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How Hitler and Judas could end up in heaven
The Week ^ | 06/04/2014 | Damon Linker

Posted on 06/04/2014 6:52:46 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

In certain schools of Christian thought, hell is not everlasting, but a more painful form of purgatory.

M any Christians presume that hell is a place where brutally painful punishments are inflicted on evildoers for an indefinite, and perhaps infinite, amount of time in the afterlife. Think of a medieval torture chamber with no exit — or fire extinguishers.

But this, as I argued in a recent column, makes no theological sense. If morality is good, then doing the right thing must be its own reward and doing the wrong thing must be its own punishment. To think that a sinner deserves extra, externally imposed suffering presumes that morality isn't good and that those who commit evil deeds benefit from their actions — which is another way of saying that those who do the right thing are fools.

The more theologically sound position is to hold that hell is a state of being, whether in this life or the next, in which we confront our own self-imposed alienation from what is truly good — from God, in other words. This educative punishment can be extremely painful, but the pain flows intrinsically from knowledge of our own immoral acts. It isn't inflicted on us by some external tormenter.

That, at any rate, was my argument.

Let's just say that my readers weren't universally appreciative of it. A fair number of them apparently want very much to believe that a fairly large number of people are going to be made to suffer egregiously in hell for their bad behavior in life.

I suspect that these same readers, and perhaps many more, will be equally adamant that I'm wrong to follow the implications of my argument a few steps further — to assert that Christians have reason to believe that the punishments of hell, whatever they may be, are temporary for all.

That's right: I think it's likely that if there is an afterlife, everyone — even Judas, even Hitler — eventually ends up in heaven.

Now, I'm perfectly willing to concede that several Gospel passages seem to describe an eternity of damnation for at least some people in the afterlife (Matthew 7:13-14, 25:31-46; Mark 9:45-48; Luke 16:23; John 3:36). Though I'd also like to point out that only in one verse (Matthew 25:46) does Jesus speak of something that could plausibly be translated as "eternal punishment," and in words (aeonios kolasis) that could perhaps more accurately be rendered as "eternal correction."

Then there are those contrary passages that seem to imply that God wants everyone — and perhaps even all of creation — to enjoy salvation (Romans 5:18, 11:33-36; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 28; Philippians 2:10-11; Colossians 1:19-20; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:4).

This tension — not to say contradiction — has led some thinkers to dismiss or argue away the implications of the latter passages. Of all the church fathers, Tertullian may have gone furthest in this direction, writing at length and in gory detail about the endless sufferings inflicted on sinners in hell, and even suggesting that observing these torments is an important source of the bliss that accompanies salvation in heaven.

The problem with this position is that it seems to be a form of what Friedrich Nietzsche called "Christian malice": A psychological malady in which the stringent self-denial that Christianity demands of its adherents leads them to feel intense resentment for those who are insufficiently ascetic. Nietzsche delighted in showing how this dynamic can turn Christians from preachers of love into hateful fanatics out to inflict suffering on anyone who dares to enjoy life.

Not all Christians have confirmed Nietzsche's critique as perfectly as Tertullian. Others have been driven by theological reflection to move in the opposite direction — to speculate that all people might eventually enjoy salvation in heaven, no matter how awful their worldly sins may have been.

Origen in the 3rd century and Hans Urs von Balthasar in the 20th both affirmed versions of universal salvation. Yet I find the most compelling variation in the writings of the 4th-century theologian Gregory of Nyssa — a major figure in the history of Christianity, though one more widely revered today by the Eastern Orthodox than by the Western churches.

Gregory maintained that hell resembles something like what Catholics have traditionally called purgatory: A place of sometimes excruciatingly painful purgation of sins in preparation for heaven. The pain is not externally inflicted as punishment, but follows directly from the process of purification as the soul progresses toward a perhaps never fully realized union with divine perfection. Gregory describes this process as a "constant progression" or "stretching forth" (epektasis) of oneself toward an ever greater embrace of and merger with God in the fullness of eternity — a transmutation of what is sinful, fallen, and finite into the transcendent beauty of the infinite.

Hell, in this view, would be the state of agonizing struggle to break free from sin, to renounce our moral mistakes, to habituate ourselves to the good, to become ever more like God. Eastern Orthodox theologians (and, interestingly, Mormons, who hold similar views) call it a process of divination or sanctification (theosis) that follows directly from the doctrine of God's incarnation in Jesus Christ. It is a formula found in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, Athanasius, and other ancient theologians: God became a human being so that human beings might become like God.

