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Old 11-22-2001, 10:56 PM   #11
eh
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Quote:
Originally posted by hezekiahjones:
<STRONG>

This sounds like a great religion! Where do I sign up?</STRONG>
Yep, we all deserve hell. This is one claim that I have never heard any christian put forth a rational explaination for. This diety sounds a lot like Hitler, demanding revenge for any little transgression.
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Old 11-22-2001, 11:08 PM   #12
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Hello Helen

First, I think you may want to reread Bede's post. He was certainly not preaching at you with what he wrote. I think you have seriously misunderstood what he said. For my own part, while he and I disagree on the nature of Hell (he believes the damned are annihilated, I accept that they will suffer some form of eternal torment), I do happen to agree with what he has written in the post above. Please read it again. It certainly was not an attack on you, nor your beliefs.

Now, with that out of the way, I would like to clarify a important misconception from your posts, as well as your web page.

It is important to note that the Bible does not describe a Hell of eternal torment for the damned. At best, as others have already pointed out, the Bible is ambiguous on the matter. I refer you to an earlier thread on these boards bearing the same title as this one: Hell. The doctrine of Hell is based not on Scripture alone, but on Scripture coupled with Church Tradition. The torment the damned will feel will be the natural consequences of eternal separation from the Creator. Bede (and other annihlationists) would argue that this separation will result in total destruction, and he will be able to provide ample Biblical (as well as logical) supports for his belief. He may even be right, though I do not think so. Perhaps that debate can wait for another time, unless you wish to pursue it.

At this point I must ask you a question, and I hope you do not mind:

For the purposes of this discussion let's assume that God created us to be with Him forever. Further, let's accept the Christian teaching that God does not wish anyone to go to Hell. It is His will that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:3). Remember that He did die for everyone in the whole world, not just the saved (2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 John 2:2). Now, clearly God could elect to save everyone regardless of what they wished for themselves, or even what they have done to themselves and others. Such is the nature of omnipotence. But it is quite plain from Scripture that not all will be saved. Thus, the question remains as to how an omnipotent God that could save everyone, plainly does not save everyone.

I think the problem many have with the doctrine of Hell is that they assume that God's primary (and perhaps His only) objective is to save all human beings, and have them live with Him forever. But clearly God has other goals and purposes, some of which will conflict with the salvation of every single human being.

1) God will not save anyone against their will. In other words, if they do not wish to live with Him forever, He will not coerce them into doing this.

2) A choice cannot logically be free if it does not include at least two mutually exclusive options. Thus, one can choose either to love and serve God (and thereby go to Heaven), or one can choose to hate God (and thereby be sent to Hell). If we accept that we are creatures made with free will, then we must be given the choice to freely love God, or not.

3) God's nature is to be true to Himself and his nature. Thus, for example, He cannot lie, nor can He tolerate sin. If someone will not let go of their own sins, even though those same sins have been forgiven by God, then He must accept their choice, and allow them to live with those sins. He has told us plainly that He will accept our choice, and to fail to do so would make God a liar. But the choice to live with one's own sins, rather than giving them up means that this individual cannot live with God forever. This would violate His nature in that He cannot abide the presence of sin. To live with one's sins is to live eternally separated from God.

Here are my questions:

a) If the damned do not suffer forever, but are merely annihilated, would your objections to the doctrine of Hell be alleviated?


b) Given the assumptions listed above, on what basis could one argue that God should save everyone from Hell, regardless of their own wishes?

c) Or do you think that God will/must save everyone, and have them live with Him in Heaven forever? Would this include even forcing them to accept eternal life in Heaven against their will?

I appreciate the thought, time and effort you have put into your questions and beliefs Helen. I hope that by answering my questions, I might better understand your greatest concerns in this matter.

One final favour if I may:

I would ask you to read Dr. Robert Koons' lecture on Responses to The Problem of Evil, substituting your objections to the existence of an eternal Hell, and offer your reply to his theories. I believe the the answer to your questions lies in the nature of the deontic constraints God has placed upon Himself (as illustrated in the assumptions offered above) regarding salvation for humankind. By understanding those constraints, we can better understand how God can permit the existence of Hell within His creation. We may still wish that such a thing did not exist, but at least we could better understand how it did come into existence.

Thank you again, and peace,

Nomad
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Old 11-22-2001, 11:46 PM   #13
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Hey guys! I am not sure if I am doing this correctly, but I guess that I will figure it out soon enough eh?

