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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Will God allow anyone to go to hell?
Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Funny how liberalism robs from grace just as legalism does, by adding to it.

May I ask: who gets to make the decisions about which theologies accurately reflect the nature of grace and which are "adding to it"? You?

-Digory

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Papio

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Sorry for not reading the whole thread yet, but to answer the OP afresh, how can He NOT? Particularly as He already has in Satan and his demons. And since Eden, more metaphorically but no less painfully. No Hell? No freewill. Conservatively it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to create transcendent children, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends without the dread possibility of reprobation.

Satan and the demons are almost certainly not literal beings. Same as Eden never existed and so there was no Fall.

Otherwise, I can only repeat my old contention that a God who allows hell to exist is neither wholey good nor wholey loving, so far as I can see. No interest in worshipping such a god. Why should I have any such interest?

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Martin60
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While I await Ruth's response, Digory, the dialectic decides. It hasn't been entered in to yet. It never is. And Papio, they certainly are and it certainly did. Your turn. Stalemate in how many is it? And Demas, if God could create morally perfect beings by fiat and spare us alienation, sin, horror, pain, meaninglessness and the possibility of reprobation and eternal oblivion, why didn't He? Unless He's a Zaphod Beeblebrox hey-I'm-just-this-guy kind of guy. He'd rather annihilate may be billions forever for the heck of it, for the craic, than just make us all pain-free instant godlets. Or is this pit of tears necessary for universalism? Is that what I'm missing? Can you join up the dots for this fossilized ole fundy? Guys? Hepcats? Nah. Hopeless aren't I. Trapped in preprepostmodernism. Unhip. Ignore me and I'll die, it's OK, you inherit the cool world. Look, honestly, I'm an intellectual, moral and spiritual slug not worth you even pouring salt on.

And good night sweet princes.

--------------------
Love wins

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Demas
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
And Demas, if God could create morally perfect beings by fiat and spare us alienation, sin, horror, pain, meaninglessness and the possibility of reprobation and eternal oblivion, why didn't He?

No idea. Presumably even if God couldn't create morally perfect beings by fiat, he could have created us flawed, but in a world without earthquakes, droughts and bubonic plague. He didn't do that either.

quote:
He'd rather annihilate may be billions forever for the heck of it, for the craic, than just make us all pain-free instant godlets.
You're the one saying that God is annihilating billions forever, not me. We both have to explain bubonic plague; only you have to explain a loving eternal torturer.

Martin, me old salt, you have tried to answer me by a logical argument from the existence of evil (begging the question of hell while doing it) - I thought you were a fundy: show me where God says that he cannot create character by fiat.

Or do you believe that God cannot save you without your help?

--------------------
They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Sorry for not reading the whole thread yet, but to answer the OP afresh, how can He NOT? Particularly as He already has in Satan and his demons. And since Eden, more metaphorically but no less painfully. No Hell? No freewill. Conservatively it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to create transcendent children, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends without the dread possibility of reprobation.

Satan and the demons are almost certainly not literal beings. Same as Eden never existed and so there was no Fall.

Otherwise, I can only repeat my old contention that a God who allows hell to exist is neither wholey good nor wholey loving, so far as I can see. No interest in worshipping such a god. Why should I have any such interest?

I don't have a quite a huge issue with God and the existence of hell.

My own pet annoyance is God and free will. That's got to be the worst of them all.

Maybe this discussion comes down to the question or the belief in free will?

--------------------
[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Papio

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
And Papio, they certainly are and it certainly did. Your turn. Stalemate in how many is it?

Sorry, Martin, but if Christianity requires belief in literal demons and acceptance of the cosmology of Genesis then I am not interested. It doesn't, though.

But then, I am simply not interested in a god who punishes people for ever. I'm just not. Not even if you could demonstrate his existance to me.

I mean, I don't want to go to Hell but then I am not sure I want to go to Heaven either.

Annihilation is better then either.

--------------------
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RuthW

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Gene Robinson makes good evil by proclaiming his superiority in being led by the Holy Spirit beyond Christ and the Apostles.

This is debatable.

quote:
If he is good, then they are evil. Relatively. By comparison. By what they 'lack'. Furthermore the evil they proclaim from their persective, he proclaims good. He has improved on the Bible.
He may just be mistaken. You may be mistaken. You are putting everything in black and white terms, and without much basis for doing so, as far as I can see.


quote:
But like all liberals you start from behind and assume you're ahead. You're behind Ruth. The conservative, hard, faithful bits of the Christian thesis is all too easy for mean spirited old bastards like me to hold. You can't touch it because, for all your brilliance, you have not and cannot do the intellectual work without being intellectualist, without invoking a mythical level of understanding that I can't have or worse, without invoking an esoteric understanding that cannot be communicated.
I make no such assumptions about my own understanding.

quote:
You, Gene Robinson, mistake your goodness for Christ's.
No, I don't. What little goodness I have is Christ's gift to me.

quote:
You aren't going to win this fight Ruth and neither am I. I offer a truce AFTER your rebuttal.

And I don't feel bad now, just real. And I wish the same for you. We'll find out how wrong BOTH of us are soon enough.

Love, what little I can express - Martin

Truce accepted. Let us agree to disagree.
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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
While I await Ruth's response, Digory, the dialectic decides. It hasn't been entered in to yet. It never is.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this, Martin. It seems rather dismissive. Are you saying that the continual conversation decides? If so, I would suggest not limiting the conversation with labels like "liberal".

-Digory

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
My own pet annoyance is God and free will. That's got to be the worst of them all.

Maybe this discussion comes down to the question of the belief in free will?

That's always an interesting discussion. People would do good to remember that the OP asked "Will God ALLOW anyone to go to hell," and not "Will God FORCE anyone to go to hell?"

That puts a little different spin on things.

-Digory

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Papio

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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
That puts a little different spin on things.

-Digory

Why?

(Well, that was odd.)

[ 28. November 2005, 06:44: Message edited by: Papio. ]

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
And Demas, if God could create morally perfect beings by fiat and spare us alienation, sin, horror, pain, meaninglessness and the possibility of reprobation and eternal oblivion, why didn't He?

No idea. Presumably even if God couldn't create morally perfect beings by fiat, he could have created us flawed, but in a world without earthquakes, droughts and bubonic plague. He didn't do that either.

quote:
He'd rather annihilate may be billions forever for the heck of it, for the craic, than just make us all pain-free instant godlets.
You're the one saying that God is annihilating billions forever, not me. We both have to explain bubonic plague; only you have to explain a loving eternal torturer.

Martin, me old salt, you have tried to answer me by a logical argument from the existence of evil (begging the question of hell while doing it) - I thought you were a fundy: show me where God says that he cannot create character by fiat.

Or do you believe that God cannot save you without your help?

