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Source: (consider it) Thread: Eternal, conscious torment. Why?
Gwalchmai
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The question in the title of the thread presupposes that God operates by same moral code he has given us mortals.Is there any evidence, biblical or otherwise, that he does?

The question also presupposes that there is some form of "life after death" for this eternal torment to take place in. If you think that is unlikely, then hell can only exist in this life. In theological terms, hell cannot be a situation you find yourself in through no fault of your own - for example, the people of Syria are living through hell in popular parlance, but I do not think that is hell in the sense we are discussing in this thread.

Hell is a state of mind you have brought on yourself. A state of mind can be changed - theologically by repentance - bringing the person out of hell - otherwise known as salvation.

None of this requires a supernatural process and talk in the bible about eternal torture should be read in the context of other ancient literature and mythologies as hyperbole of its time intended to make a point but not to be taken literally.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gwalchmai:
The question in the title of the thread presupposes that God operates by same moral code he has given us mortals.Is there any evidence, biblical or otherwise, that he does?

Well, we are told to be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy. If his holiness is something completely alien to ours, that would be a very strange command.

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

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
That's not even taking into account the fact that I think apologetics is an utter botch from the start. As Saint Barth reminds us, "Good dogmatics is always the best and basically the only possible apologetics."

Are you suggesting that a Christian who struggles with doubts concerning his faith should not consider reasoned arguments and evidence?
The basis of all apologetics is the assumption that the victory of the Gospel depends on us, on our evidence and reason. It doesn't. It demands faith, "the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
How do you feel about St Paul Tillich then? Not trying to bait you -- honestly wondering.

I don't know a whole lot about him, but from what I do know, he fails to escape the errors of liberal Protestantism. God is a thing built with human hands, instead of the judge of all things human.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
The basis of all apologetics is the assumption that the victory of the Gospel depends on us, on our evidence and reason. It doesn't.

I'll respond with an analogy...

Recently Rafael Nadal won the US Open. He won a great victory. Now suppose that I did not see the match on television or read any reports about it, but I just heard a rumour from someone that Rafa had won. Consequently I wasn't entirely sure that this was true. So I asked the person who told me to present some evidence to back up his claim that Nadal had won that tournament. He said, "Sure, here's some evidence" and he handed me a newspaper with the relevant article.

Now, are you suggesting that the victory of Rafael Nadal depended on the act of this man giving me a copy of the newspaper reporting on the final of the US Open?

The victory of the Gospel no more depends on evidence and reason than the victory of Rafa Nadal at the US Open depends on a newspaper report about it. But it would be absurd to say that the newspaper report is irrelevant or pointless. Likewise it is absurd to say that the presentation of reason and evidence for the Gospel is irrelevant.

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Plique-à-jour
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quote:
Originally posted by Plique-à-jour:
I'd seriously advise you to find a different community in which to make your inquiries.

quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I think he might also get support.

quote:
Originally posted by Dal Segno:
Not necessarily. New Christians tend to be given simple answers to the difficult questions, as you would do with anyone who is just learning a new thing. New Christians later move on to a deeper understanding and to questioning the simple answers. That is where a community like this can be helpful.

quote:
Originally posted by Martin PC not & Ship's Biohazard:
Dog leg frying pan Cuthbert plume forty!

There we go.

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
Originally posted by computergeek:
Can someone help me on this?

I need an orthodox Protestant explanation based on the Bible for the concept of eternal conscious suffering in Hell.

I've been taught that its too late after physical death to repent and to accept Christ as Lord and Saviour. This has to be done in this life.

Please help a confused new believer.

As an orthodox Protestant (either of the confessional or more independent fundamentalist variety), you definitely believe the unsaved (wicked, preterite, unbelievers etc...) will consciously suffer in Hell for all eternity. Most of the Protestant confessions state it directly, affirm the Athanasian Creed, or both. Jesus uses the phrase, "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Sounds like conscious punishment don't it? Bible can't contradict itself. So...there you go.

Do you have any other questions about what you as an orthodox Protestant believe? True, I'm not an orthodox Protestant (and don't believe in eternal conscience torment for that matter) but I'm willing to help you follow the path you've chosen. Let's get started. What kind of orthodox Protestant do you want to be?

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
The basis of all apologetics is the assumption that the victory of the Gospel depends on us, on our evidence and reason. It doesn't.

I'll respond with an analogy...

