God loves everybody and seeks the highest good for all, yet He also warns of serious consequences for failing to live up to our responsibilities. I can understand consequences, but why must there be an eternal lake of “fire and sulfur” at history’s end?
Even when young, I was an avid student of the Bible. The fiery descriptions of God’s judgment activated my imagination. Early on, I embarked on a pilgrimage to reread every verse of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation while contemplating just one question: What is the meaning of the fiery language in Scripture?
Does human identity survive death? Descriptions of human souls floating off to an immaterial place after death do not reflect the hope that people long for. They don’t depict great joy or creative possibilities for an afterlife that will delight every fiber of our being.
When life is good, we enjoy experiencing it, but life is sometimes filled with problems. When it becomes painful or debilitating, we long for a balm to soothe our open wounds. We thirst for what lies beyond our short lives here on planet earth. Is brokenness and incompleteness all there is to life, or will we eventually find more?
Many argue that the angry God of the Bible is an irrational and cruel tyrant who is not worthy of our admiration. You may feel some apathy toward this wrathful God, thinking He’s receiving His just deserts from people. Perhaps you have lingering fears about how we will be judged for failing tests of faith, for questioning the existence of suffering and divine damnation against the reality of God’s love, for harboring a sharp dislike for the wrathful potentate in the sky?