Thanks for the comment. I assume the “unpardonable sin” you are referring to comes from
“Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” – Mark 3:28-29
“And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.” – Luke 12:10
I am not really convinced that these verses speak about the final rejection of Christ. The verse seems to be in the context of someone who attributes the power of God to the Devil and accusing them of it.
I agree that the lost (and the saved) will be judged according to their works. However, I am not sure that judgement is the reason for sending one to hell.
Revelation 20:12-15 – And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
v.12-13: the dead are judged from the works written in the book (of works)
v.14: Death and Hades are cast into the Lake of Fire (the second death).
v.15: anyone not found in the Book of Life is cast into the Lake of Fire.
As you know, Revelation is sometimes a hard book to interpret because of the symbols it uses. I could be wrong, but here, I think it is clear that the dead are cast into the Lake of Fire because they do not appear in the book of life (not because of their works).
2 Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
This text does not really talk about our sins causing us to go to Hell. Again, I agree that the lost (and according to this text the saved) will be judged according to their works. I am not too sure how the whole recompense thing works out, but one question that we should pose is: “are temporal sins worth an eternal punishment?”
Matthew 16:27 – For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.
This is similar to the previous verse. One may also point to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. When the works are tested by fire. Those whose works remain receive reward but those whose works are burned up suffers loss. Perhaps this is what the judgement is, and then those who are not found in the Book of Life suffere the second death.
1 Peter 1:17-19 – If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
This too is similar to the two previous verses. It really does not talk about the judgment being that which sends one to Hell.
Baptist Theologue, I am not trying to refute your position (or anyone’s position). It may appear that way because of how I handled the verses you gave me. I guess I am just trying to read what the text says without assuming things. Basically if the text says we are judged, then all I take from it is that we are judged (without assuming it is what sends us to Hell). I think this is a safer practice because of the dangers that come from assuming the rest of the text.
I will answer your questions inline:
Q1: “In order to be “fair,” shouldn’t we have the genuine choice or opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior?”
Simply, I was say no, based on Romans Romans 9:20-24:
“On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.”
I do not know why, but I think there is something different about being causally determined to sin and then being sent to Hell because of those sins. And being causally determined not to accept Christ and then being sent to Hell. I guess part of the reason is because the sins we commit have happened, are happening, and will happen (from our view point) and they are ultimatly by our own doing (even if they are causally determined). However, failure to acknowledge Christ is by God’s doing.
Q2: “Didn’t God create the sin problem?”
This is another issue I have to deal with. Like I said, I do not really like my position on free-will. The only possible explanation is what you have suggested, causal determinism began after Adam’s sin. However, I do not like doing that, because it seems like I’m pulling an answer our of my butt with absolutely no data to support it. It might be one of those “we see through a glass, darkly” things (I hate those too).
Q3: “Was Jesus governed by the law of cause and effect? Did he chose to die for us or was he compelled to do so? “
This is a little easier for me to answer than Q2 because of who Jesus was. One could easily say, yes, Jesus (on Earth) was governed by the law of cause and effect. Then could say, Yes, he chose to die for us. How are these two possible? Easy, Jesus’ choice happened before his conception – which I do not think is too far a stretch from what happened. Then everything that occured after Jesus’ conception happened according to cause and effect (just the way God intended).
Gary, thanks for the comment. I would love to hear what you have to say about the solution to your own Q2.
Thanks for the link, I will read it when I have some extra time. But first, let me take a poke at your questions:
“Isn’t rejecting Christ itself a sin? And if it is, why isn’t it universally provided for in His sacrifice?”
In a way I knew this question would arise. The easy answer is yes, rejecting Christ is a sin. Some may say it is not universally provided for in His sacrifice because it is an “eternal sin” versus a “temporal sin.” I am not sure that answer works.
You could change the system a little bit and say that going to Hell is a result of not having your name in the Book of Life. So then, anyone who rejects Christ is forgiven, however, because they fail to appear in the Book of Life, they go to Hell. I am not sure I like that answer either, unless you say that only those whose name appears in the Book of Life are those who accept Christ (and vice versa). Even still, the answer still scares me a little.
Again, thank you all for commenting. Let me reassure you again, that I am merely thinking over things. This new system I have written about is not dogma to me, just questions in my mind. Feel free to add more comments.