The Lord knows about pain. Being crucified on a cross will do that to you, ya know. Do you really think that a God that has experienced and felt "pain" firsthand would ever turn around and inflict this same pain eternally upon His creatures? No, God KNOWS what "pain" is, and it would go totally against His divine character to BURN people "eternally." ...totally AGAINST His character. God tests our character, not to see how we will react, He knows that, but to show others or ourselves. God sends punishes as warnings, to let us know as a people that we need to be more aware and to move away from sin. When sin is embraced and the warnings ignored, then the sin is purged. Sin eventually will consume one; engulfed in sin a person usually has little peace and is certainly not living life as rewardingly as God intended. "God is Love," says 1 JOHN 4:16. That god IS love tells us that there is no time when He has not been or will not be love. Love has ever been God's dominant quality in the past, and well continue to be in the future. Until our eyes are completely open and we have matured, there will be restrictions for our own good, just as a parent enforces. A good parent usually sets a goal for the child to be brought up right so that eventually he can act on his own judgement. A basic rejection of God is usually founded by the opinion of "how can God know what's right for me" or "what about what I want" or "I don't want restrictions." If you recall, the 'I' phase is one of the earliest in the growing process; it isn't until later in life when we develop love, respect, sharing, sacrificing, unerstanding, wisdom that we appreciate how the 'I'-centered philosophy is faulty. If this strikes home all too well, then instead of listening to Satan's "what about your freedom of choice" (which as you note, God has not restricted you from having), ask yourself if you have ever asked God for understanding, guidance, or wisdom. The statement that "God is love" is of infinite value in understanding the Plan Of Salvation. Only a God of infinite love would give "free will" to His creatures and run the risk of incurring the suffering that SIN has brought to the Godhead, the angels, and mankind... And when SIN came, only "love" could have the PATIENCE and the will to see it through and devise a plan that would enable the universe to some to a full understanding of the basic facts in the GREAT CONTROVERSY between GOOD and EVIL, and thus ensure against any urther uprising of SELF-SEEKING and HATE. And to pay for the debt, the God had to become human in flesh, experience our troubles, pain, and temptations. Then through all it, overcome it. And the price paid was God's own ONLY son, who was innocent of sin and did not deserve death. What love would a father have to have to allow his only son to die at the hands of sinners, in order to save those who persecuted him. In the warfare against SIN, God, being truely love, can use only TRUTH and LOVE, whereas Satan employs CUNNING LIES and CRUEL FORCE to gain his victories. Onle "love" could inspire the plan that permitted the Son first to 1) redeem the human race from the guilt and power of sin by His earthly life, death, and resurrection 2) to become the head of a new and sinless race By His very nature God was impelled to devise and carry out this Amazing Plan. [ JOHN 3:16 ] Imagine Eden. There in the garden, the serpent entices Eve, telling her she surely would not die. Eve sees the serpent eating the fruit, yet he is not dying. The fruit itself looks rather attractive. She draws closer. It is the fruit of the tree, but it doesn't look dangerous. She touches it gingerly. Then picks it. Smells it. Maybe touches her toungue to it for a second. And then, with a smile from the serpent urging her on, takes a bite into it, and it tastes good. She takes the fruit to Adam. Adam looks at the fruit in her hand. She asks him to partake of it. "Woman! What have you done? You have eaten of the fruit we were forbidden to touch." Eves eyes drop, and she sets the fruit down by Adam. "You knew if you ate of the fruit you would die. No, I will not eat of the tree. Woman, what have you done!" Eve cries and runs off. Then the Lord appears walking in the garden and calls out to him. "Adam, where are ye?" Adam replies and the Lord approaches. "Adam, what troubles thou?" "Lord," replies Adam, "the woman has eaten of the tree of which you forbade." "Then," softly speaks the Lord, "she must die." Adam, with tears in his voice. "But, Lord. I love her so much. Please don't let her die. If you must have a life, take mine, dear Lord." how can the story go this way? Because it already has. Jesus is the second Adam. Born by the Holy Spirit and not of man, He was pure entering this world. He did not sin. And He gave over His life, in order to save another. He paid the price we incurred through our sin and rejection of God's laws. He suffered the pain, the torment, but more importantly the REJECTION OF GOD. Here was a man who was completely dependant on the Lord, and as He hung on the cross, God left him. He cried out, "My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" Now try to imagine the terror and fear that passed through His heart. Alone and helpless, He took every sinful burden from us. We just have to accept that He did this, and our debt will be stricken.
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