All human beings.

One imagines that this would be a long, painful process — rendered longer and more painful for those who have fallen furthest from God during their lives. They are the ones for whom the afterlife is truly hellish — like a climb up a peak far, far higher than Mount Everest with little prior preparation or training, no expensive gear, and no Sherpas to help carry the load. But there would eventually be progress toward God, even for the climber who starts out in the worst possible shape, and from the lowest possible point in the valley below.

And at least there would be no dungeon pointlessly presided over by satanic, whip-wielding sadists.


TOPICS: Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: eschatology; heaven; hell; hitler; immortality; judas; theodicy
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To: cuban leaf

re: This is about man, not the “devil”. And you quoted Revelation. It is one of my favorite books of the bible, but it is very, VERY symbolic in its language. I never use it as a primary proof of anything, but as supporting other biblical proofs.

___________________________________

Even books that have symbolism in them MUST have some form of literalism in it, otherwise words become meaningless.

So, do the words “tormented forever and ever” mean what it says, or should it be understood symbolically? if so, why?


51 posted on 06/04/2014 7:45:20 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: CA Conservative

I actually got the feeling at first that he was suggesting that hell is an everlasting search for reaching the perfection required on your own to be acceptable to God and, although you keep improving, you are never quite there.

It’s not where he was going, but it’s an interesting thought.

Personally, I think those that do not accept Christ, no matter how good they are, at the great white throne judgement are destroyed for all eternity. To the saved it is as though they never existed.


52 posted on 06/04/2014 7:45:41 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind
The problem with traditional Christianity's view on eternal burning in hell is that it teaches that man has eternal life without God. This is a heresy.

The most popular verse in the Christian world is John 3:16...yet very few "get it":

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

The choices are "perish"...and the greek means to destroy fully. To die. And everlasting life.

Paul makes the same point:

Rom_6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Death..or eternal life. Not ETERNAL LIFE and then torture.

Man, by default, without Christ, does not have eternal life. We are not immortal. That way was blocked:

Gen_3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

It is a Satanic lie that we have, or can have life, without Christ. That we are immortal without our Lord and Savior:

Gen 2:15 Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

You will be mortal. You will die. You will not have eternal life. But what is the lie of Satan?

Gen 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.

It's a lie that we have eternal lie already. It's a lie that we are immortal without Christ. It's a Satanic lie that goes against what God expressly said.

Who is hellfire prepared for?

Mat 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

The eternal fire is prepared for the devil and his angels...demons. People thrown into it, people who reject Christ, people who don't have eternal life...SURELY DIE.

53 posted on 06/04/2014 7:46:29 AM PDT by DouglasKC
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To: DouglasKC

re: People thrown into it, people who reject Christ, people who don’t have eternal life...SURELY DIE.

So, why is the rich man conscious and in torment, needing Lazarus to come and cool his tongue?


54 posted on 06/04/2014 7:48:07 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
So, do the words “tormented forever and ever” mean what it says

Sometimes Bible translators can be victims of their own assumptions. It is necessary to examine closely the terms of the original and what their range of meaning might have been to those who used them.

55 posted on 06/04/2014 7:49:04 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: SeekAndFind

First torment, then destruction.


56 posted on 06/04/2014 7:49:56 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: paladinan

Remember, the bible was not written in English, and Revelation is a book of symbolism.

You are ignoring many, MANY scriptures that juxtapose the fate of the saved as eternal life and the fate of the unsaved as its opposite - death, destruction, perish, etc.

And frankly, the message of the destruction of the lost fits more with the personality of God. Even in the OT, his punishment was to wipe out entire nations. Even Sodom was not tortured, but annihilated.

God’s past and current dealing with those that are not His involves two courses:
1. Turn them to Him
2. Get rid of them.


57 posted on 06/04/2014 7:50:51 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: JT Hatter

In this article, for example, Linker completely ignores what Jesus Christ and Christian scripture says repeatedly about life after death and who may enter Heaven and who may not. There will be a separation of wheat from chaff, of goats from sheep, and the weeds will burn for eternity.


I agree with most of it, except the last five words. What He says repeatedly about the lost is that they will go to death, destruction, perish, etc.

