Some would say the father’s love, which God indisputably has, precludes His wrath and His eternal punishment of the wicked. This is my response:
- How are we to judge whether or not His wrath is precluded by His love? How do we know He loves us? We only know this through the Bible. Some people might assert that there is a God and He loves us yet disbelieve in the Bible. They would be in moral quicksand. How could we say anything with any certainty without the scriptures?
- As a young man I made my own religion – did Transcendental Meditation as taught by a well-known Hindu guru, I read a bit about Buddhism, read novels by the cultic Herman Hesse – I was totally adrift on the treacherous waters of life.
- We can absolutely trust the Bible. It is a supernatural, credible collection of books written over a period of about 1500 years
- However we cannot pick and choose what bits of the Bible we think tell the truth. The Bible either stands as a totality, or it falls as a totality.
- I have pasted a couple of scriptures below describing God’s response to the great rebellion of Gog. Isaiah 63 could also be cited plus many other references. God’s wrath is an indisputable aspect of His character if we believe the whole Bible.
- I have personally found 19 century evangelist Charles Finney’s theology very helpful in understanding this. Finney argued that God’s character can be understood by the term “Benevolence”. Benevolence is doing nothing but the appropriate good in every situation. As the creator of sentient moral beings God is bound by His benevolence to actually govern the universe. This is a “good” from every point of view. For proper government of the universe, there must be sanctions seen by all to be appropriate to the offence and the offender. God is infinitely good; therefore to rebel against His authority is a crime of infinite gravity. The only sanction that fits a crime of infinite gravity is eternal punishment. In the interests of the universe, as its governor, God should be seen to have infinite glory, and infinite wrath towards the wicked.
- Our mistake is that somewhere, despite our reading that all have sinned, we think we are OK. But the Bible says The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jer 17:9)
- God is the only one able to determine the gravity of the crime.
- He owes us nothing – He created us. Without Him we wouldn’t exist.
- Eternal punishment for the sinner is several times outlined in plain, unambiguous scripture. To challenge the reality of eternal punishment is a direct challenge against God. Such a challenge can only be made by a person who doubts God’s word, or thinks God is not benevolent, or thinks his/her moral judgment and reasoning is superior to God’s. In fact, to make such a challenge is to take the sinner’s side against the infinitely Holy and loving God, our Creator. My advice is to flee such thinking.
Ezekiel 38: 18-23 “And it will come to pass at the same time, when Gog comes against the land of Israel,” says the Lord God, “that My fury will show in My face. 19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath I have spoken: ‘Surely in that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel, 20 so that the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all creeping things that creep on the earth, and all men who are on the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. The mountains shall be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.’ 21 I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”’
Rev 20:7-15 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[b] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
The Great White Throne Judgment
11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before [c]God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second [d]death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.