|The Truth Which Sets Free - Destiner Press|
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An exposure of the false teaching of Christianity concerning the reason for evil and suffering. This is one of the most challenging and deepest areas in the Word of God.
The following four booklets are now also included in the Addendum of The Truth Which Sets Free.
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Also revised and included here in this Addendum of The Truth Which Sets Free.
Originally written as a letter of reply to an esteemed fellow in the faith, 2002.
God & Evil
As a word of preparation, I will say that much of what I am about to write is as dark as it gets, not being the joyous side of eternity. My first observation is your note concerning "reconciling" Gods sovereignty and evil. Ive mentioned this story in the past but it is helpful to refer to it again. Spurgeon was once asked by freewillers how he reconciled Gods (absolute predestining) sovereignty with mens responsibility and accountability (for their own choices), and he replied, "I never reconcile friends." In other words it is not one versus the other but both holding hands. There are other paradoxical twins in scripture, and we do not have to reconcile any of them. All such truths from the Father are friendly to the elect, including the Person of God Himself, Who is both indivisibly One and yet Three. We do not have to struggle to make peace with or excuse these majestic truths to others. Indeed, the difficulty is theirs, having no ears to hear no matter how long they listen, unless the supreme Master intervenes.
Many very pitiable excuses have been proposed in the area of evil and why it exists under God. (C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain; R.C. Sproule, The Problem of Evil, Themes in Apologetics) In such Christian "faith" and feeble defense I do not trade or deal, because I find no "problem" with the Almighty, nor make apologies or excuses for our great and terrible Lord of Hosts. Neither did his servants of old. In this area, as in all others, we can safely and faithfully follow the prophets and apostles, withholding no scriptural heavyweight blows from our own or others egos. We should speak with authority and not as the scribes or clergy. I recently read of a tragic funeral held for six children, killed by their father, at which the "minister" declared that in regard to, "why God let it happen why there is evil in human beings the clergy does not have the answer to that question." That says it all; the ordained goats have nothing to offer their flocks except platitudes. The crime was terrible enough, but the misleading of the minister even worse. Christians have ever been thus, the blind leading the blind. The question of sovereignty and evil is not really a paradox or "apparent contradiction" like predestination and responsibility. It is much easier to describe but very hard to swallow, especially in the early tasting, even for the redeemed because the fallen side still wrestles against it. The reprobates rarely have any stomach for these themes at all, except as intellectual exercises which do not proceed to the heart. Some introductory comments and critical verses concerning the entrance of evil are briefly listed below. After these points I will narrow in on the reason why evil was and is absolutely necessary, and its terrible implications.
Everything that happens, every single thing, the falling of a lone sparrow or one hair of our heads, let alone the grand entrance of sin into the world, is according to Gods plan. There is no "Oops" with the infinite and almighty God, although from our human point of view it does sometimes seem he changes his mind, e.g. being "sorry" for creating man and destroying sinners in the flood (Genesis 6:6) and "repenting" of intending to destroy Israel (Exodus 32:14; actually we already know he would not do this from Exodus 32:13). These are merely describing Gods actions in human terms, and expressed in time for our feeble minds. In reality the Creator is not a creature (like man or time) but an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient Spirit who plans and acts in eternity. If one single thing was outside his direct control and ordained plan then He could not make any promises, including the return of Christ, because that one uncontrolled item could throw it all into disarray. He does not make any such mistakes (for he would not then be God) nor have such fickle moods. He does not repent or change or stick his finger in his mouth in dismay at plans gone wrong. He is entirely perfect.
Ephesians 1:11; James 1:17; Psalm 18:30; Numbers 23:19; Isaiah 46:10.
Sin and mans disobedience are absolutely according to Gods appointed will, pleasure and purpose. This is one of the fundamental things to which the Spirit awakens the elect concerning their Father, that He really is God of everything. Evil exists because He wills it to be so and ordained its entrance into the world.
Romans 8:19,20; Romans 11:32,33.
Evil is predestined by God, yet not caused by him. He is not its author nor does He ever lie or sin. Failure or error or falling short, all descriptions of sin, belong to man alone in the seen realm and of course Satan and his brood in the unseen realm. Man is entirely responsible and punishable for his own evil, even though everything is according to Gods ordained plan. This is one of the classic paradoxes in which we see through a glass darkly and which the elect accept by faith alone. The fault is mans, but the plan is Gods. Their disobedience is predestined yet the responsibility falls directly on their shoulders.
Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27,28; Jude 4; 1 Peter 2:8; 2 Peter 2:12; Romans 9:22.