At least, in the English translation.


58 posted on 06/04/2014 7:53:02 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Genoa

RE: It is necessary to examine closely the terms of the original and what their range of meaning might have been to those who used them.

OK, I’m all ears, what are the range of meanings of the word : “forever and ever?”

Hear is the English definition of the word — forever:

https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=meaning%3A%20forever

“for all future time; for always.”

“continually”

“lasting or permanent”

What other range of meaning are there?


59 posted on 06/04/2014 7:53:10 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Roman_War_Criminal

http://jeremyandchristine.com/articles/lazarus.html


60 posted on 06/04/2014 7:53:56 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind
If morality is good, then doing the right thing must be its own reward and doing the wrong thing must be its own punishment. To think that a sinner deserves extra, externally imposed suffering presumes that morality isn't good and that those who commit evil deeds benefit from their actions — which is another way of saying that those who do the right thing are fools. The more theologically sound position is to hold that hell is a state of being, whether in this life or the next, in which we confront our own self-imposed alienation from what is truly good — from God, in other words. This educative punishment can be extremely painful, but the pain flows intrinsically from knowledge of our own immoral acts. It isn't inflicted on us by some external tormenter. That, at any rate, was my argument....

....That's right: I think it's likely that if there is an afterlife, everyone — even Judas, even Hitler — eventually ends up in heaven.

This is what happens when you divorce theology from Sola Scriptura. Like liberal Democrat Damon Linker, your thinking takes you anywhere but the place where God has already spoken.

61 posted on 06/04/2014 7:54:27 AM PDT by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: SeekAndFind

I already posted about the Greek. The semantic range of an English word is what it is, but only the original languages are significant for exegeting scripture.


62 posted on 06/04/2014 7:55:30 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: .45 Long Colt

I believe the Bible clearly teaches Hell is forever.

Actually, it teaches that hell is temporary and is itself thrown into the lake of fire. And the lake of fire is to the “second death” what being a lampstand is to being a church in revelation.

It is a euphemism, typical of the language of Revelation. The clear message that you can get from it is that those that are not saved are removed from revelence to the rest of us. It is finished.


63 posted on 06/04/2014 7:55:54 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind

Good reading here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_conditionalism


64 posted on 06/04/2014 7:56:04 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Judas is in hell and will be for all eternity. He is a devil. And the lake of fire was prepared for Satan and all his minion to suffer torment forever.

Further, those who reject Jesus Christ and die in their sins will join him there forever ("where the worm dieth not and fires are not quenched.")

Some will try to twist this and similar scriptures and perform all manner of "logic" and creative reinterpreting of words to conclude that once the fuel (the dead) is consumed the fires will end. No verse of scripture is of private interpretation. That is why we use the Bible to clarify itself on this matter. Those tossed in the LOF will suffer ENDLESS torment. We see this from Revelation 14 for those who take the mark of the beast. (BTW this in not their exclusive punishedment, the punishment for all)

9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:9-11)

And we see that hell is NOT "separation from God" as some teach. The Lamb (Jesus Christ) is there in LOF. We learn from a correctly translated 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that "everlasting destruction" comes "from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power." The Lord is the source of the destruction.

65 posted on 06/04/2014 8:00:10 AM PDT by nonsporting
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To: nonsporting

It is a “seperation from God” like it or not.


66 posted on 06/04/2014 8:04:27 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: Roman_War_Criminal

I’m a Christian first, always. The Bible tells me I can’t make deals with the devil to try to gain victory, but I must trust ONLY in the Lord as the source of victory.

And it makes perfect sense. When you make a deal with the devil, you don’t get success, you get burned.

Since the Bible commands me thus, I have no communion with the servants of Satan, I don’t care what they call themselves.

Conservatism as I knew it years ago was an illusion.

So-called conservatives either knowingly or unknowingly are just pushing towards new world order from a different direction than the left.

The proof is in the pudding - conservative / Republican politicans are selling out Christians as fast as they can.

No political leaders in American today at the Federal level want a Christian America. They all want a pluralistic America.

Once America became pluralistic, it was no longer a Christian nation.

Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus Christ say that it’s acceptable to him to accept the promotion of not believing in Jesus Christ.

Christ made it crystal clear - a man is either with him or against him.

