If God is a loving God, why is our path to heaven so narrow?

Today’s video asks: If God is a loving God, why is our path to heaven so narrow?

Notes:

It is similar to the law of gravity, we do not each get our own. There is only one.

Truth, by definition, will always be restrictive. Without restriction, there is no distinction between truth and error.

For any authentic currency, there are those who will endeavor to develop a counterfeit.

In truth, the way to heaven is no narrow. It is so merciful. It would be narrow if I had to obey a laundry list of laws in order to get there.

The narrowness lies in the fact that I cannot manufacture my own truth.

God is one and has provided for us a means of salvation. All he asks of us to is accept that which he as offered.

Turning out back on the way to heaven God has provided and seeking to make my own way means I am being narrow in my own choices.

Questions:

Do you consider the fact that there is only one way to heaven to be narrow-minded of God?

If there were more than one way, would there ever be enough to satisfy everyone?

Do you believe having only one way to heaven undermines the idea of a loving God?

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As usual Ravi gives such a great answer to a very common charge against the Christian faith and its increasingly unpopular claim to exclusivity. The reality of any given truth claim being one that necessarily excludes or restricts itself against competing claims that are not true is simply an intrinsic feature of the way the world was created to work. Laws of logic are by definition exclusive as well. The law of identity bears upon the entirety of our thinking in a wholly restrictive and exclusive way, stating that each thing is identical with itself. Apples are apples and cannot be potatoes. That each thing is identical with itself is a fundamental law of logic and thought and is by its very nature exclusive.

This being so, and unavoidably so, the question of Gods love being somehow compromised because of the narrowness of whats needed to relate to Him, doesn’t comport very well with even our own lived experience. Take for instance the fact that marriage is between one man and one women. The institution is very large, indeed universal in its extension, but it is narrow in that it is between one man and one women. Now does this exclusive feature of marriage somehow cast doubts on its validity? Not at all, i think in fact that it instead reinforces it. Or consider me telling my son that he only has one Dad that he is to come home to everyday. Would this be an unloving thing to say and to implement? On the claim that a narrowness of options is to somehow be unloving we might have to say that it is, but we know its not. Im his Dad, and hes my son, and he has a home that he can be confident he can come back to everyday. This turns out to be a very exclusive arrangement, but it also has the potential to be one of the most profoundly loving arrangements. So families are by their very nature exclusive institutions, but that doesn’t make them unloving. So the assumption that love can not exist alongside of exclusivity, or narrowness, turns out to have the weight of lived experience pressing against it

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The notes mention the economics of authentic currency and counterfeits. This reminds me how glad I am that my bank is very restrictive with my money. The bank goes to great lengths to secure my assets, even requiring dual authentication to log into accounts.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. The extra security can be annoying, but I wouldn’t do business with a bank that lets everyone else access my accounts. Nothing less than foolproof security is acceptable.

If I expect a bank to manage its holdings so rigidly, I cannot object when God puts restrictions on the treasures of heaven. The more valuable the treasure, the tighter its security.

No, God is not narrow-minded to have created a narrow way to salvation. Heaven is worthy of more secure access than a bank. Scripture says "The fool has said in his heart,“There is no God.” God is right to have fool-proof security.

Hi @dennis.gladden! Thank you for your engagement on this post. If I put my non-believer hat on i feel like I would press back on what you said. I might say, “A bank’s purpose is to protect your money and keep people out. God is supposed to be benevolent. He is supposed to be trying to give and invite people into heaven. Keeping it restrictive like a bank seems to keep people out of heaven. And that doesn’t seem to fit a benevolent God.” I am curious how you might respond if a non-believer were to say that in response to your comment.

I hope I’m not out of line, but I just have to repIy.

I would say that we each have our own free, perfect bank account. it’s our choice to accept it and sign up for this Divine relationship that is perfectly protected just for you by his grace and love.

I would simply like to answer the three questions.

Do you consider the fact that there is only one way to heaven to be narrow-minded of God?
NO!!!
Can there be more than one who is totally completely just and righteous?

If there were more than one way, would there ever be enough to satisfy everyone?
NO!!!
There are too many “Religions / gods” now to choose from.

Do you believe having only one way to heaven undermines the idea of a loving God?
NO!!!
Can there be more Love than the greatest Love?

Jesus said let your Yes be yes and no be no.
Just wanted to answer the questions as simply as I could.
Mike

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@Joshua_Hansen Thank you for your reply and your invitation to respond. I was trying to say with the bank analogy that I think we have a double standard when we reserve the right to guard our possessions and to share them only with the ones we want, but judge God for allowing into heaven only those whom he will.

The truth is, God is benevolent. Jesus invites, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And, whoever believes “will not perish but have everlasting life.” And, “the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” Many more scriptures affirm that God wants us in his kingdom and he has freely given us his grace.

God absolutely is not narrowminded, but we are rebellious. He has opened the door and calls us — urges us — to enter, but we refuse. We insist on heaven on our own terms, but our ways are not God’s ways.

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Thank you for your thoughtful response! Using a bank analogy, perhaps I would say that heaven is like a blender. Haha! Banks used to give our blenders and home appliances to people when they would open a new bank account. Anyone can open a new bank account (this analogy assumes everyone has money, so perhaps money in this analogy can be the Grace of God since it has been given to everyone)! But, don’t get mad at the bank, when you show up demanding a blender yet refuse to open an account, and they do not give you one. There is one way to get a blender and it is free available to anyone!

Thank you for interacting here and making this a great conversation!

One other thought is that God remains faithful to His character and nature. He is absolutely holy and the means that we are able to come into His Presence must meet the standards of His divine nature.
All ways or any way do not lead to the Throne because they fail to meet His holiness and justice.
Is this narrow minded? I don’t think so. He is God, and He alone is able to qualify who and how anyone approaches His Presence.

It is through His magnificence that we have any concept of greatness, justice, love, mercy, etc. And He exhibits all of these by determining and communicating the path to His Throne, supplying the Way through Jesus Christ, and even making all the sacrifices necessary that we may fellowship with Him. I cannot imagine a more generous nature than His, or a more humble nature than the Lord Jesus putting Himself in the body of man and hanging out here on earth, dying and resurrecting so that we may dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

You know if I was going to be a guest at the White House or Buckingham Palace, I wouldn’t think anything of the standard background check. I would have to demonstrate that I have a history of being without criminal activity and responsible living. Imagine if these background checks disqualified you for any lie, impure thought, negligence, selfish act, impulsive word or deed, etc from the time of your birth, no one would ever be able to meet the President or the Queen! While these things and more do disqualify us from being in the God’s Sacred Presence, we are welcomed in Jesus’s Name. As He has smoothly paved the road for us, and will introduce us without fault and with great joy (Jude 24) when we accept His gifts of work for the salvation of mankind.

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I like your blender analogy. I remember the time when banks (and gas stations) gave things like that. How old does that make us?! Thanks for the picture.

Your last statement is especially meaningful,

There is just one way to heaven, but it’s the same way for everyone.

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Yes! And I think this is why the way to heaven cannot be said to be restrictive. It is available to anyone! There are no prerequisites that would keep someone from being able to confess Jesus as Lord!

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