Recently Rafael Nadal won the US Open. He won a great victory. Now suppose that I did not see the match on television or read any reports about it, but I just heard a rumour from someone that Rafa had won. Consequently I wasn't entirely sure that this was true. So I asked the person who told me to present some evidence to back up his claim that Nadal had won that tournament. He said, "Sure, here's some evidence" and he handed me a newspaper with the relevant article.

Now, are you suggesting that the victory of Rafael Nadal depended on the act of this man giving me a copy of the newspaper reporting on the final of the US Open?

The victory of the Gospel no more depends on evidence and reason than the victory of Rafa Nadal at the US Open depends on a newspaper report about it. But it would be absurd to say that the newspaper report is irrelevant or pointless. Likewise it is absurd to say that the presentation of reason and evidence for the Gospel is irrelevant.

The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful. The only standing place for faith is the promises of God we do not know.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Bullfrog.

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:
Hell = self created.

Heaven = God created.

Yes, salvation is available to all. Torment will need to be specifically chosen to be experienced. Most probably even post-life the choice can still be made for 'my way' or 'God's way'. God has the power to provide salvation to anyone, anytime.

Who would purposely choose to be tormented?
Because they have a funny definition of "happiness."

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Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God's a drunkard for pain
Me, I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train. --Josh Ritter, Harrisburg

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful.

Hypocrite! You have just sinned by using the word 'because', which indicates the use of a logical argument. What a sinner you are!!


[brick wall]

[ 18. September 2013, 23:49: Message edited by: EtymologicalEvangelical ]

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful.

Hypocrite! You have just sinned by using the word 'because', which indicates the use of a logical argument. What a sinner you are!!


[brick wall]

[Roll Eyes]

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Bullfrog.

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The gospel is a much bigger, more exceptional, and more existential thing than a tennis victory. I'm with Zach82. The analogy fails because the events aren't equivalent.

--------------------
Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God's a drunkard for pain
Me, I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train. --Josh Ritter, Harrisburg

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Kaplan Corday
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quote:
Originally posted by Justinian:
C.S. Lewis is, as usual, using pretty words... writing fine prose

The 'brute and blackguard' bit is actually a quote from Housman:

We for a certainty are not the first
Have sat in taverns while the tempest hurled
Their hopeful plans to emptiness, and cursed
Whatever brute and blackguard made the world.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Bullfrog
The gospel is a much bigger, more exceptional, and more existential thing than a tennis victory. I'm with Zach82. The analogy fails because the events aren't equivalent.

Fine. *Shrug shoulders*

Nothing more I can do really. I certainly can't attempt to make sense of your comment, as that would involve sinful reason! (And I am sure you wouldn't want to encourage me to sin, now, would you?)

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Bullfrog.

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Bullfrog
The gospel is a much bigger, more exceptional, and more existential thing than a tennis victory. I'm with Zach82. The analogy fails because the events aren't equivalent.

Fine. *Shrug shoulders*

Nothing more I can do really. I certainly can't attempt to make sense of your comment, as that would involve sinful reason! (And I am sure you wouldn't want to encourage me to sin, now, would you?)

I fail to see how you have committed any such offense.

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Some say that man is the root of all evil
Others say God's a drunkard for pain
Me, I believe that the Garden of Eden
Was burned to make way for a train. --Josh Ritter, Harrisburg

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tclune
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Enough. Either get on-point or take it to Hell.

--Tom Clune, Purgatory Host

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This space left blank intentionally.

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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful. The only standing place for faith is the promises of God we do not know.

I'm trying to understand what you mean here: to what extent is reasoned evidence sinful if it's part of a sinful world? How about reason itself - to what extent is it sinful? And does trying to know God interfere with faith?

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful. The only standing place for faith is the promises of God we do not know.

I'm trying to understand what you mean here: to what extent is reasoned evidence sinful if it's part of a sinful world? How about reason itself - to what extent is it sinful? And does trying to know God interfere with faith?
God isn't knowable and he isn't part of this world, which is the problem of trying to use reasoned evidence to discern him. It's a non-starter.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
That's not even taking into account the fact that I think apologetics is an utter botch from the start. As Saint Barth reminds us, "Good dogmatics is always the best and basically the only possible apologetics."

Are you suggesting that a Christian who struggles with doubts concerning his faith should not consider reasoned arguments and evidence?
The basis of all apologetics is the assumption that the victory of the Gospel depends on us, on our evidence and reason. It doesn't. It demands faith, "the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

quote:
Originally posted by Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras:
How do you feel about St Paul Tillich then? Not trying to bait you -- honestly wondering.