Being a Christian nation does NOT mean forced conversions. Like the type of ancient Israel, strangers (non-Christians) certainly can live in a Christian nation. They would be subject to civil laws, they would not be under the authority of a church. The civil laws in a Christian nation would be compatible with the Bible, for example, pre-meditated murder would require the death penalty, no exceptions. The tough one to stomach for many people would be that they would have to not insult God publicly, i.e., commit blasphemy. They could be as athiest as they want, they just could not promote anti-Christ rejection of God.

Most any nation you visit, you need to live by THEIR laws. If the nation you VISIT as a stranger says it’s illegal to insult what they hold dear, then the visitor is well advised to just keep their mouth shut when they feel like publicly insulting what the nation they are living in holds dear.

But we don’t live in a Christian nation nowadays, we live in a pluralistic nation.

So our nation is headed towards either a) covenanting with God and Christian revival or b) God’s judgement.


67 posted on 06/04/2014 8:04:29 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: Genoa
Another point that needs to be made is that there can be a difference between “everlasting punishment” and “everlasting torment.” The punishment can be construed to be irreversible destruction.

I don't see how... unless one ignores (or "explains away") the rest of Scripture! That interpretation would make nonsense of the verse:

"and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10)

...and the following:

"And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name." (Revelation 14:11)

Taking the second case first:

1) I do wonder if anyone would be tempted to say, about Rev 14:11, "Ah! But it says that the SMOKE of their torment goes up forever and ever, but maybe God allowed the tormented souls to be consumed, and He just keeps the smoke around, eternally rising, as a memento!" If so, then I can only reply that such an idea is... weird, to say the least (and Occam's Razor cuts it to ribbons).

2) I also wonder if anyone would try to say, about Rev 20:10, "Ah! God torments the DEVIL and his DEMONS eternally (or at least the devil, death, the beast, and the false prophet), but it doesn't say that He'll torment the HUMAN souls of the DAMNED eternally! Those, He'll treat differently, and with ore mercy!" That idea would be simply short-sighted and wrong, for the following reasons:

a) God is all-merciful.
b) God is all-good.
c) God does not--nay, He CANNOT--create anything which is evil. When Lucifer and the (now) fallen angels were first created, they were 100% good.
d) God loves all His children--all His creatures--infinitely.
e) It is completely contrary to the Nature of God that He should freely create angels whom He knew would suffer eternally. If God is so "merciful" as to annihilate the souls of the damned in order to "spare them suffering", then what are we to make of the same God Who would allegedly create (with full foreknowledge) immortal angels who would fall and suffer eternally?
68 posted on 06/04/2014 8:04:35 AM PDT by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: cuban leaf

You may note that I quoted Revelation in GREEK. Yes, I know that the Bible was not written in English!

Aside from this, see my previous post.


69 posted on 06/04/2014 8:06:34 AM PDT by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I would think some people get eternal punishment out of Divine justice. While God’s mercy is without limit God is also just and there are many references in scripture about a Divine judgement when the good will be rewarded and the evil ones punished. I can’t help but to think that Hitler was harshly judged for the evil he did. You also have to consider that Satan is a force of evil who seeks to take souls from God. I believe that the 9/11 hijackers were seduced by Satan and convinced that mass murder was an act of religious piety that would be pleasing to God. I am sure that they found that was not the case.


70 posted on 06/04/2014 8:06:46 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: nonsporting

And BTW, what is a “correctly translated 2 Thessalonians 1:9” mean anyways?


71 posted on 06/04/2014 8:07:07 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: SeekAndFind

So, do the words “tormented forever and ever” mean what it says, or should it be understood symbolically? if so, why?


The bible was not written in english. There are some posts above that touch on the meanings in the original language. Blueletterbible and biblehub.com also give some wonderful clarity on the language and the meaning of words.

There are many clear meanings one can glean from the writings in Revelation, but once one sees the churches as literal lampstands, they may be missing the deeper point of the scripture.

The deep point regarding the fate of the lost is that they do not receive eternal life in the presence of God, hence they are removed from the saved, and they will regret their choice.

To suggest that a person who reached the age of accountability, and was never taught about Christ before dying, is going to spend literal “time without end” in conscious torture does not fit with the personality of the God of the bible. Even in the OT time before Christ, if he was not pleased, people were simply destroyed, not tortured. Torturing is what despots do.

