Question 1 –

If God is all knowing that would mean that he knows when anyone is born
and how he or she would turn out and whether he or she would go to heaven
or hell. My question is this, if he knows that someone would eventually go
to heaven or hell why would be allow that person to be born in the first
place? It’s just like having a child you know would eventually turn out to
be a murderer. If you knew that your child would be a murderer, would you
want to have him in the first place? If you knew that your child would
eventually burn in hell for eternity would you allow him to be born? I
understand the concept of free-will and all that but what is the point of
granting someone free will when you know the outcome will not be good

Question 2 –

I don’t think that there’s much purpose in burning souls for eternity.
What kind of God would create something so cruel?


Of course, this is an excellent question. In the end, it is
not really our job to decide why God is the way he is. God is, and it is
our “job” to respond to the God who is, rather than to the God that we
wish he was. We did not create God, although many of us would like to
create God in our own image.

Having said that, I recognize that there is an apparent
contradiction here. God is defined in 1st John as follows: “God is love.”
It is difficult to justify a God who is defined in this way with one who
will punish souls in hell, especially in hell for eternity. To pretend
that there is not appearance of a difficulty is to be dishonest.
Nevertheless, God is not simple, and he is not easily defined. God is a
God of love and a God of justice. You or I may not like this fact, but
God hates sin. God cannot and will not dwell with sin. This is why he
allowed Jesus to be crucified on the cross?to satisfy his anger and
judgment for the sins committed by his created beings.

Really, there were two options, given God?s love and his
justice. He could have created beings with choice/free will, or he could
have created beings without choice/free will. The way I understand love
(and I assume my understanding of love reflects at least dimly my being
created in the image of God) is that love gives a choice. In fact love
given without choice is not love at all. Given the binary traits of God,
which is love (a benevolent desire for relationship with his created
beings) and justice (a jealousy and anger about those who choose to do
what is evil in his sight), the logical result is free will, punishment
and reward. As a human being, I find this dichotomy somewhat difficult
to take in. I can see that you do as well. However, the fact that I
struggle with this idea does not make it untrue.

You bring up another point which is, admittedly, hard to take
in. How can a God who knows past, present and future truly give freedom
of choice? What does it mean to say that God gives us choice when he
already knows the result of that choice? What I can say on this is that
for us who are limited to three physical dimensions and must move linearly
in the time dimension, this makes little sense. We cannot understand
this. It reminds me of the famous little book titled Flatland. This book
is about beings who live in a two dimensional world who become aware of
our world of three dimensions. There are things about a three dimensional
world which they are simply unable to grasp except by obtuse analogy. I
believe that this is a helpful analogy for us and God. What is difficult
for us to understand with our limitations of time and space is not a
problem at all for God. I cannot give a completely logical explanation
for how from God?s perspective he gives choice, even though he knows what
we will choose, but I believe that is the case, because it is apparent
that we have choice and it is apparent that God is love and God is
justice. On some level, I have a choice. I can either accept the obvious
evidence that the Bible is inspired by God, and the clear evidence that
God is love, or I can reject this evidence. In accepting that the Bible
is inspired, I accept that what it says about God is true. God loves us.
He sent his son as a sacrifice to consummate that love. Yet, God will
judge those who choose to reject his free offer of love and salvation.
The fact that I cannot fully grasp how this is logical from God?s
perspective does not make it untrue.

I can extend this argument to the question of eternal
punishment. To be honest, I believe, but I am not absolutely convinced,
that Hell is literally eternal, but that is another question, and you did
not ask that one. I come back to the same kind of statement. That God is
love is clear from what he has done. The entire Bible is a statement of
God?s love. Yet, it is impossible to escape the idea of judgment in the
Bible. This aspect of God is as real as is his love. I will be
completely honest with you. I am uncomfortable with the idea of hell.
Yet, the inspired Word of God, supported by the miracles and amazing
claims of Jesus which were backed up by those miracles and the fulfilled
prophecy leaves me no choice. God is not lying to us. He hates sin
sufficiently to punish the beings he loves. I am not claiming that by
human reasoning that this is easy to logically dissect, but the evidence
tells me. The one who was raised from the dead in the third day said that
their worm would not die, nor the fire be quenched. I believe him.

I am sorry to give you an answer which may not be absolutely
satisfying from a logical perspective, but that is how I see it.

John Oakes, PhD

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