Why I Don’t Like Hell & Why It Doesn’t Matter (2/2)
Yes, I don’t like Hell. No, it doesn’t matter.
Neither my emotions nor my opinions possess enough transformational power to change the doctrine of Hell by one degree. What does not matter, in an ultimate sense, is my perspective of God’s eternal judgment.
In a previous post, I stated that Hell must only be spoken of in the context of the gospel. I would like to here argue that God’s judgment is something that we cannot fully comprehend, but this should not be a paralyzing force in the life of the believer. As the Apostle Paul has said:
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” -Romans 11:33
The Apostle highlights our lack of understanding: God’s judgments are inscrutable. Yet, this ignorance is set against the backdrop of God’s wisdom. In short, His ways are higher than ours: They are unsearchable.
Paul follows this statement in Romans with 3 questions:
1.) Who has known the mind of the Lord? (Romans 11:34)
2.) Who has been his counselor? (Romans 11:34)
3.) Who has given God a gift for which he is indebted? (Romans 11:35)
This rhetorical device assumes a negative answer. The question of “who” is met with an obvious answer of “no one.” This answer is expected given the nature of the rest of Scripture. Man is created as a finite, yet eternal soul. He has spent his centuries on earth in rebellion to his Creator. In Adam he is guilty by nature, in life he is guilty by choice.
In spite of this, God has visited his creation and endured man’s rightful judgment through the cross. The breath taking story of Scripture is not that God judges his creation, but that he offers forgiveness and life. That some would go to Hell should not be alarming in the biblical narrative. What is really striking, is that God offers Heaven to anyone.
While the idea of Hell chafes my preferences and sensitivities, it seems that a larger purpose is at play. As a believer, I find myself caught in the awe that God is offering atonement to anyone. This is too wonderful for words. It is beyond understanding.
In spite of a lack of complete understanding on my part, I can rejoice in God’s redemptive work revealed in Scripture. Thus, Paul concludes the eleventh chapter of Romans with an appropriate attitude that should be developed and nurtured by all believers:
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be flory forever. Amen.” -Romans 11:36