While the Bible clearly describes Hell as a reality,No, not "clearly", otherwise you wouldn't have 7th day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses and other assorted "Annihiliationists" denying your view of hell as literal eternal conscious torment.
many of our non-believing friends and family members are unsurprisingly repulsed by the idea. Why would God create such a place, and what would ever provoke Him to send people there?Those of us who can tell that there is no such place, are not bothered by the stupidity involved in speculating about what an "infinite being" might desire.
As Christians, we know our ultimate authority is God’s Word, so it’s tempting to simply trust what God has revealed without any further philosophical investigation. But we can prepare ourselves for those who reject the authority or teaching of the Bible by examining the evidence from Scripture along with the rational explanations and philosophical foundations supporting the Biblical claims. God has commanded us to be ready to defend the tough truths of the Christian worldview as we share our hope in Jesus:But Jesus never commanded any such "defense", and you will have an extrarodinarily difficult time pretending that the NT canon is equally as authoritative as Jesus' own words. That canon testifies to the bumbling stupidity of the disciples, how the fuck would you know whether they understood correctly 30 years later any more than you can assume any Christian understands any biblical thing more correctly after 30 years?
1 Peter 3:15-16
…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence
BLIND FAITH, that's how. Nothing which places skeptics under the least bit of intellectual compulsion.
So let’s take a look at some common objections to the existence and nature of Hell as we defend the truth of the Christian Worldview.No, as you defend one particular interpretation of the bible, one among many within Christianity.
Objection OneIt really doesn't do a lot of good to affirm god is morally 'good' but then to turn around and insist that what we identify as morally 'good' does not apply to God because of his infinitely mysterious ways. Christians will blindly answer that the bible assures them God is good, but little girls also think fairy princesses are good.
Why Would A Good God Create Hell in the First Place?
The idea anything as vile and repulsive as Hell could come from a good God is a stumbling block for many people. In fact, Christian claims related to Hell are enough for some to reject the Christian God altogether. How could a supposedly good God create such a place?
Mercy Requires JusticeNot when he threatens to cause men to rape women (Deuteronomy 28:30, Isaiah 13:15-17). Not when he threatens to cause such rabid hunger as to force people into parental cannibalism (Deut. 28:56-57). Such a god sounds more like a disgruntled Iron Age barbarian than an infinite creator who can cause everybody to have the same physiology as an elderly person, so that they still have freewill but have far less inclination to commit most of the popular "sins".
The answer here is directly connected to the nature of God. The Christian God of the Bible is the perfect balance of mercy and justice.
The Bible repeatedly describes God with these characteristics:Why should that matter to a skeptic? Would you quote the book of Mormon to a Oneness Pentecostal?
The Merciful Nature of GodWhich mean precisely nothing once you insist "mercy" be redefined because God's ways are mysterious. If 'mercy" isn't supposed to mean what it normally means in normal every day discourse, then using that word with people who are not already brainwashed into your cult constitutes deception. You all use the same words, but the Christians supply then with quite different defintiions...because God's ways are mysterious.
The Bible describes God’s loving, merciful nature. God is loving (1 John 4:8), gracious (Exodus 33:19, 1 Peter 2:1-3), and merciful (Exodus 34:6, James 5:11)
The Just Nature of GodIt also says he desires to burn to death underage girls who engage in premarital sex in their father's homes. Leviticus 21:9. If they married early back then, then the likely reason she is having illicit sex "in her father's house" is because she isn't old enough to move out or get married yet. If the daughter of a priest was old enough to be married or otherwise had her own house, there would be little reason for her to conduct illicit sex in her father's house. So it is certainly reasonable, even if not infallible, to interpret the sinful girl in Leviticus 21:9, who must be burned to death, as prepubescent.