Really interesting questions and arguments (oh the things I miss when away from a computer!). Actually, I think the earthquakes/floods/bubonic plague do go hand-in-hand with fallen humanity - "creation groans," sin has weight and consequences even for the "innocent," so entropy grasps all of creation, like a giant shock-wave moving out from Eden and impacting the whole universe. The nature of what was created was changed by the creature.

I think we tend to fall into the wrong assumptions and ask the wrong questions - we assume God is created in our image and not we in His - we don't consider that Perfect Love is not sentimental or co-dependent in the least, and what does that look like? We see through a glass darkly - and try as I might, I cannot get the whole word of God to support a universalist view (a selective reading, yes - but it's kind of like creating a string of paper dolls by clever folding and snipping, or so it seems to me).

How *could* it be possible to create character by fiat? Character is the cumulation of experience and learning - you cannot say of an infant, "He has a bad character because he keeps me up at night," or of a two-year old, "she has a good character because she enjoys music and tries to dance when she hears it."

Or perhaps it's simply that character created by fiat is without value, at least to God (I'd kind of like it, myself... but I suspect that's a flaw in my character!).

quote:
posted by RuthW
quote:
Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
If he is good, then they are evil. Relatively. By comparison. By what they 'lack'. Furthermore the evil they proclaim from their persective, he proclaims good. He has improved on the Bible.

He may just be mistaken. You may be mistaken. You are putting everything in black and white terms, and without much basis for doing so, as far as I can see.
This situation with Gene Robinson is close to the bone for me, so I am throwing two-cents into the mix: I think there is, indeed, tremendous scriptural basis for Martin's p.o.v. - first, the whole calling good "evil" and evil "good" (Is 5:20 - "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"), second, the clear teaching that homosexuality (*ahem* - specifically male homosexuality, at least until you get to Paul) is a sufficiently egregious and destructive behavior that God's direction for Israel is to execute those who violate this law (not all sexual sin gets the death penalty), and third, ministers are held to higher level of accountability and bishops are held to an even higher standard of behavior and accountability. To my way of thinking, that's a pretty significant basis right there.

One can say, "the law doesn't apply" (and happily God didn't attach the death penalty for homosexuality to any nation other than ancient Israel. Same with stoning incorrigible children... lucky for me, or I wouldn't have made it to adulthood). Well, nobody I've ever heard is calling for homosexuality to become a death penalty offense again - but I believe, if we are wise, we will look very carefully at all those offenses which carry the death penalty and take them very seriously as sins.

So even though we no longer have to execute homosexuals (and scripture deals with the practice, not the inclination; the celibate homosexual is not condemned) - or witches, or diviners, or adulterers, or incorrigible children, etc. - we run great risk if we say, "we know better now and even though God called that behavior evil, He didn't know what He was talking about," or "God didn't call it evil, homophobic men called it evil" because we then might conclude that it is as legitimate a use of human sexuality as marriage and we have just called evil "good." However responsible Gene Robinson is for his opinions as an individual, that responsibility grows larger with a more exalted position - and a bishop is pretty exalted: he has to answer to God for much more than you or I (assuming none of you are bishops...).

--------------------
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Demas
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Character is a tricky thing.

There is an old joke/story about how the world was created 5 minutes ago, complete with fake memories, fake dinosaur bones, fake scars from that fall at Scout camp when you were twelve.

If I had been created 5 minutes ago, exactly as I am, would there be any difference?

If I can conceive of myself being created 5 minutes ago exactly as myself, how I can I declare that action to be impossible for an omnipotent God?

Also, our transcendent character must be more than my experience and learning - a simple blow to the head, the simple ingestion of chemicals, all these can have a profound impact on my character.

Having watched people with alzheimers have their personalities slowly dismantled until there was nothing left of the original character I am very doubtful that it is a simple matter of learning, growing, getting new experiences, then dying to heaven or hell; that our human character is inherently something eternal.

--------------------
They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
I think we tend to fall into the wrong assumptions and ask the wrong questions - we assume God is created in our image and not we in His - we don't consider that Perfect Love is not sentimental or co-dependent in the least, and what does that look like? We see through a glass darkly - and try as I might, I cannot get the whole word of God to support a universalist view (a selective reading, yes - but it's kind of like creating a string of paper dolls by clever folding and snipping, or so it seems to me).

I would like to double that entire paragraph from above here, with one very small word change. Take "universalist" out and substitute "damnationist" for it. Either view requires a selective reading of scripture--we're just much more accustomed to hearing and studying and believing the damnationists' reading. Fortunately, that doesn't make it right.

(I realize I have not made an argument for universalism here. I simply wanted to point out that suggestion.)

quote:
[/qb]"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

<snip>

...we run great risk if we say, "we know better now and even though God called that behavior evil, He didn't know what He was talking about," or "God didn't call it evil, homophobic men called it evil" because we then might conclude that it is as legitimate a use of human sexuality as marriage and we have just called evil "good."[/QB]

Luckily for us, I think, the Isaiah verse you mention here does not continue by saying, "And thanks be to those who are here on earth to clearly point out all of those evildoers who have substituted evil for good!" I do not count on myself or any human to be able to make this distinction. It is not for us to make.

As to your exegesis on the issue of homosexuality as an example of this misnomering of evil as "good," I disagree about this "risk" you suggest that we may be taking. Nobody is saying that "God didn't know what he was talking about." (At least I'm not saying that.) I am thankful for those who stood up against the people who defended slavery using the Bible. They may have been told to stop questioning the infallible Word, but they stood firm for what they believed was a current injustice, specific to the current culture.

Gathering this back to the OP, I believe the real risk is attempting to suggest that we know full well what God will say and how God will judge anyone for their current actions. It is a matter between the person and God. Even before I was a "wishy-washy universalist wannabe," I believed it was God and God alone, apart from any of my assistance, who changed a person's heart. My role, then, should never have been to condemn, even in an attempt to "save."

-Digory

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
That puts a little different spin on things.

-Digory

Why?

(Well, that was odd.)

Forcing people to remain in hell against their cries for mercy is a much different problem than simply allowing those who do not wish to remain in heaven to leave and take up residency outside of heaven (which I believe would be a biblical representation of what hell is).

That was what I was getting at. (What was odd?)

-Digory

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
Forcing people to remain in hell against their cries for mercy is a much different problem than simply allowing those who do not wish to remain in heaven to leave and take up residency outside of heaven (which I believe would be a biblical representation of what hell is).

This is how I see it too.

Are we thinking that there are signs that say: "Leaving heaven" or "Hell - 15 miles ahead"?

I would expect that there would be some disagreement about which was which. [Two face]

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Demas
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I'm not really convinced that professorkirke's difference is real, because I'm not really convinced of the definitions of heaven and hell being used here.

