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September 17, 2013

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We Fail to Understand the Magnitude of God’s “Authority”

More generally, we fail to understand the magnitude of God's holiness. Any sin committed by us as finite, temporal beings, by definition demands eternal punishment in hell because of who the sin offended: the eternal, holy God.

The crime that earns us a place in Hell is our rejection of the true, living, eternal God.

Spot on. All sin can be reduced to this at its heart.

What God does in this world and in the world to come with and by and for people is at best arguable - certitude may turn out to be a form of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, you know? I trust God to do what is righteous and merciful with me and beyond that I try to walk after Christ's footsteps and recognize and own my own failings. "Hell" is a nifty piece of Babylonian and Hellenistic theology imported during Intertestamental times into the Septuagint, and thence into the NT, but it's not an essential of the faith last time I checked, the phrase in the Nicene Creed not withstanding. Thoughts?

My thoughts are that we know that all human beings will be resurrected from the dead through Jesus's words in John 5:28-29. Everyone will be resurrected, some to destruction, some to eternal life. That was Jesus's philosophy. I wouldn't say the concept of resurrection comes from Babylonian or Hellenistic theology--quite the opposite. It has nothing to do with either and is despised by both. The concept of hell comes directly from the Jewish creational monotheistic understanding of the world. I'm sure that Babylonian and Hellenistic thought effected Judaism, but there are very few similarities when it comes to life after death.

Resurrection is an essential doctrine to the Christian faith, THE central doctrine. So to deny Jesus's words that there is no resurrection of the wicked is really getting close to the line there. If you believe in Jesus's resurrection, you should believe in hell or punishment.

My question is about the duration. Yes, I know there can be good reasons to believe that hell lasts forever, and good philosophical explanations. What is more important to me, though, is what the Bible teaches. Does the Bible teach us that punishment will be finite, or eternal? I read "The Fire that Consumes" by Edward Fudge and he casts some real doubts there. I admit I'm a bit undecided now. It is really an interesting read. However, let's not get confused here. Whether or not hell lasts forever, it is a real punishment and it is not something you do not want to experience. When I teach new disciples about hell, I just use the Biblical language to be on the safe side, and let them form their own conclusions. Whatever it is, it sure doesn't sound pleasant to me!

The crime that earns us a place in Hell is our rejection of the true, living, eternal God.

I think I'd prefer to put it this way:

The consequence of...
  1. ...freely choosing to be left by God to your own devices, AND
  2. getting your way...
...is that you are left alone by God to your own devices.
What's completely wrong, I think, is the idea that God is enraged with us for sin and in a fit of passion decides to mount us on a spit and turn us on His holy rotisserie for all eternity.

God has forgiven all of our sins. But if we still choose to be left alone by God, and we get our way, what exactly should we expect but that we will get the kind of eternity that sinful creatures, on their own, would get?

WisdomLover those are some good thoughts. N.T. Wright talks about hell and criticizes the fact that in the age to come, the new world, there would be a concentration camp. He talks about hell in terms of people that are resurrected from the dead, but that lose the part of them that makes them created in the likeness and image of God. His comment sort of makes it sound like they will become some kind of animal. I wish I could ask him more about that; it's an interesting thought. Scripture never says that God actively tortures anyone, rather, it says that they will feel tortured.

The business of Time and of Timeless, and, the business of [All-Possibilities] being, on necessity, the concrete, the actual, as such is found unchangingly inside of that which is a yet wider, the widest, Actuality, which is [God]. Then, the business of such within Timeless being the Most-Actual, the Actual, the question of creating A or B or C becomes a question of, not why, but, how.

I thus find much confusion, and uncertainty, on this business of Man in Privation perpetually existing, and, also, the varied applications of scripture’s use of forever and of age and of ages and of times and of always being, over here, perpetual actuality of exist-ing, and, over there, truncated actuality ceasing-to-exist, and so on, and I thereby find good reason to hold that Man in Privation does exist forever, and, I find good reason to think that Man in Privation does not exist forever. As Man in Privation is found within Love’s [All-Possibilities] there just is no affront to Love’s necessarily Triune Landscape on such actualizing within Time as in Love’s embrace of E Pluribus Unum we find on necessity all the presence of I, or of Self, and, also within embrace we find all the presence of You, or of Other, and these two distinct-s on necessity beget love’s third very present distinct of that singular Unity that just is Love’s E Pluribus Unum. Love is Self. Love is Other. Love is the singular We. Love just is Triune, and, should Power Will Man in Love’s Image, we find that volitional motion into the Self on necessity available, just as, we find that volitional motion into Other on necessity available, just as, on necessity we find Love’s E Pluribus Unum begotten in but one of those motions and not in both, where Man, where any contingent being, is concerned. In God that motion into Self is but a motion into the Great-I-AM, and, being All-Sufficiency, such is, in Him and no other, but a motion into God, into Love Himself, for God is both One and Three, as He is Love. Man, however, being on necessity contingent, cannot motion, on necessity, into Self, into Privation and find All-Sufficiency. God cannot create God. Now, there is much more in that arena, discussed in other threads here on STR, three of which are, “Why Would A Loving God Create A Place Like Hell?”, and, “Does God’s Sovereignty Rob Us of Our Freedom?”, and, “Is the God of the Old Testament the Same God in the New Testament?” But, on the business of [All-Possibilities] we find that this volitional motion amid and among love’s distinct-s there inside of I-You-We is on necessity Love’s Image. Whatever God is, He is Love, and, whatever [All-Possibilities] is, it is a tapestry necessarily Less-Than-God for that-thing, whatever it “is” (whatever [All-Possibilities] is), is necessarily constrained by Ultimate Actuality, which is Uncreated Love.

