Tuesday, August 12, 2008

hell: too hard to believe?

I was enjoying an excellent Bible talk by our minister John on something completely unrelated, when my mind did a flip-flop, and I realised: it's the whole deal with God.

If I believe the Bible is God's word, and God speaks the truth, and nothing but the truth, then I have to believe even the bits of the Bible I'm uncomfortable with.

If I'm uncomfortable with the idea of hell (which I am) then that's my problem, not God's.

Do I trust God to be wiser than me? (Answer: yes.) Do I believe God speaks the truth in his word? (Answer: yes.) Do I know God is absolutely just, perfectly good, completely loving? (Answer: yes.) Do I trust God to have understood all the ins and outs of how something like hell can be just, fair and loving, even when it doesn't make sense to me? (Answer: yes.)

Do I believe that my loving Father, who sent his only Son to die on the cross, and suffer the agonies of hell for me, did this capriciously, unlovingly, or unnecessarily? (Answer: no way.)

So how can I possible think I'm justified in holding my own opinion about what's right, and my preferences for what's comfortable, and my feelings about what's acceptable, above God's love, goodness, and wisdom? How dare I prefer my wisdom to his?

Then why do I hold back part of my mind in reservation when it comes to believing in hell?

What else am I holding in reservation? In what areas am I saying to God "I will believe your word if it says ... , but not if it says ... ?" How am I saying to God "I am wiser / fairer / more loving than you?"

What parts of the Bible do I find it too hard to accept?

Questions worth asking.

Further reading on hell (and I admit here and now I have avoided this topic and only skim-read these excellent-looking posts - sorry my fellow bloggers!) include Gordo's posts on hell and Honoria's posts on hell. Here's an article by J.I.Packer on annihilationism and some helpful-looking links and articles on annihilationism and hell. I should do some more reading on this topic, but I don't want to.


Juliette said...

You might enjoy my friend Nina's blog on this topic (or not!): http://ninamay.blogspot.com/



Jean said...

Thanks, Juliette, it took me a while, but I had 5 minutes to read this and really enjoyed it. I'll probably link to it in a post soon.