Is Limiting God’s Goodness Or Love A Solution?

Is limiting God’s goodness or love a solution to suffering and evil? This post looks at Randy Alcorn’s thoughts on the subject based on his book If God Is Good. I will be sharing excerpts from chapters 17 and 18 which ends section four.

You can find earlier posts of previous chapters under the heading Bible Studies in the menu above. Unless otherwise noted, the Scriptures used are from the NKJV Bible.

A Personal Note

This past week has seen suffering both personally and globally. Turkey and Syria experienced an earthquake of magnanimous proportions. Many precious people made in the image of God were killed and the remaining family members are devastated over their loss. As of this morning, 2/13/23 the death toll is 33,000. Pray for these counties and their people. May they turn to the True Creator God in their time of suffering.

Closer to home, my faithful furry companion Ginger (Gingie) passed on Friday the 3rd, and this past week was a week of mourning her loss along with some health complications of my own. BUT GOD is faithful and I trust Him. He NEVER lets me down. I pray that as we go through this book together, you will be encouraged that God IS FAITHFUL. Life is difficult at times, but ETERNITY in His presence is worth our momentary pain and hurt here!

A Theodicy of Protest

John K. Roth writes what he calls a “theodicy of protest” against God. In his own words he:

“Puts God on trial, and in that process the issue of God’s wasteful complicity in evil takes center stage. … Human repentance will have to be matched by God’s. Such a wasteful God cannot be totally benevolent. History itself is God’s indictment.” [i] Roth continues:

“I affirm that God is good, but not perfectly good, and that both God and humanity could be better. … The amount, degree, intensity of evil, are too great to justify fully God’s creation of the world we inhabit. … If God has a plan, it is wanting.” [ii]

We must keep in mind that Satan attacks us by bringing us to doubt God’s goodness. The statement “God is not perfectly good” comes from the pit of Hell. It is an accusation the Bible firmly rejects.

Larry Crabb writes,

“Doubt of God’s goodness creates the terror of aloneness in an unreliable world, which leads to rage against God for doing so little to protect us from suffering. When I am not convinced that God is good, I will quietly, but with tight lipped resolve take over responsibility for my own well-being.” [iii]

God IS Good

God is the Greatest Good and is the source of all lesser goods. James 1:17 in the AMP version reads:

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].”

Wayne Grudem says, “The goodness of God means that God is the final standard of good and that all that God is and does is worthy of approval.” [iv]

Scripture contains many affirmations of God’s goodness. Here are just a few:

  • Ps. 25:8 – “Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore, He teaches sinners in the way.”
  • Ps. 119:68 – “You are good and do good; Teach me Your statutes.”
  • Jer. 33:11 – “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” (NIV)
  • Nah. 1:7 – “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.”

God Extends His Goodness to His People

Grudem says,

“God’s mercy is his goodness towards those in distress, his grace is his goodness towards those who deserve only punishment, and his patience is his goodness towards those who continue to sin over a period of time.” [v]

God’s goodness is linked to his love:

  • Ps. 23:6 – “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
  • Ps. 65:4 – “Blessed is the man You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple.”
  • Ps. 31:19 – “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You,
    which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!

God has stored up his goodness for those who fear him. That means in the future he plans to bestow upon us a storehouse full of goodness. (Hallelujah!)

God Manifests His Goodness to All People

God does not restrict his goodness to believers only. He is good to all his creatures:

  • Ps. 145:9 – “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
  • Acts 14:17 – “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
  • Matt. 5:45 – “…He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

God’s Goodness IS Absolute. There IS NO Evil In Him!

Henri Blocher writes,

“Evil is defined by its opposition to God and its utter dissimilarity to him; God shows no compliance whatsoever with evil.” [vi]

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty” – Rev. 4:8 (NIV)

God’s holiness speaks of his transcendent otherness, which includes his absolute moral purity. [vii]

  • The prophet says to God, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” – Hab. 1:13 (NIV)
  • Jesus asked a rich young man: “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” – Matt.19:17 (NIV)
  • “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” – James 1:13,17 (NIV)

God has no evil within him and he will never change to accommodate evil.

Our Finite And Fallen Perspective

We define goodness from our finite and fallen perspective then criticize God for failing to be good in our eyes.

