Re: [asa] Attaining heaven -- a poll

From: Dave Manley <dm020954@yahoo.com>
Date: Sun Dec 28 2008 - 14:02:53 EST

Several very interesting points in the last few emails. I'd like to comment on a few. 1. Jesus' statements about Hell.  First and formost, there is no word Hell in the Bible. In all modern translations, the only word that's translated Hell in Gehenna (sp?). Gehenna is a place; granted a not so good place, but still a place. No other place gets translated into a concept.  Gehenna is Gehenna. I don't doubt that it is used for its negative connotations and the warnings are real, but why did they have to give it a new name? 2. A stumbing block.  Very much so. I have an atheist brother who turned away from God early in life because he can't fathom a God that could torment anyone forever. But not only a stumbling block, but a very good excuse for persecuting not Christians or Christians who believe and teach false doctrine. If Hell is real, I would feel justified to start a new crusades, or punish and kill those who would turn folks to a viewpoint that could damn many more if I allowed it to persist. 3. Justice vs. Mercy - Not a valid argument IMHO. Justice requires mercy. Punishment does not produce justice and God's punishment has always been to bring about repentence. Justice for the offended is God's problem, and I believe he can make any wrong done to me OK. He's God. Justice for the offender requires repentence and mercy.  That makes thing right... just. 4. For me, God must prevail and be glorified. What glorifies God more, having people in Hell, having to destroy some, or all coming to repentence (the reason for God's patience.) God is not willing that any should perish and God will accomplish His will. (Both from scripture.) 5. How could I be happy in heaven knowing my loved one(s) were in Hell. That's not me. I love them too much (more than God?) If I could be happy in that circumstance, it's not me. Maybe a lobotomized version, but not me. That's enough for now. Dave M   ________________________________ From: David Clounch <david.clounch@gmail.com> To: asa@calvin.edu Sent: Monday, December 29, 2008 4:21:18 AM Subject: Re: [asa] Attaining heaven -- a poll Merv, You said: "I think one of the main problems so many of us have with doctrines of eternal torment is that they seem so out of character with a God who first moved us towards limited vengeance (only an eye for an eye) and then moved us beyond that towards no vengeance at all (turn the other cheek)." I don't think a doctrine of eternal torment is necessary to demonstrate to humanity the need for salvation. It's a distraction. The only one's who will understand it are already believers anyway. I suspect it becomes a stumbling block to anyone considering becoming a Christian.  It may be more fruitful to pique an unbeliever's natural understanding for the need for justice.  Kant said there is no justice in this life, therefore it must be located in the hereafter. And only a wise and all knowing judge could enforce it. And judgment must have  a real punishment, lest it be fake. An unbeliever has a tension here.  He can insist justice is located only on this earth, but then he sees the denial of this all around him.  Yet his heart tells him there must be justice.  But hitting him over the head with our visions of hell only  allows him to de-focus and ignore this tension and stay in denial. He can rightly claim that  Christianity is nonsense, and assuage his conscience. Thus its not important whether there is a hell. What is important is that people perish, whatever that ultimately means. But there I go being simple minded again. :)   I think the theologians should drink more beer. Cheers, Dave C     On Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 10:45 AM, <mrb22667@kansas.net> wrote: Quoting "D. F. Siemens, Jr." <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>: > I take a different tack, considering a thoughtful point implicit in C. S. > Lewis's /The Great Divorce/. Human beings have been given the power of > choice, a freedom which even God does not override. We choose within the > natural and spiritual laws, not establish a counter. Additionally, God is > love, desiring the best for all his creatures. Can anyone imagine a > greater agony than being in the presence of the thrice holy deity without > being prepared for it? without wanting it? To put is simply, hell is > God's loving provision for those who would be in agony in his presence. > Dave (ASA) > I like Lewis' distinct summary statement (It may have been from The Great Divorce)  to this effect:   In the end, either we will be able to say to God "Thy will be done"   or failing that, God will say to us:  "Thy will be done".  I guess according to universalists, though, the latter ones will be given an eternity to come around eventually. I think one of the main problems so many of us have with doctrines of eternal torment is that they seem so out of character with a God who first moved us towards limited vengeance (only an eye for an eye) and then moved us beyond that towards no vengeance at all (turn the other cheek).  Most of us are willing to summon up the mercy of not subjecting evil people to eternal torment (let alone someone whose main error was a doctrinal mis-step of not having the exactly proper code-key set of beliefs).  And then we face the awkward question:  in entertaining these sympathies, do we have more merciful sentiments than God?  Of course most of us agree that we can't be more merciful.  So then why does Jesus give us the doctrine of Hell in such explicit terms?    Is there some accommodation in that somehow?  It certainly is a reflection of some of the old testament voices given to God by the prophets. --Merv To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

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Received on Sun Dec 28 14:03:26 2008

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