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There Is No Hell
beliefnet ^ | Ap 1 06 | Rev Forrest Church

Posted on 04/01/2006 7:37:23 PM PST by churchillbuff

The difference between Universalists and Unitarians (the old joke has it) is that Universalists believe that God is too good to damn them, whereas Unitarians believe that they’re too good to be damned. I am a Universalist.

For all my many failings, the day I wake up dead I won’t be in a cattle car on the fast train to Satan’s fiery pit. Nor will you. And neither will Old Scratch himself. If he actually exists, the devil too will be saved. In the good news of universalism, God is a loving God who will not rest until the entire creation is redeemed. All creatures will be saved. There is no hell.

It’s easy to understand why hell was invented (if quite late in the biblical record). Eternal damnation solves the sticky part of the problem of evil: Why do good things happen to bad people? Reserving a corner of hell for all who escape well-deserved punishment here on earth balances the moral ledger sheet. Justice is done. Otherwise, not only is life unfair; the afterlife becomes unfair as well.

The problem is, when we project our retributive logic onto a cosmic screen, we pervert the divine image. We predicate hell on the irreverent presumption that God’s appetite for vengeance—an all-voracious version of our own nagging hunger—must be satisfied. "She’ll get hers in hell," we say. That balances our ledger, but it turns God into a jailer.

The idea of purgatory makes perfectly good sense. I can imagine the utility of corrective punishment. But eternal hellfire demeans everything I believe about God. More important, it eviscerates the heart of Jesus’ gospel.

Jesus was anything but a biblical literalist. He teaches by parable, not by citing chapter and verse, and gets into holy mischief by repeatedly breaking the letter of scripture. Love is the sum and substance of all the law and the prophets, he teaches. He enjoins us to forgive and love our enemies. "Your enemy be damned," is no part of his gospel.

"Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect," Jesus instructs his disciples. That perfection can be summed up in three words, each an expression of divine love: justice, mercy and forgiveness. Standing alone, justice might allow for the creation of hell, but mercy and forgiveness render it morally impossible. We can sift a spoonful of evidence for hell from the scriptures, even as we can ladle out dozens of arguments for slavery. Neither, however, meets the requirements of the biblical Spirit, whose imperative is love.

If we, mere humans, can forgive unforgettable damage, can't God?


TOPICS: Other Christian
KEYWORDS: afterlife; apostasy; churchofitsallgood; forestchurch; forrestchurch; frankchurch; hell; religiousleft; unitarians; universalists
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1 posted on 04/01/2006 7:37:24 PM PST by churchillbuff
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: churchillbuff

People don't like the Bible because it says things they don't like. It's not that they can't figure it what's in the Bible, hey just disagree. It's easy to hide behind the cult of, 'my personal interpretation' is different and who are you to say.


3 posted on 04/01/2006 7:40:52 PM PST by AD from SpringBay (We have the government we allow and deserve.)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: churchillbuff

I guess the good Rev. never learned how to read.


5 posted on 04/01/2006 7:41:31 PM PST by Farmer Dean (Every time a toilet flushes,another liberal gets his brains.)
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To: churchillbuff

Oh, I guess Jesus was wrong, then. Thanks for clearing that up for me, Rev.


6 posted on 04/01/2006 7:41:58 PM PST by rightwingintelligentsia
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: churchillbuff
In the good news of universalism, God is a loving God who will not rest until the entire creation is redeemed.

Creation will only be redeemed when the bad evil and sin are shut away in a place far from God's mind and memory (Hell).

God doesn't send people to Hell. They send themselves there.

8 posted on 04/01/2006 7:43:36 PM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: pcottraux
God doesn't send people to Hell. They send themselves there.

Bingo

9 posted on 04/01/2006 7:44:47 PM PST by A message
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To: churchillbuff; GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; livius; ...

+


10 posted on 04/01/2006 7:45:02 PM PST by narses (St Thomas says “lex injusta non obligat”)
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To: churchillbuff

If I were the good Reverend, I'd start a progressive swimming regimen with millstones tied around my neck.


11 posted on 04/01/2006 7:45:16 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth (Di'ver'si'ty (adj.): A compound word derived from the root words: division; perversion; adversity.)
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To: churchillbuff

"In Heaven there is no beer, that's why we drink it here"


12 posted on 04/01/2006 7:46:00 PM PST by P.O.E.
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To: AD from SpringBay
It's easy to hide behind the cult of, 'my personal interpretation' is different and who are you to say.

It's all about plucking out what's fashionable and forgetting the rest. I'm not a religious scholar by any means, but I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't always been this way. It's easier to change the interpretation of the Bible than to change your heart.