A good man does not knowingly allow his neighbor to beat his child. A good man intervenes. If he had all power, he would not only stop the man from beating the child, he would not allow him to begin beating the child in the first place. Such an appraisal is entirely app regarding humans.

We say, “If God allows it, then he must not be good; I’m better than God”, or “there’s no God at all.” But we err in judging God by our standards.

Imagine for a Moment

Imagine having a dog for a pet and your dog was thinking:

“If I were my master, I would never discipline me or give me a shot or a big pill; I would let myself run free in the neighborhood and take steaks from any BBQ I find. Since my master doesn’t allow me to do this, he must not be good.”

However, the master who claims to be a good dog owner never bases his claim on the dog standards but on his own. We can envision a dog recognizing his master’s goodness when he feeds and walks him but questioning his goodness when he doesn’t let him have a Hershey bar. The dog might even write a book (Dog’s Problem?) or go on the lecture circuit telling everyone why his master isn’t good.

Applying human standards to God is like dogs applying canine standards to us. Our conclusions will invariably come up short.

Kindness Is Not The Same as Love and Goodness

C. S. Lewis points out that kindness as such “cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.” [viii]

However, love cares for the welfare, not the momentary preferences, of the loved one. This explains why a kind stranger might buy children ice cream, while their parents, who love them far more, might not.

Hardship often cultivates Christlikeness in us and prepares us for greatness. Sheer kindness might keep us from the hardship that true love doesn’t. Especially all-knowing love that clearly sees the final result.

Some parents force their children to stay home most nights, do chores, study, and practice the piano, while other parents let their children hang out at the mall or play video games every night.

Which parents, down the line, will prove to have been good? To the child, the answer may seem obvious.

But that answer is wrong.

Evil Does Not Contradict God’s Goodness

The existence of evil does not contradict God’s goodness, since God can ultimately use evil to bring about a greater good. Sinners don’t need help feeling good they need help being good. Sinners need more than pleasantness. In fact, if they received only life’s delights, they would never come to terms with the sin that separates them from God.

Though there’s no lasting happiness without God, sinners could at best live their short time on earth relatively content only to die and go to Hell for eternity.

Warm and Happy?

We argue against God’s goodness in allowing suffering, not because our goodness exceeds God’s, but because it falls so far short of it. God’s goodness entails more than whatever makes us feel warm and happy. We argue that if God were as good as we are, then evil and suffering wouldn’t exist.

On the contrary: evil and suffering wouldn’t exist if we were as good as God is.

The fact that our standards are so much lower than God’s makes us prone to view this world’s suffering as disproportionate. So, we ask, “How could a horrible place like Hell exist?” We pose the question because we understand neither the vileness nor the extent of our sin.

We conclude that God is not good because, ironically, we are so far from good, that we don’t understand what severe justice and true goodness must exact against sin.

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” –  Rom. 2:4

We show contempt for God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience because those very attributes lead him to refrain from immediately bringing judgment upon us. Yet, his goodness gives us time and opportunity to repent – which requires that we have time and opportunity to sin, get hurt, get sick, grow old, and face death. Ironically, then, it is God’s very goodness that leads men to question his goodness.

Is our Judgment Better Than Our Creator God?

Sometimes we conclude God is not good, because he’s far better than we’d like him to be.

In God’s presence are eternal pleasures, but God’s goodness doesn’t make him an endless dispenser of pleasures to sinners. Goodness involves holiness and justice. Rather than indulge us with what we think we want, God considers the long-term effects that may keep us from what we actually need.

We do not like to suffer, but that preference does not establish as fact that our suffering cannot work for our ultimate good. Most of us understand that the pain felt by soldiers, athletes, farmers, and even children dragged away from video games is not inherently evil. Once we acknowledge this, the debate concerns only acceptable degrees of pain – and only our presumption makes us think we can judge what’s acceptable better than God can.

