty of sin when it is properly applied. Typically masturbation is accompanied by unclean thoughts and desires. One might argue it to be purely physical, but I think that they are being a little naive.

Second, sexuality is part of the covenant of marriage — in fact, it seals the covenant and consummates the marriage. To engage in any sexuality outside of the marriage context, then (whether hetero, homo, or auto) would be sin. The Jesus speaks of those who are Christians given themselves to the work of the Gospel alone and not marrying as eunuchs (Matthew 19:12). Eunuchs are not able to practice masturbation (at least as I understand it). Thus sexuality in marriage is a form of covenantal renewal — and a covenant renewal practice apart from the context of the covenant is sin.

Hopefully this is helpful. Blessings to you.

win

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28. Phen - June 28, 2013

Hi, I did not take the time to read through all the comments, and considering the age of this post I would be surprised if another astute reader has not already mentioned it.

In discussing the presence of evil in the world, you assert that God is waiting patiently for the last of the ordained to come to Christ. This, you argue, is the reason for the delay and thus the continued presence of evil in the world.

You seem to completely skip the issue of predestination itself being evil – so God waits for the last of those whom he has predestined, to be called and justified, etc. etc. as it says in Romans 8.

Yet the longer God waits, the more human beings are consigned to hell without ever having had a shot at salvation because they were not lucky enough to make it into the election club.

I must confess I have a big problem with a God who insists on waiting until every single member of his pre-chosen club has been born and has joined said club while meanwhile truly innumerable non-chosen have perished eternally in hell. I’d be interested to hear your defense of the moral ethic of predestining people to eternal damnation. The most common defense I hear is that God did not predestine people for hell, but only some for heaven, thus rendering it their own fault for being fallen and sinful. However, whether you actively oppress a person or if you only do so indirectly by favoring his neighbor, either way it is unethical (in my opinion). To draw a comparison among racism, it would be as if I were picking people to receive a prize, and I only picked white people in a room full of blacks, whites, and hispanics. If the non-whites protest that I am being unfair by only choosing whites, and I simply tell them, “No, no, see, I didn’t actively tell you that you were not allowed to have the prize, I just didn’t award one to you,” am I still a racist?

You seem to be one of few thoughtful and educated Christians around, particularly around the Internet. It is only fair to warn you, I am not a Christian any longer (and the above is related to my reasons for leaving the church). To put it briefly, my story is this: I struggled with doubt for awhile, especially once I began asking questions to which my own theological conditioning could not unconsciously supply answers (an experience I had previously attributed to God answering prayers).

After more than a year of being ignored by the God I thought I loved, I began researching more deeply into the knotty theological implications of certain doctrines, particularly that of Original Sin. I eventually came to the conclusion that it no longer mattered whether the Judeo-Christian God was real or not, because I did not want anything to do with such an entity even if he or she did exist.

I’d be happy to cultivate an open and respectful dialogue about these questions (though I have yet to find a Christian that can answer them satisfactorily), but I felt that I should ethically reveal my personal feelings on the matter so you can better understand my perspective.

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preacherwin - June 28, 2013

Phen,

Thanks for commenting and yes, I would love to have the conversation with you, and as you put it, so long as the conversation can be honest and respectful, it will hopefully prove healthy. That said, I would add that in that context, don’t feel that you will hurt my feelings by raising a particular question and hopefully you will trust me in doing the same.

Let me start with a principle, and that is we all have a perspective on the world. Some would call this a “worldview,” but for our purposes, let’s use the philosophical idea of a-priori arguments. In other words, these are the basic ideas that form our presuppositions. For me, probably the most fundamental a-priori argument I would make is that the Bible is true.

The bottom line is that we all have such fundamental arguments upon which all of our understanding and viewing of the world is based. The key is seeing whether those a-priori arguments we hold are consistent and whether they consistently explain life in the world around us. Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and Christian philosopher, argued that for the unbelieving mind to accept Christianity, Christianity must be shown to be 1) reasonable, 2) desirable, and 3) true. Pascal believed Christianity met those criteria (something with which I obviously agree). But I trust that you can see that all Pascal is doing is arguing that the Christian a-priori arguments provide consistent answers to the questions of life and provide answers in a way that provided a good way to live.

