Where Is The Promise Of His Coming? Part 4: God Will Not Send Anyone To Hell.

“They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’”  2 Peter 3:4

2021-10-16 I AM GOD“God won’t send anyone to hell, He’s too loving and nice to do that.”  This is an opinion uttered by many who believe God is all-loving and compassionate.  And with good reason: He IS.  However, those who express this view do not seem to understand the depth of His mercy: He will not violate anyone’s free will.  THAT is how loving and compassionate He is.

Many people will articulate this viewpoint in one breath and then in the next condemn someone who has done something they consider wrong, especially if it was done to them.  They do not like the idea of living next door to a witch, a rapist or child-molester, a murderer, or a greedy thief or liar.  How would they enjoy sharing Heaven with one such as these?

There are evil people in the world, those who get pleasure out of watching others suffer.  There are those whose only joy is to feel powerful over another or to use people as their toys.  Many a shoplifter or liar has stolen or told a fib without any need, but just for the delight of it.  These are the ones Revelation 22:15 calls dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters and practitioners of falsehood.

“But,” they will say, “when they have learned their lesson by suffering for a while in hell, God will let them out.”  True enough.  In fact, God’s mercy is SO immense that if Lucifer, the devil himself, ever apologized and admitted that he was wrong to try to take God’s place, God would even forgive him!  How soon will that happen?  Try never.  The devil is so self-deceived that he continually thinks that somehow, someday, in some way, he will be able to overthrow The Uncreated One.  Even into the eons of eternity he will continue to plot, plan and program what he believes will be his ultimate win: I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14)

2021-10-16 The LiarIn the same way, those who have believed his lie, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” (Genesis 3:5) will follow him to their doom.  It is true that if they would learn their lesson, if they would turn from their selfishness, enjoyment of others’ pain, their immorality or greed, Father would forgive them and allow them into Heaven.  But habits are hard to break, and the older habits get, the more set in the avenues of our minds they become until they are unbreakable, even for God.  Thus Revelation 22:11 says, “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”

We see this in the judgements of Revelation 16:9, 11, and 17.  Even when they are facing unquestionable judgements of God, instead of repenting and asking for mercy, people curse God and blame Him as though all the problems being visited on them are HIS fault.  Even then, if they would just ask, God would be merciful, but they simply refuse to see what should be plain in front of their eyes. “They did not repent and give him glory.

2021-10-16 Heaven Or HellThe bottom line is that God will not send anyone to hell.  In fact, He did not even make hell for humans“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce)  But God is so merciful, He will not allow anything evil to enter into Heaven.  In His Final Mercy, He will isolate the recalcitrant sinner so they cannot go on sinning, injuring others and themselves.  And that final separation from all others who live in God will be hell.

In this series on The Promise of His Coming, I have presented The Lie, The Truth, The End and Your Choice, details of what The End might look like, and how the enemy of our souls has deceived the whole world with pseudo-science to deter people from believing that Jesus will come again.  It is my sincere hope that someone reading this will begin to investigate: Did Jesus arise from the dead?  What are the implications if He did?  Will He come again?  What will the End Times look like, if not like our present troubles?

There is always hope for anyone, no matter what you have done, how you have lived your life, how ignorant of The God Who Is you have been, how far from God and any goodness you have moved.  All you need is Jesus.  He will forgive; He will restore what was broken; He will give you eternal life . . . if you will receive Him. (John 1:12)

Maranatha, even so, come Lord Jesus.

 

Wondering While Wandering Through Time and Space

Off the usual moral themes of this blog, this is simply a logical discussion.  Time is an attribute of God.  You will not find this in any theological text and as far as I know I am the only one to espouse this idea, but it feels right, it appears logical, and common sense verifies it as true.

Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

The “brains” of this world, the intellectuals, are fond of making things very complicated.  “Instinct” is an invented word that means “we do not really have any idea.”  The dictionary defines “instinct” as “an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.”  Why do birds fly south in the winter before it turns cold?  Why do the swallows fly from Argentina over the same pattern to San Juan Capistrano every year?  Why does a dog chase its tail?  Actually, we have no idea, so we ascribe these behaviors to “instinct.”

