How do unbelievers glorify God if they reject Him?

By Kersley Fitzgerald

I was listening to the radio the other day, and the DJ was talking about a question he'd gotten — one we get all the time. God created us for His glory. He saved us for His glory. So how does it glorify Him to send people to hell?

There is an answer, although it isn't short, and it isn't necessarily emotionally satisfying. It is, however, maybe best explained in metaphor.

We've been watching a lot of Top Gear lately. It's a car show on BBC. Three hosts, Jeremy, Richard, and James, test out new cars, determine if it's faster to drive vs. public transportation around Europe, and time other celebrities around a race track.

My favorite bits, though, have to be the "How hard can it be?" challenges. On one, they tried to make amphibious cars — and Jeremy actually got his pick-up across the English Channel to France. On another, they turned a van into a hovercraft. The most ludicrous may have been when Richard and James made a train out of camper trailers. Of course, it ended with the train catching on fire, because they always wind up setting their campers on fire. Or rolling them down a cliff.

The truth is, they hate RVs (or, as they call them, caravans). They don't see the point in towing your hotel room to a remote spot filled with other wheeled hotel rooms when you could stay in a real hotel with a pub. After you drove there in a Lamborghini.

But what if their lack of appreciation for RVs actually demonstrates the worth of RVs? What if the way they misunderstand campers reveals their own ignorance and disqualifies them from judgment? Because campers are not supposed to be double-decker plywood monstrosities on top of a sedan. Or raced, really fast, over back roads. Or suspended from a blimp.

The nature of an RV is to travel around without having to move your stuff. It's about cooking your own meals. Preferably without setting the tea towel on the gas burner. Their idea of travel is to drive a Ferrari 612 Scaglietti from England to Switzerland faster than the same trip by plane and train. Or race a rally car down an icy hill faster than a bobsled on its track. That's not what RVs are for, and they shouldn't be judged by those standards. To do so shows the judge is not qualified to make the call.

So it is with unbelievers and God. Anyone who rejects God because of His nature does so because of their lack of understanding and appreciation for Who God is. It reflects their pre-conceived ideas of what God is supposed to be. But rejection from an uneducated party actually endorses the subject at hand.

It's like me saying I don't like the trumpet in a jazz song. I know nothing about jazz, I don't particularly like it, and I don't appreciate it. So my opinion has negative value. Or like Dev who hates cats because they're not dogs. Or like JT who doesn't like distance running. His opinion on the worth of distance running has negative value because he refuses to even try and appreciate it.

So when Dev stays away from cats, it doesn't reflect negatively on the cat — it is to the cat's credit that someone who doesn't understand it stays away. When I don't play jazz, it doesn't mean jazz is bad — it means jazz has been rejected by someone who isn't clever enough to appreciate it. Which actually is an endorsement of jazz.

In a similar way, when an unbeliever rejects God because of a misunderstanding or a lack of appreciation for His nature, it doesn't reflect ill on Him. It is to His credit that those who don't understand also don't accept. They aren't qualified to judge Him, and their ignorance gives their opinion a negative value.

That is the logic exercise. The emotional aspect is harder to accept. How can people going to hell glorify God? Because they misunderstood or failed to appreciate His righteousness and love. In their ignorance and willfulness, they rejected Him. Any rejection made in error brings glory to the nature of the God being rejected. And His righteousness takes the next step in honoring their rejection by separating them from Himself for eternity.

It is only God's character that causes some of us to accept Him. It has to be His character. Forgive the circularity, but it's His character that drives Him to expose His character to us in a way that we can understand and appreciate it, and thereby accept Him. Acceptance upon understanding is a great endorsement and is the definition of worship. Rejection upon misunderstanding and lack of appreciation is the double-negative that also glorifies. When He, in His character, then honors our acceptance or rejection, He demonstrates both our worth and His. And it is no small thing.

TagsBiblical-Truth  | God-Father  | Personal-Life

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Published 12-31-14