Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Conversation Goes to Hell

Satan: You love them?  So you say.  If you love them so much, why do you let me have some of them.  Don't get me wrong.  I mean, I'll take them when I can get them, but if you love them so dearly and your love is so boundless and you are willing to die for them, then why send them to hell?

God: I was with you right up to that last statement.

Satan: I'm confused.

God: I tend to keep you that way on purpose, but I don't send them to hell.

Satan: Wait a minute?  You don't send them to me?

God: No. I don't.  I just give them what they want.

Satan: Now, my confusion is even greater.

God: I am not surprised.  Let me try to put it into terms even you can understand: I let you fall from grace.  That was your choice not mine.

Satan: You mean you could have kept me up in heaven.

God: Do you really want me to exercise that power?

Satan: On second thought, no.  I kind of like my freedom.  I like doing things my own way, calling my own shots, being in charge of myself.  I don't like the idea of submitting to you and your set of rules and regulations.  I like being independent and on my own.

God: Exactly.  You are on your own.  You have chosen separation from me.  You have shunned my protection, my providence, my goodness and gone your own way.  I did not force that choice upon you.  You took it yourself.

Satan: And your point in all of this.

God: Look, heaven is where I AM.  Hell is my absence.

Satan: And some people are perfectly content without you.

God: Yep, and I let them go on their way.  Eternally.  If they want to do it their way, be their own boss, call their own shots, take care of their own salvation whether they believe it or not, I let them go.

Satan: But what about punishment?  What about eternal justice?  What about your wrath?

God: Ignoramus.  What do you think the cross was for?  I don't need to send someone to a place of eternal fire.  That's nothing.  Being separated from me is far, far worse.

Satan: In what manner?

God: If people choose to walk away from me, they walk away from all those who believe in me.  They walk away from eternity with those they love.  They are completely and utterly on their own.

Satan: Well, they do have me.

God: Do you really think that is a comfort?  Lies, manipulation, never fully knowing the truth, wondering what the purpose of life is and what everything means.  They find those things with me.  When they choose separation, they forsake all of this. 

Satan: But don't you want them afraid of hell?  Don't you want them afraid of me?  Pitchforks and everything?  Don't you want them scared of such eternal damnation?

God: Well, then that would mean they turn to me out of fear instead of out of love.  That's not an option as far as I am concerned.  I don't want people believing in me in order to save themselves from some sort of everlasting bar-b-q.  That's not what I am about.  That's not what the cross is about.  Plus, when you turn to me because you are afraid, then you are simply trying to save yourself.  That's counter to grace.  So, no.  I don't want them to be afraid of hell, but I want them to know the consequences of the choice they make.

Satan: And you give them that choice because...????

God: I...

God and Satan in unison: them.

Satan: Phooey!

1 comment:

Bubba D. Luxe said...

Hi, Pastor Haug. Thank you for this latest installment. I take away from it two important things: (1) the choice is between God and the absence of God, forever, and (2) the choice is ours, not God's, to make. This is contrary to many people's impression of God as a stern, cosmic overseer "makin' a list, check in' it twice" so He will have the "pleasure" of damning souls to hell. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is absolute, unconditional love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness in greater quantities than we can ever imagine. Our choice is between this and the opposite of this. Forever.