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Hell: a discussion

HLGStrider

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You are assuming that only those in hell have no conscience or are the most stubbornly evil person in the world where a second chance means nothing to them.
I think we'll be exactly something like that when we're totally seperated from God. All goodness and love flows from him. God is love. Can we truly love without Him? Even atheists touch God when they love, that's why love is so powerful. When we enter Hell, we can't take love with us, for it is part of God. None of our other good points will remain as well, and we will shrink into whatever humans are completely void of God and therefore completely void of goodness. We don't need hellfire. We'll make ourselves miserable by being evil, consumed by hate.

Perhaps God chooses eternal punishment because it is, in fact, more merciful than annihilation.
I think that was Rich Mullin's idea of it, but I don't exactly consider him the world's greatest theologian. I just have never quite figured out his statement about feeling that hell was less than we deserved. I always assumed the only other option was annihilation, and that he felt hell was more merciful.

So the punishemnt still does not match the crime.
I think the idea of punishment fitting the crime is a human idea that we rarely put into action. The only case is the death penalty, really, where you kill and so are killed. Most cultures use alternates. No one is stolen from for stealing or raped for raping. Is it therefore injust to send them to prison for these actions?

The traditional view on hell which is believed by the vast majority of Christians who believe in 'hell' involves tormenting fire.
Actually, I don't think I ever have believed in a hellfire hell. The idea seemed too associated with that cartoon where Sylvester has used up eight of his lives. . .have you seen that one? Anyway, I remember reading somewhere it was more of Dante idea than a Christian philosophy one, but I've never read Dante.

So the fact that we are eternal creatures really has nothing to do with the question of whether eternal punishment is just.
But it may have something to do with it being inevitable.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
Which explains that the metaphorical use of "fire" and other bad symbols is not to make for a less worrisome message, but on the contrary, to emphasize the pains of Hell. It is not less painful than ordinary fire, it is much more painful than fire....No, as my prior comment says. It is not "sanitizing" Hell, it is establishing that it is the worst thing we can imagine -- in fact, worse than the worst thing we can imagine, just as Heaven is better than our wildest dreams
So we want to make hell WORSE then what is already described in the Bible? WHY? What purpose? We cannot impose a vindictive vengeful attitude on God because theyare foreign to his nature. A hell of torment (worse then fire if that is possible) solely for punishment with no relief and no redemption is alien to our own limited moral conscience and yet we want to make God be this way? This is almost blasphemy! This blows any accusation against God's character Satan has made anyday. Yet this rhetoric is coming from God's followers??
Eriol said:
Why is the metaphorical interpretation equated with a "non-existent fire"?? Are we going to discuss THAT again? :) The fire will exist, but it will not be material fire, such as flames from combustion of organic compounds when mixed with oxygen and ignited at high temperatures :D. It will be another kind of fire, the fire that can't be extinguished, a non-material fire (which does NOT mean non-existent fire, as you know), and which will inflict much more pain than ordinary fire.
Nevermind that this is pure speculation with no biblical support (any support for that matter) but see the above comments.
Eriol said:
Yes, that's what we do, and for a very good reason -- Jesus Christ and the NT talk of an eternal Hell, and we do not usually dispute with those guys :).
ANd my point is that it is not Christ's words but man's faulty interpretation by not looking at the liguistic and contextual evidence properly. Don't blame this view on God.
Eriol said:
You also have to address why would God resurrect the wicked, just to annihilate them. Wouldn't it be better to leave them annihilated (since you don't believe in an immortal soul that survives death?)
I'll address this at a later date.
 

Helcaraxë

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HLGStrider said:
I think the idea of punishment fitting the crime is a human idea that we rarely put into action. The only case is the death penalty, really, where you kill and so are killed. Most cultures use alternates. No one is stolen from for stealing or raped for raping. Is it therefore injust to send them to prison for these actions?
Whether we put it into action is irrelevant. The very defining feature of justice is that the punishment and the crime must correspond. I don't think that prison is even intended to be just and fair. It is only meant as seperation from society. So in truth, prison is not a just punishment, but it is effective (to an extent... ;) :D ).