Now, within Love’s Necessary Constraints, we come to this:

Why Create?

Again, I am not sure this is a possible question, as “why” seems to be not-wide-enough, and “how” seems to be the only question worth asking of Love’s Eternal Begetting of yet more love, ad infinitum. We do not ask of Love’s Existence, “Why?”, but, rather, we ask of Love’s Existence, “How?” ‘Why-Create’ seems to morph to ‘How-does-love-beget-yet-more-love?’

Why-Create? Why-Love? Given that God is Uncreated Love, and that such is therein the only Necessary Being, we find that this question doesn’t actually make sense. Within Love we find that which is perpetually begotten there within the singularity of Unity inside of E Pluribus Unum. Love begets, necessarily, yet more love, as Love within Himself forever pours out, as Love within Himself forever fills up, and in pouring out, in filling up, Love Himself forever begets, ad infinitum, yet more love. In a thread here on STR titled “Is the God of the Old Testament the Same God in the New Testament?” in a post dated: “scbrownlhrm September 01, 2013 at 03:58 AM” this perpetual fact-hood of Love’s necessary landscape comprised of everlasting Dying, everlasting Resurrection, and everlasting Begetting of Love’s E Pluribus Unum is painted in more detail and this question of “Why Create” just may not make any sense without that bit of detail. Against that entire Triune Topography as a backdrop the question of “Why Create?” when God is, in this creating of us, simply begetting or birthing His Own Image, which is Love, which is that very same and thus necessary, everlasting, and unchanging motion which has no beginning nor end, seems to be asking either, “Why does God be God?”, or, perhaps, “Why does Love be Love?”, or, perhaps, “Why does God do within Time that which He forever does outside of Time?”

Now, the first two questions offer much to speak of, particularly the second of “why does love be love”, but this third question really is the question we are asking. The question of Necessity here enters. Love forever begets yet more Love. That is what love does. Within His Own Triune interior those volitional motions amid Self/Other and singularity’s Unity of E Pluribus Unum all land on God Himself, or, on All-Sufficiency, for even the motion into the Self in Privation is, in God, and no other, but a motion into the Great-I-AM. This is so because God is Non-Contingent, because God is All-Sufficiency in every direction. God cannot make a “bad” move. He cannot sin. Every move, even the move into the Self in Privation is but a motion into God Himself. He is not just Three and not also One, but, rather, He is both One Three, for Love just is I-You-We, pleural, within E Pluribus Unum, singular. Ultimate Actuality’s Triune Topography dissolves all tensions. The question of “Why Create?” is really this question: “Why doesn’t Power create All-Sufficiency in one creative act?” There’s the rub. Well, if Power did not Will to create His Own Image, which is Love’s Triune, then (perhaps) He could, in one creative act, create something and just fill it up with Himself without any possibility of in-sufficiency, of Privation, availed to it. That is possible (perhaps, perhaps not). Only, that is not possible if Power Wills that created some-thing to be in His Triune Image. Once Power Wills His, Love’s, Image, we find we cannot assassinate, ever, or rather we find that He will not assassinate, ever, that Motion into the Self (which exists in Him) nor that motion into Other (which also exists in Him). Necessity here limits Power for nonsense is impossible just as round squares are impossible and Power looses nothing, for nonsense is nonsense even when attached to “God can…..” [Volitional Motion] cannot not-be-itself, cannot be some other some-thing, for nonsense is nonsense. Any Created Self is, if in His Image, volitionally intact and thus availed of, ipso facto upon coming into existence, the Triune’s own unique geography of motions. Now, there is no such thing as a Created Self which is, in itself, self-sufficient. That is impossible. God cannot create God. Power cannot create All-Sufficiency.

