27. Fundamentals of Christianity

 

 

Introduction

 

The task set before us is to explain the fundamentals of Christianity using common sense. In the footnotes reference to Biblical teaching that confirms those logical basics will be made.

 

 

1. God

 

Christianity teaches that there is a God.[1] Common sense affirms this truth: It is undeniable that some things do exist. My non-existence is logically possible since it is not absolutely necessary. Whatever has the potential not to exist must be caused to exist by another. This process of cause and effect can not go on forever because what receives existence from another cannot be the ultimate cause of another's existence. In the beginning it must be based on something independent, a necessary being with pure actuality and no potentiality. If it was not so then even that cause would in reality only be an effect. Therefore a first uncaused cause of my existence exists. This uncaused cause must be infinite and perfect since nothing that is limited can cause itself. This infinitely perfect Being is correctly called 'God,' the one who is worthy of worship, of an ultimate commitment. Therefore God indeed exists and we do live in a theistic universe.[2] Logic teaches us that behind an effect there must be a cause.

In the light of God being the undeniable source of religion, atheism (Greek: 'atheos', 'a', without and 'theos', god), the belief that there is no God or supernatural power, is wrong. As truth it does not measure up because he who says that the world has come into being by mere chance can only make this statement in the overall context of design. That apparently contradictionary statement is explained as follows: There is no meaningful way to speak of a completely random universe as Atheists do. Chance makes sense only on the backdrop of design, as meaninglessness can be understood only in the overall context of meaning. Likewise, there is no way to even express the state of complete randomness without implying that there exist such characteristics of design and reliability, or even intelligibility. That is why the argument for atheism from chance is self defeating; it presupposes design and a designer. In other words one must assume God in order to disprove God. For example, to say that God does not exist because of all the evil in this world is to presuppose the equivalent of God by way of an ultimate standard of justice. Also it would take absolute knowledge to absolutely eliminate God. But absolute knowledge can only be derived from God. To be an atheist in the absolute sense, one would have to assume God in order to disprove God. Furthermore, contrary to reason, Atheists are forced to believe that something finite, changing and dependent comes from nothing, that matter generated mind and that potentials actualize themselves. Those scientists who claim that matter has always existed are making a very unscientific statement because there is absolutely no scientific proof, that matter has always existed.

 

Moreover, biological organisms (including humans) act in accordance with their nature. The fact that all human civilizations at all times and places have, by and large, looked for meaning beyond themselves indicates that it is in the nature of man to go looking for something 'out there' which then raises the question of why this is in man's nature. Is it there because God put it there, or is it there because it evolved? And what would be the evolutionary purpose of such a desire? Darwin teaches that living things evolve traits that benefit them; what would be the benefit of a desire for God if no God exists?

 

Lastly, science is inherently unable to answer certain questions. Science cannot account for things like heroism, self-sacrifice for the sake of others, romantic love -- those are all things beyond the reach of science. Faith in God is the same. Those who find him tugging at their heart, may not be able to offer a scientific explanation, but they are absolutely certain of it.

 

 

2. Man

 

God created the world and us for the good of himself. Common sense confirms this by arguing that whatever one creates is for one's benefit one way or the other. God designed us to bring him joy, to do good, not to put ourselves at the centre of life and thereby destroying it. Yet human experience shows time and time again that the latter is exactly what happened. A brief look at the last century will underline what we all know to be true: In 1905 the Armenian genocide took place. About 2 million Christians were brutally murdered by Muslims belonging to the Othman empire. Nine years latter the First World War started. It was followed by the Second World War in 1939. Many millions died in unbelievable suffering. The list of absolute horror seems to be never ending: Kigali, Beirut, Bosnia, Algeria, Palestine, Israel, etc.