Not only is man held guilty for his own predestined sin but is also accounted with the ordained sin of the first man, Adam, the head of the human race. Through him (for he was the responsible head despite the temptation of his wife) sin entered the world, and his descendants are born into this sinful and evil nature, even conceived in it. (Psalm 51:5) All are helplessly snared, trapped in evil, caught to do the bidding of the world, the flesh and the Devil, unless God plucks them from this darkness, in his sovereign mercy. Those whom he chooses to save, the elect, are accounted with the righteousness of another man, Jesus Christ, the first fruit of redemption, the head of a new imperishable family, and regenerated into this new life by Gods sovereign will. Scripture constantly compares the two heads and the two types of family. There is no middle ground.
1 Corinthians 15:22,45; Romans 5:15,18,19; 1 Corinthians 2:12,14; Ephesians 2:1-5; Acts 7:51; Romans 3:9-11; 6:17,20; 8:8; John 3:19,21; 2 Timothy 2:25,26; Job 14:4; 15:14; Jeremiah 13:23.
Most people, including most who call themselves Christians, hate these truths, because they are the declaration of Gods absolute authority and sovereignty, very different from what they mean by the word "Lord." He does exactly as He pleases, according to his ordained purpose, no matter what man thinks. All mankind, including Christians and other religious people, will see this on the last day: that he really is Lord in every sense of the word (not a fickle pagan deity waiting to be invited into mens hearts at their whim) and they will prostrate themselves in terror accordingly. The redeemed know this terror already (2 Corinthians 5:11) for God reveals his truths specifically to those whom he has elected from all eternity, whose names are written in the Book of Life, the ones who are chosen and not merely called, those given by the Father to the Son, the sheep. The goats are not permitted to grasp these things. They may be priests or presidents with a Bible in hand but without ears to hear they have no comprehension.
Matthew 11:25-28; 22:11-14; John 3:8; 5:21; 6:37,38,44,63,65; 17:1-6; Romans 9:15:18; 11:7-10; Acts 2:38,39; 13:48; Revelation 13:8; 17:8; 20:15; 21:17.
Now to the second part. Much more is said about evil men than the Evil One in scripture. But Satans fall from heaven "like lightning," his ongoing evil, and his temporary rule on earth fall into the same category as the truths mentioned above. In scripture he is called the lord or "prince of the air", and he is indeed the "ruler" and "god of this world", given this realm for a season. (Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4) He is the master of those who handle the word deceitfully and talk about their own wonderful religious experiences instead of Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:2,5) His fall was no less ordained than mans, and he is full of himself, deceiving himself that he is somehow in charge. Hence his blasphemous impudence in offering Christ the earth (the leaseholder offering property back to the landlord). He should have known better than to tempt the untemptable One, but he could not resist. Indeed, God brought him forth into the desert to tempt His Son, just as he brought many evil hosts against the Israelites by "putting hooks in their mouths" and drawing them into the battle, like helpless fish for the slaughter. Make no mistake about this. The devil could not have refused that appointment for it was in Gods predestined plan from eternity. He had to show up and be rebuffed by Christ, called and rejected. How that must have made him stew! Satan rages up and down the world in anger against the Lords sovereignty, as do his many servants, but he cannot do as he pleases, any more than man can initiate do-it-yourself salvation when he feels like it or when a booklet or pastor tells him of such fiction.
Such absolute sovereignty enrages the unsaved (men who may be goats or yet unredeemed sheep) and the unredeemable (Satan and his associates). Lucifer hates the fact that he is thus fettered. He wants to think he has free will. The fiction of free will is exactly what he used to tempt Adam. The reward for believing it and desiring it was the entrance of sin and death. Adam died physically later, but to God he died that same day. (Genesis 2:17) The whole universe shuddered and began its descent into decay. And still Satan was not in charge, not even of the walking dead. For God immediately declared his plan of redemption, drawn up in eternity, to crush the serpent and through a single Seed save a portion of mankind for himself from the darkness. Satan continues his subtle and misleading ways, especially shifting his attention to the redeemed as they appear one by one, but again he must defer to Gods sovereignty. Even to torture Job he must get permission from the Almighty. (Job: Chapters 1 and 2) When he demanded to sift Peter like wheat Christ had already secured the Fathers refusal. It is not possible for Satan to deceive the elect, but he will give it everything he has got, appearing as an angel of light, particularly with subtle religious counterfeits in the name of Christ. (Matthew 24:4,5,11,24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) He will not succeed, because his rulership is simply not sovereign. Even when the worst is happening, to the sheep or the goats, it is not in Satans hands but Gods.