We find then that should Love beget Love, He merely needs to be Himself, for in Himself such is Everlasting and Unchanging Motion and such is the case in all directions, in all motions. However, we find that should Love create a being and Will that created being to house His Own Triune Image of Love, then such a created being cannot be in such motions as God Himself is not also in such motions: forced into motion there amid Self, Other, Unity. God can shout, “I and not You!” and have but the Great I AM thus declare Life and Love within Himself. God can shout, “You and not I!” and have but the God of Love thus declare of Life and Love within Himself. He is free within Himself to so do, and, He is One and Three, for, such is Love’s Triune Interior. We find here exactly what we find in the Hebrew God there in Genesis: Love’s Plurality in One Being declaring, “Let Us make Man in Our Image” and then, necessarily the entire set of available and necessary motions. Power cannot make round squares. When Love creates any being with the intent, the will, to fashion such a being in His Own Image, in Love’s Image we find that there is no possible world other than what we see there in that odd Hebrew/Christian landscape of Love’s Triune Uncreated. It cannot be otherwise if Power Wills His Own Image.

We find there that, perhaps, we guess here, it seems that Love Himself, being Timeless, has never known a “first creative act”, and, a little more guessing, it seems plausible that God, being Love, has forever and always, in creat-ing (which has no first) been about the industrious motioning of creating, well, what? Well, love of course. Inside of God Himself Love forever and necessarily begets love. That is what God “does”. We guess here, but begetting/creating seems to be, well, never have been a “first act” in Him. But we guess. And here we wonder if all of this topography of Love and Self and Other and E Pluribus Unum and Privation and Good and Created Motioning and Uncreated Motioning and ad infinitum has but no beginning, but no end, and we, any we who are to be in Love’s Image, we who are thus created with Love’s Intent, find inside of Time’s necessary Pain of Change all these things and this whether in volition we gaze inward into Privation, as we have done in this world, and also whether we gaze outward into Him on our, any our’s, first motioning leading up to Love’s Final Amalgamations, as …….. and we know that whatever vivid perceiving-s the former motion of idolatry (Privation) may have offered us, any us so created, it is but the later motion into Him which will, finally, grant far more, will grant, finally, that Beholding and that Becoming ad infinitum to us, any us so created. Perhaps, we guess again, all such God-Dependent-Things (there are no other kinds) just never have been otherwise and just never will be otherwise. Necessity cannot be otherwise. “Why” is the wrong question of Love’s Existence. The question to ask of Love is not Why Exist, but, How-Is-Love?. Yet, if we insist on Why-Create: Because God is Love, and Love has no beginning, Love has no ending, and Love is the only story ever told in all possible worlds.


Now, again, I find no clear answer in scripture (the charge of heresy awaits me I am sure) on Man’s Privation in perpetual motion or not. But, let me just foist, just say, that such is not the case. It’s not forever. Man in Privation is Man in non-entity, or, on necessity, in love-less-ness (self in isolation just cannot be love for any created, contingent, being) and thus Man in Privation is, let us say (as God is [Actuality]) then non-actual, or, if Person is but Love’s I-You-We and no less, then Man in Privation is merely the non-person on love’s definition; inanimate matter --- Pure I void of motion by definition. Very well. So, what then of everlasting privation? Well, if such a thing will go on “forever” (be careful with that word) then, such will exist on the following terms as described by this quote from a Topic here on STR, and on no other terms, and we find that each contingent self does after all find love’s image fully intact, for if we are a slave, we will but our own slave, as in:

[STR September 19, 2013: Early Abolitionist


“Cappadocian Church Father, Gregory of Nyssa, lived in the 4th century and was an outspoken critic of slavery.


Because he was committed to the idea that humans have a unique value that demands respect, Gregory was an early and vocal opponent of slavery and also of poverty. Against the former Gregory marshals three arguments (Ecclesiastes IV [665]): (1) Only God has the right to enslave humans, and God does not choose to do so; indeed, it was God who gave human beings their free wills. (2) How dare a person take that precious entity–the only part of the created order to have been made in God’s image–and enslave it! (3) As humans who were created in the divine image, all people are radically equal; therefore, it is hubristic for some to arrogate to themselves absolute authority over others.


Robert B. Kruschwitzm from Baylor University writes:


The true offense of slavery, Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-394) argued in his fourth homily on the book of Ecclesiastes, is that God created humans to be free. Commenting on the Teacher’s proud claim “I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house” (Ecclesiastes 2:7), Gregory wrote:


If man is in the likeness of God, and rules the whole earth, and has been granted authority over everything on earth from God, who is his buyer, tell me? Who is his seller? To God alone belongs this power; or rather, not even to God himself. For his gracious gifts, it says, are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). God would not there- fore reduce the human race to slavery, since he himself, when we had been enslaved to sin, spontaneously recalled us to freedom. But if God does not enslave what is free, who is he that sets his own power above God’s?””]

