I remember hearing many years ago that God is a Gentleman who doesn’t force his will on anyone. It must have been clear to me then that the point was that God has given each of us a free will that he won’t violate.
Over time I’ve heard others add that if someone doesn’t accept Christ before they die, they won’t repent afterward. Because of the evil of their hearts, they will stubbornly choose to live in hell forever rather than to bow the knee to their Creator.
In support of such a view, some have quoted what C. S. Lewis imagined in his book The Great Divorce. He pictured an afterlife where people could continue to choose their way away from God until they were a mere shadow of what they had been. But if I’m not mistaken, Lewis’s own story of conversion is that he recalls being dragged kicking and screaming into the Kingdom of God– until one day, on the way to the zoo, he arrived realizing he was a believer.
And what about Paul on the road to Damascus? Did anyone hate Jesus more than him?
What about all of the felons who when they realize they might spend the rest of their life behind bars begin offering up information on “bigger fish” in hopes of getting a reduced sentence?
And what about us? How many of us have a story of faith that makes us the God-seeking hero of our own belief in Christ? How many of us credit ourselves for our good sense in choosing Jesus?
I don’t claim for a minute to understand how it all works. And I do believe the gift of free will is a real and wonderful mystery. But I also suspect that “freedom to choose” might be a greatly overrated argument and wishful thinking when it comes to how the lost will want no mercy after death.
Note– Again, please keep in mind that I realize that there is plenty of Scripture that, depending on how it is interpreted, can be used to support all sides of this argument. So this is not about my wanting– or being willing– to argue with anyone here.
And… no mortal but me is responsible for these thoughts…
So please remember that for several years, this blog has not been affiliated with Our Daily Bread Ministries which is not responsible for anything I write here.