The fire breathing God

fireA 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)
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Romans 11:33-34
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?”

8 thoughts on “The fire breathing God

  1. This reminds me of a recent study in the Attributes of God, by A.W.Pink, in which he wrote: “In Psalm 143:12 we find David praying, “And of Thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am Thy servant.” Again; in Psalm 136:15 we read that God “overthrew Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea: for His mercy endures forever.” It was an act of vengeance upon Pharaoh and his hosts, but it was an act of “mercy” unto the Israelites. Again, in Revelation 19:1-3 we read, “I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up forever and ever.”
    From what has just been before us, let us note how vain is the presumptuous hope of the wicked, who, notwithstanding their continued defiance of God, nevertheless count upon His being merciful to them. How many there are who say, I do not believe that God will ever cast me into Hell; He is too merciful. Such a hope is a viper, which if cherished in their bosoms will sting them to death. God is a God of justice as well as mercy, and He has expressly declared that He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7). Yea, He has said, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God” (Ps. 9:17).” So, the same loving mercy of God that rescues us also judges and pronounces punishment upon the wicked. Grace and peace.

  2. Great quote, Anna. I get so passionate on this because the friend I mentioned is very dear to me and it hurts to see him so deluded after many years of serving God.

    I realized a big cause of his delusion is not seeing sin for how vile it is. “Oh, Hitler (or my neighbor) was naughty but certainly not deserving of something as horrible as hell.”

    We have never experienced the full holiness of God. I have a sense that if we could we would realize that the slightest infraction of that beauty, of that holiness, is such a vile and vulgar action that an eternity in hell is probably a merciful judgment.

  3. II Peter 3:8-10 NKJV

    But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

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