BUT, here are my thoughts about hell:
Here is my little outline of Hell:
(It was developed from a few books, if you are interested; I am sure that I could dig them up and get you the titles )

I. What hell is not:
A. A torture chamber-- it is not a place where God actively sets out to punish those who did not do the right thing.
B. A place where Satan reigns—One of the most popular misconceptions of Hell is the idea that it is the kingdom of Satan. Satan, who is not currently in hell. Will find no pleasure in being there. It is where Satan is sentenced and restrained to, not where he is given freedom. (See Rev. 20)
C. Hell is not on this earth—Many of us hear that someone is living in his or her own personal hell. This may be true in a sense that, like salvation, it can begin in this life, but hell in its truest sense is not experienced until the next life.
II. What hell is:
A. Punishment—As mentioned above, hell is not a place where God is actively punishing, but it is the purest form of punishment because it is void of everything that is good.
B. Separation from God—This is only a problem if you understand the nature of God. For those who see God as a larger-than-life dictator who demands that his own needs be met in order to be found worthy of his grace and love, Hell is not a problem. Most people would want to be separated from a god like that. But, if you understand God to be the only source of that which is beautiful and good, peaceful and kinds. A God who would do everything possible to invite you into His family and to share His glory, Then you would understand that separation from God would be the worst possible fate.
C. Consequence of natural laws—“The word punishment can be interpreted in two ways: as a ‘positive law’ or as ‘natural law’. A ‘positive law’ is a law that is ‘posited’ or made by a will that chose to make it and could have chosen differently. The punishments of positive laws are not necessary but rather chosen by the punisher. They may be right and reasonable, but they are not necessary; they are changeable. ‘If you steal that cookie, I will slap your hand’ –this is positive law. This is not, we think, the right way to conceive of the punishment of hell: as something God chose but could have chosen differently.

The punishments of ‘natural law’ are intrinsic rather than extrinsic, necessary rather than chosen. ‘If you eat that cookie, you will spoil your appetite’; ‘If you jump off a cliff, you will die’—these are punishments of natural law.”

Hell is the natural consequence of living a life in which you deny the One who gave you the life that you are living. It is the end result of living a life of separation from God.

III. What God says about Hell:
Here is a verse from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Of course this is not all that God says about Hell, there are many other verses.

John 3:18-21
18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

20 "For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

21 "But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."



Ezek 18:21-27
21 "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

22 "All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live.

23 "Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?

24 "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die.

25 "Yet you say, "The way of the Lord is not right.' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?

26 "When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die.

27 "Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.



IV. What Hell says about God:
A. God is good and just—like a judge
B. God is the truest form of love
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Old 11-23-2001, 03:06 AM   #14
HelenM
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Thanks for all your comments

I added to it again this morning but I think I'm done now - at least for a while

love
Helen

p.s. here's a response on a Christian board:

Quote:
Helen,

Your essay wasn't about hell. It was about a different means to go to heaven.

If we take your passages at face value, they clearly mention a place of torment after this life.

If you expect to go to heaven on the basis of doing good deeds for the poor or whatever, you won't make it. You haven't done enough.

That leaves the "Christ of Calvary option." You quoted a lot of what Jesus said, but here's something else He said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." His forerunner John the Baptist said, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."

It's possible that I'm being overly simplistic and just not meeting your arguments. But "everlasting life" sounds like heaven to me, and "wrath abiding" sounds like hell.

Of this I feel confident: If you have Jesus Christ, you have life. If you don't have Christ, you don't have life. (1 John 5) Again, Acts 13:38-39 reads, "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."

I haven't done what I could for the poor. I haven't always told the truth. I have hunted deer over a corn pile. I have exceeded the speed limit. I have committed all sorts of other sins which in the eyes of men are graded from vile to venial.

That's why I need a Savior. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Kind regards []
*sigh* they just don't get it, do they? I replied, please show me your gospel from the book of Mark.

Oh, here's an e-mail response I got from a regular poster at I love Jesus boards (the other response was not from someone on ILJ)

Quote:
Helen,
There is no doubt that you are an enemy of the cross. You follow after your father the devil, not the Lord Jesus. You continually try and discredit the word of God by placing doubts in the minds of others. The Lord said it would better to have a rock hung around your neck and you tossed into the sea then to cause one to stumble.

You are an evil person masking yourself as a Christian. You are seriously deceived and need to repent before it is too late.
If this person is going to be in heaven, well... do I really want to be there too?
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Old 11-23-2001, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Boro Nut:
<STRONG>It doesn't sound all that bad to me. A woman's corns are more furious than hell, or so I have been told.

Boro Nut</STRONG>
Talk about falling on stony ground. Your wasting your time Boro. It's pearls before swine mate, it really is.
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Old 11-23-2001, 11:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by HelenSL:
Hello again Helen

I am not really all that surprised that when you offered your article on a Christian board, you received preaching of the Christian message. It is, after all, a Christian discussion board, and that is generally what happens in such places. I am unsure why you offered their replies here however.

My question now is, will you respond to my own post? I have asked you specific questions as to your beliefs, and have refrained from preaching to you out of respect to your request that no one do that to you. I assume that you wanted to talk about what you believe, and I am more than willing to do so.

Thank you,

Nomad

[ November 23, 2001: Message edited by: Nomad ]
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Old 11-23-2001, 02:05 PM   #17
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Oh Helen!, stay away from those Christian boards! The self righteous are a vexation to the spirit.

