Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Christs death, election, and the problem of "subconscious superiority"

The cross was the means by which God would reconcile his creation to Himself...to save it(2 Corinthians 5:19). It cost Jesus his dignity and His life. And though he did it for "all" and the "world", somehow people seem to believe that most of humanity wont be saved from it. That somehow, the cross failed to accomplish its mission(though they would argue that it didnt fail, but it was simply us that failed to accept it, or some complex "God vs Man" rationalization).

But why cant Christ get all that he suffered and died for? Cant it be logical to say that God will not give up until everyone comes under that repentance, that love and salvation in Him?

The sad argument I hear against this often is:
"If all will be saved, then that cheapens Christs death on the cross"

Im sorry, but how on earth does someone dare to say that Christs death and payment on Calvary was somehow "cheap" if he reconciles not a few sinners, but all that God created and loves?
Thats like Jesus spending all His money to buy a mansion that he had his eyes set on His whole life(the guy was homeless His whole ministry maybe he wants His own pad for a change, eh?). But soon afterwards, as Jesus is about to enter the mansion, Satan hops out from the bushes and goes,
"HA HAAA! You have the keys to the mansion, but all Ill allow you to have is the tiny bathroom! I still own all the rest of the property that you paid for! HA HAAA". And Jesus replies.
"Awwww...shucks! Oh well, I like bathrooms!"
...but how does that even remotely make sense?

So people seem to rationalize this limited line of thought, by suggesting that God only meant to pay for "the tiny bathroom" of humanity, otherwise known as "the elect"(this is more the Calvinist view). That Biblical passages like:
"For God so loved the WORLD that he gave His only begotten son"(John 3:16) and
"[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and NOT ONLY for ours but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD"(1 John 2:2)
...were only a figurative round-about way of saying the fraction of humanity that is called the "elect" of God.

And here we find a grave problem. Because if Jesus only died to save a few select sinners(us Christians in this life) than that means God chose us over the BILLIONS of unsaved, depraved people. He reached His hand down from heaven to save us from the fiery pit of destruction, but only gave sight to a select few to see that hand at all. Then He goes on to punish for all eternity those whom he didn't allow to have sight. And sadly enough, this view makes God out to be the worst villain ever to exist. This view states that though he allowed humanity to drown in a pool of sin, he only chose to rescue a few...even though He has the power and DESIRE(2 Peter 3:9) to save all. Consider this little cartoon:


Could God REALLY be like that? Mainstream Christian theology seems to think so. And this understanding sets in peoples minds...until they view the unsaved like this:
"God was gracious enough to save me, but not you! Oh well, you made your choice!"

We then as Christians, unknowingly, find ourselves more loved and cherished by God, because we are his "elect". We come to understand that God saved us Christians exclusively. This creates in us what I like to call "subconscious superiority". Its the same sort of "subconscious superiority" that Israel had because they were the "chosen people of God".
This subconscious superiority does not mean that you don't have "a heart for the unsaved" or that you automatically strut around thinking your better than anyone who is not Gods "elect". But at the same time...it creates that knee jerk reaction that goes,
"NO! Christ cant die for all, he died for me, he picked me, not you! His sacrifce would be meaningless if he REALLY died for EVERYONE!"

because the line of thought is (at least in the Armenian view) is that while God loves and died for everyone, He doesnt love them enough to save them and lets their clouded minds of "free will" override Gods ultimate purposes.(Calvinists would simply say Christ only died for the elect and thats all, but I digress). So the concept of us being the "elect" becomes subliminally etched in our minds and hearts as the pristine, "cream of the crop" batch of humans that God decided to REALLY die for over everyone else...because everyone else hates God and just wants to sin against Him! Rawr! (You like the rawr? I like the rawr. Im getting way off topic)

But in either case...the question burns...how can the scope of Adam's power to damn us be greater than the scope of Christs power to redeem us? Most would argue that it is not. But if we are honest with ourselves we can admit that according to both the Armenian and Calvinist schools of thought...the destruction of Adam will FOREVER claim the majority and will belittle the portion of souls redeemed through Christ. But how can that be so? How can that be Gods "perfect plan". Quite simply...it cannot be.

My honest question to you is, did He really die for you, more than He died for someone else? Did He die for the rich televangelist more than He died for the homeless drug addict? What makes us (Christians, the first fruits of Christ) any less of a sinner in need of grace than the next person who is never unveiled to His truth in this life? How can we truly believe that WE CHRISTIANS are all Christ came to save?

Israel certainty wasn't the only peoples to which God wanted to extend grace and love to, and later revealed that it was to the Gentiles too(Gen. 22:17-19).Was that not God's plan all along?:

John 14:47
"...For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it"

Luke 15:4-6
"4"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home."