The final state of the redeemed is, of course, impossible to presently imagine, for we have never experienced it, a total absence of evil. No more time, change, pain or death. (Revelation 21:4) No disease, grief, war, fraud, violence or bent sexuality. No more reason even for faith because He will be plain to us and we will see Him as He is. Crystal clear glory upon glory and we with bodies that are not bowled over by it and eyes that are not blinded by it. No more doubt. No more people whispering or clamoring to lead us astray. As John Lennon unwittingly put it, "imagine no religion." But this is not the end of evil. Evil will still exist, because even though the immoral are wiped off the earth there is the Second Death which does not disappear. (Revelation 21:8)
Even in the ultimate outer darkness God will still be sovereign. Not that we will be aware of it because that awful pit and lake of fire are promised to be hidden from us. But they will not be hidden from Him. Even in the chaos of Hell Satan will not have full reign over the goats, nor will they have power to do any evil they would wish upon each other, because there is no created thing outside the Creator, and Hell is a creature. He wills Hell as much as He willed evil and its entrance into heaven (through Satan) and cast it down to enter earth (through Adam). This is also mind-boggling. There is nothing that exists outside His will. If He were to relax His will (what the church weakly calls providence) the entire universe would disappear in a finger snap and we would simply not be. "In Him we move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) Outside of Him there is nothing. Few Christians grasp this. In one ridiculous case I even heard an evangelist suggest that God might live on another planet, like Venus, as though he was contained inside his creation. That is too silly to contemplate, a completely pagan concept of a puny deity, no better than Hindu, Greek, Roman or Egyptian myths.
This brings us to a stunning point in which the Christian Church has been almost entirely wrong throughout its history, and it bears directly on the purpose of evil and the final state of the elect and reprobate. It is again one of those truths that some cults have right or half-right (despite their utter error in the way of salvation) namely that man does not inherently possess an immortal soul. Scripture proofs will be given shortly, but first some basics. Man is a special creature, yes, made "in the image of God" (which no animal is) and yet also made "out of the dust" (like an animal). (Genesis 1:26; 2:7) Animals obviously have souls too which make them living beings with individual character, but they do not have anything remotely like that specific moral spirit which is made "in the image of God" and redeemable in that way. The elect given by the Father to the Son include human beings only, made in His image. God can re-create animals or whatever He ordains in the next world but the only humans in it are His chosen and redeemed from this world. Hence the silliness of preaching to the fauna like Francis of Assisi, or Paul McCartney taking his late wifes horse down the aisle to her coffin to say goodbye in a Christian church ceremony in London. What public travesty, although, as you know from my writings, I now expect little different from Christendom. Look at the Church tying itself in knots to somehow get Princess Diana or George Harrison into heaven, one dying in unrepentant harlotry and the other in the fold of the Krishna (another shadow of the dark lord whose name literally means Blackness).
No wonder Jehovahs Witnesses and others scoff at Christians, because this is all eastern trash. But then, the name of Jehovah is also rubbish, completely unscriptural, a product of the Church during the dark ages, not a Biblically revealed title of God. The name Jesus is at least close to the root Yeshu or Joshua, but Jehovah is an "artificial name," (Encyclopedia Britannica, Dictionary) "of late medieval origin the word Jehovah does not represent any form of the name used in Hebrew." (Preface, Revised Standard Bible, explaining the purging of this "entirely inappropriate" name from its translation) The Witnesses insert the word Jehovah many times in their translations to replace the Greek word Kyrios (Lord) with the notable exception of 1 Corinthians 8:6 regarding the "one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we exist." If they had been "logical" in their Jehovah error they would have translated this verse the same way, indicating to themselves that Christ was God, and that He is worthy of worship as God, something they will not accept until they are forced to bow the knee with all mankind, when it is too late. (Philippians 2:10,11; Revelation 5:12-14) The great prophets and apostles in scripture never accepted any form of reverence. But Christ accepted outright worship as both Lord and God. (Luke 24:52; John 20:28) And rightly so because He is the perfect visible revelation, in the confines of flesh, of the invisible God. "Before Abraham was I am I and the Father are One," Jesus told the resentful clergy who desired to kill him. (John 8:59; 10:30) Now then, let us return to the souls of other men and their being made in Gods image. Being fallen, man is far from perfect, and this image is fatally flawed. Man demonstrates this in all the shams of his philosophies and religions. This may fool other men for a time, but God is not deceived for a moment. Any attempt, either to raise animals to the status of man, or lower man to the animals, or raise creatures to the status of God, or to lower God to creature status, incurs inevitable damnation. (Romans 1:18-23)
