What must God be thinking?

"Burn the Rest" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Burn the Rest” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

[Like this cartoon? Get a fine-art reproduction HERE!]

When I was in youth group, I remember being told by the pastor that 144,000 people were elected to be saved. He got that from The Revelation. I quickly did the math. Um…

There are 7 billion people in the world now. The elect would mean there are .002% who will be saved. Um…

Then someone told me the 144,000 was a symbolic number meaning the fullness of the people of God. So I asked: if that number is symbolic, then how can we be certain that the idea of election and salvation and heaven and hell isn’t symbolic as well. Um…

I also had a problem with God’s love being expressed in violent ways, such as burning people in hell. Forever. I was curtly informed that there are different kinds of God’s love: salvific and common being two of them. Common love is where he just generically loves everyone. Common. Salvific is where he loves people enough to save them. As an illustration, they informed me that I love a girlfriend differently than I’d love my neighbor or my brother. But even as a teenager I asked, well… what kind of love, even if it’s common, would want to irrevocably hurt someone? Um…

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the cartoon. Share if you like!

By the way… we have many members at The Lasting Supper who struggle with an inordinate fear of hell. But they’ve made incredible progress by just hanging out with others like them, talking about it, and experiencing a release from their fears. I invite you to join us THERE.

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5 Responses

  1. Doug says:

    There is much to this that is mystery. The Bible hints at universal salvation, but there are also passages that suggest annihilationism and eternal punishment. I’m not sure how you square the latter two with what Ephesians teaches about all things ultimately being brought together in Christ, or what Philippians says about every knee eventually bowing and every tongue confessing that Christ is Lord (unless it will be be forced). My view — my hope, based on my understanding of God’s love — is that hell is remedial and restorative, rather than eternal and solely punitive. I do know one thing for certain, and that is that Calvin’s idea of unconditional election, unless it’s taken to its logical universalist conclusion, dies the death of a thousand qualifications.

  2. bill roth says:

    If you believe that the messiah lived and died for the sins of mankind….you will be saved in the after life.

  3. Sabio Lantz says:

    Superb drawing and post to go with it. All the notions of an intervening being I’ve heard, are ripped apart by your criticism.

  4. Gary says:

    Doug I believe your comment illustrates why all positions can be supported by the bible while at the same time it seems none can. FYI – My hope concerning hell, if there is such a thing (which I doubt), mirrors yours.

  5. Great post! Thank you for sharing.