The Bible also describes God’s holy, just nature. God is holy (Psalms 77:130), just (Nehemiah 9:33, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7), hates sin (Psalms 5:5-6), and punishes sinners (Matthew 25:45-46)
The God of the Bible is described as loving, gracious and merciful. At the same time, however, He is described as holy and just; hating sin and punishing sinners. While we might prefer to focus only on the merciful aspects of God’s nature, doing so would completely ignore God’s just nature.But we learn to ignore god's need to impose justice from God himself, who is capable of ignoring his own need for justice:
13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
14 "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die." (2 Sam. 12:13-14 NAU)
Gee, can your god seriously "take away" sin (here, the more heinous types like adultery and murder, which require the death penalty) with such a wave of his magic wand as this? You will screech that God killed David's baby in an act of justice, but that would make God unjust because he previously said David's sin had been "taken away", hence, there was no justifiable "need" to impose a death-penalty on anybody.
And if you insist God killed David's baby to satisfy the divine need for 'justice' against David's sins, then congratulations, you just accused God of accepting child sacrifice as atonement for sin, the very thing you find so detestable among the Canaanites.
Mercy without justice is not mercy.That's right, I cannot mercifully forgive you for stealing my bike, I'd also have to punch you in the face.
Mercy requires justice to have any meaning, and justice requires mercy to have any power. A loving God (if He is truly loving) would offer love tempered by justice.And your god's love comes with the condition that he might kill your kids and spare you, if you commit adultery and murder. No thank you.
A loving God would not allow injustice to go unpunished;Then apparently a crime scene detective like you thinks there is no such thing as children who are kidnapped, killed and never found.
He would create both a Heaven and a Hell.Then you could not possibly accuse a human being of being unjust if they imitated such a holy spectacle within the limits of their capabilities.
A loving God offers a path to relationship but the possibility of judgment should we refuse this relationship. One without the other is meaningless:Nah, Jesus appears to have required next to nothing from his Gentile followers, his interaction with specific Gentile was very short, and Matthew 25:31-46 seems to support the conclusion that even people who have no faith will be saved solely by their good humanitarian deeds.
Objection:I don't object that way.
Why Would A Good God Create Hell in the First Place?
Response:Well God isn't punishing most of the evil in world history, so what are you gonna do now, invoke eschatology? Someday god will make everything better? You sound like one of the people trapped below deck on the sinking Titantic, the hope of the hopeless.
A loving God would not be loving if He did not punish evil. Mercy would have no meaning if it was not applied with justice.
Objection TwoThat's right, and all those Christians called "5-Point Calvinists", such as Steve Hays of Triablogue, heartily agree.
Why Doesn’t a Loving God Make Sure Everyone Goes to Heaven?
The idea everyone is eventually reunited with a loving God in Heaven (regardless of what they believe or how they behave in this life) is called “Universalism”. It is certainly an attractive idea (for obvious reasons), and in a world of increasing relativism, it’s not surprising this kind of objection would be raised. After all, we are living in a culture where people increasingly believe “all paths lead to Heaven”. As Christians, we know this cannot be reconciled with the teaching of the Bible, and there are also good philosophical reasons to reject such an idea:
A Compulsory Heaven Eliminates Free Will
People who want to go to Heaven (in spite of their free will choice to deny the existence of God), are true champions of the concept of free will.Then count me out, I don't desire to be stuck for eternity with a moral monster.
After all, they want to express their freedom to deny there is any one exclusive truth about the nature of God (and the nature of Heaven). But these same people fail to realize the concept of Universalism actually denies free will altogether. If Heaven is the only destination waiting for us (based on the assumption everyone eventually ends up there) then Heaven is actually compulsory.Given that I think compulsory heaven is better than "freewill" (sort of like it is better to force an adult out of the way of a speeding drunk than to just stand there and allow him to expereince the results of his "freewill choice"), I don't suffer from your reply.
In this view of Heaven, we have no choice about where we end up. Everyone is reunited with God. A compulsory Heaven actually denies the existence of free will, the very thing they cherish.That's a weak argument as freewill doesn't exist anyway.