Would I ever choose such? I do not think so. And, then, after writing this sentence, I will, all the day long, put my own interest ahead of my wife’s interest. And then at work. And then back again at home. I and not You. Other and not Self. Do I die daily for my wife? My child? Not really. Not all the time. But I know that Love does die. There is no Love void of Dying. And, as I die and in motion declare of my wife, She and not I, I find that I am lost, I do die, “My” is lost, gone, “My” dies actually and not in mere gesture, and, somehow (I don’t know how), I find in her arms love’s reciprocity as I am, there in her arms on the other side of death, quite alive again, even more whole, more real, more actualized, than before. There is no love void of dying, void of resurrecting, void of begetting-yet-more-love. That is what love does ipso facto.

I need not do this bit of dying. In fact, all day long I do otherwise. I and not You!. Those who love themselves more than anything else (as I too often do) will be quite happy in that isolation, it seems. They enjoy such. I enjoyed the football game, though my child held a book up for me to read to her. I choose my privation all day long. In Love’s view, such a condition would just be horrible. But that is in Love’s view. And such is True, but only from Love’s view. That part of me which motions into I feels quite welcomed to disagree with Love’s E Pluribus Unum and Love’s dissatisfaction with nothing but Self. That view of Love is not shared by that part of me, by those who love themselves more than anything else. Reality void of Love, void of Other, void of I-You, void of Love’s Triune I-You-We there in its necessary E Pluribus Unum and instead full of just Self, the Isolated-I is all the joy of pride’s heaven. “Joy” means different things to different people.

I prefer, I struggle to prefer, the Joy of Love’s sort of necessary Dying. As does the Dying God, Who is Himself Love.

Privation in the Created, Man in volitional Privation, cannot be locked out of reach, and, that condition, which is what we call Evil, we find worthy of hate, on necessity, and, Privation inside of God’s Triune is but the Great-I-AM, and therefore the Self therein can never merit such hate, for Evil is not a move Love Himself can make, on necessity, as all motions in Him lead into but Love Himself. And Love Himself hates that condition of Privation in Man, and so He Himself is debased, is humiliated, for Uncreated Love is on necessity the Dying God, and thus Why? is always the wrong question to ask of Love’s existence, and How? is the only question worth asking of Love’s existence, and, on necessity, He Himself makes Himself both the Means and the Ends to thus Ransom Man’s Privation, to thus Undo Man’s Privation. “Love-less-ness” is ipso facto both our immoral motion and our Privation, and Uncreated Love, hating our condition therein, in His Passion for we His beloved, spreads His arms wide, high atop that Hill, and He pours Himself out via Love’s Dying and therein He Himself makes Himself Man’s Door out of that which His Image does not lock out of reach, on love's necessity, and therein all roads do, in spite of which Tree we on volition delight in, bring us into Love's Whole, as [All-Possibilities] houses that, too, as such is necessarily housed within Love’s Triune Landscape, the only Landscape that ever can be in all possible worlds.


WisdomLover made two valuable observations:

"What's completely wrong, I think, is the idea that God is enraged with us....."


"God has forgiven all our sins....."


These are both very helpful, and it seems such combines quite well with the fact-hood that Love's Eternally Sacrificed Self is, necessarily, always, and in all vectors, [Actuality]'s Ultimate Abolitionist.

We find no outcasts, whether Female or Male, Jew or Gentile, Black or White, Prostitute or Pharisee, Thief or Murderer. Neither Sin, nor Time, nor Space, nor Location, nor Opportunity, nor Height, nor Breadth, nor Depth, nor any of Man's countless vectors of insufficiency, none of these things are, ever, too grand for the Ultimate Abolitionist's Ransom to outreach, none of these things are, ever, too weighty for the Ultimate Abolitionist's Grace to out-perform. Love will not, on necessity, lock out of reach those motions of Privation within "I and not You", just as, on necessity, Love will not lock out of reach those motions into Love's Whole within "Other and not Self" amid love's singular unity that just is E Pluribus Unum, for [Actuality]'s Ultimate Abolitionist has made, ad infinitum, Man in Love's Image, in His Own Image, for Actuality Himself is the only possible Topography in all possible worlds.

“for Actuality Himself is the only possible Topography in all possible worlds”.

Mr. Brown, this sounds wonderful, but I don’t think it’s biblical.

As the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 8:5-8, the sinful mind leads to death, as it is hostile to God and cannot please God.

