Sunday, May 25, 2008

Is this the God we serve?

So, you're on a journey somewhere, you and a friend. You are the natural leader for some reason, and you know that you have an "in" to your destination. You know you're heading in the right direction, because it's the only way. You come across a fellow sitting by the side of the road. "Hello!" you say, and he replies, "Hey." You inquire as to where he is going. He says he's going to the same place as you are, but you know different. He's a good person and all, he has done well in life for others, he has given generously to the poor, but he doesn't know what YOU know. You know that he is in for disappointment, because he's not going to make it to your destination. He doesn't have what he needs.

You and your friend, who always has a kind and optimistic word for people, continue on. Soon comes, in the opposite direction, some wicked and scary looking people struggling with a beaten and bloodied man. They are dragging him to somewhere off the trail, into the woods. You and your friend stop. You know that fellow. One of the wicked people stops and stares you down. Your friend says he knows where they are headed. You nod knowingly. They drag him off. It's not hard because you've done nothing to help that poor man.

So, to sum up, you're the leader here. Your friend is kind, but follows you faithfully. You have determined that the fellow sitting by the road, although he is a very good man, doesn't get to go where you are privileged to go. Then, there's that poor fellow, being assaulted and drug off. You, a leader, stand there, intimidated by a wicked person, and do nothing in the face of evil.

Who are you? You're the Christian in a film called Pilgrims Progress: Journey to Heaven. I caught this clip as a John Hagee show flashed by me this morning.
You're the Christian.
Your friend is "Hopeful."
The fellow sitting in the road...although he is good and kind, is "Ignorance."
The poor fellow (whom you didn't even try to help) is "Little Faith."
The wicked people (who apparently have the power to intimidate YOU) are dragging him off on a "shortcut to hell."

I don't know the whole story. I don't want to. I don't want to be that Christian. Do you? Many will say that it's just the way it is. God has a plan, and it's His creation and His rules. He is a God of mercy, but, well, some folks are just going to hell. That's it. Well, call me Ignorance, call me Little Faith. That's okay. I know that I would have made an attempt at some righteous ass-whoopin' with those evil dudes...and I know that with the power and might of MY GOOD GOD, we would have persevered and won....not mosied on up the hill so WE could get to heaven.

Does your God want you to be part of an elite group? Does He want you to turn your back on your fellow humans, your brothers and sisters, because you are one of His chosen? Can you really, truthfully, in your heart turn your back on others...those who don't know the "Good News" when they won't listen, and then you'll be content and joyful that you will make it to the "Celestial City" while they fry in some man-translated fiery pit to suffer for eternity?

If that's God (and I know it's not my loving God) and I'm supposed to be satisfied that I'm okay, and others are not. . .I'd rather fry in hell than serve a God who demands my love. . .or else.

I'm a better parent on earth than that.

So are you.

How much bigger, better, and loving is He?

74 comments:

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

I agree 100%. I am going to link here.

Missy said...

That story really sounds quite the opposite of what Jesus teaches.

You remind me of David right now. I'd ride with you. Hand that girl a slingshot!

karen said...

Thanks, ladies. Maybe it's just a John Hagee thing. I don't get him. I have some healing CD's with him reciting healing scriptures. I like those....

codepoke said...

You've seen an allegory of the Christian faith that fails to make a couple important points, so you're rejecting being "Christian." If I understand correctly, you're saying Bunyan was unwilling to help people, but just sat blithely by while they willingly or unwilling went off to hell. In reality, of course, he wrote this while in prison for preaching, which is what he would have meant by helping both Ignorant and Little Faith. So, while his allegory has Pilgrim walking past these victims, Bunyan himself would never have done so. And elsewhere in the book, Pilgrim does stop to help people.

The point of that portion of the allegory is not how to help people who are lost, but what things can result in a horrible end. Willing ignorance and a faith with no foundation can both lead to a painful life followed by a painful judgement. This is a constant weakness of allegory. It can only cover so much, and leaves so much open to misinterpretation and attack.

> I'd rather fry in hell than serve a God who demands my love. . .or else.

Karen, you insist that your God does not demand your love, but I don't know where you encounter this God. The God described in scripture does nothing but constantly, consistently demand love, and he calmly adds the, "or else," without hesitation.

Here's Jesus making that very claim, with an interesting twist at the end:
Mar 12:28-34
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question].


In another parallel to this event, Jesus gives the parable of the Samaritan to explain what it means to love your neighbor.

But the thing that interests me about the one I quote here is that the scribe is not in the kingdom of heaven, and yet he's near it. Leaving off what happens after the silver cord is cut, since we cannot see beyond that veil, it is abundantly clear that people can be joined to the kingdom and people can die as enemies to that kingdom. The difference between those two conditions is love. It must be given or else, to God and to neighbors.

Our God is pure. If you would have Him embrace everyone, that includes people who actively loathe Him, who adamantly refuse to have their impurities removed. Isn't it enough that He died? Must He also embrace those who disdain His death? Why would you see this as a good thing?

karen said...

First of all, CP, I'm commenting on Hagee's interpretation.
His Christian, portrayed, does not help anyone. I saw only a small portion, but my interpretation is also a result of observing other Christians with a haughty viewpoint of their own salvation and placing themselves above others.

I'm not rejecting "being" Christian. Where do you get that? I reject being THAT christian. With all my mind, spirit, and heart, indeed.

I do not believe in the "horrible end."

My God, and the God of all, does not "demand" my love. He receives it everyday from me, in every way, with all gratefulness and awe. . .not because He threatens me with a horrible end--(because He doesn't)....But, because He is an awesome, loving, merciful, and beautiful-beyond-description Father.

CP:"Isn't it enough that He died? Must He also embrace those who disdain His death? Why would you see this as a good thing?"

We can throw scripture back and forth (bet we will, too! ;-))
1 Corinthians 15 and many other verses tell us that in Adam all were doomed, but with Christ all are saved. Jesus comes to gather all of us, IN ORDER, to go to the Father so that GOD may be all in all. If one person dies, fries--what is Jesus' victory over death? It's not a victory at all, if any are lost.

Who have you decided will be saved or not saved? Is it justice that a good, giving, kind and loving person of another faith should be tormented eternally? Scripture tells us every knee will bow, every tongue will confess.

Will you interpret that scripture as a confession mixed with the screams of eternal torment, or do I interpret it as a lost soul suddenly realizing that before him is He is who He says He is. . .and running fully into His arms.
Is the former perfectly fine with you? The latter rings truer to me, as the God who is Love, not vindictive.
If I had to choose, today, between that God you describe --a god who demands my love to guarantee peaceful eternity, or the aforementioned person of another faith, I would go full-tilt, wrapping my arms around that lost soul--into eternal torment.

If a tormenting god is the God, then Christians should be praying every single day for him to save everyone. It is truly the Christian thing to do.

Kansas Bob said...

Interesting dialog between you and codepoke Karen.. I think that I won't jump into the middle of it :)

I have been having a conversation lately at Rose's place about Calvinism and thought about how similar some of Calvinism is to your view Karen. Where you woud call everyone "elect" a Calvinist would say that only some are "elect" ... I find both views incomplete.. but I prefer yours over their's :)

Here is a quote from Rose that I liked:

"He gets what He wants – a people who want Him. This is fundamental to why He gave men the cognizance over their own decisions to obey or rebel. He made us in His image to have such a free relationship with Him."

I love it that God made us free.. unfortunately freedom has it's down sides as well as it's up sides.