By offering (but not forcing) Heaven to those who freely choose to love Him, God is actually honoring and respecting the free will choices of all of us. He is treating us with the utmost respect and dignity.Just like if you allow your stubborn child to drink bleach despite her knowing you have forbidden it, you'd be just as loving as god to just stand there doing nothing while the child chugs. After all, you'd simply be honoring and respecting the child's freewill. If you think kids don't have freewill, ask yourself why juvenile detention centers exist, and why parents impose punishment on disobedience kids. Otherwise change the analogy from kids/bleach to "teen holding pistol to her head". If your teen daughter was that far along in contemplating suicide, would you "respect and honor her freewill choice"?
Then stop pretending that respecting and honoring another's freewill is a show-stopping argument for God's fairness and love, genius.
A Compulsory Heaven Would Include the “Unsuited”Which is irrelevant since the bible teaches in 1st Corinthians 15 that everybody who is saved shall undergo a major transformation of their "body" hence also their physiology and will thus never choose to sin agian, so if God imposed such resurrection-transformation on even those who don't believe, they too could be saved, and they would remain holy and suitable to heaven forever afterward.
Most of us would agree a holy place of eternal reward is simply not suited for people with a certain kind of character or for people with certain kinds of desires.
Now we may not all agree on who should or shouldn’t be included in such a place, but most of us would hesitate while pondering the possibility people like Hitler (or lifelong pedophiles with murderous desires) should be rewarded eternally in Heaven. If there is a Heaven, it is surely unsuited for certain kinds of people.But since God has no trouble literally blinding people with overwhelming experiences despite their concentrated hatred for Christainity (Paul's experience on the road to Damascus), God is quite capable of convincing obstinate truth-deniers to see and act in conformity with Christian doctrine.
A loving God would make Heaven possible for all of us while respecting the free will desire of some of us.But as shown above, it can be unloving to respect another's freewill.
A loving God would reward those of us who have decided to choose Him while dealing justly with those of us who have decided to choose against Him. This is exactly the kind of God we worship:But Calvinist Christians deny that "reward" is sensible, since you are not allowed to take credit for any good Christian thing you do. Hence God is only "rewarding" himself for having caused a puppet like you to do whatever he wants.
Objection:No, Calvinists think you are a heretic.
Why Doesn’t a Loving God Make Sure Everyone Goes to Heaven?
A loving God honors our free will and our desire to choose Him, while dealing justly with those who have rejected Him.
Objection ThreeDid you ever read the Pentateuch? In Mosaic law God's wrath against sin is continually and fully satisfied by less than infinite sacrifice. Such as the blood of bulls and goats, Leviticus 16.
Why Would A Loving God Punish Finite Sin With Infinite Torture?
For many people, the idea our finite, temporal choices here should merit an eternal punishment of infinite torment in Hell ellHellseems rather inequitable. The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. In fact, the punishment seems extraordinarily excessive. Why would God torture eternally those who have sinned temporally? Why would God torture infinitely those who have only sinned finitely?
See also 2nd Samuel 12:13, where God can "just" get rid of somebody's sin by apparently no other means than the wave of a magic wand. See something similar in Isaiah 6:6-7. Not sure how stupid it is to think one's crack-induced hallcunation of heaven provides reliable data on doctrine.
Torment Is Not TortureNot worried, those parts of the bible are metaphorical, and regardless a) you aren't going to show them to be the least bit divniely authoritative despite your belief that the NT canon is "inspired", and b) Jesus didn't give the impression that he thought Gentiles needed to be the least bit concerned about him. His few interactions with specific Gentiles show he wasn't willing for them to tag along the way today's Christians would become his shadow if they could go back in time.
Part of the problem is the way we are using language here. The Bible says those who are delivered into Hell will be tormented, and the degree to which they suffer is described in illustrative language.
The torment is compared to an unquenchable fire. But the scripture never describes Hell as a place where God or His angels are actively torturing the souls of the rebellious. It is accurate to describe Hell as a place of separation from God where souls will be in ongoing conscious torment, but Hell is never described as a place of active torture at the hands of God or His agents.10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Rev. 14:10 NAU)
But your point is moot anyway, since whatever you think you gain by trifling that God doesn't "actively" torment anybody in hell, you lose in Deuteronomy 28:15-63, where God DOES actively torment, for centuries, anybody who dares disobey him.
