Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I enjoy mental gymnastics and conundrums. George Carlin once asked: If God is all-powerful, can he make a rock so large that even he cannot lift it?  Questions like this spur me to thinking.  I know many people who simply scoff at such absurdities.  Not me.  I use them as springboards to further inquiry.

God and the three omni
We are taught God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.  Take the last one.  If God is omnipotent, can he cast a person so far away that he person is out of his presence?  Better yet, if God is omnipresent, is God in hell?

If we accept the above attributes of God, then we must re-evaluate other normally assumed beliefs held by us.  If God is compassionate, does his compassion for us end when we die in a state less than the grace we believe we need?  Is this life the only chance we have of making a good impression on God?  The god of the bible appears to be both compassionate and willing to negotiate.  Why, then, are we told that if we die a sinner, we must rot in hell for eternity?

I am reminded of an old zen story about a young monk asking a great zen master where he would go when he dies.  The zen master looked at the young monk and replied: “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to hell.”  The young monk stood there dumbfounded and asked how that could be so.  The master, patient as always, told him someone had to go there to help all those people and their suffering.

For some reason, the master’s story rings true to me.  God has such compassion.  God seeks out the lost lamb and welcomes home the wayward son.  Why wouldn’t God be in hell, helping the lost and wayward creations.  We are never cast so far from God’s grace that we are outside God’s sphere of forgiveness.

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