Firstly, there is a reason why traditional imagery of hell is of a bad place - the prooftexts are of wailing and gnashing of teeth, eternal fire and darkness where the worm never sleeps, hell as punishment. These prooftexts have been (wrongly imho) used to construct a common understanding of hell as a place of eternal punishment; not merely substandard hotel accomodation on a holiday.

I think that to redefine hell as you are doing is to make yourself a firm universalist, but not admitting it [Razz]

Secondly, this language continues to be one of place rather than internal goodness - we still are thinking of ourselves as we are now, just in a nice place or a not nice place. We still haven't started to talk in terms of theosis, or in terms of how an imperfect warped person can be one with a being of perfect love.

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They did not appear very religious; that is, they were not melancholy; and I therefore suspected they had not much piety - Life of Rev John Murray

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Papio

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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
Forcing people to remain in hell against their cries for mercy is a much different problem than simply allowing those who do not wish to remain in heaven to leave and take up residency outside of heaven (which I believe would be a biblical representation of what hell is).

That was what I was getting at. (What was odd?)

-Digory

I suppose that I would like a more consequentiality, as opposed to Kantian (?) explanation. Maybe there isn't one. It's just that I find fine logical distinctions to be a bit hollow when people's (eternal) lives are at stake. I'm also not entirely sure that I buy the argument that says letting people starve when you could prevent it is meaningfully morally different then forcing them to starve. It's not that I can see a difference in how words are used but that I cannot see any real difference in the outcome and, therefore, cannot really see that one is more or less blameworthy than the other. Hey Ho.

(I am pretty sure I snipped and commented your post the first time, but when I hit "add reply" it was just a straight quote, sans reply.)

--------------------
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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
I suppose that I would like a more consequentiality, as opposed to Kantian (?) explanation. Maybe there isn't one. It's just that I find fine logical distinctions to be a bit hollow when people's (eternal) lives are at stake. I'm also not entirely sure that I buy the argument that says letting people starve when you could prevent it is meaningfully morally different then forcing them to starve. It's not that I can see a difference in how words are used but that I cannot see any real difference in the outcome and, therefore, cannot really see that one is more or less blameworthy than the other. Hey Ho.

I don't think it's ALL about outcome. Letting people starve is very similar to forcing them to starve, I agree. But what about allowing them to throw up their food, rather than forcing them to keep it down in their stomachs? Actually, that's probably a bad analogy, too.

A better explanation is just what I was saying. I think it's the difference between locked gates and an "open-door policy". Those who get to heaven can choose to stay outside of heaven, but at any time may choose to accept God and enter heaven. I suppose it would have to go so far as to say at any time one could leave heaven again and end up back in "hell," as well. Much like Lewis' The Great Divorce scenario if you're familiar with it.

I think that changes the question, a little.

-Digory

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
I'm not really convinced that professorkirke's difference is real, because I'm not really convinced of the definitions of heaven and hell being used here.

Firstly, there is a reason why traditional imagery of hell is of a bad place - the prooftexts are of wailing and gnashing of teeth, eternal fire and darkness where the worm never sleeps, hell as punishment. These prooftexts have been (wrongly imho) used to construct a common understanding of hell as a place of eternal punishment; not merely substandard hotel accomodation on a holiday.

I think that to redefine hell as you are doing is to make yourself a firm universalist, but not admitting it [Razz]

Maybe, but I'm not telling.

quote:
Secondly, this language continues to be one of place rather than internal goodness - we still are thinking of ourselves as we are now, just in a nice place or a not nice place. We still haven't started to talk in terms of theosis, or in terms of how an imperfect warped person can be one with a being of perfect love.
Being changed vs. changing location. Demas, that's a fascinating distinction. I need to chew on it for a while.

-Digory

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
I would like to double that entire paragraph from above here, with one very small word change. Take "universalist" out and substitute "damnationist" for it. Either view requires a selective reading of scripture--we're just much more accustomed to hearing and studying and believing the damnationists' reading. Fortunately, that doesn't make it right.

Absolutely it could be swapped out; a point I've made a couple of times. I don't know that there's any *resolution* here (you know, where somebody lies on the ground and says, "uncle! uncle! I give!") - just an assortment of people explaining their perspectives on the matter.

And, for what it's worth, in my lifetime I've not heard the "damnationists" (!!) reading more - perhaps because I grew up on the west coast where the UMC has been more liberal longer, but I was raised with significantly more emphasis on the universalist reading.

quote:
"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

Luckily for us, I think, the Isaiah verse you mention here does not continue by saying, "And thanks be to those who are here on earth to clearly point out all of those evildoers who have substituted evil for good!"

I think you're forgetting why this was posted - there was some question as to there being any basis for criticizing the Bishop of New Hampshire. And there is a very big difference between the slavery issue and the homosexuality issue: slavery was not required by the law but the law did regulate the manner in which it could be practiced (funny that the 18th & 19th century proponents of slavery didn't follow the Biblical regulations, if they were using the Bible to justify their practice). So in one case scripture was being used to justify a practice which scripture regulated but did not require; in the other case scripture prohibits a specific behavior. So the people who argued AGAINST slavery did nothing against scripture - whereas the people who argue that homosexuality is as blessed by God as heterosexuality do so from an explicitly anti-scriptural stance and must find one way or another to say, "the Bible doesn't mean what it says" (and they do, in an assortment of ways). The two scenarios are not equivalent.

quote:
Gathering this back to the OP, I believe the real risk is attempting to suggest that we know full well what God will say and how God will judge anyone for their current actions. It is a matter between the person and God.
A reality for which I am very grateful. I am, nonetheless, not personally comfortable stepping into the "never mind the Bible, you don't need to take it so seriously" position.

The "being changed vs. changing location" (PK's condensation of Demas' post) is an interesting question indeed. Over the weekend a friend of mine threw out the question of whether there might be the equivalent of "purgatory" for those heading to hell, removing everything of value - kind of a chilling notion (he's a twisted guy and I mean that in a good way). It makes me think of the end of the parable of the talents, when the master has the one talent taken from the hapless servant and given to the servent with ten talents... eeep!

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Sorry for not reading the whole thread yet, but to answer the OP afresh, how can He NOT? Particularly as He already has in Satan and his demons. And since Eden, more metaphorically but no less painfully. No Hell? No freewill. Conservatively it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to create transcendent children, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends without the dread possibility of reprobation.

Satan and the demons are almost certainly not literal beings. Same as Eden never existed and so there was no Fall.

Otherwise, I can only repeat my old contention that a God who allows hell to exist is neither wholey good nor wholey loving, so far as I can see. No interest in worshipping such a god. Why should I have any such interest?

That implies there is no evil, no injustice, no sin.