Hawking A Brief History of Time

In the same way, the late Stephen Hawkings, the brilliant and modest physics genius had problems explaining how life could evolve in the universe without God, so he came up with the idea of a “multiverse,” an infinite number of possible universes in which one, ours, could possibly have evolved life without Outside interference.  A pretty idea, but sounding an awful lot like Star Trek, it is basically absurd intellectualism to disguise his lack of evidence shrouded in complex mathematical formulae that he claimed “proved” there was no need for God.  The amazing thing about truth, or Truth if you prefer, is that it is usually self-evident.  “The king is not wearing any clothes” is a statement only a child would make in a kingdom that could not bear royal embarrassment.  No need for complicated conspiracy theories or complex equations.

So let’s get back to Time, a feature of our universe that I believe to be an attribute of God, like Space (yeah, that one, too, but maybe for another blog).  Time stretches back into eternity past and forward to an eternal future.  It, like God, is immutable; that is, it never changes in spite of Einstein’s ideas.  It is beyond the pale of man’s imagination to figure out a “time” when Time did not exist.  There is no reference of the Bible that says Time had a beginning.  The created universe had one, but “when” did that happen?

There are other things about God that our little minds cannot fully understand.  Remember, HE is God, we are not!  Thus, we have to rely on what He has revealed about Himself.  Somehow, He is Three-In-One, a single being with three persons.  We followers of Jesus are not tri-theists.  There is One God, and He is ONE.  Yet Father blesses the Son at His baptism and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove over Him (Luke 3:21-22); all “parts” of God, yet each is fully God and sort of like . . . well, there is no adequate illustration of God, because He IS God and there is only ONE of Him, and no one and nothing else in the universe is like Him.

So let’s get back to Time, again.  The Bible never says, “Time will be no more.”  That’s a line from a nice song about spending eternity with Him, but not a theological reality.  When will we be with Him?  When we leave this world by death or the Lord’s return.  How long will we be with Him?  For all the Time of eternity.  Clearly the Bible does not teach that we will somehow lose personality or identity; mystically absorbed into the infinite (Buddhism).  Hinduism and Jainism teach there is a personal soul but its blissfulness is very close to Buddhism’s loss of personality by the time you reach that state.

Einstein

The Bible shows individuals around the Throne of God worshiping Him, not in some ethereal sphere of timelessness, but in Eternal Time (Revelation 4 and 22).  It is the measuring of Time that changes, not time itself.  Einstein pictured a train passing at some distance from an observer, and it seemed to go slower than it appeared to someone on the train.  We see this when we watch a jet slowly traversing the sky; we can trace its travel with our finger, but if we were in a balloon up next to it, it would be whizzing by!  But the time and speed it is traveling does not change; only our perception of it.  So Time does not bend, but our measurement of it does.  We have all experienced this in the way we perceive time, sometimes happening very quickly, sometimes very slowly.  But Time is constant and does not change.

There was a time when God was alone . . . as the Three-In-One who had communion within Himself.  Then at some time in the Eternity past, He decided to share His existence with others, so He created amazing beings (to humans) of light and majesty, that if we were to encounter one of them, we would be inclined to worship him (Revelation 19:9-10).  Like God, He gave them free will, intelligence and emotions.

Then at another point in Time, Lucifer (Light-Bearer), one of the chief three angels came up with an absurd and twisted idea that he wanted to be God (Isaiah 14:14).  However, the insanity of his thought was that he was a created being, not eternally existent in the past; not omniscient, not omnipresent, not omnipotent, not containing Time and Space in himself.  So God kicked him out of Heaven, i.e. left him out of relationship, and separated him and the third of angels who followed him from the Life, Light, and Love that is God.

At another time, God decided to create another being, after creating the Earth, the planets, the stars and the galaxies of our universe.  He made this one with free will, intelligence and emotion as well.  Only this time He limited how much of Himself He would show to these created beings.  So Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, who apparently took on a form that they could comprehend.  Now we live in the in-between Time, between Eternity Past and Eternity Future, but actually part of the Eternal Time: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Emperors New Clothes.jpg

So in my childlike view of The Emperor’s New Clothes, my little brain just figures Time is an attribute of God.  What difference does this make?  Very little for our spiritual lives.  Like arguments between the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday crucifixion of our Lord, the important issue is that He was crucified and raised from the dead.  The important thing about Time is that it is in His hands and He has numbered the days for each of us before we appear before Him (Psalm 139:16).