-Bob of Kansas

codepoke said...

> Who have you decided will be saved or not saved?

[Rolls eyes, but chuckles, too]

I don't know anything about Hagee, and I'm pretty sure I will manage to get to my grave without learning anything. We'll see.

> I'm not rejecting "being" Christian. Where do you get that? I reject being THAT christian.

My apologies. I misread "that" as "a" when I went through it the first time.

----

So, I misunderstood your post as a more general rejection of Christianity than it really was. And, of course, we've long known we disagree about the final judgement. I can assure you, you don't know what I believe about eternal torment, but we don't need to go there. The real point is judgement.

Does God judge people guilty? And are there people for whom Christ's atonement will have no benefit?

> We can throw scripture back and forth (bet we will, too! ;-))

There are three or three thousand ways of respecting the scripture. I'm not sure where you fall on the spectrum. It will help me to know where you land.

1) The King James is the bible, and everything else is satanic deception.
2) People translate better today than they did in 1611, but the bible is the word of God, and is the only source of spiritual truth.
3) The bible was a dependable source of spiritual truth before it was written down, but since then it's been being muddled until we can hardly trust it at all.
4) The bible is the best word of God, but there are lots of other sources of spiritual truth.

I am at level 2. To me that means that my instincts and understandings of God are completely subject to being overthrown by the bible as it currently exists. If you're there, then we can profitably scatter verses all over the Internet. If not, then we probably need to drop back and talk about the bible.

preacherman said...

Wonderful post!
Loved it and your blog too.
Keep the great posts comming.
I pray you have blessed week.

Milly said...

I guess if we are going to discuss if God will send someone to hell then we have to have a Milly story to go with this.

Several years ago my roommate and I decided to help a co-worker out by allowing her to stay with us. She deceived us by saying that she would love to do Bible studies instead she committed a big crime, I found letters to Satan, she was with men who were armed and dangerous and helping them to rob truck drivers with prostitution. Thank God she left one day to visit these men and never came back.

Three of my co-workers have looked me in the eyes and professed that they don’t believe in God.
I pray for them and we have discussions.
Now when the time of judgment comes I do believe every knee shall bow ever tongue confess but I think that some will curse God.

Revelation 20
13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

I’m thankful that I don’t have to decide who goes and who is chosen to be with God. I have to judge whether or not people can return things and at times I feel horrible for having to say no. Yes we should fight for others-we should talk about Jesus but we are responsible for saving them only we can save ourselves through God. I guess for me is that more than 50 times hell is mentioned in the Bible. I believe it’s there and even when face to face with God some will take the pit.

karen said...

Thanks, Bob....yes, He made us free to choose. It's not really free will if there is no choice.

CP: (Karen chuckling and rolling CP's eyes back to him)....You have 4 levels of scripture respecting. I'm not sure that those are sanctioned by anyone in particular. I believe there is The incredible Truth in the Bible--hidden in the messy translation by man. I get excited when I read scripture in a different light..when words are properly revealed. There is a HUGE percentage of words that have been filled in and assumed. I'm pretty sure God has allowed this to happen and must surely be rolling HIS eyes and chuckling. He most likely wants to see how loving we can be despite the things in the Bible that are not so loving. Not sure what you mean by: "I am at level 2. To me that means that my instincts and understandings of God are completely subject to being overthrown by the bible as it currently exists. If you're there, then we can profitably scatter verses all over the Internet. If not, then we probably need to drop back and talk about the bible."

Milly, no, there is not one who would take the "pit." Every knee will bow. 1 Corinthians 15 tells the order it will be. In Adam all died, in Christ ALL live. There is an order in the endtimes: the firstfruits; then those who are Christ's; then the remaining. Then Jesus takes it all to Him who is the All in All.

You quote Rev.21:6--the second death. There is much discussion about what that means. All through the Bible you say hell is written about. But there is no "hell," there is Tartarus, Gehenna, and Hades. None of those translate to an eternal pit of fiery torment. Gehenna is now a beautiful meadow. Even in the OT, there was not a frightening "hell" written about.."Sheol" was written about, very similar to Hades, which is the "hidden" or "unseen". By today's interpretations, we were only doomed with a fiery hell when Jesus came. Some good news, eh? (I'm being facetious here)

Your scripture choice tells about death giving up all those who would be judged--and if someone's name isn't in the Book of Life (which I understand very few names are found--probably not yours or mine?) they are thrown into the lake of fire. What happened to the pit? Why a lake? Isn't water associated with living? Is God not an all consuming fire? What if this is a burning off of the chaff--a preparation and cleansing for being with God. Death is thrown in there as well. Jesus came to conquer death. If one soul fries in an eternal torment, Jesus didn't do the job. It was paid for, all, at the cross.....
and the end of Revelation, when everyone is within the gates, and the "bad sorts" are all outside--
22:17: And the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!"
And let the person who hears say, "Come!"
Let the one who is thirsty, come. LET WHOEVER WISHES TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT.
Everyone "chosen" is already come.
No, I don't think anyone outside the gates would take the pit, for they are the thirsty ones. They'll come.

brian said...

Yep!

Don R said...

Now this is the Karen I like. That's why I like this site. I am going to email you a blog entry dealing with this very subject. Keep up the good work and don't let the __________ grind you down.

codepoke said...

Thank you, Karen.

I said there were thousands of ways of respecting the bible, and I appreciate that yours is particularly yours. I narrowed the list down to 4 general headings, because a blog conversation only lasts so long. If we talk at great length about exactly what we each think the bible is and isn't, we'll never get anywhere. But, by the same token, if we don't talk about what the bible means to each of us, we'll go a good long ways but not together. We'll be talking right past one another.

You have a fundamental love for the word of God, but it sounds like you don't feel like you can rely on the bible to accurately give you the word of God when the pressure is on. It sounds like if all of your instincts say a verse in the bible is wrong, you're going to go with your instincts over what you read in any English translation of the bible you have now.

If I'm hearing you correctly, then there's very little point in going much further with the discussion of judgement because you believe, [God] "most likely wants to see how loving we can be despite the things in the Bible that are not so loving." Yes, we are to be loving. That is our responsibility. But to imply that the verses that describe God as angry and judging are automatically untrustworthy is a place I won't go.

God's final judgement is brutally described in the bible. And there is nothing outside of the bible that causes me to believe in a judging God at all. There is nothing in the revelation of nature that strikes me as a compelling argument for final judgement. Even the finality of "eat or be eaten" in the jungle falls far short of the picture we're given of God's justice. But I won't live as if nature's word were final.

I'm no Greek scholar, but I've studied a few and I am convinced the bible is an incredibly accurate document - accurate enough for me to base my life on its every word, even the ones that seem odd to me. You know I dig in harder when a verse seems poorly translated, but in the end I won't live in willing contradiction of any verse in that book.

I've probably misunderstood you in some way again, but I hope you know I've not disrespected you. :-)

codepoke said...

Sigh.

Karen, if it feels like I'm "grinding you down," or like I'm an "________," then I'll quit. That's certainly not my intent.

Kevin

Kansas Bob said...

Not sure what it means to only like you Karen when you write certain things.. I like you all of the time.. even when we disagree :)

Also don't know what Don meant by "__________" so.. being a pretty upbeat kind of guy.. I will hypothesize that it means:

- "world".. makes sense that the world sometimes grinds us all down;

- "enemy".. he often grinds us all down;

- "flesh".. often something that grinds me down.

