1. A Normal Understanding of Reality must be Pre-supposed
Suppose we have the following mystery: A man and his wife throw a lavish party. During the party they get into a terrible argument, resulting in an exchange of insults and threats. Amidst the commotion, the lights go out. The sounds of a struggle pierce the darkness. When the lights come back on the wife is lying face down in a pool of blood, with a large carving knife sticking out of her back. Kneeling beside her is the butler—drenched in blood—while the woman's husband, whose cloths are spotless, watches on in horror.
How do we go about solving this mystery? First, we must presume that the elements that comprise the mystery conform to our usual understanding of reality. It is only by thus supposing that we can even have a mystery. Suspend the normative understanding of reality and we have no mystery, for the answer could be anything—a mass hallucination, a strange kind of blood that splatters in random patterns, etc . . . The very challenge of a mystery lies in reconciling seemingly inexplicable events with predictable, uniform laws. In other words, we must proceed under the assumption that there must be a logical explanation.
Now consider how this relates to the theories proposed by the Christian religious system. What is their answer to the “mystery” of eternal torment? God is not our Father; He's only our Creator! In other words, they solve the mystery by suspending the normative rules of reality. But that's not all; they suspend scripture as well, for the bible itself supports these normative rules (Ge. 1:27, 9:6; Ps. 82:6; Is. 64:8; Mal. 2:10; Mt. 5:1, 6:9; Mt. 23:1, 9; Ac. 17:22, 28-29; Ep. 3:14-15).
2. Tying Together Loose Ends
A good mystery ties together all the loose ends. Everything is accounted for; all questions answered. Does the traditional doctrine do this? To ask the question is to answer it, for the doctrine flies in the face of no less than five things:
1. God’s laws regarding the purpose and duration of punishment (Lam. 3:32-33; Heb. 2:11; Deut. 25:3; Psalm 103:14)
2. His promises (Phil. 2:10; Eph 1:10; Rom 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:22)
3. His revealed character in Christ (Lk 6:35; Mt. 18:22)
4. Reason and Conscience (Lk 11:13)
5. The biblically affirmed fact that God is the father of all men (Ge. 1:27, 9:6; Ps. 82:6; Is. 64:8; Mal. 2:10; Mt. 5:1, 6:9; Mt. 23:1, 9; Ac. 17:22, 28-29; Ep. 3:14-15).
If the bible is a mystery, and the traditional doctrine is correct, then it is the most poorly crafted mystery ever—one that falls far short of even the cheesiest dime store mysteries ever penned by the most inept of authors.
For much more on this subject, see Chapter 3: God’s Hidden Will in my book.