Instead, Hell is always described as a state of torment coming as the result of a choice on the part of the person who finds himself there. There is a difference between torture and torment. I can be continually tormented over a decision I made in the past, without being actively tortured by anyone.Only of concern to fools who are worried the bible has the least bit of authority about it. Not for me.
Duration of the Punishment is Not Based on Duration of the CrimeIt also seems ungodly in light of the OT which shows God continually being FULLY satisfied when a sin was atoned for by some temporal means. For example the master who rapes a slave girl despite her being previously betrothed to another man, gains complete atonement by nothing more than giving a ram to the priest for sacrifice:
The torment experienced in Hell is eternal, and for some, this still seems inequitable compared to the finite and limited sins that we might commit here on earth.
20 'Now if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for another man, but who has in no way been redeemed nor given her freedom, there shall be punishment; they shall not, however, be put to death, because she was not free.
21 'He shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD to the doorway of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering.
22 'The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.
(Lev. 19:20-22 NAU)
Your trifle that the forgiveness wasn't "total" is total bullshit. The original recipients of the Law would never have had any reason to suspect that these assurances of divine atonement were less than fully expitatory:
27 "But the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh, and their refuse in the fire.
28 "Then the one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water, then afterward he shall come into the camp.
29 "This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;
30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD. (Lev. 16:27-30 NAU)
So let’s address the issue of the duration of the punishment. First, it’s important for us to remember the severity of a crime does not always have anything to do with the amount of time it takes to commit it. If I embezzle five dollars a day from my boss over the course of five years, I might eventually get caught and pay the penalty for embezzling $32,500.00. In the State of California, this violates California Penal Code 503PC and the punishment might be anything from probation to a 5 year state prison sentence. But if I become enraged at a coworker and in the blink of an eye I lose my temper and kill him, the crime is now murder (187PC). This crime took much less than five years to commit. It only took five seconds. Yet the penalty for this crime is far greater. I will be serving at least 25 years to life, and I may even be put to death.Only because the human authorities aren't able to resurrect the victim. If they could, then murdering people would be about as criminal as messing up the covers on the bed. It can be easily fixed.
The penalties for these two crimes are very different, and they have nothing to do with the duration of the actual criminal act. Instead, the severity of the crime is the key to determining its punishment. It’s the same way with God. The duration of the crime has little to do with the duration of the penalty. It’s all about the severity of the crime. “But are you trying to tell me that my disbelief alone is severe enough for me to deserve an eternal hell?” That question will be addressed in the next section. For now, it’s enough to simply point out that the duration of the crime is not what determines the punishment of the crime.And since God was willing to overwhelm the freewill of Saul the violent anti-Christian on the road to Damascus, it cannot be denied that, if God really wanted to, he could MAKE an obstinate skeptic become willing to believe and obey Christian doctrine. Once again, God has no need to inflict justice, he can simply make people do whatever he wants. Ezra 1:1.
Punishment is Based on the Source of the Law
In addition to this, it’s important to remember the punishment for any crime is not determined by the criminal, but by the authority who is responsible for upholding the standard. Justice is not determined by the law breaker, but by the law giver. Justice and punishment are established based on the nature of the source of the law, not the nature of the source of the offense. Since God is the source of justice and the law, His nature determines the punishment. Since God is eternal and conscious, all rewards and punishments must also be eternal and conscious.
The Crime is Worse Than You ThinkBut then it could be argued under Matthew 25:31-46 that when modern day faithless Gentiles do humanitarian works, they are earning their Christian salvation whether they know it or not.
Finally, it’s important to remember the nature of the crime eventually leading one into Hell. It is not the fact you kicked your dog in 1992. It’s not the fact you had evil thoughts about your teacher in 1983. The crime earning us a place in Hell is our rejection of the true and living eternal God.