One thing I know is that Kevin's name could never be substituted for "__________".. not by anyone who even knows him even a little bit.

Blessings to you my dear friend!

Sanctimonious Bob

karen said...

KB--Don is messin' with me. He likes it when I get all fired up about something. He knows me face to face--I'm a pretty quiet and benign person in the real--till I get fired up. Missy, too, figures I've got energy if I'm pokin' at stuff! LOL! Sanctimonious. HA.

I don't want this to get ugly! We are a circle of friends (I hope) who don't always see eye to eye on 'religion' or whatever you like to call it. But we do love Him, right??

CP--no, you're not grinding me down at all. Your assessment that I don't feel like I can rely on the Bible to accurately give me the word of God "when the pressure is on" (?) is not correct. The Bible is Truth. The translations are not. The fact that politics played a major role in putting what we call the Bible together doesn't change my mind to the fact that it is Truth. It is in there. However, for some unknown reason, I do not see passages the same way many others do--that doesn't make me wrong or misguided. Bushnell says we must rely on what the Spirit tells us the Bible says, not what mankind says it says. Example: I always thought that Paul was a huge woman-hater...til I really got into the passages and Greek. Now, I wonder why others can't see how wrong that thinking was.
In other words, it is the SUM of the Book, the Whole of the message that I'm looking at as far as who I believe Him to be. Not just one passage pulled out of context. And what I and many see as the whole picture is markedly different from what you and many see.
Fascinating! :-}
I see Revelation as an interesting part of the Bible, and regardless of the many scholarly discussions and arguments as to why it's even in the Book--I still don't see the fire and brimstone finish that everyone else does. How can this be? Am I necessarily the one who doesn't understand?

One can be a follower of Jesus and still question the Bible--what does this word mean? What about that one? Surely you must agree that through the ages changes have been made to fit the times. The Book had a hard time getting into common hands because of that never-ending need for humans to control one another.
God gets angry and judging, like we do; but I don't see that in the end He is going to smite the majority of humankind. We really do have a different idea of Him. It's clear in 1 Cor. 15 that that ain't gonna happen. It's laid out...firstfruits, those in Christ, then the remaining--then to God to be All in All.

What does ALL IN ALL mean?

Earlier, you said this: "Karen, you insist that your God does not demand your love, but I don't know where you encounter this God. The God described in scripture does nothing but constantly, consistently demand love, and he calmly adds the, "or else," without hesitation."

You're saying He says, "Love Me or else."
I must say that we are, indeed, going in completely different directions there.
"Love Me or else."
Kevin, does that sound loving?
How does One "demand" TRUE love? How does one "give" TRUE LOVE?
Is it really true love?

There is no doubt that God in the OT was a pretty testy God. But when He became flesh, being born from a teenage girl's womb, swaddled, raised, disciplined, taught, tired, scorned, and killed. . .I believe He saw the "way" we are. In the flesh.
In the OT, where was the fire and brimstone that you see in the NT?----or did the frying in hell option only arrive with the birth of our Lord?
What changed?

Milly said...

Karen,
This one sure got good. Too bad I'm on vacation. I think these have a way of being productive. I know it gets me reading His word. We all agree on God and that's a grand thing.

Love ya!

Kansas Bob said...

Hi Karen,

I have been wondering about this observation in your last comment:

"We really do have a different idea of Him."

I am not really sure of what you mean by that? Does the existence or non-existence of Hell alter your idea of the Father? I confess that I don't think that my view of the Father would not change if hell does not exist.. would yours be different if it does exist?

Just trying to clarify.. I really don't think that our views of God are all that much different.. but maybe I am wrong?

Thanks for the conversation.

Blessings, Bob

codepoke said...

Great answer, Karen, and thank you.

You know I agree with you about Paul, and that I'm glad you're questioning about hell and God and everything. I apologize that it takes me so long to get back with answers and the like. I still cannot surf blogs at work, and this weekend I was out in the woods with my son, and now I'm still trying to get caught up with everything.

I thank the Lord for the way He leads us all!

And I'll try to get back some time this week for more thoughts. :-)

karen said...

Thanks, milly! I know you're having fun now!!

KB says: "I confess that I don't think that my view of the Father would not change if hell does not exist."
KB, can you clarify this? You do not think that your view would NOT change?

KB--my statement was based upon CP's statement that "God demands our love...or else."
That concept is completely foreign to me. I suspect you're saying your view of the Father wouldn't change if there were no hell.

Yes, my idea of our loving and merciful Father would be altered if there were an eternal hell in the picture.
So, here's a question for all of you who believe in an eternal torment:
If you found out that God does not punish humans for eternity, would that alter your view of Him?

CP, thanks, bro....come on over when you can. I wish we could all sit around a table face to face with this!

Kansas Bob said...

Yikes! Double negative Batman! I should have said:

I think that my view of the Father would not change if I believed that hell does not exist.

Really, why would it change? Today I do not believe that He is unjust because He may judge some humans with hell, so why would I think Him unjust if tomorrow I came to believe that He would not judge some humans with hell. Yet, I do wonder (since we are speculating here) if my thoughts of Him would change if I believed that everyone went to heaven but that everyone did not change and He allowed hatred in heaven.. even though some bowed their knee they didn't bow their wills.. hmmm.

All that said Karen, maybe it might good to have a discusion around John 3:16 - seems like a simple place to start.. maybe you will want to start a new post/comment thread? Here is the verse:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

I would say that we agree that the Father sent His Son into the world because He loved the world.. He gave the world His very best in Jesus.

Where we probably differ would be on the remainder of John 3:16.. I contend that eternal life (i.e. shall not perish) comes from believing in the Son.. you feel (I think) that believing in the Son is not necessary to not perish and have eternal life.

Please let me know if you think that a discussion of John 3:16 might be helpful. Look forward to the dialog.

Another Voice said...

Karen,

So how is your energy? :) I may be back home by the end of summer, so maybe we CAN hash this out in person!

I am still working out what I think of hell (Hades/Death). I don't think it is eternal, based on Revelations. So even if I thought those that do not believe go there, I don't think it is for eternal torment.

Here's my take (so far), and someday I will pull up all the scripture that led me to this, but its a lot and its still a progressing line of thought:

Hell is where God is not.

It seems that Revelations teaches that this place will cease to exist, and those that have been there will know the truth and have another chance to be with God - and that some will still choose not to and cease to exist along with hell.

I don't think it is unloving of God to allow one who insists on despising him to choose not to be with him. If you force me to spend eternity with you and I don't really want to, I'll resent you. Wouldn't that place hatred in heaven? I might say that God knows what is best, so then overrules a person's will - but is that anymore loving?

He offers much to woo us - including reward, and gives explanation of where we will be if we reject him.

In the end, one may cease to exist because that would be the most merciful response to hatred.

I just don't think God says "Love me... or else." It's more like, "This is what will happen, trust me; take my hand and I will pull you out."

Missy

brian said...

Missy says that hell is where G-d is not. I've got just a couple of things to say about that. One, Psalms tells us that even if we descend to the depths of "hell" (actually Sheol) G-d is with us. Two, since I believe that G-d is all and there is, by definition, no "place" where G-d is not, Hell would be an impossibility by this definition. Anything that exists is created by G-d and a part of G-d.

The only possible "hell" (by the definition of an absence of G-d) would be annihilation because the only way to escape being in G-d's presence would be to be non-existent.

Missy said...

Missy: "In the end, one may cease to exist because that would be the [God's] most merciful response to hatred."