Fair?

So, first, here is your invitation to raise your questions and/or challenges to my own a-priori arguments, or to use more Biblical language, to ask me to defend the reason for the hope that I have.

As you raised a few questions already, let me field them a bit. First, the language of God’s patience and predestination. The idea of God waiting till all of the elect come to faith to bring judgment is language that comes directly from 1 Peter 3; I just wanted to ensure you knew my source.

In terms of election, I think that you have a wrong understanding of the doctrine. You comment:
“Yet the longer God waits, the more human beings are consigned to hell without ever having had a shot at salvation because they were not lucky enough to make it into the election club.”

That is not quite how the Bible presents the doctrine (noting again that the Bible uses the language of election all over the place, plus it is a logical consequence of God being sovereign over all of history).

The Bible presents election as something that took place before even the beginning of creation (see Ephesians 1 for example). Thus, the “waiting” does not doom any who were already not destined for judgment. God is just working in and through the construct of history in which we live and act.

Secondly, election ought not be seen as an elite “club” of sorts, but more as a liferaft of grace. The reality is that we have all sinned and thus are all deserving of righteous judgment for our sins. Not one of us (save Jesus) has lived a perfect life. Thus God would be perfectly righteous and just to condemn each and every single one of us for our sins. Justice would be served.

Yet, God chose to also reveal to humanity the abundance of his great love by preserving a remnant for himself not based on who we are or on our works, but entirely upon his grace. Punishment still needed to be meted out (for it would not be justice given if God just chose to excuse some from righteous wrath). Thus God permitted a substitute. Jesus, God’s eternal Son, took the form of a man, lived a perfect and righteous life, and died a sinner’s death taking on God’s eternal wrath on his head, thus taking the wrath for God’s elect and giving those who believe (the elect) his righteousness, thus we can stand before God as justified.

The means by which we enter into that righteousness is by faith. But faith is not generated from within (otherwise it would be fickle and unreliable), but is initiated and nurtured by God himself. Thus he gives to the elect the grace to believe on his Son and withholds that grace from those who are not elect. And, since faith is a divine gift in origin, it can be found to be effective in accomplishing what it sets out to do in an eternal scope.

I have touched on it, but you raise the question of the moral ethic behind predestination. The simplest answer is that the ethic is justice. Let me use an analogy to illustrate. Imagine a person is found guilty of murder. I chose a capital offense to highlight the seriousness of our sin, but I will get back to that.

Now, let us assume that in this case of murder, the family whose member was murdered chooses to offer forgiveness to the murderer. Yet, even in the case of said forgiveness, in most of the western world, the state still has the right to try the case. Why? Because a crime like murder is not just a crime against a person or against a family, but it is a crime against the community as a whole and justice must be served. In fact, were the judge to throw out the case on the basis of the family’s forgiveness, there would be outrage in the community and properly so.

I mentioned the severity of the crime. Here is our problem. Crimes committed are judged not only in terms of the crime itself, but against whom it is committed. Thus, if I were to punch the President of the United States in the nose it would be far more severe a crime than if I were to punch my neighbor in the nose. God is infinite, though. Thus sin against God is worthy of infinite punishment (the fires of hell). In addition to our own sin, we also inherit the debt of sin from our parents before us (for example, imagine your father died while still owing a lot of money — as his son you would be responsible for that debt).

God offers justice to all — the problem is that we cannot stand as we are guilty before God.

This perhaps raises another a-priori argument that may very well be different between us. My suspicion from your comments is that you believe that deep down people are basically good and it is society or bad experiences that corrupts us. I would argue that deep down people are wicked and sinful. You don’t have to teach a child to be selfish and disobedient, but you do have to teach them to do the right thing and act with integrity.

If challenging this, I would simply commend the local news to you — crime and vice seem our natural inclination as a race. Why? When Adam and Eve fell, we lost their initial righteousness and are born with a bent toward sin.

Okay, this is a start at a conversation, but let me pose a few questions to you as well based on your comments.