And remember, according to the bible the road is narrow, meaning most people will not be saved, meaning the fate of the lost is the default condition for most of humanity. It implies that God continues to allow people to be born by the billions, knowing full well that most of them will not be saved. And if the eternal suffering message is true, this makes Him kinda creepy and sadistic.

Sorry, it just does. But that is not the personality of the God of the bible in all his dealings with man. His wrath means death. I would that nobody comes to Jesus just because they are scared to death of what happens if they don’t. Rather, my God gives us a fair choice. Eternal life with him or the ecclesiastes life of “eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and then you die.” The fate of animals and the pure natural man.


72 posted on 06/04/2014 8:07:51 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

In this article, for example, Linker completely ignores what Jesus Christ and Christian scripture says repeatedly about life after death and who may enter Heaven and who may not. There will be a separation of wheat from chaff, of goats from sheep, and the weeds will burn for eternity.


I agree with most of it, except the last five words. What He says repeatedly about the lost is that they will go to death, destruction, perish, etc.
At least, in the English translation.

That’s the debate. And you can find scripture to support both positions: 1) whether sinners are punished for a while, then destroyed utterly or 2) sinners burn in hellfire for eternity.

There is even debate about whether the translations have got the idea of eternity correct: is it a few aeons or is it really eternity.

And of course, there are debates about some sinners going to hellfire for eternity and others getting erased.

Some scripture to think about:

Isa 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mark 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Mark 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Mark 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

And there’s always this:

Revelation 14:9-11

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name”


73 posted on 06/04/2014 8:08:43 AM PDT by JT Hatter (Who is Barack Obama? And What is He Really Up To?)
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To: SeekAndFind

So, why is the rich man conscious and in torment, needing Lazarus to come and cool his tongue?


http://jeremyandchristine.com/articles/lazarus.html


74 posted on 06/04/2014 8:09:42 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

This is insanely “not smart”, the whole discussion, right ?

I mean, really...

Does it make sense to profess a faith based on the Bible, then...

instead of studying the Bible to learn about that faith...

people start making up their own doctrine...

discussing how they might SURVIVE HELL ?

So (how idiotic is this) we’re implying that maybe it will be fine if we go to hell.

Maybe we can go to purgatory and then graduate to heaven.

Is purgatory taught in the Bible ? Sorry folks, it’s not.

But we certainly can spend the rest of our natural lives posting on the internet arguing that wicked reprobates might go to heaven.

Ain’t that smart ? And a great use of time, as well.

Never mind that in many places in Scripture we are specifically, clearly told on no uncertain terms that Christians continuing in our former sins prior to our conversion - will definitely mean we do NOT inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

This is not all aimed at you, cuban leaf, I’m just ranting in agreement with you.


75 posted on 06/04/2014 8:14:21 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: cuban leaf
Our topic is not about the NATURE of the punishment, the topic is about the LENGTH of the punishment. We'll talk about the nature of the punishment later. Let's talk about the length first.

So, you seem to be telling me that the words "forever and ever" have a different meaning or nuance in the Greek.

OK, I'm all ears.

Here is the Greek standard words of Revelation 20:10:

καὶ ὁ διάβολος ὁ πλανῶν αὐτοὺς ἐβλήθη εἰς τὴν λίμνην τοῦ πυρὸς καὶ θείου, ὅπου καὶ τὸ θηρίον καὶ ὁ ψευδοπροφήτης, καὶ βασανισθήσονται ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων.

How should the words: εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. be correctly translated or understood in English?
76 posted on 06/04/2014 8:14:49 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: Genoa

I can’t resist adding that Martin Luther himself included the inherent immortality of the soul as one of the components of the “Roman dunghill of decretals”!


77 posted on 06/04/2014 8:16:19 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: Biggirl
.....Or begin by believing in God, you are on your way to salvation.

That is a first step, but is not sufficient on its own.

"You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!" (James 2:19)

So while believing in God is a necessary prerequisite, merely believing in God does not mean you are saved. You must still repent and accept the sacrificial death of Christ as atonement for your sins, and make Him Lord of your life.

78 posted on 06/04/2014 8:19:19 AM PDT by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: SeekAndFind

I posted up-thread about this passage, see 16 and 25.