When Actuality Himself became one of us, He told us that He Himself will divide the sheep from the goats and send the cursed goats into eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons), for whom there is no ransom. Matthew 25:41-46

When this judgment takes place, as described in Revelation 20:10-15, Jesus will refer to the “Lamb’s Book of Life” for the names or identities of those who remain eternally cursed because of their deeds.

Just to be sure of the topography, in Revelation 21:27, it is made perfectly clear that there is an eternal separation of the pure from the impure.

Some of those that were made to experience LOVE in eternal selfless abandon will instead be eternally abandoned to love of self.

That is the hideous topography of Hell.

Scott,

Universalism isn't what I'm describing. You'll have to see / read the post and the others I referenced more closely.......

Mr. Brown,

Sorry about that. It sure seemed to me that you drew to a Universal Atonement at the end of each post.

Perhaps even more so with:
"therein all roads do, in spite of which Tree we on volition delight in, bring us into Love's Whole, as [All-Possibilities] houses that, too, as such is necessarily housed within Love’s Triune Landscape, the only Landscape that ever can be in all possible worlds."

Scott,

Do not mistake the Self in Privation as some sort of geography which does not exist within Uncreated Love Himself. Love’s Uncreated E Pluribus Unum houses such, and far more, as described from a few different approaches. Read more closely, please, here and in the other referenced Topics I listed. I do apologize for the word count. It’s too much. I know. Those on the outside looking in often stop dead in their tracks at this juncture, at this topic, and love’s geography merits a bit of word count to delineate in such an arena. “How can love be intact here?” The Self in Privation, as described here and elsewhere (referenced earlier), is not a landscape foreign to love’s whole, and is but love-less-some-thing. The Ultimate Abolitionist provides a Means, which is Himself, and He provides an End, which is Himself, and therein this Infinite Abolitionist makes a Way into Himself, where, had He not so loved, there would never have been such a Way. Love Himself is both the Means and the End. Such is true, necessarily, both of our road within obedience and of our road within disobedience. Love never sacrifices Love’s geography, though Love’s Eternally Sacrificed Self does pour Himself out high atop that Hill for His beloved, who is You and I and Us.

Scott-

I don't know about scblhrm, but I surely was affirming universal atonement (which, of course, is not the same as universalism...the view that no one goes to hell...which I reject).

Every soul in Hell has its sins as fully atoned for and forgiven as any soul in heaven.

The souls in Hell are not there because their sins aren't forgiven. They are there because they got their own way.

as an ex christian (a happy one), i find the idea of hell not only unbelievable and without evidence, i find it repugnant and repulsive.

in this lifetime, on this earth we are punished for our "sins". if i go out and get a dui, i will be punished for that "sin". and frankly i would deserve that punishment. the hell thing says we need to be punished again in some afterlife--why?, is it that "god" just can't get enough? "god" says you need to be punished over and over again?

if hell is real (and there is no reason to believe it is), then we should hear that straight from "god", instead of a bunch of fallible humans claiming to know all these things. i fear hell about as much as i fear a newborn baby will break into my house and stab me to death

Love Himself also finds such repulsive. We all know a vacuum void of love is precisely that: repulsive.

Love thus pours Himself out, that such voids need not, necessarily, ever exist.

We agree with God on the ugliness of loveless voids because we all know love is the highest Ethic, and we mean necessarily.

"if hell is real (and there is no reason to believe it is), then we should hear that straight from "god", instead of a bunch of fallible humans claiming to know all these things."

And how would that go? How exactly would we hear it from God?

I think this post largely misses the point of the objection. The point is that on the view of eternal hell, there is no opportunity for the "criminal" to repent of a crime that was not eternal in nature.

@brgulker: And what crime WOULD be eternal in nature if not the rejection of the authority of God??

@moose: It would appear that you do not accurately perceive much about the concepts of God, His holiness, His authority, and His justice-- and our culpability for rejecting those. OUR decision to reject those things and not accept His free gift of mercy through Christ are what lead to hell--not some sophomoric notion of Him just sadistically wanting to punish and re-punish us.

carolyn-you say "it would appear that you do not accurately perceice much about the concepts of god, his holiness, his authority, and his justice"--etc. that is true-i don't don't know anything about "god" and neither do you. when i was a christian i thought i knew things about "god", but i believe in intellectual honesty--if there is a god, i am not being honest if i say i know anything about "god".

do you believe you know anything about "god" from the (un) holy bible?--you know, that book with the stories about the talking snake, the talking donkey, the virgin birth, the magic carpenter, etc, etc.

again, the only honest thing i can say is that if there is a god--i don't know anything about him/her/it.

on the hell subject--if there is such a thing (and there is 0 reason to believe it) then "god" is unworthy of any respect

"do you believe you know anything about "god" from the (un) holy bible?--you know, that book with the stories about the talking snake, the talking donkey, the virgin birth, the magic carpenter, etc, etc."