 

The almost unbearable complexity of evil is intensified when we look at the socio-political atrocities: divorce, abortion, adultery, abuse, prostitution, corruption to name but a few. Even education is powerless to stem the flow of evil. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, artists, scientists use their skills for good as well as for destructive and immoral purposes. Furthermore, many of us know what is right and good yet we act irrationally and don't put our noble thoughts into practice. What an offence is wickedness to reason and much more so to God! But iniquity becomes even more bizarre. Think of worthy motives in outrageous actions, and ugly, selfish roots behind good actions. To add to the confusion humans are also capable of great acts of heroism, of selfless, wonderful deeds, of devotion and service to the truth. Thankfully, evil is identified only by reference to the good which also exists though to a much lesser degree. If we were basically good at heart only with the potential to sin, as many would have has believe, then the world should be in a much better shape with peace being the norm and trouble and selfishness being the exception. However, our experiences as described above, tell of our innermost being basically inclined to evil yet still with the potential to do good. That is why we have to teach our children to do the good not the bad. The latter comes naturally to them. This profound duality of experience comes both from personal responsibility and social conditioning. Children resemble their parents in terms of temperament, intellectual and other gifts and even in moral traits.

 

Human evil stirs up feelings of guilt, indignation or shame. This proofs the fact that our wicked human behaviour is not natural in the sense that we were created as week beings, like animals that just follow their often cruel instincts. What went wrong? Even the atheist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre reckoned: "Man is a being to whom something happened."[3] But what? Evolution has no answer. Simply put, in that belief system only the strongest, the fittest, the most improved survives. How comes then, that we in all our unbelievable weakness are still here? There is only the following logical alternative left:

 

Judaism and Christianity teach that our first parents, the heads of humanity, rebelled against God.[4] As a punishment they got separated from his immediate presence and therefore from many of his blessings. Since then we, their children, have not inherited their sins but their proneness, their inclination to commit wrong. This is what theologians call 'original sin'. The phrase has to be understood as original sin flowing from the originating sin, propagating itself in each person's beginning and becoming the origin of actual sins. They start with dreadful thoughts and desires in our heart. Original sin is defined as 'universal sinfulness, consisting of attitudes, orientations, propensities, and tendencies which are contrary to God's law, incompatible with his holiness, and found in all people, in all areas of their lives.'[5] Common sense tells us that because all human beings have sinned, all are separated from a holy God and deserve punishment. The wrath of God is upon us because of what our first parents have done and because of our own evil deeds. We decided to do them as a result of the corrupted and depraved nature we were born with. ('natura' comes from 'nasci', 'to be born'). We inherited that nature from our first parents, hence it's name 'Erbsünde' in German, literally 'hereditary' sin.

 

Therefore, the sceptic objects and says, 'why should we suffer for the sins of our first parents? It is not fair that because of them our nature is now inclined to do evil rather then good." To that opposition Henri Blocher, professor of Systematic Theology replies, that the role of Adam and of his sin is 'to make possible the imputation, the judicial treatment of human sins. His role thus brings about the condemnation of all, and its sequel, death. If persons are considered individually, they have no standing with God, no relationship to his judgement. They are, as it were, floating in a vacuum. Sin cannot be imputed. But God sees them in Adam and through Adam, in the framework of the covenant of creation. Therefore he sees their sins as committed against the Genesis 2 command (Do not take from the fruit…), as grafted on to Adam's sin in Eden….How did the punishment, death, reach all persons on the basis of their actual sinning? It reached them in the same way that death entered Adam's person (by personal disobedience): since all were in Adam, the head, sin could be reckoned to them according to the terms of the Adamic covenant, as offshoots of his sin.'[6] We find more support for the doctrine, again from human experience:

 

The Standord and Yale experiments

In 1971, Dr. Philip Zimbardo organized and conducted an experiment in the cellar of the psychology building at the Stanford University in the USA. After creating a simulated prison twenty-four Stanford students were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners. Within a few days of the test, the students playing guards had become sadistic. They placed bags over the "prisoners'" heads and forced them to strip naked to subject them to humiliating sexual pranks. Students from one of America's most prestigious institution of higher education descended into barbarism at an alarming speed. Zimbardo was forced to end the experiment less than a week after it began. (For details see: http://www.prisonexp.org/) These dramatic results at Stanford confirmed an earlier experiment at Yale University. There people's willingness to inflict pain on others was tested. They were told to push a switch that supposedly delivered an electric shock every time another subject answered a question incorrectly. With only the researcher's insistence for motivation, two-thirds of the participants were willing to bring about potentially lethal shocks to the victim—even though they could hear his screams. Although the set-up was fake, the willingness of one person to inflict suffering on another was all too real, just as at the Stanford research.

