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In the last Chapter, our concern was with a question:
"IS THERE ANY WORD FROM THE LORD ?" –
Today, we move to the reciprocal question: Is there any response from man ?
Is There any RESPONSE from MAN ?
At the outset, a word on hell!
It is by nature undesirable, and it is well to consider this.
Firstly, there is with many a deep concern, and it is one so telling that it is without doubt a contributing factor to the formation of some of the sects.
Many declare this: I do not want a God who brings in eternal punishments.
It seems good before considering other aspects, facets of human response, to consider this one at this point in our reviews.
Firstly, we are not talking of physical punishments, for this earth and cosmos, this universe, the whole heavens and earth is to pass away (Revelation 20, Matthew 24:35, Isaiah 51:6, II Peter 3). It is to be a noisy, energy-splashing event as vast amounts of stored resources dissipate. The stage is withdrawn, the lab of history is finished, the events correlative to it are out of the way.
To be sure, there is to be a new heavens and a new earth, but the characteristics and criteria we do not in detail know, as to its mode of constitution. We do not know some things: there will be no more pain, evil, sin and folly in it; and nothing of that character is even conceivable in it. THAT was for testing, manifestation of diseases, of evils, of options in folly; and it is WELL past! You see this emphasis on the new estate for the redeemed, in Revelation 20-22.
However, in this new heavens and earth in which righteousness dwells, where would the lost be ? THEY are not righteous. Into the city of God, NO SUCH THING can even enter, Revelation tells us (Revelation 21:8,27).
What then is the locale for the devil and his angels, in order that they might be buffeted, or tormented, or experience, know or receive the intimation and expression of the consignment to and with what is not true, something which in itself has no peace because it rejects it in the only place where it may be found. Instead, they eat in final desolatory judgment, the fruit of their own doings, being themselves godlets by choice but unable to fulfil it in fact, or followeres of false gods, impotent before truth, as is a mirage to satisfy thirst. To their place, they go, where they may find unobliteratable the detestable foulness of their hearts, since it was their last and greatest wish to remain just as they were; and this is what they were; and had it not been so, then they would not have been excluded. THIS, says John 3:19, IS the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men have preferred darkness.
We need at once to be rid of the hyper-Calvinist misconceptions (that is, the extreme aspect of Calvinism which has its fine five points, when you extract the error that usually goes with them, and which Calvin put with them*1) . There is NO decretum horribile as has been shown earlier*2. This is a fabrication of the fancy of Calvin, and the concept is as far from scripture as Spurgeon shows in his own horror*3. NUMEROUS scriptures completely contradict such a concept*4, on the part of the God who IS love (I John 4:7). It is BECAUSE HE is love that many with loving hearts are so, and look for its expression with undimmed dynamic and unrestrained endeavour; and it is good that they do so, so long as it does not encourage intemperate rebellion and unthinking follies of attitude.
God in other words, does NOT decree some are OUT - in some kind of excursion into odium, mysterious in principle, contained by some divine terra incognita, into hatefulness. HE does not have any odium in Himself. He can judge, but only in the midst of an intense and intensive desire to show mercy, as shown in Colossians 1:19ff., and Ezekiel 33:11 and Lamentations 3:33. Love is the opposite the horrible of heart, and judgment is the due expression of what REFUSES mercy. Looking for this mercy in the heart of God is a fine excursion on the part of those concerned.
God tells us repeatedly as we have often seen on this site, that He would have ALL to come to a knowledge of the truth, is not willing (disposed) that any perish, does not willingly afflict the children of men, and that the Father, having made peace by the blood of the cross, was pleased that ALL should be reconciled to Him. He paid the infinite amount of the sacrifice under the hands and force of mutinous and mentally malodorous, spiritually reprobate sinners, of One no less than His only begotten Son, the everlasting Word of God, whose goings are from everlasting (Micah 5, John 1:1, John 8:58, Hebrews1).