Brian: "The only possible "hell" (by the definition of an absence of G-d) would be annihilation because the only way to escape being in G-d's presence would be to be non-existent."

Brian, you are right, I do recall that scripture. I have read that Psalm often (139, I believe you are referencing). I even wrote a poem based on it, once. I understand sheoul to mean "grave" or better yet, "the place after death" in this verse, but I could be wrong. With this in mind, your quote above might be a better way to describe what I meant in my quote above. The presence of God in the after-life of those who have not accepted Him makes more sense if they get a second judgement. Like I said, I am still working this out.

However, what confuse me is that I could infer from Jesus' last words that there is a "place" where God is not. Psalm 22, as a prophecy, seems to refute this, but Jesus actually asks God why He had forsaken him. So did Jesus at this moment just think that God had abandoned Him, or had God really abandoned Him?

codepoke said...

> The Bible is Truth. The translations are not.

Praise the Lord.

> I do not see passages the same way many others do

I can roll with that.

> it is the SUM of the Book, the Whole of the message that I'm looking at

I'm for this, too.

> God gets angry and judging, like we do; but I don't see that in the end He is going to smite the majority of humankind.

I have a couple little issues with this sentence, but I hear you.

> It's clear in 1 Cor. 15 that that ain't gonna happen. It's laid out...firstfruits, those in Christ, then the remaining--then to God to be All in All.

Here's where I think I hear you contradict yourself. It seems to me that you do have to take 1 Cor 15 as a single passage, out of context, for it to mean what you read it to mean. I see why you come at it the way you do, but I think the sum of scripture necessitates taking it very differently.

> There is no doubt that God in the OT was a pretty testy God. ...
In the OT, where was the fire and brimstone that you see in the NT?

Well, this is really two questions.

1) Did God clearly express that He hated people who did not love him?
A) Deu 25:16 For all that do such things, [and] all that do unrighteously, [are] an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Psa 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
Psa 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
Zec 11:8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.

And question #2) Where is the talk of judgement after death?
A) This is a moot point, because there is equally little talk of reward after death. Both are there, and both are well-hidden. It was the resurrection of Christ that opened the eyes of the Lord's people to there being a final reward. That's the whole point of 1 Cor. 15. The passage exists because the Old Testament had not fully revealed eternal life. It is possible (see: Sadducees) to argue from the whole of the Old Testament that there is no after-life at all. It is wrong, but it is possible.

So, when the Lord says something like He said about Sodom,
Gen 19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it.
... it only makes sense to me that He is speaking eternally.

When He talks about:
Deu 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you [any one] that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, [or] that useth divination, [or] an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things [are] an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
... I see a lot more here than just removing them from the Earth for later, fuller training in truth.

Just a verse or two later, He tells of Christ's coming:
Deu 18:15 ¶ The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;

There's no talk here of eternity at all, and yet the New Testament reveals clearly that eternity was at issue the whole time.

====


> If you found out that God does not punish humans for eternity, would that alter your view of Him?

The truth always alters me.

It is a basic rhetorical point of Calvinists that there is no such thing as an intellectually consistent Arminian. There are only Calvinists and Universalists. I'm pretty sure Arminians disagree ;-), but Universalists usually can accept that statement too. I respect the intellectual honesty that enables you to look at the "everyone" passages and believe them. I just look at the passages that describe God choosing and believe them, too. They make no sense if He chose everyone.

So, if I were to find out God chose everyone, I'd have to deal with a whole new set of confusions. Today I have to deal with a God Who judges harshly. If Universalism came to light, I'd have to deal with a God Who did not claim vengeance for the oppressed, and that would trouble me.

For example. If my daughter were killed tomorrow, and some judge decided to shower mercy on the killer, that would be an offense against my daughter and against me. That judge would have acted unjustly.
Gen 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
2Ki 24:4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.

The sacrifice of Christ is a miracle of mercy, enabling God to judge truly against His Son and thereby to show mercy to His enemies. But it is not an unconditional mercy, or Hebrews would not say:
Hbr 6:4-6 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.

All told, it is the picture of the entire scripture put together that leads me to continue to believe in a final judgement, and to thank God for it. The Psalm says, "Kiss the Son lest you die," and it means that the person of the Son cannot be offended against lightly. Yes, it's forgivable, but it's not automatic; it's not everyone.

All that said, I respect the way you've seen and expressed your convictions. May the Lord continue to bless your search, and may He do the same for all of us.

brian said...

Excellent question, Missy. We can only speculate on what Jesus felt at that moment. But, we know one thing. Physically, He was still alive. So, unless one can enter Hell while still in the flesh, He was not in the place of Eternal Torment.

My personal opinion is He was in agony and cried out like we all sometimes. "Why aren't you here to save me from this pain?"

Don R said...

Fascinating dialogue. I won't add anything which would be interpreted as divisive. Brian and I think alike on most things. He has stated it well.

karen said...

I don't even know where to start. Thank you all for contributing here--it doesn't matter whether we agree--I love what I'm learning.

KB: "Yikes! Double negative Batman! I should have said: I think that my view of the Father would not change if I believed that hell does not exist."
Karen: Thought so!

KB: "Really, why would it change? Today I do not believe that He is unjust because He may judge some humans with hell, so why would I think Him unjust if tomorrow I came to believe that He would not judge some humans with hell. Yet, I do wonder (since we are speculating here) if my thoughts of Him would change if I believed that everyone went to heaven but that everyone did not change and He allowed hatred in heaven.. even though some bowed their knee they didn't bow their wills.. hmmm."

Karen: Hmmmm, indeed. You think God doesn't know the heart of a person? You honestly think He would allow hatred in heaven? Let's be fair here: I think it's less of a stretch for you to go from believing in a judging God to an unconditionally loving God, than it is for me to go from believing in an unconditionally loving God to one that smites the majority of the world.

KB: "All that said Karen, maybe it might good to have a discusion around John 3:16 - seems like a simple place to start.. maybe you will want to start a new post/comment thread? Here is the verse:For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Karen: Actually, it's "God loved the world, SO He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes him will not die but WOULD AT THAT POINT have eternal life" (TSNT) The CLNT translates it: "...every (one who is) believing (middle voice form) in Him should not be perishing (middle voice form) but may be having life eonion." That sounds to me as if at the point we're believing, we're HAVING it, because we KNOW we are forever with Him. Feel free to start a discussion with that verse, KB, although, I believe that a one-scripture discussion is unwise. Truly, I believe you may want to discuss that one because it appears to be (according to currently held translations) the strongest argument for exclusion of non-believers.
Here are some others that I would then bring up:

Isaiah 45:22-23 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

1 Timothy 4:10-11 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe. These things command and teach.

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam ALL are dying, even so in Christ shall ALL be vivified. (CLNT)


KB: "I would say that we agree that the Father sent His Son into the world because He loved the world.. He gave the world His very best in Jesus. Where we probably differ would be on the remainder of John 3:16.. I contend that eternal life (i.e. shall not perish) comes from believing in the Son.. you feel (I think) that believing in the Son is not necessary to not perish and have eternal life."
Karen: No, I don't think that's where I'm coming from, KB. Everyone will believe, it's necessary to believe. It never says in scripture WHEN the belief occurs or when it must occur, but it DOES say EVERYONE will believe--every tongue will confess. The middle voice in that literal translation indicates a transitional process...a very important distinction.

The Concordant Literal New Testament has a very interesting translation of John 3:16. John 12 is also interesting: John 12 35: "...and he (who is) walking in the darkness is not aware whither he is going. As you have the light, be believing in the light, that you may be becoming sons of light."
And earlier, John 11:40 ---" Did I not say to you that, if ever you should be believing, you should be seeing the glory of God?"
These scriptures are also referring to being witness to and a part and party to God's splendor RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW and a "becoming" as a believer. However, it never sets a time frame.
Can you give me any indication of a scripture that states that the believing must occur before death? If the judging process happens after death, might not the believing process?

karen said...

Thanks, Missy...my energy is great. I'd love it if you were back!
So, based on Revelation, why do you not believe that "hell" is forever? I'm not challenging you--I'm interested--none of knows the whole Truth!
I have to say that I think God is everywhere. There isn't a place He is not. So, in my opinion, if He is love, and He sent His son to have final victory over death, there cannot be any death.
I agree that they will get another chance, and they will all choose to be with Him. My daughter-in-law is not a believer--she likes to be totally irreverant, but she admits that if it turns out that God exists, she is going with Him...no more questions. LOL
When people are cleansed of all the bad stuff (and we all have bad stuff--none of us is probably worth going to heaven as we are right now, right?) and the chaff is burned off, who wouldn't want to be with Love?

Brian,
Thank you for coming by. Much appreciated, your input is valuable. I agree with you; 1 Corinthians says God will be and is the All in All. He is everything, and if we're not with him, we don't exist.

(For CP...I haven't processed your last info, but definitely will...but I think you questioned my steadfastness to one scripture--1 Cor. 15--I understand completely. However, this one scripture is where Paul actually lays out what is going to happen. I find that fascinating! I figure he also had an "in" on the scoop since he had that OBE, too! ;-))

Sheol was translated into Greek as Hades, which carries with it, paganism--as Hades was the Greek god of the underworld, so the concept of a horrible world of dead folk is really a pagan idea. Unless I'm understanding incorrectly, Sheol is the place where all dead folk go...they're dead. It's underground and nothingness.

SO, in answer to my own question....what changed?
Nothing except the translated word...not the Word. The Word was always Sheol in the OT and NT. When NT was translated into the Greek, it became Hades and I believe therein lies the change from just plain ol' death to a pagan-infused concept of an underworld that is less than pleasant.

brian said...

Karen,

As I understand it, you are right about the world "Sheol", which King James just loved translating as Hell. The Jewish concept of the afterlife (if there was one) was that Sheol was kind of a shadowy world where everyone went. There was no place of torment. Hades, Tartarus, etc. came from the pagans, not from the Jews. By the time of Jesus, it had begun to creep into Jewish thinking though.

Most of what we see translated in modern Bibles as Hell would be more accurately translated as Sheol in the old testament, Gehenna (in the parables told by Jesus) and I think in a couple of places Tartarus. But, the older translations are sprinkled liberally with Hell, which is rapidly disappearing from newer, more accurate translations.

karen said...

Thanks, Brian! I was hoping I had it somewhat correct.
When Christianity spread, it assimilated a great deal of what the existing pagan practices were--incorporating in order to spread, rather than through conquest (regardless of what we're told about the Crusades). My ancient history-loving son tells me that saints in Catholicism are mirrored from the Roman practice of worshiping many gods. It makes sense.

codepoke said...

> I think you questioned my steadfastness to one scripture

Never your steadfastness - just your interpretation! :-)

The Greek concept of death was one of eternal nothingness. It was unpleasant, but not tormenting. The Greeks largely ignored the afterlife because there was nothing that could be done to improve nor worsen it. You lived; you died; you spent eternity as a gray person in a gray place. Plato moved them to believing that the spirit returned to the stars after death, but never introduced hades as something to be avoided, so far as I know.

I'm with you on the mistakes of Christians in incorporating paganness into Christian thought, but I don't think you'll find as much paganness here as you might expect until you get to us all returning to 'whence we've come,' and that's only a part of the most new-agey Christianity.

karen said...

CP, from my past education and the following, I'll take exception to your comment that the Greeks largely ignored death. This is how I remember high school stuff:
From http://www.religionfacts.com/greco-roman/beliefs.htm

Death and the Afterlife
"I'd rather be a day-laborer on earth working for a man of little property than lord of all the hosts of the dead." --Achilles, in The Iliad

As illustrated by the above remark by the hero Achilles, death was not a glorius thing for the ancient Greeks. In Homer's epics, the dead are "pathetic in their helplessness, inhabiting drafty, echoing halls, deprived of their wits, and flitting purposelessly about uttering batlike noises."5 While undesirable when compared with life on earth, this vague, shadowing existence was not generally cause for fear of the afterlife. Only terrible sinners (like Tantalus, Tityus and Sisyphus) were punished after death; similarly, only a select few ended up in the paradisical Elysian Fields.

Hades

With the rare exceptions mentioned above, Hades was the universal destination of the dead in Greek religion until the latter half of the 5th century BCE. Hades was a cold, damp and dark realm that was guarded by the god of the same name. The "gates of Hades" were guaded by the fearsome hound Cerberus, who wags his tail for new arrivals but does not allow anyone to leave. Without proper burial, one cannot enter the gates of Hades. The river Styx is the boundary between earth and Hades, but Hades has other rivers as well (e.g. Phlegethon, Acheron, Cocytus). A similar concept is found in Japanese Buddhism in the Sanzu River, which the dead must cross on the way to the afterlife.

Tartarus

In Greek religion, Tartarus was the deepest region of the underworld, lower than Hades. Hesiod wrote that it would take an anvil nine days to fall from heaven to earth and another nine to fall from earth to Tartarus. Hades, not Tartarus, is the place of the dead but some especially wicked characters have been imprisoned in Tartarus to be punished. It is where Sisyphus, thief and murderer, must repeatedly push a boulder up a hill for eternity; where Ixion, who killed his father-in-law, is attached to a flaming wheel; and where Tantalus is kept just out of reach of cool water and grapes for sharing the secrets of the gods with humans. Tartarus is also where monsters and other enemies have been cast after being defeated by the gods, including the Cyclopes, the Titans and Typhus. In Roman mythology, Tartarus was the eternal destination of sinners in general.

Elysium

Elysium (also called Elysian Fields or Elysian Plain) was a paradise inhabited at first only by the very distinguished, but later by the good. Elysium first appears in Homer's Odyssey as the destination of Menelaus. It is located at the western ends of the earth and is characterized by gentle breezes and an easy life like that of the gods. Closely related to Elysium is Hesiod's Isles of the Blessed, mentioned in his Works and Days, which was located in the western ocean.

Reincarnation

The notion that the human soul enters another body upon death, though unfamiliar in popular Greek religion, was widespread in Greek philosophy. The doctrine of transmigration is first associated with the Pythagoreans and Orphics and was later taught by Plato (Phaedo, Republic) and Pindar (Olympian). For the former groups, the soul retained its identity throughout its reincarnations; Plato indicated that souls do not remember their previous experiences. Although Herodotus claims that the Greeks learned this idea from Egypt, most scholars do not believe it came either from Egypt or from India, but developed independently.

References
"Greek religion," The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, 231.
"fate." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, 213.
The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, 5.
"Greek mythology." Encyclopaedia Britannica; Hesiod, Theogony 126ff.
"death, attitudes to." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, 150.
« Greco-Roman Religion Basics Greek Religious Beliefs Greco-Roman Festivals »

With all due respect, CP...the preceding smells like hell to me, not Sheol.