It either means that no one is ever wrong in their thoughts and actions, or that God, in allowing such things in people, is unconcerned about truth, justice, morality - even forgiveness - for without sin there is no need.

You have wiped out all need for redemption, sacrifice, reconciliation.

In your world, is there no struggle, no search for anything higher than what you have?

Is there no penalty, no consequence?

What are you? Comatose?

[ 29. November 2005, 09:02: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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Jolly Jape
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Martin, you wrote (some way back):
quote:
Character cannot be created by fiat any more than inanimate material can create life and mind.
LMC, you wrote:
quote:
The "being changed vs. changing location" (PK's condensation of Demas' post) is an interesting question indeed. Over the weekend a friend of mine threw out the question of whether there might be the equivalent of "purgatory" for those heading to hell, removing everything of value - kind of a chilling notion (he's a twisted guy and I mean that in a good way). It makes me think of the end of the parable of the talents, when the master has the one talent taken from the hapless servant and given to the servent with ten talents... eeep!
Been chewing over these ideas in the light of my understanding of sin as being analogous to disease. Whilst I agree, Martin, that character cannot be created by fiat, it may also be present, but concealed by "disease". Cure the disease, and the character is revealed as it actually is. On this reading, there is no inherent need for a lengthy post-mortem process of character growth in order to fit the person for heaven, because that process has already taken place. It's just that the disease of sin has prevented it from being revealed.

Similarly, Lynn, there is no need to import an element of punishment into the transformation process involved in the resurrection of the body. The root of Purgatory is medical, the purgeing of "badness" (infection, maybe, pushing the analogy) from the body. Whilst, in medical terms this may be unpleasant (for example, chemotherapy) that is incidental rather than inherent in the process. It is not the unpleasantness that makes the medicine effective, rather it may be unpleasant because the medicine is effective. I have to say that I am sceptical about the the idea that God's removal of everything of value from a person, whilst it may have some benefit for character improvement, is likely to do much to improve that person's disposition towards God.

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Jolly Jape
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Mudfrog, I just don't see how your last post is in any way related to the quotation from Papio. Lots of perfectly orthodox Chritians believe that the fall is a parable rather than a historic account, yet the whole house of cards doesn't fall down on them. As Demas has pointed out, universalism has an excellent scriptural pedigree, and in fact was the default position of most of the church for the first 500 or so years of its existance, Origen notwithstanding. Howso, then, is it that believing that doctrine compromises the need for redemption, sacrifice or reconciliation. Care to unpack?

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
Mudfrog, I just don't see how your last post is in any way related to the quotation from Papio. Lots of perfectly orthodox Chritians believe that the fall is a parable rather than a historic account, yet the whole house of cards doesn't fall down on them. As Demas has pointed out, universalism has an excellent scriptural pedigree, and in fact was the default position of most of the church for the first 500 or so years of its existance, Origen notwithstanding. Howso, then, is it that believing that doctrine compromises the need for redemption, sacrifice or reconciliation. Care to unpack?

I was referring to the Fall is the origin of the problem of sin, evil, rebellion, etc in the world. If there is no 'Fall' then we are saying there is no evil that needs redemption. If no fall, we have a perfect argument for there being no hell.

"As Demas has pointed out, universalism has an excellent scriptural pedigree, and in fact was the default position of most of the church for the first 500 or so years of its existance, Origen notwithstanding."

I don't think so. Jesus was certainly not a universalist; neither were the Apostles Peter, Paul and John.

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Jolly Jape
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Muddy:
quote:
I was referring to the Fall is the origin of the problem of sin, evil, rebellion, etc in the world. If there is no 'Fall' then we are saying there is no evil that needs redemption. If no fall, we have a perfect argument for there being no hell.

I think it is plain from the context of Papio's words that he was questioning the historicity of the Fall ("Eden never existed") rather than its' metaphysical reality. I see no reason to beleive that acceptance of a literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis is necessary for the acceptance of the objective reality of evil. It may, of course, help to explain this reality, but I still think you were unnecessarily dismissive of Papio's argument, the thrust, if not the detail, of which I find myself in agreement.

With regard to universalism, I think there is a cast iron case to be made that it is at the very core of Paul's theology. With John, the case from his writings is less explicit, but the letters certainly seem to have a universalist feel. The early church in Ephesus, which, traditionally, was his home congregation, seems certainly to have been universalist. Peter would seem, from his letters, to have been an anihilationist in his beliefs, but his writings were mostly practical rather than theological. In the case of Jesus Himself, as PaulTH pointed out, there may have been a growing understanding as his ministry progressed, and as He grasped more of the meaning of His ministry as the cross approached. It may be that, right up to the resurrection, He Himself did not fully appreciate the scope of the Atonement, just as He did not know the hour or the day of His return. Certainly John 6:31 coupled with Matthew 11:27 doesnt preclude universalism.

That said, however, I was not saying that a universalist reading of the scriptures was the only possible reading, but rather that the scriptures do not compel a non-universalist understanding, which seems to be your position. You might disagree with universalism, but to characterise those who hold this, as I believe, intellectually cohesive viewpoint as comatose does not do justice to the power of their argument.

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Papio

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As I was saying to someone last night, I find the idea of any afterlife really quite appaling.

But maybe this is because, if I am honest, I tend to see God, when I believe in God's existance, as a sort of Cosmic Meanie who is constantly looking over our shoulders looking for an excuse to damn us into hell (and, to make sure I am being fair to my friend, that is not the sort of God she worships at all). I also have both moral and philosophical objections to the exclusivity of conservative teaching on the Eschaton.

My grandfather always used to tell me to imagine millions of lemmings throwing themselves of a cliff and God saving a few here and there but letting most shatter their bodies on the rocks below. I am not sure my grandfather will ever understand why I find this analogy to be abhorrent. Basically, I suppose it seems very arbitary to me and there seems no clear moral reason to save some but leave most to their fate. Those who know my politics know that I am very much a "we're all in this together" sort of bloke. The individualism and elitism of the doctrine of Hell makes me want to [Projectile]

Sorry, but it does.

Then again, I am aware that my feelings on the subject are not relavent to the truth or untruth of such a doctrine.

I would probably prefer that there was no afterlife at all. If there has to be an afterlife, then universal salvation to paradise is certainly no less arbitary or moral then the doctrine of Hell, so far as I can see and makes God a vastly more attractive being.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
I'm not really convinced that professorkirke's difference is real, because I'm not really convinced of the definitions of heaven and hell being used here.

I agree that the definitions of hell being used here are at the root of the problem.
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Firstly, there is a reason why traditional imagery of hell is of a bad place - the prooftexts are of wailing and gnashing of teeth, eternal fire and darkness where the worm never sleeps, hell as punishment. These prooftexts have been (wrongly imho) used to construct a common understanding of hell as a place of eternal punishment; not merely substandard hotel accomodation on a holiday.

