Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Does God Know? Sheep, Goats and Universal Atonement

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Revelation 20:11-13 ESV

Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:32-33 ESV

What we have in these verses are two views of what is going to happen at the judgement on the last day.  The first is John actually seeing the event,  the second is Jesus telling the Disciples what will happen. These events are going to happen,  and they are set.  God,  being outside and not bound by time is already at judgement,  He has already seen judgement and He has told us through Jesus and through John. This is a done deal,  we are just waiting for it to happen. 

While we are waiting for this event to happen,  we are arguing about things like election and predestination.  My question for those who are against predestination is simple.  God can see the sheep and the goats,  who is saved and who is not. Can someone who is right now a goat but at judgement is a sheep choose to reject Christ.  It at the end of time,  God has already seen an individual,  and since God is outside of time,  God has already judged that person and they are saved,  can they choose to not be saved? Can man choose to reject what God has already seen?

I hope you see the issue with rejection of God's calling and predestination.  It means that John's vision isn't set because God does not know who is sheep and goat. Those of you who say "God knows but we can still choose" are making a logical fallacy to simply support your rejection of predestination.   The bottom line is,  God has already seen who is a sheep,  He calls those who are sheep,  and He has know and willed it since the foundation of the world. If this is not true, then God is as ignorant of the future as we are.

The other issue is of course the cross. It's believed within orthodox Christianity that Christ carried the wages of sin on the cross. The doctrine of Limited Atonement says that when Christ died,  He carried the sin of the elect,  those who will be sheep on the last day.  The doctrine of unlimited or universal atonement says the cross bore all the sins of every person who ever lived. Let's take that view to it's logical outcome.

We know God made Christ who knew no sin to become sin for us. In doing so, our sin is not counted against us. Our sin is no longer accounted to us and we are no longer alienated from God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that because God made Him sin, we have become the righteousness of God.  If Christ took the sins of every person ever, then everyone has become the righteousness of God.

I know what you are thinking. 1 John 2:2, He is the propitiation for the whole world, but this means every nation. If this means every person, no one would go to Hell because propitiation is justification and reconciliation. The only other option is for the blood to not fully complete the work of Christ on the cross. To believe that the sacrifice isn't effectual until we accept it puts the final work of salvation in our hands.

In essence, Christ blood covered almost every sin. The only sin not covered is sin of my accepting Christ. For universal salvation to work, we must be pardoned for this sin by our decision to follow Christ.  We must finish the work Christ started.  This idea is nothing short of heresy.

The other option is the blood covers everyone, but God withholds it until we accept. This negates the idea of Christ reconciling us to God, we are reconciled to God by our repentance. Christ simply becomes the conduit. We also end up back at the point of questioning if God knows the future. Why would He withhold from those who He knows will reject.

The whole line of questioning brings us to the argument of God is love, would He choose some to go to hell. This line of questioning will take us to the same place. Why would God create someone to send them to hell? Any way you cut it, if you believe God knows the future and can see the end of time, then God created people who He knows will go to hell. He is not helpless, clueless and silently hoping people will accept Him. He already knows.

The only logical way to reject these ideas is to embrace a theology that man finishes the work of Salvation by accepting Christ and God does not know the future. If the work is of Christ and God can see the sheep and the goats at judgement, the reality of predestination and limited atonement are in my mind settled. 

1 comment:

  1. Dan,
    You have done a good job showing the implications of God knowing the future.
    May I add another implication? Before God created, he knew the outcome, and by creating He approved of it.
    In fact, He created this world to get that outcome which includes the salvation of the elect. He created the world so that the elect might share in Him forever.
    All this he created so that He might have fellowship with believers.
    With you and myself as well.
    That is humbling andaweproducing to think about.