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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « When God Refuses to Correct | Main | Repentance is necessary for MORAL people »

    Professing Christians Who Unwisely Call God a Monster

    Recently there were quite a few responses to the post, What About Those Who Have Never Heard? One response was especially harsh and angry, and called God names but I believe it represents many Chrisitians who have not seriously thought through the ramifications of such a response.

    A comment by David, a professed Christian (apparently), who said the following:

    "So God Chooses to save some and not save others, which basically means he creates people knowing ahead of time he isn't going to save them but burn them in hell. What a monster"

    My Response:
    Hi David

    Thanks for taking the time to post and unveil a common point of ignorance among professed Christians. Perhaps you do not realize it, but you just called God "a monster."

    "How?", you ask, 'that's your God, not mine', you would say. Consider, are you thereby asserting that God did not know what would take place before He created the world? That He had no idea who he would save? That God is in fact, totally ignorant of any, and every, aspect of the future, including our salvation? Is there anything God does not know? Does time itself, therefore, have mastery over God? Such is not the God of the Scriptures nor is He any God that can be trusted to save. For if God did not know evil would enter the world before He created it then you have no way of knowing whether He will overcome evil in the future. For, if there is something outside of God like 'chance', or 'evil 'which God has no sovereignty over (the god you seem to propose), then evil would be on equal par with God. Such is a Greek, not a Hebrew or Biblical concept of God. Our comfort can only come from a God who has complete sovereignty over all events (Eph 1:11). There is no comfort in a god that has no idea what the future holds.

    Similarly, in all concepts of God, even Arminian and Greek Orthodox ones, He exhaustively and meticulously knows the future. And if He knows the future exhaustively, before He created it, then we both know that the future cannot be otherwise than it was decreed. And He knows, not some, but all things before they take place, unless you believe God is ignorant of some things. Therefore, if you are a Christian, as you seem to claim, then even in your conception of God He knows exhaustively what would happen to each individual even before He created them. Their eternal destiny, therefore, could not be otherwise - from eternity He chooses some in Christ (Eph 1:3-5) according to His sovereign good pleasure. In other words, by your own words, you just called your own God a monster, unless you think God is, in any way, ignorant of the future, which would mean that He is no God at all, but a finite, created being. People who think this way need to be called to repentance, for it is pure ignorance and folly, and one of the highest forms of blasphemy, to call God a 'monster' simply because He exhaustively knows all things before they take place, AND this is exactly what you, (and many like you), have just done and do quite often. So if you acknowledge that God knows the future exhaustively, then I think repentance is in order for you because if you consder these things for a moment, you should recognize that you believe the same thing as I. I trust you have said this without deep consideration and if you ask forgiveness of God He will forgive your careless words because Christ has paid them in full.

    If you still doubt, ask yourself, is there anything God is ignorant of? Do not fasten ignorance on God - it does not bode well for a Christian of any stripe. And you must remember, God justly casts persons into hell because of the sin he sees in them, not randomly. And since all have sinned, then some get justice and others mercy, but no one gets injustice.

    Posted by John on January 16, 2008 11:53 AM

    Comments

    Well said!

    Unfortunately, many "professing Christians" are, in actuality, blasphemous idolaters.

    This was a beautiful rebuttal, full of Christian charity. It is striking to see the pervasive influence of original sin on the thinking of man, where we substitute the true source and object of ultimate knowledge with "I think".

    John, your your theological accuracy, philosophical insight and gracious attitude combined here to make this a most eloquent and God-honoring response. Thank you!

    We've recently had this very discussion in a men's group I attend. Some of the men there (who I believe to be genuine believers) made statements similar to David. Although they did not come right out and call God a "monster" they certainly implied as much.

    I hope you don't mind, but I intend to borrow your rebuttal to David and share it with my brothers in the men's group. (I'll credit the source, of course. They'd benefit greatly from visiting your site.)

    Great response. What has helped me when talking to others of similar beliefs is helping them see that their theology does not solve what they believe to be the "problem" (i.e. God choosing some people to go to Hell before He creates them). God knows the future. Therefore, no matter what the means of salvation is (election or free will) you still have God Who knows those who will be saved and those who will not from before the foundations of the world, and yet He still chooses to create those that He knows ahead of time will not be saved. The Arminian idea of free will does not "solve their problem" by making God nicer... it just postpones it.