The eastern fable of soul transmigration and the myth of evolution are both classic forms of this deliberate confusion. Space here will not permit a full examination of evolution versus the very limited adaptation of specifically created species which has indeed taken place, but I will briefly make some points, having studied a little anthropology at London University. Let it be clear that the total absence of what should be trillions of intermediary forms (missing links), the dating methods used (which all assume the world to be ancient in the first place), the genetic impossibilities of evolution (survival of mutating species) and the ability of taxonomists to neatly classify the species (each according to its kind) all expose evolution as the biggest religious myth on earth (second only to the church). Even cross breeding of close species (horse and donkey) results at best in neuters unable to reproduce (mules) and more often in nothing at all. Mutants in nature die; they are the least fit to survive. One single flaw in a DNA chain can cause catastrophic results. Yet we are constantly bombarded with ludicrous stories on TV and in "schools," about prey growing longer legs to escape predators, as though they could genetically redesign themselves to suit. Why didnt the predators also retool themselves with longer legs to catch up? Just before writing this chapter I watched a wildlife program with an "expert" describing some tree seeds as "perfectly designed by their parent plants for transportation." Well if shrubs can design themselves, why not animals? It is ridiculous, and they feed this faith into the unsuspecting minds of children, packaging it as "infotainment" to be delivered by the likes of Jack Hannah, Steve Irwin, David Suzuki or David Attenborough. Much like superstitious Christians, paleontologists revere their own "sacred relics" of bones, and "track experts" tell us that dinosaurs walked together "like birds in flying formation." (National Geographic, 1993, p.27) So do flocks of sheep and herds of cattle in a field, but there is no sign yet of them planning to grow wings to escape the impending butcher. This is just absurd. Birds have to fly when they leave the nest; they did not have millions of years to invent wings or evolve a flight plan. Butterflies did not have their own drafting department which came up with a bright idea to include iron particles in their bodies so that they could begin migrating using the earths magnetic poles. Neither did all the other species have such time to prepare their various strategies because they would all have died of starvation and malfunction in the first generation. No, there would have been no first generation at all.
Where are they, these cat-dogs, or these dinosaur fossils with half-developed wings that they were supposedly growing yet did not know they were one day going to use to fly? They do not exist. Evolutionists keep trying hard to invent them. Archaeopteryx was supposed to be a missing link but is now accepted as a bird. Neanderthal man, first unearthed in 1856, was no more than a skeleton deformed by disease, closely matching the bones of a modern Africans with rickets, but it took a hundred years for evolutionists to finally admit that he was an advanced tool user and ornament maker, an ordinary man. "Professor" Leakey found supporting evidence around his bones in Africa and wrote that the theory would have to be seriously revised. But of course it was not. Piltdown Man, "discovered" in 1912, remained a hoax for forty years before the deliberate mixture of bones from different sources was exposed. None of the missing links exist except in artistic impressions and models produced for worship by the likes of National Geographic and the Smithsonian, Hollywood and Disneyland. Yes, I say worship, for this is a worldwide belief, albeit requiring an enormous leap of ignorance, and is the unofficial faith of the State in many countries. Evolution is as powerful as Christianity, both being favored religions in which people attempt to hide from the Creator who will call all individuals to account on the last day.
Then men will realize they are indeed creatures, in a creation, and that the universe has not always been there, nor is it automatically old because it is there now. Just as Christ created bread to feed the hungry without the time-constrained prerequisite of growing grain, harvesting, milling and baking, so too He made a working world, with rivers already in place, running in courses not made by erosion, and light from the stars already arriving. Today we see grain growing and rivers eroding, because the creatures of nature and time, of cause and effect, are in existence. But to think this was always so is false, as the real fossils and layers declare. "He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." "In him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible." "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power." (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:3) True, one single day with the Lord is as a thousand days (2 Peter 3:8), and that is exactly why this verse will not work, even as a much loved churchmans excuse for "Christian evolution," because God lives in eternity, unlimited by any time at all. But the creation is constrained in time. From nothing came something by a power we do not have in the natural realm, above and beyond the natural laws of thermodynamics, the ability to create both matter and energy. The Lord created instantly, and there followed six days of stupendous and supernatural bringing forth "each according to its kind" and "there was evening and morning" for every one of these normal 24 hour days. In repetition (rare for the Bible unless points are critical) these phrases are stated over and over again in the opening of the first book of Genesis, to make it absolutely clear, and confirmed in the fourth commandment that people are to work six days and rest on the seventh, in exact harmony with the creative week of the God in whose image men and women are made. (Genesis 2:2; Exodus 20:11) Each according to its kind is science (from the Latin scientia, having knowledge), a fact or true statement, and is completely opposed to the myth of species evolving from each other. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding," the Lord will no doubt ask the evolutionary "scientists" and churchmen as they stand alone before Him. (Job 38:4) Having a brain like Stephen Hawking will not help either. I have always found this pitiable and upsetting, that such brilliant minds should refuse the light, preferring cosmic conjecture, and go to the next world trapped in even worse bodies, subject to everlasting malfunction, frustration and deterioration. And afterward they will be still be gnashing their teeth and arguing in the outer darkness about which came first, the chicken or the egg, while those whom the clergy have deceived hunt them in unforgiving vengeance and tear at them forever in mutual anguish.
