Author Topic: How Does UR Reconcile God's Love with God's Wrath?  (Read 8 times)

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Offline RaiderGonzo

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Why Christian Universalism is Wrong

By Pastor-Theologian
Posted on January 10, 2012

The Nature of God: Loving and Just

Universalism prefers to emphasize God's love at the expense of God's wrath.  This view does injustice to the wrath of God since God's wrath is seen as part of God's glory.  For example, when God reveals himself to Moses in Exodus 34 he reveals not only his compassion and his covenant faithfulness, but also his judging of the sin of the people.  To minimize God's wrath one must also minimize God's compassion, his covenant faithfulness, and his forgiveness, all of which are also seen in this divine revelation.

To say that God must practice the same forgiveness he enjoins upon us overlooks two key notions: (1) God does forgive those who come to faith in Christ, and (2) it holds God to an impossible standard in that it expects God to sacrifice one aspect of his character at the expense of another.  To say that God's love and grace will supersede his judgment and wrath is to establish priorities in the attributes of God that Scripture does not support.

It is true that 1 John 4:8 and 16 use a predicate nominative subset construction to state that God is love.  Note, however that Hebrews 12:29 uses the same construction, in the context of a discussion of God's judgment against not just humanity but the entire created order (quoting the prophet Haggai) do emphasize that "God is a consuming fire."  This means that if God is "love" as part of his essential nature, then God must also be a God of wrath and judgment, too, as part of his essential nature.

God's moral attributes are tempered by his non-moral attributes.  That is, God's love must be an infinite love.  Likewise, his justice or his wrath, or his truth, must also be infinite.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) expresses this correctly: "Q. 4: What is God? A: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."  Each of these eight attributes is governed by the three states of infinity, eternality, and immutability.  With regard to this issue, both God's holiness and his justice are infinite and eternal, not just his love.  To give one priority over the other is to do injustice to the character of God as he is revealed in Scripture.  To alter these priorities to suit our own fallible notions of morality is to fashion a god simply to suit our own likings.

If one can say that we must subordinate divine justice to divine love why can we not do the opposite and subordinate divine love to divine justice?  While this is what the universalist accuses the traditionalist of doing, their accusation falls short of the mark.  The traditionalist recognizes that both God's love and God's judgments are attributes of God.  Since God is simple (in the philosophical sense) he must possess both of these attributes as part of his essential nature.  To subordinate one to the other in either direction is to throw God's nature out of balance and thus make God less than the God he has revealed himself to be.

The fact is, many of the arguments inherent in universalism revolve around the human notion of fairness which not only compels God to act solely in accordance with human understanding, it also overlooks the all-knowing justice of God by which he can judge each person in absolute righteousness since he knows all things including the human heart (John 2:24-25; Heb. 4:13).  It also ascribes to God an attribute absent in scripture.  While the Scriptures repeatedly describe God as "just," "righteous," and "holy," nowhere do they describe God as "fair," as we understand fairness.  So the EU, since he cannot see divine retribution as anything but unfair, applies human categories of fairness and then accuses God of injustice for his "righteous judgments."

But why is God unloving simply because he does not save all?  As B. B. Warfield has illustrated,[15] we might be rightfully angry with a doctor who could save everyone but didn't, but we would not necessarily be angry with a judge who refused to show mercy.  Indeed, we recognize that no criminal has the right to expect mercy and for us to demand mercy for them is overthrow the very idea of justice.

Though God has presented himself in healing terms (Isa. 53:5; Mal. 4:2), he does not present himself as such when it comes to salvation and condemnation.  Instead, he represents himself as a judge (e.g., Gen. 18:25) and Jesus claims the same authority of judgment for blessing or condemnation for himself under the Father's authority (John 5:26-29).

John 5:26-29: "For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation."

The implication in this passage is that the judgment is final and there is no change in destiny.


 :dontknow: Answers, please  :Chinscratch:

Offline watchman1706

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Re: How Does UR Reconcile God's Love with God's Wrath?
« Reply #1 on: Today at 10:10:42 AM »
By a pastor-theologian who won't even sign his own name, how intellectually courageous.

It amazes me how many people who disagree with UR so vehemently spend sooo much time and effort in writing articles and tomes disagreeing with it. I would never invest my own time and thoughts in something I disagreed with so strongly. I would get on with my own life. I don't really care about what they think. I have already come to my position after much consideration, prayer, study and God's dealings. Why would people imagine I would change my position after reading their opinion. We each must walk our own road. I don't know why people even feel the need to post other peoples anti-UR opinions. They don't mean anything and have no power over the truth we already believe.

I think God is big enough and capable enough of reconciling his own feelings and emotions without my carnal opinions and imput.

I love these bananas

 :banana: :banana: :banana: