A friend of mine sent me this link at msn from a Newsweek article. I recommend reading it. In a nutshell, it tells the story of BlasphemyChallenge.com, which encourages people to renounce God, and more specifically, the Holy Spirit, in order to show their strong support of atheism. What’s up for grabs is a DVD of the documentary The God Who Wasn’t There, and all it costs is your soul. Quite a deal, huh?
Those interested merely have to record and upload a brief video to youtube where they renounce God, or blaspheme him in some way, but they must specifically blaspheme the Holy Spirit as well. Why? Because of this verse:
29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation – Mark 3:29
Quite a few people have willingly traded their souls for this little plastic disk, and as one of them stated, they’re “daring God to send [them] to Hell.” Good luck with that…
This article does bring up an interesting subject, and it happens to be one we recently studied in a Bible class. Does blaspheming the Holy Spirit, as these people are doing, really condemn someone to hell for good? I mean, if the person changes their mind later and decides they need to be saved, is it too late for them? Have they already thrown away their chance?
To help answer that, let’s look at Mark 3 again, but in context, this time.
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.”
23 So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. 27 No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.
28 “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation”— 30 because they said, “He has an unclean spirit.” – Mark 3:22-30
In this passage (Matthew 12 and Luke 12 record the same thing), we see where some of the Jewish scribes claimed that Jesus was able to perform his miracles by Satan’s power, instead of God’s. Jesus points out how ridiculous that idea is, for why would Satan hurt himself? It’s after this that Jesus tells his followers that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit can’t have forgiveness. Verse 30 tells us the reason he said that was because they claimed he had an unclean spirit.
We can tell from that section that it was the Holy Spirit that worked with Jesus to perform those miracles. Well, what was the purpose of miracles? Was it merely to help the pour soul who was suffering from whatever affliction Christ healed? No, that wasn’t the main reason at all.
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. – John 20:30-31
See? Miracles were performed and recorded so that we would believe Jesus is the son of God. That was their purpose – they served as proof And as we just read, that “proof” was supplied by the Holy Spirit.
When the scribes attributed the miracles performed by the Holy Spirit to unclean spirits, or demons, then they were denying the very proof that Christ offered. Well, if they did that, then there was no hope for their salvation. If they denied the very proof Christ offered, then how could they be convinced that he was the Christ?
I think this is what Christ was referring to in Mark 3. That as long as these people denied the proofs God offered, they couldn’t achieve forgiveness. If they wouldn’t even acknowledge that miracles were miracles, what else could Jesus offer them to convince them? Nothing. They had absolutely refused to be convinced. However, if they ever realized their error and repented of it, I don’t think God would deny them forgiveness. After all, passages like Collossians 2:13, James 5:15, and countless others explain how God is always willing to forgive us of any sin.
Basically, I think that this passage, though confusing and scary, just means that those who deny the proofs that God has offered have no hope of salvation, but if they ever realize their error, they can be forgiven. But even if it does mean that those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit can never be forgiven, I think it would have to be referring to people like the ones taking part in the Blasphemy Challenge. It’s definitely not something that we could “accidentally” do. We don’t need to worry that we’ve mistakenly commmitted the “unforgivable sin.” Those who worry about it, haven’t committed it.