Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Suffering, judgement, free will, and God’s sovereignty

Biblical Christians understand that suffering and judgement are the result of human sinfulness and self-conscious choices.



God *desires* all to repent and turn from evil. His *nature* requires that evil be judged and punished commiserate with the scale of the offense.


*Rebellion against an eternal and perfectly holy Sovereign merits eternal consequences.*


God’s glory is revealed in His just condemnation of the offenders and that mercy is graciously given according to His mysterious will to *anyone, at all*.


Biblical Christians do not hold to hard determinism - that is, the belief that all events and human actions are predetermined by prior causes, leaving no room for free will.


We believe that “God is sovereign, Man is responsible.”


And just like wave-particle duality in quantum physics or the Banach-Tarski Paradox in mathematics, it is a theological antinomy we don’t fully understand, yet see clearly laid out in Scripture. 


Biblical references (supplied by AI):


1. Suffering and judgment as a result of human sinfulness:

   - Romans 5:12, Genesis 3:16-19, Galatians 6:7-8


2. God's desire for all to repent:

   - 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:3-4, Ezekiel 18:23


3. God's nature requiring judgment of evil:

   - Habakkuk 1:13, Romans 2:5-6, Revelation 20:12-13


4. Eternal consequences for rebellion:

   - Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 20:15


5. God's glory in judgment and mercy:

   - Romans 9:22-23, Ephesians 1:5-6


6. God's sovereignty and human responsibility:

   - Philippians 2:12-13, Acts 2:23, Proverbs 16:9, Romans 9:19-21


7. God's mysterious will:

   - Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law."

   - Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

   - Romans 11:33-34 "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"

   - Job 38-41 (God's response to Job, demonstrating the limits of human understanding)


Additional verses reinforcing these concepts:

   - Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

   - Jeremiah 18:1-10 (The potter and the clay analogy, showing both God's sovereignty and human responsibility)

   - Romans 9:14-18 (Discussion of God's mercy and justice)


These passages collectively support the theological framework outlined, demonstrating God's sovereignty, human responsibility, the necessity of judgment, eternal consequences for rebellion, and crucially, the mysterious nature of God's will that transcends full human comprehension. This comprehensive view aligns with the concept of theological antinomy, where apparent contradictions are held in tension, reflecting the limitations of human understanding in grasping divine truths.

Monday, July 8, 2024

We all deserve Hell

Christ Jesus is the exemplar of God’s nature. Jesus is perfectly good, just, and merciful, therefore all Persons of the Trinity are good, just, and merciful.




Our problem is that we don’t take sin and its pervasive effects seriously and make ourselves out to be more understanding, just, and merciful than God. No surprise, as that is Man’s nature.


Man is created with an eternal spirit. An eternal spirit in eternal rebellion against their eternal Creator deserves eternal consequences.


We all willfully choose sin over communion. We are all willfully rebellious. We all justly deserve God’s eternal condemnation. We are all vessels of wrath.


It’s only the gracious provision of God that any are chosen to be vessels of mercy, because we *always* choose rebellion.


We are created through and for Jesus to be glorified as Savior and Judge, as desired by the Father and enabled by the Spirit.


It is a logical necessity that beings fit for communion with God have the ability to make self-conscious decisions. He desires true loving communion. However, the self-conscious decision to rebel and seek equality with God is our inherent nature. Out of an infinity of good choices leading to eternal communion, we self-consciously choose the *only thing* that disqualifies us.


Praise be to our Savior for His righteous judgement and praise Him that any are mercifully chosen to be forgiven, cloaked in His righteousness, and receive the unmerited gift of eternal communion with God!



Addendum:

Here's a list supplied by AI of many Bible verses to support the article's points:


1. God's nature and Christ as exemplar:


"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." - John 1:1

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." - Hebrews 1:3

"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" - Colossians 2:9

"I and the Father are one." - John 10:30

"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." - John 14:9

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." - Colossians 1:15


2. Man's sinful nature and deserving of hell:


"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" - Romans 3:23

"As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one'" - Romans 3:10

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" - Jeremiah 17:9

"Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." - Psalm 51:5

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 6:23

"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" - Isaiah 64:6


3. Eternal spirit and consequences:


"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." - Matthew 25:46

"And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image" - Revelation 14:11

"They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord" - 2 Thessalonians 1:9

"Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." - Ecclesiastes 12:7

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matthew 10:28

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'" - John 11:25-26

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 5:8

"If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better." - Philippians 1:22-23

"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." - 2 Corinthians 5:1

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" - Philippians 3:20

"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" - Romans 8:16


4. Choosing sin over communion:


"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God." - Romans 3:10-11

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." - Romans 1:21

"The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so." - Romans 8:7


5. God's grace and mercy:


"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:4-5

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" - Ephesians 2:8

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9


6. Creation through and for Jesus:


"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him." - Colossians 1:16

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." - John 1:3

"yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." - 1 Corinthians 8:6


7. Free will and rebellion:


"The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time." - Genesis 6:5

"For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness." - Mark 7:21-22

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot." - Romans 8:7


8. Salvation through Christ:


"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:12

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" - John 14:6

"For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus" - 1 Timothy 2:5


9. God's sovereign choice:


"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will" - Ephesians 1:4-5

"And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." - Romans 8:30

"But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth." - 2 Thessalonians 2:13

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." - John 15:16

"For many are invited, but few are chosen." - Matthew 22:14

"For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God's mercy." - Romans 9:15-16

"What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory" - Romans 9:22-23

"However, as it is written: 'What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived'— the things God has prepared for those who love him" - 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" - Romans 11:33