A friend of mine believes there is no hell and that all people will be saved. “The church portrays God as an angry, fire breathing God to keep people in fear and obedient to the church. God is love, not some fire breathing dragon.”
I thought of him when I read this song of David.
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.
2 Samuel 22:7-9 NIV
The “angry, fire breathing God” has been around long before the church and, surprise, it is a Biblical picture of God. (Remember, the fact that this song is preserved in Scripture is no accident. God chose to keep it in The Book.)
Why do we insist on flattening God, making Him only one dimensional? Love and anger are not mutually exclusive. In fact, true love produces anger when the object of the love is attacked or in danger. We can’t fully understand God but we dare not pick the aspects of His revealed character that we like and discard the parts of his nature that we don’t like or don’t understand.
How can there be a hell if God is a god of love? How is it just to punish eternally for a short duration of sin? I could give you the theological, and quite frankly, reasonable and logical answers that would satisfy the mind. But, like my friend, our problem is not intellectual it is one of emotions. It just doesn’t “feel” right.
So we either flatten God so we can fold Him up and neatly fit Him in our emotional pocket or we can realize our feelings are often wrong and there are truths that transcend our finite understanding. By faith in His revealed Word we trust God is a just God and when we see things as He sees things we will declare with the multitude in heaven, “true and just are his judgments.” (Revelation 19)
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”