In 1967 a diving accident left Joni Erickson a quadriplegic at age 17. Years later Joni wrote about this time:

“I desperately wanted to kill myself… Why on earth should a person be forced to live out such a dreary existence? How I prayed for some accident or miracle to kill me. The mental and spiritual anguish was as unbearable as the physical torture. But. … there was no way for me to commit suicide. This frustration was also unbearable. I was despondent, but I was also angry because of my helplessness. How I wished for strength and control enough in my fingers to do something, anything, to end my life.” [ix]

Who at that time would have said, “God is clearly working out his gracious purpose in this young woman’s life”? Yet 35 years later, Joni, still a quadriplegic, wrote what may seem counterintuitive, but one day we will see through different eyes:

 “God cares most – not about making us comfortable, but about teaching us to hate our sins, grow up spiritually, and love him. To do this, he gives us salvation’s benefits only gradually, sometimes painfully gradually. In other words, he lets us continue to feel much of sin’s sting while we’re headed for heaven…where at last, every sorrow we taste will one day prove to be the best possible thing that could have happened.” [x]

God’s Superior Goodness

God’s superior goodness is the source of all lesser goodness, beauty, and pleasure in the universe.

Jonathan Edwards said in a 1733 sermon:

“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature, and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows. But the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams, but God is the fountain. These are but drops, but God is the ocean.” [xi]

God alone is the fountain of life. Without him, there could be neither life nor joy neither abundance nor delights.

“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” – Ps. 36:8-9

When I take pleasure in a good meal or a good book, I take pleasure in God. The meal and book do not substitute for God, nor do they distract me from him. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Man’s chief  end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

King David wrote,

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” – Ps. 16:11

Nothing but joy surrounds the presence of God. The world where he dwells, where one day we will dwell, has nothing but goodness.

At the other end of the spectrum, the world from which he will completely withdraw, Hell, will surely lack his goodness, and therefore will have nothing except what unredeemed humans take into it, insatiable lust, greed, hatred, fear, anxiety, jealousy, envy, pride, resentment, and pain.

Everything good, enjoyable, refreshing, fascinating, and interesting derives from God.

People who reject God now can maintain the illusion that life is good without him, only because he has not withdrawn all his good gifts in his kindness to them.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Pet. 3:9 (NIV)

Just a Taste

God’s goodness seen on this fallen earth is merely a sampling of God’s goodness in heaven. God promises to ultimately remove all evil so that we will live in a world of utter goodness. Consider this picture of the world where we will live forever as recorded in Revelation 21:3-5:

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God, Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

Eternal Perspective

Through eternal perspective in faith, we can:

  • See God’s goodness in our weakness and rejoice that our weakness provides a platform for showing his strength.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”2 Co. 12:7-10

  • Know God’s goodness even when our hearts break.

When George Mueller’s wife of 39 years died, he preached her funeral sermon from the text “Thou art good, and doest good” (Ps. 119:68) KJV.

Mueller recounts how he prayed when he discovered she had rheumatic fever:

“Yes, my Father, the times of my darling wife are in Thy hands. Thou wilt do the very best thing for her, and for me, whether life or death. If it may be, raise up yet again my precious wife – Thou art able to do it, though she is so ill; but howsoever Thou dealest with me, only help me to continue to be perfectly satisfied with Thy holy will.” When she died Mueller said:

“I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to his holy will to glorify him, I kiss continually the hand that has afflicted me… Without an effort my inmost soul habitually joys in the joy of that loved departed one. Her happiness gives joy to me. My dear daughter and I would not have her back, were it possible to produce it by the turn of a hand. God himself has done it; we are satisfied with him.” [xii]

  • Help one another affirm God’s goodness, even though at times God seems silent and we feel deserted.

Many of us, without realizing it, have walked the Emmaus road. (see Lk. 24:13-32 ). Sorrow overwhelms us. Questions plague us. We wonder where God is…when all along he walks beside us. (Praise the Lord!)

Is God’s Limited Love a Solution to Evil and Suffering?

While few critics make a philosophical argument that God lacks love, many when personally facing evil and suffering, interpret the terrible things happening to them to mean that God doesn’t love them after all. Doubt about their salvation may grip them, causing them to despair.

Others view God’s love in a way that eclipses all his other attributes. God’s love doesn’t surprise them. (“why shouldn’t God love us? We’re lovable, aren’t we?”) However, his Holiness and hatred of sin does surprise and trouble them. Moreover, they feel terribly disappointed that his love for them does not exempt them from suffering. Some feel hurt and confused, and others anger and resentment.

