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Monday, March 14, 2011

Love Wins?

Of late, the Christian community has been up in arms about a book (or rather a promo video for the book) from a popular evangelist. The video (and the book) raises the concept of hell and "resolves" the conflict by saying "love wins." While I'm not here to bash a book, or more importantly a fellow brother of mine, I would like to investigate the claim "love wins."

Christians today often presume that God's greatest attribute is love, when in actuality it is not. Yes, God is loving, more loving than we could ever imagine, but God is also just and righteous and holy. In a seeming paradox, God's characteristics do not ever conflict with one another. He is just as he is loving. Because God is holy, sin cannot ever enter His presence. Moreover, sin must have consequences.

Another presumption Christians often make is that people are inherently good. Wrong again. If we were inherently good, God wouldn't have had to send Jesus to earth to die for our sins. People are horribly disgusting, wretched creatures, saved only by grace through Jesus' death on the cross.

By combining these two thoughts (that God's greatest attribute is love and that we're actually inherently bad), the concept of hell is completely logical. God is so indescribably holy that we, as slime balls, can't be in relationship with Him on our own. If we choose to believe in Jesus as our savior, then we can be reconciled into relationship with God. However, if we choose not to be in relationship with Him then that action, cosmic treason, must be punished. The only just and right punishment for such a blatant disregard of God is hell, separation from Him for all of eternity.

While said Christian evangelist may be wrong, that is not for us to decide. I hope he is right and I am wrong about hell. I hope that all will go to heaven and no one will reside in hell for eternity. Unfortunately, based on scripture, I don't think that's the case. 

As Christians, this debate should not lead us to condemn one another, but to work all the more readily to build God's Kindgom and share the Gospel. That's the ultimate goal.

If you're interested in further exploring the topic of hell, here's a good article from Mark Driscoll: To Hell with Hell?


  1. Ingenious commentary... I have always found the phrase "love wins" to be not only inaccurate but almost childish because it condenses something that is as incomprehensible as it is wonderful into something that is too rash and juvenile to really be of any value. Love is not something that a human person can hope to understand fully, and especially not in such a flawed way.

  2. I've gotta say Liz, I've never bought into the whole "people are inherently awful and need to be saved." How can that idea coexist with the idea that God made us in his image. People are inherently pretty decent. Many people who are not religious or not Christians do amazing, loving, selfless things. I've always been more of the opinion that the reason God sent Jesus was to show humanity first hand the model of how to live our lives. Something that may never be completely met, but that we can at least aspire to and use in making decisions on how to live our life day to day.

    I realize this runs contrary to a lot of what many Christians preach, but I truly believe that what is important to God is how we live our life as opposed to us simply constantly telling him how awesome he is. Thus by sending an embodiment of himself in his son he (who is perfect) could demonstrate first hand what it means to live a holy life.

    Anyways, I could go on much longer, but for now I won't. I've enjoyed checking out your blog. Keep it up.