I was contemplating the statements of a recent comment in which the person indicated, in a macabre Jack Chicksian sort of way, that in the afterlife God would be stamping on heathen faces until the blood splattered on His clothing.
What is it about Death that makes God so mad at us?
Traditional Christianity paints a picture of a God that is extremely interested in humanity’s well being. This is a God that is so concerned about how the world is turning out, that it is willing to kill every single living creature, preserving only a miniscule amount, in the hopes that the conditions in which humanity survives will improve. (Gen. 6:21)
This is a God that is willing to kill millions of people in order to preserve an ethnic group to provide means of a possible resolution for some. (Ten Plagues)
This is a God that performed the ultimate act of humility, literally giving up its God-like abilities and powers for a time, in the hopes that some will learn of him. (Phil. 2:6) A God that committed to the greatest act of love every known in the entire course of history, by somehow killing itself, in order to save me. (John 15:13) A God that is patiently waiting and hoping that I will recognize him as God. (2 Pet. 3:9)
Christianity paints a picture of a God, that for time eternal has moved and turned the course of historical events, in the hopes that I (along with other humans) will be restored to a relationship with him. A God that has interacted, wept, begged, pleaded, sweated, strained, bled and died on the chance that I could be saved. A God that has withheld its own sense of justice, and has patiently and continually restrained itself, in an act of mercy, on the hopes that I will find Him.
Until I die.
Then it is a no-holds-barred, full frontal assault of excruciating pain, misery and punishment for all time.
Jesus: Father, you know I died for that DagoodS fellow. Here are the nail prints in my hands. I can re-play the events of my death, all for this person to come to you.
Jesus: I am begging you; pleading with you. It is for him that I stripped myself of God-hood, became a mere human, suffered, and was horribly tortured. Worse, I was separated from you—something I have never experienced and never will again. A new experience for a God—all in the off-chance that you will call him to us. (John 6:44)
God: You make a good point. Maybe—
Angel One: psst. Jesus? Sorry. DagoodS just died.
Jesus: What? Oh, never mind, God. Whoopee! He just died! Put on the Golf cleats. It is face-stomping time. Oh, this is the best part of the job. Maybe this time I can get a good one meter splatter!
Does that really make sense? Christianity claims a God that can muster a universe, is so loving it performs a sacrifice unlike any heard of before or since, but somehow death makes God turn a bit ugly. He is unable to maintain that loving attitude after we die.
What, exactly, is the lake of fire for? Punishment?
Punishment (as we understand it) comprises of four elements—punish the wrongdoer, rehabilitate the wrongdoer, recompense the victim, and be a deterrent to the general society.
Hell certainly won’t rehabilitate us. We have no second chance. Nothing about our getting better. No “time off for good behavior.” No opportunity to re-enter society. Rehabilitation is not it.
It is useless as a deterrent. In order to be a deterrent, one must be firmly convinced of hell’s existence. The only ones that believe in hell are the ones that aren’t going there! (Ever think about that?)
Remember when our moms told us that if we crossed our eyes, they would stay that way? Perhaps I was the only gullible five-year-old, but a small part of me was concerned. Sure, I had never seen people with permanent cross-eyes. I have never seen sad documentaries of people who had crossed their eyes against their mother’s advice, and it became permanent.
Yet it was a defective deterrent. We might still cross our eyes, but never for very long. Just in case…
But now that I am an adult, it is an ineffective deterrent. I now realize that my eyes won’t stay that way. In order for punishment to be effective, we must be convinced it will happen. (Part of the reason that punishment in society remains a generally ineffective deterrent is that criminals always presume they will not get caught. They don’t believe it will be imposed, either.)
How can hell compensate a victim? The people that suffered from the effects of immoral acts would either
a) be in Heaven; or
b) be in Hell.
Is it claimed that victims in Heaven are slowing improving their position, when those who harmed them are suffering? Or are victims in hell also lessening their suffering while the criminal is suffering more?
And no, God cannot be “compensated” by making people suffer. That would make God wanting. Less than perfect. Incomplete. In need of something. (And it makes a curious kind of victim that can ONLY be compensated through inflicting pain on others.)
That leaves us with punishment. A penalty imposed for doing something wrong.
What did we do wrong? Was it the fact we sin? Or that we did not believe correctly?
As to sinning—we have no option there. All humans sin. God is punishing us for being human. Is it appropriate to punish us for something we have no choice over? None of us can “choose” to be non-human. We cannot discard our humanity.
If God is going to make us roast in fire…er…excuse, me, stomp on our face for being Human, there is not much I can do about it. Makes Jesus’ coming a bit of a waste, frankly. How did his dying on the cross make some people non-human?
Bottom line-we will be punished for not believing correctly. This all fits together nicely with Romans 10:9—believe: you go to heaven. Don’t: you go to hell.
Apparently, though, belief after death doesn’t count. Being confronted with real evidence, with physical confirmation does not qualify. The only belief that counts is that which is specifically performed without evidence.
The only way I get to keep my face intact is to believe without evidence. If believing with evidence is sufficient, then death would not be necessary as a cut-off.
I am to be punished eternally because God deliberately did not give me evidence. O.K. Sucks to be me, but if that is the way it is, so be it. Just don’t try and sell the idea that God loves me, or is moved with compassion or is even remotely considerate toward me. At best, he is gleefully looking forward to the day to inflict tremendous pain on me (and others) and is only holding off in some sort of perverse sense of anticipation.
OR, is it more possible that since the Bible is made up of conflicting authors, we have conflicting pictures of this God. Some authors desired to focus on a loving, benevolent, forgiving God. Some authors focused on a God imposing some sort of “ultimate justice.” When the two concepts were placed together in an anthology, we end up with a creepy dual-personality type God that makes a hard right turn upon human death.