That God knows in advance who will respond to his call of salvation is clear (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pt. 1:1-2). However, God’s choosing is not based upon his foreknowledge (knowing in advance) of how some will respond (contra Arminian, Wesleyan theology). Rather, God’s choosing of the elect is in accordance
I confess. I’ve never seen one episode of Seinfeld or Desperate Housewives, nor have I watched a horror movie for almost 30 years. Moreover, I hardly read novels. For better or worse, I decided long ago that getting inside another’s imaginary world is, quite frankly, a waste of time when reality offers plenty of intrigue. My reading has been so academic for so long that I find it almost impossible to appreciate the world of fiction. (This is not to my credit, I have to admit.) Nevertheless, Young’s novel The Shack got my attention, as it has countless others, and I would like to say a few things about it.
For a being whose attributes consist, at minimum, of absolute justice and perfect love, there seems to be a dilemma on how that being could show love to unlovely creatures without compromising either his moral perfections or absolute justice. In other words, is there some place where love and justice intersect? How, for instance, can God exact a just punishment on those deserving of his wrath while at the same time fully express his love to those same beings?
Does God forget my sins when he forgives my sins? And, aren’t we supposed to “forgive and forget?” After all, the Bible clearly states “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). And, Jeremiah exclaims “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).
Many who’ve been introduced to the notion of God’s omniscience eventually ask, “If God knows all things, including my choices before I make them, then are my choices really free?” Understandably, it is difficult to swallow the idea that we may not be “free” in any absolute sense. That our choices are not solely our own is not very palatable, especially for Westerners who tend to cherish (read “worship”) our freedoms. It seems we have this tenacious bent to believe that our choices really do matter, so much so that no other can possibly influence, much less determine, them.
On Speaking about Hell… Why don’t Christians talk About Hell? I have a few proposed answers that run something like: We politely apologize for Hell. If it is mentioned, we are embarrassed by the topic and then quickly change the focus to the positive notions of God’s love, grace, etc.