 

Headship

Human experience once again proves the doctrine of original sin to be right. Throughout history tribes, communities and nations have not just been conceived as individuals but also as organic wholes under representative 'heads.' Both, leaders and followers express and influence a common identity. In opposite to animals the human race is one in some spiritual way, as well as genetically. Mistakes of leader have not just made them suffer immensely but also their supporters. (E.g. Hitler in Germany, Hussain in Iraq, Bush in USA) The acts of our first parents who were appointed by God as the leaders of the human race rightfully counted as those of the entire community. Legal principle and practice demands that all members of the group should stand under the obligation to pay the legal debt. The legal bond is added to the natural 'family' fellowship, the genetic commonality.[7] Since God appointed Adam and Eve as leaders prior consent of the individuals represented for representation is not necessary. The blood relationship has indeed affected us deeply as is reflected in the so called 'honour killings' in the Muslim world. If adultery has taken place relatives often kill the culprit in order to restore the family honour.

 

Freedom of choice

We must also question the assumption that to commit an evil act is just a freedom of choice exercised by individuals rather then also a process initiated and influenced by the nature of a person. Similarly, the terms 'biological' and 'spiritual' are not mutually exclusive. It is a fact that our feelings influence our physical well being in a complex way. Fear, for example, influences our digestive system. While there is a distinction between bodily processes and personal freedom there is no separation. Both work together in harmony. This truth solves the problem of original sin as being of nature, something we can't help because it was inherited due to our first parents disobedience, and yet incurring guilt. Freedom of choice is not contrary to our human nature but part of it.

 

Personal history

Hereditary sin, the concept that we have inherited our first parents inclination to do evil, is reflected in the following parallels:

 

Moral and religious life is modelled largely by symbolic systems, language, traditions, art and literature. Choice is not an option for a long time. When we are old enough to go against such influences, to do so is humanly speaking almost impossible due to the strength of those pressures. Psychology has established the fact that children's personalities are influenced by damaged images of mother and father. There seems to be mysterious bonds of a psycho-spiritual nature among people. The science of genetics has established that thoughts can not be transferred to and encoded into the genetic system of human reproduction. But certain character traits are passed on without scientists being able to know how. The same is true for animal instincts. Children do not receive from their parents actual diseases such as calluses, gout and breast cancer but undoubtedly certain genetic impressions which make them more likely to get those diseases. Lastly, the disputed field of the spirit world, if confirmed, supports the case of heredity in sinfulness. Experiences of Marabuts, Phirs and Pastors indicate that evil spirits under some conditions can not just negatively influence individuals but also their children and relatives.

 

Ayatholla Khomeini said: 'You should pay attention and all of us should pay attention (to the fact) that man's calamity is his carnal desire, and this exists in everybody, and it is rooted in the nature of man.'[8]

 

How can a newborn baby be called a sinner by birth as described in Psa 51:5 and 58:3? Is that not contradicting passages such as Deu 1:39, Isa 7:15 and Rom 9:11 which describe little children as being innocent and without guilt? Here is what Dr. Norman Geisler, a renowned expert in the field of apologetics has to say in answer to this objection. 'The sense in which a person is sinful at birth is by way of inclination, not by way of moral action. All persons are by nature children of wrath.[9] because they are born with a tendency to sin, but they are not born in sin in reality. The condemnation over the head of everyone who comes into Adam's race is judicial guilt, not personal guilt. We stand condemned before God because all sinned in Adam our representative.[10] This situation can be summarized as follows. We are not born in sin actually, by action, in reality, personally. We are born in sin potentially, by inclination, in tendency, judicially.'[11]

 

The doctrine of original sin does not mean that human beings are incapable of doing anything good However; it means that we are prone to commit wrong things inevitably, unavoidably, because it is our nature to do wrong. From the polluted spring of our hearts flow streams of contaminated behaviour. Original sin does not mean that we have an excuse for our own sinful actions and can say it is all Adam and Eve's fault. God has not designed us to act sinfully but he initially created us in the beginning as very good with the faculty of choice. Now we are not very good anymore but we can still choose to do good.

