Tuesday, October 14, 2014

God Our Author: Annihilation vs. Creation

    As a writer, I get crazy excited about God the Creator.
    I mean, just think, He invented color. And quantum mechanics and atoms and organic chemistry and space-time.
    And people, all of us unique.
    And cats and cats and cats (I had to mention them in here somewhere).
Aren't you glad I spared you the actual Nyan Cat song?
    In Him, a God somehow three in one, a paradox of possibilities, lives redemption and resurrection and hope and love and stories. He so deeply loves His creations He became one of us.
    This seems like a God who is supposed to be good.*
    Which is why I'm always puzzled by annihilation theory - that those who don't know God simply cease to exist when they die.
    Look, I get the appeal: no eternal torture!
    But there's no peace for the annihilated, either. There's nothing. They. Are. Not.
    Annihilation is the opposite of creation. Annihilation (like eternal hell) says redemption can never be found for someone, that someone is hopeless. But unlike hell, annihilation also seems to say that God's image doesn't matter anymore. I'm not a theologian, but it seems like God's image must separate from a person, somehow, for them to be extinguished.
     I don't know whether that means God's image in people gets destroyed or taken back, but I find that quite disturbing.

    Now, I love crafting my own stories. I love developing characters, getting to know them, sometimes imagining what would happen if they appeared in my life.
    And sure, there are some stories I have decided to scrap or adapt, some characters I've merged into one or deleted from a story. But rarely, if ever, do I cut out a character without using at least a part of them in another character. It's like I can't forsake them. And I can never forget them - not even Lemon-Lime, the yellow and green cat from the first story I wrote in first grade (she had a scary encounter with a shark and ever since her narrow escape, all cats have feared water, if you must know - and yes, I did name her after my favorite sherbets).
This poor cat may want people in hell after this, however. 
    If I, a mere mortal and a sinner saved by grace, cannot forsake my characters, how can God utterly erase those He has created?

    Maybe there's an explanation outside of this world, since that's where God is.

    But wouldn't He have to stop loving the annihilated? Wouldn't love have to stop, because the person no longer is? Because, in annihilation (and ECT), love can no longer "hope all things."
    The idea of a perfect love like God's ceasing is, again, quite disturbing.

    I know there's plenty of compelling evidence for annihilation in the Bible. There's plenty of evidence for ECT, too, and even Christian universalism. So if people want to believe that, I'm not one to judge.
    But - but - can we stop pretending it's more merciful?
    Because it involves a person extinguished. That's really disturbing. To me, it's more disturbing than eternal hell.
    I know, I'm getting emotional here. So...if I've overlooked or misinterpreted something, do let me know.
    What are your thoughts? If you believe in annihilation, what have you found compelling about it? How do you reconcile annihilation and the Imago Dei?


* Problem of Evil to be incorporated into third post.

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