If my child stays out after curfew, I should take her keys—not burn her car. I certainly wouldn’t burn her. Not even for one second, let alone eternity. Perhaps, I’m underestimating the sinfulness of not accepting God or His will. God deserves complete faithfulness. Still, could a loving parent truly be so cruel? If I had God’s knowledge (meaning I knew my beloved daughter would one day deny me and thus live in Hell forever), I would not, I repeat, would not give life to her. I guarantee: sixty, eighty, even a hundred years on earth, would not be worth the trade-off for her eternal suffering.
GOD, AS FATHER, MUST BEAR SOME RESPONSIBILITY
Not only do I have trouble understanding God’s justness in His punishment, I can’t accept He was even fair from the beginning, specifically the Fall. Consider this mother of a diabetic preschooler as she sits her child down at a table. At the center of the table is a beautiful five-layer chocolate cake with chocolate chips scattered on top. Mom intentionally leaves the room despite the potential danger. She does, however, instruct the child not to eat that cake.
Mom: “Samantha, I’m going to leave you here for ten minutes. See that beautiful chocolate cake? That one, right in front of you. Whatever you do, DO NOT EAT IT. Don’t even touch it. BTW, I’m going to send your 6-year-old brother in to watch you. Now, he’s going to tell you how great that cake tastes. He might even cut you a piece, maybe lick the frosting, eat a couple of chocolate chips. Just ignore him.”
Who is to blame when the child is rushed to the hospital? The child for giving into temptation even though she was warned? The brother who tempted his sister? Does the mother bear any responsibility for leaving the cake in front of her diabetic child? Would your opinion change if the mother KNEW exactly how this event would take place and chose not to remove the cake? Last, how should the diabetic child be punished?
(For anyone who thinks a story about a 6-year-old isn’t comparable, I humbly disagree. God’s incredible power and knowledge supersede ours far more than this.)
At this point, Christians will shout at me: “But God has His reasons! We are not God, so we can’t understand them. Besides, He is fair. Yes-- He allowed the Fall, but see the beautiful provision He made for us? He sent Jesus to die on the Cross for our sins. We are evil, lowly, sinful creatures who don’t deserve it. Yet, see how gracious God is to us? All you have to do is accept it this free gift.”
SALVATION IS NOT FREE
Salvation by grace is another massive roadblock for me. God’s gift is anything but free! There are numerous conditions on this free gift—worse the conditions of true salvation vary greatly by denomination. Don’t believe me? In your church is salvation provided through grace alone? Or through grace and works? Is baptism required? At what age: birth or when you are old enough to be held accountable? (And by the way, what is the exact age of accountability?) Must you be repentant at the moment you die? How exactly does that work if the very nature of man is sinful, and thus in a perpetual state of sin? And what about those people who accept salvation and then backslide? Is their salvation at risk--or once saved, always saved? How about those who accept salvation from those tiny strips of paper distributed on the street? Are they saved at that moment, even though they haven’t truly established a relationship with God, yet? Are those who’ve been in a long-term relationship with God held at higher standards? If the answer is, yes, or you agree that salvation is actually a combination of grace/works (proving your heart’s true intent), then salvation is based on a sliding scale.
CHRISITANITY LIMITS GOD
On top of all this, I now see Christianity places an incredible array of humanistic limitations on our incredible all-power God. I’ve included just a few, starting with the crux of Christianity: the blood sacrifice. Why in the world would an omnipresent, spirit/energy God require the gruesome ritual of a blood sacrifice? Because the aroma was pleasing? Does God have a nose? Does the scent of cooked lamb make him salivate? (I’m seriously asking, and not trying to degrade God.) After all, God is spirit not blood and bones. And why would Jesus be the solution to our salvation? Human sacrifice was a major no-no to God. If God can do anything, why would He choose such a cruel, barbaric method of salvation? The only conclusion I have is that God chose what would resonant with us wicked humans. Still, what an odd choice given His limitless options.