I agree that it is obvious that this is where we geto ur idea of hell. To me it also seems obvious that these descriptions are somewhat metaphoric, since literally being on fire forever is hard to imagine.
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
I think that to redefine hell as you are doing is to make yourself a firm universalist, but not admitting it [Razz]

It depends on how we are redefining hell. I would take the biblical descriptions and admit them as metaphors, rather than literal descriptions. People burn with their desires, not with fire.
quote:
Originally posted by Demas:
Secondly, this language continues to be one of place rather than internal goodness - we still are thinking of ourselves as we are now, just in a nice place or a not nice place.

People will naturally think in terms of place. I don't see how we can get around it. But I think that we are also capable of realizing that "place" really means "spiritual state" when we are talking about ultimate eternal happiness or unhappiness.

The key, as I have said before, is to realize that things that are called "wicked" are so called because unhappiness is inherent in them. So no special punishment needs to be attached. It is simply no fun in the long run to be a person who nurses thoughts of revenge, or who is self-centered, or worldly. Hell is nothing more than people being allowed to be the way that they want to be. If they learn from the unpleasantness attached to these ways of being, then they move out of hell as a direct consequence. The question is how possible this is after death.

This isn't "merely substandard hotel accomodation on a holiday." It is agony, and it is experienced by people all the time. Happily, people change through these kinds of experiences. The trouble is that not everyone changes, and we don't always recognize the source of our unhappiness. Why would it be different after death?

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
As I was saying to someone last night, I find the idea of any afterlife really quite appaling.

I would never suggest assenting to a theology ONLY because one feels a certain way, but I also don't agree with those who encourage us to disregard all feelings and use only "cold hard facts" etc.

Mind if I ask why you would prefer no afterlife to a universalist theology?

-Digory

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
Mind if I ask why you would prefer no afterlife to a universalist theology?

I wonder the same thing. Having been with many dying people, I have never run across any that expected to be extinguished at death.

The idea that a dying, but much loved, spouse, child, or parent, simply ceases to exist is not acceptable to many people at all, in my experience.

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Papio

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I prefer to think of my dead loved ones as just being, well, dead. I find it a comforting thought that they have no longer have an consciousness or an existance outside of their effects on their loved ones and our memories of them and, in time, that they will be forgotten. I find it comforting that I would simply return to the earth. Cease to exist. Have no consciousness after death.

To posit an afterlife of any description is in my view to impose an unbearable burden on every action, on every thought, on every sentence that we utter and upon eveything that we feel. It makes the act of being a parent far more complex and difficult if one's children shall be eternal. I simply want to live until my body gives in and then just go. Cease to be in any and every way, shape and form. The doctrine of an afterlife seems to me a crushing and oppresive burden.

However, I have been thinking about this all day (but not only today) and I personally think (and feel) that there are three main options. Others will disagree, yes, but for me the only truly sensible options are as follows (and listed in order of my personal preference).

* There is no God. No afterlife. All religions, and all varities within each religion, are fundamentally and irredeemably mistaken.

*There is a loving God and we shall all go to eternal paradise.

*There is a non-loving and unjust God and most or all shall go to Hell.

Since the third belief, even if true, is of no practical help or benefit whatever, I feel free to jettison it.

I have not included a belief system in which a loving and just God co-exists with eternal damnation because, try as I may, I simply cannot make head nor tail of such a belief and consider it to be an a par with arguing for the existance of square circles. Sorry, but that's it. Love and Eternal Hell are fundamentally opposed and cannot co-exist. I deny that this view/attitude overlooks the reality of evil.

As to why I prefer the firast option to the second.... I may have to get back to you on that. All I can say if that I don't, and haven't really ever, felt any genuine need or desire to survive my own death. Maybe I am a freak and maybe I will change my view as I get older, but for now that is it.

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Niënna

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The idea of (any type of) afterlife is vastly unsettling for me as well. Sometimes I vacillate from pretending I've never heard of the idea and when that doesn't work I scramble in attempts to wrap my mind about it.

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Chiki: [long pause] We did.
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Dave Marshall

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I think my reasons for believing that something of us at least has the potential to continue beyond death are all to do with life as it is, not with any personal preference. Being human seems to mean more than being conscious. Animals have that. We however can reflect on our experience, we are self-aware, as if some part of us is tracking our journey through time 'from outside'.

I don't have a thought through theory about this, but when combined with how I imagine the universe is being created, I wonder if perhaps this dimension of being human, that is more than simply the continuous processing loop that seems sufficient to account for animal consciousness, is in fact a connection with some part of our being that resides in eternity. If this is the connection that makes us human in the here and now, it doesn't seem far fetched to imagine this eternal bit of us could manage on its own when our physical bits give up the ghost.

[ 29. November 2005, 20:14: Message edited by: Dave Marshall ]

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Papio

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How do we know what other animals are conscious of and we shouldn't they be eternal if we are?

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
The root of Purgatory is medical, the purgeing of "badness" (infection, maybe, pushing the analogy) from the body. Whilst, in medical terms this may be unpleasant (for example, chemotherapy) that is incidental rather than inherent in the process. It is not the unpleasantness that makes the medicine effective, rather it may be unpleasant because the medicine is effective. I have to say that I am sceptical about the the idea that God's removal of everything of value from a person, whilst it may have some benefit for character improvement, is likely to do much to improve that person's disposition towards God.

Tim's concept was a *second* purgatory - or perhaps a fork in the road, in purgatory - you go one way and the "disease of sin" is purged out of you, but you choose the other way and everything of value is purged out, thus "preparing" you for hell - and the concept of that I found a little scary, thus the "eep!" So everything of value would only be purged from those who consistently chose to walk away from God (implying a fairly fixed disposition).

quote:
Papio said
To posit an afterlife of any description is in my view to impose an unbearable burden on every action, on every thought, on every sentence that we utter and upon eveything that we feel. It makes the act of being a parent far more complex and difficult if one's children shall be eternal.

yeah, it's a problem, isn't it? Everything we do matters, everything has lasting significance - we are weaving the cloth of our eternal existence as we live forward. I think of the "I am the potter, you are the clay" image of God and see that He determined what was in us, to begin with, He shapes us as He pleases, and He allows the fire to burn out the impurities and "fix" us (in both the "correct" and "establish" sense of the word) so that we come out of the kiln as something which doesn't dissolve in water and has the tensile strength to stand up to use. Some of us may come out looking rather like lattice-work, because so much "wood, hay and stubble" got burned away (by life and by the refiner's fire, be that an ongoing purgatory or an immediate one). And yes, the implication for parents is enormous and terrifying (and you can't think about it and do your job at the same time - so you just do the best you can at any given moment and *trust*).


quote:
I have not included a belief system in which a loving and just God co-exists with eternal damnation because, try as I may, I simply cannot make head nor tail of such a belief and consider it to be an a par with arguing for the existance of square circles.
I'm not saying that it's easy to live in the tension of it, but as I grow more in my experience and understanding of God and His word, I am convinced that God is both infinitely more loving and infinitely more perfect and just than I can imagine. At the end of the day, HE is the one who has to make it work, not us. You are accountable for what you do with the knowledge you have; you don't have to figure out how it works out for prehistoric aborigines who never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus as Savior. God, in His complete and perfect love, has that mastered (and we will find His solution is better than anything we could have come up with).

