AUDIO VERSION: YouTube Podbean
As creatures of God, we are not in control of our own existence. We did not bring ourselves into being, nor can we cause ourselves to stop being. On this earth, the most we can do is try to kill ourselves, but this does not make us cease to be. The death of our physical body merely frees our souls to go on to eternity, and this is certainly not something we want to rush if we’re only going to end up in Hell. Unless we meet God’s requirements for salvation, we will spend eternity writhing in terrible torment. This is a horrifying thought. Happily, God offers us a better option…or does He? Is it true that everyone is given the chance to go to Heaven? Does God really desire all souls to be saved? Does He really love all people or only a privileged few? What if before we were even born, God labeled some of us as eternal outcasts? What if He created certain people just to be hated objects which He will delight in torturing forever? What if some of us were intentionally created as warped, ugly freaks who God sadistically delights in inflicting misery upon? If you are worried that you might be an object of wrath to God or a soul who He has predestined to burn in Hell, then this post is for you.
THE LIMITS OF GOD’S LOVE
If you exist, God wants you and He loves you. Yes, His wrath is real and Hell is real. Yes, He will be eternally torturing all those who refuse to submit to Him on this earth. But He has not damned you to Hell. How do we know? Because if God had already given up on you, you wouldn’t be concerned about it. If He created you to be an object of His wrath, no part of you would feel drawn towards a right relationship with Him. Such fears are brought to you by demons who really want you to believe that salvation is not an option.
No matter how smart some Christians might sound with their fancy words and Bible quotations, any teaching which says that some souls are damned without ever being given the chance to be reconciled to God is complete garbage. It is Satan who insists that God’s love is limited to only a certain select population of humans. It is Satan who is forever trying to convince certain souls that God will never reach out to them with enthusiastic love. He’ll use any excuse that he can get you to swallow. He’ll tell you you’re too ugly for God to love, or too fat, or too unpopular, or too dumb, or too sinful. But we must remember that everything Satan says is a lie. We must not believe in lies.
God is clear that the only reason you exist is because He wants you to be. He delighted in the idea of making you. It was a voluntary, pleasurable act. You are not something He cranked out on an assembly line. You aren’t something He threw together when He was bored or distracted. You aren’t the result of an experiment gone wrong. You are a dearly loved creation of God. God doesn’t make things that He doesn’t like. Human beings are the crowning jewel of this entire project we call Earth. We are the only part of this world that God values enough to bring into eternity. We were built to last forever, unlike all the beautiful plants and animals around us. Everything about this place is going to be burned away and utterly destroyed. Even our physical bodies will one day be separated from us and left behind. But our souls will go on. Our souls are beautiful to God and He wants them to always be.
Let’s sort out this idea of predestination. God is not a human, and He is not trapped in a time dimension like we are. We humans are stuck in a present moment with a patchy memory of the past and no clue about the future. God is not like us. He sees past, present, and future all at once. He knew everything about you before He made you. This is difficult to get our brains around, but that’s because we’re limited humans. God is an infinite non-human. Obviously we aren’t going to be able to fully understand everything about Him, yet there are many things we can understand because He’s made them clear to us. God tells us that He knows the end from the beginning. He knows everything about us before we are born. He knew how many of us would choose to submit to Him in life, and how many of us would rebel. He knew who would end up in Heaven and who would end up in Hell. Just because God knew what you would decide ahead of time, does not mean He forced you to make those decisions.
Suppose we see into the future of your life. We know that tomorrow you will get up in the morning and make yourself a cup of coffee. When you get up and do exactly that, does it mean we forced you to do it? No. It was still your idea to have coffee. We didn’t interfere with your choices, we just knew what they were going to be.
With God, things are a bit more complicated because He does force many choices upon us. He is the One who decided which foods would taste particularly good to your tongue. He is the One who decided which colors and styles of clothing you would be attracted to. You didn’t get to decide all of the details about yourself, God did. He programmed many things about you: your looks, your laugh, your interests. He then arranged events in your life to steer you down certain roads. He decided who would raise you. He decided whether your parents would be nice or nasty. He decided whether you would be well-taken care of or abused. You’re like someone who is being led through a foreign country by a tour guide. By deciding ahead of time which sites to show you and where to take you to dine, your tour guide massively influences your vacation experience. So also, God is massively influencing your experience on this earth. He didn’t just plunk you down and then let you run off in any direction you choose. He cares far too much about you to ignore you like that. Instead, He’s been intimately involved in every moment of your life, limiting the choices you can make. But the important point is that there are still choices.
