- If it’s the case that heaven and hell are the only two options in the end, and someone desires neither, do they still ultimately have free will?
Yes. Free will exists when more than one option is available. The eternal concept of free will for mankind and the angels is focused upon one’s option to choose life or death, obedience or rebellion, love or hate, good or evil, God’s way or Satan’s way. Though an individual might desire to neither serve God or serve Satan, this option is not available but…this does not negate “free will” because the option to “choose” still exists even though a person may not approve of or find the options available fair or attractive. God’s ways are not our ways and God owes mankind nothing but He has chosen to provide us an option to experience Eternal Life by trusting in Jesus Christ as our personal LORD and Savior for the forgiveness of sin.
- Why take a position on abortion if it could be Jesus’ will in the same way it was Jesus’ will in Noah’s flood to drown toddlers, babies, and the unborn?
Caveat: I want every woman or man who has been involved in the sin of abortion to know that forgiveness is available for anyone who repents of their sin and diligently, honesty, seeks Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior over their life. Abortion is not an unforgivable sin and there is mercy and grace in Jesus Christ as Mediator for your sin. Please, humble yourself, apologize to our Creator for your offensive behavior and trust in Jesus as LORD…there is forgiveness, peace, mercy, grace and an amazing new life awaiting you in Jesus Christ.
Abortion is the taking of human life in the womb without “due process” of law and is considered in the purity of American Jurisprudence as premeditated, conspiratorial murder. Though the SCOTUS has unwittingly provided Roe v. Wade (1973) as a buttress or defense to prosecution to the “charge of murder,” recent scientific discoveries verify life as beginning at conception; therefore, Roe is blatantly unconstitutional (violates the 5th/14th Amendments due process protections) and should be amended or better yet, repealed. Abortion is conspiratorial, premeditated murder i.e. fetal homicide, a violation of God’s moral law and a sin against our Creator and His will for our life.
It is also important to differentiate the spurious translations of the Ten-Commandments, #6, You shall not “murder” from the incorrect translation, You shall not “kill.” Two completely different meanings and outcome concerning sin and judgment. Please see the following for clarification: https://biblehub.com/text/exodus/20-13.htm
For the Atheist, pro-choice advocates who insists that God’s Word advocates abortion via Numbers 5, please see an exegesis on Numbers 5 and the “Test for an Unfaithful Wife” as per the NIV Bible version: https://rickeyholtsclaw.com/2018/11/18/new-international-version-errors/
Concerning the Noahic Flood and the eradication of the human race save eight, Noah and his family aboard the Ark. One must first analyze why the Noahic Flood was necessary and what is the impetus for The Flood? Though our Creator is often incorrectly targeted as the culprit for The Flood, remember it is the sin and wretchedness of mankind that brought the wrath of God to bear in Noah’s day. The Holy Spirit describes the generation of Noah…
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved [e]in His heart. 7 The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the [f]sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:5-8
The actual culprit for the Noahic Flood is none other than Satan himself who is the impetus for evil, sin, deception, death. Note the Words of Jesus Christ concerning Satan…
“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks [n]a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of [o]lies.” Gospel of John 8:44
The most relevant question at this point would be, why did our Creator find it necessary to destroy mankind in The Flood? Remember, the focal point or prevailing theme of the entire Bible is Jesus Christ and the redemption of mankind, the forgiveness of sin through Jesus’ faithfulness at the Crucifixion. Also, remember that God’s Plan for redeeming mankind through the forgiveness of sin required the presence of His Messiah at a specific time in history through a specific genealogy as prophesied. Before the creation of Time, Jesus was destined to be our Messiah and before God spoke the Universe into existence, a Plan to bring our Messiah through the seed of the woman was already in play (2 Timothy 2:8-10).
Subsequent to The Fall of Adam, mankind inherited a sin-nature that naturally rebels against the authority/dominion of our Creator and prior to The Flood there was also the presence of the Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4) in the land and scholars debate the influence of these wicked beings upon Noah’s generation; nevertheless, Noah’s generation had become so vile and wicked that our Creator refused to set-apart a Holy and Chosen people through whom He would bring forth Messiah-Jesus Christ.
It is for this reason that our Creator destroyed the genome of wickedness in Noah’s day and began afresh with righteous Noah and Noah’s family. Later, the Scriptures articulate the setting apart of a people group through Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob who would be called the Hebrew Nation, the Jewish People who would be God’s Chosen People to represent Him to the World. The Jewish people were given the responsibility to…
- Chronicle/Record God’s Word.
- To be an object lesson of God’s blessing for obedience/cursing for disobedience.
- The Jews are God’s eschatological time-clock indicating to the World where our LORD is at in World History by observing the Jewish Nation of Israel.
- Through the Jewish People, the Tribe of Judah, our God brought forth Messiah-Jesus Christ through the seed of Mary through the Power of the Holy Spirit as the Savior of the World.
Speaking of the Jewish Nation, God proclaims…
“Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26
And to Abraham, God proclaims a Covenant…
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Gospel of John 4:22
Therefore, Jesus does not condone abortion on demand nor is our Creator a capricious and retaliatory God but a God who is slow to anger and provided Noah’s Generation ample opportunity to repent and turn to Him in obedience but they refused; therefore, The Flood. Another Judgment on the World, similar to The Flood, is coming, this time…by fire.