Charming. So I guess that it's just plain silly to expect that God could work through talking donkeys, child-bearing virgins and so on. Without even taking one moment's thought about whether the Bible is the Word of God, we can just reject it because of all the 'magic'.

Dude.

GOD.

P.S. You are not E.E. Cummings.

It seems assertions of agnosticism, which make necessary love indefensible, wrapped up inside of moral frameworks uttering notions of worthy, is an odd direction to take should intellectual honesty be one’s goal. In such a strategy, necessary love is on the one hand asserted to be unknowable, and on the other hand it is employed as the framework which is to bring everything into focus.

Such could be pulled off if love were presupposed to be the highest ethic. Only, such a presupposition in any mutable framework leaves us exactly nowhere. And, if immutable, we must then leave behind the bit about agnosticism, as we see to the end of things, on necessity.

And that leaves us where we started: Ultimate Actuality is Love.

But, of course, this is what we all know. Love is the highest ethic, and, on necessity, Love is therein Actuality’s Ultimate Truth there at the end of ad infinitum.

But, of course, this is, again, what we all know. Ultimate Actuality is Love.

Now, how that breaks down into comprehensible fragments is anyone’s guess, though, intellectually speaking, Love’s intrinsic topography is a good place to start. It becomes undeniable at this juncture that not only can we know, but, we do know, thus far, quite a bit about [God] – He/She/It Is-Love.


Hello Moose! Fancy meeting you here!

You said, "if hell is real (and there is no reason to believe it is), then we should hear that straight from "god", instead of a bunch of fallible humans claiming to know all these things. i fear hell about as much as i fear a newborn baby will break into my house and stab me to death".

Firstly, how God chooses to communicate his truths is his choice. The Bible says he uses weak and foolish vessels to confound the wise... those wise in their own eyes! You would DARE to tell the creator of the universe how he should communicate with his creation? This is a perfect example of man's rejection of God's authority! We propose to even tell him that we won't accept his message unless he wraps it up in gold foil wrapping paper and delivers it to us on a Saturday afternoon at 3:00 pm by two monkeys on rollerskates! Preposterous! HE is God... WE are not. By what authority does a human tell God what to do?

Try that with even a human authority! Ignore a court summons because it was not delivered personally by the judge and see how that works for you!

So when you stand before God, be certain to tell him that you would have paid attention to his message... IF he had only delivered it the way you demanded. I'm certain that will work!

Forgive the sarcasm, but this objection just seems completely ludicrous to me!

Secondly, because a claim is made by a fallible human doesn't mean it's not true. Were that the case, then you would have successfully defeated your own statement... it cannot be true either, as it was made by another fallible human... namely, you!

By your logic, you can't believe anything that you're told, and no one should believe anything that you say.

And lastly, let me remind you that God graciously gives you time... time in which you can either come to accept him and his gift of salvation, or reject him completely. Like the child, your choices "grow up". When they are grown and fully developed, you may find that both are deadly.

terry-it looks like they deleted a comment i put in earlier-i guess they didn't like what i said.

you say it is god's choice how "he" communicates with us. really? if "god" is communicating with us in some vague & mysterious way, how would we know "he" is communicating with us? what is "he" saying to us? are we supposed to be as smart as you and know these things?

you say "the bible says he uses weak and foolish vessels to confound the wise" --my response to that is that fred flinstone said yabba dabba doo.
what does is matter what an ancient holy book authored by cavemen says?

your religion has poisonned your mind. GET HELP.
thank "goodness" i left christianity

The question is based on some wrong assumptions, some of which people were told by certain Christian teachers/priests, etc. who don't understand some Bible basics.

First of all, God isn't attempting to "punish" people by sending them to Hell. In fact, He doesn't send them to Hell, they send themselves by rejecting His Son, Christ.

Let me back up a bit. God created Hell as a place of punishment for Satan and the fallen angels who followed him (1/3 of the existing angels at the time of Satan's being cast out of Heaven for attempting to lift himself above God). It was not created FOR humans.

The reason humans can be subject to going to Hell to be with Satan and the fallen angels (now demons), is because they can fail to accept the gift of salvation (belief upon Christ) that would change their spiritual father from Satan to God.