This is the expression of that essential nature of love which is His, of which the Bible speaks and which we are heralding as unnegotiably true and eternal.
This being done, WHAT MORE IS THERE ? You are a billionaire, and you spend every last cent of your fortune to buy someone out of trouble, who nevertheless, gives you elaborate and well-formed raspberries and non-negotiable evidences and attestations of a dynamic within which nothing will alter, except the destruction of the personality itself. Here is the unredeemable.
Why is anything too hard for the Lord ? someone may ask. What! why does He not redeem the unredeemable ? but that would be a contradiction in terms.
Why unredeemable ? one might ask. Why does not God MAKE them so that they both are and MUST not be able to be unredeemable ?
It is because then persons would not exist in the whole structure and habitation of the universe. To be a person, able to love, hate, choose, imagine, construct systems, envisage hopes, resist and reject what is evil, or what is good, having a chaste degree of autonomy, though not enough to choose either you birth or continuing life past a time, you must be able. Able to do what ? You must be able, not in illusion, but in reality, to reject not only the evil but the good; for it is you who define as you will, what is good, whether in a maniacal fashion, a subtle one or an honest mode.
If you were of necessity redeemable, then of equal necessity you could not BE as a person.
Hence this, being a mere contradiction in terms, cannot stand. You are asking, if you seek this, for what affirms what it contradicts, and contradicts what it affirms.
Thus there are in fact some unredeemable, for whom the utmost care, price, presentation and call is inadequate. They would rather be damned than do it; and some people actually SAY this about some option which they do not wish to take: "I'll be damned if I do..." they may say.
That is the nature of being persons. God would have all, has DONE and PAID and in Christ has SUFFERED and sought and come and exhibited all, and even forecast what He would do and WHEN, and what would happen to His only begotten Son, in detail, when He came, and what would be the results in this world, after His resurrection. It is all laid out these thousands of years, to cover thousands of years, and we are now in the end phases of this panorama of history, first divinely told, then humanly done.
What then of persons ? Being what they are, their dirigibility as mere hypothetical persons is out of the question. While God overrules, He does not MAKE fools; these are self-made, self-taught and self-wrought. Omitting what can and does revolt interminably from the realm of person, is merely to contradict the reality of persons; and God does not contradict what He does, but brings it all to its logical, spiritual, moral and just conclusion - and even this, only after the most expensive mercy that has ever been known or could ever be known, has been expended and PAID FOR!
There is no room for a revocation of actuality, an unmaking of persons, in their very creation, a molestation of their factuality and functionality. The marvel of love and the wonder of wisdom is the actual creation of persons. Part of that fact, however, is their ability to direct themselves to their own slaughter, to their own obsequies to sin, disrelish in rebellion, assertion of what they lack, and efforts for dominion in a domain which is merely a somewhat disguised smoking pit.
When the lover of this above all, his own self, appointees or gurus as chosen, therefore carries the infatuation to eternity, till his hardened heart is but a scaly callous, that is not an option removable from the very nature of the wonder of personhood. It is a diseased option; but option it is till the race is run and the categories find themselves, exhibiting to the end their nature.
We remind ourselves furthermore, that eternity does not contain the current world system, its kind of physicality, that is one where for example the second law of thermo-dynamics occurs, where the curse has come, where labour and pain and suffering are part of its tests for character, of its rebuke for malice and lying, and of its exhibition of what it means as a going-concern to abandon the source of order and blessedness and peace and power for man as he is made. THAT will not even EXIST. No one can be consigned to what is not there. The segregation of the invidiously insidious and spiritually deceived into their realm is not to be taken as simply this one. This is by definition GONE (II Peter 3, Matthew 24:35). When God says GONE, He means it!