But the "cosmic meanie" image of God interferes with a lot. My concept was of a strict, humorless teacher testing me on things he'd never covered in class - definitely an oppressive view. It was a tremendous relief to recognize what I was suffering and get out from under the boulder. It helped me to read the Bible straight through fairly quickly, Genesis to Revelation (actually, I tend to pull out the Psalms and Proverbs when I do this, and read them in bits throughout the process) - it gives me the sense of the "arc" of this vast story, and I lose the sense of unity when I skip around. But most people are actually taught to skip around (reading straight through, they hit Leviticus and get bogged down).

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalenCollege:
I'm not saying that it's easy to live in the tension of it, but as I grow more in my experience and understanding of God and His word, I am convinced that God is both infinitely more loving and infinitely more perfect and just than I can imagine. At the end of the day, HE is the one who has to make it work, not us. You are accountable for what you do with the knowledge you have; you don't have to figure out how it works out for prehistoric aborigines who never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus as Savior. God, in His complete and perfect love, has that mastered (and we will find His solution is better than anything we could have come up with).

Okay, so here's my snag. (By the way, thanks Papio and Lynn and Joyful for being super honest about all of this--I think it's good for you to know that I really respect all three of you for different reasons but especially for your willingness to be honest and just believe what you believe...)

If God really is so much more loving and so much more just than I can imagine, and I can imagine him saving everyone from damnation, then he'd have to be EVEN MORE loving and EVEN MORE just than saving everyone, get it?

How on earth does anybody go from that premise to the idea that what is MORE loving and MORE just than saving everyone is probably damning a large portion of humanity to hell? There is no sense in the world that there just "should be a hell," we get our concept of hell from church and from scripture. It's something that is passed down through oral and written tradition, but I contend that it does not come naturally.

What WOULD come naturally is a DESIRE to see people you don't like, or disagree with, or feel some sort of hatred or disdain towards, to see them receive some sort of "just dessert" for their actions. People who say universalism is just "wishful thinking" don't consider the fact that our deepest desires are probably FOR a hell--one for our enemies and for "bad" people.

But I don't see anything in the world that suggests that there "should be" a hell, or that it would contain any bit of justice to damn some of us there for eternity (as opposed to all of us, which surprisingly I could accept much more easily). So hell comes down to believing oral and written tradition (which, by the way, can then affect how we perceive different supernatural experiences, and how we interpret them) OVER experience entirely. Completely disregarding everything we believe about love and justice and somehow coming to the conclusion that:

"Hey, God knows what he's doing. He's just probably SO loving and SO just that he damns people to hell on the basis of their beliefs on earth, which has to be pretty much the HIGHEST form of love and justice. I mean, how amazing is that? Praise God!"

No offense to anyone who believes in hell. I just agree with Papio on this little part--my mind has no comprehension for a natural belief in hell as consistent with God's love and justice.

-Digory

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Niënna

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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
"Hey, God knows what he's doing. He's just probably SO loving and SO just that he damns people to hell on the basis of their beliefs on earth, which has to be pretty much the HIGHEST form of love and justice. I mean, how amazing is that? Praise God!"

When you* say it like that, that point of view and perspective of so-called "mercy" or "love" sound totally loathsome. I have no disagreement with Papio or PK or Demas or PaulTH* or PhilA or _____, that seems kind of most foul and horrible. Not to mention - that does not seem to reflect a God of goodness and tremendous love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace. A God - who in his own words said that he was slow to anger, quick to forgive, and delights in showing mercy and kindness to humankind.

So let me try to explain how I reconcile hell and a so-called loving God. I don't even know it is possible - so I do appreciate your challenges and criticisms of my view. I really must confess that I really don't know jack, but this is my own (confessedly incoherent) view - so here it is.

From my own personal philosophy (which I must confess has a small tint of existentialism - in that meaning is what you make of it etc.), our choices and what make up our hearts have meaning.

I believe that though sin does taint us and causes us to live incomplete and broken lives, none the less, we are responsible for the decisions and choices and actions we take. I believed this even when I was an athiest. There's a quote from Penn Jillette (and article that Golden Key posted on the Narnia thread):

quote:
Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.
That's kind of what I believed too. That I shouldn't bank on a god's forgiveness - so I should make more of an effort to be thoughtful and considerate and sensitive and kind the first time around because I didn't believe in a second chance to make things right.

These are not exactly my views today - though I still believe in the significance of our lives, our souls, and our actions.

It may be the case that I'm some sort of sick fool but I think the things I do - whether for the good or evil or indifferent - I think they matter.

Poor CS Lewis has been quoted all over this board and I might be doing him a grave injustice here, but if you will permit me - I really feel that his words are relevant:

quote:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet,if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or another of these destinations.

(from Weight of Glory)

Here is where I might seem slightly incoherent - and forgive me for sounding like a broken record - but I really feel that free will and our understandings of it have to do with this topic at hand.

My understanding is that God gave us free will and I bet it broke his heart too because it means that people can choose to hurt one another if they want to. It means that they cuss God but it also means that they can choose to love Him/Her if they want to.

I personally hate free will. I look at the crap of this world and I think everyday we would have so much less crap if people couldn't make choices. But for some reason (some people have told me that God wants people to choose to love him freely and not be robots), God gave the ability to make choices - some for good and so for bad.

So, I blame God for hell. Hell- as I currently see it- the tragedy and pain and utter devastation that I see on earth in the Holocaust and Rwanda and Iraq. The pain I have seen working with abused children. I blame Him/Her that gave me the ability to make a mess of things. That gave us the stupidity to have nuclear bombs that could blow up the world several times over.

At in that same moment, as I am distressed at this ability to both create for the good as well some harm - it dawns on me that - that is why Jesus Christ came.

To save us from hell. To help us move from brokenness to wholeness. To move from incompleteness and crap of this world to the delight of His/Her presence.

Earlier in this thread, I agreed with some posters:

quote:
Originally posted by Joyfulsoul:
[God]would never sentence someone to eternal damnation unless they had as you said "sufficient data upon which to make such eternity-affecting choices." I believe that beings (both human, angelic) have those opportunities but still chose to reject God (hence Satan). I guess still believe that if there's a hell, some people will end up in there.

