Love Wins Analysis: Chapter 4: Does God Get What God Wants? (Part III)
The other issue I have with Bell here about the talk of restoration, renewal, and if you will, “second chances,” is that gives people no real need to come to Jesus. If all things will be restored in the end anyway, what does it matter if I murder someone I don’t like? Even if I get fried in the electric chair, I still eventually go to heaven maybe after a brief punishment for my sins.
Although hell is an unlikable place to be or to think about (if you take it seriously), the purpose of it is for judgment. When a criminal is deemed guilty in a court of law and sentenced to life in prison, he is sent to jail until death. Hell is the jail that never ends.
But let’s take a step back. And we’ve got to follow Bell’s suppositions (maybe? he is careful to never outright say he believes these things) about what ultimately brings God glory in the end: restoration, reconciliation, and renewal.
Think of a terrible, gruesome time during the 20th century. I’ll give you a hint of where I’m going with this: think of a specific dictator who murdered tens of millions of people. There are at least three you can choose from.
1 . . .
2 . . .
This is kind of like an annoying email forward now, isn’t it?
I’ll choose Hitler since Stalin and Tse-Tung (Zedong) don’t seem to strike the same kind of terror into Westerners’ hearts.
Adolf Hitler is estimated to be responsible for at least 12 million murders during World War II. When Hitler shot himself in the head on April 30, 1945, his soul plunged into eternity.
Now, tell me: do you think it brings God more glory to simply excuse such heinous and irresponsible actions and allow Hitler into heaven on the basis of restoration and reconciliation or does it bring God more glory to judge Hitler and punish him for the atrocities he committed while he was on this earth? Because remember, he was never tormented in the way that he tormented so many others (not just the Jewish and the Polish but anyone who either opposed him or didn’t fit his ideal Aryan race).
Maybe I’m a cold, heartless bitch, but I want God to make Hitler pay for the things that he never had to pay for on earth. It’s a little disappointing to think that Hitler could toy with the lives of 12 million people and after death still be reconciled to God after maybe a “season” in hell.
God is God, and yes, He could totally restore Adolf Hitler to himself in the era of restoration to come, but I just don’t see humans (who would have exacted the harshest sentences possible on Hitler before executing him) being more lenient than God.
Then Bell says things that make me wonder, Does this jive with scripture?
“To be clear, again, an untold number of serious disciples of Jesus across hundreds of years have assumed, affirmed, and trusted that no one can resist God’s pursuit forever, because God’s love will eventually melt even the hardest of hearts.”
Maybe. But again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it remains that way forever. I think specifically of Pharaoh who had a rather hard heart against the people of Israel who wanted to be freed and even “repented” (!) of his temporarily “melted” heart (after a series of wearying plagues) and decided to go after them as they made their way out of Egypt. The Bible gives no indication that Pharaoh ever repented of his re-hardened heart.
“Could God say to someone truly humbled, broken, and desperate for reconciliation, ‘Sorry, too late’? Many have refused to accept the scenario in which somebody is pounding on the door, apologizing, repenting, and asking God to be let in, only to hear God say through the keyhole: ‘Door’s locked. Sorry. If you have been here earlier, I could have done something. But now, it’s too late.’
As it’s written in 2 Timothy 2, God ‘cannot disown himself.'”
These many who have refused need to reread the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Not that I like the idea of a door being shut permanently, but if we’re going off of scripture, we have to seriously consider what it says.
“At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church have been a number who insist that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins and all will be reconciled to God.”
And in Christianity, there are some people who choose not to directly align themselves with views they believe so that they may not be tied directly with these specific beliefs therefore they speak of themselves in generalities so that it is almost impossible to pin them down with what they believe.