This is not a mere sideline in understanding the reason for evil, which I will soon reach. There is no room even for "partial evolution" as held by many Christians. Death may be considered a natural event now because it is part of nature, but this was not always so. It entered the world by the first man. There was no death before that, and it is a terrible thing which we all have coming to us. All men, from the most primitive to the educated, know that there is something "not right" about death, that it is much more than loss of breath and heartbeat. Men will invent all kinds of fables to lessen its dread, vainly imagining "past lives," that they will somehow get a "second chance" through reincarnation, or that their own religious actions will assure them of a better afterlife. Not so. Death is the result of sin and integral with it, even for one single little personal failure, and it is inherited by every human being from the first man who fell. The only remedy for death is in the life and resurrection of a perfect Man, One flawless from birth to death. "It is appointed for men to die once and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:27,28) Many will be saved by this extremely narrow Door called Christ, but not all. A far greater multitude will go through a wide gate into the darkness of no return. "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) Our bodies may be from dust to dust but we are not mere clumps of worthless dirt orbiting through space in an absurd and meaningless existence on a planetary speck. Size has no relevance, no matter what any person of "higher learning" teaches. Men will churn tons of rock to find one gem of value. Christ taught that one mans soul was worth more than the whole earth. (Matthew 16:25-27) Yet evolutionists have man as no more than a clod, the descendant of lizards or fish, with no reason whatsoever for any moral behavior. Indeed, murder would be nothing if we truly accepted man as just a random bag of complex chemicals. Of course, evolutionists cannot live their fantasy logically, but they often prove that Darwin had a point.
Princeton Universitys Professor Singer, for instance, asserts that since we are all just animals then sex with just about any creature is no major concern. This is indeed the logical end of evolutionary reasoning, the belief that if we are evolved from animals then why not have sex with such "ancestors" and "relatives." I wrote a newspaper article predicting this development years ago and irate readers said that I was being outrageous to even mention such "filth," precisely what now emanates from university chairs. That Singer teaches this is no surprise because he comes from Australia (where I have lived several times) which has become a world leader in sexual perversion in modern society; the most popular corporate business perk there in 2001 being all expenses paid brothel visits. It is even more significant that Singer was educated not only in Melbourne but also afterward at Oxford, and that a so-called leading university like Princeton selected him for its "ethics" department, since this indicates just how far the rot has penetrated in our time. This animal philosophy is an age-old pretext for bestiality which dates from thousands of years ago. Back then, the Old Testament prophets named this pervasive, anything-goes religion "the spirit of harlotry," the deep end of depraved existence. (Ezekiel 16) Indeed, no matter how educated or intellectual man is, when he lives in denial of Gods likeness he slips back to the animal base sliding down the ladder of immorality, accepting ever lower depths of disobedience: first fornication (unmarried intercourse), then adultery (intercourse with anothers spouse), then sodomy (same sex intercourse) and finally buggery (intercourse with animals). There is no such thing as "same-sex marriage" in the eyes of God, only in the opinion of Church and State, and I predict that it will not be long before someone attempts to marry one of their "evolved animal relatives" and demands to "redefine the family" once more. The remarkable thing about the cycle today is the speed of the descent, accelerated by the worst of Hollywood/TV and thousands of unspeakable Internet sites, encouraged by "ethical experts" like Singer, and in its endorsement by Church and State leaders alike. This leads to inescapable catastrophe, not just with terrible social cost now, but with unimaginable dread in the unending punishment to come.
Consider again then, this much higher soul, this "image of God" in man. In itself it is by no means immortal. According to scripture man is everywhere described as mortal. (e.g. Hebrews 7:8) It is God "who alone has immortality." (I Timothy 6:16; 1:17) Christ was raised (and did not die again, like Lazarus) because he was not like us mortals in origin or essence; he was "incorruptible," meaning not just morally straight but incapable of decay. Mortal "death could not possibly hold him," not just because he lived a sinless life on earth but because he held the power of "an indestructible life." (Acts 2:24,27,31 Hebrews 7:16) He came and lived that perfect earthly life for the elects benefit and salvation, not for himself. He was already perfect in eternity, past present and future, which is precisely why he never sinned in the flesh.
Did he really need or have to come? Well, he did not need to come and save anybody because God was lonely, or needed someone to appreciate and praise Him, as some truly absurd Christian theologians have suggested. He was neither obliged to create us in the first place nor to make a covenant with his Father to save anyone. Once that pact was made of course the commitment was absolute, to save a people for Himself. He came for the elect because He is sovereign, because He purposed it in Himself, because it was His good pleasure and He needs give no other reason or explanation because He is Lord. Take a moment to check this plan and Gods declaration of absolute sovereignty in Ephesians 1:3-14. Colossians 1:12-22 is also a seamless description of this absolutely necessary mission into an evil world to bring out the imperishable. Also, if you can get a copy, read Arthur Pinks Atonement Studies, especially the section on why Christ came. It is superb, one of the better reads of my life.
