“Will I Go To Hell For My Doubts?”
I have been a Christian my whole life. I have been struggling with faith lately. I am mostly intellectually convinced in Christianity, however I have a lingering doubt based on a few intellectual things. One is the battle between old earth and [young] earth [creation] and the other is the age of the book of Daniel—which online resources I have read seem to prove that it was written after the fact. (I have seen the Christian responses and they do not deal with all of the facts.) Anyway, none of these doubts would bother me except that Hebrews 11:1 and James 1:8 imply that any doubt might be cause for exclusion of me from heaven. I can’t even sleep at night because I am so afraid of going to hell. Is there any hope for me?
I would suggest that Hebrews 11:1 and James 1:8 do not imply that at all. In fact, doubt isn’t even mentioned. Hebrews is about the nature of faith, and James simply says that the double-minded person—one who continually wavers back and forth between trusting and not trusting—is inherently unstable in his thinking.
See, the Lord understands that we see through a glass darkly, as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians. He understands that we are trying to make sense of a fallen world through a fallen intellect, and we don’t have all the puzzle pieces. He gives much more grace than you know, I think. The issue is not about having doubts, which usually just means we haven’t figured things out. God’s indictment is on those who refuse to trust. They are not the same thing. The Lord Jesus said to love God with our minds, and wrestling through the hard, meaty issues of apparent contradictions and complications is one way we do that. The very act of pursuing truth to attack our doubts and questions is a kind of worship!
Let me encourage you that there are answers, even if you haven’t found them. For instance, Probe’s position on the age of the earth question has brought great peace to my husband, Dr. Ray Bohlin’s spirit; he’s been diligently studying this issue for 30+ years. He has looked at the evidence for a young earth and universe, and an old earth and universe, and found compelling evidence for both. They clearly cannot both be true. So says he is an agnostic on the age issue. He doesn’t know. And can live with that, especially since: 1) the issue is not WHEN but WHO created, and 2) the Bible doesn’t tell us, which means it doesn’t matter enough to get caught up in it. How long ago God created the heavens and the earth has nothing to do with whether Christianity is true or not.
I just read my answer to him to get his approval, and he added that he would be VERY careful about trusting online resources on the book of Daniel. Why should you believe them? The nature of the web is that anyone can publish anything, whether they have any expertise or not. Are they qualified? Biased? Especially sources like Wikipedia, which are going to reflect the anti-Christian bias of the culture, since the entries come from people whose thinking is pickled in the brine of secularism. I invite you to read another answer to email at Probe.org about the book of Daniel.
I would also spend some time shoring up your understanding of your security in Christ if you have placed your trust in Him. If you became a Christian years ago, you became a new creature, a forever child of God. You cannot lose your relationship with your heavenly Father, no matter how many doubts plague you, any more than you can become unborn from your mother. Our founder, Jimmy Williams, wrote an article “How Can I Know I’m Going to Heaven?” here: www.probe.org/how-can-i-know-im-going-to-heaven/
Hope you find this helpful.
© 2007 Probe Ministries