It is a common saying among Christians that every human being is a sinner deserving of punishment in hell. The Christian worldview depicts human beings as wretched, sinful, lost, and in need of salvation. In this short article I want to examine this idea and whether it makes sense in light of the existence of a sovereign God.
I have often been puzzled by the Christian concept of original sin. The idea that a single rebellious action by one man, Adam, could lead to guilt for the whole human race for thousands of years seems somewhat bizarre. I can only imagine that the story of the fall of man must be metaphor – a warning from God that each human being must guard against pride. Either that or the fall is an idea created by theologians outside of Scripture, which has become popular simply because it is a way of justifying the Christian idea that every human being needs salvation.
I have a very high view of the sovereignty of God. I believe God is sovereign over all events. That is to say, we do not have free will. If you believe in free will you are necessarily limiting the sovereignty of God, which I am unwilling to do, because when I contemplate the nature of God I deduce that He is omnipresent and has no boundaries – there is no place where God ends and freedom begins. God is the creator, sustainer, and animator of all that exists.
It is not possible to be a Christian and believe what I have stated in the above paragraph. The whole Christian worldview hinges on the idea that we are guilty of punishment, and in order to be guilty, we must be free. Christians believe God is going to judge us for all the decisions we have freely made. Without free will, the idea of divine judgment makes no sense; nor does the Christian worldview in general.
It all comes down to our conception of the nature of God. What are His attributes? Is God separate from His creation, or is creation contained within God? Is God all-powerful or is His power limited? Is God everywhere, or is there a place where God’s being ends and something else begins? Is God spirit, or matter, or spirit and matter?
What we understand and believe about God determines whether or not we can make sense of the Christian worldview and the idea that we are guilty sinners who deserve punishment in hell. I realise that for everyone who believes in God, this presents a predicament. I have tried to explore this predicament in depth in my essay entitled An Almighty Predicament, which is available here.
I humbly invite you to read my essay, and reflect upon the presentation I make concerning the nature of God and the Christian worldview. I am open to questions, comments, and suggestions. You are welcome to leave a comment below, though if you have a lot to say it’s probably better to email me.
God bless you, and I look forward to hearing from you.