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Hell: a discussion

Eriol

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Thorin said:
God cannot shirk his responsibility in the first 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.
Is your classroom Heaven, or Eden?

:D

If it is, then it is a good analogy, and surely the student who leaves Eden (or Heaven) "just because" is to be blamed.

If Hell is the consequence of sin, it is not "an imposed sentence". Just as falling into the hole is NOT your fault. It is the fault of:

a- the student's error
b- the way the world is built (gravity and a physical body for the student).

If you question "the way the world is built", I must point out that while the student remains in the classroom the world is quite nice. Physical bodies and gravity seem to be nice things. It is only when the student misuses those things that he "falls" (quite literally. Nice analogy!).

To find fault with God's building of the world and of human nature is to forget the book of Job. And if human nature leads to Hell after sin (surely a reasonable view ;) ), then God can't be blamed for Hell. We chose it freely. We can refuse it in a very quick moment. It's not hard. God in fact is doing all that He can to save us from ourselves, and from Hell.

All that He can. He can't break his own rules of Free Will for humans. And he can't break the consequences, the rule of cause and effect.

(When I say that God "can't do" such and such, it means that since God is perfect, if He broke those, He would be right; if He did not broke those, He would also be right. He automatically chooses the right option. We can't criticize Him with the laughable amount of data available. God surely laughs a lot when someone says that "the world could be better" by tinkering with metaphysical laws such as the above (Cause and Effect, Free Will) ).

I think your problem in the traditional doctrine is the physical, tangible aspects of Hell. That it was created from the beginning (before sin); that it is eternal; that it is hot; that it is painful; that it is somewhere; etc. etc. All of those matters are metaphorical (with the sole exception of the eternity of Hell). Spiritual realities must be conveyed by metaphor. Even a literalist such as you would agree that allusions to God's arm or even to his Wrath (a sin) are metaphorical attempts to grasp realities we can't grasp easily. Hell is also a spiritual reality. Why not read it in the metaphorical sense?

Why not? Since there are precedents of metaphors (God's arm, for instance)?
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
If Hell is the consequence of sin, it is not "an imposed sentence".
But hell is not the consequence of sin. Death is. Hell (in the traditional sense) was created to punish. That is not natural. And again, we must question why God needed to create such a place.

Eriol said:
It's not hard. God in fact is doing all that He can to save us from ourselves, and from Hell....All that He can. He can't break his own rules of Free Will for humans. And he can't break the consequences, the rule of cause and effect.
And he doesn't. The issue here is what the consequences are. God allowing sin to take its course and man to go down with the sin ship would fit your above comments perfectly. When fallen man is destined to a hell without end CREATED by God for that sole purpose, we must question that. I'm not talking about questioning like Job here, nor do I think this is in the same reasoning. Job was justifiying his views based on his limited knowledge of God. We are questioning something that goes against the very nature of what His word reveals to us.

Eriol said:
I think your problem in the traditional doctrine is the physical, tangible aspects of Hell. That it was created from the beginning (before sin); that it is eternal; that it is hot; that it is painful; that it is somewhere; etc. etc. All of those matters are metaphorical (with the sole exception of the eternity of Hell). Spiritual realities must be conveyed by metaphor. Even a literalist such as you would agree that allusions to God's arm or even to his Wrath (a sin) are metaphorical attempts to grasp realities we can't grasp easily. Hell is also a spiritual reality. Why not read it in the metaphorical sense?Why not? Since there are precedents of metaphors (God's arm, for instance)?
For three reasons:

1) This is not the hell that most Christendom believes and what the rest of the world has been told for millenia.

2) You could make Revelation's use of metaphor to apply to 'hell' (and in some cases it does. The 'lake of fire' is one example as is 'death and hell being cast into the lake of fire') if Revelation stood alone. However, Christ (and even some OT writers) makes continual use as fire being the means to bring on death. If hell stood alone as a place created to throw sinners in, you might have a point. However, when we see that fire's sole purpose is to destroy the earth and make all things new (and Revelation 20 and 21 give us no indication that this will not literally come to pass) we see no need to take the fate of the wicked metaphorically, but rather see that it is included in this 'purifying' process.

3) The metaphorical view still involves 'eternal torment' and still contradicts the biblical view on the nature of man and still brings God's character into question. You yourself even said that the metaphorical view is to make hell WORSE then what we read in the scriptures.
 
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Helcaraxë

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HLGStrider said:
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.
God's influence doesn't extend into hell? He has no power in Hell? Doesn't sound like Christian theology to me! :) Just kidding, I know that supposedly God intentedi that way so its not really a lack of power.

~Helcaraxë
 
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Thorin

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HLGStrider said:
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.
The issue here is whether man (and especially the sinner) is an 'eternal creature'.

As I've said many times before, even if you believed the righteous are eternal beings and go to heaven at death, you cannot make that same assumption for the wicked.

The wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life - Romans 6:23. Life is the opposite of death. The righteous have eternal life. It is only logical that the opposite (the wicked) do not for they are still sinful. Therefore, their punishment is contingent on their state. Eternity for the righteous is life, eternity for the wicked is death. Life and death are the rewards and punishment. Both are eternal. You cannot have eternal life for both for only immortality is bestowed on the righteous and sinners must still suffer the wages of their sin.
 

Eriol

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Here we go.

John 3:16,17 is of course well known to me. It does not speak about Hell, but about death (perishing).

John 6,40 speaks about the resurrection and life everlasting (as does John 3: 16,17)

John 6,44 reinforces the point.

John 6,47 again reinforces the point, explaining what one should do to have everlasting life.

John 6,54 is a great explanation of the importance of the Eucharist :D. It almost seems as if you included that in the list to tease me into discussing the Eucharist :). But it also speaks not of “everlasting life”, but simply of “life”. “You shall not have life in you,” says Christ. This seems to me a reference to the Christian re-birth discussed with Nicodemus, i.e. not at all related to physical death. Apparently Christ is discussing the spiritual life that begins in the Christian after conversion (and more strictly, after baptism).

John 11:24,26 says (again) that the saved will have life everlasting after the resurrection (something that was never disputed in this thread…)

John 17:2,3 speaks of eternal life again. Not a word about Hell ;). It is very explicit in the description of what exactly is eternal life: to know God.

Romans 6,23 is the famous “wages of sin” phrase that you like so much :D.

Let me see, what else? 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, right? (That is my favorite Pauline epistle :) ). That is the most poetic expression of the argument developed in the other quotes, that the faithful will resurrect to life everlasting.

***

These passages do not speak of Hell at all. Their point is that the saved will be resurrected into life everlasting. I don't think I ever denied that here, and I don't think you think that I did ;). So I'll make a short list of what I am in fact saying, and what I'm not saying, so that you may give the Bible passages that contradict what I am really saying.

I am saying that:

-There is a part of our selves (called soul) that subsists after death;

-Hell is eternal, just as that part of our selves;

-Hell was not "specially created" by God, it is a result of our choices. It does not occupy a place, or a time; it does not have any of God's blessings in it (including fire, which is a creature of God and therefore blessed in itself);

-The torments of Hell described by Jesus are metaphorical, and yes, they are worse than the images used to describe them;

-The dead souls (note this usage of "dead souls", I'll ask you some questions about them soon) go to Heaven (or Purgatory :D) right after death if they are saved, and to Hell if they are not.

-After the resurrection at the end of time, the dead souls will be reunited with their bodies and will go to Heaven (or Hell).

What I am NOT saying is that:

Sheol and Gehenna and Tartaros are the same place, or mean the same thing. Explanation: I think it quite possible that the dead souls went to Sheol before Christ was born, and after Christ went there, some souls rejected Him and some accepted Him; those who accepted Him went to Heaven, those who rejected Him automatically (without any change in their "place" or "time") were in Hell, since Hell is rejecting God and becoming eternally separate from Him.

Without a lot of study, I think Sheol and Tartaros are just two names for the abode of the dead; and that Gehenna is the Hell of separation from God.

***

A few questions now. You automatically equate death with annihilation when you discuss Romans 6,23. Why? Can you define death? It is biblical (and ordinary) usage to think of death as separation of body and soul, not as annihilation. The Bible speaks of people "in Sheol". They wouldn't be there if they had been annihilated. An annihilated being is nowhere. It wouldn't make sense, even, to have a name for the abode of the dead if the dead were not there.

This ordinary usage is implicit in the sentence "dead souls". A soul, even if immortal, can be dead, and this is no contradiction, since we use the words "dead" and "death" to mean separation from the body. I never saw any indication to the effect that Christ or the apostles (or indeed anyone else in the world that believes in a soul) that they thought otherwise.

