Q. My husband is an atheist, or an agnostic at best. He equates God’s relationship with us as slave-like. He can’t accept that God would only give us two options: choose Him and live forever in Heaven, or deny Him and suffer eternally in Hell.
How do you try to explain to a non-believer (I am a born-again Christian) why God would make us suffer eternally if we deny Him as our Creator and Jesus as our Savior? He acts like it is ridiculous that God would make us suffer just because we don’t believe in Him.
A. An atheist would deny the very existence of God rather than question His ways. By the things your husband says, he appears to know that God exists but doesn’t want to acknowledge Him because doing so would make him accountable for his sins.
Through the Creation, God has made Himself so obvious that to Him what we call unbelief is really refusing to believe. It angers Him when people won’t accept the price He paid to save us (Romans 1:18-20) because they are making His death meaningless to them.
People like your husband don’t realize that this is not just some little “he loves me, he loves me not” thing with God. This is the One who loved us so much that He allowed Himself to be executed for our sins so we could escape the punishment that is due us (John 3:16). That’s not the kind of sacrifice a master would make for his slave. It’s the kind a Father would make for his child.
They also don’t realize that it’s not God who makes people suffer in Hell. He doesn’t want anyone to go there (2 Peter 3:9) and He’s made sure that no one has to. But when we refuse to accept what He’s done for us, we put ourselves beyond His remedy. He can’t make us accept Him, so there’s nothing else He can do. Therefore, any one who suffers in Hell has only himself to blame.
I believe your husband knows that God exists. Now he needs to acknowledge the fact that he’s a sinner in need of a savior. In my opinion this is something only the Holy Spirit can accomplish. My advice is to stop trying to explain it to him, and use your energy praying for him instead. It’s the most effective thing you can do.