conception of a divinity resists that of a God who exhibits anger or vengeance."
other words, the horrors visited upon people by God - people he created
in the first place - seem out of place if God is also said to be loving.
It doesn't pass the 'smell test'.
what would pass the smell test is an afterlife that results in disembodied
minds sighing, "Ah, so THIS is what was going on. Aren't we all enlightened
now, and isn't it nice it worked out for everyone. Yes, there was something
to life, but no one really had more of a clue than anyone else. It's fair."
it is not fair. You and I likely both value virtuous lives, and we see tangible
good as a result of virtue for both ourselves and society. It is no illusion
that we recognize murderous lives as detrimental to life and society on
many levels, and affecting more than just the individuals involved. In this
world there is joy and there is pain, and joy is better than pain.
and I hear of the suicide bombers in Beslan who slaughtered hundreds of
children, and of the infants they shot or bayoneted. And I expect your conception
of divinity would not have an entity or power welcoming each, killers and
victims, on equal footing; all having a good laugh about it right now. That
would not be good, and God is not only great, he is good. If God is love,
there shall be mercy. If God is good, there shall be justice. God is love,
and he is good. There is no contradiction.
have a winner of an analogy for this, but consider the following. It has
theological holes, but is only intended for the point at the end:
-- THE ANT FARM ILLUSTRATION --
in your divine capacity, you start an ant farm. You put the ants in the
glass and lay down your rules. "You're mine and I'm in charge. Stick with
me and live like kings; or run loose and die." In five minutes they're all
over the house. You really love them, so you don't enforce your promised
consequences yet, but for now you demand they return to the glass where
you still want to make kings out of them. You commission your listeners
to spread the word of this great second-chance to the others.
families grow and your word get passed along. Some ants return, others don't.
To the ones that return, you promise to guard and keep forever. Of the ones
who don't return, a few had a penchant for escape anyway and would never
have been happy within your confines. Others don't get the word, or don't
believe the words were yours. Judging by appearances, the non-returning
ants seem about as provided for as the ones back in your care. But, of course,
that is because they've managed to find their own provision - eating your
studs in your walls.
if the room collapses as a result of damage, not only will the ants in the
wall be crushed, but so will the ones in the glass. Yet you've promised
protection to the ones that returned to the glass, and promised death to
those that left. If you submit the fate of your house to the roaming ants,
then you're not in charge like you stated. And if you let roaming ants corrupt
your structure, that isn't protecting the ants in the glass like you promised.
Even if you could protect the structure, you did make a promise to kill
the ants outside the glass. Having to kill the ants in the wall makes you
angry and breaks your heart, but doing so...
1) saves the lives
of the ants who humbly returned,
your promise of a second chance to those ants,
your stated authority over your house, and...
your promise of destruction to all ants remaining outside the glass.
the point: how inconceivable is it to expect yourself to keep your own promises?
It is completely conceivable. Just maybe your conception of a divinity can
accommodate a God who, balancing mercy and justice, keeps his own promises,
What is the Gospel?
What is truth?