79 posted on 06/04/2014 8:20:08 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: Genoa
But this, as I argued in a recent column, makes no theological sense. If morality is good, then doing the right thing must be its own reward and doing the wrong thing must be its own punishment. To think that a sinner deserves extra, externally imposed suffering presumes that morality isn't good and that those who commit evil deeds benefit from their actions — which is another way of saying that those who do the right thing are fools.

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Jesus talked plenty of hell and eternal torment.

Eternal means eternal......

80 posted on 06/04/2014 8:20:49 AM PDT by metmom (...fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith....)
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To: cuban leaf

Re: your idea that Revelation uses symbolic language... yes, of course it does. But you seem to take that as a signal that interpreting it is now a “free-for-all”, where any theological (amateur or otherwise) may inject any meaning he wishes onto it... and that simply won’t do.

We either believe that Scripture is the inerrant Word of God, or we don’t. Too many modernist theologians use the word “interpret” as a pass-key for watering down, and for picking and choosing, whatever they like. Is the idea of eternal hell unpleasant? Well, then... *presto*! It’s “interpreted” to mean the precise opposite of what it says (i.e. non-eternal, and non-hell). Don’t like the Scriptural teachings against homosexual activity? *Poof*! They’re now “interpreted” to mean anything and everything BUT a condemnation of those practices. It’s silly, at best... and dishonest and spiritually dangerous, at worst.

As a general rule: unless there’s some concrete and immovable reason (within Scripture or within Sacred Tradition—I’ll leave aside the infallible Magisterium, for the sake of trying to prevent another rabbit-trail of a topic) why a particular passage of Scripture MUST be interpreted non-literally, then we are obligated to give the literal meaning every benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, the entire Bible becomes a farce, and every last passage can be “interpreted” away (e.g. the teaching against murder was obviously symbolic and rooted in primitive OT cultural norms, etc.).


81 posted on 06/04/2014 8:21:22 AM PDT by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: JT Hatter

And you can find scripture to support both positions: 1) whether sinners are punished for a while, then destroyed utterly or 2) sinners burn in hellfire for eternity.


Yes, you can specific scripture to support both, but the lion’s share support annihilation. But it goes deeper than that.

The bible in its entirety exposes a great deal about the personality of God. The more you know about Him, the more you know Him. Just like a person you know well, when two witnesses who claim to know the person better than you say the person will do a certain thing based on a certain thing, when one “seems to say” he will do “a” and the other “seems to say” he will do “b”, you have the right to reach into the well of your own knowledge about the persons personality and past actions to make your choice to believe “a” or “b”.

Using that logic, it is VERY easy to believe the lost are annihilated and virtually impossible to accept that God even allows the lost to be tortured for “linear time never ending”. It simply doesn’t match His personality as presented in the entirety of the bible.


82 posted on 06/04/2014 8:21:33 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: CA Conservative

It is the starting foundation you have to consider. And yes you are correct that it has to go from there.


83 posted on 06/04/2014 8:22:11 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: metmom

Why the term, “second death”? Is eternal torment the same as death?


84 posted on 06/04/2014 8:22:36 AM PDT by Genoa (Starve the beast.)
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To: PieterCasparzen

How do you even know whether a person is an atheist or not?


85 posted on 06/04/2014 8:22:58 AM PDT by redhawk.44mag (The problem with the world today, is that it wants to be digital, but it's really analog)
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To: redhawk.44mag
Myself, I don’t believe anything man can do for his 70-80 yrs on this planet would deserve any afterlife punishment, especially an eternity of it.

The problem I see is that you are starting from a false premise, namely that man can be deserving of either Heaven OR hell based on his own actions. You can never be good enough to "deserve" Heaven nor bad enough to "deserve" hell. The sole factor in your eternal destiny is this - what is your relationship with Jesus Christ? It is Christ's sacrifice that washes away or sin and makes us acceptable to God, not our good works. It is our rejection of that sacrifice that condemns us to remain in our sins and dooms us to an eternity apart from Him.

86 posted on 06/04/2014 8:25:02 AM PDT by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: PieterCasparzen

Actually, very well said. :-)

Christians should be sharing the GOOD NEWS, not arguing incessantly about things that don’t even apply to the saved.

I can’t remember the particular scripture, but we are actually told in the Bible specifically to avoid some of these continual arguments.

It’s one reason I sort of “hit and run” these threads. That is all they are worthy of. That is, the points need to be made, not argued.


