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“You REALLY Believe in HELL?! But WHY?” (Ten Reasons) (Reason 3) The Doctrine of God

11 Feb

Why in the world would someone believe in hell? And what exactly does it mean to “believe” in hell? These are a couple of the questions we want to answer in this ten-part series of posts. We’ve looked at REASON #1 — I got saved out of a fear of hell! We’ve also thought about REASON #2 – Hell makes sense.Let’s look at REASON #3 this morning — How does the doctrine of hell relate to the doctrine of God? Those who reject the doctrine of hell as eternal conscious punishment (ECP) say things like:

“[Hell is] an odious conception . . . blasphemous in its view of the Creator” (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Hell is “the final mockery of God’s nature” (John A.T. Robinson).This doctrine of hell is “an outrageous doctrine, a theological and moral enormity” (Clark H. Pinnock).

“How can Christians possibly project a deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness whose ways include inflicting everlasting torture upon his creatures, however sinful they may have been? Surely a God who would do such a thing is more nearly like Satan than like God, at least by any ordinary moral standards, and by the Gospel itself.” (Clark H. Pinnock)

The liberal scholar John A.T. Robinson (1919-1985), agreeing with the sentiments of the second century Alexandrian theologian Origen, pointedly charges in the article “Universalism – Is It Heretical?” that “Christ . . . remains on the Cross as long as one sinner remains in hell. This is not speculation: it is a statement grounded in the very necessity of God’s nature. In a universe of love there can be no heaven which tolerates a chamber of horrors, no hell for any which does not at the same time make it hell for God. He cannot endure that — for that would be the final mockery of his nature — and He will not.”

The theologian Nels F.S. Ferré sees the theological battlefield to be the nature of God. “Traditional orthodoxy,” Ferré says, “has to be challenged, fought and slain.” He writes, “Some have never really seen how completely contradictory are heaven and hell as eternal realities. Their eyes have never been opened to this truth. If eternal hell is real, love is eternally frustrated and heaven is a place of mourning and concern for the lost. Such joy and such grief cannot go together. There can be no psychiatric split personality for the real lovers of God and surely not for God himself. That is the reason that heaven can be heaven only when it has emptied hell, as surely as love is love and God is God. God cannot be faithless to Himself no matter how faithless we are; and His is the power, the kingdom and the glory.”

Ferré continues by saying that eternal hell compromises God’s sovereign love and that “Such a doctrine would either make God a tyrant, where any human Hitler would be a third degree saint, and the concentration camps of human torture, the king’s picnic grounds. That such a doctrine could be conceived, not to mention believed, shows how far from any understanding of the love of God many people once were and, alas, still are.”

But what are we do with Scriptures like Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!’”

In many ways we are in a battle over the nature of God Himself! If God is indeed “allergic” to sin, then what is He to do with sinners who do not cast themselves on Christ, asking for His forgiveness? Universalists say God will save everyone in the end. Annihilationists say that God will end the existence of those who die without Christ. The Scriptures teach that there are two eternal destinies for man — and both are eternal (Mt. 25:48). God’s abhorrence of sin cost His Son’s life on the cross. If we are to exclude unrepentant sinning Christians from our churches (I Cor. 5), how can we object to the idea that a thrice-holy God can do the same with those who reject Christ?

A.W. Tozer sums up the issue when he writes, “The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions.” (to be continued)

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 11, 2020 in hell

 

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4 responses to ““You REALLY Believe in HELL?! But WHY?” (Ten Reasons) (Reason 3) The Doctrine of God

  1. JD Blom

    February 11, 2020 at 8:23 am

    These posts on hell are so important. We just had to address this belief that there is no hell with an individual in my Church. I read the Bible and I can’t understand how people twist the scripture into a belief that God doesn’t punish. Keep up the good work!

     
  2. Dr. Larry Dixon

    February 11, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you so much for your kind words! Blessings. Dr. D.

     
  3. The Word

    December 22, 2021 at 8:26 am

    My name is Alan Finch. JESUS became my Lord and Saviour in April of 1976.

    In John 12:32, JESUS clearly states that He is going to draw ALL people to Himself! Not a portion of mankind, but ALL of mankind.

    In John 6:44, JESUS clearly states that nobody can come to Him except the Father draws that person to Him. For those who are true Christians, WE MUST NOT KID OURSELVES IN THE FACT THAT WE ONLY CAME TO JESUS BECAUSE GOD’S SPIRIT DREW US TO JESUS!

    In the present, and in the future, God has His own timing when He will draw each individual to Himself.

    Addressing the issue of the belief in eternal annihilation, the Lord clearly tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that He has set eternity in our hearts. God has made us living Spirits. It is impossible for our Spirit to be destroyed.

    GOD HAS NOT FAILED IN HIS ORIGINAL PLAN FOR ALL OF MANKIND WHICH DOES NOT INCLUDE ETERNAL TORMENT OR ETERNAL ANNIHILATION. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR GOD TO FAIL IN ANYTHING!

    God worked out His plan in past Ages, God is working out His plan in the present Age that we are not living in, and God will work out His plan in future Ages to come.

    I have spent the last several years in Biblically expounding in a 31 page document that I have put together on the truth of there being no eternal suffering in a Lake of Fire for anyone. I have just explained the real LOVE of God that today’s Church just simply does not seem to grasp.

    If anyone would be interested in a copy of my document, email me at: (candy33alan@aol.com), and I will email you a copy.

     
    • Dr. Larry Dixon

      December 23, 2021 at 6:39 am

      Alan: Thank you for reading my blog. I got saved as a result of fearing God’s judgment. My first book was entitled “The Other Side of the Good News: Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teaching on Hell.” You might find it helpful in your study of God’s Word. Blessings. Dr. D.

       

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