13 posted on 04/01/2006 7:47:07 PM PST by TontoKowalski
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To: churchillbuff

The Bible, both Old and New Testiment, is filled with references to Satan and Hell. How can this person make this kind of statement?


14 posted on 04/01/2006 7:47:34 PM PST by stm (You can fix a lot of things, but you can't fix stupid)
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To: churchillbuff
So after we spend our lives choosing to spit in His eye He is going to make us spend eternity praising Him.

Ok.

15 posted on 04/01/2006 7:47:36 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Sign up to donate monthly and you will be automatically entered in our "Win a Bear Hug Contest")
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To: churchillbuff
I don't know if it was intentional or not, but this is the FR fundraiser picture that accompanied the thread when I first looked at it....ROTFL


16 posted on 04/01/2006 7:48:59 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Colossians 4:5)
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To: churchillbuff

Dear Rev: read John 14:6.


17 posted on 04/01/2006 7:49:23 PM PST by phelanw
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To: TontoKowalski

We are supposed to conform our lives to the Bible, not the other way around. This is yet again another example of rationalization by the libs.


18 posted on 04/01/2006 7:50:00 PM PST by stm (You can fix a lot of things, but you can't fix stupid)
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To: churchillbuff

Is Heavan a planet?


19 posted on 04/01/2006 7:50:03 PM PST by Dog Gone
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To: churchillbuff

Sorry Rev, there is a hell.......and its full of Muslims and idiots like you!


20 posted on 04/01/2006 7:50:30 PM PST by Bommer
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To: churchillbuff

For all my many failings, the day I wake up dead I won’t be in a cattle car on the fast train to Satan’s fiery pit. Nor will you. And neither will Old Scratch himself. If he actually exists, the devil too will be saved. In the good news of universalism, God is a loving God who will not rest until the entire creation is redeemed. All creatures will be saved. There is no hell.



Someone's in for a nasty surprise when he leaves the planet.


21 posted on 04/01/2006 7:52:07 PM PST by trubluolyguy (If I wanted to live in Mexico, I'd FRIGGING MOVE THERE!)
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To: Dog Gone
Is Heavan a planet?

It is - or something very near like it - in at least one claims-to-be-Christian religion that I know of...

22 posted on 04/01/2006 7:52:13 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Colossians 4:5)
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To: churchillbuff

Reverend Forest Church, the son of Idaho’s late Senator Frank Church


23 posted on 04/01/2006 7:54:05 PM PST by kcvl
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To: churchillbuff
But eternal hellfire demeans everything I believe about God

The key word in this sentence is the word "I".

24 posted on 04/01/2006 7:54:43 PM PST by plain talk
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To: churchillbuff
I'm sorry, but the writer, and by extension this belief system is hopelessly infantile.

Universalists believe that God is too good to damn them

Contrary to what one might think, given my previous statement, I believe that to be a true statement.

For all my many failings, the day I wake up dead I won’t be in a cattle car on the fast train to Satan’s fiery pit. Nor will you. And neither will Old Scratch himself. If he actually exists, the devil too will be saved. In the good news of universalism, God is a loving God who will not rest until the entire creation is redeemed. All creatures will be saved. There is no hell.

This is the statement that is hopelessly stupid.  There is no "cattle car" to "Satan's fiery pit" for sure, but that isn't hell, and it never was.  Hell is, quite simply, the opposite of Heaven.  And Heaven is, quite simply, communion with God.  If we are not in communion with God then we are "in hell."

When we die we will find ourselves confronted by the reality of God without the delusions and idiotic self deception exemplified by the above statement.  I am not capable of imagining what God truly is like, no one is, but we will know exactly who God is and we will know, without the ability to hide behind forgetfullness or rationalizations, exactly how we have failed Him.  And we will be ashamed.

God is Mercy, God is Love and God forgives us.  But God is not about to let us lie, even to ourselves.  And until we get past the absolute truth of our own failures in this life we will be too ashamed to commune with our God.  We will condemn ourselves to hell, not God. 

God loves us.  God has always loved us and God will always love us.  And He gave us Jesus as proof of that, as something to hold onto when we have to confront our own failings.  We don't have to believe in Jesus to be saved by God or from God's wrath.  We are already saved and the proof of God's love is Jesus.  That's why we have to believe in Jesus, to convince ourselves to remember God's love when we must inevitably face how we have failed Him.

25 posted on 04/01/2006 7:55:09 PM PST by Phsstpok (There are lies, damned lies, statistics and presentation graphics, in descending order of truth)
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To: churchillbuff
If we, mere humans, can forgive unforgettable damage, can't God?

