In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call.Here is this week’s question:Dear Dave and TA:I heard a well known Bible teacher say to the effect that the human heart is so depraved that unbelievers, even after suffering a million years in the lake of fire, would still, in their arrogance, refuse to accept Christ if He were to appear and offer them a second chance for salvation.This is not comprehensible to me, what do you think?
Well, it’s comprehensible to me, Dave--my personal opinion.But I think that the issue of coming into submission to God, to submitting to Him for all eternity, that’s the issue that keeps people from rejecting Christ, rejecting His salvation, all that He offers, because of self.They want what they want, and I’m thinking, sort of experientially here, but I think of people who do things because of pride, knowing the consequences.You know, somebody comes in and catches his wife in bed with a friend and shoots them both, knowing the consequences.But his pride well, you know, it’s like they blow that off.So, I just don’t believe that a person who has rejected Christ, who has rejected eternal life because he would not submit, I just believe that no matter what they go through---but again, it’s a speculation---no matter what they go through, they are not going to submit.
We know that God is just---“Shall not the God of all the earth do right.”I personally don’t think He lets anyone go to hell that He has not given the opportunity, every opportunity that they needed, because there is no point in piling opportunity on opportunity.He knows their hearts.There is another issue involved.You see, you have to have the right motivation.You can’t just---Well, I don’t really love the Lord, I don’t really want to be saved, I don’t really want to be in heaven, but the only other alternative is hell.Okay, well, that’s an easy choice.The Scripture says:If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in thine heart.I’m supposed to believe with all my heart that this is the truth.Those people are not going to believe that it’s the truth.Furthermore, they are not in a position to have the right motive, because the torment would be so great all they can think of is, Let me out of here, Let me out of here!There wouldn’t be any way that they could come to a moral conclusion that would be the basis for salvation.So, Tom, it’s a horrible thought to think of someone suffering eternally in the lake of fire.It’s just beyond comprehension, but I often put it like this: I think hell, (the lake of fire) will feel so bad for the same reason that heaven feels so good.And you know, you’ve been on a few back packing trips with me, you get up at that high 14,000 feet or 13,000 feet up there, you’re above the timberline, and there’s no running water up there, you’re too high.All you’ve got is some snow banks, and that snow just does not satisfy your thirst.Then you get down to that first stream---wow!It tastes so good!Why does it taste good?Because water is absolutely essential for life, if you don’t have it will die.So, the reason it tastes so good is because it’s essential for life.The reason being without it hurts so bad, is again, because it’s essential for life.God made us for His presence, He made us for the joy of His love and the blessings He would give to us, we’re made for that.Like a fish is made to swim in water---I think you remember one of my illustrations, maybe not.This guy is walking along the lake.Well, this fish was in the lake, and it looked out and saw a man sitting on a chair fishing, smoking a cigar, and so forth.And the fish looked out there and said, Man, now that would really be living! You remember that illustration?And so it jumps out and it’s trying to get up on a chair but he can’t quite make it and can’t get hold of the cigar or fishing pole.It’s flopping around in the gravel and the dirt and somebody walks by and says;What kind of a God would create that fish to suffer like that?Well, God didn’t create the fish to suffer like that, He made the fish to swim, you know, in the water.The fish jumped out---it turned its back on what God made it for, and that’s what hell, I believe, will be in large measure.It’s innate within us, we’re eternal beings, God made us for Himself, and they’ve turned their backs on Him.It would be like a fish out of water, flopping and gasping, like a person dying of eternal thirst---never dying but always in the process of dying.And that’s why Jesus said:If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.That’s why the rich man in hell said:I’m tormented by this thirst, let Lazarus dip his finger in water and put it on my tongue, you know.He didn’t even have a tongue, his tongue is in the grave, but there is a torment within.I think, Tom, one of the worst things would be realizing I didn’t have to be here, I rejected the salvation.I mean, that would haunt you horribly.I don’t think there is any hope at that point.
But Dave, I think that more than this torment of rejection, if you don’t love God, and if that’s not your heart, just as you said earlier, if it’s not your heart to love God, that--- this is so hypothetical because there are no second changes---but nevertheless, if you don’t really love God, but you could be removed from those kinds of sufferings of what you have done, you know, in your life, the sins that you’ve committed, the people that you’ve abused, and so on and so forth, but you are in a place where you still needed to love God and submit to God, because that’s what heaven is about, it would be hell.
Tom, I think one of the worst torments will be---and you and I don’t even understand it---we don’t know how holy God is, and how abominable sin, rebellion, just pride, not giving Him the glory, and I think that those in the lake of fire will have such a conviction of God’s holiness, and the horror of what they have done that it is just beyond our comprehension.
I agree, Dave, because I don’t believe there will be any searing of the conscience as there is in the temporal world.That’s God’s, they have to face everything.