Answering Elsa: Loving God and Hell Reconciled

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: As someone who believes the Bible is true, I also believe there is a hell awaiting for those who are “not good enough” to go to heaven. And I don’t want you are anyone else to go there.

Do you believe God loves all of his creation?

Yes, God does love his people. John 3:16, Rom 5:8

Also, do you believe that he will send those who are “not good enough” to hell for all eternity?

Jesus did. And so do I, Yes. God is Holy and just. A just God must punish sin/lawlessness. The place for those who have not repented and put their faith in Christ’s life, death and resurrection is commonly called Hell.

If you answer yes to both questions, how can you reconcile that, when you yourself, a mere mortal, have enough love inside you to not wish such a horrible fate on anyone?

Thank you for the compliment, however, any good inside of me is the work of God within me. Believe me there’s a side of me that would like to see some folks tossed in a lake of fire for all time. However, the Bible teaches this is not how God is most glorified. God is most glorified when sinners repent and put their trust in His Son for forgiveness.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but asking this question tells me you don’t understand how pure, how holy God is. We all have the tenancy to justify or excuse our own sins. But Jesus taught that hatred was murder of the heart and lust was adultery of the heart. The bible clearly teaches “all have sinned” and fall short of the Glory of God. There is none righteous.

If a child rapist and murderer got away with his crime, lived a long life only to die in his sleep are you saying that you wouldn’t want justice to await him? Of course you would. Especially if it was someone you know. If a holy God will punish murderers, will he not punish thieves, wife-beaters, liars, hypocrites, etc?

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Answering Elsa: Personal Experience = Truth?

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

It’s interesting, you and I are a lot alike in wanting to understand the opposing opinion. In my own quest, I have read apologetics that claim to disprove evolution by setting up strawman arguments, but have yet to find a refutation that is based on the actual theories. I have also read the Catholic perspective of the first Council of Nicaea, which I have not yet reconciled with the secular accounts of it. Also, I have read many ex-Christian “testimonies” of how they became a Christian and why they stopped believing, and it’s easy to understand the entire progression, based on my understanding of psychology. That said, I have no doubt that your “connection” with a perceived higher power is very real to you. But my experience and understanding tells me that this sense of strength and awe that you have comes from within, not from some external force, except to the extent that you are basing the “reasons” for your feelings on something which other humans who share your religion have defined.

While personal experience should not be totally dismissed, it’s not the end all to be all. Many people and religions base their reality on personal experience. Even some well intended Christians. Their must be some outside source of truth. Otherwise a man might here a voice that tells him it’s okay to rob banks, or he might just like the feeling he gets from robbing banks. That’s an extreme example, but it happens (not with bank robbers) but with serial killers and cult leaders all the time. The Bible when properly followed is a excellent external source of truth. The world would be a much better place if we followed the words and teachings of Christ. But beyond that: The good news of all the scriptures is that God is Holy, has created a people (who fell), yet provided a way for them to be restored and made righteous through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. All who will repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Him will be saved.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
(Romans 10:9-11)

Answering Elsa: Why Ron Believes the Bible

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: I won’t make you look up all the verses that support someone else position, unless you believe that as well? Which I don’t think you do. If so, sorry about the nuts comment. (grin)

I don’t believe things just because they’re in the Bible. But why do you? And, why do you also not believe other things that are in the Bible? How do you know which parts of the Bible are the inerrant Word of God and which parts are not?

Let me be clear. I believe all original scripture is inerrant and infallible. What convinced me of that? Basically it comes down to prophesy and context, and a little archeology.

There are so many fulfilled prophesies in scripture that after considering the odds of such an event happening on it’s own, I would be a fool not to admit that there is something behind it that can see beyond time. 66 books, over 40 authors, written over centuries and no inconsistencies. If a large part can be trusted, then it doesn’t take a lot of faith to believe the parts that you may have trouble with.

All scripture must be understood for it’s context and style. Some is historic, some poetic, and some is literal; and I think it’s fairly easy to tell which is which. Some abuse this and say that some literal texts also mean something else or they take one verse and twist it to say something other than it’s context would suggest. We all have to be wary of that. Not to say there isn’t something that we can apply from historical texts, but “context, context, context is always the rule.

Archaeologically, there is plenty of evidence that the Bible is the most historically accurate record around.

Let me encourage you, as someone who seems pretty smart, to lay down your presuppositions and study the fulfilled prophesies of the old and new testaments. Because there is more riding on this than just the accuracy of a book. If the book is true then the claims it makes are true: There is a God; He will one day judge us all according to our deeds according to His righteousness. (Again, I encourage you to read: Are you Good Enough to Go to Heaven?) IF (IF) this is true, it’s too important to be uninformed.

Ron wrote: Again, let me say, I can be and am often wrong.

As can I. By acknowledging this, you seem to acknowledge that you are not stuck in your beliefs, and can therefore adjust your understanding of things when you come across new discoveries that don’t fit your current understanding.

Sure. Again, I could be interpreting something wrong. But that wouldn’t change the scripture. As you hinted at before, it’s illogical to pick and choose which parts of the bible are accurate and which are not. It’s either inspired or it’s not.

Ron wrote: And I thank you for your points and questions. I do find it helpful to know what and why others believe as they do. Not because I want everyone to belong to “my religion” or anything like that but; because I’ve found real truth, freedom and peace through Jesus Christ.

