Chris (rdrcofe) makes an interesting point:
Dear Ken. I might have guessed that, (with your particular mindset), you would assume this wrong interpretation of what I said.
“To refuse to bow the knee in recognition would be a similar attitude to me insulting the surgeon who expertly and successfully did my surgery, just because he might be a Maori with black skin.”
You assumed: I guess the reason you wouldn’t insult your surgeon is because you don’t want him to accidently/purposly do something during your surgery that would cause you harm. If I understand you correctly you are saying people will bow because they will then see this God as the true God and will wish to get into his heaven at that time.
Actually no. I was referring to the process by which I arrived at the point I am now at, (recovering and hopefully regaining full health). The part the surgeon played in that was crucial and my cooperation by signing the consent form was also crucial to the eventual outcome.
When I signed the consent form neither I nor the Surgeon knew what the outcome would be. It was his duty to make me fully aware of the various possible outcomes and risks involved with the procedure he intended to perform on me. Some of these possibilities were unpleasantly life threatening but I decided to trust his professional advice when he told me that though possible, these risks were unlikely and he had never before lost a patient in such circumstances.
This situation is similar to your predicament regarding the question at hand. You are unsure of the ability of Jesus to perform what he has said he would do for you, (in fact you are unsure even of his very existence). God is putting you constantly in the position of signing the consent form but you constantly question the surgeons competence, (or even existence).
The knee bowing and tongue confessing question is a bit like after I have had the operation, with a successful outcome.
How could anyone who has clearly been delivered from doubt, death and separation from God, possibly then refuse to acknowledge their saviour and redeemer with joyful acceptance of his immeasurable majesty.
Such bare faced ingratitude would be similar to me refusing to give the praise and honour due to my surgeon for being perfectly right about the eventual outcome, by failing to afford him the respect due to his position as someone who has done me a great service.
Where is the compulsion in that?
You seem to be making the assumption that, (like the adherants of the carrot and stick form of theology purvey), it will be too late to change your mind when you finally have perfect knowledge of God. The Bible is not absolutely clear on this though and there is quite a lot of wiggle room for the idea that Jesus has ‘saved’ the entire human race, (including you). This is one of the possible reasons why every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Why would God wish to destroy those who unamimously endorse His Son as Lord? One would only be justified in destroying those who refuse to accept his authority even though they have now fully experienced it’s gracious benevolence. My guess is they would be the ones for the fire Ken, not the likes of you who just, (irrationally), want proof, at a time when proof is not on offer nor the deciding critera of salvation, since it is by faith and not by sight (certainty) that we are to be restored to God’s Presence.
You wrote: If your God is going to present proof of his existence at a time when it is too late to change our minds, I think the proof should be presented now before it is too late.
So what you want is the surgeon to give you absolute proof and complete certainty of a successful outcome with no complications, before you will sign the consent form!
Don’t you think that would be a bit unreasonable, Ken? If I had adopted that attitude with my surgeon before the operation then it’s pretty clear that I would be responsible entirely for the ensuing unpleasant consequenses, not the surgeon.
This side of heaven all our options are open and there are no sticks or carrots to cloud the issue. There is no obvious reward for believing and no obvious punishment for unbelief. You either trust the surgeon or you don’t. Say yes or no, sign the consent form or not, there will be consequences either way and only after it’s all over and we have fully recovered can we know for sure we have done the right thing. Just like life itself.
It’s called ‘living by faith’ and the righteous shall live by doing it.
Living by doubt just does not work anywhere near as well, (though it does have it’s place sometimes in a world full of deceit).
Thanks for the good wishes Ken and think on what I’ve said, it is a very important issue.