by Jack Kinsella
Oftentimes the first objection raised by the skeptic when introduced to the God of the Bible is the argument that God is not fair. It is an argument for which I can offer no rebuttal. God isn't fair, which is a good thing for the rest of humanity.
If God were fair, then He'd let us try and make it on our own. But that isn't something that the carnal mind can understand because it is something that is spiritually discerned. The primary argument is that God isn't fair because a loving God wouldn't send people to hell.
A petulant, angry and unfair God could not simultaneously be the loving God of Christianity - - therefore God cannot exist.
If God really loved the world so much that He would send His Son to die for it, why did He create sin in the first place? God is the Creator of all, isn't He? So He created hell, right? So that means He created sin, doesn't it?
To the carnal mind, these questions make perfect sense, since they confirm the skeptic's own mental caricature of God.
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7)
The challenge facing the skeptic is that his judgment of God is rendered according to the skeptic's own limited understanding.
"The flea hath said in his heart, there is no Dog."
Clearly, the flea is something of a fool, since the evidence that Dog exists is everywhere around him. The thick fur that shelters him comes from Dog. The food that he eats comes from Dog. Without Dog, he would surely die.
Dog is everywhere in his universe, but our flea can only see his tiny piece of it. And from his limited perspective, there is no Dog. But whether or not Dog exists is not dependent on the flea's opinion -- other than to the flea.
The skeptic's judgments about God are rooting in a litany of similarly false assumptions. The first false assumption about God is that, because God loves us so much, He ought to let us do what we want. That is nothing less than deliberate, willful ignorance.
The same kind of permissive kind of love that they insist would characterize a "loving God" -- when applied to children, doesn't produce loving children. It produces spoiled brats.
God's moral laws have a purpose and are as necessary to the development of human civilization as the laws of physics are to the development of scientific understanding. But the main purpose of God's moral laws are to teach us what God requires for us to enter into His kingdom.
It is our obvious failure to keep these moral laws that leads humans to seek redemption and salvation in the first place. We can't help it. Even an atheist, if he is honest, will admit that at some time in his life, he did or said something he was sorry for. Humans are built that way.
The second false assumption is that we are qualified to judge what constitutes "fair."
That gives rise to the question; "So why doesn't God make everyone into perfect beings and allow them all into heaven?" But that would be totally unfair, since that would force them to accept what their free will choices rejected.
The people who end up going to hell will have done so because they believe they would prefer hell to being forced into the presence of God for all eternity. It is their choice to make, and many make it with eyes wide open.
People like to live in their favorite sins and be accountable to no one for their choices.
They fear that if they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior that God will want them to change their lives and they might have to give up some of their autonomy.
We've all witnessed to somebody at some time who said something like, "I've a window seat reserved in hell" or, "I don't mind going to hell. All my friends will be there."
God isn't SENDING them to hell. He is instead honoring their own deliberate choice. While God provided a way for man to avoid hell, but He also gave man free will to choose.
Being compelled to worship God isn't 'worship' -- it is slavery.
Since God created spiritual beings for the purpose of expressing love, those beings must have complete free will in order to express that love. But free will allows for the possibility of rejecting God's mercy and instead demanding (and receiving) judgment by a God of "fairness."
They protest, "It isn't fair that only some people will get to go to heaven, while the rest will go to hell."
In a limited sense, they are right. If God were fair, EVERYBODY would go to hell. Nobody can live a sinless life, even after they are saved and their sins are washed away. The struggle with sin continues until one draws his last breath.
Therefore, God has made a provision to erase all sins that we have committed in this life and to perfect us by experience so that we will not be tempted to sin in the next life. That vicarious payment for sin is through the sacrifice of God's Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus lived the sinless life that God expects of me, then paid the penalty that my sins required on my behalf. That is mercy, not fairness. Fairness demands equal punishment for believer and unbeliever alike.
Upon accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, all our sins are erased, and Jesus begins the work of changing us to conform to His image.
Obviously, 'fairness' demands that everyone who has sinned and come short of the glory of God be judged according to their works. Instead of fairness, God extends mercy -- but only to those who ask for it. That is where God is 'fair'.
It is the atheist and the skeptic who will experience their own definition of 'fairness' when they stand before Him.
The skeptic and the atheist scoff at the nature of salvation, saying anything that is 'free' is worth what you pay for it. While salvation is a gift of grace and not of works, one can't exactly say that salvation is free.
There is a cost.
It will cost you your sin. It will cost you your pride. It will cost you your sense of self, or your selfishness. None of these character traits exist in heaven.
But the skeptic or atheist who prefers to hang onto these traits can choose to go to where these traits will continue to exist. Every human was created in God's Image, with an eternal, spiritual component.
We will all spend eternity somewhere. If not heaven, there is only one choice remaining. That is hell.
Does a loving God send people to hell? No.
What a loving God does is allow us all to make our own choice and then honor the choice we make. People CHOOSE hell.
The atheist or skeptic can choose to stand before a fair God, or he can choose to stand before a merciful One. (Hint: Take Option 2)
In either case, they can't blame God then for the consequences of choices that they make now. That wouldn't be fair.
General Sermons Home | Lectionary Sermons Home | Articles Home | Library - Home | Baselios Church Home
A service of St. Basil's Syriac Orthodox Church, Ohio
Copyright © 2009-2020 - ICBS Group. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer
Website designed, built, and hosted by International Cyber Business Services, Inc., Hudson, Ohio