Would A Loving God?
Sermon shared by Terry Barnhill
Summary: Would a loving God create a Heaven AND a Hell? The short answer is, "No, He wouldn't, but we would."
Series: Lenten Series 2012
Audience: General adults
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WOULD A LOVING GOD
Terra Bella Presbyterian Church March 4, 2012
2 Peter 3:8-15 2 Pet. 2:4 Gen. 1:1, 26, 27 Isa. 1:17 Ezekiel 18:21-23 Ps 103
Would a loving God create a Heaven AND a Hell? I suppose I could make this a really short sermon and simply say, “No, He wouldn’t, but we would.” End of sermon.
Seriously, though, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that, when some-one asks that question, there’s still another shoe that hasn’t dropped. It’s their reason for asking. Either they want to put God in a box, or they have some major issues with accountability.
Anyone who has read even a few of the books in the Bible must surely realize that God doesn’t share his authority. He can do anything He wants. Remember? “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1) “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image; in our likeness . .” (1:26) and “God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (1:27) In the account of all God created, it never mentions Him creating Hell. So where did it come from?
In Matthew 10:28, we read, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
And in 2 Peter 2:4 it says, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell . . . if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment . . . .”
In both Old and New Testaments, it seems that Hell’s existence is taken for granted. So let me stretch this just a bit. If God didn’t create it, but it does exist, could it be that Satan – or even we ourselves – have created it?
Around 450 AD, St. Augustine – the Bishop of Hippo – wrote this about Hell.
It is, “That condition of dreadful torment; to depart from the Kingdom of God; to be an exile from the City of God; to be alienated from the life of God; to be deprived, with so great a multitude, of the delightful fellowship of God.” (112f.)
The first inhabitants of “the Abyss” or “Hell” we are told were Satan and the angels that fell with him. This is the consequence of their rejection of God. So why would it not follow that, by our own rejection of God, we too could dwell there as well? It is a consequence – a judgment by God who did not desire it.
If someone says they believe in God, but they don’t believe in a Judgment, then they don’t believe in God. They may believe in “a god” but not in “God”. Their belief is restricted by their un-belief. They want God on their terms or not at all. Well, it doesn’t work that way. Our own souls tell us there is right and there is wrong. We know this because there is a reflection of God within us. We each share a part of that reflection, and one day God will make the parts whole.
There’s the story of a preacher who was preaching to a crowded church. The preacher was wound up to a fever pitch speaking on the 2nd coming of Jesus. Quoting Jesus’ promise, he shouted out, “I am coming soon!’” He preached some more and
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