God, then, we see has PAID to the uttermost, DESIRED to the uttermost all that purity and truth allow (He is not going to abandon all for a hell, a new situation, since then NO ONE would be in heaven and this has NOTHING to recommend it!). He has counselled, appealed (cf. Hosea 12:10, Luke 19:42ff.), and even done it IN PERSON! Indeed, He has even IN the doing of it, exposed Himself to the vigour of vice, not from Him, but upon Him, like a boa constrictor, so that it might exhibit what the sin of man is to God, and what it does not man, as well as what God does to it, for the penitent.
The resurrection was not merely the overcoming by divine purity of the human penalty for sin, nor merely the exhibit of what sin is by having it try to strangle the maker of created life, nor alone the proof of the testimony of Christ to the Gospel, as were His other miracles (as in Mark 2, John 11). It was also the testimony of the power of God to unseat and defeat what defiles, to bring innocence with integrity to bear as a gift for appointment to man, by a divine passion which drew blood and death on its way to life everlasting on call, on call to those who call in heart and truth upon the Lord of glory, the crucified One.
He has pled over centuries and recorded both the pleadings and the results the outcomes and the perspective for all to see. He has shown the good, and endured the evil, often bringing in temporal and temporary form, its come-uppance without removing its part in the concert of corruption amid the glory of truth. He has acted, having first spoken, and having become the champion AS a man, He has called in the Gospel.
We have now had some 2 millenia just in the era since Christ paid enough for all, and presented towards all, as one making available, precisely what is needed to find fulfilment in faith of what man is supposed and designed to be.
This, via the Gospel of divine grace in Christ, It is sufficient for, adapted to and freely available for ALL and for ANY who wants it. Restoration is free. Redemption is free because HE has PERSONALLY paid for it (Romans 3:23ff., dramatised beautifully in Isaiah 55!). The desire is there, the dynamic is there and it is now fulfilled. The Age moves to its roaring end, and reviles, despises, kills and maims, its unchaste slanders like an inferno from hell. But the Gospel of God continues.
Paul goes so far as to say that if eating a sort of meat offended anyone then he would willingly avoid having it till the world ends. He says and does far more, and of this you may read at some length in objective fact in the fourth chapters of I Corinthians and II Corinthians, and the sixth of the latter. This is the sort of palliation and exhibition of love that is given; and it is as foul to cite evil regimes, such as the Inquisition of the schism called Romanism, which exalts one man contrary to Christ (forbidden in Matthew 23:8-10) or various evil works misusing Christ's name, as it is spurious. The detestable abuse of the name of Jesus Christ, whether by the Koran or the papacy, by sects or by those who curse in His name is merely a template for confusion. It alters nothing of Christ, though it is ready to maul the destiny of those who persist in it.
On the other hand, those like Paul who have suffered and endured, and testified and known the power of God as promised in His realm of service, these have been working in squads and indeed in squadrons, often virtually unnoticed, though their results persist like salt in the mouth as one eats a rich steak. Such is the work of countless millions over time; and it is all based on the Spirit and work of Jesus Christ.
What more then ?
Only unmaking of persons, remains. When the deal is done, then unmaking is indeed possible. It is not to pre-empt what a person is, when judgment and justice accrue at last: it is then the necessary consequence of the hatred of or indifference to truth. Its time comes just as its opportunities go!
It cannot, nevertheless, be to some tortuous confinement in the physical horrors of this earth, that the judged ones go, since that whole regime goes, will not exist. You cannot have things happening in what is not there, since there is no location within nothing for it to be! All that is stated to PASS AWAY.
In what then will their buffeting, their disenchantment, their non-remorseful souls be found ? I love to say that I do NOT know things, when I do not and there is no known way that would make it right and proper to know them; because it is TRUE. Truth is always agreeable. Christ IS the truth (John 14:6), and knowing Him is enough.