What I (and the Catholic Church) believe in is not "Greek dualism", mostly because "Greek dualism" attaches a different value to the two realities. Matter is bad, idea is good in Platonism (a bit of an anticipation of Gnosticism). There is no such dichotomy of values in the Church's beliefs. Body is good, soul is good. Body without soul is bad, Soul without body is bad. The value is granted to the composite being, body + soul, and not to one of its components over the other.

I'll wait for your definition of death and for the passages that contradict or undermine what I stated above.

A bonus question :D. What is the opposite of life everlasting?
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
These passages do not speak of Hell at all. Their point is that the saved will be resurrected into life everlasting. I don't think I ever denied that here, and I don't think you think that I did ;). So I'll make a short list of what I am in fact saying, and what I'm not saying, so that you may give the Bible passages that contradict what I am really saying.
I didn't say that they said anything about hell. I said that they both imply and state the difference between the nature of the wicked and of the righteous. Eternal life (i.e. immortality) is only a gift given to the righteous. The opposite of life is death. The wicked (because they have not accepted God) will not inherit eternal life. The usage of opposites throughout the scriptures reinforce that belief.

Eriol said:
I am saying that:

-There is a part of our selves (called soul) that subsists after death;

-Hell is eternal, just as that part of our selves;

-Hell was not "specially created" by God, it is a result of our choices. It does not occupy a place, or a time; it does not have any of God's blessings in it (including fire, which is a creature of God and therefore blessed in itself);

-The torments of Hell described by Jesus are metaphorical, and yes, they are worse than the images used to describe them;

-The dead souls (note this usage of "dead souls", I'll ask you some questions about them soon) go to Heaven (or Purgatory :D) right after death if they are saved, and to Hell if they are not.

-After the resurrection at the end of time, the dead souls will be reunited with their bodies and will go to Heaven (or Hell).
- Biblical proof is sorely lacking and the exact opposite if emphasised (even the whole theology of life after death) is wrapped around man's mortal condition and resurrection

- The ultimate punishment or reward is eternal whether it be life or death as the Bible continually emphasises. This 'eternity' is relative to the person. The righteous will be immortal therefore eternal is forever. The wicked's eternal (aionos - age lasting) will last as long as it can relative to the mortality of the wicked

- Speculation. Still does not change the true nature of hell, eternal torment or the questions of God's mercy and justice

- Again, no proof whatsoever this occurs and goes against the nature of man described throughout the Bible as well as distorts the meaning of the word 'soul'

- Again no support for this theory at all. Redundant as far as a judgement is concerned when rewards and punishment are given at death. The Bible makes it plain that all will face the judgement seat to be rewarded according to their works. This occurs at the end of time, not at death.

Eriol said:
What I am NOT saying is that:

Sheol and Gehenna and Tartaros are the same place, or mean the same thing. Explanation: I think it quite possible that the dead souls went to Sheol before Christ was born, and after Christ went there, some souls rejected Him and some accepted Him; those who accepted Him went to Heaven, those who rejected Him automatically (without any change in their "place" or "time") were in Hell, since Hell is rejecting God and becoming eternally separate from Him.
Pretty much impossible considering that in the OT, Sheol was the unconsious abode of all the dead. You cannot give 'souls' (which is translated as nothing more than 'a living person' not a living essence after death) consciousness in Sheol. And funny enough that when Peter was describing this very thing in Acts 2, he said that David was not speaking about himself when he said "Thou will not leave my soul in hell nor suffer thy holy one to see corruption" but of Christ. In other words, God would not kill Jesus' life in the grave but resurrect Him to new life/. And that David had not ascended into the heavens.

Eriol said:
Without a lot of study, I think Sheol and Tartaros are just two names for the abode of the dead; and that Gehenna is the Hell of separation from God.
I'll save you the time because you won't find any support for your theory. Sheol/Hades is the unconscious abode of the dead both righteous and wicked. Gehenna is the final punishment and Tartaros is the spiritual realm where the demons reside. You cannot make them the same thing, nor can you change them from one to the other. The false translation of the english 'hell' for all these terms MUST be cast aside and a new look must be given to the meaning of these terms.

Eriol said:
A few questions now. You automatically equate death with annihilation when you discuss Romans 6,23. Why? Can you define death? It is biblical (and ordinary) usage to think of death as separation of body and soul, not as annihilation. The Bible speaks of people "in Sheol". They wouldn't be there if they had been annihilated. An annihilated being is nowhere. It wouldn't make sense, even, to have a name for the abode of the dead if the dead were not there.
Annihilation occurs at the end, not at death. There is a first and second death. The first death is the one we all experience. Christ did not come to die the first death because we all die it. Sin brings ultimate separation from God. This is the death that Christ died (again see David's prophetic plea of Christ to God in Acts 2). When Romans 6:23 speaks of the wages of sin, it is talking about the ultimate wages. The contrast makes all the difference. "The wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life (compare with John 3:16,17). We will all die and were it not for this gift, death would continue.

However eternal life can be given to rescue us from this death. If we don't accept that gift, however, we still suffer the results of sin. That is what all those texts I gave state. Were it not for the second resurrection of Revelation 20, the dead would still be dead. However, they need to be judged fairly and be allowed to see where they went wrong. Then their final sentence is carried out. It may seem redundant to resurrect them to kill them again, but God's justice must be practiced for everyone, good or evil and His character must be vindicated.

Eriol said:
This ordinary usage is implicit in the sentence "dead souls". A soul, even if immortal, can be dead, and this is no contradiction, since we use the words "dead" and "death" to mean separation from the body. I never saw any indication to the effect that Christ or the apostles (or indeed anyone else in the world that believes in a soul) that they thought otherwise.
The word 'death' is nothing more than what it means throughout scripture and all its uses - death. To try and make death mean 'life in some form' is to distort not only the meaning of the word 'death' but to take away the power of the usage of that term to show finality. A 'soul' is a person. A dead soul is a dead person. You assume that the 'soul' is immortal or that man HAS one instead of being one. To assume this is to make the term 'dead soul' totally contradictory.

Eriol said:
What I (and the Catholic Church) believe in is not "Greek dualism", mostly because "Greek dualism" attaches a different value to the two realities. Matter is bad, idea is good in Platonism (a bit of an anticipation of Gnosticism). There is no such dichotomy of values in the Church's beliefs. Body is good, soul is good. Body without soul is bad, Soul without body is bad. The value is granted to the composite being, body + soul, and not to one of its components over the other.
I never said that the Greek gnosticism was adopted as a belief, but that the dualism of the soul and body is. Regardless of how the Greeks felt about body and soul, they felt there was a dichotomy between the two. This influenced Hellenistic Jews between the Testaments and infiltrated the church soon after the apostles died. You will not find this belief in the Biblical Hebrew, mainstream Judaic or Christian NT teachings.


Eriol said:
A bonus question :D. What is the opposite of life everlasting?
Exactly what my mentioned texts state: conscious immortality only given to the righteous. Eternal damnation, death, destruction, and perishing are terms used to describe the opposite of life. All of which support the finality of the punishment of the wicked and the obliteration of such.
 

Eriol

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Thorin said:
I didn't say that they said anything about hell. I said that they both imply and state the difference between the nature of the wicked and of the righteous. Eternal life (i.e. immortality) is only a gift given to the righteous. The opposite of life is death. The wicked (because they have not accepted God) will not inherit eternal life. The usage of opposites throughout the scriptures reinforce that belief.
Eternal life is NOT "immortality". It is seeing the face of God. That much is explicit in John 17:2,3. Of course those who don't want to see the face of God won't see the face of God, as far as God preserves free will.

Likewise, the opposite of eternal life is not death. The opposite of eternal life is not seeing the face of God. There is no inference about the mortality of the soul in these quotes. It can be either inherently mortal or not.

The problem is that we are following different definitions of life, death, eternal life, and eternal death. That's why I asked for yours. I follow what seems to me the very Biblical definitions:

life: a gift of God, in which a spirit animates a body (the etimology of the word "spirit" bears me out in this, it is the "breath")

death: separation between body and spirit (as can be seen by the very existence of the concept of a Sheol, in which people such as David reside -- consciously or not -- awaiting for the resurrection).

eternal life: It is NOT, emphatically NOT, life prolonged eternally. It is a way to describe the indescribable (hehe, a metaphor). It is "seeing the face of God". The idea of something "prolonged eternally" is a bit of a contradiction since it brings temporal notions into a timeless existence.

eternal death: the opposite of eternal life, i.e., to NOT see God.

- Biblical proof is sorely lacking and the exact opposite if emphasised (even the whole theology of life after death) is wrapped around man's mortal condition and resurrection
Quotes please :). I want contradictions :D.

- The ultimate punishment or reward is eternal whether it be life or death as the Bible continually emphasises. This 'eternity' is relative to the person. The righteous will be immortal therefore eternal is forever. The wicked's eternal (aionos - age lasting) will last as long as it can relative to the mortality of the wicked
That "eternal" is conveyed in a linguistic construction that means literally "age lasting" does not mean that it is a temporal concept. Just as the comment that you should forgive your brother "seventy times seven" times does not mean that after 490 times you are allowed to not forgive him. These are constructions intended to convey the idea of infinity, either because of inexhaustibility (as in the case of forgiveness) or because of timelessness (as in the case of eternity).

- Again, no proof whatsoever this occurs and goes against the nature of man described throughout the Bible as well as distorts the meaning of the word 'soul'
Can you explain that? Since this is (apparently) directed to the notion that Jesus was using metaphors to talk about the pains of Hell, I can't understand what you mean.

Again no support for this theory at all. Redundant as far as a judgement is concerned when rewards and punishment are given at death. The Bible makes it plain that all will face the judgement seat to be rewarded according to their works. This occurs at the end of time, not at death.
That we will face the judgment after resurrection does not mean that a disembodied soul can't go to its appointed place in the meantime. Can you point a contradiction between this idea and the Bible? To summarize the idea:

A wicked man dies;
His soul, having rejected God, is prevented from enjoying His face -- i.e., it is in Hell (these are synonyms!);
When the resurrection comes, the wicked is resurrected;
He (body + soul) are then prevented from enjoying God's face, i.e., he is in Hell.

Since man is body + soul, it is fitting that the wicked's choice of rejecting God affects both body and soul. But the body will only resurrect in the end of time. So, in the meantime, the soul of the wicked will be... where? It is a simple matter, Thorin, and one which can be solved by quotes (I hope :D). The soul of the wicked is either unconscious in Sheol or conscious in Hell. This question, however, does not touch -- at all -- the matter of God's "responsibility" in the too-rigorous punishment. I'll wait for the quotes then.

I'll save you the time because you won't find any support for your theory. Sheol/Hades is the unconscious abode of the dead both righteous and wicked. Gehenna is the final punishment and Tartaros is the spiritual realm where the demons reside. You cannot make them the same thing, nor can you change them from one to the other. The false translation of the english 'hell' for all these terms MUST be cast aside and a new look must be given to the meaning of these terms.
I was saying that I did NOT equate the terms. And my knowledge of Tartaros comes from Greek mythology. If it is used in the Bible to designate the abode of the demons, that's great :D. I much prefer to have one term for each meaning:

Sheol/Hades: abode of the dead
Tartaros: abode of the demons
Gehenna: final punishment.

Whenever I use "Hell" in this thread, it is in the sense of Gehenna. Perhaps it is better to avoid using "Hell" entirely, and stick to Gehenna.

Annihilation occurs at the end, not at death. There is a first and second death. The first death is the one we all experience. Christ did not come to die the first death because we all die it. Sin brings ultimate separation from God. This is the death that Christ died (again see David's prophetic plea of Christ to God in Acts 2). When Romans 6:23 speaks of the wages of sin, it is talking about the ultimate wages. The contrast makes all the difference. "The wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life (compare with John 3:16,17). We will all die and were it not for this gift, death would continue.
Compare this now with the definition of "eternal life" given at John 17:2,3.

It may seem redundant to resurrect them to kill them again, but God's justice must be practiced for everyone, good or evil and His character must be vindicated.
It seems much, much odder to resurrect a being which did not exist at all (since you equate death with annihilation) just to kill him than to take an already existing being (the disembodied soul), join it to his body (therefore resurrecting it), and then send it to his freely chosen destiny. The traditional Hell (Gehenna ;)) makes more sense, to me at least. It seems much more cruel to have a God re-create out of nothing (!) a man just to annihilate him again through great pain, than to have a God respect the choices made by an immortal soul when it was "alive".

(Please observe the dangerous ground in which we tread when we talk about the "death" and the "life" of an immortal substance. It has a very different meaning than the ordinary usages of death and life.)

The word 'death' is nothing more than what it means throughout scripture and all its uses - death. To try and make death mean 'life in some form' is to distort not only the meaning of the word 'death' but to take away the power of the usage of that term to show finality. A 'soul' is a person. A dead soul is a dead person. You assume that the 'soul' is immortal or that man HAS one instead of being one. To assume this is to make the term 'dead soul' totally contradictory.
But to assume that a dead person is a dead person is circular (if not contradictory :D). What is death? Separation from God, annihilation, or a third option? You have used both senses so far, and yet they are completely unlike each other.

Exactly what my mentioned texts state: conscious immortality only given to the righteous. Eternal damnation, death, destruction, and perishing are terms used to describe the opposite of life. All of which support the finality of the punishment of the wicked and the obliteration of such.
Not quite. They are used to describe the opposite of eternal life. And this is not "life prolonged", as John 17:2,3 shows.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
Eternal life is NOT "immortality". It is seeing the face of God. That much is explicit in John 17:2,3. Of course those who don't want to see the face of God won't see the face of God, as far as God preserves free will.....Likewise, the opposite of eternal life is not death. The opposite of eternal life is not seeing the face of God. There is no inference about the mortality of the soul in these quotes. It can be either inherently mortal or not.
Seeing the face of God is not immortality? When you consider that only the righteous will see God's face it makes sense. They are free from sin, therefore they are given life and are able to see his face. John17:3:
And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent
I'm not sure what version you're using that it says 'see his face', but either way, it supports immortality. Eternal life means living forever and is not for the wicked in any form. Compare it with John 10:27,28a:
My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. And I shall give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish.
John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever should believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life
Romans 6:23:
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life
How can you honestly get that the wicked are still conscious or eternal and that immortality does not mean eternal or everlasting life??

You are trying to make 'not seeing his face' and 'separation from God' to mean eternal in it's duration. The wicked will not see his face and will be separated from him. The reason being is that they are dead. It is a huge stretch of logic and semantics to make these phrases mean that the wicked will be alive and conscious and eternal.
Eriol said:
The problem is that we are following different definitions of life, death, eternal life, and eternal death. That's why I asked for yours. I follow what seems to me the very Biblical definitions:

life: a gift of God, in which a spirit animates a body (the etimology of the word "spirit" bears me out in this, it is the "breath")

death: separation between body and spirit (as can be seen by the very existence of the concept of a Sheol, in which people such as David reside -- consciously or not -- awaiting for the resurrection).
Unfortunately you have too many assumptions built in that are not supported by the bible.

Your definition of 'life' and 'death' are correct. Your problem is assuming that that 'spirit' (wasn't it supposed to be 'soul'. Hmm. How can the spirit be the soul now?) lives on after death. It does not nor is it used in the scriptures to mean it. The breath is the spark of life and that power goes back to God after death but it is not immortal. Here is mine:

life - given by God; consists of a body+breath (spirit) which creates a living being (soul). Man is a composite being made out of the two parts, both of which are contingent on the other. When one ceases to exist, so does the other.

death - man dies and the spirit (spark of life) leaves him, thus cutting out his consciousness. Man is left in the grave with no consciousness (the Bible links death with 'sleep') until he is resurrected where life is given to him (1 Corinthians 15:51-55) This is the eternal life promised and realized by man's body being transformed into immortality.
Eriol said:
eternal life: It is NOT, emphatically NOT, life prolonged eternally. It is a way to describe the indescribable (hehe, a metaphor). It is "seeing the face of God". The idea of something "prolonged eternally" is a bit of a contradiction since it brings temporal notions into a timeless existence.eternal death: the opposite of eternal life, i.e., to NOT see God.
Here is where the ultimate problem lies. How can you say that eternal life is not immortality or that it is metaphorical?? Eternal life is compared to destruction, death, damnation and perishing (which is also eternal). The righteous have eternal life (the fact that they see his face is irrelevant) they are compared as OPPOSITES to the wicked. They will live forever (is that not true?), therefore the wicked will not. I have never heard anyone EVER state that 'eternal life' is not immortality. That is not how it is used in the NT.

Even if you want to say that 'eternal life' is metaphorical for seeing God's face, it in no way supports eternal, conscious torment of the wicked. This is where the logic breaks down.
I will address the rest of your quote later. I have to go supervise my students at noon hour.

Thorin
 
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Thorin

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Eriol said:
Thorin said:
- Biblical proof is sorely lacking and the exact opposite if emphasised (even the whole theology of life after death) is wrapped around man's mortal condition and resurrection.... (Eriol) Quotes please :). I want contradictions :D.
The problem here is you won't think they are contradictions. You make some assumptions that aren't there and then expect them to be contradicted. When the exact opposite is shown, you still say that it is not contradicting (like the whole Theistic evolution fiasco!). If you can't accept the conditional nature of man, then any text proving opposite of what you are thinking will just be interpreted as "Well that's talking about the body, not the soul". Such circular assumptions cannot be disproved because they don't exist to begin with. ! Corinthians 15 makes it pretty plain that life eternal (IMMORTALITY!!! YES, ERIOL, IT IS IMMORTALITY!!!) is only recognized in the resurrection, not at death.

It may be futile, but here goes:
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain - vs 12-14
Here, Eriol is where your "eternal life doesn't equal immortality" argument breaks down. Paul is emphasising Christ's victory over death. If it didn't happen, why would Paul call the preaching and faith 'vain'? Because there is no hope of eternal life for anyone. He continues in vs 16-18:
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. and if Christ be not raised your faith is vain: ye are yet in your sins. Then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
Death is a sleep. Unless we are awoken out of it, we will perish. Christ's victory gives us that power over death. vs 20,21:
But now is Christ the risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
You cannot get away from the death/life analogy and that death means unconsciousness and life immortality. To read anything else into these verses (never mind the numerous cross references elsewhere) is to make gratuitous assumptions. So when does this saving from death occur? When will be given life? vs 23:
But every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's, at his coming.
Life in any form is given at the resurrection, Eriol. If a soul is immortal and survives death, it is not dead but alive. This is contradictory to the evidence. vs 51-55 wrap it up:
Behold I show you a mystery. WE SHALL NOT ALL SLEEP, but we shall be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. for this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal MUST put on immortality. so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY. O DEATH WHERE IS THEY STING? O GRAVE WHERE IS THY VICTORY.....the last enemy to be destroyed is death - vs 26
Now you may not see any contradiction between your view of the soul and the body but it is plain here. If our soul or some part of our essence lived on after death, death would be swallowed up in victory then and not at the end. Paul's words about our preaching being in 'vain' are redundant if something survives death. Our hope is only in the resurrection. In talking about the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, Paul tells people not to 'sorrow as those who have no hope'. Why? Because without the resurrection, all have perished. If a soul survived at death, there would be no need to sorrow and wait for the resurrection. I find it interesting that Paul has not emphasised once to the people in the scriptures that there loved ones are in heaven right now or that their souls survived death. Instead, Paul places all hope for life on the resurrection and that man IS a soul who is given life at the end.

He himself thought the same thing. 2nd Timothy 4:6-8:
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing
Paul expected his reward at the resurrection, not at death. Life is to be interpreted as life whether it is a soul or body. The facts of the scriptures are that life in any form is only recognized at the resurrection. To have an immortal soul that survives death means to life is being experienced by the righteous and death is conquered for them at that time. The scriptures as we've seen make no distinction between a body/immortal soul. But life is recognized at the end.

I find it interesting that you expect me to find proof to contradict your theories (which are pulled out of thing air and not the scriptures) but you offer no support when the burden is on you. I would like proof that the soul is immortal and that it does reunite with the body. This is an assumption that needs support. I could say that I think the righteous get a tour of the universe before they can go to the kingdom and if they refuse, they have to roam the earth instead. Show me that anything in the scriptures in contradicting this....Come on. I'm waiting. (Isn't this foolish? Yet that is what you seem to be expecting from me). And yet you continually try to reinterpret my verses by your preconceived views and say "They don't' contradict".

I seriously question your hermeneutics, my friend. ;)
 

Ireth Telrúnya

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Helcaraxë said:
Alright, on the "Which Guarentee Would You Accept" thread, courtesy of Celebthol, Elgee and myself were having a dicussion about Hell, its logicality, and its existence. Celebthol requested that we cease the philosophical banter, and we did thusly. But seeing as it is an intriguing topic that warrants discussion, I would like to continue the discussion, if Elgee would be willing. Note: I don't mind (I don't think Elgee will either) if anyone else participates in the discussion.

About the time we broke off, I was arguing that even in the parameters of Christian belief, Hell was self-contradictory. Elgee responded that because we have no real basis on which to prove the existence of Hell, saying it is an unfounded belief is itself unfounded.

My argument is this. It is somewhat self defeating to say that because of lack of sufficient evidence, arguing against Hell is itself ungrounded. First off, to not accept something because it is groundless and unprovable does not make that argument against the groundless thing itself groundless. I was basing my critisism of Hell partially off of the fact that there is really no logical reason for it to exist. If it is really illogical for Hell to exist, than to doubt it is logical, because there is no reason why it should exist and many reasons why it shouldn't, which I will discuss promptly.

The Christian God is supposed to be very just. (Also very compassionate, but that's somewhat irrelevant.) If someone commits a crime such as murder, it is in no way just to punish them for all eternity. My point is, for justice to be done, the punishment has to fit the crime.

MB
This matter is something I have thought for some time. (sorry I didn't have patience to read but a couple of your entries..) I have been a devouted Christian until many things in my life and explorations through the Scriptures and people I met, led me to lose my faith especially in this Hell - A thing the Bible speaks so much about.
I believe now true God has to be more just than to put people to eternal damnation after a limited time of sins on Earth. Of course bad things should be punished in a way, but an eternal punishment....it's just too much.

Yet, I know my disapproval of this thing doesn't prove it doesn't exists (that is just too a subjective thought) and the plain truth is: we don't know anything for sure, we can't either verify or deny it's existence like we can't verify God's existence.
These will forever remain matters of belief.
 

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Thorin said:
Seeing the face of God is not immortality? When you consider that only the righteous will see God's face it makes sense. They are free from sin, therefore they are given life and are able to see his face.
Exactly. As you say, "They are free from sin", therefore "they are given life" and therefore "they are able to see his face".

What those "therefores" up there mean is that seeing the face of God is NOT immortality. The best thing you may say is that seeing the face of God entails immortality; and you'll have to show me why. The two concepts are completely unrelated. I can imagine God showing his Face to a mortal being, and then letting it die; I can imagine an immortal being that can't see God's face.

So the two concepts (Seeing God's face, and being immortal) are not equivalent. I'll explore this in the end of this post.

John17:3: I'm not sure what version you're using that it says 'see his face', but either way, it supports immortality. Eternal life means living forever and is not for the wicked in any form. Compare it with John 10:27,28a: John 3:16: Romans 6:23:
Eternal life means seeing the face of God. You are confusing the words with the meaning, even when John defined the words for us. Eternal is NOT a synonym of "forever", and therefore to say that "eternal life means living forever" is wrong. Eternal is "outside time", not "infinitely within time".

How can you honestly get that the wicked are still conscious or eternal and that immortality does not mean eternal or everlasting life??
Why, by checking John 17. How can you contradict John 17? I'm not talking (yet :D) about the wicked, I'm talking about the definition of eternal life, whether it is just for the righteous or for all.

Immortality is "within time". Eternity is "outside time". God is not "immortal", He is eternal. The difference is quite clear to me, though I agree that excluding time out of a concept is weird. Nonetheless, just as we can't attach the concept of time to our (limited) conception of God, we also can't attach the concept of time to our conception of an eternal life.

You are trying to make 'not seeing his face' and 'separation from God' to mean eternal in it's duration.
Not really. I'm trying to show that the two concepts are detached. That one can see God's face (or be separate from Him) and be either mortal or immortal, and that immortality is added (or not) to the person suffering Hell (or enjoying Heaven) as a non-essential property of "Hellness" or "Heavenness".

At the same time, I think (not sure yet) that eternity (NOT immortality) is indeed inherent to both "Hellness" and "Heavenness".

The wicked will not see his face and will be separated from him. The reason being is that they are dead. It is a huge stretch of logic and semantics to make these phrases mean that the wicked will be alive and conscious and eternal.Unfortunately you have too many assumptions built in that are not supported by the bible.
I'll take this one sentence at a time:

The wicked will not see his face and will be separated from him.
Agreed.

The reason being is that they are dead.
What is dead? Their body or their soul? I think we have already seen that the Bible sustains a belief in "something" that subsists after death; it is intrinsic in the concept of Sheol, "the abode of the dead". Something is in that "abode", else Sheol would be a synonym for "nothingness", and we know that's false, since Christ went there, and there are many passages speaking of it as something (i.e., not as "nothing").

I can easily believe that the Biblical stance on Sheol is that the souls there are unconscious, but I can't really accept the notion that the souls are not there, since this would make Sheol a meaningless concept.

(And I won't even go into the linguistic argument which we once argued about in PM's...)

It is a huge stretch of logic and semantics to make these phrases mean that the wicked will be alive and conscious and eternal.
I agree. But I never did that. I think the phrases mean that the wicked will be. How they will be, I don't know. Alive? Conscious? Eternal? We haven't explored this (yet). But there is no reason to believe -- or at least you have shown no reason that I remember -- that the wicked will cease to be.

Unfortunately you have too many assumptions built in that are not supported by the bible.
Quite right. And we discussed that too, once. All of the words I use in reading the Bible are "assumptions", and so are their meanings. The Bible is not a hermetic puzzle; we approach it with our own notions, and we check our notions against what is there. The Bible has priority, with that I agree, but we can't nullify our own assumptions based on other assumptions without falling into circularity. If the Bible contradicts our notions, then we're wrong; but if it does not contradict the notions, then we may be simply misreading the Bible.