I don't know a whole lot about him, but from what I do know, he fails to escape the errors of liberal Protestantism. God is a thing built with human hands, instead of the judge of all things human.

Zach, I'm rather astonished you haven't read at least the shorter works of Tillich, e.g. The Courage to Be; The Proestant Era, (as opposed to his longer Systematic Theology). Is he not read anymore, or is this perhaps because you have been studying at an RC institution? Shame in either case.

[ 19. September 2013, 02:15: Message edited by: Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras ]

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Zach82
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I have a very basic idea of what he thought, but he hasn't really come up in the sorts of theology I've been up to.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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W Hyatt
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful. The only standing place for faith is the promises of God we do not know.

I'm trying to understand what you mean here: to what extent is reasoned evidence sinful if it's part of a sinful world? How about reason itself - to what extent is it sinful? And does trying to know God interfere with faith?
God isn't knowable and he isn't part of this world, which is the problem of trying to use reasoned evidence to discern him. It's a non-starter.
When you say "God isn't knowable" are you perhaps referring to God the Father in particular, as compared to God the Son in Jesus Christ?

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Zach82
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quote:
When you say "God isn't knowable" are you perhaps referring to God the Father in particular, as compared to God the Son in Jesus Christ?
Jesus is fully God and fully man. We can know Jesus the man, but the Eternal Son continues to be unknowable.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Palimpsest
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quote:
Originally posted by Plique-à-jour:
If you don't believe in God, why would you be worried about damnation? It's just a story, right?

If you believe in God, you needn't worry about damnation.

Hell is all the rejection of God leaves you. If you haven't rejected God, but simply have never been convinced of him, then again, why are you worried?

I don't believe in God. I do notice that people who do believe in God and that people are going to Hell do tend to treat other people they think are going to Hell and damnation rather badly in the here and now. It's worth asking them to examine the contradictions in their belief.
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Zach82
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Since I'm about to fall asleep, I might as well distract from the thread with a joke about Tillich and Barth I saw.

Barth, Tillich, and Bultmann all decide to go fishing. It was a hot day, so Barth steps out of the boat, walks across the water, and brings a round of beers back from the shop on the shore. Well, it being a hot day, they drink down that round pretty quickly, so Barth says "Your turn, Paul." So Tillich gets out of the boat, and walks across the water to get beers at the shop on the shore. Finally, Barth and Tillich say "Your turn to get a round, Rudy." So Bultmann looks really nervous, and the second he steps out of the boat he sinks like a stone. Looking humiliated, he swims to the shore.

While Bultmann stands on the shore sopping wet, Tillich looks sly and says to Barth, "Do you think we ought to have told him about the stepping stones?" Barth looks shocked and says "What stepping stones?"

[ 19. September 2013, 04:01: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by Palimpsest:
quote:
Originally posted by Plique-à-jour:
If you don't believe in God, why would you be worried about damnation? It's just a story, right?

If you believe in God, you needn't worry about damnation.

Hell is all the rejection of God leaves you. If you haven't rejected God, but simply have never been convinced of him, then again, why are you worried?

I don't believe in God. I do notice that people who do believe in God and that people are going to Hell do tend to treat other people they think are going to Hell and damnation rather badly in the here and now. It's worth asking them to examine the contradictions in their belief.
Yes, that is something that always intrigues me. I have dialogued with a number of such hell-raisers, and their attitude to non-Christians and in fact, other Christian varieties which they didn't approve of, was usually a mixture of scorn, derision and even glee. I think this owes less to Christian theology, than basic principles of inclusion/exclusion psychology, summed up in current vernacular as 'I've got mine, fuck you'.

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I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

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EtymologicalEvangelical
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82
quote:
Well, someone is soon to jump on here and tell you that eternal conscious torment is there "because the Bible tells me so".
If the Word of God is to be immediately discarded as evidence in this argument, then I can't see that orthodox Christians can have much to say in it.
I don't think that Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras was saying that we ought to discard the Word of God as evidence in this discussion, but rather that some people form their views on quotations from the Bible without understanding what they mean. Anybody can affirm almost anything based on "the Bible tells me so", if there is no need to process biblical words in the light of other biblical information.

I have presented some biblical evidence in the OP - what I refer to as the 'formula'. The conclusion I have drawn, namely, that hell can be temporary, is therefore as much "the Bible tells me so" as the claim that God forces people to suffer eternal, conscious torment without any hope of escape, based on an interpretation of certain other verses.

