In a conversation with an atheist, I was asked what kind of choice is “Choose Jesus or go to hell”? My initial response is that they truly do not understand or grasp the seriousness of sin, and therefore, do not understand the justice of God. Are there other aspects that I could bring to this conversation?
A few videos to consider by Tim Keller - he makes some great points that are useful to consider
One thing to keep in mind that I like to point out - if God is the source of all life (Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life”) then rejecting God is the same as rejecting life itself. To separate yourself from God is to separate yourself from life - so eternal death - whatever that means - is a natural consequence of rejecting God. It is not a choice God is forcing on us - it is a root reality that we are, of our own free will, choosing death if we reject God because life is in God. There is no life apart from Him.
So the atheist makes it sound like God is forcing us to make a terrible decision. He is not. It is we who are making a terrible decision and God who is doing everything He can - even sending His own Son to die on a tree - to demonstrate that He is life and we must come to Him to live.
Questions on Hell
Definition of love in light of vessels for destruction
Today one of my Hindu friend who has been reading the Bible for quite a while now, asked me to show him a verse where Jesus specifically said “If you don’t believe in Me, you will go to hell”
And though I shared with him John 3:18 & Mark 16:16, he is not quite convinced as the verses only mentions the word ‘Condemn’ & NOT ‘Hell’ specifically.
Is there any verse in the book of Gospels where Jesus specifically mentions the word ‘Hell’ as a consequence of NOT believing in Him??
Ravi Zacharias in ‘Beyond Opinion’ says “True love is the freedom to love”.
God is not a dictator if he forced us to love Him we wouldn’t truly grasp his love for us.
Hello @kelelek, I just saw this, but will still try to answer it. I hope it helps you somehow. Based on how I understood your conversation with an atheist, it seems that they feel that they don’t really have a choice, if they’ll go to hell if they won’t choose Jesus. @SeanO said that the atheist makes it sound like God is forcing us to make a terrible decision. Typically in these type of conversations, an atheist will portray God in being intolerant, because someone just believed differently. The discussion here should be framed that man will go to hell, not because they believed differently, but because man is a sinner. We need to help them see that not taking God’s only provision will leave us truly deserving of God’s just punishment.
@tshetij That is a good question. I think the best approach is to point to the reality of judgment. The Scriptures are clear that Jesus is the only way to life and that all men will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Regarding Hell, below are a few threads you may find informative. May Christ grant you wisdom as you reach out to your friend.
John 14:6 - Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 15:5-8 - I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Matthew 25:31-33, - “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left… Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life"
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.