Chapter 4: Does God Get What He Wants?
My answer to that question is the same as Bell's which is yes. The problem is, his god desires mankind as his highest end, and the Scriptures have God's glory being his highest end. Two different starting points and two different ending points.
He opens the chapter by saying that you can check out what a church believes by going to their website. On three such visits for him, he found the following statements:
"The unsaved will be separated forever from God in hell"
"Those who don't believe in Jesus will be sent to eternal punishment in hell"
"The unsaved dead will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment." --pg. 95-96
Quickly after making these observations he makes this statement:
"Yet on these very same websites extensive affirmations of the goodness and greatness of God, proclamations and statements of belief about a God who is 'mighty,' 'powerful,' loving,' 'unchanging,' 'sovereign,' 'full of grace and mercy,' and 'all-knowing.' pg. 96-97
That word 'Yet' there tells it all, and so does the rest of this chapter. First of all the Scripture, which Bell denies, affirms all of those statements. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 says
For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.
and Revelation 20:10,15
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever...and if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
These scriptures clearly and unequivocally shut the mouth of the "christian" skeptic. Now Bell tries do do Scriptural acrobatics to get around these, but they fail.
Secondly what Bell is doing here is creating a false dilemma. "Do people go to hell or does God get what he wants?" "Do people go to hell or is God good?" God's word seems to have no problem answering that question. The problem is Bell thinks this God is a monster, which should tell all of Christendom that this guy is clearly outside of the "stream" of orthodoxy.
Thirdly, Bell here is clearly claiming universalism again. He doesn't use the word, but the idea is there.
"Will all people be saved or will God not get what he wants" pg. 98
Again false dilemma. He quotes 1 Tim 1:2
"God wants all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."
He rips it out of context. Verse one speaks of praying for kings and those in authority (as well as the common man), "all men" or better yet "all types of men." So verse two: "God wants all people (all types of people-not just the poor but kings and politicians alike) to be saved. The reason why I can say that is the proper translation is because of the rest of Scripture. All of Scripture must be consistent with itself otherwise it has error and God is a liar--2 Timothy 3:16. Romans 9:19 says
"...who resists his will?"
It's rhetorical. No one can. If God ultimately wills something to happen. It will happen. Every time, all the time.
Even if you don't accept my interpretation which has been the historical interpretation, think about this: Why aren't all people saved if God wills it, and He is God?
Answer: He must have other desires higher than this one, which is really what this whole book is trying to suppress.
God's highest desire is the glorification of Himself.
Everything else is subservient to that.
That is Christianity.
Bell deduces that God's highest desire is man
The Bible declares that God's highest desire is the glorification of Himself. Romans 11:36 says
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
Bell's basic premise is that God is man-centered. This would be idolatry on God's part because He would be putting something over and above Himself which he prohibits in His Word.