Thursday 26 August 2021

Is God good? Two common errors by/about Christians

To answer the question Is God Good? requires first understanding what God is trying to do with creation. Many/ most people get this wrong. 

People try to evaluate whether God is Good by examining this world and drawing up a balance sheet of good-things versus bad-things - and seeing which comes out top. They ask questions like whether this is 'on average' a good world; or whether the good things that happen/ have-happened outweigh the bad. 

They assume that God sent Jesus Christ to make a better mortal world, and they try to evaluate the truth (or success) of Christianity by 'calculating' whether the world was a batter place after Christ; or whether Christian people or places are better than non-Christian.

And implicitly judging 'better' by criteria - usually 'utilitarian', to do with inferred mass happiness or suffering - that are assumed to be above (or prior to) the truths of Christianity.

But this line of thinking is nonsense - as would be obvious except that Men have been misled for a long time. 

Jesus came to bring Men the chance of everlasting resurrected life - not to make this a better world (let alone perfect, or a paradise). 

So, the first common error is to regard this transient mortal life and world, as if it was the aim and end-point of God's creation. 

The second common error is to regard this mortal life as merely preparation for admission to eternity.

The idea that nothing matters about our mortal lives except that they prepare us to take a test set by God, to pass a judgment by God. 

The background assumptions to this error is that everybody in the world and who has ever lived wants to go to Heaven. Earth is a 'pre-school' that prepares us for that divine examination which all Men want to pass. But God only allows those worthy to proceed to Heaven - the rest are consigned to Hell. 

This is wrong because not all men want to go to heaven, and many or most Modern Men in particular reject Heaven prefer to choose Hell. 

The proper way to understand this mortal life and world is as a place of opportunities for learning - a 'school'. Like an idealized school, the basic rationale of what happens in mortal life is directed toward the eternal life after 'school' - i.e. Heaven. 

The main thing we are supposed to learn is about love - love of actual persons, typically starting with the family. Heaven is for those capable of love, who commit to put love first - eternally; which is what we mean by love of The Lord, and of Jesus Christ. 

There the school experiences of this mortal life, and what we have learned from them, are not forgotten; but are brought into eternity. 

So, this life and world are created for those who want to go to Heaven - this world provides each of these with experiences from which they can learn and which will prepare them for Heaven. 

But this world contains many Men who are not sure that they want to go to Heaven, and some who have already decided that they do not want Heaven. 

For them this world, the school of mortal life, has a different purpose - which is to provide the experiences from-which they can learn whether or not they want Heaven. 

All Men are free and each decides his or her own fate - decide whether to accept the gift of Heaven - or whether they want... something else, which may be (and in 2021 probably is) hell. 

Mortal experience cannot make somebody want Heaven - certainly not if they are incapable of love or reject love. 

But it can provide each person capable of love with experiences from-which they may become clear about their decision concerning what happens to them after death. 

God can engineer a situation in which this choice is made conscious - albeit perhaps only briefly; so that every-Man is compelled to make a choice, but no Man is compelled to choose one way or the other. 

So, the second common error is to regard God as a gatekeeper of a universally-desired Heaven - permitting some to proceed, and casting others down. 

The reality is very different. All those who really want Heaven, who are capable of love and prepared to make an eternal commitment to put-love-first, will go to Heaven. 

Admission to Heaven is not by examination; but by self-selection. 

God wants as many as possible to choose Heaven, and God's problem is that many reject it. 

Therefore, this mortal life is designed to encourage as many people as possible to choose Heaven after death - each soul in its own way, each person's mortal experience designed for such goals; and this mortal life was created for that purpose. 


Doktor Jeep said...

Reading this answers to why the deleterious cretins and spiteful mutants work so hard to destroy love.
How can one even know love in a world bereft of it?

Stephen Macdonald said...

@Doktor Jeep:

Through revelation.

Jonathan said...

Bruce, why do you believe this? What are your reasons for thinking that we get to choose, rather than that we are judged and rewarded or punished accordingly? Is it just your intuition, or is there something more that persuades you?

Bruce Charlton said...

@J "why do you believe this?

Primarily; the nature of God, the world and Men. Confirmed by the fourth gospel.