John 17:21-23
"that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

1 Corinthians 15:22
"22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."

1 Timothy 4:10
"that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. "

These are just a few of HUNDREDS of verses that hint at Gods awesome plan to reconcile all of man-kind to himself. So I ask you again...why cant God get all he really paid for? Will he only be partial to a portion of humanity? Or will He be the savior of all humanity...ESPECIALLY of the the "elect" who believe in this life, like it says above in 1 Timothy? I believe we Christians are not superior, but equals to the non-Christians...of which God loves JUST as much and WILL bring to salvation and repentance as He has desired from the beginning. Christs death is therefore not "cheapened" or "meaningless"...it was the very high price God paid to save us from our depravity. To show His love for us as a people...not just for the "elect". It was the only means by which ALL humankind could and SHALL be saved by.

I pray God opens your mind, and your heart.


  1. Intriguing! I like it--a good point for discussion.

    First, a simple question: If Judas was bound for heaven, then what in the world would possess Jesus to say this:

    Mark 14:21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

    I propose that something awaits that is so bad that it would be better FOR HIM (Judas) to never have even existed at all rather than suffer it.

    I do like your idea, though. It seems flawed. I propose that the subconscious problem with this is NOT, "But I thought Christ loved me more!" But rather a question of why we have to live at all comes up. This life is far from perfect. If I am saved and there is no one else to bring to salvation, then why doesn't God just take me now? Is He waiting for me to procreate?
    The only logical conclusion to your proposal that I can come up with is this: We are to tell people about Christ to put them at ease (not to bring them to salvation). Then we are to dedicate our lives to procreating so that heaven will be more filled.
    I see another flaw, though. Why would Paul dedicate his life: "I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some." 1 Cor 9:22
    Save them from what if they are already saved? If I went by your arguments I would have to say that Paul believed he could do better than Christ! I don't believe that! I'd say that Paul believed that Christ did die for all, but that those who reject Christ must face consequences. So Paul does everything he can, working hard to make sure that everyone can hear and be saved.
    I admit that it doesn't make complete sense and that there are a lot of questions, but we have no real choice but to accept this because otherwise we are leaving those who do not believe up to chance. If I am wrong and I scare some people further from Christ (which I haven't, but I could see that as an argument) what do I have to lose if everyone is saved anyway? BUT if I believe everyone is saved and I do nothing to guide them toward Christ and THEN I'm wrong, what a terrible mistake I've made.

    That's what I've got. Love what you are doing with this!

    Ryan W

  2. But heres the thing Ryan, im not saying there are no consequences for our actions. I am not saying there is not judgment. Im not saying their is not chastisement.

    What I am saying is an eternal one with no purpose other than to repay finite sins with infinite punishment cannot be true justice. It is diabolical and cruel to me.

    God has punishment and judgment...but its for a purpose of correction...not of "OH YOU DIDNT GET IT RIGHT DIRTY SINNER!!! BE IN TORTURE FOREVER!!!!"

    Also...I lean towards the idea that all WILL come to repentence and relationship with him...rather than now. Regardless if everyone is "automaticly saved" or not, really isnt my point here. Jesus said go and make disciples of all the earth, not go and get everyone saved before God blows his top on judgment day and is somehow angry forever.

    my point is not to "sit back everybody, because everyone will be/is saved, so we dont need to tell anyone about christ". Believe it or not, knowing what I do now I actually want to tell people MORE so about Christ and what he did for them so they can "come to salvation" or "come to relationship" ...however you want to look at it. It doesnt change Gods commandments...it doesnt change that their are many broken people that need Christ in there heart...

    if I can say anything about my beliefs and what im trying to convey more than anything, it is that God loves EVERYONE...and even with judgment and chastisement for correction... he will restore EVERYONE to himself eventually...through the power of forgiveness and grace that was made possible by the cross

    God bless

  3. Eric, you make a great point with the "psychological superiority" of most limited-redemption Christians. They are all comfortable in their salvation and neglect to try and understand the worldview of the non-Christian and the influences upon that lead them to being non-Christians. Ultimately, limited-redemption boils salvation down to a lucky chance of fate. The Calvinist elect are so only by the "luck-of-the-draw" and the Arminian "free-willers" just so happened to be born at the right place, right time, and right influences in order for them to come to faith in Christianity. If God's redemptive power is limited only to a few people, then it is based almost fully on luck. I do not believe God plays dice with anyone's salvation.

    -Joseph Kyle Roberts

  4. As for Judas, this site: http://www.tentmaker.org/books/BibleThreateningsExplained.html#68 offers a decent explanation. There are many things in the Bible that are not meant to be taken literally (yes, I realize this sounds "un-Christian"). Jesus is not saying that Judas is going to burn in Hell forever, and it certainly never explicitly states that anywhere in the Bible.

    Anyway, nice blog post, Eric. It's very difficult to overcome even a minor sense of superiority, and I'm often reminded that I need to remember to avoid this way of thinking as well. I agree with what Rev said on an earlier post, your writing is improving. Good stuff.

  5. Thanks Kyle...I do not believe God would play dice with our salvation either...that would be cruel.

    And yeah micheal, you are right. I think everyone including myself, struggles with that at times. Its just the sinful nature. We must do what we can to be humble in our so called "knowledge" which at times is a challenge in of itself