Can you restate this comment so I can grasp what you're saying here? Thanks!:
CP:I'm with you on the mistakes of Christians in incorporating paganness into Christian thought, but I don't think you'll find as much paganness here as you might expect until you get to us all returning to 'whence we've come,' and that's only a part of the most new-agey Christianity.

Kansas Bob said...

Not sure that I have time to respond to everything you wrote Karen so maybe I'll just try a few:

Karen: I believe that a one-scripture discussion is unwise.

KB: Okay, I'll try to respond to the scriptures that you referenced.

Karen: Everyone will believe, it's necessary to believe. It never says in scripture WHEN the belief occurs or when it must occur, but it DOES say EVERYONE will believe--every tongue will confess. The middle voice in that literal translation indicates a transitional process...a very important distinction.

KB: Are you saying that seeing is believing? My understanding of faith is that it is believing without seeing. It seems that one confessing Christ after death would not require one to believe at all.. just captitulate to the facts.

Karen: Isaiah 45:22-23

KB: No argument here.. everyone needs to look to God.. every knee will eventually bow.. some in reverent obedience.. some in fear.. the latter is not indicative of salvation.. just a picture of one bowing guilty before their judge.

Karen: John 12:32

KB: Again, no argument.. but not everyone drawn follows that drawing.. those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God.

Karen: 1 Timothy 4:10-11

KB: "especially of those that believe" is there to clarify what "Saviour of all men" means

Karen: Philippians 2:9-11

KB: See comments on Isaiah 45:22-23

Karen: 1 Corinthians 15:22

KB: Yes, all who are in Christ will be vivified.

I am okay to continue or not to continue the dialog. I enjoy the discussion but don't want to argue unendingly. I respect where you are coming from even if I don't agree with some of your perspectives.

Blessings, Bob

Another Voice said...

Brian, I can accept how you describe Christ's feelings at those last words. I've always had this tug in my mind that there is something more there, so maybe I am grasping.

Missy

Another Voice said...

Challenge, me, Karen! Not many ask what I think. But I'll tell you, it's likely to change regularly. {c;

My primary reason for thinking that hell is not forever - and mind you I have not yet done a word study on this - is Revelation 20, where "death and Hades" are thrown into the lake of fire. I take this to mean the end of existance for either. I HATE reading Revelations because I think I have some ideas about it, but I see something different each time. For example, in vs. 10 of ch. 20, it says that the devil, along with the beast and false prophet, are thrown in the lake of burning sulphur and tomented for ever and ever. Is this the same lake? Then my theory of an "ending" will not fly. I have many other theories, though, to keep me warm. :)

I also get some of it from the Psalms. David repeatedly asks (in ch. 139 for example) that God would eternally torment his enemies and is always frustrated that God seems to refuse. I just notice a theme there.

Up until the last few years, I had read the Bible the way I learned to read other literature; paying less attention to the details and more attention to the morals and themes. Which way is right?

I guess why I find universalism and calvinism both so difficult, are that both groups seem so enlightened that they look down their nose at me as if I should know what they know. Each condescending pat on my back and the phrase, "I hope the Lord blesses you with understanding..." always makes me think of Romans14. I am weak in my lack of understanding and cling to immature practices - but does saying something make me guilty of the throwing out a similar stumbling block?

Anyway, Karen, that is all to say that I see a way which seems right to me, but I'll always be the first to admit it is very likely not right when presented another option. Hopefully by now, you've noticed that about me. :D

I like the idea of looking at Revelations with the idea that this life is time of testing - where the chaff is burned and all that remains is the pure eternal soul - that Revelation is not so much a symbolic revelation of the future of the world but rather the individual.

[sigh] Someday...

Missy

brian said...

Missy,

I don't pretend to know what was on the mind of Yeshua when He uttered those words. This is the best interpretation I can come up with based on the theology I've evolved into. I used to think this was the moment "sin" was placed upon Him and G-d turned His back on Him. But, I now believe this is not only not what happened (sin heaped on Him). But, it's impossible (for G-d to abandon Him). I think He felt abandoned.

Peace,
Brian

Missy said...

Brian,

Thank you. There's been a tickle in the back of my throat the last two years regarding sin as the wall between God and I. I've considered that it's not sin, but the guilt or shame we feel because of sin. Although, some would say that's the same thing.

What you wrote made me think of that again. If Christ, at that moment, accepted any guilt or shame, he could have felt that sense of abandonment that we all feel with shame. I guess he proves that feeling wrong, though, doesn't he!?

Missy

(Karen, if this seems off-topic, let me know - but it flows quite nicely for me. But I'm odd like that. :D )

brian said...

Missy,

I couldn't agree with you more and when I reread the Bible through this lens, I see this. The separation between G-d and man caused by sin is our shame and our guilt. G-d never left us, we left G-d (look at the garden of Eden story- Adam and Eve hid). Man has been trying to work his way back to G-d ever since. Finally, Jesus came and said "Stop trying. I love you and I've always been here for you." Look at the story of the prodigal son. The son was the one reluctant to return. The father set no preconditions! Once you accept this paradigm, the Bible practically screams this message at you.

karen said...

I'll be back. I have a tooth issue. Ow.

This is an amazing dialogue--each and every one of you. I am learning so much.
Thank you.

Kansas Bob said...

Ouch.. hope it gets fixed quick Karen!

I am scheduled to be crowned in July.. by the dentist not the Queen :)

codepoke said...

Well, I won't really get excited about a discussion of Greek theology, but I read each of your quotes carefully and they all say what I was trying to say. The Greeks did not believe in an eternal burning lake of fire for bad people, and a life of unimaginable bliss for good people. They believed in a nasty little inconvenient place for everyone until they started adding on the idea of a pretty doggone nice place for exceptional people.

By nothingness I did not mean non-existence, I meant vanilla-gray-icky-life devoid of color. I meant that specifically as opposed to an eternity of being consumed without being consumed by a lake of fire. (The being tormented by devils thing is really annoying to me anyway. That's a totally medieval concept as near as I can tell. Scripture seems to imply the fire is equally tormenting to fallen angels and fallen men, if it implies anything.)

When I say you won't find much paganness in Christian afterlife, I merely mean that the idea of an eternal lake of fire tormenting angels and men together is uniquely Christian. I used to believe, as you are saying, that this stuff was all borrowed from the Greeks, but NT Wright convinced me there is almost nothing parallel between the two lines of thought.

The "whence we've come" reference is to Plato's idea that we all return to the stars - soul migration, but not transmigration. I think you'll find the case for soul migration very easy to make, but I'm not so sure about reincarnation. I'd have to go back and read it all again and I'd rather concede the point. :-)

I'm much more interested in the discussion of the Old Testament views of God.

karen said...

Hmmm. I don't think we're going to get any further on this. The words Hades and Tartarus were the original words in the New Testament--later translated to hell. I've never read NT Wright, but you really can't get more "parallel" than the ACTUAL pagan words in the Book.

Feel free to start in on the OT.

codepoke said...

I was refering to that big bunch of quotes I gave from the OT earlier.

karen said...

CP...ahh. Getcha. I'm not sure why you're more interested in OT God, when He progressed to sending His Son to us, though? I'm printing off your scripture references and will have a look and a prayer.
Missy..you were quoting also from the Psalms. Let's hear from some of you about the OT references to God. I'll be back on that. My tooth thing was resolved, thankfully. :-D

Here is my response to some earlier comments. The HS showed me that this is a difficult thing to discuss because some of us are working from literal translations, some of us are not. It's like sitting around trying to discuss 2 different Austen novels and expecting agreement. Same author, different words.