    John,

    I was perusing the blogosphere this morning and came upon this site. I will say with the others, good response. Good. Good. That is all. I am reminded of s similar, nay, almost identical pondering from someone I came in contact with not long ago.

    Along with a few other catalysts, it caused a series of articles on the Doctrines of Grace that spawned a current exposition of Ephesians on my blog and in my Sunday School class that my wife and I teach.

    I'd like your thoughts.

    http://www.alionhasroared.com/2007/11/free-will-predestination-part-iv.html

    I like your site gentlemen, I'll definitely be back--Lord willing :)

    Even Christians who subscribe to the idea of "free will" in an effort to relieve God of any responsibility of sending people to hell must still answer this. Why then would God grant "free will" to those "He knew" would use it to reject Him? God knew ahead of time that they would end up in hell, but he still created these people knowingly.
    I guess this is where open theism is convenient.

    wow. Very well said. The Arminians really know that their god is not really a great god (who knows everything in the future) don't they?

    I ran across this blog entry from someone else. I appreciate the deductive theological argument that you walk through by addressing God's sovereignty. Unfortunately, theology is the antithesis of walking with the Lord in our culture. Little do people realize that the experiential, mood driven approach they use in their "spiritual life" can't be used in the rest of their life. Otherwise, they would quit going to work and functioning in life. Romans 1:28 so aptly puts it "God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done".

    I would say well done to what you've said, and it is true that we have alot of "genie in the bottle" Christians that only call on God when absolutely necessary; however, you putting "(apparently)" next to him being a professed Christian is judgemental. While he said something dumb (and probably sarcastic or was tired when typing etc...), but be careful, because pride (judgmental = prideful) goes in the same sin category as homosexuality. You did a good job (better that I would have), but just be careful.

    I applaud your critique of the view that "God is a monster if he elects people to hell," but I still have a few problems/questions regarding the notion.

    (I'll begin with a summation of Reformation beliefs to refer back to and to view my line of thought; correct them at any point necessary.) Since we are all sinners, we all deserve of hell. This is simply God's infinite justice at work. However, due to His benevolence, He grants some the grace to avoid that. This should not disparage His character, for He is still behaving justly to everyone - some take the blunt of their wrongdoings, while Jesus takes the blunt of others'. This brings up my first question.

    1. Why does God not elect everyone? His infinite grace is certainly capable. If the reason is to serve as an example of His justice, does this "benefit" really outweigh the benefit that could be had with universal reconciliation?

    Further, the reason for sins warranting an infinite punishment in hell essentially is this (again, correct me if I am mistaken): rebellions against an infinitely holy authority require infinite punishment. However, is this indeed just? If God ordained men to be in total depravity, then He created us without a chance to save ourselves - only He Himself could save us. At the point of our creation and afterwards, then, we are deserving of infinite punishment, but, prior, we are not. This prompts my last two questions.

    2. Would it not be more benevolent, and still within God's character of justice, simply not to create fallen humans? If it would be more benevolent and not impinge on His infinite justice, then it should be the action taken, seeing as He is infinitely good.

    3. (This somewhat stems from the first question.) If a. God ordained some men worthy of punishment, and b. it would have been more loving and equally just for God not to create men that are ordained to sin, then is it possible that c. the example of God's justice that these unsaved sinners serve be finite? Let me rephrase: if it were truly less loving for God to create men ordained to infinite punishment, then would it not be more loving to ordain them to finite punishment, followed by reconciliation? Such a situation would serve to demonstrate His justice (thus glorifying Himself) and not contradict His omni-benevolence.

    I know this sounds like purgatory, but I am not promoting that. I have read elsewhere that the translations of hell in the Bible could actually mean "Gehenna," and the uses of the word "infinite" should actually have been translated as indefinite, yet finite, periods of time. If these were the proper translations, then the correct interpretation of Scripture would lead to a doctrine of universal reconciliation (as touched on earlier in my post). What are your thoughts of such a doctrine? Thank you for responding.

    In Christ,
    Ben

    If anyone has been paying attention to this section, let them know that I have resolved any problems I have had with five-point Calvinism, and it is a most beautiful doctrine.

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