It is important to read our Bibles if we are fortunate to have a copy. The Apostle Paul says that Scriptures are the inspired words of God (2 Tim 3:16-17). Some of Scriptures are God’s actual words (i.e. Ten Commandments). The challenge though is that interpretations are fallible. The Bible is not a single text with a single author. The Bible was written in foreign languages thousands of years ago. We must listen to our hearts as well to understand God, as we are made in God’s image. Even human parents understand they cannot ask children in their image to believe in anything that violates their own sense of justice
Human reasoning is critical in understanding God. The first chapter of Romans says we all sense that a Being greater than ourselves exist, and we have an internal moral compass that allows most to agree on right from wrong. We must consider if a biblical teaching seems plausible based on what a loving God would be like. For example we must reject traditional explanations of Hell if there is a defensible exegetical alternative. Such sadistic punishment serves no purpose and humans don’t even keep their enemies alive so we can keep torturing them. We must listen to our hearts!
God cannot ask us to believe in anything unworthy of human, rational belief as it would go against His nature. God and human morality are one in the same. Humans have a concept of perfect love because we are made in our Creator’s image. God’s love and perfect human love are one in the same. God’s desire for us and what we desire deep down for ourselves are inseparable. We can already know the truth about the Heart of God before reading Scriptures. God surely is not a reflection of our parents but the perfection of parents we always desired or wanted to be.
Selective Election where God elected certain individuals for eternal life, thus foreordaining millions of humans to eternal damnation without any choice, can’t be biblical. God’s love cannot be contrary to human understandings of rational love. Earthly parents would be accused of immorality if they showed similar favoritism toward their children. There is not a quota on God’s grace. Selective election by God is indefensible exegetically and according to human reasoning. God cannot ask His children to be impartial (James 2:1) and yet God show favoritism.
Human reasoning is not the enemy! God created such reasoning. Questions about God are solved on biblical and rational grounds as interpretations are imperfect. When our interpretations give reasons for pause, we must reconsider. Bad theology has consequences. St. Augustine and Calvin with their beliefs about Election implied God’s grace has a quota and His love is conditional. Our theology must not make it difficult for people to turn to God by misrepresenting God’s character. Let each person come to their understanding of God if they are seeking. What good is Christian love if we can’t consider one another’s opinion gracefully, so to work out our own convictions with as much consistency as possible. Imagine if our discussions about God were civil and lead to agreeing to disagree. Trust God to work in the heart of His individual children.