CP, briefly, I don't listen to or ascribe much to labels like Calvinist, Universalist, Armenian, etc. That would mean, then, that I adhere to a particular belief system that is laid out before me and keeps me from thinking for myself. It is so much easier to either sit in a church or a bible study and be spoon-fed, or visit websites and learn what Universalists say about everything, than to actively plop down with translations, lexicons, and intense prayer and really dig in. Yes, we learn from others...I'm learning so much here--and there is value in group study, but one must be led by the Holy Spirit in the end. I was in silence with my belief in a loving God all through my late teens and into my church-going years--even before I had any knowledge of such groups of people, I had this idea of a loving God. Then, I had it confirmed.

You, KB, and I see 1 Corinthians 15 radically different. In Adam all die, in Christ all live. In Adam, all sin, including your murderers. Sin is sin. In Christ, all live. It doesn't translate to "those that believe" and the verse, in its original doesn't make sense with that in there. It is quite poetic--and the remainder of the scripture is beautifully laid out. Christ, those in Christ, then the remainder (not "the end" as in the finish--the end as in the rest), then to God.

The word (and we've hashed this out before) for eternity is not eternity. It's eon. Punishment is definitely there. It's just not for eternity. It's for an eon. It is just.

I would love to see my nasty neighbor get punished. I would love to see murderers tormented for what they've done. But, I'm a harsh judge, full of sin-- I am not fully in Love as I should be.Countless people have forgiven people who have sinned horribly against them. That can only be Amazing Love, and I only have a small glimpse of it.

Corrie Ten Boom's sister forgave her torturers in the Nazi prison camps. Before she died, Betsie told Corrie "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." She endured more than most of us will ever endure. I don't think I could forgive like that--could you? Here is a mere human, flesh and blood, capable of incredible forgiveness. Was she foolish? From where else but God could that kind of love come?

KB, again, we see and interpret those scriptures radically different. You said, "Yes, all who are in Christ will be vivified." That's not what it says. " In Christ" are HIS actions, not ours, for HE did the work, in other words, as above--In Adam (because of Adam) we all sin. It was his doing. We had nothing to do with that. In Christ (because of Christ) we all live. It was His doing. We had nothing to do with that, either.

"Especially of those that believe" does not clarify what Savior of all men means. God is the Savior of ALL men; 'especially of those that believe', does not exclude the rest. It merely means that believers are special. And, they are.

Jesus said "And I, if I should be exalted out of the earth, shall be drawing all to Myself." He was exalted out of the earth, and I assume He will be doing what He says: drawing all to Himself. The Greek word is helkuo, which means to draw, drag off. All.

I cannot keep my thoughts about what is and will happen contained on this fleshly earth. The scriptures offered that tell of God's destruction of a whole matter of sinners...YES, they are dead. But Jesus came to give victory over sin and death. If death remains, there is no victory. It will not remain.

This earth is not the reality--and I think CP said that there is little talk of reward or judgment after death. I'm confused by that, because the Bible is rife with crossover talk of this realm and the spiritual realm--and indeed does talk of judgment. No one is getting off scot-free. Believers will fare better, sooner. We are not our fleshly selves, and the whole point of the cross was to release us from that and give us freedom from the death of the body.
The only place in the Bible that isn't the pagan Hades, Tartarus, or Israel's Gehenna words translated to hell, is the Lake of Fire in Revelation. Even then it says that Death and the Unseen will give up their dead, then Death and the Unseen will be thrown into the LofF.
Is salvation because of Christ's actions, or ours? Did He not pay the price--or do WE have to do more work than He did by suffering on the cross? Is salvation up to us or God?

Kansas Bob said...

Thanks again for the dialog Karen! I agree that we differ in our take on some scriptures. I was a bit confused by this though:

"No one is getting off scot-free. Believers will fare better, sooner."

Are you saying that everyone will be judged for their sins? That seems to be inconsistent with a view that all sin was for all people judged on the cross. I may be confused.. maybe you are speaking of a different kind of judgment.. maybe you could elaborate a bit?

Thanks, Bob

karen said...

The scriptures suggest that believers will fare better and sooner and that those who have largely misbehaved will be punished. . . for a time.


I've always been confused as to why there would be judging, if Jesus died on the cross for everyone's sins, that should be it. That's what I hope, but it also makes me feel better to think that evil people won't get off scot-free, that they have to do their time. That seems fair, do the jail time, then on to God. More fair than frying for eternity.

What do you think about that, KB? Also, should good and loving, kind non-believers spend eternity in hell with murderers?

Kansas Bob said...

I guess you are saying that since sin was judged on the cross then behavior is the only thing left to be judged. This seems problematic because it makes judgment after death somewhat temporal and assumes that time exists after death.

Regarding fairness, kind nonbelievers and murderers.. IMHO the sin that one is judged for is not murder but unbelief.. murder and the many other sins are biproducts of unbelief.. which, it could be argued, is a product of pride.

brian said...

Regarding judgment, if you believe the report from Near Death Experiences (NDEs) there does seem to be a life review after death. Call it judgment if you will. People relive their lives with the knowledge of the pain/joy they caused others with their actions and their words. Many have reported a presence (G-d if you will) there witnessing it with them but not judging. The judgment seems to be internal. Once people have knowledge of the damage their sins have done, they condemn themselves.

In this sense, Karen is right. Believers, those who have chosen the "better way" sooner will have less to be "judged" for. I do not believe that G-d judges punitively. Any judgment from G-d will be corrective (I believe the Greek words are kolasis and timor). Kolasis is a chastisement. When we punish our children, do we do it for revenge or to teach them that what they did was not acceptable so they won't do it again?

I believe we will all face "judgment" after death. But, not a fiery pit or G-d condemning us. Our eyes will be opened as to what we did here and we will be amazed at the impact we had both good and bad.

Kansas Bob said...

I think that I saw that judgment scenario in a movie Brian. Maybe Albert Brooks is smarter than we give hom credit for :)

karen said...

KB, so Jesus didn't die for all of our sins. The sin of unbelief is the one that sends us to a hell.

Catholics have said that murder is the only unforgivable sin. So, that would send Paul and David to hell.

Brian, thank you for that concise and well-written answer. Better than mine! I'm in agreement.

brian said...

Bob, that movie looks fascinating. I missed that one. Just put it in my Netflix queue. Thanks.

Kansas Bob said...

"KB, so Jesus didn't die for all of our sins. The sin of unbelief is the one that sends us to a hell."

That would be my interpreation of John 3:18 -

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

What did you think of the idea of a timeless afterlife? Seems that time plays a role in your thinking of temporal judgment. What if time does not exit fter you die?

karen said...

Again, here we have one translation (in your case the KJV?) in mine, the literal. So, I went to the literal, and to the KJV and NAS with Strong's. The word krino in Greek means judge..and many other meanings, but none are "condemned"--except the KJV still persists in translating it to "condemned" :

Krino
to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose
to approve, esteem, to prefer
to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion
to determine, resolve, decree
to judge
to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong
to be judged, i.e. summoned to trial that one's case may be examined and judgment passed upon it
to pronounce judgment, to subject to censure
of those who act the part of judges or arbiters in matters of common life, or pass judgment on the deeds and words of others
to rule, govern
to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, because it was the prerogative of kings and rulers to pass judgment
to contend together, of warriors and combatants
to dispute
in a forensic sense
to go to law, have suit at law

NAS John 3:18
"He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

KJV John 3:18
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

I do not know where you're going with the time question. I don't have a precise knowledge of physics. Time defines other quantities and is a quantity in and of itself. In the bible, the word translated to eternity is not eternity, but eon. That is a measure of time. I think that in 1 Corinthians 15, and in Revelation, it appears that lots of stuff is going to happen until God has made everything the All in All. Maybe that's when time ceases to be.