87 posted on 06/04/2014 8:29:01 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: SeekAndFind

Mildred Bailey - When That Man Is Dead And Gone Lyrics

Artist: Mildred Bailey

Satan, Satan thought up a plan
Dressed as a man
Walking the earth and since he began
The world is hell for you and me

But what a heaven it will be
When that man is dead and gone
When that man is dead and gone

We’ll go dancing down the street
Kissing everyone we meet
When that man is dead and gone
What a day to wake up on

What a way to greet the dawn
Hap-hap-happy, yes, indeed
On the morning when we read
That that man is dead and gone

We’ve got a date, to celebrate
The day we catch up with that one man spreading hate
His account is overdrawn
And his chances are in pawn

Some fine day the news will flash
Satan with the small mustache
Is asleep beneath the lawn
When that man is dead and gone

Come on, now, we’re going to celebrate
He’s the guy that’s spreading hate
His account is overdrawn
And his chances are in pawn

Some fine day the news will flash
Satan with the small mustache
Is asleep beneath the lawn
When that man is dead and gone

What a day to wake up on
What a way to greet the dawn!
When a certain man is dead and gone


88 posted on 06/04/2014 8:29:22 AM PDT by Ruy Dias de Bivar (Sometimes you need more than seven rounds, Much more.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I believe non-eternal Hell is the Jewish perspective as well.


89 posted on 06/04/2014 8:30:06 AM PDT by martiangohome
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To: SeekAndFind

It’s been argued above.


90 posted on 06/04/2014 8:30:25 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: Genoa

Thanks. I just told him to “see above”. ;-)


91 posted on 06/04/2014 8:32:18 AM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: cuban leaf

The Bible states very clearly that most people in history are NOT among the elect.

It would be a good exercise to find the verses which say this, just so we are clear.

Nowhere does the Bible say almost everyone is going to heaven.

We must get OUR IDEA OF JUSTICE, OUR IMPERFECT HUMAN IDEAS OF JUSTICE, out of our head, and rely on God’s Word, the Bible to tell us what is just and what is not. Regardless of how we “feel” or “think”. Justice is not what people say it is, justice is what God reveals in his Word.

Those who are saved are predestined by God to be saved from before the womb.

It would be a great exercise to do a textual search of the Bible for words like preordain, foundation of the world, etc., which will find the appropriate verses.

It’s hard for humans - especially Americans - to accept predestination. Because we think - immediately - (crying like babies) it’s not fair ! It’s not fair ! It’s stacked against us !

But we’re thinking from God’s viewpoint when we whine like that - but we are not God and should not be so presumptive as to try to think about our lives as though we were God. We should think from OUR viewpoint. WE DO NOT KNOW the future. When you don’t know, you TRY. If your boat is sinking - you try to survive. You don’t know, rescue could come in 5 minutes and you’re saved. We can’t have a “fatalistic” attitude because we do not know the future. As we read the Word of God we should be encouraged - because it clearly says we should be ! It exhorts the reader to live a good Christian life.

None of this is difficult to understand.

But people want a) a guarantee of salvation for themselves b) to be able to keep on sinning their same old sins.

People want to slip back into say, adultery. But what if some hot babe comes along and throws herself at me ??? I won’t be able to help myself !!!! I need a Christian theology that will let me commit that future, pre-meditated sin and allow me a loophole.

Too bad for such a person - if a person is already imagining sinning in the future instead of aiming to “put off the old man” and repent and resolve to sin no more - especially sins they KNOW they committed in the past, then they’re not saved at that point. Because when they’re saved they will realize they must completely turn over their life to Christ because they are “bought with a price”.

It’s scary - I know. I wondered - how could I be sure I would not commit sins that had become part of who I was ???


92 posted on 06/04/2014 8:32:27 AM PDT by PieterCasparzen (We have to fix things ourselves)
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To: CA Conservative

OK, thank you


93 posted on 06/04/2014 8:32:49 AM PDT by redhawk.44mag (The problem with the world today, is that it wants to be digital, but it's really analog)
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To: cuban leaf
And remember, according to the bible the road is narrow, meaning most people will not be saved, meaning the fate of the lost is the default condition for most of humanity. It implies that God continues to allow people to be born by the billions, knowing full well that most of them will not be saved. And if the eternal suffering message is true, this makes Him kinda creepy and sadistic.

