I recently read the book Erasing Hell by Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle. I highly recommend it! Chan and Sprinkle do an excellent job addressing a very difficult topic. It’s an easy read…a testament to the teaching ability of Chan who is able to communicate complex ideas in very understandable terms. The book is well-informed/researched and each chapter has end notes which you’ll find helpful in continued personal study of the topic. Here’s a quote that I felt really summed up the heart of the book:
The fact is, Scripture is filled with divine actions that don’t fit our human standards of logic or morality. But they don’t need to, because we are the clay and He is the Potter. We need to stop trying to domesticate God or confine Him to tidy categories and compartments that reflect our human sentiments rather than His inexplicable ways.
We serve a God whose ways are incomprehensible, whose thoughts are not like our thoughts. Ultimately, thoughts of God should lead to joy, because those same thoughts designed the cross-the place where righteousness and wrath kiss. – p. 135-136
In other words, God is bigger than our understanding. That’s a good thing! We embrace that with some of His more “palatable” attributes (mercy, forgiveness), but when it comes to the more difficult ones (i.e. wrath, judgement) we have a tendency to get uncomfortable. We need to be mindful of the fact that He is the creator and we are the created. When we don’t understand Him, it’s not Him who is wrong. Our circumstances and our understanding of God don’t define Him. He is beyond all of that. He is who He says He is, whether or not we understand. I’m MUCH more comfortable having things I don’t understand about God than I am with God fitting into my limited view of reality. As the authors state: those same thoughts of God lead to the cross…something I NEVER would have considered if I was God.