Suppose we pull four cards out of a deck and tell you to choose one. Instead of letting you choose any card in the deck, we’re limiting your options to just four cards, but we’re still giving you some amount of choice. This is what your life is like with God. He never lets you choose from the whole deck. He is always selecting out the cards He wants and presenting you with limited options. At some points in your life, He only presents you with one option. Other times, He might give you four or five. But when it comes to salvation, God is adamant that Hell is never the only option a soul has. Whenever Hell is an option, Heaven is also an option. God is clear that no one has Hell forced upon them. We only get to Hell by willfully refusing to align with God’s requirements for salvation.
Sometimes there are souls who don’t get to choose where they will end up in eternity. Babies are a classic example of this. But whenever God doesn’t let souls choose, He takes them to Heaven. Heaven is always the option that God defaults to when no real choice was given. What does that tell us about Him? He loves us all, and He wants us all. He never makes Hell our only option.
God made up the rules that determine whether we go to Heaven or Hell. He could change those rules at any time, yet He chooses not to. Today, if we refuse to submit to Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as our Gods, then They will throw us into Hell. Now we could argue that if God knows that John will refuse to submit to Him even before John is born, then by creating John, God is predestining John to go to Hell. He sees John’s choices and He has already decided how He will respond to those choices.
This also works the the other way. If God knows George will choose to submit to Him, then by creating George, He predestines George to go to Heaven. Once again, He has decided ahead of time how He will respond to the choices George will make.
Predestination does not mean all choice has been eliminated. It simply means all of the choices are known in advance. If you know a movie has a sad ending and you decide to watch it anyway, you are predestining yourself for a sad experience. There’s no element of surprise, but you are also making an informed decision. You are choosing for something to be which you could have chosen not to be.
God could decide to only create souls who He knows would eventually submit to His Authority. But this isn’t what He does. He also chooses to create souls who He knows will reject Him. This is difficult for us to understand, because we can’t see any purpose in it. Suppose a woman was shown the futures of her children before they were born. She sees that one child makes bad choices in life, while the other makes good choices. Then suppose she had the option to decide if the children should be born or not. What should she base her decision on? As selfish humans, we would say, “Don’t bother with the child who will make bad decisions, because he’ll only bring you a bunch of heartache.” Before the child is born, we value him only for how much pain or joy he will bring us. We value the good child more only because we see opportunities for us to be blessed by him. What about God? It turns out that He also values us for the ways that we benefit Him.
Though God sees that some souls will reject Him, He still feels they are worth creating. Clearly He is not basing their value solely on how well they treat Him on earth. But what about after earth when they are writhing in Hell? Is God blessed by tormenting those who treated Him with disdain? Yes, He is. Regardless of whether we accept or reject God’s salvation on earth, He will end up blessed. God has worked out a perfect system in which all humans end up glorifying Him in some way. Either we demonstrate His great mercy by enjoying Heaven, or we demonstrate His great justice by writhing in Hell. Either way, God comes out on top, so He has no reason to hesitate to create a soul who He knows will reject Him. In the end, everything God makes ends up benefiting Him. In the end, all souls who end up in Hell will have gotten there by willfully rejecting the opportunities God gave them to be saved. Hell is always an informed choice.
OBJECTS OF WRATH
When people talk about God making them an object of wrath, they usually mean that God has intentionally created them to be something He dislikes—a victim that He intends to eternally abuse. This is an absolute lie. God is clear that He loves every soul He creates. He desires us all to come to Him. No one is overlooked. No one is less wanted. No one is shunned or considered an expendable piece of trash. The fact that God gives us the option to reject Him demonstrates how important our choices are to Him. He does not want automatons, He wants creatures who have voluntarily chosen to pursue Him.
The fact that God has set up a system in which He can still benefit from us rejecting Him does not mean that He prefers us to reject Him. God would much rather we submit to His Authority and experience His favor. In the Bible we find reams of verses in which God describes firsthand how deeply He cares about human beings, and how intensely He desires a positive relationship with us. Just because God has boundaries and demands certain amounts of respect does not mean He does not love us. God does not create objects of wrath, He only creates souls who He dearly loves and then He calls those souls to submit to Him while they are on this earth. No one is unwanted. No one is less loved.
The more we understand the truth about who God is and how He views us, the less fearful we become. If you are insecure about God’s love for you, ask Him to help you see yourself through His eyes and gain a better understanding of His desire for you.
Salvation: How do you know when you’ve met God’s requirements?
Understanding Divine Election: Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated (Malachi 1 & Romans 9)