As for Space, besides the Acts 17 reference, you can look at Colossians 1:16-17:For IN him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and IN him all things hold together.”  He inhabits the “Colossian Space.”  (see https://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_relativity_spacetime.html)
Just wondering while wandering through Time and Space.

The Game of Life

The Game Of Life
How long does the game of Life last?  Siri says it lasts for one and a half hours for three players, or two hours for four players.  But that is just the Milton-Bradley board game.  Lots of fun but little consequence.  When the game is over, you just go to bed and play again the next day or whenever you want.

Marriage of Heaven and HellNot so the real game of life.  According to Scripture one has roughly 70 to 80 years to get it right, give or take, depending on your genes and your health practices (Psalm 90:10).  In The Great Divorce, one of C.S.Lewis’ most famous short novels, we get a picture of some folks who are given a “second chance” so to speak to change their fate.  This book is his answer to Blake’s famous Marriage of Heaven and Hell.  In it Blake argues that God is both good and evil and contains these “contraries” and that “God” only exists as an invention of man.  There is no real “evil,” but only undeveloped reason and everyone has good and bad in them, thus Heaven and Hell are “married” in our minds and behavior.  If we simply adjust or refine our behavior we can turn evil into good without rejecting any part of that evil that we wish to keep.

the-great-divorceAs Lewis says, “I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish, but their rescue is being put back on the right road. A sum can be put right, but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point; never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot ‘develop’ into good. Time does not heal it . . . If we insist on keeping Hell (or even Earth) we shall not see Heaven; if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest souvenir of Hell” (or Earth).

In effect, if Satan, or Lucifer, that first “bearer of light,” could repent of his error, God’s love is so amazingly gracious and forgiving that even he would find mercy at God’s hands.  The problem is that Lucifer has so hardened his view of God that he will not accept, cannot accept, that God is the Creator and supreme over the created.  The same could become true of us as we grow older in this world.  Every day we are either growing closer to God or slipping further away.  Even Tom Hanks said, “We are still in the position of waking up and having a choice. Do I make the world better today somehow, or do I not bother?”  Not exactly a paragon of theological understanding, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

For us to grow closer to God, sometimes we must backtrack over the past and allow God or others to correct us and head us onto a way that will draw us closer to Him.  The pain of finding out that we have been going the wrong way does not get less the longer we stay on a path away from the Source of Light and Life.   The farther we stray, the darker the way becomes; the less healthy we become; the more difficult changing directions becomes.  Sometimes the choices we make cannot be undone, but these choices just make the path back to God harder and more painful.  Trust me, I know.

We do not have an eternity to make the decisions that will determine eternity.  We have “70 years, or 80, if our strength endures.”  (Psalm 90:9-10) That is time enough for us to form our habits of thought, to make our decisions of life, to shape our spirits to be either ready for The God Who Is There to make us into what He created us to be, or to calcify our hearts so that we cannot hear His calling any more than Lucifer’s deaf ears; to make our spirits so small and shadowy that the slightest beam of light will pierce us through and leave us in the Shadows forever. People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27

Turns out it is not a game at all.  It is real life and the stakes are very high.  Borrowing from another game, we have a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card from Jesus (), but it will only be good as long as we are alive here on Earth.  And the choices we make take us ever down another path, each step leading to another.

“Nearly they stood who fall;
Themselves as they look back
See always in the track
The one false step, where all
Even yet, by lightest swerve
Of foot not yet enslaved,
By smallest tremor of the smallest nerve
Might have been saved.

“Nearly they fell who stand,
And with cold after fear
Look back to see how near
They grazed the sirens’ land.
Wondering what subtle fate,
By threads so spidery fine,
The choice of ways so small, the event so great
Should thus entwine.

“Therefore oh, man, have fear
Lest oldest fears be true,
Lest thou too far pursue
The road that seems so clear,
And step, secure, a hair’s
Breadth past the hair-breadth border
Which, being once crossed forever unawares,
Denies return.”
the Guide in Pilgrim’s Regress
C.S.Lewis

A Devil’s Gamble

Driving home from Kansas City and Iowa on January 1, 2018, was very comfortable.  Clear skies, dry roads, bright sunshine in the southern view, light traffic, spotless snow-covered soft slopes of farmland all around; a truly beautiful sight, albeit outside our car the temperature was hovering around ZERO (-18C)!