There is no certainty :(. We both may be misreading the Bible in so far as we don't assert contradictions. To say that "Christ did not exist" is a contradiction with the Bible, but to say that "the wicked will be annihilated" is just a reading, and the alternative reading -- "the wicked will NOT be annihilated" -- is just as valid, while you don't show a contradiction.

Note, I agree that the Bible must be interpreted in context, and in the proper language, etc. etc. But I also point out that your interpretation goes against the majority of interpretations of guys who read the Bible much more thoroughly than I could ever hope to do. I don't have enough knowledge to decide who is right when it comes to "weighing all the evidence". I do, however, have enough knowledge to detect a contradiction. And this is what you failed to show.

Your definition of 'life' and 'death' are correct. Your problem is assuming that that 'spirit' (wasn't it supposed to be 'soul'. Hmm. How can the spirit be the soul now?) lives on after death. It does not nor is it used in the scriptures to mean it. The breath is the spark of life and that power goes back to God after death but it is not immortal. Here is mine:

life - given by God; consists of a body+breath (spirit) which creates a living being (soul). Man is a composite being made out of the two parts, both of which are contingent on the other. When one ceases to exist, so does the other.

death - man dies and the spirit (spark of life) leaves him, thus cutting out his consciousness. Man is left in the grave with no consciousness (the Bible links death with 'sleep') until he is resurrected where life is given to him (1 Corinthians 15:51-55) This is the eternal life promised and realized by man's body being transformed into immortality.
As for spirit vs. soul, in the case of man (as opposed to animals ;)) I think both words are almost interchangeable. I can use soul if you prefer that.

Look at your definitions. When the body ceases to exist, so does the soul (def. 1). However, "man is left in the grave with no consciousness" (Def. 2). They contradict each other, Thorin. Either man ceases to exist, or he is left in the grave with no consciousness. To be conscious is not a synonym of "existing". The souls in Sheol exist; and so your definition 1 seems flawed. Or, the souls cease to exist, and then the whole concept of Sheol is meaningless.

I have never heard anyone EVER state that 'eternal life' is not immortality. That is not how it is used in the NT.
Oh, but it is how it is used in John 17.

And I'm sure you've heard LOTS of people saying that "eternity" and "immortality" are different concepts. An elf would instantly recognize the difference :D.
 

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Thorin said:
Now you may not see any contradiction between your view of the soul and the body but it is plain here. If our soul or some part of our essence lived on after death, death would be swallowed up in victory then and not at the end. Paul's words about our preaching being in 'vain' are redundant if something survives death. Our hope is only in the resurrection. In talking about the resurrection in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-16, Paul tells people not to 'sorrow as those who have no hope'. Why? Because without the resurrection, all have perished. If a soul survived at death, there would be no need to sorrow and wait for the resurrection. I find it interesting that Paul has not emphasised once to the people in the scriptures that there loved ones are in heaven right now or that their souls survived death. Instead, Paul places all hope for life on the resurrection and that man IS a soul who is given life at the end.

He himself thought the same thing. 2nd Timothy 4:6-8:paul expected his reward at the resurrection, not at death. Life is to be interpreted as life whether it is a soul or body. The facts of the scriptures are that life in any form is only recognized at the resurrection. To have an immortal soul that survives death means to life is being experienced by the righteous and death is conquered for them at that time. The scriptures as we've seen make no distinction between a body/immortal soul. But life is recognized at the end.
You equate the lack of hope of the non-Christian with the lack of belief in an immortal soul. How come? The Greeks surely believed in immortal souls, and they lacked the Christian hope. When Paul speaks of "the hope", he is clearly not referring to the belief in the continuity after death of a disembodied soul, he's referring to the resurrection.

I warned that to talk about "death" and "life" of things such as a soul can be confusing...

And I repeat that when you say this:

Life is to be interpreted as life whether it is a soul or body.
You are in fact affirming that the soul is immortal :D, since there is a Sheol in which the souls of the dead are found. If they are found there, then they did not "cease to exist". Jesus did not visit a non-existing realm. He visited Sheol, and found existing souls there, or else his visit would make no sense.

I find it interesting that you expect me to find proof to contradict your theories (which are pulled out of thing air and not the scriptures) but you offer no support when the burden is on you. I would like proof that the soul is immortal and that it does reunite with the body.
Ok, one at a time :D. My theories are not "pulled out of thin air" anymore than any other conception of mankind. In fact, the belief in an afterlife is probably among the most established beliefs of mankind. The burden of proof is quite clearly with you. I could mention Socrates' arguments in the Pheado, Aristotle's words both in the Metaphysics and in the Nicomachean Ethics, Spinoza's contention that we experience in our bones that we are eternal (paraphrase :D), etc. etc.

I even gave Scriptural arguments! That there is a Sheol in the Scriptures is an argument for a subsisting soul. Why would the realm of the non-existing souls have a name?

My own offerings would be: our relationship with eternal realities such as Truth and Goodness is evidence of our eternity. A bit on the Augustinian side of it, myself ;).

As for proof that it does reunite with the body, why, this is the meaning of "resurrection" once we assume a subsisting soul. Therefore, the NT is my best proof of that :).

This is an assumption that needs support. I could say that I think the righteous get a tour of the universe before they can go to the kingdom and if they refuse, they have to roam the earth instead. Show me that anything in the scriptures in contradicting this....Come on. I'm waiting. (Isn't this foolish? Yet that is what you seem to be expecting from me). And yet you continually try to reinterpret my verses by your preconceived views and say "They don't' contradict".
Ok, I'll contradict the "roaming theory" without even digging in the Scriptures. "There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth, and the old skies will be rolled back" (you know what I'm talking about, in Revelation). Therefore there won't be any universe for the righteous to tour about, or any old Earth for the wicked to roam. Of course, there are also Christ's words about the sheep and the goats, and how there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. There are also all of your quotes about eternal life that establish that eternal life is not "roaming the universe" (which will not exist, even :p), but that it is "seeing the face of God".

(That the wicked would roam the new Earth, which is the "New Jerusalem", is as clear a contradiction of Revelation as any would wish).

Thanks for the example of a theory liable to be contradicted. Now you can do the same with my own ;). Or rather, with that of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, etc. etc. When you compare your "roaming theory" with the ideas of, let me guess, 99,9% of the Christian thinkers of history, you're being a bit rash :D.

I seriously question your hermeneutics, my friend. ;)
Oh, but I know that already. And I question yours. I think there is a common ground to be found in logic and common sense, though. I'm quite the optimist :).

And now another take on this matter.

Is Lucifer immortal? If he is immortal, will his punishment be eternal, or will God annihilate Lucifer (and the demons)?
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
You equate the lack of hope of the non-Christian with the lack of belief in an immortal soul. How come? The Greeks surely believed in immortal souls, and they lacked the Christian hope. When Paul speaks of "the hope", he is clearly not referring to the belief in the continuity after death of a disembodied soul, he's referring to the resurrection.
I equate the hope of 'life' contingent on the necessity of the resurrection. When Christians are told not to sorrow for the loved ones who've gone on (and he makes this plain in 1 Corinthians 15 that it is because they are DEAD and would stay dead were it not for the hope) this automatically shows that they are not consciously existing somewhere in Paradise. If they were (and as I said before, Paul makes no mention whatsoever over what should be an important concept) then there would be no need for hope, or for a resurrection for that matter. When A and B are opposite, proving A negates B even if there are no arguments directly against B (and especially when there is no support for B).

Eriol said:
I warned that to talk about "death" and "life" of things such as a soul can be confusing...
Nope. Because a soul is either dead or alive. A soul is a living being made up of body and breath. You are trying hard to link 'soul' and 'spirit' together but they are not. A spirit creates a soul.

