Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Atheist Hit by a Bus Won't be Saved

I saw a video online that I’m sure was put together by an atheist. A cartoon atheist was hit by a city bus (ironic considering what the atheists paid for in Fort Worth this month) and he stood before God. I won’t go into all the discussion between the two, but the atheist as the question, “if all that’s required to get into heaven is that a person believe in you, why can’t I just start believing in you now?” It’s a question that many people, even Christians, have asked and I think it is worth our consideration today.

The basic question seems to be, if God is good, why does he allow people to go to hell? Before we answer this question, I think it’s important that we avoid the temptation to assume certain characteristics of God and then question why such a person would do what the Bible says he will do. For example, we might assume that since God wants to give us all that’s good, he would never send us to hell. We should instead approach it from the other way. Given what the Bible tells us God has done and will do, what does that tell us about the nature of God? Two very important things the Bible tells us is that God sent his Son to die for the world and that God sends people to hell if they don’t put their trust in Jesus Christ. Those are defining statements about God.

So why doesn’t God wait until people die to ask them if they want to believe in him? A system like that could’ve been devised, but that is not the one that God decided to use. Instead, man has the freedom to choose to follow God or not. Those who sin, die. After death comes the judgment. I think the reason God chose this system is because the man who will not choose God in life will not choose God in death either. All men would choose to escape hell and would turn to God at its gates, but that isn’t really the choice God is giving. The choice God offers is one of service. Do we want to serve God or do we want to serve ourselves? If we are given a choice while we’re standing before God in judgment, it is self-serving for us to cry out to God. At that point, we think we can trick God into letting us into heaven by saying we’ll serve him, but our nature is still to serve ourselves.

God doesn’t want people in heaven who place themselves above him. That is the mistake Satan made. He was the most beautiful of the angels. He had a position of great power. But he thought to elevate himself above God. That is what the unbeliever hopes to do. He wants to live his life the way he wants to live it. He doesn’t want God telling him what to do. But when he reaches death, he wants to stand before God and say, “Now I’ll believe in you.” But God will not be fooled. That person, having never repented will be unchanged unless God forces change upon him. God is able to do that, but that would make us robots. God wants real people who choose him. Don’t you think that if God allowed an atheist on the new Earth, the atheist would find a spot on the other side of the world from Jerusalem, hide himself away and say, “I can’t see God, so how can he exist?” God does not want sin like that tainting the Earth. So when he populates the Earth, he wants to do so with people who have chosen to let him change them. He wants to do so with people who have chosen to identify with his son.