Below is a continuation of my answer to a Youtube user’s “78 Questions for Christians” video.
(6.) “What about any non Christian – good person – should they be burning in Hell?”
“‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.'” (Romans 3:10-12).
“Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
Surely he knows that all real Christians will respond by saying there are no good people right? Evidently not. Christians are not even good people within a strict meaning of the word “good.” We are all sinners saved by grace. As I have expounded upon before, all are conceived under the sentence of condemnation and we have all incurred the wrath of God for our sin. Outside of Christ, God does not view anyone as good, but as a lawbreaker.
When we turn to God, placing our faith in Christ and his work, God looks upon us no longer as lawbreakers, but instead sees his own righteousness. “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust [Adam], we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven [Jesus]” (1 Corinthians 15:49). We are being renewed to reflect Christ’s perfect image and righteousness (Colossians 3:10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 8:29), rather than reflect the image of sin and corruption. Through Jesus Christ is the only way we may be no longer be viewed as lawbreakers.
Furthermore – assuming the man in the video is atheist – what is your standard of good? It must be arbitrary is it not? You do not believe in an ultimate being or an ultimate, objective concept of moral “goodness” do you? That would contradict your worldview. The moral argument is always beaten over the head of the atheist, but my objection still stands. The man appeals to some concept of good and asserts it against the Biblical perspective, but what right does he have to do this? None.
This “goodness,” since it is not derived from the character and being of God, is relative by necessity. If goodness is therefore relative, which is the only consistent materialist position, then the man has no right to push his standard of goodness over my standard of goodness which is derived from scripture. So when he may inevitably object to the Christian perspective that none are good, he does so only by contradicting his own worldview.
Once more, by merit of possessing an idea of moral goodness and righteousness, he presupposes the Christian worldview. The atheist ought not say that people should not be sent to Hell because they are “good” people because “good” does not exist in his world. Furthermore, if he says that people should not be sent to Hell, that itself is a moral claim which presupposes a true morality which the atheist does not possess. By professing some type of “good,” and “should,” “ought,” and morality, the man presupposes the existence of the God he hates in order to oppose him. Oh the irony.
(7.) “Would you be happy in Heaven if someone you loved were in Hell?”
The basic answer to the question is yes, because scripture explicitly says so: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
However, since this answer will be immediately received with detestation, let me explain a little bit further. Christ once stated, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Jesus was certainly not commanding individuals to hate their loved ones (as the parallel account in Matthew 10:37 indicates), but taught that the love we have for anyone else in our life should look like hatred in comparison to our love for God. If we love someone else more than God (Matthew 10:37) then we are engaging in idolatry. If we resent God for executing his righteous judgments against the condemned
We will all recognize at the judgment, saints and the unsaved alike, the full majesty and righteousness of God. God’s judgments are just and true, and all the saints will submit to God in absolute reverence for all eternity. They will be in the presence of him from whom all goodness and contentment flow.
Here is something else to think about. The man in the video asks this in order to give a partially moral appeal. He seems to imply that people ought to grieve over their loved ones in Heaven. No doubt the man will object to the answer that the saints in Heaven will not be miserable for all of eternity. He most likely thinks that it is awful for God’s people to be able to be happy in Heaven while others receive the just punishment for their sin, but why? Why should people feel one way or another? Why would this be a terrible thought? Does he think it is evil to believe this? It seems that this is another moral appeal. Once again, if the atheist (as I am assuming him to be) appeals to some semblance of morality, he is either being arbitrary which means I can disregard it, or it means that he is presupposing the objective, true God that defines concepts like good and evil. Once again, if he is appealing to his audience’s sense of what they ought to think concerning a moral question, then he is presupposing the God he hates in order to argue against him.
(8.) “If your son or daughter were dying – and I hope that never happens – would you just pray for them or would you take them to a doctor?”
Also a doctor obviously.
(9.) “And say you do both, which one would you say had more of an impact?”
Well if the doctor heals the child it was according to God’s will, and God utilized secondary means in order to make them well again. Pray never changes the eternal and immutable purpose of God. My prayers change nothing. Prayer is a method by which we submit to God’s will. Prayer is not an act of merely wishing for stuff, but acknowledging God in the midst of every situation. God has predestined and purposed all things (Ephesians 1:11, Lamentations 3:37); his will cannot be thwarted (Numbers 23:19, Job 42:2). My prayers have no effectual quality to them. God never changes, nor does he change his mind, so it’s not as if I would be trying to convince God to do something that he did not already will to do from eternity.
My prayers have no innate power, so the effectual impact was the doctors’ treatment, which was successful according to the eternal purpose of God. If one then asks whether God or the doctors had a larger impact (which may be what is actually being asked), then I would say that this is a flawed distinction. God, through the secondary means of the doctors’ treatment, cured the child.
Similarly, this would be like asking whether or not God or his brothers had the bigger impact in selling Joseph into slavery and shipping him off to Egypt (Genesis 37). Both God and Joseph’s brothers did this, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). God through secondary means, caused Joseph to end up in Egypt. There is no division between God having more of an impact in accomplishing this, or Joseph’s brothers. The same goes for the crucifixion (John 11:50-51, Acts 4:27-28). Likewise, if God wills the child to recover, God uses the secondary (non miraculous) means of doctors and medical treatment to heal. There is no distinction of which has the bigger impact in this sense. God accomplished the child’s healing according to his eternal will.
Atheists love to confuse this issue and to take advantage of professing Christians who are ignorant. The goal of this question is also to drive a wedge between “science” and “faith,” both terms of which are virtually never defined in the midst of the mindlessness found on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet. The question and implied conclusion may be phrased, “Did science cure your child? Or did your pleas sent to your imaginary god heal your child?” Obviously when the issues are represented as such, the atheist convinces themselves and those who agree with them that Christians are thus being “unscientific” by believing in prayer and praying. However, obviously they deceive themselves by doing this, for this is not true prayer (mere wishing is not prayer, nor are human words effectual in themselves to modify the outcomes of situations); God’s providence cannot be severed from the creation over which his providence resides. “Was it God or science??” Clearly one who severs the link between the events of the world and God’s purpose are not talking about the Christian God.