Eriol said:
Thorin said:
Life is to be interpreted as life whether it is a soul or body...(Eriol) You are in fact affirming that the soul is immortal :D, since there is a Sheol in which the souls of the dead are found. If they are found there, then they did not "cease to exist". Jesus did not visit a non-existing realm. He visited Sheol, and found existing souls there, or else his visit would make no sense.
Actually I wasn't. I was using your own arguments hypothetically to show that even if the soul was immortal it means that it is living and will for eternity. Sheol is nothing more than the abode of the dead. It is translated as 'grave'. You assume that there must be some sort of 'life' down there. The OT makes it plain in numerous places that when man dies, his consciousness dies and he knows no more. He goes to Sheol.
For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything. Neither have they anymore a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished. Neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 9:5,6
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might. for there is no word, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol whither thou goest - Ecclesiastes 9:10
His breath (spirit) goeth forth, he returneth to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish - Psalms 146:4
It doesn't get any plainer than that, Eriol. All the things associated with a consciousness (a soul) cease to exist. Any being that would survive death would carry these attibutes. You cannot read an immortal soul into this because it was foreign to Hebrew thinking. Nor can you make Sheol mean anything but unconscious sleep (see also Job 14:12-14 on how it links to the resurrection and Job 27:3 for the meaning of spirit)
Eriol said:
As for proof that it does reunite with the body, why, this is the meaning of "resurrection" once we assume a subsisting soul. Therefore, the NT is my best proof of that :).
No it's not. Again you are assuming what is not there. The 'spirit' does not exist beyond death as a conscious entity. The spirit is the spark of life, and yes that is what will instigate the resurrection. The problem is your insistence to make the 'spirit' what most Christians call the 'soul' (neither of which is immortal). The resurrection will be creation anew, therefore you must look at creation in its context. God formed man and breathed the breath of life (the spark) and man BECAME soul. This process is reversed when man dies and the resurrection renews it. Have you actually looked in different translations to see when Christ and Stephen both said 'Into thy hands I commit my spirit', and 'receive my spirit'? In the KJV it says, "And Jesus gave up the ghost". The more modern translations say "And Jesus breathed his last". The spirit was given by God and it belongs to God. The spirit is the 'power' of life. Nowhere is that spirit made to be immortal or conscious in anyway. Rather the opposite is proved to be true.

You can continue to believe that the spirit is the soul is the spirit and they all go to heaven at death. You can believe that the soul is reunited with the body (much different view than the spirit being reunited with the body), but my friend, that is not only taking it out of context, it is ignoring the evidence showing that man's existence is contingent on sin and salvation and the power of God to resurrect. Not in anything inherent in ourselves.

The power of God will resurrect us from our 'sleep' (not non-existence as you seem to have a problem with). The fact that they will be resurrected shows that they have not passed outside the realm of eternity.

Eriol said:
Is Lucifer immortal? If he is immortal, will his punishment be eternal, or will God annihilate Lucifer (and the demons)?
Lucifer is a created being like ourselves. His immortality (like the other angels) is contingent on God. When he sinned, Satan removed himself from God (just like Adam and Eve ((wait, you don't believe in that :D)). Being a specially created being, he is not necessarily bound to the laws of aging and death like ourselves (just like the Elves don't get 'sick'). However, Satan has sinned and will die with the rest. The fires that 'devour' and bring on the 'second death' apply to him more than anyone else.
 
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Eriol

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Thorin said:
Nope. Because a soul is either dead or alive. A soul is a living being made up of body and breath. You are trying hard to link 'soul' and 'spirit' together but they are not. A spirit creates a soul.
And when the bible speaks of the dead in Sheol, what exactly is being referred to there? Is it a soul? Is it a spirit? What is in Sheol?

Actually I wasn't. I was using your own arguments hypothetically to show that even if the soul was immortal it means that it is living and will for eternity. Sheol is nothing more than the abode of the dead. It is translated as 'grave'. You assume that there must be some sort of 'life' down there. The OT makes it plain in numerous places that when man dies, his consciousness dies and he knows no more. He goes to Sheol.
But I never equated consciousness with being. I don't claim that the people in Sheol are conscious, I claim that they exist. That they were not annihilated. That there is some subsisting thing there. This is what I call "soul".

It doesn't get any plainer than that, Eriol. All the things associated with a consciousness (a soul) cease to exist. Any being that would survive death would carry these attibutes. You cannot read an immortal soul into this because it was foreign to Hebrew thinking. Nor can you make Sheol mean anything but unconscious sleep (see also Job 14:12-14 on how it links to the resurrection and Job 27:3 for the meaning of spirit)
I don't attach any importance to consciousness in Sheol, I think they were asleep too.

No it's not. Again you are assuming what is not there. The 'spirit' does not exist beyond death as a conscious entity. The spirit is the spark of life, and yes that is what will instigate the resurrection. The problem is your insistence to make the 'spirit' what most Christians call the 'soul' (neither of which is immortal). The resurrection will be creation anew, therefore you must look at creation in its context. God formed man and breathed the breath of life (the spark) and man BECAME soul. This process is reversed when man dies and the resurrection renews it. Have you actually looked in different translations to see when Christ and Stephen both said 'Into thy hands I commit my spirit', and 'receive my spirit'? In the KJV it says, "And Jesus gave up the ghost". The more modern translations say "And Jesus breathed his last". The spirit was given by God and it belongs to God. The spirit is the 'power' of life. Nowhere is that spirit made to be immortal or conscious in anyway. Rather the opposite is proved to be true.
Not conscious, I'll grant you that (again). But still, it subsists, else there would be no Sheol at all.

You can continue to believe that the spirit is the soul is the spirit and they all go to heaven at death. You can believe that the soul is reunited with the body (much different view than the spirit being reunited with the body), but my friend, that is not only taking it out of context, it is ignoring the evidence showing that man's existence is contingent on sin and salvation and the power of God to resurrect. Not in anything inherent in ourselves.
I have no quarrel with that. Not only man's existence is contingent, ALL existence is contingent on God's will. So this "cancels out" as a not-too-interesting argument, unless I misread you.

The power of God will resurrect us from our 'sleep' (not non-existence as you seem to have a problem with). The fact that they will be resurrected shows that they have not passed outside the realm of eternity.
But if they are asleep, they are existing! You are the one who seems to have a problem with "something" subsisting after death, and your intuition counters that of almost all members of mankind.

Non-existing beings don't sleep.

All of this is directed at Sheol, as all of your quotes show. I have yet to see biblical evidence against my (admittedly ad hoc :D) hypothesis that Jesus' visit to Sheol changed the nature of the place, and that it was no longer an abode of unconscious beings, but rather the Hell of traditional Christianity.

We have separated quite neatly the Sheol from the "Hell". Let us not confuse it back again. Sheol may have turned into Hell after Jesus took away the blessed from there and into Heaven. (my speculation ;)).

Lucifer is a created being like ourselves. His immortality (like the other angels) is contingent on God. When he sinned, Satan removed himself from God (just like Adam and Eve ((wait, you don't believe in that :D)). Being a specially created being, he is not necessarily bound to the laws of aging and death like ourselves (just like the Elves don't get 'sick'). However, Satan has sinned and will die with the rest. The fires that 'devour' and bring on the 'second death' apply to him more than anyone else.
And where is Satan, right now? You surely realize that the whole "not inherently immortal" argument does not work with him.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
And when the bible speaks of the dead in Sheol, what exactly is being referred to there? Is it a soul? Is it a spirit? What is in Sheol?....But I never equated consciousness with being. I don't claim that the people in Sheol are conscious....But if they are asleep, they are existing! You are the one who seems to have a problem with "something" subsisting after death, and your intuition counters that of almost all members of mankind....Non-existing beings don't sleep.
Oi! Then I've been banging my head up against a wall all this time! I don't know why you're on this 'existence' kick. I'm not trying to say that something doesn't exist at all, I am saying that some conscious entity outside the body does not exist and live immortally after death. The texts I've given prove that. People who die do exist materially, but that doesn't mean anything. The bible does liken death to sleep. The language used is the closest thing that humans can come to to describe death. However, it is not exactly like sleep because even when we sleep we are conscious (aware of our surroundings) but in Sheol, there is no consciousness. It is a 'sleep' that only Christ can wake us up from and that he will at the resurrection.

Eriol said:
I claim that they exist. That they were not annihilated. That there is some subsisting thing there. This is what I call "soul"
To some extent you are right. Ezekiel says, "The soul that sinneth shall die". The translation of the word 'soul' here is 'a living being'. Some modern translations say, "It is the man who sins who will die". The two were the same thing. That being the case, then the texts in Ecclesiastes show that the 'soul' is not aware or living at death.

Eriol said:
All of this is directed at Sheol, as all of your quotes show. I have yet to see biblical evidence against my (admittedly ad hoc :D) hypothesis that Jesus' visit to Sheol changed the nature of the place, and that it was no longer an abode of unconscious beings, but rather the Hell of traditional Christianity....We have separated quite neatly the Sheol from the "Hell". Let us not confuse it back again. Sheol may have turned into Hell after Jesus took away the blessed from there and into Heaven. (my speculation ;)).
And speculation it is. If that is the case,then it is your responsibility to prove it. My job is to prove what I think not prove yours exists. If it doesn't exist to begin with and it is mere speculation, how can I prove it exists? You do it!

