Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Is Endless Punishment Really the Best Option?

It’s common to hear people say that they will never submit to God because of His threats of eternal torture.  That is interesting because I have yet to hear someone refer to hell as eternal torment.  Torture undoubtedly refers to some type of unmerited experience, where torment could be entirely deserved.  The Doctrine of Endless Punishment has nothing to do with eternal torture.  If one finds himself in hell, it is a punishment he earned because he rejected his Savior in favor of a logical error.  Adhering to a fallacious argument like the argumentum ad baculum, or the Threat of Force fallacy, is unwise because it cannot diminish the reality of hell.

Universalism is the preferred religion of post-moderns as it ignores man’s sinful nature and the threat of hell along with it.  Joel Osteen’s brand of Christianity encapsulates this perfectly as sins are regarded as no more than mistakes, and if we have positive vibes, God will shower us with gifts because we deserve it.  This “God owes me” mentality is impossibly stupid.  How can we have the audacity to demand anything from God?  He owes us nothing but wrath, but we feel entitled to His grace.  This reasoning reduces God to an instrument that we wield to satisfy our carnal desires.

If we believe that eternal punishment is too mean, what other alternatives does God have?  In his commentary on Revelation, Chuck Missler suggests that there are three other options at God’s disposal, all of which would result in something worse than hell.

  1. God could let the world just continue to exist forever.

On the surface, this seems to be perfectly reasonable.  But what about the cruelty and injustice?  What about pain and disease?  This would go unchecked, and this Garden of Eden would go on and on.

  1. God could force man into automata.

Can anyone honestly say they would prefer life without free will?  We would be nothing more than mere robots carrying out orders.  Maybe this would be easier, but would we have meaningful lives?  Of course not, but without free will we would never realize it.  As a result, God would be forcing us to love Him which runs contrary to His nature.

  1. He can withdraw Himself.

We might assume that this would look something like number one, but in this case He would not be simply be ignoring His creation.  He would be turning His back on it.  The world was spoken into existence, and if the Word (revealed as Jesus in John 1:1-5) chooses to withdraw from His creation, we could expect that we would not exist.  It is impossible to imagine what it would be like without Him, but I suspect it would be much like it was before Genesis 1.

These are all bad scenarios for man and they all go against God’s nature.  From man’s perspective, the best option is an eternal hell.  What makes hell so appealing is the fact that God provides a way for us to avoid hell through Jesus Christ.  For many, this is preposterous as this would require submission to God.  Some find it much easier to impugn God’s character.  After all, if we must repent of our sins, we have to acknowledge our depravity.

Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley

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An Endurance Race

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Today marks my twelfth year of marriage to my beautiful wife. The first seven years or so were difficult as we were both bull headed heathens and refused to submit to each other.

Around five years ago, something special began to happen as we placed Christ at the center of our marriage. I’m more in love with my bride today than when we were first married.

The majesty of Christ has allowed our relationship to not just endure, but to blossom. As a blessing to our commitment, we have three beautiful girls.

I know Heather didn’t realize she would be caring for a physically broken husband, but in my weakness we can see Christ’s strength.

I love you, Heather, and I look forward to whatever we are called to endure. Even if you have to push me around in a wheelchair. I’d like to have flames stenciled on it, though.

If That’s What You Believe…

CC image courtesy of Waiting for the Word on Flickr.

It seems that there have always been people searching for reasons not to believe. Thomas was trapped in his unbelief. He told the other disciples,”Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25 NASB)

That same argument is espoused today. Some people discount the Bible as a collection of fables told by ignorant sheep herders. In my estimation, that is an argument adopted by many people who haven’t bothered to read the Bible. Can one make an informed decision without investigating all information available to them?

Others search scripture in order to disprove the Bible. That certainly isn’t being objective. I’ve heard the claims that there are two Isaiahs, that Jesus was not resurrected, even that Josephus’ account of Jesus was a forgery.

The truth is that there will always be people who reject Christ. Some would even reject Christ if they placed their hand in His side.

Our pluralistic society rejects Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) We want to be inclusive of all beliefs no matter how ridiculous they are. I could say I will live eternally at IHOP with the pancake god if I eat pancakes everyday for two weeks. “If that’s what you believe…” or “what is true for you isn’t necessarily true for me…” are the mantras today.

As a matter of fact, any belief is accepted as valid unless you believe in Jesus Christ.

In response to Daily Prompt.