You’re welcome, and I thank you for your respectful demeanor here. All too often, I’ve come across someone who gets defensive and starts attacking because they are so set on defending their position, instead of trying to understand the other’s point of view.

Not a problem. There’s a time for a strong reply. But you didn’t come out of the shoot deserving that. Besides, I want to be heard too. I don’t know how sincere you are about searching for the truth. But I can tell you with all sincerity that I have found it. And I too was skeptical — and continue to be. I think that’s fine. I think it makes me actually a stronger Christian. I worry about folks who shut off all doubt and just drink the kool-aid. So many Christians are lazy and unwilling to even think about objections. Beyond that, I should clarify my earlier statement. While I don’t care if you convert to my religion (religion won’t save you). I do care if you go to Hell and want you to be forgiven of your sins. I would hope to make some convincing arguement and you would repent of your sin and seek forgiveness from God, through the gift offered by Christ and his righteousness and atonement. And although that seems highly unlikely based on what you have said, I still hope for you and for others who have taken the time (the incredible amount of time) to read all of this.

Answering Elsa: Is God’s Plan Better?

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

The God character hardened Pharoah’s heart and did all these wonders through Moses, when he could have simply softened Pharoah’s heart so he would let them go. Or, being omnipotent, he could have simply zapped all the Israelites out of Egypt and into the land of milk and honey to begin with. Why did he choose to harden Pharoah’s heart and do things the hard way? Well, the Bible clearly says that it was to display of all his awesome power and glory, so everyone will know that He is the Lord. So why, then, would this God not want people to know the vastness of our amazing universe? As much as this character liked to take credit for things, it seems out of character for Him to describe our planet and universe which He supposedly created in such a two-dimensional way. Again, why a circle (which is flat) and not a ball?

Again, I don’t know why He choose to reveal what He did, as He did. It’s not for me to argue. (Not that I think He is disturbed by our asking questions (at least not when the intent is to seek the truth). And you do bring up a great point; “The Heavens do declare the Glory of God” (see Psalm 19:1) and it’s impossible for me to study the heavens and not be amazed at it’s incredible design and not believe there is a designer. St. Paul put it this way:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
(Romans 1:18-21)

Answering Elsa: Does Science disprove the Bible?

This is post is part of a series of replies. If you landed here first, please see the intro post here.

Ron wrote: I know of no scientific law the refutes the Bible.

The whole idea of scientific “law” is a fallacy. For instance, the “law” of gravity is merely a very well-founded theory which has not been disproven.

By referring to gravitational theory as “law,” one is thereby placing our current understanding of the mechanisms behind that which we refer to as gravity into the realm of absolutes. By calling it “law,” we are saying that X absolutely causes Y, which could actually be incorrect. What we do know is that Y occurs, and X seems to affect it. However, it’s possible that someday we will discover that Z really affects it, and that both X and Y are merely affected by the cause of Z.

That said, there is much evidence to suggest that many stories which are told in the Bible either didn’t happen, or didn’t happen when/how the stories say they did. Contrary to what some creationists with important-sounding titles may claim, there was no global flood, no one inhabited Jericho at the time when Joshua is said to have conquered it, and dinosaurs did pre-date humans by millions of years. Further, the few sentences which Christian apologists use as “proof” that Jesus even existed were refuted as forgeries hundreds of years ago.

Are you doubting Jesus existed? If so, that puts you way outside the realm of even most athiests. Sure they disagree that He was God, but no one credible seriously doubts His exsistance.

You missed my question/statement. I know of no scientific law (as is currently understood) that contradicts the Bible.

As an aside, I’d love to see this evidence of your posts. That could be a huge aside. Do you have a blog of your own? If so, I’d be happy to link to it.

And speaking of gravity and evolution (or in this case the big bang). Where did gravity come from? (No need to chase that rabbit if you don’t want to.)

Ron wrote: Elsa, many did believe it was just a circle. It’s even possible Isaiah may have thought so (although there’s no evidence to support that). That’s not my point. My point was that it turns out scripture was right.

How so? By basically calling the world a disc?

I stand corrected. Perhaps I should have said, scripture is still not wrong.

Ron wrote: I should note here that Isaiah was inspired by the Holy Spirit when those words were written. Therefore, I see no problem with Isaiah not fully comprehending the science behind what he wrote.

So why didn’t the Holy Spirit inspire Isaiah to write, It is he that sitteth upon the ball of the earth? Surely people had worked with “balls” of clay back then before they shaped it into pottery.

* I’ll ask him 😉 Seriously, I do not know.

Ron wrote: Incidentally the “flat earth” people are nuts.

This we can agree on, lol. But why would “God” allow his creation to be described as an immovable disc or flat square that rests on pillars, with a dome-shaped firmament separating the earth from the heavens, when the real nature of our universe is so much more awe-inspiring?

I don’t know anyone who hears the phrase “the four corners of the earth” and therefore concludes the earth is a flat square. But this is getting a little foolish. Particularity, when you are so opposed to even the concept of God that you type “God” in quotes or refer to Him as “The God character” (see next post). It’s offensive. I’m sure your point here is not to offend, so I’ll continue. But really – I think we are chasing rabbits.