02 September, 2018

FAQ — Is not this a monstrous picture of God?

Q. 1. “But is not this (the teaching that God is never gracious to the reprobate wicked) a terrible doctrine?”

All true doctrine is terrible for the wicked and ungodly, for God is terrible to them. It is one of the earmarks of the falsity of the theory of common grace that it is pleasing to the ungodly. It is a great comfort to the godly, however, to know that all things work together for good to the righteous, and for evil to the unrighteous. And it may rightly be characterized as an unethical, very corrupt and pernicious doctrine to teach that God favors the workers of iniquity and smiles upon them in His grace! (Herman Hoeksema, “The Protestant Reformed Churches in America” [1947], p. 323)


Q. 2.If God hates the reprobate, does He not by definition enjoy casting the unbeliever into hell? Is the idea of a schadenfreude God scriptural?”

This question implies the denial of God’s sovereignty with regard to the government of all events that we regard as evil and, in fact, the reality of hell.  Does God, in the thinking of this questioner, punish the wicked with hell?  Does He have pleasure in doing so?  If so, is He not guilty of the schadenfreude that the questioner intends to accuse me of teaching?  Did God have pleasure in destroying Sodom and Gomorrah?  If so, was He guilty of the characteristic that I am charged with attributing to God?  God does all His good pleasure, also in punishing the wicked.  He does all His good pleasure in His counsel of double predestination.  I trust that I need not quote the numerous passages of Scripture that teach this in so many words.  Such is the wickedness of sin against Himself that God has pleasure in punishing sin in impenitent sinners.  In damning some, God carries out His good will.  He has pleasure in doing so, because His counsel is good.  It glorifies Him.  I fear that behind the question put to me by your correspondent is the fatal, proud notion that what is good, specifically, God’s good pleasure, must meet the standard of our judgment as to what is good.  This is to make our thinking the measure of God and His counsel.  I too find in myself objection to eternal hell.  The reason is that I am not the holy God.  Nor do I appreciate the worthiness of sin to be punished by hell.  I am not God.  
Then also God does not have pleasure in suffering as such.  He has pleasure in the wicked’s suffering as just punishment of sin. He has pleasure in sin’s not going unpunished, which would mean the denial of His own righteousness, that is, the denial of His Godhead. (Prof. David J. Engelsma, 03/09/2018)

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