He certainly can, Pharisee. But He won't without the forgiveness of sins we receive when we acknowledge Christ as Savior.

"Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them." - Psalms 55:15

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." - Matthew 25:41 (Jesus' words)

"I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me." - Acts 26:17, 18 (Jesus' words to Saul, later Paul, on the Damascus Road)

26 posted on 04/01/2006 7:56:42 PM PST by Dr. Thorne
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To: pcottraux

amen to that! That's why He gave us free will.... our decision where we want to end up.. can't just cancel it out because you don't like the ending.


27 posted on 04/01/2006 7:57:03 PM PST by Awestruck (All the usual suspects)
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To: churchillbuff

Enjoy the education without tuition provided by the many freepers which have answered your proposition.

God says Gehenna exists; you say it doesn't. I believe God.

You are wresting the Scriptures to your own destruction.

May God give you sight and Light.


28 posted on 04/01/2006 8:02:41 PM PST by TFMcGuire
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To: TFMcGuire
the many freepers which have answered your proposition. ""

To be clear, it's not my proposition - it's Rev. Church's I posted it to get freepers' perspective. Personally, I don't see how Rev Church can say, or imply, that hell isn't in the Bible.

29 posted on 04/01/2006 8:09:14 PM PST by churchillbuff
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To: churchillbuff
If he actually exists, the devil too will be saved.

If he exists? I'd say that the good Reverand is rather selective in his reading of the Bible. Or maybe he forgot the parts that talk about the devil(s).

30 posted on 04/01/2006 8:13:54 PM PST by Logophile
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To: churchillbuff

Reverend Forest Church, the son of Idaho’s late Senator Frank Church


Dr. Church is also a member of the Executive Board at the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and serves on the Board of Bridges toward Justice, dedicated to strengthening the Chinese criminal justice system. Mayor Giuliani appointed him Chairman of the Council on the Environment of New York City in 1995. Serving in his tenth year as chair, he directs, among other programs, 32 green markets in the city.

He is married to Carolyn Buck Luce and has four children, Frank (26), Nina (24), Jacob (21), and Nathan (19).




Carolyn Buck Luce is a well-known figure in the financial world. A senior partner at Ernst & Young, one of the world’s major financial and consulting firms, she has many demands in her professional life. With graceful aplomb, she combines them with a busy family life and a dizzying array of board positions. Many of the boards relate to the concerns of the working professional woman. At All Souls, Carolyn is known as Carolyn Church, the wife of Forest Church.

Carolyn is a Senior Partner at Ernst & Young in the Global Accounts Group and is a member of the Partner’s Advisory Council to the Board. She is also a member of the firm’s Investment Advisory Board. Currently, she specializes in advising multi-national pharmaceutical companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer. Before that, she headed Ernst &Young’s e-commerce consulting program.

She is also a member of the Foreign Policy Association. “I have increasing interest in politics,” she said. “I raised money for the Kerry campaign and hope to do more fund-raising for the Democratic Party in the future. I am treasurer of several boards.” Carolyn is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and served recently as Ernst & Young’s delegate to the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

31 posted on 04/01/2006 8:14:06 PM PST by kcvl
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To: churchillbuff
There Is No Hell

Try living with Hillary for a short while. Hell. Need I say more?...

32 posted on 04/01/2006 8:14:34 PM PST by 69ConvertibleFirebird (Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.)
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To: pcottraux
"God doesn't send people to Hell. They send themselves there."

While it's a nice sentiment, it isn't strictly true. God take the active role in the destruction of the unrighteous.



Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

2 Thes 1
Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;


Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
33 posted on 04/01/2006 8:31:01 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: churchillbuff

Right!

Cooper's Golden Law in part: "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense...."

Not too many biblical literalists list the doctrine of hell as their favorite---eternal judgment is terrible to contemplate. We believe it simply because we have spent all our lives loving and believing the One who cannot lie and studying His Word.


34 posted on 04/01/2006 8:36:55 PM PST by TFMcGuire
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To: churchillbuff

"There Is No Hell"


Add that to the list of "Famous Last Words".


35 posted on 04/01/2006 8:51:26 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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Comment #36 Removed by Moderator

To: churchillbuff

Christ and Scripture talked rather much about hell and satan.

God gave man the capacity to disagree.

Disagreement with THE BOSS is not advised.


37 posted on 04/01/2006 8:58:29 PM PST by Quix (PRAY AND WORK WHILE THERE'S DAY! Many very dark nights are looming. Thankfully, God is still God!)
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To: Quix

Quix! Where have you been? Good to "see" you!