This rejection is not finite. People who reject God have rejected Him completely.No, we can reject another human being, but not completely, such as not wanting to talk to a spiteful brother, but not willing to see him get killed.
They have rejected Him to their death, to the very end. They have rejected Him as an ultimate and final decision. God then has the right and obligation to judge them with an ultimate punishment. To argue God’s punishment does not fit our crime is to underestimate our crime.But many Christians are open-theists, and insist the bible texts that express or imply imperfection in god were intended to be taken as literally as everything else in their respective contexts. Your presupposition of God as "perfect" is dogshit.
There are several good reasons to expect an eternal punishment even though our earthly crimes may seem finite. Our approach to this objection may require us to give a robust and cumulative response:
Why Would A Loving God Punish Finite Sin With Infinite Torture?
A Loving God simply allows us to suffer the anguish and torment resulting as a consequence of our bad choices. There is a difference between self-inflicted torment and active torture at the hands of another. The duration of the crime has nothing to do with the duration of the punishment (even in this life). The source of the law determines the degree of the punishment, and God is a perfect eternal, conscious being. Don’t be surprised to find we often underestimate the eternal consequence of our own sinful and ultimate choice to reject God.
The source of the law determines the degree of the punishment, and God is a perfect eternal, conscious being.
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Why Is the Penalty of Hell the Same, Even Though People Are So Different?
For some skeptics, the inequitable nature of Hell is seen in the way God punishes. Isn’t it unfair to send someone like Gandhi to Hell (simply because he was not a Christian) alongside someone like Hitler (who committed unspeakable atrocities)? A reasonable and just God would not be the source of such inequitable punishment, would He? In one sense, it is true: All sin has the same consequence when measured against God’s perfection.
Lying is just as significant as murder when it comes to assessing our imperfection relative to the perfection of God.That's right. If I tell a small child the boegy man will get them and they better go home, that lie makes me deserving of eternal torment. If I don't think my wife is beautiful but I say she is anyway, I deserve to be tormented in the presence of holy angels and the lamb and whatever other fanciful apocalyptic bullshit 1st Enoch says will happen.
Even the slightest sin demonstrates our inadequacy and need for a Savior.Jesus didn't seem to make too big of a deal of the sins of the Gentiles. When specific individuals tried to interact with him, we learn how quickly he was willing to forgive them and move on to other people. This constantly hanging around Jesus like a fanatic is not what Jesus required of future Gentile followers, apparently, though its probably unwise to trust the gospels to the point of drawing confident conclusions and inferences from them, shit who knows how much of that crap is merely the later view of the authors and how much is words Jesus actually mouthed.
But make no mistake about it; some sins are clearly more heinous than others in the eyes of God (John 19:11-12). As a result, the God of the Bible equitably prescribes punishments for wrongdoing on earth and in the next life:Maybe that explains how easy he finds it to wave his magic wand and get rid of sin.
There Are Degrees of Punishment on EarthMaybe that explains why he drowned all those kids in that flood.
When God gave the Law to Moses, He made one thing very clear: Some sins are more punishable than others. God assigned different penalties to different crimes, based on the offensive or heinous nature of the sin itself. The Mosaic Law is filled with measured responses to sin. God prescribed punishments appropriate to the crimes in question (Exodus 21:23-25). In fact, the Mosaic Law carefully assured that each offender would be punished “according to his guilt” and no more (Deuteronomy 25:2-3). The Mosaic Law is evidence of two things. First, while any sin may separate us from the perfection of God, some sins are unmistakably more offensive than others. Second, God prescribes different punishments for different crimes based on the severity of each crime.
There Are Degrees of Punishment in HellHow the fuck would you know whether that was intended literally, and whether or not the book even speaks for God? How are you going to utilize that book with a skeptic who thinks its pages are not even worthy of use as tissue paper?
In a similar way, God applies this principle to the next life, prescribing a variety of punishments in eternity corresponding to the crimes committed in this life (Revelation 20:12-13).
