Last time we drew a logical conclusion from a set of evangelical beliefs. Briefly, our thought process went as follows:
If we believe all people spend eternity either in heaven or in hell (making this life entirely insignificant in comparison),
If we believe that most people are on their way to hell (90% by some estimates),
If we believe that God will save all kids (all kids go to heaven),
If we believe that once kids reach the age of accountability, they have a 90% chance of going to hell,
The most loving thing we can do is . . . again, I can’t bring myself to finish it. (See the previous post.)
If we all agree such a conclusion is crude, horrific and ridiculous, then one or more of the above premises must be incorrect. Let’s look at them.
The first premise considers eternity much more important than the 90 years we have on this earth. That is, it is much more important that we end up in heaven than we have a good life here on earth. 90 years is nothing when compared with eternity. Is this premise incorrect? For it to be so, we would have to change what we mean by eternity; we would have to sacrifice heaven. We would have to say that our hope for life after death should not be as strong as the hope we put in this life. Does that seem like something we are willing to believe? Does that make sense? Is it reasonable to believe according to the Scriptures? Do we want to sacrifice our belief in everlasting life? (“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die,” is how Solomon put it.)
If not, let’s consider the premise that God will save all kids. Is this premise incorrect? For it to be so, we would have to believe that God is going to punish some kids forever in hell. Kids are born into sin and unless they admit their need for God and respond in faith to Jesus, God will punish them forever. Does that seem like something we’re willing to believe? Does that make sense? Is it reasonable to believe according to the Scriptures? Do we want to sacrifice the salvation of kids?
If not, let’s consider the premises that 90% of people are on their way to hell; that those past the age of accountability have only a slim chance of going to heaven. Are these premises incorrect? For them to be so, we would have to say that more than 10% of people are going to heaven. So, what about 20%? What if those past the age of accountability had a 20% chance of going to heaven? Is that enough to let go of our horrific and ridiculous conclusion? It’s still only a 1 in 5 chance of escaping eternal torment. So, what about 50%? 70%? 90%? What about 100%?
If we are unwilling to draw our ridiculous conclusion, then it seems to me our options are these:
a) sacrifice our belief in everlasting life;
b) believe kids must respond in faith or go to hell;
c) believe God desires and is able to save everyone – 100% of people go to heaven eventually.
There are simply no other options. So I choose the third. How God accomplishes the salvation of everyone may not be for us to know, but if He is the loving God we think He is, I believe He will get it done.
And that is really good news, really.
So, maybe God is not the loving God we think He is. I suppose we should consider that.
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