Have you heard of “Sophie’s Choice”? The story is told of a Jewish woman during WWII who had two children, a boy and a girl. She is told by a Nazi soldier to pick one child to live and one to die. The woman was unable to pick, and so the Nazi soldier grabbed the girl and started to walk away with her. The mother screamed, “NO! Not my daughter!” So the Nazi soldier returned and said, “You have made your choice.” Then he shot the boy.
Recently I was reading The Shack by William P. Young (If you haven’t read it, you should – if nothing else, it will make you think), where a similar situation is presented by God to Mack (the main character). So I blame the book for the following post:
God: Pick one of your girls to go to hell.
God: Okay. Pick two of your girls to come to heaven.
Me: What about the third?
God: Don’t worry about her.
Me: Ummm…I don’t like the sound of that. If I choose two, what will happen to the one I don’t pick?
God: Well, since I cannot lie, the truth is that she will go to hell. But it’s not because you chose her to go to hell, you simply chose the other two to go to heaven.
Me: Pardon me for saying so, God, but that is pure nonsense.
I have heard some Christians use the logic presented by “God” above. They say He didn’t actually choose anyone to go to hell, He just chose some to go to heaven, and “passed over” the rest. Generally, however, when Christians talk about this, they try to make it more palatable. Instead of using parents choosing which child should go to hell and which child should go to heaven, they talk about some inanimate object, like a bushel of apples. They say that if you have a basket of apples, and you choose some to take home to eat, you didn’t condemn the others, you simply didn’t choose them.
Frankly, I think humans are a bit more valuable than a bushel of apples. We are not inanimate, unthinking, temporal, clods. Well, maybe some of us are, but that’s besides the point.
God cares for us way more than we care for our children–even those of us who are clods. If we could not treat our children in the way described in the dialogue above, what makes us think God can?
Vin Thomas says
I read “The Shack” as well, and I thought this story was great. It really provoked some good thought about the subject of election. I have always struggled with this one. On one hand, if we say God arbitrarily chooses us then it seems to leave God in an unjust position. But if it is all up to us, where does election come in? I have heard some people try to explain it away (especially within the free grace camp), but it always seems to be with a bunch of interpretive gymnastics. I would be interested to hear your view on election…
Oh yes, God loves us so much more than we will even hope to know!!! I too read The Shack and fell in love with it. The realationship with the Trinity is truely the relationship He desires with us. Yes, I’ve experienced it, and it is so beautiful. May you experiencea and understand fully His Love and May you be blessed this New Year in The name of our Savior Jesus!
Jeremy Myers says
I actually do have lots of ideas on the doctrine of election and how to reconcile it with human freedom and predestination. I will eventually write something about this …so stay tuned.
This is one of those subjects that you helped me tremendously with in the past…… especially your take of Rom. 8:30. Your explanation was new to me but made a lot of sense. I use it now.
Now I see “election” differently than many of my friends. I don’t see where it ever says that God chose certain people to “believe” in Him. It says that He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world…. not that He chose us to believe in Him before the foundation of the world. The ones He chose were “BELIEVERS” (those in Christ). He chose believers for a task. I can’t find anyplace where it says that God chose certain ones “to believe.”
BTW….. My oldest daughter read “The Shack” and loved it. Some of my friends find fault with it, but my daughter looks at the meaning behind the story. She thought it was great.
Have a wonderful New Year enjoying the ONE who is enjoying you.
Your friend because of Jesus,