Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Problem of Hell part 4

The problem of hell is tied directly, I think anyway, to the problem of evil. Why did God let that evil man rape and slaughter that woman at the truck stop's bathroom? Why did mommy have to die of breast cancer? Why did 3 year-old Billy get run over by his own brother in the drive-way? Perhaps another question may hit a little closer to our American psyche. Why did God have those terrorists bomb the twin towers with our own planes causing massive death and pain and suffering?

Now I must confess, I do not know the answers to these specific questions. I don't know God's purpose in every detail of life, nor am I meant to know. Nevertheless, my first answer is a little more man centered and is only dealing with one facet of this problem.

I think God ordains some men to become unrestrained in their evil passions to remind us of our own evil. Instead of looking at those pesky terrorists from merely an American cultural perspective, we who are Christians should look at them from a theological one.

Every time we see a sinner commit an evil act we should be reminded of our own evil. We should be reminded that we are no better than those who act upon their sin. We should be reminded that God's wrath is continually being revealed from heaven above so that we may always be reminded that Judgment Day is quickly approaching.

To put it another way, whenever we see a bank robber that is caught, we rightly desire that he go to prison or bear some kind of punishment. Instead of thinking too highly of ourselves though, we should be reminded that if we are offended enough to force the bank robber to bear society's wrath, how much more should we sinners, who have offended a holy and just God, bear the wrath of this holy God? Every time we see justice being carried out in this present evil age, no matter how fallible or full of errors they may have, we ought to see that one is coming on the clouds of heaven. His Name is Jesus Christ. He has been given full authority by God to judge all of mankind. We all must face this judgment.

The other answer I hope is more Christ centered. Romans 9 teaches us that God raises men such as Pharaoh in order to display His power and make His Name known in all the earth. God ordains the life of Pharaoh in order to destroy him and to display His wrath against sin. When we ignore the truth that God wants to display His wrath, we ignore something God has revealed. We ignore a huge purpose in the problem of evil.

It is at the point of the Cross that God has chosen to display all of His attributes. It was at the Cross that we see God's wrath and judgment poured out upon our Substitute. It was at the Cross that we see the law of love fulfilled and all of the requirements of the law met. It was at the Cross that we see grace and mercy displayed in behalf of the elect. Romans 9 states it this way,
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
This is no mere "what if" scenario. This is something God actually did, and the Apostle Paul contends. We must start with God's revelation to man if we truly desire to answer these truly difficult questions. Therefore I leave you with the Words of the Son of God.
Mat 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

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