Monday, February 21, 2011

Merciful Justice - Aren't these contradictory terms??

So, this is following the post from a few days ago...more struggles with who God is based on the knowledge that He will send people to Hell.  Think about that for a moment.  What does it tell you about God that He would create people with the intention of sending them to Hell?  Most Christians dismiss these questions/thoughts as unimportant, but this is your God!  If we claim that we desire to grow in a knowledge of God (which if you are a Christian you should desire this) and you claim to love God (which as a Christian you should claim this) then how can you dismiss this as unimportant!?

So, how is it that God can create people with the INTENTION of sending them to Hell?  Wow...

So I recently read through Lamentations.  Amazing book, by the way, never realized it, but it's an amazing book.  The city of Jerusalem is being destroyed, an enemy is camped outside cutting off food supplies.  Women are eating their children in the streets.  People are dieing every day.  Destruction is rampant.  And this author (seems to be a leader of some sort in the city) is crying out to God.  Now there are a million different directions to go with all of this, because in the past week my mind has gone a million different directions.  I've learned so much more what God's mercy is by reading this book.  At one  point the author says "because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed.  His compassions never fail"  And I realized something.  This man is looking around at complete destruction, but he realizes, we deserve much worse.  God should just destroy us right now.  But He hasn't, which is mercy, not giving the bad that someone deserves.  Grace is giving someone good that they do not deserve and mercy is withholding the bad that someone does deserve.

But this led me to a dilemma.  How can God be both merciful and just?  If justice is repaying someone according to what they deserve and mercy is withholding the bad from someone that they rightfully deserve???anyone else seeing my dilemma here?

Now, I have thought since of some answers to this problem, but for my purposes today I will leave you with this question.  Feel free to comment any thoughts that you have.


  1. First one to heaven...ask God then let us all know. Interesting that I was just talking with my sister about this tonight. God uses the people he doesnt save to show his glory. Especially by showing us the grace we have received that he has not chosen to give to everyone. But that still leaves us with the problem of why a loving God would condemn people to Hell. But we must not forget that he is also just. We can't ignore that attribute of God. And clearly he knows what he is doing. And I believe that some how, even by all those people who are condemned to Hell, God will be glorified. The purpose of this earth and the purpose of our lives is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. So in the end that is what will happen above all else. It doesn't seem fair that he'd condemn people to hell but it's difficult to grasp how he'll use this to bring himself glory. but I would believe that is the chief end of everything that he does.

  2. Yes, isn't it amazing how intent on His own glory God is? This makes me think of the fact that we were created in His image, created to also be intent on His glory, but through sin this created intention got twisted so that now we seek OUR glory over anything else. Rather than living in the image of God, mirroring His attributes for the world to see, we instead try to live like God, taking His attributes as our own...
    (Hmmm...I've never really thought about it like that, but it makes sense. I'll have to think about that more.)

    Good points though, much appreciated.