This comes from the notion of being able to make meaningful choices - in exercising the divine image in us to form or choose our own destinies. Additionally, I think God allows to us make choices (but I cannot conceive that God would allow anyone to suffer hell without being given "sufficient data to make eternity-affecting choices").

This is my personal belief, but I don't think God would force anyone to be with Him/Her if they truly didn't want it. One of the hardest things I have learned about love is letting go - if you truly love someone then you cannot force them to love you.

So it must have broken God's heart to give us free will.

This is my view. Feel free to challenge it or disregard it or whatever.


*I mean you plural or you general person not specific person

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[Nino points a gun at Chiki]
Nino: Now... tell me. Who started the war?
Chiki: [long pause] We did.
~No Man's Land

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Dave Marshall

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quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
How do we know what other animals are conscious of and we shouldn't they be eternal if we are?

My understanding is that, say a dog, might know as much about its world as we do about ours, but it doesn't know that it knows. It's this knowing what we (think we) know that seems to be what makes us different. I've only known one dog well, but for all the relationship I had with her and my sadness when she died, I never saw any reason to doubt that.

We've no way of knowing what an animal or any person except ourselves is conscious of, but we make a guess about other people. I'm making a similar guess about the dog.

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dave Marshall:
quote:
Originally posted by Papio.:
How do we know what other animals are conscious of and we shouldn't they be eternal if we are?

My understanding is that, say a dog, might know as much about its world as we do about ours, but it doesn't know that it knows. It's this knowing what we (think we) know that seems to be what makes us different. I've only known one dog well, but for all the relationship I had with her and my sadness when she died, I never saw any reason to doubt that.

We've no way of knowing what an animal or any person except ourselves is conscious of, but we make a guess about other people. I'm making a similar guess about the dog.

This is already being discussed here on the thread titled "Species Cut-off Point for Salvation?"

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
If God really is so much more loving and so much more just than I can imagine, and I can imagine him saving everyone from damnation, then he'd have to be EVEN MORE loving and EVEN MORE just than saving everyone, get it?

How on earth does anybody go from that premise to the idea that what is MORE loving and MORE just than saving everyone is probably damning a large portion of humanity to hell?

The concepts of "saving" and "damning" are pretty fuzzy, though, when you think about it. What do these ideas really mean?

I, personally, would feel "saved" if my fondest desires were realized. Wouldn't a loving God permit everyone to love what they wished to love?

To be free, as I understand it, is the ability to do and think as I wish, and not feel forced one way or the other.

It seems to me that a loving God would make it possible for people to genuinely follow the path that they choose, whether it is the perfect path or not. Everyone is different.

I can't see any alternative to allowing free choice to extend even to letting people make choices that are, objectively speaking, very unhappy ones.

Otherwise, people are robots, and free will is only an illusion.

This isn't "damning" people to hell. It is simply allowing me to commit adultery, or to get drunk, if I prefer these things to fidelity and sobriety.

Objectively speaking, the latter two are more fun, but you can't expect everyone to agree about that.

God's argument is that the former will burn us like fire if we make them our way of life. This isn't "damning", it's just a way of describing the realities of life - whether temporal or eternal.

[ 30. November 2005, 01:56: Message edited by: Freddy ]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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muchafraid
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
The concepts of "saving" and "damning" are pretty fuzzy, though, when you think about it. What do these ideas really mean?

*warning: this is my first post in purgatory*

*warning part II: i post in all low caps...that's what i do*


i think that you've hit the target right here in this question, freddy. what do they really mean? people live to define these two terms, and most of the time do so simply to further their own personal agendas.

i want "salvation" to mean that god will raise me up to heaven when i die, give me a new body, and end my pain and suffering - *ding* - that's what salvation means. I want "damnation" to mean that all of those people who didn't pray a formulaic prayer to ask jesus into their hearts will eternally suffer the anguish of their choice while burning in hell - *zap* - that's what damnation means. i could even pull a few biblical references out to make my definitions seem even more persuasive.

whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(mark 16:16)

i think that writing definitions based on feelings and what we can piece together from the scriptures is a dangerous game to play. to accurately assess who god is going to choose to save, we need to be able to penetrate through the hearts of each individual person. fortunately, we lack that ability.

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all the glory when he took our place
but he took my shoulders, and he shook my face,
and he takes and he takes and he takes...sufjan stevens

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by muchafraid:
i think that writing definitions based on feelings and what we can piece together from the scriptures is a dangerous game to play.

But but but ... that's 99.44% of all modern theology! How can you be so cruel?! [Biased]

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Lynn MagdalenCollege
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quote:
Originally posted by Freddy:
quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
If God really is so much more loving and so much more just than I can imagine, and I can imagine him saving everyone from damnation, then he'd have to be EVEN MORE loving and EVEN MORE just than saving everyone, get it?

How on earth does anybody go from that premise to the idea that what is MORE loving and MORE just than saving everyone is probably damning a large portion of humanity to hell?

The concepts of "saving" and "damning" are pretty fuzzy, though, when you think about it. What do these ideas really mean?
I don't think we can fully know what they mean here on earth - we see through a glass darkly. So God is the only one who can actually define them and, since it's His definition we'll be using when push comes to shove, this is just as well. In the meantime, we're down here saying, "well, *I* think it means XYZ," followed by "no no no, it's XPQ!!! what's wrong with you?!" etc.

For me, I find one of the best things I can do is purpose in my heart to line up with Him - to be open to Him and teachable, to really wrestle with scripture, asking, "what do You mean here?!" and seeking answers.

I do think we load all this terms, including "loving" and "just," with our own preconceived notions of what those words mean, as we do with all language, all the time - but when we're talking God-stuff it gets much more dicey. So, with all respect, Digory, you may discover that your sense of what is "loving" is a wisp and a shadow of something quite different and much bigger.

In my simplicity, I'm tempted to think that for God to love me means that He will indulge my desires in order that I be happy. But humans are remarkably bad at knowing what will bring them lasting happiness (consider the divorce statistics... *sigh*) and God knows better than I do what I need, versus appetite.

Maybe I'm deficient in the vengeance gene, but I don't want to see my enemies go to hell. Sure, I'd like to see my enemies be miserable for a block of time, you know, go to the beach and get sunburned, walk around with sand in their bathing suits and chafe badly, maybe even a case of food poisoning to top it all off - temporal suffering I could get behind (I know I shouldn't but I'm being honest here) - but hellfire and damnation? No way. So when the accusation is made that folks who believe in hell/damnation are just reading their personal wishes into scripture and doctrine, I don't feel slimed at all because I know that is not the case.

