"Would a 'loving' God ________?". . . .
This question usually leads the foray into rooting around in "one's own understanding" to determine what one's belief about God will be.
"Well, I have my own idea about what 'love' or 'loving' is . . . ie., what I would do as a 'loving' God and so, when I hear what certain Christians say God does or doesn't do (as they say, 'according to infallible scripture') . . . or I look at the suffering in the world and imagine why and how it is made this way by a 'loving' God . . . then, based on my idea of what 'loving' is . . . is how I decide to include or reject what someone says is 'scriptural, Bible-based' teaching on such matters. . . ."
"The idea that God chooses ('predestines') some to Heaven and others to Hell does not fit into MY idea of what a 'loving' God would do. Surely it is only fair, according to MY reasoning, that each person is 'free' to either choose God or reject Him. This way I don't have to blame God for such a severe and obviously unfair act . . . but can lay it on each individual--what THEY decide/choose is what determines where they end up. I do believe in the Bible and--even though it also bothers me that ANYBODY is punished in Hell--(if I could justify it in scripture, I would rather see it that EVERYBODY gets saved eventually as this fits MY idea of what a 'loving' God is like)--nevertheless, I can see in the Word that, indeed, God does send people to Hell for eternity. . . . But I cannot put this on God. The way I see it, it must be that God allows each person to decide for themselves whether they spend forever in torment. I've concluded that this is the most reasonable and fair interpretation of matters."
And I (brother, Thomas) would say that you, whoever you are that "leans on your own understanding", have only thought this through on a superficial, mostly emotional level. Aside from God, in His Word, flatly contradicting this opinion--which ought to end the discussion right there--even using a bit more careful thought and further reasoning makes the viewpoint not so satisfying afterall. . . .
Imagine the child--a boy, lets say--who is born into extreme poverty and to parents who practice voodoo and witchcraft. He is ritually abused from infancy and, as he grows up, is thoroughly indoctrinated into Satanic doctrine. He is NEVER allowed access to any Biblical literature or comes into contact with any Christian person. His family lives in poverty in a village mostly cut off from civilization. They have no t.v., no computers, not even any phones. All he sees and consciously knows to be "true" as a worldview and lifestyle . . . is witchcraft and Satanic doctrine.
You, who so value the individual decision to choose God or not . . . are saying it is fairer and "more loving" to leave it up to this fellow to make such a critical, eternally important decision as to whether he chooses Jesus (who he's never heard of) or Satan (who he's been taught is god)?
Or what about the girl who is brought up in an elite, wealthy family who are utterly materialistic and eschew ANY and ALL religious or spiritual teaching. Let's say this girl is prone to drug and alcohol addiction and spends much of her teen years and early adulthood high on drugs and living the fast life of promiscuity, vacationing, shopping and self indulgence generally . . . and she never really comes into contact with a real Christian or is ever given the chance to hear or study Biblical teachings on the meaning and purpose of life.
Then, she dies in a car crash at the age of 30. You are saying it is more loving for God to allow her her "free will" to have chosen Him or not--Who she never even thought about doing during her short, drug and wealth-addled life . . . and so, ends up by default . . . in Hell forever. . .?
Or just think of humans nowadays generally, who have limited knowledge, various emotional and mental issues, physical issues etc., which bog them down and cloud their thinking . . . combined with being fallen (subject to the noetic effects of being born with a sinful nature--which negatively affect and undermine the human mind and intellect) . . . combined with being raised in an education system and culture which is anti-God, anti-Biblical, materialistic, hedonistic and secular . . . etc.; and you think it is "loving" for God to leave it up to THEM to figure out in a flash of a lifespan something so monumental as to whether they spend the rest of eternity in Heaven or Hell?
THAT actually sounds like something a cruel and indifferent God would do! Not a "loving" One!
Is it not infinitely better and even more reasonable . . . that such a vital decision be left up to the one and only Person in existence Who has all knowledge, Who is perfect, Who knows the end from the beginning, Who in fact created it all in the first place--Who OWNS it all, Who is the very definition of Truth and Love and Wisdom and Righteousness, Who is Holy--that HE be the one Who decides the destiny of each and every soul?
Or do you really believe it is better to leave it up to every fallen, finite, confused, weak, self-centered, myopic, genetically corrupt, animalistic, often brain-washed, secularly trained and surrounded, mentally and emotionally deficient (compared to being perfect) person, with their insignificant lifespan and limited knowledge and ability . . . to make such an enduring, historic, supposed "free will" choice?
What about those that never heard of Jesus in the first place? What about those who were raised to hate Jesus? What about those brought up to disbelieve any and everything supernatural?
You think it is more "fair" and "loving" to let THEM make the decision to choose God or Not God versus recognizing that the ONLY "fair" and "loving" thing would be that God Himself, Who created everyone and everything be the One Who decides?
And all of this does not even get into the issue of whether we, as limited, fallen, self-centered and innately sinful individuals . . . are in any position at all . . . or have the proper capability to KNOW what is ACTUALLY "loving"? Do we even know what "love" is? And yet, according to our own, limited, deficient viewpoint--knowledge and emotion base of reasoning--we presume to judge what a "loving" God ought do?! As if we even infallibly know what "loving" or "love" is?
Only God, Who IS love and Who has all knowledge . . . is in the position to do and be what and Who a "loving God" ought to do and be!
It shows quite the hubris for the creature, based on his or her own (vastly limited) "understanding" to question the ways of God Who says, "My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts . . . And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." --Isaiah 55:8
As God Himself said to such presumptuous questioners and judges, through the Apostle Paul: "Who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" -Rom. 9:20
Oh what rest there is to be had in letting God be God!