“HOW COULD GOD PUNISH SOMEONE FOR ETERNITY!” is what I heard the man say as he stood speaking to Sam during Raven Street Church. I immediately stepped in and said, “Step over here and let’s talk.”
I lead the young man over near the curb where the sound levels were a little lower and said, “So what is the question that you had?”
He said, “Okay. I just don’t get this. If God is a loving God then how is it that someone can sin and die and that 1000 years later they will still be punished even though they would have probably realized by then that they were wrong. It just doesn’t seem fare that they would keep being punished for the smallest of sins.”
My response, “I gotcha. The problem with your whole issue is that when you begin from a false premise then you end with a false premise. Let me explain.
You are operating from the perspective that man is basically good with just a few minor flaws that need to be worked out. Those flaws in your estimation can probably be worked out in a number of ways; religion, education, doing good by people, learning your lesson. Right?
The problem with that is that man is not basically good – man is evil by nature….” He cut me off and said, “But God created ALL of us…”
I said, “Another false premise. While God is the architect of CREATION in the sense that everything, every building block came from Him; the fact of the matter is that God only created TWO people; Adam and Eve and the rest of us are the product of PROCREATION. That is why we are no longer born in the image of God, but rather the image of our mothers and fathers.
When God created man – he created them in His image or after His similitude – that is, with characteristics like His own. One of those characteristics was self-determination or free-will.
Now let me get to your original question about eternal punishment. What if when you were seven years old you stole a candy bar from the store and your mother found out about it when you got home. What would be the appropriate punishment?”
“Oh man – she should take a belt out and whip my butt!,” he said. “That would probably be appropriate. But, what if a man molested a little seven year old child. Would getting a spanking with a belt be an appropriate punishment?” I asked.
“NO WAY…. I don’t know what I would do to someone like that….Uh…,” he said as he contemplated the seriousness and heinous nature of the offense.
“You cant think of anything BAD ENOUGH to punish such an evil doer can you?” I asked. “No, I cant.”
I continued, “See, when God created Adam and Eve He gave them EVERTHING. He gave them dominion over all that He created. He gave them access to His presence. He empowered them beyond our wildest imagination. He gave them eternal life. They were created to live forever. But, just ONE THING did He require of them. He said do no eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the day that you do – you will die.
With all that He gave them and with all that He did – – they thumbed their noses at God and arrogantly decided to do the one thing that He told them not to do – – and what he said would happen – happened! They died!
Now they didn’t die PHYSCALLY they DIED SPIRITUALLY. They sinned against ETERNITY and the punishment was equal to the crime – ETERNITY! When they sinned against God they WILLFULLY chose to inject the consequence on everyone that would follow thereafter.
He chimed in, “Oh – that’s is the sins of the father visited upon his children!”
I continued, “What that did was to take all of us from a place of ETERNAL LIFE to a place of ETERNAL CONSEQUENCE — that being an appointment to hell unless we were BORN AGAIN! John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world that He created so much (one that was perfect and in order) that He gave His son that whoever believed upon him would have ETERNAL LIFE!”
He wanted to bring us back to where He intended – for eternity! You see, God is not mocked what ever a person sows is what a person reaps. Sin – is sin against eternity and the consequence is equal – unless there is a reprieve and the only reprieve comes from a relationship with God through faith in the redemptive work of Calvary.
Is it any “farer” that we can simply put our trust in Jesus and be saved for ETERNITY – – a billion years from no even – – than if we sin as fallen people and suffer the consequence of such for the same duration. The punishment has to fit the crime – but the benefit also fits the value of the sacrifice that was made for us as well.
“I GET IT! I GET IT!! Man thank you so much! It makes perfect sense to me now!” he said smiling ear to ear, “That helps me more than you could ever imagine.”
Folks – there are so many looking for answers that will NEVER darken the door of a church, and if they happened to – most would leave still having never received an answer to the questions that hound them. I’m believing that this young man gets a hold of the Word and God gets a hold of Him in the process!
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