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Friday, March 25, 2011

God's Love for His Creation

This is not a review of Rob Bell's book "Love Wins" nor is it a critiscism of his theological views. I have not read his book and so can not speak to what it does or doesn't say. (Although i plan to read it and would welcome a free copy should anyone be feeling generous) Also i have not read much by Rob Bell or listened to any podcasts so I do not feel comfortable discussing his theological views. I really do not want to start a Rob Bell discussion. There are enough of those out there.

However, this is a response to a topic that has been thrown into the spotlight because of Bell's newest book. What really does happen when we die? Scripture is very clear that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Scripture also speaks of judgment for those who do not place their faith in Jesus as the atonement for their sins (Romans 3:21-26). But it appears that the question at hand is this: Can someone still go to heaven if they do not recieve Jesus as their savior and depend on him as the propitiation for their sins?

As humans we "understand" several things about God. From his word we are told that He is loving and just. It naturally seems though from our perspective - that is the perspective of the creation - that if God were truly loving that he would want all to be saved and that if he were just he would give everyone every possible chance to come to faith in Jesus, even after death. However i would like to suggest that this does not depict a God who is loving and just. This depicts a God who is bound to the well being and salvation of man out of obligation to man's need for Him. This is not an image of the God presented in the Christian Scriptures. God is not obligated to redeem his fallen Creation. He did not cause creation to fall. Saying that God is responsible for cleaning up mankind's mistake would be thrusting man into a superior level over God.

God's love and justice are not displayed in that he is obligated to redeem mankind to himself. God's love and justice are made evident and all the more glorious in that he chose to redeem His creation. The same creation that rejected Him. The same creation that traded relation with him for brokeness. The same creation that said, "I would rather be left to seek my own glory and bask in my insufficiencies than to have anything to do with you."

God's love and justice are not strengthened and made beautiful because he will give us endless oppurtunities to accept Jesus. It is cheapened. It makes God look like a little boy who is willing to do anything just so the cool kids in school will notice him.

But there is an undescribable righteous love that is displayed when God says "Even though you hate me and want nothing to do with me, i have made a way for you to be whole out of MY provision in Jesus Christ." This is a just God. A God that requires atonement through blood for sin and offers the sacrifice because he knows that the sinner can not. This is a loving God. May God grant us the humility and the boldness to hold up what we think love and justice are to the light of His word. Without it, what hope do we have of knowing Him at all?