Hell in whatever nature it is in remains hell. Sheol and Hades are the 'grave' for everyone. To say that Christ turned these hells into torment is to take the 'spirit' of Gehenna and apply it to death. Sheol and Hades would no longer be those things, but something else. Yet the grave is still the grave for everyone. Why should it change? The language used remains the same and gives no indication of any change. The interpretation of Hades is the same as Sheol and always has been - the grave. Hades/Sheol and death are cast into the lake of fire at the end of time.(Revelation 20:14). Each hell is named differently because each serves a different purpose.
Eriol said:
And where is Satan, right now? You surely realize that the whole "not inherently immortal" argument does not work with him.
In HELL! Haven't you heard a word I've been saying?
:D No, seriously. This is Tataros. Satan is 'roaming the earth seeking whom he may devour". He is not bound to our laws or mortality rules. He will still die at the end for he is the epitomy of sin and it cannot exist in any form in the new world.
 

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Great, progress (at least in understanding each other, if not in actual agreement) is good :).

I dug up some Scriptural references for the traditional doctrine of judgment immediately after death. You are probably aware of the best examples: the parable of Lazarus and Jesus' words in Luke 23:43 -

"And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise".

Pretty explicit about the ultimate destiny of that soul, in that day. Jesus didn't say "at the end of time, after the Judgment Day, thou shalt be with me in paradise".

Some other Scriptural references:

II Corinthians 5, in which St. Paul longs to be absent from the body in order to be present with the Lord.

II Cor 5:8 -

"But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord"

From the OT, Ecclesiasticus (hey, if you don't think that's a canonical book, take the matter up with the Pope :D), 11:28-29 --

"For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways.

The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works"

And a very curious hint in Acts 1: 24-25 --

"And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the heart of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place"

Judas "went to his own place".

Judas gives us a lot of hints about the nature of Hell, by the way. Jesus' comment that "it would have been better for him [Judas] if he had not been born", in Matthew (I think), is very strong evidence in favor of the non-annihilationist view. How is it that being annihilated is worse than not being born? They are at best equivalent. It is only if we take the words of Jesus about the nature of Hell at face value (i.e., terrible pain, weeping and gnashing of teeth) that this sentence makes sense, and indeed Jesus is right (duh) in saying that it would have been better for Judas to not have been born.

Hell entry

This is the entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia about Hell. Could you criticize their arguments there? It will be a lot of work, unfortunately, but as I said earlier I don't feel comfortable in using the words of other people in arguments. I prefer to let you face these other people instead of having to type their words ;).

Good luck! I'll wait eagerly.
 

Thorin

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Eriol said:
I dug up some Scriptural references for the traditional doctrine of judgment immediately after death. You are probably aware of the best examples: the parable of Lazarus and Jesus' words in Luke 23:43 -

"And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise".

Pretty explicit about the ultimate destiny of that soul, in that day. Jesus didn't say "at the end of time, after the Judgment Day, thou shalt be with me in paradise".
I could see a problem were it not for two things:

1) Jesus did not go to heaven in any form right after his death
- Jesus said to Mary at the resurrection that she wasn't to touch him for he had not yet ascended into heaven. Chances are the thief didn't die the same night as Christ either. Acts 2 says that God saved Christ's 'soul' (life) from Sheol/Hades. This he did by resurrecting him on the Sunday. The method of Christ resurrection will be repeated at the end (1 Corinthians 15)

2) In the Greek there was no punctuation. The Bible translators had the unfortunate job to put that punctuation where they deemed fit. The bible translators (unlike the Bible writers) were not inspired and already influenced by the view that the dead went to heaven at death and mistakenly put the comma in the wrong place. When you put the comma after 'this day' and we understand that shalt' and 'thou' are used interchangably in the Greek, we see this: "I say unto you this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise." Also look at the thief's request, "REMEMBER me when you come into your kingdom." He didn't even say 'Can you bring me in your kingdom when you go'. His hope (like Martha's) was that he could take part in the first resurrection. The Bible continually uses the emphatic "I say this day," or "To you this day,". This is no different.

Eriol said:
II Corinthians 5, in which St. Paul longs to be absent from the body in order to be present with the Lord.
II Cor 5:8 -

"But we are confident and have a good will to be absent rather from the body and to be present with the Lord"
Here are a few problems with trying to read immortality of the soul into the text:

1) Paul is not taking into account the time factor of the grave. That is why death is compared to sleep. We can sleep for days and it seems like only a moment. When we die, the very next thing will be to be raised by Christ and see his face.

2) Paul is comparing the spiritual bodies with the earthly bodies and the limits we have. I believe looking at vs 7 also helps. He says in vs 7:
Therefore we are always confident knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord.
Paul is just reiterating that our flesh cannot see God. While we are 'in' this flesh, we are 'absent from the Lord' (We will not be able to see him). And yet Paul also says "In our flesh we shall see Him". Why the contradiction? Because it is only in our 'immortal flesh' that we shall see him at the resurrection. Being 'absent from the body' does not mean release of our soul, it means putting on the new flesh where we CAN be present with the Lord. this occurs at the resurrection.

3) This is reiterated in vs 10 which speaks at the end of time:
For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that everyone may recieve the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad
Paul's emphasis in on our earthly bodies not being able to see Christ, not whether something lives on after death. We all appear at the judgement seat of Christ at the end where rewards are given out 'according as man's work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). So if you really want to get technical, Paul is talking about the resurrection here, not immortality at death.


Eriol said:
From the OT, Ecclesiasticus (hey, if you don't think that's a canonical book, take the matter up with the Pope ), 11:28-29 --
"For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways.
Nowhere else in accepted canon is this supported or stated in such blatant terms. I would be interested to see what the original language would hold. Also, the 'day of death' could very well just be talking about the judgement where life and death is handed out.

Is this an intertestamental book? There are blatant contradictions between all the books in the apocrypha. This is because some Jews (especially the Hellenistic Jews) were influenced by Greek views. It wouldn't surprise me to see some 'heretical' views slip in. ;)

Eriol said:
And a very curious hint in Acts 1: 24-25 --
"And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the heart of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place"

Judas "went to his own place".
Heh, heh. My dear Eriol. You must read it in context. You will see that the second 'he' spoken about in verse 25 reiterates (I seem to like that word) the first 'he'(which you seemed to have missed in your quote and that makes a difference) and is talking not about Judas, but about whomever will be taking his place. The mention of Judas was an interruption of the main thought based on the placement of it within the verse and not relevant to the real issue: who would succeed him. Look at vs 25 as paranthetical
That HE (the successor) may take part of this ministry and apostleship, (from which Judas by transgression fell), that HE might go to his own place.
Notice the use of the word 'might'. This implies 'possibility'. Hence the 'finding his own place' can't be speaking about an afterlife for Judas because that is a probability. 'His OWN place'? Does that mean that Judas has a different fate then the othe wicked if it is his own? It is obvious that the 'he' is speaking about Judas' successor and not the fate of Judas. The 'he might find his own place' basically means "that he might find his own place in the ministry different from that of Judas". This gives weight to the importance in vs 24 as to choosing the right person.

Eriol said:
Judas gives us a lot of hints about the nature of Hell, by the way. Jesus' comment that "it would have been better for him [Judas] if he had not been born", in Matthew (I think), is very strong evidence in favor of the non-annihilationist view. How is it that being annihilated is worse than not being born? They are at best equivalent. It is only if we take the words of Jesus about the nature of Hell at face value (i.e., terrible pain, weeping and gnashing of teeth) that this sentence makes sense, and indeed Jesus is right (duh) in saying that it would have been better for Judas to not have been born.
Notice that he specifically mentions Judas, not everyone who is wicked. Why did he specifically mention Judas as 'wishing he was never born'? How does Judas differ from the other wicked? Is Jesus really mentioning the NATURE of Judas' punishment being the reason why he'd 'wish he'd never been born', or the CIRCUMSTANCES of why he is being punished for 'wishing he'd never been born'?

If the former, than Jesus should have included ALL the wicked in his sermon. He didn't. He only mentioned Judas. Let's look at the circumstances to make Judas wish he'd never been born. Judas walked and talked directly with Christ. He physically and spiritually betrayed Christ. He had it all right there and he walked away from it. What a heart break! He had the opportunity NO ONE else had who will be lost: to see Christ face to face and till reject Him. That is why he is singled out.

Suppose Jesus was talking about the punishment. Who would want to suffer fire and die? Of course you'd wish you'd never been born. Of course there will be conscious suffering. I'm not saying that man will not suffer. I'm not saying that some men won't suffer longer than others. I'm just saying that it will all come to an end eventually when the fire has done its work.

I'll have to look at your 'hell' link later.
 
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Ireth Telrúnya

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Eriol said:
"For it is easy before God in the day of death to reward every one according to his ways.

The affliction of an hour maketh one forget great delights, and in the end of a man is the disclosing of his works"

And a very curious hint in Acts 1: 24-25 --

"And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the heart of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,

To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place"

Judas "went to his own place".

