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An Inhumane God?

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By Lane Palmer, Christian Post Guest Columnist
January 15, 2007|9:35 am

So I have a question for you…is it possible that we as humans are, well, more humane than the God who created humans?

hu•mane adj. Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion.

In other words, if something seems “inhumane” (not kind, not merciful, not compassionate) to us, wouldn’t God be even more likely to see it as such?

I certainly think so, but there are folks out there promoting ideas in the name of Christianity that at a basic level paint a picture of God that is more than just a little inhumane. The picture looks like this:

In John 14:6, Jesus declared He was “the way, the truth, and the life,” and that no one could come to the Father (i.e. enter heaven) apart from Him. OK, that’s more than humane. Everyone on earth is born into a broken relationship with God, so Christ gave His life to make a solution available. All a person has to do is trust Christ, and they can enter heaven. That is an extremely kind, merciful, and compassionate offer, don’t you think? Ah, but here is where the picture gets ugly. This amazing gospel message, meant for everyone, apparently isn’t going to make it to everyone on earth. There are tribes in Tanzania and tots in Thailand who will go through their entire lives without a chance to hear the gospel, which gives them a snowball’s chance in the place down under (not Australia) as far as getting into heaven.

And why? Well, I’m not sure, but there are lots of folks who are simply convinced that God is the type who would send people to hell who never had a choice in the first place. I guess from a human perspective, it’s hard to imagine how the gospel will get (or has gotten) to people so far removed from civilization they make the Flintstones look like technologically advanced people.

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But yeah, that’s the human perspective. One that makes humans more humane than God. It’s the wrong perspective, and I’ll tell you why.

First, let me ask you a question. Do you really believe that the God who loves the whole world (John 3:16) wouldn’t love them enough to get a life saving message to them? Or put another way, does it sound right that you have a better developed sense of what is right and fair for a bunch of strangers than the God who made them, loves them, and died for them?

If your answer to these questions is yes, then you might want to consider a few facts from God’s own words:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20)

Translation: there never have been nor will there ever be people who “haven’t heard.” God has set up the world as one big bulletin about Himself, and when this verse says “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them”, it is fairly clear to me that God made it plain to everyone that He exists.

Yes Lane, but that verse doesn’t say anything about the gospel. How do you know that message will get to everyone?

Great question! So back to my original question: do you really believe that the God who loves the whole world (John 3:16) wouldn’t love them enough to get a life saving message to them? Or perhaps you see God as saying “here I am! I exist! But there’s something I forgot to mention to you…oh well, good luck in everlasting destruction!”

Exactly, that’s not the God of the Bible. The God who loves the world enough to die for us has the desire and power to get the job done … don’t you think? At least that’s the way He’s described in the Bible – as a God who “doesn’t desire anyone to perish” (2 Peter 3:9). Think about that … if an all-powerful God purposely didn’t find a way to get the gospel message to those who couldn’t get it otherwise, wouldn’t that show a desire for them to perish? Yes.

So how does He get the gospel to everyone? Well, how would I know? But what I do know is He’s God, so He could send a missionary, an angel, appear in a vision, or use a talking donkey for all we know (no really, check out Numbers 22). And when He does get the gospel to them, they are the ones who decide to accept or reject Christ. If they end up in hell, it wasn’t because of ignorance, it was clearly because of rebellion.

Oh, and one more thing. Check out a vision of the future from the book of Revelation:

And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:7)

What does this mean? Simple… We know that SOMEHOW, at least SOME people from EVERY nation on earth end up in heaven! That means tribes in Tanzania and tots in Thailand, and that also tells me that God is more humane than any human could ever imagine.

So don’t listen to those who paint God with an unfair brush. Tell them, even better- show them the truth about the God who loves the whole world and is not willing for any to perish. It might just be the most humane thing you’ve ever done!

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Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to lane@dare2share.org.

 

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