rev. john, question for you

on my thread re: message or messenger you said;

through Jesus I experience not only forgiveness, but a God that understands the human experience

Can you explain;

  1. the xtian belief that all people are sinful and need forgiveness.

  2. the idea that God understands the human experience yet still condems sinners to hell. I understand how you can understand and still condem something, but an eternal punishment for sinning seems a bit like overkill IMO. It would be like killing your son or daughter because they got an F on a report card, at least that is what it seems like to me.

I wasn't invited so you can disregard but just a quick thought on the "hell" thing. I always viewed it as granting a person their choice. If someone wants to live the next life w/out God, so be it. You are in a place that is "God forsaken"...or hell.

everyone is invited, I thought that was an unwritten rule.

cool, thanks.

me? Yep. We all fall short of the perfect mark of HOLINESS...God. Our shortcomings are sin, or disobeience to the perfect benchmark.

"1. the xtian belief that all people are sinful and need forgiveness."

Have you yet met anyone that is not sinful? Ofcourse we need to define sinfulness. You can start with the ten commandments, take the last two, do not give false testimony, or in other words don't lie and you shall not covet, or desire to have, your neighbors wife, or their goods. These two basically make all of us guilty. And it is a human condition. We don't need to teach our children to be selfish, they learn all by themselves. We don't need to tell them, look next time you get the ball, don't give it back, keep it all for yourself. They seem to come out of the womb with those inclinations. These inclinations, wind up making the world a not so nice place.

"2. the idea that God understands the human experience yet still condems sinners to hell. I understand how you can understand and still condem something, but an eternal punishment for sinning seems a bit like overkill IMO. It would be like killing your son or daughter because they got an F on a report card, at least that is what it seems like to me."

My views on this do not reflect the whole of Christianity, but let me make some points from my own belief system. First there is two words for hell, the first hades the second Gehenna or the lake of fire. Hades is where the unrepentant wait for judgement, it is a place of lawlesness but the body is not there. After the judgement I believe there is a reunion with the body and a chance to "pay for your sins" and an opportunity to accept Gods offer of life with him. (Christians, I know this isn't orthodox doctrine, and I do not have as much support for this idea from scripture as I would like, but I do have some, we can talk about it later if you want) The lake of fire is called by scripture the second death. I believe that at this time any who rejects God and refuses to be part of His heaven, will be allowed to cease to exist. There is no eternity of suffering, simple an end.

Secondly, I believe that we as free moral agents can decide our eternal fate. I believe that like Thomas we will be allowed to see with our own eyes at some time, and can choose to be with God or without. I cannot imagine someone turning their backs on God once seeing Him, but some of the angels did, so it is a possibility. I am not a universalist, but I have leanings in that direction.

the rev

Rev, is your belief similar to JW's in regard to hell? I know my Pastor said there is a movement in evangelical circles that doesn't believe in an eternal hell of fire. I have not studied it in enough detail. My hope for the unsaved is that you are right. My bounderies for me require that I know that it's also potentially not right.

"There is no eternity of suffering, simple an end."

at this point, how is the belief different than an atheist's view of death? A lot of religous types can't seem to grasp the idea of nothingness after death.

Rooster I have gone over this in great detail before. I have absolute faith in my position regarding the nature of Gehenna. My understanding is based entirely from scriptural texts. Jesus himself said, "fear not those that can destroy the body, but fear Him who can destroy BOTH BODY AND SOUL, in the lake of fire" Also the lake of fire is called the second death. When is eternal life ever promised to the unrepentant? And the word eternal means eternal in its consequence, and decision, not its duration. The bible says Sodom and Gamorah were burned with an eternal fire, but as we know it is not still burning. The destruction was eternal in its judgement, it was final and authoritative, but not in its duration.

the rev

There is a point where a drunk or drug addict will choose to give away anything and everything to have a drink or his drug of choice including his family, friends, health, etc.

I believe that at a certain point a person will give up all joy and love just to keep the pride of serving himself. We see hints of it in this life.  Where a person will lose friends or keep away from doing something fun just to avoid admitting he was wrong. 

