Sunday, February 12, 2017
Divine Freedom: Conclusion
The conclusion of the matter then is that God has, in eternity, willed the events of all temporal reality from beginning to end. In so doing, since God knows himself perfectly, it follows that he possesses perfect knowledge of all that He wills. Christianity affirms these basic truths because these are the truths that are clearly taught in Scriptures. Moreover, human beings freely act in accord with God’s divine will without any coercion or compulsion whatsoever. God never does violence to the human will and still the human will freely acts always to do only that which God has decreed or willed that it should do. This Christianity affirms because this is precisely what Scripture affirms about the human and the divine wills.
Now we come to the challenge that most evangelicals encounter when attempting to sustain their objection to the position outlined in this manuscript. At the very bottom of their objection is the belief that this position impugns God’s justice. If men are not given a choice in their own redemption, then, so goes the accusation, it is not fair for God to assign them to eternal damnation. However, the typical evangelical who makes this argument has introduced a serious contradiction within his own understanding of the Christian system. The reason for this is that he wants to affirm that God is all-powerful. He also wants to affirm that God is all-wise. Furthermore, he wants to affirm that God is perfectly good. And at last, he wants to affirm that God truly and sincerely wants to save every man in temporal reality without exception. If God is all powerful, then it is certainly within his power to bring the gospel to all men without exception. And if God is all wise, then it is certainly within his intellectual capacity to bring all men the gospel without exception. So, if it is true that God wants to save all men without exception, and if it is true that God capable of bringing the gospel to all men without exception, and if it is also true that God is smart enough to bring all men the gospel without exception, we just have one question to ask: why are millions of people dying around the world without ever having heard the gospel? This is a blatant contradiction. Either God is not power enough, or He is not smart enough to get them the gospel. Otherwise, if God is powerful enough and smart enough to bring the gospel to all men without exception, and God does not actually bring the gospel to all men without exception, it necessarily follows that God must not want to bring all men the gospel without exception.
The second problem for our conservative Bible-believing evangelical is that he also believes that God knew before he created the world that most men and women in this world would reject him and suffer eternal damnation. God knew this would happen. Even though God knew this, He created a world which untold billions of human beings would end up in eternal torment. How does this defense help remove God from being culpable? It seems to me that this view does nothing to solve the problem of evil. The argument from libertarian freedom does not get God off the hook. The Arminian evangelical will have to do better than this if he wants to avoid an inconsistency in his Christian theology.
1. The gospel is necessary for salvation.
2. God is capable of sending the gospel to all men.
3. God really wants all men to hear and believe the gospel.
4. Millions of men die every year without having heard the gospel.
5. Therefore, either God is not capable of sending the gospel to all men, or God does not want to send the gospel to all men, or the gospel is not necessary for salvation.
It is undeniable that (4) is true. For any honest person, this in uncontroversial. If this is true, then it follows that at least (1), (2), or (3) must be false or they could all be false. But they cannot all be true if (4) is true.
If it is true that somewhere around 29% of the world is unevangelized and it is true that there are approximately 7.2 billion people in the world, and it is true that the annual death rate is ~150k x 365, then this means that somewhere around 54-55 million people die every year without having heard the gospel. That would add up to a billion people every 20 years or so. What is worse is I am convinced that most people who are evangelized are not really hearing the biblical gospel. That means these numbers are much worse. How big is your God again?
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