38 posted on 04/01/2006 9:40:36 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: PetroniusMaximus
God take the active role in the destruction of the unrighteous.

But they're the ones who choose to be unrighteous; therefore it's their own faults and not God's. Because God has no fault. It's their destruction they bring upon themselves.

I wasn't implying that people actually jump into Hell voluntarily.

39 posted on 04/01/2006 9:42:32 PM PST by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: churchillbuff

Oh, yes there is!


40 posted on 04/01/2006 9:44:58 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: PetroniusMaximus

THANKS TONS.

JimRob was gracious and allowed me back. Have sure missed my loved ones hereon, though I tried to keep up from lurker status.

Had a very hard time being out of the work against Shrillery's push for the White House.

So, trying to be on my best behavior!

Blessed to see your screen name. Please Freepmail me an update on you and family.

LUB


41 posted on 04/01/2006 9:45:20 PM PST by Quix (PRAY AND WORK WHILE THERE'S DAY! Many very dark nights are looming. Thankfully, God is still God!)
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To: pcottraux

"But they're the ones who choose to be unrighteous; therefore it's their own faults and not God's."

Agreed. Entirely.


42 posted on 04/01/2006 9:45:30 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: churchillbuff

I suspect some folks chose not to believe in Hell because if they did, they'd have to admit they have family and friends there...

If there's no Hell, we didn't need Jesus to be our sacrifice to stay out of it...


43 posted on 04/01/2006 9:52:23 PM PST by Iscool (You mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park...)
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To: pcottraux

Besides those who utterly reject the Love of God and embrace evil would find being in the presence of that love absolute torture. They would not feel it as an all the all consuming fire of God's love for us.
They would feel it as the fire that is never quenched. They of course will feel that in hell. The only difference being they will also be separated from God and will have no hope of heaven. But that is because of their choice. God gives us chance after chance to repent and come to Him. He never says go away.
God is a merciful God but He is also a just God. Yes He desires all men to be saved but we have the gift of free will and God does not prevent our exercising it.


44 posted on 04/01/2006 11:51:21 PM PST by lastchance (Hug your babies.)
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To: churchillbuff

Her certainly is not a Christian. Otherwise we would have no need of a Redeemer!


45 posted on 04/02/2006 3:20:52 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: Phsstpok
Well said, and nicely stated, neighbor.

Thank you.

46 posted on 04/02/2006 3:23:52 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an Old Keyboard Cowboy, Ridin' the Trakball into the Dawn of Information)
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To: churchillbuff

He certainly is not a Christian. Otherwise we would have no need of a Redeemer!


47 posted on 04/02/2006 3:24:10 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: churchillbuff

There's Paris, France.


48 posted on 04/02/2006 6:12:51 AM PDT by JohnCliftn (In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.)
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To: churchillbuff
The difference between Universalists and Unitarians (the old joke has it) is that Universalists believe that God is too good to damn them, whereas Unitarians believe that they’re too good to be damned. I am a Universalist.

Not sure I'd want to test God if it were me, but hey, who am I but a Christian. Good Luck!
49 posted on 04/02/2006 6:14:37 AM PDT by servantboy777
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To: Phsstpok

Scripture definitely doesn't imply Hades and the Lake of Fire are mere expressions of sentiment. Man was created body, soul and spirit. Upon sin, man existed in a state of separation from God spiritually, i.e. dead to God in the spirit.

Scripture as the Word of God, provides a written communication to the thinking processes of soulish man and to believers. This means unbelievers with only body and soul are being communicated with as well as believers with body soul and spirit.

There are many places in Scripture where places such as Hades and the Lake of Fire and three different categories of Heaven are discussed. Just as the ascension of our Lord Christ Jesus is discussed and his walking on water is discussed.

These Scriptural references aren't merely parables, but very well describe very real physical phenomenon and places by their syntax and grammar.

The Lake of Fire, might be better understood as a place reserved for those things judged by God to be simply 'good for nothingness' or 'PONEROS' in the Greek, rather than a prison or penal institution. God created those things that will end up in the Lake of Fire, but Scripture never says he takes existence out of their essence, rather he categorizing that essence in the Great White Throne Judgment.

Those who use the argument of 'love' frequently fail to discern the meanings of love as used in Scripture and the language of Scripture. Any sound argument using God's love might also best express His impersonal love for all mankind via his personal love for the Son. It also isn't very loving to place His believers in a place where unbelievers have created so much evil.

When studying Scriptural references to good and evil, it is onteresting to note the differences between divine good and human good.


50 posted on 04/02/2006 6:40:41 AM PDT by Cvengr
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