This is most apparent in Jesus’ teaching on the “Wicked Servant” (Luke 12:42-48). In a straight forward interpretation of this parable, those who reject the teaching and calling of God will be harshly punished, but those who have less clarity on what can be known about God (“the one who did not know it”) will be punished with less severity. There are degrees of punishment in Hell; God is equitable and fair when it comes to the destiny of those who have rejected Him."fair" meaning "according to God", sort of like "fair according to Bill who runs the show and makes his own rules." I'm less than convinced.
Very sad that your doctrine of sin doesn't come from Jesus, probably because you know that Jesus didn't teach that everybody was a "sinner".
Why Would A Loving God Send Good People to Hell?
Some skeptics think it is unfair for God to penalize people who are otherwise good, just because they haven’t heard about Jesus. How many times have your non-believing friends said something like, “Hey, I’m a good person. If there is a Heaven, I know I’ll be there, because I’ve never done anything to deserve Hell”? I hear this all the time. It is almost as if they believe the Christian God simply sends people to Hell because they haven’t heard about Jesus or because they didn’t believe in Jesus. But this is simply not the case.
There Are No Innocent People
God sends people to Hell because we deserve it. God assigns people to Hell because we are guilty:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
And what are the “works” of human beings? Remember what Paul quoted and described when outlining the true nature of humans:
There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one. Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving, The poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; Their feet are swift to shed blood, Destruction and misery are in their paths, And the path of peace have they not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Humans are not actually as “good” as we would like to think we are. We are continually “missing the mark”. We are continually sinning. And this sin is worthy of punishment:
For the wages of sin is death…
This is the Biblical description of humanity and the consequence of our supposed “goodness”. The Bible says none of us are good to begin with. But for those of us who might not want to accept the truth of the Bible, let’s look at it from a more philosophical perspective.
snip irrelevant arguments.
Objection Sixor maybe we are very naughty kids who will only destroy ourselves if we aren't parented more strictly, like the case of the stubborn child who refuses to quit playing near the hot stove, sometimes parental love requires that you decrease the probability that the child will hurt themselves.
Why Doesn’t God Reform People Rather Than Punish Them in Hell?
If God is all-loving, why doesn’t He simply “reform” people rather than allow them to continue in their sin and eventually punish them in Hell? Even human prison systems understand the value of reform; isn’t a God who punishes his children in Hell a sadistic and vengeful God? We expect a loving God would care enough about us to offer a chance to change rather than simply punish us vindictively for something we’ve done in the past. As it turns out, God (as he is described in the Bible) understands the difference between discipline and punishment, and He is incredibly patient with us, allowing us an entire lifetime to change our minds and reform our lives. This is easier to understand when we think carefully about the definitions of “discipline” and “punishment”:
Discipline Looks Forward
All of us understand the occasional necessity of disciplining our children. When we discipline, we are motivated by love rather than vengeance. We hope to change the future behavior of our kids by nudging them in a new direction with a little discomfort. God also loves His children in this way and allows them the opportunity to reform under his discipline.
This takes place during our mortal lifetime; God disciplines those He loves in this life because He is concerned with eternity.You don't have any evidence "god" does any such thing. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.
Discipline, by its very definition, is “forward-looking” and must therefore occur in this world with an eye toward our eternal destiny:No, heaven is also time-bound, there is no biblical justification for the modern view that God lives in an ever-present "now" where past and future subsumed into a single plane of existence. That's just sophistry run amok.
Hebrews 12:9-11But you cannot demonstrate this anonymous NT book is inspired by God, so you are about as threatening to skepticism as a KJV Onlyist or Josh McDowell.
Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Punishment Looks BackwardNo, god says he will be just as "delighted" to inflict horrific atrocities on disobedient people as he is delighted to give prosperity to those who obey:
There are times as a parent, however, when our loving efforts to discipline and reform are unsuccessful; our kids are sometimes rebellious to the point of exhaustion. In these times, our love requires us to deliver on our repeated warnings. Our loving sense of justice requires us to be firm, even when it hurts us to do so. Our other children are watching us as well, and our future acts of mercy will be meaningless if we fail to act justly on wrongdoing. In times like these, we have no alternative but to punish acts occurring in the past. Punishment need not be vindictive or vengeful. It is simply the sad (but deserved) consequence awaiting those who are unwilling to be reformed in this life.
Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
God is patient. He’s given each of us a lifetime to respond to His discipline and change our mind. It cannot be said God failed to give us the opportunity to repent. When we are rebellious to the point of exhaustion, however, God has no choice but to deliver on His warnings:
Why Doesn’t God Reform People Rather Than Punish Them in Hell?
A loving God carefully disciplines and reluctantly punishes.
63 "It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. (Deut. 28:63 NAU)
God has given us many opportunities to acknowledge His existence and accept His offer of forgiveness. No one has an excuse.Paul didn't have an excuse either, but he still views his ignorance and unbelief as the basis upon which God showed that blinding mercy to him:
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;
14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 1:12-14 NAU)
The Grace Offered to ChildrenGod thinks overwhelming a person with proof of his existence is capable of causing them to respond in genuine faith and repentance. Acts 9, 22, 26.
It is God’s desire for all to be saved, but clearly some will not choose to be saved.
Children however, may not even have the chance to choose. What will God do with young children who have not had the opportunity to be taught about the forgiveness offered through Jesus? Well, the Bible never describes Hell as a place for children.But it never specifies they are exempt from hell either. Paul taught that children remain unclean unless the product of a biblically valid marriage:
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Cor. 7:14 NAU)
You will not find a single description of Hell in which children are present.You also wont find Jesus telling anybody that they had to believe he died for their sins and rose from the dead, before they can be saved.
In fact, there may be good Biblical reason to infer God offers a special grace to young children. King David, for example, had a young baby with Uriah’s widow. This child died while still an infant, yet the Scripture affirms the notion the baby’s soul was present with the Lord after his death, in spite of the fact he was far too young to even hear about God at all:What you omitted was how the child died. God killed it:
2 Samuel 12:22-23
And he said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live.’ But now he has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
13 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD." And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.
14 "However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die."
15 So Nathan went to his house. Then the LORD struck the child that Uriah's widow bore to David, so that he was very sick.
16 David therefore inquired of God for the child; and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground.
17 The elders of his household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.
18 Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. (2 Sam. 12:13-18 NAU)
You don't think this is a proof that god is unloving because you arbitrarily broaden "loving" to encompass just whatever the bible says God does.
We have good reason to believe David’s soul also is present with the Lord today, and David tells us his son preceded him. God appears to offer special grace to children who are not yet able to hear about Him or understand the message of Salvation. This seems consistent with the idea that God shows special mercy to those who are not yet even capable of understanding right from wrong:What would be a more reliable example of God's feelings toward children, the real world, full of pedophiles and kidnapping, or the highly idealistic bible whose unrealistic hopes have tormented Christians for centuries?
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. “He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.”
In this passage, Isaiah affirms there is a point at which young people “know enough to refuse evil and choose good”. Perhaps this is why God demonstrates his mercy with children. Young children simply cannot understand (and do not have the capacity to choose) good over evil. While all of us have a sin nature rebellious toward God, His special revelation has been given to those of us who have the ability to understand it. This also seems consistent with other Biblical passages that depict God’s Law as targeting those who were capable of understanding:
And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men, women and all who could listen with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it before the square which was in front of the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of men and women, those who could understand; and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.
All of us are born as sinners. No one is righteous. We are all sinners from birth. But it does appear God shows special mercy toward those who simply do not have the capacity to understand. This may include those who are mentally handicapped and it may also include those children who are too young to understand the truth of God’s offer of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Is this the part where the Christian apologist tries to argue that it is wrong to be "realistic"?
As you can see, J. Warner Wallace's blind proof-texting cannot seriously be geared toward "convincing skeptics", he instead intends only Christians to benefit from such preaching to the choir.