Following on from my recent stream of consciousness post, I wanted to briefly articulate my predicament about Christianity a little more clearly and thoughtfully. Kind comments are welcome.
I will present three perspectives related to the doctrine of hell. The same presupposition is behind each of these scenarios, which is that God is in control of everything that happens, which I have no doubt is the absolute truth. For my arguments in relation to this, see this article and/or my book, God’s Grand Game.
1) God is sovereign over all events
2) Therefore, God is the author of sin
3) Therefore, Christianity only makes sense if double predestination is true
4) Double predestination is an incredibly cruel doctrine
5) I don’t believe God is incredibly cruel
6) Therefore, orthodox Biblical Christianity must be rejected
An alternative perspective is that God IS incredibly cruel, and we must accept the doctrine of double predestination, thereby acknowledging God’s cruelty, while simultaneously enjoying the promise of salvation. One problem that results from this perspective is that it’s hard to reconcile the idea that God predestines people to hell before they are even born with Jesus’ teachings about love.
We could try to make sense of Christianity without the doctrine of hell, thus preserving God’s goodness and also some of the teachings of Christ. We couldn’t embrace ALL the teachings of Christ under this scenario, because Jesus taught the doctrine of hell (see the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Luke 16:19-31). We would have to embrace universalism (the idea that all will be saved) as the only form of Christianity that makes sense.
A few days ago I wrote an essay which goes into depth in relation to the various arguments presented in this article. I’m trying to find an editor for the essay and then I will publish it on this blog and invite readers’ feedback.