In Acts 1, the disciples were interested in the answer to a question: WHEN will the kingdom in its manifest power come ? Now that the bodily resurrection of Christ, that pivotal test, was a past performance in category, what about some other present performances such as the manifest bringing in of the Kingdom of God with power! Their appetites were naturally aroused as we see in Acts 1, when the power of God had rescued Christ's body from rotting, so that not only when He lived, but after He was murdered, the same almighty power of God worked unremittingly, unperturbed even in passion, reliable and steadfast, and more so than any merely created law of the realm. IS IT NOW ? they asked, that the Kingdom comes. It was the external rule of God that was in mind, just as the external format of the incarnate Christ, resurrected, was now in sight! The sight led to the suggestion: IS IT NOW ?
It is NOT for you to know this, said Christ, either the time or the season of it. Some sects, like the JWs and the Seventh Day Adventists, have been in the midst of such follies as predictions here, concerning Christ's return: and the latter even invented some wholly unverifiable doctrine in support of it, which in this computer age appears not only a derogation of Christ, but of man!*5
If God says NO, that is the end of it. I do not KNOW what is the state, the kind of day and night, the kind of time, the kind of structure and experience, anguish or torment or trouble, buffeting or rigour which the new situation after this world goes, will enable for the lost. It is quite USELESS to guess. I do not know and the inventiveness and imagination of God is so far above mine, that even to imagine is virtually to presume.
Thus to extrapolate from this fallen universe to the nature of the distraint and rejection to be experienced by the devil and his angels, I do not know. To attribute this and that kind of condition to them becomes a invention in guessing what is not revealed, in terms which are explicitly of this kind.
It is SPIRITS which are here in view, it is a condition of spirit which is in mind. You can express it metaphorically in physical terms; but the nature of resurrected devils is not known to me, nor for that matter, even the nature of time in the eternities which are beyond this vale, in the realm where truth's exclusion leaves desolation.
We know and can deduce many things about the nature of time in the blessed estate, for there are recognisable human features, knowable resurrected people, communities of action and rejoicing. When however it comes to the lost, to those disposed to be uncomposed rather than to participate, and this even when in the very energies of God, which are infinite, all these things in wisdom were wrought at the first with His omniscience before our kind of time even existed (cf. Ephesians 1:4): then extrapolation and imagination need take heed. Then to estimate and imagine mode and and occasion in a time that will have a certain celestial uniqueness, after the living of normal life is over, and this for those discomposed: this is not mine to endeavour.
There are some things however which are indisputable, clear and certain. Let us list these.
The devil and his angels will never recover to a blessed condition. That is not a problem: to the nearest to infinite degree possible for what is creation - and all are this construction in outline and power, devil and saint alike - the devil has resisted. He has resented, rejected, disturbed as far as possible, what is righteous and loving and just and true, and deception and deviousness have been his horrendous métier. He has spoiled much, and soiled more.
This therefore is existential in kind, not merely chronological. Thus there is no other option.
Secondly, not only is the result unextinguishable, eternal, but it is in some other kind of time than that which incorporates the limitations of duress, such as a fallen world has and incorporates by its very fallen nature. Of time, we do not know the kind, when the terminus comes, for this case, the ultimately unchaste case, that of remorseless expression of rebelliousness against truth and righteousness.
As to the content for this exclusion at that epoch, what of it ? It is elemental, existential, unremitting, final and the chronic result of chronic fraud. Its result is not mere extinction, but as everlasting destruction (II Thessalonians 1), it contains, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, an interesting combination. If destruction is occurring, and it is not finished, what is the nature of the residual condition at any time ?
Once more, this is a thing which I delight not to know. It is not a given thing. It is sure to be as merciful as truth allows, and the truth in this case is that the created being, the devil everlastingly does not want truth, and would rather die than have it. We have no knowledge that he has any desire to die, for continuing to be ruling in his renegacy in hell - not in the sense of having dominion, necessarily, but having himself! may be his desire. These things, like tossing over garbage in a pit, are not of a scent to attract; and we have no knowledge of these SPIRITUAL events with which to pontificate. Let's leave then, such pontifications to pontiffs and be agreeable with the truth as revealed, not imagining things.
As for other created beings, such as sinners who have gone the road of the devil (we recall in this, I John 2:22, 3:15, 4:2-3), we learn that their guilt in this condition of irrevocable and existential evil, is as final as their mind set and spiritual determination. Rejecting good even when restoration to reality is free, and sin has the option of being covered, the spirit of restive riot, this also remains.
What then ? Truth does not die that lies might live; confrontation with reality always is liable to results of its own kind; and as to deformation of truth, though wrought even on Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and that even physically, this gains nothing for any, by being piously asserted. Nor is the case better when it is raucously and mindlessly messaged by the prophets of deformed doctrine (cf. II Peter 2 and I Timothy 4:1 - what is termed 'doctrine of devils'). Lie, overwrought, overbearing, underhand, irrational, woeful lie: this does not deserve to live for ever, nor could it, for "the spirit would fail before Me" (Isaiah 57:16). There is a limit to abuse.
Its eternal destruction is thus the spiritual result for this spirit. Its dying is ultimate, endless, a haze from the blaze.
The evil, it has a long time to seek to show its philosophies are right, its politics are permissible, its ways are just, good, equitable, workable, functional and right for man. It fails, except to produce discord, dismay, dilemma, antinomy, antilogy*6, defeat, defilement. In everlastingly obvious ways, in thought and word and deed, these things over the revealing centuries, are shown for what they are worth: a negative amount.
There is therefore not even a question of mere authority without truth: the way of error has had, for some millenia, the option of lying in thought, speech and action, of asserting itself through various spiritual entrepreneurs, in contrariety to reality, and to demonstrate what it is. One reason for the history of philosophy (including political philosophy) being so interesting is that it is a sort of Lab Book showing what DOES HAPPEN when this and that is followed, both in the cosmos of thought (and we have examined much of this in SMR, TMR for example) and of action.
It is not, this 'experiment' that constitutes human history, for the results are both foreknown and foretold by God in no small detail. More properly, it is a demonstration lesson with maximal student participation, that is history, and it is not a matter of an hour, or day or week or month, though some critical times as in many chemical experiments, tell much and show more. The time for this lab work is millenia, at least 6; and conceive of the generations in that time, while the maw of this earth is filled with trivia and tailings, much of being gravel, which brings on indigestion of various kinds.
For man, however, often gripped in various pallid substitutes for faith and wisdom, or paraded through the bucolic energies of bestial revisionism, more likely to become devilish as man's spirit is far from the animal realm, heeding lust, excitement and delusive dynamic that grip the rabid soul of rebellion, there is an affair of the heart. For those who follow such things, there is a distinct taste of experiment: rather like the young boy with his first cigarette, herald for many such cases, of cancer to come. In a figure, with the race, the cancer is not an option; the exclusion of remedy, however is: and it is by faith that the remedy is found, by disfaith that it is rejected, irrational, reckless, heedless and feckless, working in those seduced in spirit.
The remedy is divinely provided, procured, paid, sent and made available with that love, greater even than that of a parent, that belongs to the Creator of all, without restriction of any kind.
It is found by faith in an object, an objective Being, whose actions are of an order with those which made the world: inventive, creative, and in this case, preventive and procuring of the beauty of holiness in the life which abides in Christ. This new creation is nothing merely symbolic, any more than the first, or the reality of what creation comprises in its various facilities, programs, commands and commissions, enablings and provisions (II Corinthians 5:17ff.). Like life from the dead, it comes by command. Like the hand of Christ on eyes, it is the touch that changes; but it is the touch of the Christ who came and died and rose, and continues His commission, not in redemption long complete, but in its application.
It is not universal. Hatred comes nearer to that, human hatred and what induces and sustains it.
Much is lost. Cancerous human tissue, that of society and nation, culture and philosophy, inventive religion without knowledge and inane wisdom without facts: this comes like proud flesh. In another way, it is like a boat sinking. The gurgling may seem experimental: the result grows less so.