No one else was good enough for that mission except the Lord himself because it required flawlessness and utter infallibility. Adam had no such incorruptible soul within him, and he fell. The elect do not have such an immortal soul, neither do the reprobates, and no scripture says otherwise. There was a time when we humans "were not" which makes each one of us a creature. There was no such time for God because he is Creator, without beginning or end. We are adopted. Christ is begotten and uncreated. (Acts 13:33-37) That status is His alone. All creatures and creation have an alpha and omega. He stands at both ends of that creature we call time and is still infinitely beyond that. Immortality is not just eternal life but pre-existence without commencement or conclusion. The eastern concept of such an inherently immortal soul in man is the illusion that we have all been around forever, both sheep and goats, as in the Hindu and Buddhist belief regarding reincarnation, karma and soul transmigration myths. That is all satanic fantasy, another attempt to put man and other creatures on Gods level. Satan will show a warm fuzzy light to anyone who has a "near-death" experience so that they can come back and tell the lost that all will be well. He is the salesman of the age, the grand huckster of the "Im OK" gospel, that sucks in the unsuspecting who willingly embrace it by the millions. People like Lazarus, who really died for several days, so that his body stank before being brought back to life, would tell a different story. Anyone who had really seen the other side would beg Gods mercy to return and warn their friends and family of impending wrath. And even then the audience would not believe it unless they were given ears to hear, unless their names were written in the Lambs Book. (Luke 16:23-31)
Now to the core of the true status of the elect and the essential part evil played in it. We exist (present and future, not past) forever, yes, we have eternal life, yes, and we are imperishable and everlasting, yes and yes, but not because of inherent immortality or indestructibility. We exist for all eternity for the same reason we exist right now, because in His absolute sovereignty God wills it. That is why we will become "like Him" and this time not falling like Adam but far superior to him, ever safe, which is what this whole plan has been about. But we will still bow to the Lord as God because we will not be so equal as to be independent like gods unto ourselves. Revelation makes it quite clear we will worship the Lamb although he is also our brother (something hidden from Jehovahs Witnesses who are not permitted to see Jesus as the immortal God). We will be as high as we possibly can be without actually being God. It does not and cannot get any better than that. This is the mystery into which angels craved to peek, the elevation of the elect in Christ (Hebrews 1:1-4), the immortal One being delivered into an evil world, suffering even to the depths of death and Hell and returning with his children raised to this new rank and position. (Hebrews 2:10-18; 5:5-9) Without examining each verse in detail, drink in the first two chapters of Hebrews in one panoramic guzzle.
Here I stand then, on the answer concerning Gods sovereignty and the reason for evil. Evil was ordained to enter the world, and Christ to save his elect from it, exactly so that the final state of the redeemed would be as close to Gods immortal status as possible without their actually being God, incomparably and imperishably above Adams status in the garden before he fell. The elect will not be God (without a beginning, uncreated and indestructible) but they will be "as good as" immortal, without end, never to fall or perish because of His unchanging purpose, His unwavering power and His unfailing plan in the Lamb slain before all eternity. The elects immortality is, if you like, a proxy immortality, just like their perfect imputed righteousness, yet it is real because they "put on" Christ and are included in him, in his immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:39-53; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4; truly amazing, especially the first passage.) Here it is again paraphrased from the apostle Paul. The whole of creation was deliberately subjected to futility, delivered into evil and groaning labor pains by God expressly for the purpose of bringing forth his elect. (Romans 8:19-21) Evil is an integral and necessary part of Gods eternal plan to bring forth his children and raise them to this glorious estate. Could the elect have achieved this status another way? Absolutely not. This is not some cosmic chess game. He did not do this recklessly or willfully but in pure hope, Biblical hope that is, which is not wishful thinking but the absolute certainty of things which will come to pass, the assurance that what will be will be. (Romans 8:20,24,25; Hebrews 11:1) Would God seriously have humbled His beloved Son in the flesh, had him step down from his throne of unimaginable glory, pierced him, soaked him in sin and turned His back on him if there was another easier way? It is just not conceivable. Christs prayer that "if there be a way to let this cup pass" shows us that there was no other means but that terrible destiny to bring his sheep such imperishable gain, and that is exactly why the Shepherd came. He delivered himself as planned right into that evil which had been ordained from the beginning, right into the hands of wicked men, including the predestined betrayer and crucifying clergy, so that the elect would be secured for all time. (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23)