Basically, this time on Earth is a time when a big contest is being had between Good and Evil (God and Satan) over whom each of us will choose to be our spiritual father. The thing is, ALL OF US WERE BORN WITH SATAN AS OUR SPIRITUAL FATHER WHETHER WE KNEW IT OR NOT AND WHETHER WE FELT LIKE THAT WAS THE CASE OR NOT. And that was a function of The Fall of Adam and Eve. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, they changed their spiritual father from God to Satan by their FREE WILL CHOICE. Everyone born of their loins after that (i.e., EVERYONE), was automatically born with Satan as their spiritual father. Now, each of us must UNDO that damage on an individual basis by making a FREE WILL DECISION to receive God as our spiritual father by accepting the sacrifice that was paid by His Son, Christ. Basically, Christ paid the necessary price to buy us back from Satan's hold -- but each of us must INDIVIDUALLY ACCEPT THAT purchase and receive salvation (from having Satan as our default spiritual father).

Hell was only created for Satan and his demons, but any human who has failed to CHOOSE AS AN ACT OF THEIR FREE WILL to make God their spiritual father by accepting Christ, will go to experience eternity in a physical body that will last forever in Hell with THEIR SPIRITUAL FATHER: Satan. It's not about punishment for individual acts of sin. It's about WHO YOUR DADDY IS. It's not that God is angry; it's that we have chosen not to UNDO the damage to our spiritual destiny by receiving the WAY OUT (Christ) that was made possible by the shedding of the blood of God in the flesh (Christ) to pay the necessary price.

Just ANYBODY dying on the cross wouldn't do the trick: it had to be God in the flesh (Christ) who shed innocent blood (not having the sin nature in it from Adam and Eve's lineage), since Christ's father was not Mary's husband Joseph, but the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus was 100% God, having come from the Holy Spirit's "sperm," and 100% man (having come from Mary). Only such a being could qualify to pay the necessary price to make the Way possible for us to reverse the curse from The Garden that Adam and Eve caused by their disobedience. HOWEVER, it is not an AUTOMATIC thing just because Christ died -- we must receive salvation by receiving Christ. A free will decision to "receive Satan" was made in The Garden by A&E -- likewise a free will decision is required to "UN-receive Satan and receive Christ" in order for our spiritual father to become God. And as such, we are then entitled to reside eternally in our perfect eternal bodies with that spiritual father (God) in His place of eternal abode: Heaven.

Failing to accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross is failing to chance our default spiritual father from Satan to God, and thus we send OURSELVES to the place God really only created for Satan and his demons.

It isn't about individual acts of sin. The sin NATURE was given to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God. When they disobeyed God, they "obeyed" Satan and therefore accepted him as their spiritual father and received HIS NATURE which is THE SIN NATURE. Of course, acts of sin emit from having the SIN NATURE, but God is not as concerned with individual acts of sin as He is the SIN NATURE which we inherited from A&E, which THEY inherited from Satan. In order to inherit God's nature, we must be RELATED to God, by receiving Christ. That is the gist of salvation: by accepting Christ, we no longer HAVE the sin nature, and how have God's nature in our spirits which is called being BORN AGAIN. Basically being born again UNTO CHRIST which makes us a citizen of Heaven and related to God spiritually.

Of course, we all know Christians who still do sinful acts, but they do it more out of habit and an unregenerated MIND than the SIN NATURE. And that is their homework: to allow the new nature that is within them to permeate and retrain their MIND, EMOTIONS and FREE WILL ACTS going forward -- a lifelong endeavor.

Satan has confused the doctrine of many old-timey churches so that they put the focus on the individual sinful acts, and not the fact of who our spiritual DADDY is, which is where the real issue is: it's a RED HERRING.

Prayer: Dear God, I renounce Satan as my default spiritual father and accept the necessary blood-bought price paid by your Son, Jesus Christ, to purchase me back from Satan's hold to relationship and restoration to You as my spiritual Father. I will learn as much as I can about You from Your Word (the Bible) and allow my mind, emotions and free will acts to be permeated by Your Word so that I will grow in grace day by day to be more like Christ. I know that I will make mistakes, but that You will forgive me when I confess my sins to You, and that regardless of my current state of behavior at the time of my death (or the rapture -- whichever the case may be), that I will join you in Heaven forever and ever, because You are now my spiritual Father! Thank you, Father God, in Jesus' name.

For anyone interested in reading about the arguments for conditionalism (annihilation)view versus tradionalism (eternal forever torment), see the book Two Views of Hell by Edward Fudge and Robert Peterson.

I would agree with Jared that either option isn't a good one - destruction or eternal torment.

