“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

I’ve always found this passage chilling. I get goosebumps when I think of how Lewis flips the familiar phrase “Thy will be done” from The Lord’s Prayer. He cleverly inverts it to demonstrate the reality of those who reject the compassion of their Creator and instead make themselves god.

Humans choosing Hell for themselves is demonstrated by passages about judgment from John Chapters 3 and 5. In the gospel of John, we see Jesus easing the Jews into an understanding of who he truly is, but in Chapter 5 he really starts pulling out all the stops: “You thought the Father would be your judge? Well, it’s actually going to be me. Who or what does that make me then? Yep, the Father’s equal, folks. In fact, if you believe in me, you won’t be subject to death. I can breathe life into your dead limbs just like the Father because… (ready for it?)… we’re one and the same.” I can picture the Pharisees exchanging glances of disgust and horror over this “heretical” statement.

Jesus says something similar in John 3, but with more subtlety; you can see he’s already preparing the soil: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19). Who is “the light”? Jesus himself. But what about “the judgment”? Well, first, let’s remember the scenario played on repeat throughout the Old Testament: the Jews would run to the Father in times of need, then ignore him when times were good; He would show them their brokenness, then forgive them when they ran to him again in desperation.

But now, Jesus is informing the Jews that he is the last line of defense against eternal separation from the Father. There will be no more “next times” or “whoopsies.” When the Jews, or any humans, choose to reject Jesus the Son, that’s it. There are no more “second chances.” He is their second chance because He is the judgment. In other words, our decision to embrace or reject Jesus will determine our post-death futures: basking in the ecstasy of God’s presence or cut off from the very source of being, joy, and goodness (aka Hell).

One of the many pieces of good news about this reality is that our judge is also the one who died for us. Not so he could guilt-trip or manipulate us with, “See what I did for you? Now YOU deliver by doing what I ask of you,” but because he actually cares about saving us from ourselves. And if you really think about it, who gets the privilege of being judged by the person who died to save them? By the one who loves them more deeply than any other being in existence? Sign me up!

Ashley Carr

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