Friday, June 02, 2006

a new angle on a common objection

You’ve heard some of the objections that people have to Christianity, haven’t you? The most commonly heard goes like this, “If God is all loving, all powerful, and all knowing, then why does evil exist. Either God is all loving and all knowing but not all powerful therefore, He is impotent, or He is all powerful and all knowing, and not all loving making him a cruel and evil God.” This is the most common, and it is very convincing to the unaware, but let me assure you that there is a logical and correct way to answer this challenge. I will go into this one at a later time, but for a quick answer it is that the premise is false. Saying that God is all loving, all powerful, and all knowing is a good description of God as far as it goes, but it is not a complete description. It also assumes that evil is by the active design and will of God and not a corruption by His created sentient life (angels and humans).

The objection that I want to deal with here is with one of the objections raised when confronted with the exclusiveness of Christ (John 14:6). The specific issue is that “most people will go to hell” if this is true. I do concur that this is true, but I want to make a few qualifications that may put this in a more clear light.

Let me start by affirming that all people who have ever lived have transgressed the law of God, and therefore are subject to the Justice of God.1 All people (and their transgression) will need to be judged by God because of His justice after they die (Hebrews 9:27). Because of this requirement that is derived from the very character of God Himself, we see the merciful side of God by His creating a way for us to not be found guilty as we should be. This was the substitutionary and sacrificial death of Christ for those who are trust in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1st Peter 3:18). And that the just punishment for all sin for all people is the eternal condemnation in Hell. We can see a depiction of this in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19ff). And finally, I would agree with Matthew 7:13 that the way to eternal life is narrow and only a few find it.

Now you’re probably wondering how this is different from the normal (and correct) way of understanding the situation. I want to expand the understanding by way of asking and answering some basic questions.

Question: When does the Bible seem to indicate that human life begins?
Answer: Immediately at conception. (Psalms 139:13; Isaiah 49:5)

Question: What happens when a baby dies?
Answer: God shows His mercy by bringing them to heaven. (2 Samuel 12:23)

Both of these questions reveal a very dear and deep understanding of God and of life. The knowledge that children who die (in infancy as seen in 2 Samuel) then go to heaven was a comfort for David and Bathsheba and it has continued to be a comfort to many other parents throughout the ages.

Now for the new angle:

Have you ever thought about the infant mortality rate? In the United States currently, it is at around 2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Before modern medical technology, it was not unheard of for infant mortality rates of 100, 200, or more for every 1,000 live births.2 The numbers fluctuated with war, famine, disease, weather, and other variables that modern technology has (in America, at least) dulled the effects of. But even today, in some parts of the world (Africa, the Middle East, and Asia) these mortality rates are still near 100 or easily surpassing 100. This only counts children in infancy, not toddlers or very young children (ages 5, 6, or 7).

Now, let’s imagine back through all of recorded history and think of all of the millions and millions of children who would have been part of this “statistic” and how crowded heaven must be with these precious little ones. This may make the picture seem less bleak for the skeptic, but that’s not the end of the story. Do you know that approximately 15% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage?3 That means if the average infant mortality rate throughout history was about 100 per 1,000, that the actual mortality rate would be closer to 220 per 1,000 pregnancies.4 Again, this picture, when thought about throughout human history shows how many people are saved by God in His mercy.

the despicable

You don’t have to read the pages of the Bible or of general pagan histories of the world for too long before you see the sickening practice of offering children as sacrifices to pagan gods like Molech (Leviticus 20:2; 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 32:35). There are stories of human sacrifices to the gods of the Vikings, Aztecs, and many other nations and religions. The most contemporary religion that engages in child sacrifice goes by many names, but it can be described with words like “social status”5, “vanity”, “birth control”, or “capitalism.” It has been estimated that approximately 46 million abortions are performed every single year (in modern times). The number of legal abortions in the United States is about 40 million between 1973 and 2000. If the 40 million figure is accurate (or nearly accurate) and it has grown and fluctuated over the past 34 years, we can assume that a possible 1.15 billion babies have been aborted since 1973, this means that about 93,000 babies are aborted worldwide on a daily basis.

Even if these figures are inflated (and I truly hope that they are), and the truth is ½ this total amount, that is still 46,000 each day for the past 23 years! Putting aside how horrible and evil each of these individual murders is, and holding back the tears for these tiny lives… think about the fact of God’s gracious mercy and how all of these children went from a horrible and painful (in many cases) death, directly into the loving and comforting arms of Christ!


This is not a rationale for why we (Christians) should be happy or silent or complacent when it comes to the abortion issue or life issues in general. We need to be vehemently opposed to the death of the innocent and the vulnerable.

This is a rational view of the situation in light of the objection that God sends most people to hell.

It is possible in light of these facts that a much higher percentage of humanity will be graciously saved by God than what people normally think of when this objection is posed. This might not be a correct application of scripture (but I think that it is), but wouldn’t this be an example of God causing all things (war, famine, greed, hunger, idolatry, etc) to work together for the good of these children (Romans 8:28).

God, the one who has revealed Himself in the Bible, is more merciful, kind, and gracious as well as just and righteous than any false god that man has been able to comprehend. May he ever be magnified and glorified.

1 Obviously, the one and only exception to this is Christ, Himself. All the rest of humanity would be in this predicament.

2 Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy

3 University of Iowa Health Care

4 I change from birth to pregnancy here because that is the issue. A child is not valuable when he or she is born, but the child is valuable when he or she is alive.

5 The killing of female children in many different ways both before birth and after birth occurs in China because if you can have only 1 child, boys were more desirable.

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