Moose, I have a few questions for you regarding your post on 10/5.
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terry-it looks like they deleted a comment i put in earlier-i guess they didn't like what i said.

you say it is god's choice how "he" communicates with us. really? if "god" is communicating with us in some vague & mysterious way, how would we know "he" is communicating with us? what is "he" saying to us? are we supposed to be as smart as you and know these things?

you say "the bible says he uses weak and foolish vessels to confound the wise" --my response to that is that fred flinstone said yabba dabba doo.
what does is matter what an ancient holy book authored by cavemen says?

your religion has poisonned your mind. GET HELP.
thank "goodness" i left christianity

Posted by: moose | October 05, 2013 at
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Could you please provide us proof of the following statements you made in questioning Terry:
1. Provide proof that God has not talked to us through the Bible.
2. Provide proof that the Bible isn't a book that should matter to us.
3. Would you say that you believed Christ was raised from the dead and that you confessed He was your Savior in the past?

jay-i think you are confused about burden of proof--"provide proof that god has not talked to us the the bible", provide proof that the bible isn't a book that should matter to us".

that's like me saying to you that i flapped my arms and flew to the moon yesterday and asking you to provide proof to me that i did not.

no--if god has talked to anyone through the bible, then it is up to the christian to prove that. if the (un)holy bible (and all it's fairy tales) is a book that should matter to us, it is up to the christian to show that. on your third point about jesus (the magic carpenter), i used to believe everything about him, but i began to open my eyes. i was a christian for 40 plus years

Moose, when you call Jesus "the magic carpenter," you thoroughly convince me that you don't have a grasp of what Christianity is about, and thus, never did. That may or may not be the case, but you should know that's what you're saying to Christians when you use phrases like that. If you want to sound credible (let alone persuasive), you'd be better off dropping phrases like that.

Why am I helping you improve your case? Conversations are better around here when people say things that can be taken seriously.

amy-i do understand everything about christianity, i was one for most of my life, 40 plus years. my understanding of it is exactly why i have come to reject it-there is nothing about it that i find believable. as far as the magic carpenter term that i used--isn't that what christianity says he (jesus) was? he was a carpenter, he performed amazing magic tricks. this is your own doctrine, not mine, so when you say that converations are better around here when people say things that can be taken seriously--are you saying that your own doctrine can't be taken seriously?

he was a carpenter, he performed amazing magic tricks. this is your own doctrine, not mine

That is not at all what Christianity teaches, nor is it what I believe.

The Christianity of history is about a Trinitarian sovereign God who created the world with a plan to express both His loving grace and His absolute moral perfection and justice through Jesus' (one of the persons of the Trinity) death on the cross, thereby saving undeserving people from getting what they deserved, and bringing them into the presence of the infinite, loving perfection of God, which is no small feat, given that you would be instantly destroyed by the blinding purity and holiness of this infinitely perfect God were you to stand in front of Him on your own, with all of the ways you've departed from his perfect moral law (hurt others, departed from truth, acted selfishly, rebelled against God as Creator and King) still infecting you. A perfect judge must punish those who break the law, otherwise He would not be perfect. This is why the cross was such a brilliant move, and it's why His love and grace have astounded people for millennia.

As the one through whom everything was created, Jesus put some things right while He was here (healing, etc.), giving us a taste of the redemption of everything that is to come, and giving us evidence of who He is by demonstrating His authority over this world. These are not "magic tricks."

This Christianity, and this Jesus, created the best thinkers, philosophers, scientists, and artists of the last two thousand years. He inspired paintings, sculptures, architecture, and music that still move people to tears to this day--and sometimes to their knees. He's deep enough and strong enough to support men and women giving their entire lives to Him, sometimes while suffering unimaginable torture.

The term "magic carpenter" is silly, empty, and small, and couldn't inspire people to make a chalk drawing on the sidewalk. You may think Christianity is false, and that's fine. But to refer to Jesus as a "magic carpenter" is to say you never understood the Christianity that built western civilization. Your church failed you.

You can say Christianity is false. You can even say it's dangerous. The one thing you can't say is that it's silly and shallow.

If you ever decide to start over, you could start here.

amy-just a few things here--you say my church failed me--not exactly, the church didnt fail me, christianity failed me-or at least failed to convince that any of it is true. i would have walked away had i attended any other church.

you say "a perfect judge must punish those who break the law, otherwise he would not be perfect". in this lifetime, on this earth sure it is true that we deserve "punishment" for our sins, or "wrong acts". if i get a dui, i will be punished for it--and i would be deserving of those consequences. yes we deserve punishment in this lifetime for our "sins", but to say that we deserve another punishment again in an afterlife is absurd and obscene.

the "hell" idea is one of the main reasons i walked away from christianity. i find it insulting and offensive--to me it is just as offensive as hearing a racial slur. i laugh at the idea of hell, but then again i am offended when i hear somone peddle the idea.

besides the absurdity of hell, i have neve heard a clear description of exactly what hell is, and of course have never seen any real evidence that hell is real.

i would ask you--why talk about hell when there is zero evidence that it is real, and when all it does is offends people?

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