It does so now, as this world gurgles without ceasing to promote its own glory, just like the Captain of the Titanic, who drawfed for all the size of his ship, by ice-bergs, yet wrought in furious haste the ambitious commission to get there on time, thus losing all time. Time departed as the wrong destination arrived, deep to be sure, but equally disastrous. Man without God is out of his depth; and at the same time, so superficial that one would think a child could still swim: but when you do not know your element, the least becomes too much, and the most looks with pitying eyes on the folly of demitting one's own basis, and living where there is no place.
God has spoken, diagnosis stated in principle, applied in practice; He has spoken prognosis determinate, and shown in examples; He has spoken in final forecast, and it shows like a stomach reaching the knees over pants oppressed with bulk; and happening, it speaks the more. But He, He has said the words of truth already, and His word, the Bible, gives verbal portraits in multitudes. These, the student may compare with facts once to come, and now arrived, and this, without relish, except for their accuracy; but it is nevertheless, with relish when it comes to the ransom of Christ and the results of non-participation in this world's madness, coupled with opportunity, being rescued, to rescue more by the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).
God has spoken, applied, verified, fulfilled, provided remedy, acted in those who take it, and vessel of history, to use another figure, is about to dock, while the ship is examined and those within it.
Truth thus being in substance made transparent and justice provided for, what rejects BOTH the truth and the ESCAPE from judgment (cf. Hebrews 2:1-3) is left with that quintessential resultant of everlasting destruction, in the realm of spirit. That it is not mere annihilation is most obvious from Mark 9, as from II Thessalonians 1; for what is everlastingly destroyed cannot just not be, or there would be no everlastingness to the situation, nor can it be entirely itself, for where then is the destruction. It is an analytical division, not at all diverting, but the result of a diversion of the way.
However, the precise ingredients in this defoliated state, it is impossible to stipulate for fallen sinners among men. Pleasantness is certainly absent, guilt is equally assuredly present, shame is present (Daniel 2) and exposure of what is awful is beyond question inherent in the lasting situation. There is no redress, for as seen above, it is an existential situation by the time the sinner has gone through ALL the barriers that would prevent eternal exclusion from the blessedness of God. The way IN however, that of restoration, which can operate instantaneously as with Paul, this was not grievous as I John tells us, and it was free.
Rejected, however, it becomes an inordinate thing, and the result is correlative.
What is the mode of the suffering for sinners, this time among men, seen in Revelation 14:11, for example, where we learn that the smoke of their wretchedness ascends forever. Smoke suggests a resultant from a destructive process, and it does not stipulate the precise condition of what is being destroyed. From this, therefore, we gain no more information that that already noted: which however is very considerable! Smoke can linger around a scene continually, depending on what it is smoke of, and the winds.
Torment or buffering or negative estrangement to an estate of lostness with all that this implies need not imply tormentors. We often hear of someone being 'tormented in conscience', and just to exist in some psychic and moral conditions IS torment in this, that the horror of it, without forgiveness, and this by CHOICE, is a folly extreme. Woe is involved, by the nature of the folly, moving from from remorseless renegacy in irrationality, and towards an over-enveloping totality of the inexorable and the impelling. Here flows the congealing discards of aggravated wilfulness almost too horrible even to contemplate, let alone subject to contemplation as to its precise inward condition.
Moreover as to partially destroyed apparatus, such as man's, what is the nature of its suffering ? Once more, one does not know. We can however be sure that the utmost love can do, is done, and where mercy is expressly rejected EVEN WHEN the pangs of hell were about Christ as He vicariously suffered to make this fate unnecessary, then the ensuing situation is one beyond the experience. ALL of us who are Christ's have NOT rejected this mercy. On the contrary we rejoice in its mediation through the personal ministry of Christ (I Timothy 2), the ONLY MEDIATOR (cf. II Corinthians 5:17ff.), One exalted above the heavens, having been defied and defiled beyond the depths, as He willingly suffered vicariously.