Old Testament Affirmation of God’s Love

The Old Testament repeatedly affirms God’s love for his people. After God revealed his name to Moses:

And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” – Ex. 34:6-7

God’s people call upon him to keep his promises of love:

O Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed; Remember the mercies of Your servant David.” – 2 Chron. 6:42

Nehemiah appeals to God’s love and asks him to intervene in a time of great hardship:

They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them.
But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion, they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them.
” – Neh. 9:17

God’s love abounds. It proliferates. It’s overflowing, even excessive, something all sufferers need to hear.

New Testament Affirmation of God’s Love

The New Testament repeatedly affirms God’s love, through Christ, to his people. With amazement, John writes:

  • Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.1 Jn. 3:1
  • And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” – 1 Jn 4:16

God Has Poured Out His Love

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”Rom. 5:5

I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!” – Rom. 8:39 (PHILLIPS)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” – Gal. 2:20  (See also Eph. 3:17-19 and Titus 3:4-7)

We are God’s “dearly loved children” (Eph. 5:1) and “brothers loved by God” (1 Thess. 1:4).

Christ’s incarnation and atonement provide the ultimate demonstration of love and the basis for loving others.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 Jn. 4:10-11 (NIV)

God Will Never …

God’s constant love for us will never let us down no matter how things appear. We often define love in superficial and trivial ways, setting us up to question God’s love in hard times. However, notice how our spiritual forebearers saw his love:

  • Ps. 32:10 – “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.”
  • Ps. 51:1 – “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.”
  • Lam. 3:32 – “Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”

We cannot see the end God has in mind. If we could, we would likely see that the hardships God allows, prevent even more deliberating hardships, the by-products of the diminished character that results from life at ease.

A Just and Holy God

God is as just and holy as he is loving. In order to understand God’s love in our current culture, it’s necessary to distinguish what love doesn’t mean and to see it in relationship to God’s other attributes.

Yes, God is love, but it is not his only attribute, nor is it always his defining attribute. More and more we hear that God’s love overshadows all his other attributes as if the rest have only secondary importance.

Gregory Boyd writes,

“God is unsurpassable love. The foundational difference between the truth of God and every version of the serpent’s lie is that Jesus Christ first and foremost reveals God as unsurpassable love: God is love… the most fundamental distinguishing characteristic of every false picture of God is that it qualifies and compromises the truth about God’s love.” [xiii] 

Unfortunately, this viewpoint guarantees that affirmations of God’s holiness or justice, which also should never be qualified or compromised, will appear to qualify and compromise God’s love.

God is loving, but he is not only loving. Isaiah says,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:“ Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” – Isa. 6:1-3

Notice that the angels before God’s face day and night do not cry: “Love, love, love is the Lord of hosts.”

Least we believe that God’s love in the New Testament eclipses His Holiness in the Old Testament, the final book of the Bible reveals the present and future in a picture similar to Isaiah’s vision:

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” – Rev. 4:8

God did not cease to be uncompromisingly holy when Jesus came into the world. God’s eternal character does not change.

  • Mal. 3:6 – “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore, you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.”
  • James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

This means the following Old Testament declarations remain just as true now as when they first appeared in scripture.

  • Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?” – Ex. 15:11
  •  “Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?” – 1 Sam. 6:20
  • Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; Who is so great a God as our God?” – Ps. 77:13
  • Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool—He is holy.” – Ps. 99:5
  • You were to them God-Who-Forgives, though You took vengeance on their deeds. Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy.” – Ps. 99:8-9

Of course, holiness is not God’s only other attribute, which makes it all the more important that we refuse to reduce him only to love. But we can distinguish holiness from love, so it serves as a good example. Notice how Joshua appealed to God’s holiness, not his love:

You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” Josh. 24:19-20

To demons, God’s defining characteristic is his holiness: “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”  – Mk. 1:24

When Paul alludes to two godlike qualities, the Lord’s righteousness and holiness come to his mind: “…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” – Eph. 4:24

God cares as much that we share in his holiness as in his love:

  • For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” – Heb. 12:10
  • Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” – Heb. 12:14

Avoid the Mistake so Many Make

It’s a mistake to think God’s love overshadows his Holiness or to think his Holiness limits his love. In the book titled The Difficult Doctrine of The Love of God, D.A. Carson writes,

“The love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable. The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all sentimentalized…

It has not always been so. In generations when almost everyone believed in the justice of God, people sometimes found it difficult to believe in the love of God. The preaching of the love of God came as wonderful good news. Nowadays if you tell people that God loves them, they are unlikely to be surprised.” [xiv]  

If we ask people to vote on a divine character quality they most appreciate, God’s love would surely receive far more votes than his holiness. Christians tend to reflect our culture, and because our culture values love and devalues holiness, we do the same. We have taken one precious design attribute, love, defined it as we please, then used our redefinition to neutralize others of God’s attributes that don’t appeal to us.