The much - and unjustly - maligned Rob Bell also quotes the Bible, and can therefore legitimately say "the Bible tells me so" when he writes:

quote:
...we read in these last chapters of Revelation that the gates of that city in that new world will "never shut". That's a small detail, and it's important we don't get too hung up on details and specific images because it's possible to treat something so literally that it becomes less true in the process. But gates, gates are for keeping people in and keeping people out. If the gates are never shut, then people are free to come and go.

Can God bring proper, lasting justice, banishing certain actions - and the people who do them - from the new creation while at the same time allowing and waiting and hoping for the possibility of the reconciliation of those very same people? Keeping the gates, in essence, open?

(From Love Wins, chapter 4)

Rob Bell is suggesting a possible meaning based on information from the Book of Revelation. Therefore "the Bible tells him so" as much as "the Bible tells" his detractors that he is a heretic.

So therefore we have to read the Bible with understanding, and this is what, I think, Lietuvos was probably driving at.

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Dal Segno

al Fine
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Anybody can affirm almost anything based on "the Bible tells me so", if there is no need to process biblical words in the light of other biblical information.

Along those lines, Revelation [20:15] says that the lake of fire is the second death and [20:16] that those who do not have their names in the book of the living are thrown into the lake of fire.

Elsewhere in the Bible we are told that to be truly alive, one must be born again.

Is that tiny reference in Revelation an indication that to be truly dead one must die a second time. That would indicate oblivion (ceasing to exist) rather than eternal torment.

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Yet ever and anon a trumpet sounds

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PaulTH*
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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
Anybody can affirm almost anything based on "the Bible tells me so",

It's just as easy to infer anihilationism from Scripture as it is eternal damnation. The standard Christian teaching is that we suffer eternal damnation if we don't accept Christ as saviour. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that appears anywhere in Scripture. In Matthew, Jesus speaks several times about eternal damnation, but it's always based on deeds or lack of them, as in Matt 25. John speaks of perishing, being condemned etc, for failing to be "born from above" or for not recognising Jesus as the one sent by the Father, but he doesn't say to what we are condemned. To me, perishing means death, not eternal torment.

Paul speaks in several places of being saved, of need to acknowledge Jesus in order to be saved, but again, it's far from clear that he means saved from damnation. In fact he never once mentions eternal damnation. The wages of sin is death, which taken at face value means anihiliation, through failing to be resurrected to be with the Lord. We can toss those theolgies into a blender and come up with the idea that God will eternally torment us for not accepting Him in the Incarnation, but the biblical evidence for that position is between weak and non-existent. Only the synoptic Jesus speaks of eternal damnation, and it's never based on any kind of lack of faith. It's also worth remembering that His remarks, in earthly time, were before He conquered death through His passion, resurrection and ascension.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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The Revolutionist
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Originally posted by W Hyatt:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
The analogy doesn't hold, because reasoned evidence is part of the world which God declares sinful. The only standing place for faith is the promises of God we do not know.

I'm trying to understand what you mean here: to what extent is reasoned evidence sinful if it's part of a sinful world? How about reason itself - to what extent is it sinful? And does trying to know God interfere with faith?
God isn't knowable and he isn't part of this world, which is the problem of trying to use reasoned evidence to discern him. It's a non-starter.
I agree that reason alone can't get us to God, and autonomous reason independent of God is sinful. But isn't one of the results of the Incarnation that God has made himself known (very partially, of course, but still truly) by becoming part of this world? And by revealing himself in this way, when we receive that revelation by faith, we also receive it rationally too?
Posts: 1296 | From: London | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
EtymologicalEvangelical
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# 15091

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quote:
Originally posted by PaulTH*
It's just as easy to infer anihilationism from Scripture as it is eternal damnation.

The problem I have with annihilationism is that it assumes that people make their final decision about eternal matters in this short, difficult and confusing life on earth. Obviously those who die not having made the 'correct' decision are then snuffed out of existence. But what if God wanted to keep everyone's free will active for ever? What if God wants to keep the door of salvation open for ever? Obviously free will cannot function unless people are alive and conscious.

This view implies, however, that people can escape from hell through a decision to repent. This, of course, is heresy in the eyes of many Christians, but what is the alternative? A God who just keeps people alive and conscious for reasons of pure sadistic vindictiveness? I'm afraid that doesn't really make much sense to me, given the testimony of Scripture concerning God's nature.