In this, He wrought for many not yet His, who do not at this time know what it would be like to be without Him forever. The result of His redemption, His endurance of justice due others, He passionately made available even to those never to be His, who are not yet, if on this earth, in most cases, able to know the increment of horror which comes when hope of redemption is wilfully lost for ever. What however He know not to be His, this He did not pay into any account, for in omniscience that Prince of Princes offers magnificent love to all, and cancels horrendous sin where the page is available and the ink of the imprint will find what does not rush to ensure it is never written. Thus, said He, of those not believing in Him: YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS.
Anything worse than that , it is all but impossible to imagine; except trying to sully the very purity and holiness of God, a confused folly on the part of Roman and Jew alike, some from both races, one racing to His sacrifice like children to a bonfire, the other reluctant to abandon justice, but preferring pollution of heart to unclean hands.
What these things do teach us, it is this: that it is well not to parade a puerile wilfulness before God for ever, and to take pleasure in eating and drinking with self-relish of temporal things, or esteeming oneself a precious good thing, or a moral paragon, or even better than others.
All this, it is not wise. Truth is better. What has one paraded before men that one created for oneself in the first place ? was the will to work given or not ? was the power to use it given or not ? was the pride to be asinine enough to put forward one's created gifts and will to work them, as a ground for self-regard, as if such egotism would be pleasing the Maker of it all, was this an a forced acceptance ? or was it merely a moral folly, based on the baseless abuse of the gifts given and the powers accruing, for one's own elevation!
Pride in one's heritage is folly; dispersion of responsibility for its use, if possible, is worse. Almost without exception, the poor, the troubled, the imposed on will rise like airliners from the horrid milieu of their lives; or fall in weakness. The differences come like rain and like hydrogen sulphide at sea-weed shores of the ocean.
Is man to be congratulated in the divine assessment for invention ? if so, with what imagination was it possible to conceive it, and who made that ? If you were given ten talents, does this make you better, or rather the more susceptible in pride, to relegation for squalid misapplication for your own purposes.
If one regales oneself as sufficient, then on what ground ? If one denies one's Maker, then on what ground ? If one defies one's Maker, then for what reason ? If one sets up as wiser than the Creator of the entirety called man, what folly is this: to imagine one can surpass the constructor and the creator and the inventor of oneself and the absolute entirety of all environment!
If a person denies He has spoken, then wise, that one knows what He has omitted, a remedy for man, and fails to listen to the evidence which nothing can touch, since it is logical, moral, spiritual and evidential, verifiable and validatable as nothing else is*7. If one denies this remedy, then one is assailing, assaulting the good name of God, by making an infinite cost to be nothing, an appalling accounting error, and one wrought wilfully!
If you affirms a wisdom with which to criticise the Almighty for not doing this or that, when He has done all, what sort of a buffoon, a mismanaging worker of folly is the Creator of your being; and from what then do YOU have the wisdom to know it ?
Hell thus is an outcome. Its income is voluntary. Its works are rebellion and seething refusal of truth, a desire for what not only does not exist, but cannot: a hegemony of spirit, a glory of self, or its surrogates, a creation's majesty over its Creator.
Going to hell is not a vacation. What would you expect ? It is suitable for the devil; but if man seeks conjunction there, then that is an option which because of the structure underlying it, makes man what he is: a person. Being depersonalising oneself over a life-time because of wilfulness, abuse of truth, this is the road to that end.
At the end of it, persons provided with aptitude for eternal life as a gift, are provided with ineptitude’s reward: what they are is what they get. There is no interposition. They eat the fruit of their doings, as Proverbs puts it.
The life lived, it has a certain qualitative sameness with the destruction available in hell, in that it is voluntarily begun on this earth, voluntarily sustained on earth, categorically rejected as to change and entwining with the life of God, by correction and new connection. It is, this unbelief in Jesus Christ, the road to ruin (I John 2). It can be experienced in its indifference to the ultimate, its dismissal of the demonstrable, its disagreeableness to truth, right here and now. Its inheritance is sure: that it is nothing good, for in itself, this is its very nature.