Incidentally, Jehovahs Witnesses and others understand this inherent non-immortality of man but falsely use it as a basis for saying that the unsaved perish and are destroyed in the sense that they cease to exist. All kinds of excuses are made, even suggesting that the unsaved bodies decay forever but the souls are unconscious. Not so. The "dead know nothing" more of this life (Ecclesiastes 9:5) but they are certainly aware of the next. The "wicked shall be no more" (Psalm 37:10) as far as the redeemed are concerned but they will not evaporate. Yes, scripture reveals these souls are "destroyed" and "die" but that is not a state of nothingness. Adam died the very day he disbelieved, but he was still conscious in that terrible state (physical death merely followed later, each life span shortening as decay set in). The "second death," as it is called in Revelation, is far worse because there is no longer a window for redemption. Eternal destruction is not described as oblivion in scripture but "everlasting exclusion from the presence and glory of the Lord." (2 Thessalonians 1:9) The goats, whose names are not in the Book of Life, go into the lake of fire, and their existence continues, not because they are immortal but because in His absolute sovereignty He wills it. Their "worm never dies" and the "smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever." (Mark 9:48; Revelation 14:11; 20:15) Is this not an awesome God to be feared wisely and correctly? Christians keep plying their gospel that "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life" without the real appreciation of what that severe Love is, nor that the abundant life is promised to the sheep alone. (John 10:7-30) They sing "amazing grace" in countless hymns and secular ditties with no concept of that absolute predestining favor which selects a few and bypasses all others. He is not a gentle Jesus meek and mild. God-is-Love is awesomely jealous for His sheep, and God-is-Light has no mercy or happy plan for the goats outside His perfect Son.
The church dictum that God loves everyone, that He hates sin but not the sinner is completely false. God extends love only in Christ and hates sinners outside the Redeemer. If this were not so there would have been no need for a Savior. Jesus, the propitiation, the satisfier who turns away this anger, came to save his elect from the impending wrath of God (the ultimate, everlasting hatred) against sinners and offers the only effective protection from it. (Hebrews 2:17; 7:25,26; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) The elect are caught in this, another paradox, where they must both love and hate sinners. There is no such thing as stealing or adultery without a thief or adulterer. They cannot be separated. God destroyed the Sodomites, not just sodomy, and not just the deviants but every man, woman and child in that city except for his reluctant elect whom he literally pulled out in true grace. (Genesis 19:16) Then the Sodomites finally realized that being different should never be confused with being depraved. I have been to the Dead Sea where God punched that city into the lowest place below sea level on the planet. A few faint foundations remain, and there is nothing gay about the site at all. Homosexual Christians and churchmen have desperately tried to explain away the reason for this obliteration of the Sodomites, claiming they were exceedingly lawless and inhospitable. They may have been that too, and heterosexually immoral, as were many of those cities, filled with harlotry. But they were destroyed for an exceptional "lewdness," "unnatural lust," "abomination" and "very grave sin." (Genesis 18:20; Ezekiel 16:47,50; 2 Peter 2:7; Jude 1:7) The sodomites wished "to know" their male visitors sexually, and Lot, in his fear to save his hallowed guests actually offered those perverts his daughters "who had not known man" instead. (Genesis 19:5,8) This is the same word "know" used in Genesis 4:1; "Adam knew his wife and she conceived." There is no getting around what the word sodomite means, nor the penalty for that terrible sin or any other animalistic behavior. (Leviticus 18:22,23; Romans 1:26,27)
The destruction of Sodom and other annihilations in scripture bring out one more point in which Christian doctrine is false. There is no natural innocence of children as the church teaches, no, not even of infants, because all are infected and imputed with that terrible flaw of Adam, even before they commit one sin of their own, and can only be saved by the Sovereigns good purpose and pleasure, by grace. Whether children dying in infancy go to heaven or hell is entirely dependent on Gods sovereign grace, no different than for adults. It is entirely contingent upon whether He deigns to credit them with the perfect life of His Son. So we put our little ones at His feet, not to demand some church promise or automatic guarantee but to humbly "hope in His mercy" for the offspring of the faithful, that their names will also be in the Book and that they will be discovered to be included in Christ. And each time one is so revealed the angels dance in heaven, because this is what it is all about, not the kyriakon, not the building of cathedrals or church plantings or establishing some earthly kingdom or city of God, but the calling out and revelation of a select ekklesia, the souls who match the names in the Book of Life. Let this be absolutely clear, all have sinned and God is not obliged to save any at all. There are no such things as human rights; they are a figment of the United Nations. Men would teach that even murderers have "inalienable" rights. Try telling that to the victims whose very breath and heartbeats have been totally alienated. This is fairy tale nonsense, the product of humanism, of man-centered evolutionary thought, and of religion, especially Christianity. God promises to blow away this invented bunkum, to scatter men "in the imagination of their hearts." In reality humans have no rights, only privileges and responsibilities; they are creatures, and absolutely answerable to their Creator.