I think Eclectic made some very good points, Jesus may have never even used the word at all, could be 2nd & 3rd century jibber jabber, cosidering how very little he really spoke about it. After all if it really were an eternity of suffering at stake you'd think he would have spoke about nothing else, just like today's TV preachers anxious for your check.
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Old 11-23-2001, 03:28 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nomad:
I assume that you wanted to talk about what you believe, and I am more than willing to do so.

Weeelll...I might want to. I'm not sure.

I'll copy your questions into here...

a) If the damned do not suffer forever, but are merely annihilated, would your objections to the doctrine of Hell be alleviated?

Not really because it's not only the eternal punishment that I find difficult but also the Christian beliefs about who goes to heaven and who doesn't.

With annihilation I'd still be upset about that plus I still wouldn't see the point in God creating people and then annihilating them. I don't like the death penalty...

b) Given the assumptions listed above, on what basis could one argue that God should save everyone from Hell, regardless of their own wishes?

I am too sick of this kind of stupid theistic question to spend any time on it .

(By 'this kind' I mean any question that is of the form "why should God...?")

Oh what the heck. Why should God? Because of his attributes OF COURSE. Why do you think???

c) Or do you think that God will/must save everyone, and have them live with Him in Heaven forever? Would this include even forcing them to accept eternal life in Heaven against their will?

Another kind of question I am sick of. Why not say, should God force people to go to hell if they don't want to? But in the traditional viewpoint he does. If heaven is so great no-one will NOT want to go there so your question is silly. Hell is the place people will not want to go, not heaven.

Thanks for being willing. I'm not sure it's enough but thanks anyway.

yours,
Helen
[ November 23, 2001: Message edited by: HelenSL ]
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Old 11-24-2001, 01:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Helen,
There is no doubt that you are an enemy of the cross. You follow after your father the devil, not the Lord Jesus. You continually try and discredit the word of God by placing doubts in the minds of others. The Lord said it would better to have a rock hung around your neck and you tossed into the sea then to cause one to stumble.

You are an evil person masking yourself as a Christian. You are seriously deceived and need to repent before it is too late.
For some reason I feel confident I know who that "regular poster" is.

Quote:
This sounds like a great religion! Where do I sign up?
Quote:
Yep, we all deserve hell. This is one claim that I have never heard any christian put forth a rational explaination for. This diety sounds a lot like Hitler, demanding revenge for any little transgression.
The idea that we all deserve hell doesn't sound very logical in most world views but the concept works in the Christian philosophy. There is doesn't sound like "Hitler demanding revenge for any little transgression". I don't think we can expect to find a rational explanation outside of the Christian world view and we we can't use the ideology of one particular philosophy to critique the beliefs in another which will have different presuppositions. In order to adequately dismiss the claim one must either demonstrate the superiority of their own particular world view or approach and refute the concept within the Christian framework. Likewise, it must be defended from within the Christian philosophy. How, then, is the idea of humanity deserving hell inconsistent within the Christian framework? Why does it require a rational explanation i.e. what makes it seem irrational?

Hey Helen, who do I sound like?

[ November 24, 2001: Message edited by: ilgwamh ]
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Old 11-24-2001, 02:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilgwamh:
The idea that we all deserve hell doesn't sound very logical in most world views but the concept works in the Christian philosophy.

I used to think so.

I'm not sure what happened but I think it was a combination of too much Bible reading for myself, too much unkindness from Christians, too much talking to exChristians and mental illness (which threw out all my presuppositions so I thought beyond them into a place I wasn't supposed to go... )

There is doesn't sound like "Hitler demanding revenge for any little transgression". I don't think we can expect to find a rational explanation outside of the Christian world view

- and you think we do, inside it? I'm not convinced we do *sigh*

and we we can't use the ideology of one particular philosophy to critique the beliefs in another which will have different presuppositions. In order to adequately dismiss the claim one must either demonstrate the superiority of their own particular world view or approach and refute the concept within the Christian framework.

Yeah, exactly. That's why I was trying to show that if you really do take Jesus' words in the synoptic gospels at face value, he's saying that mean people go to hell and nice people go to heaven. Which is what most people outside the church tend to believe, if they believe in God at all. Odd that what is intuitive to most people seems to match Jesus' actual words, when you read them without all the Christian twisting-of-meaning-to-make-it-fit-doctrine

Likewise, it must be defended from within the Christian philosophy. How, then, is the idea of humanity deserving hell inconsistent within the Christian framework? Why does it require a rational explanation i.e. what makes it seem irrational?

Within the Christian framework it makes sense. But if the Christian framework doesn't match what Jesus said - because he DID NOT SAY humanity deserves hell. ONLY wicked people - if the Christian framework doesn't match what Jesus said then it's a nightmare of a joke to call it "Christian" at all.

Hey Helen, who do I sound like?

I dunno but you're more reasonable than most Christians on discussion boards! Thanx for your comments

love
Helen
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