What however of the contrary, the invincible goodness of God, of what corrects, what suffers in order to redeem, of what prized beauty of spirit and heart, of what secures glory, is invincible in holiness and undispersible in dynamic, of Him who is humble in majesty and profound in peace ? He has given all to gain just people like us! Moreover, the further man has gone astray, the further He came to find Him.
This is one aspect of the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ, that He went so far, did so much, was so personal in involvement in debt dismissal (Galatians 3:10-13, Matthew 20:28, II Corinthians 5), and at the same time, so undictatorial in enlistment! (cf. Matthew 11:27-30).
While securing all of this, He has also put all things beyond mere circumstance, having wisely worked all things after the counsel of His own will, before our time began (Ephesians 1:11, 1:4, Isaiah 46, Acts 15, Romans 8:29ff.). None is lost who might be found. The power and the motivation is there, and so the result! (Colossians 1:19ff., Ephesians 1:11).
What confidence this gives, what delight that such as He, though He was rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich! (II Corinthians 8:9, 9:8, Romans 8:32-39). The other aspect which springs to mind is this: that the aggregating debt resulting from the rejection of His mercy is unnecessary, cancellable in a moment, in such a way as to cause Him no extra pain, since He has suffered already and suffers no more (Hebrews 9-12). Hence there is JOY in heaven at anyone's coming to the knowledge of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as in the heart of the new believer; and indeed "the joy of the Lord is your strength" remains true as well.
How delightful that it is not a pondering of grace and pains and forbearance in a whirl-pool of conundrums that meets man, seeking for the Lord with ALL the heart. Instead, there is a place for coming, a home available with personal dwellings, there is a fire lit, the fire of His warm personal recognition for one, upon arrival … there is a refuge where the place is meet and ready! and this, by gift through grace out of love.
See *2, below, and
Predestination and Freewill Part 2 ,
To Know God ... Ch. 1, *2,
Repent or Perish Ch. 1, *1 ,
The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, esp. pp. 124ff., News 112,
Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch. 9,
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 1, 3 (and regeneration, the love of God, Calvinism, Wesley and the nether options, with special attention to John 3),
with with Great Execrations ... Greater Grace Chs. 7, and 9, and
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4;
Celestial Harmony Ch. 2 (and his word on Romans!),
Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 9;
Three Anzas, One Answer Ch. 6;
Christ's Ineffable Peace ... Ch. 2 (extensive, covers decretum horribile); EPILOGUE,
Light of Dawn Ch. 1,
Trust God, Mate! Forget about Fate Ch. 6,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 2, End-note 1,
Marvels of Predestination ... Ch. 6, Supplement 2,
Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Chs. 8, 9;
Glory, Vainglory and Goodness Ch. 7.
See for example Christ's Ineffable Peace ... Ch. 2, Christ Incomparable ... Epilogue , and
The Face of God, Illimitable, Unfunded, Definitive, Decisive Ch. 9, with associated references.
See also A Time to Praise God Appendix 1.
*3 See A Time to Praise God Appendix 1.
See: SMR Appendix B; Anguish, Ecstasy and the Mastery of the Messiah Chs. 8, 9;Great Execrations ... Greater Grace Chs. 7, and 9. See also The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3 and The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 4.
On this arena of theological error, see the following:
Gift of God's Grace in Christ Jesus Ch. 1
Seventh Day Adventism,
as also in
Christ the Citadel Chs. 5 and esp. 6, in
Hapless Hitches ... Ch. 1 as marked - in two places,
Open to Him ... Ch. 3 as marked, and the
Sermon Galatians 4-5 as marked).
See also: Biblical Blessings Ch. 12, Appendix I, II and III, Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 6,
See for example SMR Chs. 3 and 5 contrasted, Ch. 1-2, 10, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Barbs ... 6 -7.
DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY;
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God