[quote="Keyeotee, post:6, topic:319721"]
Thank your for all the responses! I did give those to him in a manner that he accepted, but still had more questions...
- You say God is love, but what kind of God deems it necessary to flood the world and commit genocide upon His own creation? That seems a God of destruction.
Genocide is an act of murder, and murder is the unjust taking of an innocent life. First of all, God does not commit murder. God is the Lord of Life and has complete control of life and death. Whether God allows someone to drown at the age of 30 or allows him to die of old age in his bed, it's really all the same.
Secondly, we are born into this world but are not created for it. It is by death that we are transferred from this world to eternal life. God desires us to spend eternal life with him where there is peace and joy, but he also allows us to reject him and spend eternity in hell. I'll say more about this in a bit. Anyway, in the big picture, God uses death as a means of transportation.
Thirdly, the people in the flood who perished were wicked, whereas God spared the innocent. Once again, the Great Flood does not match the definition of genocide (i.e., there was no unjust killing of the innocent).
- Since God loves us and is omnipotent, why the need to have His Son sacrificed? Why can't God just snap His fingers and make it a loving world rather than sending His Son to a brutal and horrific death? What seems more loving to you?
True love demands that the beloved has the freedom to accept or reject the lover. God, being True Love, does not violate our freewill. Ask your friend to clearly describe how his "God snapping his finger" theory would work, and somewhere along the way human freedom will be subverted.
God is also Life. Sin is a rejection of God and therefore a rejection of life. The only realistic consequence of a rejection of life is death. This is why the Bible says that the wages of sin is death.
God is also Justice. Because of this, God cannot ignore sin, but has to do something about it. Justice requires proper restitution. If someone stole $30 from you but only returned $5 of it, justice would not prevail.
As humans, we are capable of sinning against the perfect dignity of God, but we are also incapable of providing a perfect restitution. But justice allows someone else to make the restitution on behalf of the offender. Going back to my example, if the thief only returned $5 to you but his brother gave you an additional $25, then there would be a proper restitution of the theft of $30.
Jesus is God but he also became human in order to be our brother and representative. He died on the cross to pay the deadly wage of sin on our behalf. Moreover, being God, his action is able to make a perfect restitution to satisfy perfect justice.
Because the passion and death of Jesus was so horrific, it shows how great his love is for us. It also shows us how horrific sin really is. Sin tempts us because it often seems to be alluring. The poison of sin is masked by the veil of sensual pleasure. The passion and death of Christ shows the kind of spiritual brutality that we are inflicting upon our souls when we choose to sin.
- If God gives us free will, out of love, then why the need for damnation? Obviously, he does not want us to freely accept him because if we don't we are damned to eternal punishment. No one would want that, so therefore your God does force people to worship Him.
No one is forced to worship God. If that were true, there would be no atheists, pagans, etc. We live in a temporal world where we can make decisions and change or minds. Once we die we enter into an eternal realm where are decisions become permanent. We were created to exist in the peace and love of God, and those in heaven enjoy this. Those who reject God will never find the fulfillment of their creation, and likewise reject all that God is. Whereas heaven is true love, hell is hatred and narcissism. Whereas heaven is peace, hell is strife. Whereas heaven is joy, hell is bitterness. This is what makes hell a place of torment.
People who want hell to be a place of love, peace & joy are basically saying that they want to have nothing to do with God, but at the same time want to enjoy the various things that God is. Just as True Love requires that the beloved have the freedom to accept or reject the lover, this freedom must include the capacity to do this in a manner that is total. Hell is the total rejection of God, and therefore those in hell experience the opposite of all the goodness and virtues that find their source and perfection in God (such as love, peace, joy, etc.).
- What was the point of fallen grace? God knew that Adam and Eve would eat of the tree. Why put the tree there at all? He KNEW they would eat from it. And, they didn't know the right from the wrong. Therefore, he wanted them to taste of the fruit so he could yell and curse at them.
The tree represented the choice to commit sin, which is an aspect of freewill. And Adam and Eve did know right from wrong prior to eating the fruit. It's just a question of what manner of knowledge was at hand. Initially, right meant being obedient to God and trusting that what he revealed to them was truthful and in their best interest. Wrong meant disobeying God and failing to trust him.
The desire to eat the fruit represented the desire to experience sin for oneself and decide for oneself whether it is good or not. It also represented the desire to be like God but apart from God. And, finally, it represented a failure of trust in God and what he revealed.
In order for there not to have been such a tree in the garden, God would have to deny Adam and Eve human freedom. As I stated above, this would have been a violation of true love.