We like God’s love. Is there anything more wonderful than it?
Polite company does not, however, talk about God’s judgment. It seems so out of touch with how nice things are. The idea of an eternal Hell, wrath filled God, etc. is so entirely incongruous with Disney, Starbucks, and prime time entertainment. I mean, Hell is passe. It’s also horribly uncomfortable to think about. Kinda like thinking about the death of a child of someone you didn’t know very well. Easier to just not think about it.
Unfortunately, Hell is so entirely probable if God is perfect and/or the Bible is in any way true. And if it’s a probable event and we know about it, it’s practically criminal to be silent about Hell. Yet, silent we largely remain, myself included.
But who would go? Certainly the unrepentant bad guys, Stalin, Hitler, and the criminals, especially those we hate the most, like people who do mean things to children. Most people can live with that idea. But what about the idea of a much higher standard? A standard of perfection? The Adam and Eve standard. They were cast from God’s presence and condemned to death for … eating an apple. Disobeying God. Departing from his will. We depart from his will frequently if not continually. When the foundation of God’s law is an affirmative and absolute standard of love, and it is, we typically live in a state of perpetual sin.
The Old Testament features a recurring pattern of God’s judging rebellion, e.g. Sodom, Gomorrah, Noah’s flood, and warning of a final judgment and eternal punishment, e.g. Isaiah 13; Dan. 12. Some have suggested that the New Testament changes things, that somehow God is different or we know him more now that we know Jesus. I find that sentiment most odd — that the God of the NT is somehow “new” or different or more “love” and less “wrath” than what we see in the OT — on at least two counts. First,