No, it doesn't. In fact, the opposite is true: if God wants nothing but bliss and happiness for us, then why did He allow us to suffer on Earth (sometimes grievously--think of rape, torture, maimimg, etc.), even temporarily? Would you take your own child's hand and hold it to a burning stove, on the basis that "it was only temporary, and the pain will not last forever, and I have plenty of medicines and treatments to cure it"? I hope not...

No... you're missing the whole point: we're on Earth (conceived, born, live) for a REASON. We're here to learn to CHOOSE GOD FREELY. There is no such thing as God "forcing us to choose Him freely". For you to assume that God will "shovel us all into Heaven, wholesale" (even Satan and the demons!) is for you to assume one of three things:

1) God has created us as puppets, without free will (i.e. no evil choices will make any difference, in the end--we are incapable of choosing to reject Him), and every last law He gives us (and every punishment He exacts for violating that law) is a lie... since He's claiming that we're worthy of punishment for something which is His fault! In option #1, God is a puppet-master and a liar.

2) God is poised to force untold millions of free creatures to live eternally with Him, whether they want to do so or not. Don't you see? Those who do not love God would find Heaven to be more of a torment than Hell! If I shackle you to the person whom you most despise/dislike/hate in the world, would you be pleased? Would you enjoy an eternity of that? How much worse, when the infinite God cannot possibly be ignored or blocked out, and you were forced to sing His praises forever? In option #2, God is the equivalent of a slave-master and a rapist--forcing Himself on countless unwilling children.

3) God will "brainwash" us (or "reprogram" us, if you prefer) to be pleased with loving Him and praising Him forever. In option #3, God is enacting a farce which is a mere variation of #1.

Think this through! If hell is not real--if evil has no lasting consequence--then freedom is a lie, and love (which is the free choice to pursue the beloved's best good) cannot exist. There is only a puppet show... and a macabre one, at that.
94 posted on 06/04/2014 8:35:23 AM PDT by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: SeekAndFind

there are sure a bunch of people here who don’t want the “lake of fire” to be the lake of fire. understandable.


95 posted on 06/04/2014 8:40:55 AM PDT by dadfly
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To: PieterCasparzen
Ergh... okay, I'll have to make my own rabbit-trail... which is a shame, since many of you points have been so good against the mistaken idea in the original post!

"Those who are saved are predestined by God to be saved from before the womb.

Just for my clarifiation: do you mean this in the sense of "Calvinistic" predestination (i.e. God chooses beforehand those are to be saved, AND those who are to be damned, independent of any free choices of the individuals in question)? "Predestination" can mean many things, and I don't want to mistake your meaning...
96 posted on 06/04/2014 8:42:04 AM PDT by paladinan (Rule #1: There is a God. Rule #2: It isn't you.)
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To: Don Corleone

“I remember being taught that one can never know of the possibility of repentant thought just at the moment of death. I don’t believe some of those people were capable of it...but only God knows..”

As Spurgeon said somewhere, “Will you trifle with his mercy till His justice smite thee?” I’d suggest that any attempt to play God for a fool by timing one’s repentance “just right” be abandoned. As long as it is called “Today”...and “today, if you hear His voice...”

Because God hardens whom he chooses to harden, that voice may be inaudible.


97 posted on 06/04/2014 8:43:26 AM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: cuban leaf
Personally, I think those that do not accept Christ, no matter how good they are, at the great white throne judgement are destroyed for all eternity. To the saved it is as though they never existed.

So if the punishment for not accepting Christ is just that you die and are destroyed, is it really a "punishment" to those who don't believe in Christ anyway? When I talk to my parents about this, they are unconcerned about salvation, because in their minds, when they die, they die, and so they won't have any awareness of anything anymore.

98 posted on 06/04/2014 8:46:33 AM PDT by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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To: CA Conservative

Well said, thanks!


99 posted on 06/04/2014 8:50:16 AM PDT by avenir (I'm pessimistic about man, but I'm optimistic about GOD!)
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To: DouglasKC

I think you may be conflating the physical with the spiritual. Our bodies are mortal, but our souls and spirits are not. “It is appointed unto man once to die; and after this, the judgment.” So while believers may have true eternal life, in glorified bodies, the bodies of the unsaved will not be resurrected - but their spirits will still suffer the torments of hell.


100 posted on 06/04/2014 8:51:31 AM PDT by CA Conservative (Texan by birth, Californian by circumstance)
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