First, you mention your “theological conditioning.” One of the problems that I think we face in our nation is that people rely on the Bible that they have been told (in church, Sunday School, at home, etc…) rather than on the Bible that they have studied. As you were struggling with answers, did you stop searching because your theological conditioning failed you (as it is sure to) or because you were unable to find answers in scripture?

Second, please explain what you mean by “being ignored by God”? I can assure you that God has not ignored you, though you may not have perceived his hand in your life. The point is, my own lack of perception does not speak to God’s limitations but only to my own.

What, specifically, do you object to as to the doctrine of Original Sin?

Let me close with I suppose a bit of a challenge. You mentioned that it no longer mattered to you whether the Judeo-Christian God existed because you would not want anything to do with him. I would suggest posing the matter in this way. As a kid, I always thought it would be great to be able to fly like Superman, but every time I jumped off my bed, I came crashing to the floor. Whether I liked it or not, gravity existed. And thus, I found that it was much more comfortable living like I was bound by gravity and its pull on my body. If God does exist (and I believe he does) then he exists whether you want him to exist or not and whether you like it or not. And if he exists, he will also exist as your judge, again, whether you like it or not. Wouldn’t it be better to live in alignment with that truth than as a rebel? Something to chew on at least.

Blessings and I look forward to your response.

win

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29. Horus - June 28, 2013

I think it all comes down to who started the church and started printing the books –

Peter – the rock upon which the church was built – was also the original lobbyist and spread Christianity throughout Rome – what followed was collapse.

The printing presses were all owned by the 1% back then and the first book ever printed? The Bible.

My bet is that Edward Snowden will reveal a few things about Christ’s true teachings and divinity. That he was just a man. Which makes his story even better

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preacherwin - June 28, 2013

Horus, do you realize how silly your statement sounds? Peter testified to that which was confirmed by numerous eye-witnesses, some of whom were not even believers. This is not a matter of publicity, but a matter of revealing truth. I could go on, but let me simply say that you have been reading too many conspiracy novels…

w

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30. Dan - February 02, 2014

If I were God, the devil would be gone, gone gone. Like an Albert Pujols home run, he would be gone. Then again, if I were God, I would not create Lucifer in the first place.

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preacherwin - February 04, 2014

Ah, yet without the Devil and the fall of Adam and Eve, we would not know the depth of the love of Christ either — that he would sacrifice himself for us. Often in faithful suffering we learn far more of the character of others as well as of the character of God. Something to chew on. w.

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31. Greg - July 15, 2014

The one thing about this argument, is you are making it seem as though God’s powers have rules. He has no rules for what he can do. So if he wanted everyone to all be healthy and happy and loving and kind, he could make us all into that. But instead he kind of chooses to have us play this sorta game of suffering for his own amusement. The only reason God created us in the first place, was because he was lonely. So why does he choose to put his own creations through such torture. Would it simply bore him if we lived in a perfect world?

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preacherwin - July 15, 2014

Greg,

I have no idea where you got the notion that God created because he was lonely; you certainly did not get that notion from the Bible.

The Bible presents God as creating as a demonstration of his glory and so that we might enjoy Him in His fullness. Sin, fallenness, evil, are in this world because we rebelled. Yet even that is part of God’s design, because in our sin and rebellion we learn the greater depth of God’s love for us in that he sent his Son to die for all those who turn to him in faith (we refer to this group generically as the elect for we cannot come to God in faith on our own strength, God must give us new life). Those who do not will remain in their misery until they finally face judgment and eternal condemnation.

This nonsense of torture and amusement is nothing more than a fable created by someone out of their own anger and unbelief; it does not come out of God’s self-revelation.

Blessings,

win

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preacherwin - July 15, 2014

One more note, Greg. You mentioned the matter of God’s powers having rules. They do. Those rules are not imposed by outside of God, but they are defined by his character. For example, God cannot sin, he cannot tell a lie, and he cannot cease to be God. He is not capable of contradicting himself. This is not a lack in God, it is an affirmation that God is able to do all things that are logically consistent with his character.

Blessings,

win

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