Snow by highway January 1 2018But for all the beauty of the drive, we saw many silent symbols of those who had tried A Devil’s Gamble on the nights before, when the snow was fresh, and salt trucks and plows had battled to keep up with the falling white tricksters.  They melted just enough to make what residue was left behind as slick as an ice rink.  In a few places to the side of the road, but mostly in the median strip, there were corrugated channels where autos and trucks had spun off the road and been towed out.  We counted more than 40 between Cedar Rapids, IA, and Champagne, IL!  Only three autos still littered the sides of the road that day, still waiting for some rescue as the drivers and passengers had left the metal machines captured by the drifts, but the evidence of those already pulled from the pits were enough to set us thinking about how they wound up there.

Snow by highway 2 January 1 2018Only one really raised the hair on the back of our necks!  A mini-van, still loaded with Christmas gifts and luggage sat precariously to the right of our path, just at the edge of a 50 foot + (15m) embankment stretching sharply down in front of it, with only inches to go before it would have plunged into the depth, and probably rolled several times.  We imagined the relief of the driver as he pulled his children out of the almost fatal fall, leaving behind their parcels of holiday cheer, thankful to be alive.  Otherwise most of the tracks told of drivers who spun out and could not get their carriages out of the snow without help.

Snow by highway 3 January 1 2018
eerily similar to pickup we saw

One lone old pickup sat helplessly deep between guard rails, having kept his direction, but sinking more than 200 feet (61m) between the barriers on either side.

The drivers had gambled that they could handle the speed limit, some probably even passing it.  At 70 or more mph (110kph) the gamblers bet they could get to their destination 200 miles away 60 minutes sooner than if they traveled at 50mph (80kph).  They hoped that their risks would win, that they would be able to handle the speed and not get off track.  Instead they spent the night or even a couple days arranging for rescues that could have been saved with a one hour delay.

Satans fall
Luke 10:18

Such was the result of A Devil’s Gamble for these poor souls.  You see the devil gambled in ancient days that he could replace God.  He wanted to in charge and “like the Most High,” (Isaiah 14:12-19) and so took his chances at speeds not even “the Day Star, son of Dawn,” could manage.

He wanted to do what he wanted to do without regard for the truth that he was merely a created being, however magnificent; just a creature, NOT the Creator, the uncreated One.  Pretty stupid, don’t you think?  After all, how dumb did he have to be to see that he was NOT the Creator?

PowerballBut before we get too hard on the devil, let’s consider our own gambles.  God has laid out everything we need to enjoy His company, everything we need to live godly lives in Christ Jesus (2 Peter 1:3).  He has guaranteed that we can live with Him forever, that we can enjoy the trip on the way, that we can share these joys with families, friends, and fellow pilgrims.  Nothing will defeat us (Romans 8:37-39); no power on earth can disturb us (1 Corinthians 4:20); no one can stop us from loving and sharing this life (Galatians 5:23) . . . except us, me!

And at times I gambled as stupidly as the devil! I pretended that I could find joy, peace, love . . . on my own, in my own way, following my own ideas of what would satisfy.  I was as foolishly gambling as a devil.  Just in time, He rescued me.  He convinced me that I was speeding too fast and was headed for a ditch, and maybe even a crashing roll over a precipice that would have ended my life.

If you are honest you will admit you have gambled just as stupidly.  Maybe you are gambling today!  You are thinking that you can be happy living life without regard to what the Bible teaches.  You are running your life based on your personal perceptions of what will satisfy you.  Like a child you want to eat only sugary sweets, not realizing eating veggies may not be as much “fun” but will make you healthier and more able to enjoy life.  You are driving as if you can win doing life your way.

Gamblers loss.jpgSuch gambling is dangerous because none of us knows when the game will be over.  We play the odds hoping we will get out of the game before we crash.  The truth is that gambling is a fool’s or a devil’s game.  And the higher the stakes, the more likely you will lose.  When you gamble with your integrity, with your family, with your life, you are betting on extremely high stakes.

Stop betting on a devil’s gamble.