HLGStrider said:
But it may have something to do with it being inevitable.

I'm not sure what you mean by that.

MB
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
Luke 23
28 But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren and the wombs that have not borne and the paps that have not given suck.
30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us. And to the hills: Cover us.
31 For if in the green wood they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?

Do these guys, who want the mountains to fall upon them and the hills to cover them, sound like people who were annihilated to you?
I'm not sure where you are going with these quotes. This quote could very well be Jesus again reiterating his prophecy from Matthew 24 about the destruction of Jerusalem. Either way both your quotes seem to be describing the second coming of Christ where the mountains shake and the glory of the one they are crucifying at that point will be revealed. They will be destroyed for that matter anyway as they wish. This has nothing to do with the final judgement...Surely, Eriol you have better biblical support than this.
Eriol said:
You also have to address why would God resurrect the wicked, just to annihilate them. Wouldn't it be better to leave them annihilated (since you don't believe in an immortal soul that survives death?)
First of all, the Bible makes it very clear that this will indeed happen. We can't get around that fact. If we believe that the wicked go to a torment straight at death, this whole scenario makes no sense. The fact that it DOES occur proves my view correct. The wicked haven't been judged yet. They do not know at this point that they are (or why they are) condemned to fire. If this fire is eternal, don't you think that they would have the right to know why they are in it and not in heaven? At the second coming of Christ, the wicked will be destroyed by the brightness of His coming (see 2 Thesslonians 2:8). Sin cannot exist in the presence of God and their destruction is automatic. Not because of what Christ does, but because of who He is.

They are resurrected so everyone (saved, accusers, evil and holy ones and the wicked) can see where they went wrong and why they are not going to be saved. The executive judgement must be fair and all the world (and even Satan himself) will bow before God and say that His judgements were fair. Now God's character is finally vindicated by the accusations of Satan. There is no more doubt in anyone's mind about the fairness of God.
HLGStrider said:
I think the idea of punishment fitting the crime is a human idea that we rarely put into action. The only case is the death penalty, really, where you kill and so are killed. Most cultures use alternates. No one is stolen from for stealing or raped for raping. Is it therefore injust to send them to prison for these actions?
What is meant by the punishment fitting the crime (retributive justice) is not that the crime is matched tit for tat, but that the severity of the crime must be met with a similar severity as a punishment. We would not strap a vandal who sprayed graffitti on a building into the electric chair and pull the switch. Nor would we slap a multiple murderer on the wrist, fine him a $100 and let him go. There is no crime on this earth that warrants trillions of years of torment.

HLGStrider said:
Actually, I don't think I ever have believed in a hellfire hell. The idea seemed too associated with that cartoon where Sylvester has used up eight of his lives. . .have you seen that one? Anyway, I remember reading somewhere it was more of Dante idea than a Christian philosophy one, but I've never read Dante.
Sorry. Both the Bible and the majority of Christendom believe that fire is involved in the punishment of the wicked. The belief that the wicked go to a fiery hell at death where they are punished by demons is a Dante-ish believe and a gross misinterpretation of Luke 16. The belief that fire will be involved in torment is obvious. Why? Because the fires at the end of time are to totally burn up the earth so God can make a new one. The bible makes it clear that the wicked will be part of this fire. You cannot make that metaphorical. To do so would then be to make God's new creation invalid.

This is why I believe that the traditional view of hell does not jive with the overall salvation history of the Bible. (Paradise-->sin-->death-->Savior-->new life-->final eradication of sin-->restoration)

The biggest faux pas with the traditional view of hell is how the nature of man, especially the nature of the wicked is not understood. The wicked do not have immortal souls, nor do they have immortal bodies. It is therefore, illogical for them to somehow be tormented forever. The only option is for God to GIVE them eternal bodies (as the righteous will be given new bodies (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-55) which will somehow be able to keep fire from consuming them. Therefore God is directly involved in the punishment and suffering of sinners.
 

Eriol

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Thorin said:
First of all, the Bible makes it very clear that this will indeed happen.
And so we get to the irreducible conflict; that when you read the Bible, everything is "clear". That man does not have an immortal soul is clear, that the wicked will be resurrected is clear, that Hell is annihilation is clear, that the fires are material fires is clear...

Not that I disagree with any of these interpretations per se, but I am wary when I see the vast majority of the theologians throughout time disagreeing with you. (Apart from the matter of the resurrection at the end of times). I don't know enough of the Bible to make a case against it, and I don't feel comfortable in using the arguments of other people. But the dissent is enough to show me one thing: it is not clear. And when it is not clear, in a matter of interpretation, of a thing I'm not an expert at, I see no reason to doubt the majority.

Wooden, perhaps. But you have not pointed any contradiction in the traditional view, you only described an alternative view and think we should prefer it on ethical and aesthetic grounds (since the data are not clear). I don't agree with your evaluation of the two alternatives...

I still think that link (and Malbeth's old arguments in that thread) are more than enough to keep a "reasonable doubt" about the matter.
 

HLGStrider

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The very defining feature of justice is that the punishment and the crime must correspond
Define correspond.

I'm not sure what you mean by that.
I mean that there may not be anyway around it. That an eternal creature once seperated from God will be in that state eternally and that there is nothing God can do about it without changing the entire laws of nature and ceasing to be God.

What is meant by the punishment fitting the crime (retributive justice) is not that the crime is matched tit for tat, but that the severity of the crime must be met with a similar severity as a punishment.
But MB wasn't talking about severity. He seems entirely focussed on length at the moment.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
And so we get to the irreducible conflict; that when you read the Bible, everything is "clear". That man does not have an immortal soul is clear, that the wicked will be resurrected is clear, that Hell is annihilation is clear, that the fires are material fires is clear...
Actually what you quoted from me is the argument that the wicked dead will be resurrected, not on your above mentioned. This is fairly clear in scripture and as far as I know there hasn't been any major dispute or alternative interpretation that I know of in Christendom.
Eriol said:
Not that I disagree with any of these interpretations per se, but I am wary when I see the vast majority of the theologians throughout time disagreeing with you. (Apart from the matter of the resurrection at the end of times). I don't know enough of the Bible to make a case against it, and I don't feel comfortable in using the arguments of other people. But the dissent is enough to show me one thing: it is not clear. And when it is not clear, in a matter of interpretation, of a thing I'm not an expert at, I see no reason to doubt the majority.
Eriol, you need to get out of this 'majority' mentality. You'd be surprised at how logic and reason is ignored and how even PhDs even accept the opinions of others with the same logic you've just espoused. Many people go to the Bible not only preconcieved ideas, but are looking to confirm what they think it already says rather than see what they can learn.

We'd probably be fairly surprised at the amount of theologians who are keeping silent about their views due to the controversy it would cause. Even in my own faith our church leaders would be mortified at some of the reasoning our own theologians are coming up with that contradict years of tradition and what was accepted as truth. Theologians such as John Stott, Clark Pinnock and Edward Fudge are speaking out on what they've found in the scriptures concerning hell and are being both ridiculed and respected in their field. They don't care because they feel they need to change their attitude about what they've grown up to believe to what the Bible really says. They are not responsible for a congregation or whether their church conference will cut their paycheck. They view the scripture from its basic form and work up and accept their findings because they are heurmenutically sound, not because the priest or pastor said so based on what they were taught.

This forces others to look at the scriptures closely and sometimes make some decisions that are uncomfortable. If Christians think that God has revealed all light or that the church has never made a mistake in interpretation or can't change its mind on theological issues, then we are all in a sorry state and are no better than a cult or other religions we view as 'close minded'.
Eriol said:
I still think that link (and Malbeth's old arguments in that thread) are more than enough to keep a "reasonable doubt" about the matter.
I would like you to explain some of the problems that are staring us in the face concerning your view then and debunk my 'alternative' views. Show me some support. Why can't you address the previous problems?

1) How do you explain the idea of immorality for the wicked? How does anything of substance burn forever? Where does God's role come into play here? What about the Bible statements that plainly state that the wicked do not have immortality or eternal life whatsoever? (Even if you believe the righteous have immortal souls)

2) How do you make Sheol, Hades, Gehenna and Tartaros morph together? How is this linguistically and theologically possible? You MUST do this to believe in the traditional Catholic/midieval belief of 'hell'.

3) How do you explain Hades as being the torment of the wicked forever when Hades is used 90% of the time to mean the grave or that there is no consciousness, and the 'tormenting' texts speak of Gehenna? How do you explain Revelation 20 and the fate of the wicked in light of the belief that the wicked are in 'hell' now suffering?

If more people would make serious efforts to explain this and many other inconsistencies not mentioned, rather than accept the traditional view with arguments such as "God doesn't send sinners to hell, they choose to go there" and "Well all we really know is that we don't want to go there", more might come to the conclusion myself and others have: that there are serious flaws biblically, linguistically, philosophically and theologically with the traditional view of hell that cannot be ignored if we want to properly convince the world of God's love.

Perhaps you should study this in depth in the scriptures yourself, Eriol. You are a very intelligent and logical person. Your philosophy is admirable and you are a worthy debater. I really think the scriptures need to be looked at closer and you seem to be too smart to take other's words for it (Yes, even your revered St. Augustine ;)) Perhaps you will come to the conclusion that you first believed. However, I challenge you to put your preconceived ideas on the shelf and study the scriptures in context.
 

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HLGStrider said:
Define correspond.


I mean that there may not be anyway around it. That an eternal creature once seperated from God will be in that state eternally and that there is nothing God can do about it without changing the entire laws of nature and ceasing to be God.


But MB wasn't talking about severity. He seems entirely focussed on length at the moment.
Length and severity are very similar in this case. A punishment in an eternal Hell is more "severe" than a punishmentin a temporary Hell.

But God created us this way (according to Christianity, of course). If "there is nothing he can do about it," then he should have thought of that before. And since he did, that would make him an unjust God.

Correspond:to be in conformity or agreement b : to compare closely : match -- usually used with to or with c : to be equivalent or parallel.

Merriam Webster Online Dictionary definiton, all rights reserved.

So in justice, the punishment and the crime must "be in agreement," they must be "equal or parallel," or must "match." Hell meets none of these criteria.

MB
 

HLGStrider

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If "there is nothing he can do about it," then he should have thought of that before.
He did. And He probably realized that man could be immortally souled or mortally souled and chose immortally so he could bless the good and probably for other reasons I can't understand.
 

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This still does not justify eternal punishment. Even if we are made in such a way that we are eternal, God made us this way and thus it would be a punishemnt dealt out by him for us to go to hell eternally.

MB
 

Thorin

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Helcaraxë said:
This still does not justify eternal punishment. Even if we are made in such a way that we are eternal, God made us this way and thus it would be a punishemnt dealt out by him for us to go to hell eternally.

MB
Which is why when we study what the Bible has to say about the nature of man, we avoid all these confusing issues over the correlation between an immortal soul going to hell and eternity and God's responsibility in it.

The Bible teaches the mortality of man and the hope of the resurrection that will bring on immortality for the righteous. When we see that the wicked do not have immortal souls but will die because of their sin, we see that they cannot burn forever. God cannot be held responsible for creating man immortal and then allowing him to burn forever. The righteous, however, are given immortality so they will live forever. The Bible has made things so simple and man has come and made it so complicated.
 

Eriol

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Thorin said:
1) How do you explain the idea of immorality for the wicked? How does anything of substance burn forever? Where does God's role come into play here? What about the Bible statements that plainly state that the wicked do not have immortality or eternal life whatsoever? (Even if you believe the righteous have immortal souls)
a - I think you mean "immortality". I would suppose that the burden of proof would be with you, to show that the wicked are different from other humans and therefore not immortal. Why would the wicked last less than the other people? Aren't they just as humans?

b- God's role is simply following the laws he determined for Creation. It is the same role that He plays in physics.

c- Could you show those statements again? I always check both your statements and those of your opponents, and I always see it as a matter of interpretation. Nothing is obvious. So if you restate it, perhaps you can show me the obviousness (is this a word?) of it.

2) How do you make Sheol, Hades, Gehenna and Tartaros morph together? How is this linguistically and theologically possible? You MUST do this to believe in the traditional Catholic/midieval belief of 'hell'.
Why is it necessary?

There is a very good case (without checking it with theologians and Scripture, I'm thinking on my own here) for the effect that after Jesus went to the *********** (insert proper name :D), the nature of that place changed. You agree that Jesus did go into some "place", and that he met souls there, don't you? It's in the Athanasian creed (and implicit in the Nicene creed).

3) How do you explain Hades as being the torment of the wicked forever when Hades is used 90% of the time to mean the grave or that there is no consciousness, and the 'tormenting' texts speak of Gehenna? How do you explain Revelation 20 and the fate of the wicked in light of the belief that the wicked are in 'hell' now suffering?
For the first question, see above. Perhaps the nature of the place changed after Jesus' visit. All souls were there, "asleep", and then Jesus went there, saved the saved (an odd phrase), left the wicked, and the place became what we nowadays call "Hell".

For Revelation, what happens after the soul is re-joined with its body is quite different from what is happening with the soul before this happens. The wicked are now suffering in Hell; after the resurrection they will be suffering as humans, not as disembodied souls. Their bodies will be there. The same goes for the saved, by the way. They are in Heaven as disembodied souls, they will be in Heaven as human beings after the resurrection of the body.

Perhaps you should study this in depth in the scriptures yourself, Eriol.
That's certainly right :D ;). And this is why I ask you to repeat the appropriate quotations. I have no strong personal opinion on this matter, I am just being a nice sheep and following my Church :). I don't see any problem with that, by the way, most of our opinions are the opinions of others...

I'm quite open to "conversion", therefore, hehe. But I start from a very different place compared to you. Our concepts of interpretation and metaphor and myth are completely different. And I place a strong weight upon the matter of the timelessness of Eternity. Most of the problems that you see sprout from these matters.

But go ahead, take a shot ;). I don't want to "debate" this, I just wanted to show that the traditional doctrine is reasonable. That's how far as we may go in interpretation... only very rarely we reach verdicts of "impossible" (excluding obviously mischievous doctrines such as the notion that Jesus never claimed to be divine). In delicate matters of Biblical interpretation there are many ways to go, or so I feel with my (unfortunately) small knowledge of these matters.

As with the matter of Evolution in Genesis, I just wanted to show that my viewpoint is reasonable, not that it is right. And I think the same of the traditional doctrine of Hell; but since I'm not a "Hellologist" I don't have non-Biblical data that sway my opinion to one side of the matter...
 

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Helcaraxë said:
This still does not justify eternal punishment. Even if we are made in such a way that we are eternal, God made us this way and thus it would be a punishemnt dealt out by him for us to go to hell eternally.

MB
When God creates beings with free will, many things are no longer His responsibility. Murder and war are not God's responsibility. By the same reasoning, if one person chooses to go to Hell, this is not God's responsibility. I'm sure I have Thorin's support on this matter :D. Whether the punishment is eternal or finite, it is the fault of the sinner, not of God.