 Separation from God is the opposite of joy but serving the self is also the opposite.  That is why returning to God is so hard.  He paves the way with grace but it takes repentance and a commitment to let the self die and be replaced with the Christ life.  

 So I believe in the end that we either serve ourselves or God and that God will not force us to serve him.  The freedom we have is also our peril because there is a real chance we can be lost.  I don't know what the final end of those who become finally incapable of repentance is in terms of eternal suffering or destruction in the lake of fire.  If a soul can be destroyed I suppose it will be when there is nothing really left to save.  I can't imagine God in his mercy simply keeping something in existence that does nothing but suffer and has no hope of redemption.  

"2. the idea that God understands the human experience yet still condems sinners to hell. I understand how you can understand and still condem something, but an eternal punishment for sinning seems a bit like overkill IMO. It would be like killing your son or daughter because they got an F on a report card, at least that is what it seems like to me."

sorry to jump in but you have to think of it like this......God and man used to be in perfect communion and when man sinned he fell away from God.....it was man's fault that he fell away.....God gave man a way back to get in communion with him through Christ.....it is not God condemning people to hell, it is more like God trying to save man from himself

"at this point, how is the belief different than an atheist's view of death? A lot of religous types can't seem to grasp the idea of nothingness after death."

Well it isn't instantaneous, there would be a time of suffering followed by nothingness. But otherwise it is much the same.

I have no problem with nothingness after death in regards to the unrepentant, seems somehow less vindictive and sadistic than burning people for countless ages

the rev

But I would add to that. I believe that Adam and Eve were sinless and the creatures of God and had a certain degree of communion with him but they were not his children in his heavenly family. I believe that if they had not sinned they would have been elevated to that status, perhaps even by eating of the fruit which was forbidden at the right time.

Redemption in Jesus is not merely a return to a clean ledger in God's accounting book but rather an invitation to full sonship.  He isn't offering you the position of servant in his household like the prodigal would have accepted but rather he is inviting you into his family to become one of his sons and daughters and to partake in the inheritance which is bestowed only on heavenly children.  Its really what man was destined for the whole time albeit things had to be done the hard way due to sin.

Satanjr,
God describes himself to us not merely as our Creator but as our Father in Heaven. Imagine with your own children if they were doing something that was destroying them (like drug addiction) but you still loved them and wanted the best for them. What would you be willing to do to save them? There is a very real chance that you could lose your own child to something like that and no matter how much you loved him or helped him he would not return to you. I think that is the best way to think of God and what he does for us and what his hope for us is.

awesome post ridgeback, and I agree, this is how I view God. It makes it so much more intense having my two daughters, and them getting old enough to make their own decisions.

the rev

There is nothing my son or daughter could do that would make me stop loving them or punish them so severly as to banish them from my presence (hell) for the rest of our lives (eternity).

"There is nothing my son or daughter could do that would make me stop loving them or punish them so severly as to banish them from my presence (hell) for the rest of our lives (eternity)."

did you read my post? think of it like your kid ran away from home and ended up way out in timbucktoo (very far far away).....you sent someone to get them and bring them home.....what if they refused to come home?? what if they said you weren't even their father?? sorry if this is a lame analogy but do you see my point?

I see your point, and understand the analogy, but if it was in my power to get them back home safely I would. If my kids are doing something that could do them harm, I would do what I had to do to stop them from hurting themselves.

and that is what God did.....he incarnated himself in the form of the Son (Logos) and died so His children could come home.....same as if you agreed to trade your life for your childs in Timbucktoo....but what if even after you traded yourself and died your child still decided to stay in Timbucktoo??

"but if it was in my power to get them back home safely I would."

But herein I think is the limit of God's power. He can do anything but force us to love him. That's why the idea of a lost soul is a very real possibility. If he forced us to change there would be no love and we would cease to be anything but automatons, mere robots in God's scheme. The one thing that sets us apart is our ability to choose but therein lies our peril.

And SatanJR

we believe God did that by sending Jesus. I go further saying that Jesus sacrifice will be the way all people can get to the Father even after death. Only those that absolutely refuse to come into dads house will be allowed to leave life.

the rev