And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 [r]It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and [s]brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be [t]just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:27-30
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and [b]its works will be [c]burned up.11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:11-13
- How can an ‘all good’ deity be ALL good if sin is a byproduct of his creation?
God desires relationship. Relationship, one that is manifest in purity and authenticity, mandates volition, free-will, the ability to choose to love or to hate; otherwise, relationship is robotic and impotent. Our Creator has provided His created beings, both Angelic and Human, with free-will, the ability to choose Jesus Christ as LORD or reject Jesus Christ and serve Satan by default. Sin, evil, death, have entered our World through the exercise of “free will.” Sin is the unfortunate default or “byproduct” of free will which is necessary for perfect love and enduring relationships to manifest in authenticity as well as the privilege to chose our own Eternal destiny.
- What is the best way to demonstrate to oneself that they are open to being wrong about a religious belief held as deeply as yours?
I am always prepared to accept rebuttal to my understanding of Scripture but this rebuttal must be supported with irrefutable Truth using the Word of God…NOT man’s opinion.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in man. Psalm 118:8
5. If you learned that the pastor you met on the plane was no longer a Christian, would this concern you, not concern for him, but in terms of the path you went on in your life?
I would hazard to say that there are a number of “Pastors” who are not truly children of the Living God, in other words, they have never entered into a personal relationship with God the Father by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. A number of Atheists I have debated insist that they too were “former Christians” but finally “freed” themselves from what they believe is “religious deception.” Far too many of these Atheists had been involved in religions of paganism or cults, but the truth is born-out in the fact that they were never truly “born again” by the Holy Spirit of God for had they known the love of Jesus Christ and the assurance, security, wisdom, discernment, only available by the indwelling Holy Spirit given to the redeemed in Jesus Christ, these men and women would have NEVER walked away from Jesus as LORD. Why? Because our God has promised His faithful children that “no one” will be able to snatch God’s children out of the hand of Jesus or the hand of our Heavenly Father. Those who love and adore Jesus Christ as LORD are secure in that love and they will endure to the end and find grace and mercy and life in Eternity.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 [d]My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are [e]one.” Gospel of John 10:28-30
18 “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the [i]word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20 The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the [j]word, immediately he [k]falls away. 22 And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the [l]world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:18-23
Unfortunately, “many” who “think” themselves to be saved or put up a facade of salvation will be in for a rude awakening at Judgment.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [n]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
6. IF it’s the case that people who don’t hear the good word go to heaven on merit, and those that hear, but reject the word, go to hell, wouldn’t it be preferable to wipe out all records of Christianity?
In the New Covenant, there is no other way to find righteousness (a right standing) with God the Father except by grace (unmerited favor) through faith (trusting) (believing) that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who entered Time and suffered/died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected for our justification leading to Eternal LIFE.
Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Gospel of John 14:6
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not [a]obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Gospel of John 3:36
Though God has clearly told us that where there is no law there is no sin or culpability, this truism, though relevant for children and the cognitively disabled, is not relevant for the cognitively aware/acute, discerning, adult in the New Covenant because our Creator has written His laws on our heart and we intuitively know that our Creator exists through what He has made; therefore, every man and woman is “without excuse” if they deny our Creator (Romans 1:18-32). With that said, if a person in the Congo, for example, never hears of Jesus and never has the opportunity to acknowledge Jesus Christ as LORD, this is NOT our Creator’s problem for our LORD has clearly commanded the faithful to go into all the World and tell of Jesus Christ and teach them in the ways of righteousness.
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
With that said, will there be grace and mercy shown to those who never had the opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I don’t know…that is God’s purview.
- Would you prefer that everyone on earth converts to Christianity and the level of human suffering stays the same or that everyone on earth becomes an atheist and the level of human suffering falls 90%?
Your question negates itself because the suffering on this Earth will not be diminished but increase with the absence of Christianity along with the absence of the restraining power of the Holy Spirit to constrain the evil in man’s heart. It is the god of Atheism i.e. Satan (yes, Satan is the foundation for Atheism) that is the impetus for the horrors in our World and removing the ONLY restraining Force, the Holy Spirit, from our World would only exacerbate suffering and hopelessness.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:7
8. How did you eliminate (if you did) infinite regress as an option?
I would need clarification concerning this question and its particular relevance to theology. If your question concerns the origin of matter, the Universe and purpose, relevancy, please see my article on this subject at: https://rickeyholtsclaw.com/2017/09/27/in-the-beginning-god-why/
9. Why do you think Hindu’s are unconvinced of Quranic prophecy?
To understand why the Quran must be approached with caution and discernment, one must understand the origin of Islam, its purpose in Time and the genesis of the Quran. Please see Part II of my article for an overview of Islam, Allah, Ishmael, Muhammad, the Quran. https://rickeyholtsclaw.com/2017/09/27/in-the-beginning-god-why/
10. How could I tell the difference between someone who actually knows their purpose in life according to god and someone who just believes they know their purpose from god?
In order to make this differentiation, you must possess knowledge of God’s Word from the Genesis to the Revelation.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
R.D. Holtsclaw @RickeyDale07 (Twitter)
In the Beginning, God…Why? https://rickeyholtsclaw.com/2017/09/27/in-the-beginning-god-why/