I believe it because it's the most straightforward reading of scripture that *I* can manage. Others may be able to conclude with a universalist position but I've tried and I can't. So I must reluctantly believe what the Holy Spirit *in me* bears witness to. If the Holy Spirit in YOU (y'all) bears witness to universal salvation, GREAT. At the end of the day, it's God's domain and in that case He's got a reason for leading me one way and you another.

At least we're not bored!!!

--------------------
Erin & Friend; Been there, done that; Ruth musical

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Jolly Jape
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quote:
I do think we load all this terms, including "loving" and "just," with our own preconceived notions of what those words mean, as we do with all language, all the time - but when we're talking God-stuff it gets much more dicey. So, with all respect, Digory, you may discover that your sense of what is "loving" is a wisp and a shadow of something quite different and much bigger.

Well, that's true, of course. But if we accept that God chooses to communicate with us, at whatever level, through a book, using the medium of words, then for that communication to be worth anything at all, the concepts conveyed by the words must be consistent, else there can be no meaningful communication at all, and we might as well pack up and go home. Now I have no problem whatsoever with the concept that my idea of love may be infinately inferior to God's idea of love. In fact, I rather assume and hope that it is the case! What I have the greatest difficulty in believing is that it can mean the polar opposite. To suggest that God's idea of love is to condemn perhaps the bulk of humanity to an eternity in hell seems, to me, to rob the word "love" of all its' meaning. We're in the realms of Alice, where a word means what we want it to mean, niether more nor less. As a means of imparting knowledge, it becomes meaningless.

By the way, whilst I'm here, I must just comment on a little gem you posted some way back.
quote:
Actually, I think the earthquakes/floods/bubonic plague do go hand-in-hand with fallen humanity - "creation groans," sin has weight and consequences even for the "innocent," so entropy grasps all of creation, like a giant shock-wave moving out from Eden and impacting the whole universe. The nature of what was created was changed by the creature.
This is my understanding also, and therefore [Biased] seems to me to be spot on!

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To those who have never seen the flow and ebb of God's grace in their lives, it means nothing. To those who have seen it, even fleetingly, even only once - it is life itself. (Adeodatus)

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Martin60
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Eee, I'd love to reply Ruth, in positive terms believe it or not ... mainly, but a truce is a truce.

And Papio, what cosmology of Genesis? I same a poem or two about God's absolute soveriegnty over creation.

And if you're rationalistically and way post-apostolicallymodernly right, there there's no harm done. But if you're wrong, on Satan and his demons (performing def metal at a venue near you SOON) then (i) there is HARM done, now, in many subtile and not so subtile (that's ravening lions for you) ways and (ii) your reaction in the resurrection is going to be a picture.

Of course for Satanic literalists there is also the potential for harm, but orders of magnitude less impacting.

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Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
quote:
Originally posted by LynnMagdalen:
...So, with all respect, Digory, you may discover that your sense of what is "loving" is a wisp and a shadow of something quite different and much bigger.

...Now I have no problem whatsoever with the concept that my idea of love may be infinately inferior to God's idea of love. In fact, I rather assume and hope that it is the case! What I have the greatest difficulty in believing is that it can mean the polar opposite. To suggest that God's idea of love is to condemn perhaps the bulk of humanity to an eternity in hell seems, to me, to rob the word "love" of all its' meaning. We're in the realms of Alice, where a word means what we want it to mean, niether more nor less. As a means of imparting knowledge, it becomes meaningless.
What Jolly said. [Smile]

-Digory

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Martin60
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same? ... see, strewth, Alzheimers ...

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Love wins

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Jason™

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quote:
Originally posted by muchafraid:
i think that writing definitions based on feelings and what we can piece together from the scriptures is a dangerous game to play. to accurately assess who god is going to choose to save, we need to be able to penetrate through the hearts of each individual person. fortunately, we lack that ability.

That is really it, though. We ALL play this game all the time, as dangerous as it is. Some of us rely on the Church and Tradition--some of us rely on Ourselves--some of us erect a tower of SOLA SCRIPTURA or something else, but we all have to play it. But even if we must play, we have to remember that we LACK the very necessary ability of seeing into a person's heart... even our own!!!

In that respect, we are left without knowing. Don't claim someone is going to hell--how do you know?

I love the word "fortunately" there. I am quite happy about it to, come to think of it.

-Digory

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by Jolly Jape:
What I have the greatest difficulty in believing is that it can mean the polar opposite. To suggest that God's idea of love is to condemn perhaps the bulk of humanity to an eternity in hell seems, to me, to rob the word "love" of all its' meaning. We're in the realms of Alice, where a word means what we want it to mean, niether more nor less. As a means of imparting knowledge, it becomes meaningless.

I don't think that "condemning perhaps the bulk of humanity" is what love means. But what do you mean by "condemning"?

My own premise is that people in the next life are pretty much like they are in this world. That is, they retain the same interests, preferences, beliefs, and personality. They are the same people. To change them radically would be to make them into a different person.

I may casually say that I would like God to take away all of my less desirable predilections, and fill me with love for all people. But the truth is that it would be pretty unpleasant to have my basic characteristics yanked out of me without my permission.

As I see it, a person's beliefs, opinions, likes and dislikes, and many similar things, are what make up the person. A person is essentially what they love.

How could a God of love take away a person's fundamental character? [Confused]

Or do we think that people can be eternally happy irrespective of their basic character and interests? [Confused]

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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Jason™

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Freddy, do you think the descriptions usually ascribed to hell (or "not-heaven" if that suits us better) like "torment," "torture," "weeping," and "eternal suffering" are inaccurate? I like your idea that it is a fire that burns from our desires, but the typical vision of hell is a place that one cannot escape even if one desires to do so. It is usually thought of as a place of conscious suffering, rather than some sort of passive suffering that comes from "never being fully satisfied" etc.

I'm not saying I disagree with you, but I think the picture of Not-Heaven that you paint is hard to reconcile with many of the Biblical pictures typically pointed to. What do you do about that?

-Digory

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Freddy
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quote:
Originally posted by professorkirke:
Freddy, do you think the descriptions usually ascribed to hell (or "not-heaven" if that suits us better) like "torment," "torture," "weeping," and "eternal suffering" are inaccurate? I like your idea that it is a fire that burns from our desires, but the typical vision of hell is a place that one cannot escape even if one desires to do so. It is usually thought of as a place of conscious suffering, rather than some sort of passive suffering that comes from "never being fully satisfied" etc.

No, I think the descriptions of hell are perfectly accurate. It is a place of torment. But it isn't a place but rather the state of unhappiness that is inherent in wicked loves and desires.

The trouble is that it is difficult to convince people who have wicked loves and desires that these things are actually tormenting them. It becomes apparent only over the long run.

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"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg

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