Judas gives us a lot of hints about the nature of Hell, by the way. Jesus' comment that "it would have been better for him [Judas] if he had not been born", in Matthew (I think), is very strong evidence in favor of the non-annihilationist view. How is it that being annihilated is worse than not being born? They are at best equivalent. It is only if we take the words of Jesus about the nature of Hell at face value (i.e., terrible pain, weeping and gnashing of teeth) that this sentence makes sense, and indeed Jesus is right (duh) in saying that it would have been better for Judas to not have been born.

Hell entry

.
Hello, Eriol.

I'd like to comment on what you (and Jesus) said about Judas, that it had been better if he had never been born.

Don't you think it is a strange statement coming from One who is in fact the Almighty God Himself, since Jesus is (according to christology) said to have been 100 % God and 100 % man when He was on Earth. Not just a man.
Why does God himself regrets that Judas was born? Why did his "perfect" plan include inevitably that one man will perish?
In the Bible God assures us that He doesn't want anyone to perish, but inherit the everlasting life when we believe in His Son's work on the Cross.
Yet Jesus says it was better for Judas that he had not been born at all.

Let me say that I've been what you can call a believer, but nowadays I'm more just questioning the things I've learned from the Bible in the past.
And those years trying to figure out the Bible and its controversial matters never gave the result I thought it would.
 

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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.

God dug the hole. God created Hell. Unless, of course, you are arguing that people, via sin, created hell. You could argue that Sin itself created hell. But that doesn't hold water either. Only God is a Primary Creator, and not a secondary one. Not even sin can truly create. So I very well can blame god. ;) :D
 

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Thorin said:
In the Greek there was no punctuation.
Interpretation!!

:D

Do you have any evidence that the proper reading is the one you defend here? Do you have any evidence to the effect that the thief did not die in that night? (As far as I know one does not survive crucifixion for a long time).

No evidence, just interpretation. Not that I disagree with your interpretation, but it is just as valid as the more obvious one, that the thief will die in that night, and that he'll meet Jesus that night in paradise.

This is not a matter that can be proven right or wrong through Scriptures -- that would be too easy :). And we're talking about the most read book in History. If there were obvious mistakes of interpretation in the traditional reading, it wouldn't be the traditional reading.

I think that your greatest problem with the traditional Hell is not scriptural, it is ethical. You don't like that God. I can't really blame you, but I must point out that immortality and eternity and free will and sin are all very delicately linked when we discuss Hell, and that what seems to you unfair may be quite fair. You don't KNOW eternity, and you don't KNOW that annihilation is to be preferred to eternal punishment. God does know all of that. He'll pick the best option.

Who is right, me or you? I don't know. But I'm sure God will pick the best option.

Here are a few problems with trying to read immortality of the soul into the text:

1) Paul is not taking into account the time factor of the grave. That is why death is compared to sleep. We can sleep for days and it seems like only a moment. When we die, the very next thing will be to be raised by Christ and see his face.

2) Paul is comparing the spiritual bodies with the earthly bodies and the limits we have. I believe looking at vs 7 also helps. He says in vs 7: Paul is just reiterating that our flesh cannot see God. While we are 'in' this flesh, we are 'absent from the Lord' (We will not be able to see him). And yet Paul also says "In our flesh we shall see Him". Why the contradiction? Because it is only in our 'immortal flesh' that we shall see him at the resurrection. Being 'absent from the body' does not mean release of our soul, it means putting on the new flesh where we CAN be present with the Lord. this occurs at the resurrection.
I see no difference between your point (1) and the traditional doctrine. I could just as well say that the wicked dies and the very next thing will be to raised by Christ to NOT see his face, and to be punished.

Point 2 actually gives me ammo. Our flesh can't see God, yet Paul longs to see Him. It seems Paul believes that he can see God when he is "outside" this flesh -- i.e., dead.

As you see, interpretation ;).

3) This is reiterated in vs 10 which speaks at the end of time: Paul's emphasis in on our earthly bodies not being able to see Christ, not whether something lives on after death. We all appear at the judgement seat of Christ at the end where rewards are given out 'according as man's work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). So if you really want to get technical, Paul is talking about the resurrection here, not immortality at death.
Or so says your interpretation. Most people would read that in the very simple way of "Paul longs to die so that he can see God". In fact there is not a great difference between you and me once you accept your own point (1). I have no quarrel with the different perception of time once we die. In fact I always point out the problems inherent in our temporally biased perception when we discuss Hell and Heaven, eternal things.

Nowhere else in accepted canon is this supported or stated in such blatant terms. I would be interested to see what the original language would hold. Also, the 'day of death' could very well just be talking about the judgement where life and death is handed out.

Is this an intertestamental book? There are blatant contradictions between all the books in the apocrypha. This is because some Jews (especially the Hellenistic Jews) were influenced by Greek views. It wouldn't surprise me to see some 'heretical' views slip in. ;)
I would be interested to see the original language too. But it is talking about the literal day of death, in my interpretation ;). Check it out for yourself. The Catholic Bible is available in the net at www.newadvent.org/bible

I'm sure you would call Ecclesiasticus an "intertestamental", but Catholics, Orthodox, and all Christians prior to 1517 called it just "Old Testament". You know, we still keep the same canon after all these years, since the canon was first defined. We are shockingly short of imagination :D.

Heh, heh. My dear Eriol. You must read it in context. You will see that the second 'he' spoken about in verse 25 reiterates (I seem to like that word) the first 'he'(which you seemed to have missed in your quote and that makes a difference) and is talking not about Judas, but about whomever will be taking his place. The mention of Judas was an interruption of the main thought based on the placement of it within the verse and not relevant to the real issue: who would succeed him. Look at vs 25 as paranthetical Notice the use of the word 'might'. This implies 'possibility'. Hence the 'finding his own place' can't be speaking about an afterlife for Judas because that is a probability. 'His OWN place'? Does that mean that Judas has a different fate then the othe wicked if it is his own? It is obvious that the 'he' is speaking about Judas' successor and not the fate of Judas. The 'he might find his own place' basically means "that he might find his own place in the ministry different from that of Judas". This gives weight to the importance in vs 24 as to choosing the right person.
Interpretation! Unlike the other instances in which I consider your interpretation as good as the traditional (since it hangs on matters such as punctuation, that is non-existent in the original documents), here I would disagree, based on the word "own". "Own place". Whose place? Not that of new apostle, because this was spoken before the new apostle (Matias in Portuguese) was chosen, and therefore it was not yet his "own" place. It is also not "Judas' own" place, since Judas is dead and the place does not belong to him anyway.

I think the word "own" makes your interpretation a stretch.

Notice that he specifically mentions Judas, not everyone who is wicked. Why did he specifically mention Judas as 'wishing he was never born'? How does Judas differ from the other wicked? Is Jesus really mentioning the NATURE of Judas' punishment being the reason why he'd 'wish he'd never been born', or the CIRCUMSTANCES of why he is being punished for 'wishing he'd never been born'?
Well, he stopped on Judas because he was talking about Judas, not lecturing on the inhabitants of Hell :D. It would be odd indeed for a man talking about Judas to talk about all the wicked in history just for the sake of completeness.

I think it is quite clear he's talking about the nature of the punishment. I doesn't make sense in my opinion to compare the circumstances with "not being born".

If the former, than Jesus should have included ALL the wicked in his sermon. He didn't. He only mentioned Judas. Let's look at the circumstances to make Judas wish he'd never been born. Judas walked and talked directly with Christ. He physically and spiritually betrayed Christ. He had it all right there and he walked away from it. What a heart break! He had the opportunity NO ONE else had who will be lost: to see Christ face to face and till reject Him. That is why he is singled out.
:confused:

Was Judas the only man who met Jesus in Palestine and rejected Him?

And why would this make it better for Judas to not have been born? What is the difference between Judas and, say, Pontius Pilate, in that far-fetched theory of yours?

:D

But anyway, Jesus restricted his opinion to the case of Judas because he was talking about Judas. There is no reason to speak of Saddam Hussein if he's talking about Judas.

Suppose Jesus was talking about the punishment. Who would want to suffer fire and die? Of course you'd wish you'd never been born. Of course there will be conscious suffering. I'm not saying that man will not suffer. I'm not saying that some men won't suffer longer than others. I'm just saying that it will all come to an end eventually when the fire has done its work.
What is better, to be born and then to burn into annihilation, or not to be born at all?

I gotta tell you, I prefer to be born. I like to think that if I am burned into annihilation, at least I'll have loved and laughed and lived.

But I also must admit that if the choice is not to be born or eternal punishment, then I prefer not to be born.

The point is that annihilation and "non-birth" are equivalent. If Judas' ultimate destiny is non-existence, then it is not "worse" for him to be born, and I could make a case to the effect that it was better. After all, as you just said, he DID see Jesus face to face. Would it be better for him to not be born? I doubt it. I much prefer to be born, see Jesus, and then become annihilated than to not be born at all.

But we're getting into very weird territory here :D
 
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