Here are two short musings on God's sovereignty and goodness.
God's Sovereignty and Justice
Journal Entry Thursday August 23 2012
I turned on the 'traveling atheist,' (Robert Lawrence Kuhn on "Closer to Truth," weekdays 9:30 a.m. on PBS-2) as I call him, while I ate breakfast. There's nothing else on that time of day, and sometimes this blind squirrel happens to stumble upon a nut. He talked with people about “New Heavens and New Earth.” I’d say the positions stated were half good, half bad. It tends to be that way. How will someone without discernment sift through the jumble to seize on the good information and disregard the vomit of fallible men’s minds? Or in this case, specifically, a woman, from Fuller Theological Institute, who promoted the idea that all animals that ever existed would be resurrected, and also that people who ‘believed in God without knowing who He was’—she said that believing in “what Jesus stood for,” such as charity and goodwill toward mankind would count—would be saved as well.
But this is a classic mistake. Most people making this supposition (even CS Lewis appeared to promote this at the end of his last Narnia book) do so because the idea that God would damn people for, quote, “not knowing Him / ∴ not consciously rejecting Him,” is appalling, and they would like to think that God is more merciful than this, and has the power and grace to save these people. Their understanding of God’s mercy is for the most part on target, but their doctrine of Man is off base, and so their expectation of what God would—rather, must—do is mistaken.
The fact is that there is no one who unconsciously rejects God, or goes to hell for ‘not having heard about Jesus.’ The Bible makes it very clear in Romans 1:20—God has revealed Himself to such an extent that everyone who denies Him is without excuse. They don’t need to have heard about Jesus. The problem is not that millions and millions of people are consciously searching for God, and He’s holding Himself hidden from them—no, it is that of the billions of people on earth, next to no one seeks after God. God certainly has the power to reveal Himself, through a vision or dream, for example, to someone who seeks after Him, but the reason it doesn’t happen (if it doesn’t happen) is because they don’t seek after God. And why do they not? Because of their sinfulness.
They’d prefer to not “discover” that there is a God they’re accountable to, because they’d prefer to be able to continue in their sin without being pricked by their conscience. And it is their sinfulness that condemns them in God’s eyes, not that they didn’t “hear about Jesus.” Jesus has more than enough power to reveal Himself to someone who wants to know. This is the error in the universalist view that nonchristians will be in heaven. It’s the wrong application of God’s sovereignty. God doesn’t let the unsaved into heaven—what He will do is to reveal Himself to the unreached people of the earth. And He does.
There are reports from Christian leaders involved in the Muslim world (a very closed world, where it is nigh impossible to spread Gospel literature or to engage in missions), that God has revealed Himself to people through dreams. Rest assured, He will use whatever means necessary to save people. If there is no missionary or preacher or Bible available, He will “get His hands dirty” and do the work completely Himself, without acting through a human agent. He is that powerful, and that good. The conclusion, then, is that if someone “doesn’t know Jesus” it’s because they rejected Him. Pure and simple. God doesn’t make mistakes. There are no innocent people in hell. It’s frustrating when people echo this false belief, when the answer is very clear if only they would think about it (or read The Word).
“This is why God created the world — “that he may be glorified.” Which does not mean: “that he may be made glorious.” Don’t take the word “glorify” and treat it like the word “beautify.” To beautify means to take a plain room and make it beautiful. We don’t take a plain God and make him beautiful. That is not what glorifying God means. When God created the world he did not create out of any need or any weakness or any deficiency. He created out of fullness and strength and complete sufficiency. As Jonathan Edwards said, “Tis no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain that it is inclined to overflow” (Yale: Works, Vol. 8, 448).” ~ John Piper, sermon September 22, 2012
~ Rak Chazak