Allow me to labor the point concerning punishment of evildoers. He punishes sinners, not just their sin, and derides fair-weather "believers" who follow only for the bread and when the going is good. He has no mercy on those who call on Him only "in time of trouble," and declares to those who refuse his counsel, "I will laugh at your calamity, mock when your terror comes." (Jeremiah 11:14; Proverbs 1:24-27) He has the right to hate a goat and love a sheep before either is born or has done anything at all, or harden the heart of a man to make sport of him, because all are imputed with Adams sin and cannot escape except by grace. (Romans 9:11-23) "The Lord loves those who hate evil," indeed, "The fear of God is the hatred of evil." (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13) And there is no such thing as evil without evildoers. King David declared, "Slay the wicked ,O God do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? with perfect hatred I count them my enemies." Likewise the psalmists wrote of hating the double dealers and evildoers (Psalm 26:5; 119:104,113,128,163) and praying for their utter destruction (Psalm 58), to be consumed in wrath without being slain (Psalm 59), to be confounded and dismayed forever (Psalm 83). The Psalms are packed with this rejection and coming punishment of sinners and yet the politically correct church will not be caught singing such songs, only their "wonderful plan" hymns. Even rank pagans love to sing these church inventions, like the ever-popular "Amazing Grace." There is no such mercy for devout pagans or unrepentant churchmen. Great prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah never offered any shelter from Gods wrath against sinners, and yet Christian preachers avoid this like the plague, for they seek to fill churches, and this is hardly a pew-packing theme. Neither did the apostles shun this great and terrible message, especially in the first two chapters of Romans or the book of Revelation. That is how much the Sovereign Lord hates sinners and their darkness. He continues to will their evil existence forever rather than extinguish them. Wickedness does not disappear after the Last Day. It is gone as far as the sheep are concerned, but not for the goats. It is banished from the celestial city but not from the bottomless pit. And this not because they are immortal and cannot be destroyed, but because He does not will their extinction.
And that is dreadfully sobering, He does not erase evil but maintains it for those who choose it and reject his Word, giving them their ordained and desired cup forever. Christians who think we are "heavy" in our taking seriously all of His Word immediately reveal a fundamental lack of awe (which is the very infant beginning of wisdom) for such a God as ours, a complete ignorance that He is a consuming fire, not to be trifled with. I have only ever heard one person attempt to faithfully preach in detail what I have just sketched concerning the goats and he became so distraught that he had to be helped out of the assembly physically because he was overcome in reflecting on his unsaved family members and friends. That is a rare event indeed.
Some theologians and sects seek refuge in the verses which describe the lake of fire as being "prepared for the devil and his angels" as if this indicates that the goats also being thrown therein is an afterthought, not really being intended for them in the first place. Some of them argue that only the demons are aware of the suffering but the goats are rendered unconscious, like some additional soul-less vegetables later added to a boiling pot. This is a pathetic admission, a complete declaration of unbelief in a God who is God. The Lord of Hosts does not say "Uh-oh, something went wrong and now I must throw the goats in the lake as well and anaesthetize them because of my mistake." Everything is precisely according to His purpose and preparation, not just His calling of those for good (Romans 8:28) but also His making the wicked for the awesome day of trouble and destruction. (Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:22; 1 Peter 2:8; 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 4) Those who do not believe that do not believe in the Lord but in a pagan deity (a baal, whose name also translates as "lord") who lacks absolute control. This is no better than those who hold that He will ultimately forgive and save everyone, as though Jesus was lying when he said that his flock was a little one, and only a few would enter by the narrow door while a multitude would head for the wide and easy gate. Those who attribute such a character to Yahweh are in for the cosmic surprise of the ages at the "great and terrible" day of the Lord. It will be great for the elect but terrible for all others whether they belong to a strict cult, pagan religion or the vast ecumenical crowd of Christianity.
So let us revel in His true sovereignty with due respect, and rejoice that we escape that appalling alternative through true grace, not because of any effort on our part but because our names were in the right Book. Let us not, like most pastors and elders I have spoken to, shrink from sovereign election and hide it from any flock "because it is a difficult subject," nor give any other sly goats excuse to evade the Word. We should not sidestep any of His truths, especially the hard and central ones, but "rightly handle" them so very carefully, not just choosing the parts which suit us (for that selectivity is a cornerstone of religion and church). As Jesus said to the father of lies, the master of evil, "Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from God."
In the Sovereign One, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who withholds not even these great and terrible truths from His servants.