 

More recently the argument has come up that the concept of original sin is contradicted by the science of genetics. While it is true that thoughts can not be transferred to and encoded into the genetic system of human reproduction, it is equally true that certain character traits are passed on without scientists being able to know how. The same is true for animal instincts.

 

3.The Problem: Suffering

 

Christianity teaches that God is good. Common sense confirms this by looking at the universe. It is made full of order. There is no chaos. The orbits of planets and all the physical laws are just as predictable as the four seasons on the earth. However, the Judeo-Christian view of God who is 'good,' 'love', 'without falsehood' and 'almighty'[12] presents us with a profound challenge. Why then is not everybody happy? Why doesn't he stop all the suffering in this world if he is in control? The solution to these age old questions is found in defining what is meant by saying 'God is good and all powerful.' For such revealed attributes of God to be meaningful, they must be used in a similar way as when they are applied to human beings. The difference is not in kind but only in degree of perfection.

Contrary to all other creatures only human beings have the gift of free will. Unlike people, animals can not say 'no' to food put before them. They just follow their instinct. It would be nonsensical to think that God gives the capacity to choose and then withholds it from us. Yes, all things are possible to the all powerful One yet mutually exclusive alternatives are not things but non-entities. It is absolutely unthinkable for God to do something that goes against his attributes. The wise One does not do the silly. Not because his power is limited but because nonsense remains nonsense in the sight of man and God. In order for us to choose freely creation must be relatively independent and unchanging. Choice demands the existence and experience of things to choose from (e.g. laws of creation, environment) If those building blocks of life kept on changing their characteristics, it would be impossible for us to make sensible decisions. God will not change matter miraculously every time it is misused to cause suffering. If he did, for arguments sake, make every knife blade soft that is used to murder someone, he would deny free will, the foundation of our life itself. The great majority of sufferings are caused by people who make wrong choices. Like in the case of well-meaning parents, God's goodness and love too are not to be understood as superficial kindness. Such an attitude would only have in mind to enable someone to have a good time at any cost. Parents who really care about their children would rather see them suffer for a while than to see them happy in contemptible or estranging ways. Anything less amounts to indifference which is really the opposite of love.[13] Good parental love means authoritative love and asks for obedient love on the children's side. Parents use their authority originating from experience and superior wisdom to help their children become the sort of human beings they want them to be. As we all know this process is wrought with pain. Suffering is also an integral part in our relationship with God who wants to be our 'Father in heaven'. Since our rebellion against him, the fateful event known as 'the Fall,' among theologians, we are in desperate need of change. Our free choice to become independent from God made pain unavoidable. What else could be expected by a creature that goes against the purpose it is made for? Likewise, human beings equipped with feet for walking should not be shocked if they find themselves suffering after trying to fly from a roof top. God created us for his own good pleasure[14], not that we would put ourselves in the centre of the universe. What we call our happiness here and now is not the end God chiefly has in view. He is love and therefore he desires us even though much of our spiritual beauty is lost but not because it is lost. Love can not cease to wish for restoration. It forgives most but condones least. Although it is pleased with little it demands all. Love in its own nature longs for the perfecting of the beloved one. Because we spoiled ourselves, good to us, in our fallen state must therefore primarily mean remedial or corrective good. And it is exactly here where suffering plays a profound part. Although not good in itself, several good things come out of it:

 

* C.S. Lewis wrote about the purpose of pain: 'God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.' ('The problem of Pain', Fontana Books, 1957, page 81) The more people commit evil the less they become aware of it. To the contrary, pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil. It enables the bad to be recognised as such. Everyone knows something is wrong when they hurt. That is why the public cries out for bad people to be punished by experiencing suffering themselves.
* Without the experience of suffering there would be no reason for bad people to change their ways. God exploits evil produced by bad people for his redemptive purposes. It reduces the rebel will.


