Bell Fails to Grasp the Weight of Infinity

The Empyrean (highest heaven), from the illust...

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The recent release of Rob Bell’s new book “Love Wins” has spawned a maelstrom of reactions in both the Christian community and the news media as well.  I have been studying the emergent church movement for the past four years and so I feel it is time to throw my hat into the ring.  There is much that can be said, so much that can be said but I wanted to focus on a specific statement rather then write a novel.  One day I would like to write a book, but not today and not necessarily on the Emergent Church either.  The title of this article is a bit ironic because no one really grasps infinity.  But that is not to say that we can’t have perspectives on infinity which do it more justice than other perspectives.  One sticking point with hell that Emergent church leaders have grappled with is the eternity and finality of hell.  Lets review some quotes.

“If something is wrong with your god.  If your god is loving one second and cruel the next.  If your god will punish people for all eternity for sins committed in a few short years.  No amount of cleaver marketing, or compelling language or good music or great coffee will be able to disguise that one true, glaring, untenable, unacceptable, awful reality.”  – Love Wins, Rob Bell

“How could an infinite God condemn finite man to eternal punishment for a finite amount of sin and still be called good?”  – Brian McLaren Interview

To understand how a finite amount sin in a finite time might merit eternal punishment we first have to understand the nature of the offense and the offended.  Scripture tells us in three places that Solomon said;

2 Chronicles 2:6  – But who is equal to building him a house? Why, heaven itself, even the heaven of heavens, cannot contain him; so who am I to build him a house, except to offer sacrifices before him?

God is infinite, beyond this universe.  God is infinitely worthy of praise, exaltation, obedience.  Then what is man?

Psalm 8
 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings F14
and crowned him with glory and honor.

Man is crowned with glory and honor not by his own account but by the account of Him who made man so.  Having loved and made us to bear His image we owe an infinite allegiance.  So every offense is an offense in opposition to what is infinitely owed.  It may be finite in occurrence but is incalculable in cost.  To put it another way since we may grasp eminence  easier.  They are using viruses to repair poor genes now.  If I were to create a virus and it acts against what I made it for then would I be unjust to put an end to it?    Would I not be considered mad if I said it must be allowed to live and continue its destructive path?

Proverbs 17:15
 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
are both alike an abomination to the Lord.

How can God be holy if he allows an infinite injustice to persist?  If the infinite worthiness of God to be obeyed and exalted is slandered, how would it be just to allow such an infinite offense to be addressed finitely?


About Last Fiddle
I have always had many interests; technology, science, philosophy, theology, politics, history, etc... Currently, life for the past twelve years has placed me in the area of technology fulfilling roles in System Administration and Architecture. But I have always been involved in the local church and enjoy researching and discussing issues of theology, philosophy, history and politics...

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