God’s attributes of holiness, purity, and righteousness prompt him to hate evil, including some human attitudes and actions; And yes even some people (see Deut. 12:31, Prov. 6:16-19, Jer. 44:4, Mal. 1:2-3)

David writes: “God is an honest judge. He is angry with the wicked every day.” –  Ps. 7:11 (NLT)

David also reminds us: “O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the sins of the wicked. Therefore, the proud may not stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers.” – Ps 5:4-6

These statements make clear that our loving God won’t allow the wicked to dwell in his presence. Certainly, he hates sin; but passages such as these go further by saying:

And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”Jn. 3:36

The Reality of Love

God calls upon us to love our enemies, yet to be Christ-like means to love good and hate evil. (see Prov. 8:13). We cannot separate the two, nor should we try to separate God’s love from his holiness. Whenever we set one above the other, we fail to honor God as God and fail to accurately represent his character to our families, churches, and culture.

Jesus shows us exactly what God looks like. Problems arise when we trust our own subjective picture of Jesus over what the Bible says and shows. The same Jesus who spoke words of tender love and forgiveness also spoke some of the harshest words of condemnation in scripture.

Jesus spoke more about Hell, and in more terrible terms, than anyone else in the Bible. When we speak only of love, inevitably we will diminish or reject the biblical teaching of Hell. If we imagine it unloving to speak of hell, we imagine Jesus to be unloving.

If God’s love outstripped his holiness, then why send Jesus to the cross? If love trumps holiness, why not dispense with the crucifixion, especially since Jesus asked for this (see Matt. 26:39)?

The Truth Is…

God’s holiness and love combined at Calvary constitute the only way possible to save sinners and still satisfy God’s perfect nature. God could have created or governed us without loving us, but he would not have gone to the cross without loving us.

The most compelling proof of God’s love is giving his son to die for us.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” –  1 Jn 4:9-10

We were all God’s enemies:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior”Col. 1:21 (NIV)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom. 5:8

That is the Good News of the Gospel!

Maranatha! Until next time, I am Passionately Loving Jesus, the Anchor of my Soul.

ABC’s of Salvation – Repent and be saved from the Wrath of God to come.

  • [i] John K. Roth, “A Theodicy of Protest,” in Encountering Evil, ed. Stephen T. Davis (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 6-7.
  • [ii] Roth, “A Theodicy of Protest,” 31-32.
  • [iii] Larry Crab, Finding God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995 ), 37, 86.
  • [iv] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 197.
  • [v] Grudem, Systematic Theology, 197.
  • [vi] Henri Blocher, Evil and The Cross (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1994), 59.
  • [vii] Bruce Waltke and Charles Yu, An Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), 507.
  • [viii] C. S. Lewis The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1962), 40-41.
  • [ix] Joni Erickson Tada, Joni (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan, 1976 ), 74-75.
  • [x] Joni Erickson Tada and Steven Estes, When God Weeps (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan 1997), 56.
  • [xi] Jonathan Edwards, quoted in Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2004), 179.
  • [xii] John Piper, “A Very Precious and Practical Doctrine,” September 29, 1981,
  • [xiii] Gregory A. Boyd, Is God to Blame? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2003), 36.
  • [xiv] D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000 ), 11.
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  1. I like your posts but, as I previously commented, the flower background makes them virtually unreadable!

    1. Bonnie says:

      Thank you for your comment. I have been unsuccessful in finding the cause for the link glitch. It is most frustrating. Time to contact the web host service. Stay tuned.

    2. Bonnie says:

      Glenn, Please try the link again. I have made a few changes and it works for me now. Thanks for your understanding and help!

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