At least assuming the Christian God, and not a panentheistic one ;). Which leads me to a new question, that I will probably ask in the other thread, whether a panentheistic world view allows free will.

Nice name change :).
 

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Thank you. :cool: MorgothsBane didn't quite sound Tolkieny enough. ;)

The crime is the fault of the sinner, not the punishment. The sinner (consciously or not) chose to be dealt the punishment. But God still institutes the punishment. Take the "hole" analogy that Thorin thought up. The Children may have known that the hole was there and may have chose to fall, but it is inevitably the digger's responsibility for digging the hole, and as the hole is a punishment, the digger, by creating the hole, is the "punisher."

~Helcaraxë
 

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Helcaraxë said:
Thank you. :cool: MorgothsBane didn't quite sound Tolkieny enough. ;)

The crime is the fault of the sinner, not the punishment. The sinner (consciously or not) chose to be dealt the punishment. But God still institutes the punishment. Take the "hole" analogy that Thorin thought up. The Children may have known that the hole was there and may have chose to fall, but it is inevitably the digger's responsibility for digging the hole, and as the hole is a punishment, the digger, by creating the hole, is the "punisher."

~Helcaraxë
It is the "(consciously or not)" clause that gives pause. If the digger consciously digs a hole and jumps into it, there is no one else to be blamed. We shouldn't blame God for creating earth and a shovel and gravity. That's how Hell is in Christian theology; we dug our own hole.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
I think you mean "immortality". I would suppose that the burden of proof would be with you, to show that the wicked are different from other humans and therefore not immortal. Why would the wicked last less than the other people? Aren't they just as humans?
Because of their very nature. The wicked do not have eternal life, the righteous do. 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 says that the mortal shall put on immortality (yes, not 'immorality' : ) ) and the corruptible, incorruption. The wicked obviously are still in this state if the righteous are changed from it. This shows that the wicked do not have immortal souls and can't be suffering 'hell' at this moment. but don't take my word for it, let Christ do it. He makes it plain who has eternal life (immortality) and who does not:

John 3:16,17
Romans 6:23
John 6:40,44,47,54
John 11:24,26
John 17:2,3

Eriol said:
God's role is simply following the laws he determined for Creation. It is the same role that He plays in physics.
And which law of physics states that something material or immaterial (body or soul) can burn forever and ever?
Eriol said:
Why is it necessary? There is a very good case (without checking it with theologians and Scripture, I'm thinking on my own here) for the effect that after Jesus went to the *********** (insert proper name :D), the nature of that place changed. You agree that Jesus did go into some "place", and that he met souls there, don't you? It's in the Athanasian creed (and implicit in the Nicene creed).
If is very necessary because these places are different places which serve different roles. Sheol/Hades is the abode of the dead for everybody. Christ himself went there (Acts 2:24-31 makes that plain and even alludes to the OT prophecy of David using, yep you guessed it...Sheol. You cannot use Sheol to mean Gehenna because Christ and Revelation make it plain that this hell is experienced at the end of time.

Eriol said:
Perhaps the nature of the place changed after Jesus' visit. All souls were there, "asleep", and then Jesus went there, saved the saved (an odd phrase), left the wicked, and the place became what we nowadays call "Hell".
See the above. Again a linguistic and theological impossibility.

Eriol said:
For Revelation, what happens after the soul is re-joined with its body is quite different from what is happening with the soul before this happens. The wicked are now suffering in Hell; after the resurrection they will be suffering as humans, not as disembodied souls. Their bodies will be there. The same goes for the saved, by the way. They are in Heaven as disembodied souls, they will be in Heaven as human beings after the resurrection of the body.
Oi! This has got to be the biggest face saving view put forth in Christianity. It is needed to remedy the contradictions in the scriptures to the immortal soul theology. First of all, even if we belived that the 'soul' of the wicked burned forever at the end of time, you cannot make that apply to the hell at death (Sheol and hades) for the OT makes it plain that ALL go down and all go down in body. If the wicked do not have immortality, they are mortal in the grave. If they are resurrected to burn forever, they have been given immortal souls at the time. They would not be the same substance they were at death. This 'body-soul' reunification is non-existant in the scriptures. It contradicts 1 Corinthians 15 and Paul's other texts which emphasise the resurrection as the realization of not only eternal life, but the 'death' of death. To read a body soul unification in this text (or in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16) is a gratuitous assumption based on a preconceived view that man has an immortal soul.
 

