Is Salvation A “Loophole”?

At the Facebook atheist/theist group in which I participate, one of the atheists has said on more than one occasion, “god sacrificed himself, to himself, in order to have a loophole for the rules he created.” Is salvation a loophole?

The Oxford-American Dictionary defines loophole as “an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rule.” In order for salvation to be a loophole, then God’s law would have to be ambiguous or inadequate.

Except sin entered into the world when there was just one commandment: don’t eat from this fruit or you’ll die. Nothing ambiguous there. Is it inadequate? Inadequate for what? What was the purpose of that commandment?

I have to admit, I’ve never really thought this out before. The fruit was of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but I wonder if it could have been any old fruit. Clearly eating what God had prohibited did open Adam and Eve’s eyes, but to what? The first indication Scripture gives is their awareness that they were naked. And they wanted to cover up. They hadn’t cared that they were naked before. So something changed. Their sense of morality was altered.

But Adam’s sin had already occurred. Knowing full well that he was doing what God told him not to do, Adam ate of the forbidden fruit.

I think there’s really only one explanation for this action. Adam decided he would do what he wanted to do, not what God told him to do. In short, Adam placed himself as a higher authority than God. And that’s the thing that separates humans from God to this day.

The issue, then, isn’t actually a particular rule and certainly not a set of laws, but the question, Who’s in charge?

When God told Adam and Eve what they could and could not enjoy in the garden, He also revealed to them the consequences of going their own way. They would die.

The natural order of things broke when Adam sinned. God, who upholds all things by the word of His power, was now cut off from the people He had made. They had cut themselves off. Just as surely as they wanted to cover their bodies with leaves, they also wanted to hide themselves from His presence.

In addition, they faced death—something that came about as God said it would. But not only their own death. The death of people they loved, too. Children and animals, which I suspect they became fond of as any of us do with our pets. They now died, too.

Obviously being cut off from friendship with God was the greatest penalty they could pay. When did they realize how bad it would be? When Cain became a law unto himself and killed his brother? When God kicked them out of the garden? When work became hard? When they no longer enjoyed regular personal conversations with God? I don’t know.

The bottom line is that God is the only One wise enough, good enough, strong enough, to make the decisions, to direct the world, to keep the universe in place. It’s nothing but hubris for humans to say, No, we don’t need God. But in one act of disobedience, that’s exactly what Adam said.

But back to salvation. Did God come up with a loophole to fix a flaw in His plan? No, He didn’t. Scripture makes it clear that Christ was part of the plan all along.

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:20-21)

He was the free gift God intended from eternity past to give to us as a demonstration of His love.

Of course there is some truth in what the atheist guy says; God did sacrifice Himself to Himself. But that’s not a negative.

I remember when I was a kid, my dad would give us money to buy Christmas presents. His money, to buy him (and others) presents. Did that make the gifts meaningless? Not at all. The money came from him and the money went to him, in the form of the presents. Why would he do this? Because he loved us, wanted to teach us, wanted us to experience the joy of giving, and because we in turn had the opportunity to express our love for him and the others in our family.

God isn’t selfishly wanting sacrifice, nor is He trying to fix a broken plan. I know sometimes we believers when explaining it, because we’re limited to our linear, finite thinking, can make it sound as if that’s the case, but in truth God knew what was best, what would be the best way for people made in His image, and therefore with free will, to actually come to Him and submit to Him. That’s what makes for the best relationships. When I say, God, You’re in charge and I am not, He showers me with His love.

So, no, salvation is not a loophole!

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Published in: on August 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm  Comments (8)  
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8 Comments

  1. I enjoyed this Becky, as always. Have you ever notice the huge problem militant atheists have with the concept of grace? I have heard it many times used as a reason to not like God. Meaning, some consider it a huge failure on God’s part that he offers grace even to the worst of us. The atheist is far more judgmental than most Christian when it comes to determining who deserves justice and who does not. Which is all rather strange since most of them also take the position that morality is subjective and evolving! I guess it just boils down to the, “What I personally am offended by,” program.

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    • Wally, it’s interesting that you say that because the statement that prompted this post came out of a discussion about this very thing. The atheist guy (AG) said that it was terribly unfair for God to treat the serial killer and the blasphemer the same. I went around and around with him, explaining that missing the mark was missing the mark and that the standard is God’s perfection. Finally it dawned on me: AG was offended that he should be lumped in with serial killers. At one point he said something like, how would you like it if you were thrown into the same category as rapists? And I said, I am! Then he started his next tier “argument” which is to accuse me of not understanding what he’s saying or using some kind of fallacy or being so deluded or brainwashed or some of a variet of personal insults. That’s when I stepped away. But yes, not only do they not understand grace, they don’t like it. I believe it’s because they can’t maintain some imagined moral superiority over “those people,” the ones who commit obvious sins. I just heard on the radio today a pastor say that even those who claim they don’t believe in God have this fear of what might become of them if there is a God. I hadn’t put that together with AG and his companions before, but it does make sense why he argues so vehemently against the condition of mankind which only grace can remedy.

      Always appreciate your comments, Wally. Thanks.

      Beck

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, it’s amazing the offense folks take at grace. It’s actually bizarre coming from the atheist, having no actual basis on which to grade offenses in the first place. On the other hand, at least they profess to reject God. Sadly, all of the things you described are all too prevalent among the churchian crowd in systems of works based righteousness or legalism. That is probably worse, as many honestly think they are working their way to a state of enough perfection to warrant being restored to God. That is scary, because a lot of those folks are going to be dismayed at the moment of their passing and realize that grace was there for the taking, yet they chose to keep trying to earn it.

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        • I agree. And it’s Scriptural. In that day there will be people saying, Lord, Lord, we did this and that for You, but He will respond, I never knew you.

          Scary to think of what happens when someone is trying to work their way to heaven.

          Becky

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  2. I like the example you give of your father giving money to buy a Christmas present for him. That is a lovely picture of grace at work.
    In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” C. S. Lewis speaks of the “deeper magic” of Aslan’s sacrifice. That is another good way to depict the fact that grace was part of God’s plan from before the beginning, more fundamental to God’s nature than his Law. J.

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  3. Love that! “More fundamental to God’s nature than his Law.” Yes, exactly! Can I use that with the AG if the occasion arises? We struggled through round two today. Today’s point was he things humans are more just than “god” because God requires of us all that we hit the mark.

    Becky

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    • By all means use it. It is very interesting that any atheist would consider himself or herself superior to God because God holds all sin to be unacceptable but then forgives all sin through the cross, whereas the atheist wants to condemn some sins and forgive others. One analogy I use for God’s zero-tolerance is a balloon. Take a pin and put one tiny flaw in the balloon, and the whole balloon is gone. J.

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      • I like the balloon analogy. The atheist think God is unfair because serial killers can believe at the last second and be forgiven whereas someone (an atheist) who doesn’t commit any crime is consigned to hell for eternity. The also think it doesn’t make sense for a condemned murderer to go free because a judge kills his own son instead.

        I get their logic. But over and over a number of us Christians have said the analogue is flawed. God is not like a human judge and it is actually more like owing a debt or being thrown a lifeline for those in a boat that’s being swamped. The question isn’t what have you done, but will someone pay what you owe, will you grab hold of the line. So far they conveniently ignore those analogies.

        Becky

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