Sunday, June 22, 2008

Thought for the Day

I know this post won't be all that substantial, but an interesting thought occurred to me as I meditated on my pastor's sermon this morning and surfed my favorite blogs. As you may or may not have guessed by now, I am deeply interested in the whole "Calvinism vs. Arminianism" debate. Ever since my pastor spent a whole year preaching on the sovereignty of God, over the past several years I've read/seen multiple debates on the issue and read some quality material on the concept of "free will." Yeah, yeah, I know, I've pretty much always been a Calvinist, but I still enjoy hearing the arguments and biblical support from both sides of the debate.

That said, the thing that hit me is that one of the most prevalent arguments against Calvinism (but not completely for Arminianism either, see "edit") is that a loving God would not send someone to hell. One thing they fail to do, and, for that matter, something that Christendom on the whole fails to do, is look at the very nature of God's love. Take Romans 12:9, for instance. Paul is saying that true love abhors what is evil. Granted, this passage is talking about the love we as Christians should possess and demonstrate in our lives, but surely God's true and perfect love likewise abhors evil. Think about that. If true love hates evil, then why would we expect God to let sinners as horrible and rebellious as ourselves into heaven? The answer, of course, lies in the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When a person is saved, the punishment due to him by God is essentially transfered onto Christ. God, then, in a sense, looks upon him as holy and blameless.

The atonement aside, my point is that it is the nature of a loving God to send an evil person, in other words, every unsaved person to hell. This is, of course, assuming we use a biblical definition of God, but what other authority is there? Where did the oh-so-popular idea that "God is love" come from in the first place? The Bible, of course, and it is this very same Bible that says that true, Godly, love has no tolerance for evil. It may be hard to accept, but when an unsaved person faces God on judgment day, the loving thing for Him to do is send that person to hell, because He abhors what is evil. There is no attribute or part of God that wants to let the reprobate into His presence. His justice, His holiness, His wrath, and even His love all scream that the sinner get what he deserves--eternal damnation in the lake of fire.

*edit* I've been thinking about this a little bit more, and I'm realizing that instead of Arminianism, which has no problems with the reality of hell, this post has much more to do with answering to universalism and the, umm, more "positive" brand of Christianity. So ignore the first paragraph for the most part, it's not as relevant to the whole post as I thought it was going to be.

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