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Thorin said:
Oi! This has got to be the biggest face saving view put forth in Christianity.
I must blush :eek: :D. It seemed so easy for me to say that. Of course, you are right in that I come from an assumption of an immortal soul (which is not quite the same as the "Greek dualism" which you dislike so much). There are many outside arguments for an immortal soul, and this is an instance of a topic in which I choose between the two reasonable interpretations because of "outside data".

I'll look up on the Bible passages, probably only tomorrow.

And which law of physics states that something material or immaterial (body or soul) can burn forever and ever?
Hehe. We don't have scientific knowledge of spiritual realities. And I still insist that the spiritual fire is, well, spiritual, and it does not obey scientific laws (which by definition are inferences on material stuff). Spiritual fire can very well burn forever without consuming fuel.

Finally, I still insist (again :D) that the fire may be seen as a metaphor of the great pain of separation from God. If Hell is separation from God (certainly a reasonable view) there is no need to investigate the properties of fire, material or spiritual.
 

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Eriol said:
It is the "(consciously or not)" clause that gives pause. If the digger consciously digs a hole and jumps into it, there is no one else to be blamed. We shouldn't blame God for creating earth and a shovel and gravity. That's how Hell is in Christian theology; we dug our own hole.
And yet again we must question the reason for digging the hole to begin with. If someone dug a hole in the middle fo the street for nothing else but for people to choose to fall in it, there are serious problems here. No underground sprinkler, no repairs, no constructive expansion. It's just there to catch people.

The same is the traditional view of hell. This view exists solely for the purpose of punishment. Nothing more. And God will (according to your thought) also create a fire that will never consume matter just for this 'special occasion'.

Do we not see God's unfair and cruel participation in this? You cannot believe in the traditional view of hell and put the blame only on sinners "choosing" to go there.

(Broken record syndrome coming up...) If, however, we believe that this hell comes at the end of time to consume the earth and all in it, we see that the fire serves a purpose, punishing sinners being a secondary and temporary reason. We also see that the choice of the sinners brings on the natural consequence (i.e. they went down with the ship) and God holds no responsibility because cleansing the earth of sin is the primary purpose.

Now make it even worse for yourself by believing that this fire is received at death (as many Christians believe) even before Satan receives it and you have real problems with the character of God.

(Broken record syndrome coming up...) If, however, we see that the wicked (and everyone for that matter) are asleep in their graves as the Bible says, we see that judgement occurs for everyone at the end of time (See Revelation 22:12)
 

Eriol

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Thorin said:
And yet again we must question the reason for digging the hole to begin with. If someone dug a hole in the middle fo the street for nothing else but for people to choose to fall in it, there are serious problems here. No underground sprinkler, no repairs, no constructive expansion. It's just there to catch people.

The same is the traditional view of hell. This view exists solely for the purpose of punishment. Nothing more. And God will (according to your thought) also create a fire that will never consume matter just for this 'special occasion'.

Do we not see God's unfair and cruel participation in this? You cannot believe in the traditional view of hell and put the blame only on sinners "choosing" to go there.

(Broken record syndrome coming up...) If, however, we believe that this hell comes at the end of time to consume the earth and all in it, we see that the fire serves a purpose, punishing sinners being a secondary and temporary reason. We also see that the choice of the sinners brings on the natural consequence (i.e. they went down with the ship) and God holds no responsibility because cleansing the earth of sin is the primary purpose.