* Pain also destroys the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and sufficient for us. While our lives are comfortable we will not surrender to God who is the rightful owner of them. He therefore takes away our false sources of happiness. In his divine humility and passionate love God accepts us even if we come to him as a last resort.


* Anguish stirs up compassion in others and leads to acts of mercy.


* Pain provides an opportunity for heroism. It is seized with surprising frequency. Someone who suffers physically is not usually in danger of loosing self control, or of becoming wild and irrational.


* Suffering creates a longing for heaven. Pain becomes insignificant when compared with the joys of being in God's presence. (Rom 8:18)

 

It is not wrong to think these thoughts for love by definition seeks to enjoy its object.

As far as we know animals are not capable of sin or doing good. The points above can therefore not be applied to them. Why do they suffer? Since we know that God is good it is certain that the appearance of divine cruelty must be an illusion. Much more can not be said with absolute certainty. Only the following statements can be made: Life in the biological sense has nothing to do with good and evil until a conscience appears that enables us to distinguish right from wrong. The fact that animals and inorganic matter react to injuries does not prove that a conscience is present. Especially higher animals who have nervous systems similarly to our own indicate the presence of an awareness or sensation. That does not need to involve thought or perception. After all, an unconscious, anaesthisiesed human body also shows reactions to pain. We can even answer questions while being asleep. It follows that when an animal gets a blow with a stick pain is taking place. To say that the animal feels pain is to presuppose an unconfirmed 'self ', a 'consciousness', standing above the sensation and organising it into an experience as we do.

 

4. The Solution: Good News

 

The answer given so far to the question of 'what went wrong' makes us realize how completely helpless we all are. Compared with God's perfect standards we are not worse or better then others. From His perspective we are all in the same sinking boat. Awareness of our powerlessness keeps us in the only rightful state before an Almighty God, that of humility and compassion. Christianity and common sense tells us that the solution to our dilemma must come from God alone.

 

Our deliverance from sin and evil, the restoration to our true state and the attainment of eternal blessedness is called salvation in theistic religion. Except in Judaism and Christianity it is thought to be achieved by believing in God and doing good deeds. It is taught that one gets punished for bad deeds as a temporary measure, to deter others and for remedial purposes. Such a view goes against common sense. If even the greatest sin were immediately succeeded by hearty repentance, there would be no punishment necessary; it could simply not justly be inflicted where reformation had been already produced by other influences. There are also cases in which repentance is less likely to be awakened by inflicting pain through punishment then by conferring new joy and honour. In these cases the lightest penalty would be unjust, and justice would require that the life of the sinner should be made brighter and happier. By looking at these examples which applied the theory that rests the justice of punishment mainly on its reformatory power, it can easily be seen that it leads to all kinds of grotesque consequences.[15] If people are not punished first of all because they deserve it they are treated outrageously because suffering is inflicted on them for the sake of deterrence or improvement only. To say that they deserve it is admitting the Christian claim of retribution, a deserved punishment for rebellion against God. The reformatory aspect (the belief that chastisement will make the sinner better) which is ascribed to God's punishment is further questioned by statistics that show clearly how most ex-prisoners committed offences again once they were released. While it is true to a certain extent that crime figures fall if the punishment is harder and more frequent, the apparent success comes at a high cost. The threat of punishment produces hypocrites, in that people will obey the letter of the law but their hearts are not won for God nor for their fellow human beings. Selfishness will still prevail in subtle ways that prevent true, lasting peace and sincere love. Real change in people usually occurs because they are loved and appreciated not because they are punished. The three 'R's in bringing up children hold still true: Rules without Relationship leads to Rebellion.

