Frankie was the apple of his father’s eyes. He was like any other kid. He had a rebellious streak, but generally he was a good natured, well-rounded child.
‘I love you son,’ his father constantly told him. ‘I will always want what’s best for you, all you need to do is listen to what I say and trust me.’
‘Yes, Dad. I love you too and you know best.’
Frankie had one problem though and that was he just couldn’t resist chocolate. He loved it more than anything else in the world, but for his dad, it was a terrible thing.
‘Never eat chocolate Frankie. It’s bad for you. Don’t ever, ever eat it!’
‘Ok, Dad. If you say so.’
But Frankie’s father knew that chocolate was one thing Frankie couldn’t resist and knew full well that no matter how many times he told his son to avoid chocolate, Frankie wouldn’t. The allure was just too great.
But Frankie’s father wasn’t about to give up on him yet. He would attempt to train Frankie to resist the temptation of chocolate, even though he knew deep down it was futile. So one night he left a chocolate bar on Frankie’s bedside table.
‘Frankie,’ he said. ‘I’m going to leave this here tonight, but you are not to touch it, you understand? It is not for you to eat.’
‘But why put it on my table, Dad?’
‘This is a test to see if you can resist it.’
Knowing full well Frankie would fail the test, his dad left the chocolate bar there and sure enough, just as he suspected, Frankie was unable to resist the temptation and the bar was gone the next morning.
He sat Frankie down beside the fire and spoke to him gently. ‘Frankie, I told you not to eat that chocolate bar.’
‘But Dad, I love chocolate and I couldn’t resist. I just had to eat it.’
His father looked at him grimly. ‘You must resist the temptation! Chocolate is bad for you!’
‘I love you, son. This is for your own good.’
‘I love you too, Dad.’
The next night, Frankie’s father did the same thing again. He left a chocolate bar on his son’s bedside table, urging him not to give into temptation and eat it, but the following morning it was once again gone.
‘You failed me again, son.’ Frankie’s father said as they sat beside the fire.
‘I’m sorry, Dad! I just couldn’t resist!’
His father, gave him a hug. ‘I love you son and I forgive you, but you mustn’t do it again.’
‘But why can’t I eat chocolate, Dad? What’s really so wrong with it?’
‘It's just not a good thing, son. Trust me on that.'
‘But if I eat just a little bit, won't it be alright?’
‘Don’t eat it. If you love me, you will do as I tell you. Do you trust me, son?’
‘Then obey my rules.’
That night, once again Frankie’s dad put a bar of chocolate beside his son’s bedside table, knowing full well that once again Frankie would fail the test. Sure enough he did.
‘Frankie,’ his father said firmly. ‘Once again you gave into temptation. You must not eat the chocolate bar.’
‘But it looked so good,’ said Frankie. ‘Why can’t I eat it? What’s so bad about chocolate?’
‘It's just bad, Frankie. I don't like you eating it. It pains me when you eat chocolate and I just can't be near people who eat it.'
'Why not? I thought you could do anything?'
'I can, but if you eat it, it will just put a wall between us and I don't want that.'
'But can't you break the wall? You can do anything, right? You're my dad, my big strong dad!'
'Look son, you just can't begin to understand the situation. Just trust me and don't eat the chocolate.'
‘But it’s not fair.’
‘Frankie, am I your father?’
‘Then trust me, when I tell you it’s not good for you. Don’t eat the chocolate.
Night after night, Frankie’s dad would leave a chocolate bar on his son’s bedside table and each night Frankie, would give into temptation and eat it.
One day, beside the fire place, as his father told him off for once again failing the test,
Frankie got annoyed. ‘Dad, this is not fair. Why put chocolate bars on my bedside table each night, when you know I will eat them.’
‘I am trying to teach you to resist them.’
‘But I can’t!’
‘No! I’m not going to. If you put chocolate on my bedside table from now on, I am going to eat it. I don’t see anything wrong with chocolate.’
‘No Frankie, you must do as you’re told. You must obey my rules and trust in me.’
‘No!’ Frankie declared. ‘I think this is all just a big mean joke just to be mean to me. You're a horrible mean Dad and I don't care what you say anymore! In fact I'm beginning to think you're not my dad at all!’
Frankie’s dad felt a sharp stab of pain through his heart. ‘What? Surely you can’t mean that?’
‘I mean it! I’m going to eat chocolate whenever I like and you’re not going to stop me!’
‘Please Frankie. I’m your father and the rules I make are for your own good. Please don’t say things like that. Apologise to me now and I’ll forget you ever said those hurtful words.’
‘YOU ARE NOT MY DAD! A true loving father would never treat me like this!’