Now make it even worse for yourself by believing that this fire is received at death (as many Christians believe) even before Satan receives it and you have real problems with the character of God.

(Broken record syndrome coming up...) If, however, we see that the wicked (and everyone for that matter) are asleep in their graves as the Bible says, we see that judgement occurs for everyone at the end of time (See Revelation 22:12)
Aren't you mixing up the duration with the blame? I thought you'd agree with me on the responsibility of the hole. And I think this is very telling. You attach a material and temporal (and perhaps even geographical) reality to the concept of Hell. But what I was talking about in the analogy of "digging our own hole" was only responsibility. Do you think God is responsible for the punishment of the sinners? Sidestep the how's for a while, whether it is finite or infinite, material or immaterial, etc. Who is responsible?

If you can't see the distinction between the two questions:

"Who should be blamed for punishment?"

"How will this punishment be?"

and if you can't realize that they are independent and that the first question MUST be answered with "Man", no matter how terrible Hell is, then I fear we have reached an impasse :(.

I can understand (while disagreeing with) your point that God would be overly cruel in the traditional doctrine. But I can't understand it if you say that He is to be blamed for punishment.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
Aren't you mixing up the duration with the blame? I thought you'd agree with me on the responsibility of the hole. And I think this is very telling. You attach a material and temporal (and perhaps even geographical) reality to the concept of Hell. But what I was talking about in the analogy of "digging our own hole" was only responsibility. Do you think God is responsible for the punishment of the sinners? Sidestep the how's for a while, whether it is finite or infinite, material or immaterial, etc. Who is responsible?
Who is responsible for their ultimate destiny is man. Yes, I can agree with that. However, when we get to what man is exactly choosing, we see judicial responsibilities that puts the judge and justice system directly in question. These cannot be easily ignored nor whitewashed. When the punishment seems unfair and serves no redemptive purpose, we must question the institution of that rule, responsibility or not. If I ran my classroom that way I'd be a basket case.

"But Mr.Thorin, why did you dig the hole outside the classroom? If we try to leave we'll fall in!"
"Yep. Don't leave the classroom."
"But what purpose does it serve, Mr.Thorin?"
"Only to catch you when you walk out. Now go back to your desk."
"But, but, but...that's not fair!"
"Nope. But you've been warned not to leave so don't leave. The choice is yours"
"AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.......*thump*
"Didn't I warn him? Youth of today!! Okay. Turn in your books to p.98"

Let's look at the scenarios and see where responsibility lies.

Scenario #1: Man has sinned. Man must be saved from sin. Christ saves sinners who accept him. What to do with the sinners who don't? A hell is created to punish sinners for their wrong doing (or it existed as soon as sin came into the world)*. This involves eternal torment. Sinners exist for all eternity alongside righteous.

Scenario #2: Man has sinned. Sin brings on death. Man must be saved from sin and death. Christ saves sinners who accept him. Those who do not still suffer the results of sin. God destroys sin with fire. Sinners burn as well because they are sinful. Sin is finally destroyed along with sinners for all eternity. New earth is restored.

(* - how would this be reconciled with your theistic evolutionary views of evolved man sinning? Oh, it just keeps getting more and more confusing!!)

In the first one, God cannot shirk his responsibility by instituting and enforcing a punishment that serves no purpose, and is in question concerning its judiciary and moral weight. When the Bible says that sin brings on death and we have God creating a hell for conscious torment, we have a contradiction of the natural law of sin. That's like a judge supposed to kill someone with the electric chair deliberately change the law to have that electricity just torture him bit by bit instead.

In the second one, man will take full responsibility and receive the natural consequences of his sin, rather than an imposed sentence that was created for this specific purpose. If the ship is going down, I didn't sink it but I'm offering you a life rope. Grab on or go down. When I deliberately sink the ship and say, "Hey! The ship is sinking. Grab on or go down." Their choice is still there, but I must take responsibility for the fate of the people.
 

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