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You can argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome': but you neither can nor need argue with a man who says, 'Rice is unwholesome, but I'm not saying this is true'. CS Lewis

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Garasu
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# 17152

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
The problem I have with annihilationism is that it assumes that people make their final decision about eternal matters in this short, difficult and confusing life on earth.

Does it though? If they make their decision "eternally", then this life on earth is merely a "conic section", or something, of that decision...?

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
The problem I have with annihilationism is that it assumes that people make their final decision about eternal matters in this short, difficult and confusing life on earth.

Does it though? If they make their decision "eternally", then this life on earth is merely a "conic section", or something, of that decision...?
That would appear to be trying WAY too hard to square a circle. I can't think of any scriptures that support such a position. Have you any?

quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
This view implies, however, that people can escape from hell through a decision to repent. This, of course, is heresy in the eyes of many Christians,

Is it? It seems to me that's at the heart, or very near it, of the Gospel. It's a paraphrase of John 3:16 forgodsake.

quote:
Originally posted by The Revolutionist:
I agree that reason alone can't get us to God, and autonomous reason independent of God is sinful. But isn't one of the results of the Incarnation that God has made himself known (very partially, of course, but still truly) by becoming part of this world? And by revealing himself in this way, when we receive that revelation by faith, we also receive it rationally too?

I should think so. If we can't know anything of God, what are we putting our faith IN? Paul says the Athenians pray to "an unknown God" but then goes and makes known to them what they did not know. The clear implication being that we do NOT worship an unknown God.

The Orthodox understand this by saying that we cannot know God's essence, but can know his energies. Which is to say the ways he works in this world, and the things he chooses to reveal to us.

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

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Garasu
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# 17152

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Garasu:
quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
The problem I have with annihilationism is that it assumes that people make their final decision about eternal matters in this short, difficult and confusing life on earth.

Does it though? If they make their decision "eternally", then this life on earth is merely a "conic section", or something, of that decision...?
That would appear to be trying WAY too hard to square a circle. I can't think of any scriptures that support such a position. Have you any?
In the current context: not bothered.

(Without prejudice [Razz] )

More seriously, there is possibly something to be argued about a category confusion in assuming that life eternal is simply a continuation of temporal life...

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

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PaulTH*
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# 320

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quote:
Originally posted by EtymologicalEvangelical:
This view implies, however, that people can escape from hell through a decision to repent. This, of course, is heresy in the eyes of many Christians, but what is the alternative? A God who just keeps people alive and conscious for reasons of pure sadistic vindictiveness? I'm afraid that doesn't really make much sense to me, given the testimony of Scripture concerning God's nature.

I completely agree with this, and it's the reason that I, too rject anihilationism. It's just that so many Christians seem to be concerned with God's justice, which can be met by anihilating an unrepentant sinner, but can never be met by eternal torture. The possibility of repentance after death has never been accepted in the mainstream, but has been favoured by some mystics, such as the anonymous author of the Theologia Germanica, so loved by Luther, and I believe it has some support in Scripture.

That God would want to keep alive, so to speak, and individual, so he/she never loses the possibility of repentance, followed by life abundant, is the closest to how I see things, but it only works for someone who believes in the possibility of further spiritual growth beyond death.

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Yours in Christ
Paul

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Martin60
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# 368

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It's got NOWT ter do wi' the afterlife. Even when it has, it hasn't. It's all about now. What lies beyond is transcendent icing, seen through a glass darkly, on the cake of eternal life NOW ... what a lousy metaphor.

What lies beyond our journey of losses, endless longing, lust, suffering including suffering for causing irreversible suffering, decrepitude, decay ? As I walked along one of the great diagonal avenues, with all of that, in Victoria Park at 14:15, under the sycamores, watching crows and sguirrels on the grass, at 59, all I could imagine was that agelessly going on forever, walking, learning, praying, whistling a love song forever, in every sense without limit.

That would do.

Who wouldn't it do for, as a start? A walk where everything done gets psychologically undone not by being rewound but by every idle word being perfectly talked through, walked through, with everyone who ever lived. Everyone walking inexhaustibly with God.

Everyone experiencing an internal, eternal increase of His government.

Who's excluded from that? How could anyone exclude themselves from that? I can't imagine. None of us can. The negative imaginings - including the psychosis in the OP - of the past 3000 years don't work any more. They never did and they never will, apart from as transient, individual and cultural developmental projections, valleys of death that have to be ... walked through, walked beyond.

Nobody could or will suffer eternal conscious torment. Put away childish things.

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Love wins

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