His father looked sadly at him. ‘Frankie. I have given you so many chances. Time and time again, I have said don’t eat that chocolate and time and time again I’ve forgiven you when you did. But not only that, you have done many other naughty things in your life and I’ve forgiven you for them too. But when you tell me you don’t believe that I’m your dad…. Well that’s something I can never forgive. You have brought this on yourself and there is nothing I can do. I am disowning you as my son.’
Frankie stared at his father in horror, ‘What?’
‘There are no more chances, Frankie. I didn’t want to have to do this, but you have committed an unpardonable act by rejecting me as your father and are refusing to apologise. By your actions you have proven to me that you don’t want the good things I offer you. You have chosen death.’
Frankie’s father called for the house staff and pointed to his son. 'Dispose of him!'
The staff members rushed forward, took hold of his son and hurled him into the fire.
Frankie screamed and writhed in absolute agony as the fire seared his flesh. His father looked on, sadly and when finally Frankie’s screaming died, he turned and walked away.
* * *
Reading the story of Frankie and his psychotic father, you might have been shocked by what happened to him in the end. Fortunately, that was a fictional story. Frankie doesn’t exist and neither does his malevolent Dad. But yet a similar story is happening in the lives of millions of people in this world, IF we are to believe the bible and the claims made about God.
The story is a metaphor.
Frankie’s dad represents God and Jesus. The house staff represents God's angels. Frankie represents millions of people in this world who reject Jesus. The chocolate represents sin, even very minor sins (minor from a worldly perspective).
The bible teaches that God is omniscient and knows all that is going to happen in the future.
Having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight
Possessed of universal or complete knowledge
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
God therefore knows whether we are going to reject him or not, even before he gives us life, but he gives us life anyway.
Let’s take the story of Frankie a step further. Let’s say that Frankie was a creation of his father. A genetically engineered child and the father programmed him to have a craving for chocolate. So he made him that way! Wouldn’t that make the father’s acts even more reprehensible?
That’s exactly the case with God and man. The bible claims that every man woman and child was planned by God.
Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.
If we have an inclination towards particular lusts or cravings, then God made us that way. He created animal instincts and urges within us, just as he did for every species of animal. We are no different.
So why would God set us up for failure? You could be excused for thinking it was a case of divine entrapment, but this is how the bible God goes about things, if we are to believe he is omniscient. Another question would be, what sort of father would turn their back on their much loved child, like Frankie’s dad did? Perhaps this type of father:
Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
And what sort of person would have others do his dirty work for him?
Matthew 13:40-42: "Just as the weeds are separated out and burned, so it will be at the end of the world. I, the Son of Man, will send my angels, and they will remove from my Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil, and they will throw them into the furnace and burn them. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Let’s take the story another step further. In the story, Frankie’s execution was over in a few seconds. But many Christians believe that hell is a place of eternal torment. So in their version of Frankie’s story, Frankie wouldn’t die. He would continue to writhe and twist in absolute agony for eternity in those flames, simply for rightfully rejecting his sick and twisted father. How even more evil does that make his father?
I can hear all those Christians out there screaming at the top of their lungs. “My God isn’t like that! He’s a merciful God! He gives us a free will and if we disobey him, then we deserve to be punished.”
That’s all very well if God isn’t omniscient and even if God didn’t design you to be who you are. But you can’t claim he is loving or merciful when he made you the way you are and then cast you into hell for being that person. You can be a merciful God who designed and created a human being, but you can hardly punish them if they behave the way you designed them. If a man creates a robot and programs it have a mind of its own, he has no right to be angry with it, if it turns against him.
There's probably still some people saying, 'But wait! Where's Frankie's saviour? Where's the one that comes and offers to takes his punishment for him?'
Let’s overlook the fact that if it wasn’t for the chocolate craving, there’d be no need for punishment, because he’d have no interest in eating chocolate, just as he would have no interest in eating a lump of dog shit. Let’s ignore the issue that if it wasn’t for the rules that the father set, there’d be no need for any saviour. If there was anyone coming to take Frankie's punishment, that person would be the one burning in the flames, but we all know that's not the case when it comes to Jesus. It's not like Jesus is going to be suffering for all eternity and that he'll be suffering anywhere nearly as much as poor old Frankie.
Would it make much difference to the story, really? It would just make Frankie's father even more sick when he threatens to have himself (or another) flogged to death for Frankie's failures. And then if Frankie is unable to believe that his father (or this other person) took a flogging, he still gets thrown into the fire.
Remember Frankie does not get to witness the flogging, in fact all he knows is what he receives in some old letter written by someone who wasn't there when it happened. And furthermore the letter is delivered by some whacko who believes some pretty crazy shit. Furthermore, Frankie is expected to believe that all that was necessary to begin with, especially when it was his father who set the rules, put the temptations in his way, set him up for failure and chose the penalties for his failure. It's his father’s wrath that has to be appeased. So what does Frankie believe? Like most people, he's not going to be able to believe that letter, so of course he’s going to reject this so-called father.