 

In spite of these sobering facts all religious people except practicing Christians hope to improve their old nature which is inclined to do bad naturally into a nature that becomes inclined to do good. They try to achieve this lofty goal through teaching, education, the passing on of knowledge and through punishment. To use an example they try to change a bicycle into a space rocket. This, of course, is an impossibility since a bicycle naturally is made to ride on the ground and a space rocket is designed to fly into space. The solution found in the teaching of the Bible is not to improve the old nature but to get a new nature that is inclined to do good through faith in Jesus. Salvation is entirely a gift of God as a result of his love for us.[16]

 

If God's love was conditional on man's behaviour it would be inferior to the love of parents who love their children without any condition. They do however hate the way their sons and daughters often disobey them. Out of unconditional love for their rebellious children parents have to punish them. A difference is made between loving them as persons but disapproving of what they sometimes do. This is how the love of God is portrayed in the Bible, of course in a much more perfect way then parents could ever be capable of.

 

Jesus Christ is the key to salvation. Why did he have to die on the cross and raise again? Could God not simply punish and then forgive man when he committed sin? There is one main reason for his death on the cross:

 

· To meet the demands of God's justice and love

 

God is holy.[17] That means He is separated from anything that is unclean, bad, and hypocritical, in other words from anything that is sin. These things separate man from God.[18] Therefore, sin is not just a minor mistake, but absolutely intolerable in the sight of God! Another reason why sin has to be treated seriously, is because God is just.[19] Naturally, he punishes every wrong doer and awards the one who does right. However, the Bible says God will not judge according to our good or bad works alone.[20] He loves us so much[21] that in His mercy he chooses to forgive our sins. But if He would forgive our sins without punishment, then in His mercy He would become unjust!

 

That is why God revealed Himself in Jesus and died on the cross for our sins. In Jesus God met the requirements of His justice and of His love! Jesus died on the cross on our behalf, for our sin. In Deuteronomy 21:23 anyone who hangs on a tree is described as being sinful and under God's curse. Galatians 3:13 explains that Jesus, himself without sin, became a curse for us because he took our sin on himself. After paying the penalty for sin through His death, Jesus rose again. Consequently the death and resurrection of Jesus are of the utmost importance for Christians! The following illustration will help to better understand this profound matter:

 

There was once a king who possessed a huge kingdom over which he also ruled as a just judge. He wrote down laws which had to be kept by everyone so that order and justice would be maintained. One day his very own son, whom he loved so dearly, committed a terrible crime. The law made it very clear that a perpetrator, such as his child had become would have to face a fine of £ 100,000,000,000. The king's son was not able to pay that large amount of money. However, the just judge could not change the law simply because the sinner was his own son, otherwise he would not have been impartial anymore. He decided that his child too was guilty, but when he pronounced the judgement, out of love, he offered to pay the fine on behalf of his son. In that way he could meet the demands of his justice but also of his love for the disobedient child. The son sorrowfully repented of his crime and humbly accepted his father's offer. This incident changed him so completely that he decided to love and serve his father forever. By doing this he could certainly never pay back the £100,000,000,000. No, he changed his way of life to express his great thankfulness towards his just and loving father.

 

The king in the illustration symbolises God, the kingdom is the world. The laws are the Holy Scriptures, the king's son is all mankind and the terrible crime committed by him is sin. The sum of £100,000,000,000 stands for the punishment of sin, which is a invincible separation from the Holy God. The king who took his son's place and paid the fine on behalf of him illustrates what God has done for all mankind in Jesus. He paid the punishment for sin by dying on our behalf at the cross. Finally, the complete change that took place in the life of the son is a picture of the new life of a Christian. By faith, through a prayer of forgiveness he accepts what Jesus Christ had done for him. He believes that Jesus took upon him the punishment for men's sin. Only out of thankfulness he starts to love and serve God, not because he thinks he could ever earn a place in heaven by doing good. Whatever the newly born Christian now does will be motivated by love for the One who saved him from a terrible punishment.

