The Observations.net Weblog
You are unique in all the universe. Billions have existed, but there is only one 'you'.
You are known to God. The Lord Jesus said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)
So if the hairs of your head are numbered, God knows who you are. He knows your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams. He knows your past. He knows your future.
Moreover, God does not throw away life. That is why the soul is eternal. The Lord Jesus said, "And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living:..." (Mark 12:26-27)
God spoke to Moses, long after the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet, He did not say, "I was the God of Abraham." He said, "I am the God of Abraham." God does not allow His children to pass out of existence. Abraham's body was dead, but his soul was alive with God. And, someday, his body would be raised in the resurrection. (For humans are not meant to be disembodied spirits. We were created to be physical beings throughout eternity.)
Since you are unique in all the universe, treat your life with respect. Love God, love others, and love yourself.
* posted by Robert on Sun 07/23/17
What About Hell? -
But one question: If God is a God of love, and He loves everyone of us, how can there be a hell?
The answer is that human evil is real. For instance, can hillary clinton, after living a life of utterly selfish evil, after worshiping satan in return for power, after ritually sacrificing children in satanic ceremonies, after stealing billions from the earthquake victims of Haiti, after co-founding isis and contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands in Syria and Lybia, after murdering scores of her political opponents, after supporting abortion and having had abortions - can hillary clinton expect to walk right into Heaven?
Of course not. If hillary clinton and her ilk were allowed into Heaven, they would ruin Heaven. That is why hillary clinton must go be with the devil. That is where she belongs.
Evil is real and God takes it seriously. But evil can be forgiven if we repent. The Apostle Peter said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;" (Acts 3:19)
But what about the average person? We're all sinners and we're all evil to some degree. But most people aren't psychopathic monsters like hillary clinton. Compared to a cold blooded killer like her, I feel pretty good about myself. But I know that I'm still evil.
God expects us to turn our back on evil and turn to Him. That is the essence of repentance. It's not flagellating ourselves and doing acts of penance. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin, which means we don't have to pay for it. We just admit that we've done wrong and ask to follow Him. He made it simple for us on purpose.
I must emphasize that I don't begin to have the answers, and there is very little that I understand. I do know that while God is just and He is holy, He is also kind. He gives opportunity after opportunity to be saved. Even in death, I believe that He may very well offer the lost soul the opportunity to take His hand and be saved. As the Apostle John said, "God is love."
The Lord said that the way is narrow and very few find it. If He said it, then it is true. Most in this life are completely lost. There's no doubting that. But does that mean that most everyone is going to hell? Again, God is love. I think that people have to try hard to go to hell. They must not only reject God in this life, they must reject God in the twilight between this life and the next. If the Near Death Experience is to be believed, God offers a life review for individuals to turn themselves around. (Sadly, many people are insistent about holding on to their perverse ways. Hell will be full.)
A person might still object to this concept of God's love. "How can God be love, when the natural world that He created is so brutal? Nature is cruel. He must be cruel." No one really has an answer for that. Sure, the big philosophers blow a lot of hot air as they try to answer the questions of life. But honestly, they don't know any more than the next guy. They're just a bunch of windbags with big words.
What about the religious explanation? Is the brutality of nature due to the fall of man? Everything was perfect until Adam and Eve ate an apple? Come on. The plans of the all powerful God were thwarted by two babies? There's got to be a deeper explanation. But should we despair because we can't answer the question?
(BTW, if the story of Adam and Eve is seen as a metaphor for man's rebellion against God, instead of interpreted literally, it makes far more sense. It's a story of man not knowing his place, of man, like satan, trying to be God, and destroying himself in the process.)
I'm just a mortal with limited vision like everyone else. But I recognize that a person must choose to have hope and faith, sometimes even against the evidence of this life. Without hope, without faith, we have nothing, we can be nothing. Hope is a choice. It's a decision.
In other words, just because I don't have all the answers and can't explain many things that perplex me, I don't have to give up. I don't have to quit believing in life and believing in God.
I choose to affirm with John that God is love. And that love is expressed through Jesus Christ His only begotten Son. Because of Jesus, you and I can have eternal life. Through Him, you will truly have the opportunity to become fully 'you' in God's Heaven.
Note 1: Fundamentalist view vs. this author's Christian non-fundamentalist view:
Fundamentalist: God is holy. He's going to send 90%+ of humanity to hell. If you don't believe hard enough, don't shout hallelujah loud enough, don't give enough money, you're going to hell. God is a big version of North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
Me: God is love (even if it doesn't always seem like it). He will use any excuse that He can, not to send you to hell. You really have to insist on choosing evil over good to go there. Yes, some people are going there for the protection of the rest of us (e.g. hillary clinton and george soros), but not 90% plus of humanity. That's utterly ridiculous.
Note 2: The Fall of man is more profound than the mythical version of two babies eating an apple in a fairytale world. In geological history, there has never been a time when there was no death and all animals were kind and gentle. Darwin's theory of evolution is a joke; yet, the earth is very ancient, far more ancient than man. God created a world in which there has always been brutality. I admit that I don't like this about God. But He's God and I'm not, so I have to accept it. I hope that one day, He will explain it to me in a way that I can accept. Man's fall consists of man's rebellion against God's ways. The fall is repeated with every human in every generation.
* posted by Robert on Mon 07/24/17
The School of Life -
I've long believed that life is a school. We are put here to learn from our hard experiences. We learn from our choices, our failures, and our successes. And God is the Teacher.
We were created in the image of God and given free will. God then threw us into this hard and painful world to allow us to experience good and evil, and learn from the results.
Now some people fail life such as the aforementioned hillary clinton. She has become totally depraved from her evil choices, and her destiny is hell. There is no changing that.
But why did God have to make life so hard? As I've already pointed out, I can't agree with the more "fundamentalist" mindset that blames everyone but God. "The devil did it." "Adam and Eve did it." Those explanations don't fly. Is God helpless? Were all His plans for man foiled? I don't think so.
Compared to God, the devil is nothing more than a two-bit punk, an annoying insect, a piece of nondescript slime, and Adam and Eve were basically inexperienced babies. God has to take responsibility.
Think about it. God is the Creator. That means He's in charge. He cannot be opposed. As the Lord of all existence, He's ultimately responsible for everything, even sin and evil. And He did take responsibility at Calvary when He bore all of our pain and suffering, and took the penalty for our sin.
Someday, I'm going to ask God why He made life so hard, unless I chicken out. And then Jesus will probably give me the answer knowing that I'm too scared to ask Him.
Note: Is it wrong to be afraid of God? Even John the Apostle fainted before Jesus, "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the First and the Last:" (Revelation 1:17)
Second Note: John the Revelator was John the Apostle. Church fathers Justin Martyr (A.D. 100 – 166) and Irenaeus (A.D. 115 – 202) tell us so.
* posted by Robert on Mon 07/24/17