Posted by James 5:16 on June 08, 2001 at 19:00:26:
In Reply to: Re: Question and Oops posted by Ezekiel 25:17 on June 08, 2001 at 13:41:42:
: If the change doesn't begin, does this imply we are a bad person?
In the Christian belief, we are all "bad" people in the sense that even though we are saved (or not saved) we continue to sin (namely act against the accordance of the God we have chosen (or not chosen) to believe in). Believers sin again and again. We are people. We have failings. We now however, have the ability to not sin. That is something non-believers cannot do. Again this is very harsh, but it is the structure the Bible sets up.
: : If that person has been exposed to the Law and the testament of Jesus Christ, then yes. Even if the person is good but he has been exposed to Jesus and his truths, then if that person chooses not to believe in Christ then damnation is that person's fate. It sounds harsh, but that is the way the Bible sets things up.
: Okay, this is where the problems begin :)
: 1. God is just and merciful.
: Therefore this implies that the salvation of all mankind is his ultimate goal.
I would take that as an axiom. However, that will not be the case.
: When you consider the vast majority of Eastern populations have not even heard of Jesus, then by your argument, these people are already damned. You then add all those who believe in Islam, Hindu, Buddhism etc, and you condemn another few hundred million to damnation as well.
Islam, because they believe in the same God as the Christians and the Jews, have their own judge. That is clearly laid out for them too.
Also remember that I said that those who have not heard of Christ become a law unto themselves (Romans 2), they will be judged in that format. That covers all humanity. Those who are Christians, Jews Hindus, or the people that have been raised in the jungle, only knowing their own tribe.
: Surely, God should not choose favourites? All those who have not even heard about Jesus have no real free-will as they are born into sin without any avenue of redemption.
They do have the avenue of redemtion I just mentioned.
: Even when this is the case, they are still better off than anyone who has ever heard of Jesus. Because by your arguments, to hear about and not believe in Jesus is also to invite damnation. However, never hearing about Jesus will result in eventual later judgement by God based on your actions (altho still likely to end in damnation).
Again, not so. These people who have not heard of Christ become a law unto themselves and are judged by that standard.
: Bearing in mind the infinity that is God, and how we cannot possibly comprehend his actions, surely our judgement must still be made on rational human grounds. What I desire in a God above all other things is Justice. Just because some omnipotent being may have created me, doesn't imply any right to order my life as he wishes.
Actually, we cannot desire what comes in a god. That's not the way it works. I would desire a god that lets me eat only ice cream all of the time and never gain weight. But that's not reality. I cannot choose what God is like. That assumes a power over an infinite being. Since I am not an infinite being, I don't have the power to do so.
We choose to believe in Him just as He has chosen us. Part of that belief is an endeavor to live up to the standard He has set before us. Namely, the Law and the teachings in the Bible.
: A truly just God, would guide his children, would enable everyone equal access to his mercy and laws. A truly just God would not need to resort to punishment to get his points across. If God cannot fulfil these simple requirements, than like any other person, they are simply not worthy of trust. When this is coupled with the Bible being the source of all knowledge, yet written by man in numerous historical accounts which fail to take into account modern society, I wonder how so many can still believe. Honesty, accountability and Justice. It seems I desire too much.
The is accountability and justice. We are accountable to God. He puts the justice on the world.
: : : : 3) If the person is an infant, then the same rule applies. Very likely, the way I believe, an infant will go to Heaven based on the previous ruling.
: When as a human, do we become truly accountable for our actions? Does baptism and confirmation absolve all our sins? How will an infant even understand heaven and will it survive into perpetuity as a baby?
I don't have the answers to those questions. I really don't. Save for the second. Belief abolishes are sins at two times. First, at the time we first believe, all of the sins we committed before belief will be abolished. Second, at the end time, when we will be cleansed of our sins and placed into our perfect bodies. Sin will have ceased to exist at that point because the world and each believer's heart will be cleansed.
: Lets say I don't believe in God at present, yet I recant and choose to believe on my deathbed. If I'm truly repentent, will that ensure my pathway into heaven even if I have lived an evil life?
: If the answer is Yes, what is to stop me enjoying life now, and worrying about the consequences until later?
The truth will be written on your heart and, very likely, your repentance will be false.
Thanks for reading,
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