 

Some people might object to the illustration above by saying that God's attributes of Justice and Mercy can not be understood. They are completely different from our human concept. It is true that God's attributes are different from ours, but only in regard to their perfection rather than their definition.

 

Those who neglect such a great salvation, refusing to admit guilt, also have to accept no forgiveness. Such people are characterised by their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves. Sadly speaking, God grants them their ultimate wish by sending them to hell. There they will suffer everlasting punishment, destruction and exclusion. These ferocious experiences suggest something unspeakably horrible. Jesus talks more about them than anybody else in the Bible.[22] Destruction means the transformation of the destroyed into something else. If we burn a log we get gases, heat and ashes. Annihilation, life that ceases to exist, is not possible. If that is the case, must there not be a state of having been a human soul? Hell was not made for man. To enter it is to be banished from humanity. Is it not occupied by people but by the conscious 'remains' of them? What will happen to those who have never heard of him? God is just and good. He will deal with them according to his perfect attributes. What about the apparent disproportion of eternal damnation and transitory sin? Rather than a prolongation of time should we think of eternity as line? That would be a good image, because the parts of time are successive and no two of them can co-exist. There is no width in time, only length. Consequently, do we have to think of eternity as a plane or even a solid? Thus the whole reality of dammed human beings would be represented by solid figures. Once done with life would they be living with its results for ever in that sense? Why don't they get a second chance after their death? Teachers only know too well that it is really useless to send pupils in for certain examinations again. Finality must come some time also regarding our relationship with Jesus. We have to admit that our knowledge is greater about heaven than hell. Heaven is the home of humanity and therefore contains all that is implied in a glorified human life. In most ways hell is not parallel to heaven. We know only with utmost certainty that hell will be the eternal dwelling place of those who rebelled against God. It will be inhabited by those who rejected Jesus and his work on the cross. In the long run the answer to all those who don't accept the doctrine of hell is itself a question: What do you want God to do? To wipe out humanity's past sins and to give everyone an opportunity of a fresh start? But he has done so at the cross! Sadly, many refuse to be forgiven. Do you want God to leave them alone? Alas, that is what he does.

 

 

5. Personal Response

 

We have established so far that the fundamentals of Christianity are confirmed by logic and common sense. There is indeed a good God who created mankind for himself. Man's choice to love self more than God led to a broken relationship between the two. It can only be restored through God's initiative in Jesus the Messiah. The choice is again ours. If we accept Jesus as the way the truth and the life eternal life in heaven is assured. What will your response be?

 

[1] Ge 1:1

[2] For a more detailed reasoning please refer to "Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler, Baker Book House, Michigan, 1976, ch 1-13

[3] Sartre, 'Cahiers pour une morale', Paris 1983, p. 51

[4] Genesis 3

[5] Blocher, 'Original Sin', Leicester, 1997, p.18

[6] Ibid p. 77f

[7] See Turetin, 1847:557, IX.9.11; Murray 1977:37f

[8] Islamic Government does not spend for its own grandeur, by Kayhan International, September 4, 1985, p.3

[9] Eph 2:3

[10] Rom 5:12

[11] 'When Critics Ask' Geisler, page 240

[12] Psa 25:8, Rom 11:22, 1 Joh 4:8.16, Num 23:19, Gen. 17:1

[13] See Heb 12:6

[14] Rev 4:11, Isa 43:7

[15] For more details see, The Atonement, by Dale, London Congregational Union of England and Wales, 1894, pages 380-381

[16] Rom 5:8-10, see also Eph 2:4-5

[17] Leviticus 11:45

[18] Isaiah 59:1-2

[19] Deuteronomy 32:4

[20] Romans 3:23-24

[21] John 3:16

[22] Mat 5:21-22, 27-30, 23:15,33, 10:28, 25:41,46, 7:23, 8:11-12, 22:13, 25:30, 13:30, 40-43, 49-50, 18:6-9, 24:51