I do know that judged and condemned are two entirely different concepts. To be judged already can simply mean that the unbeliever will have to go through the correction process. It does not mean they will fry eternally.

Kansas Bob said...

What is Ann Nyland's translation of John 3:18? Couldn't find it online.

I think that the idea of time is a before death concept - after all God created time. It seems reasonable to think that time will not exist after death.. it is why the idea of temporal judgment doesn't seem to fit for me.. but I am flexible.. sort of :)

karen said...

Nyland's is the same correct translation of krino: judged.

Another Voice said...

(BTW - Brian, you must see that movie, it's great!)

Karen, I pay close attention to David's dialogue with God because God made a significant promise to him, but for the most part, I read the OT as a narrative and as such find Him very consistent throughout the OT & NT. I am beginning to attempt to read the NT more narratively as well, but I have to reprocess my thinker from years of reading it primarily for instruction. Seems ironic that I did it this way and not the other. [shrug]

Seems to me that the OT God was always trying to get His people to stop focusing on their sin by remedying it with the practices of the law, then they could turn to Him with a "clear conscience." It seems the "punishment" of not doing this was worldly, as most are - many of the remedies in the law were medicinal/hygenically related or psychologically healing. I do not see much eternal damnation/torment mentioned - except, when it is requested by men, as I mentioned it is frequently reqested by David.

Missy

karen said...

Missy, what an insightful comment!
I'm without response right now. (crowds cheering!) ;-)

Another Voice said...

Karen, I don't think insightful is the right word. Got too many questions for that! These thoughts kinda led me off-topic and with too many words - well, I wrote up some thoughts (and way too many ?'s!) back at my place.

codepoke said...

Over at Better Bibles, they were talking about anastasis in the Greek. One of the verses they quoted was the last half of Ps. 1. They made the intriguing point that "stand in" could just as easily be translated, "be resurrected."

Either way, the passage is of interest to this discussion.

Psa 1:4 The ungodly [are] not so: but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

karen said...

I prefer to look at the Hebrew here (actually would prefer to chuck the Greek in the whole of it all):

rasha--wicked, ungodly
ken--so
mots--chaff; always as driven
ruwach--breath, spirit, wind, Holy Spirit
Nadaph--drive away, tossed, shaken
lo--before, not
derek--journey, direction

The translators certainly added many words. The actual only words are:

Psalm 1:4-6--

Wicked so which Wind?Breath/spirit drives/tosses/shakes about.
Therefore wicked stand judgment. Not sinners assembly righteous. Lord knows way righteous. Way wicked perish.

Seems to me that the wicked WILL stand judgment. Sounds like their WAY will perish--not them. I wonder why, if the wicked will perish, that it would not have been written as such.
Why not write:
The wicked will perish.
Why is "way/journey/direction" in there? "derek" means journey,way, direction.

?

Again, with your "knoweths" and "driveths" it appears you're working from a KJV. I like to get into the originals (or as close to as possible) when discussing. I find that when I approach this way, the Spirit speaks louder of the meaning than when I'm looking at sentences re-written and added to by humans.

Bottom line, though--
The WAY of the ungodly shall perish. Doesn't say the ungodly shall perish.

codepoke said...

:-)

Yes, but I'm not working at all. It's Suzanne working, and I'm just admiring the possibilities.
http://englishbibles.blogspot.com/2008/06/anastasis-to-rise-again.html

I used to spend a little time with my lexicon and interlinears and the like. Those days are past. As I've hung out at BBB and listened to the various ways of translating a word, and learned just how much depends upon context - context that I will NEVER have, and that the lexicographers lacked while they were building their works - I've given over trusting them much.

Instead, I focus on comparative use in other places in the bible. If I see kephale used in a single way in the new testament, though, that still doesn't mean much. (See http://englishbibles.blogspot.com/2008/06/head-and-body-organic-unity.html for just an example of the discussions around kephale.) There's no way I'd ever get all this context from the tools practically available to me.

So, I read Suzanne talking about the Greek talking about the Hebrew, and I just have to smile and wonder. The Hebrew word for stand in Ps 1 is never used for anything other than standing in the old testament. Then again, how many times is the concept of resurrection expressed in the old testament at all? We have precious little context against which to say with assurance what word David would or would not have used. The translators of the Septuagint chose the word anastasis, and though clearly the word does not confidently mean "resurrected" in that context, it still stirs and challenges me.

Don said...

"We have precious little context against which to say with assurance what word David would or would not have used."

This or similiar statements are true for the entire document which we refer to as the OT and the NT. I think we must always keep this in mind.

"I've hung out at BBB and listened to the various ways of translating a word, and learned just how much depends upon context - context that I will NEVER have, and that the lexicographers lacked while they were building their works"

Excellent point! Yet we all try to impose our own position, ideas, beliefs, on a verse, passage or entire book. Someone once told me, "We can make the Bible say anything we want it to say to support our own beliefs". Perhaps that could be way I view discussions or dialogues over particular passages or verses ultimately without merit. However, I do enjoy reading others viewpoints.

karen said...

I, too, enjoy the discussion, but will not give over my own chance to see what others say. . .then see what I say.

The additions of a majority of the words in the Bible disturb me.

And, still, unless we're talking about something closer to the originals than the KJV, I would have to back away from that.

And, yes, context. Someone said that had Paul known what stock was going to be put into the letters in the NT, he might have been more explicit in his meanings.

Don said...

Karen- I agree. Didn't mean to imply I don't like the questions or the discussions. I do, as is obviously because I frequently feel drawn into them.

"Someone said that had Paul known what stock was going to be put into the letters in the NT, he might have been more explicit in his meanings."

Does this say to you what it says to me about inspiration and inerrancy?

brian said...

I wonder what Paul would make of all the fuss over his letters to the churches? An image that comes to me is in a few hundred years some people find emails from Billy Graham to churches (or pick your favorite preacher)? They have one side of the conversation. No emails back from the churches. No context other than what's in the letter. What would we in 2008 think of people saying Bill Graham's emails are "inerrant"? What would Billy Graham say about his emails being inerrant?

Kansas Bob said...

I resonate with your wonderments Brian. I often wonder if we get a little too much like the Pharisees when we get all Greeky trying to make a system of law out of the New Testament.. just wondering though :)

karen said...

Good thoughts, guys. Don, I surely know you love the discussions! :-D

Brian's right...we only get one side of the letters, and there were actually 3-4 letters, for instance, to Corinth, but they were combined into 2. I don't know about the inerrant part. I guess I put more stock into Paul than Billy, but you point is more than valid.

Again, we get back to (IMHO): what is the MESSAGE of the Bible; the WHOLE of what we are to do; how we are to be.

Telling non-Christians they're gonna fry in hell is not how we're supposed to be. Pretty sure about that.

brian said...

Karen,

I also put a lot of stock in Paul. But, perhaps it's the distance in both time and space and the lack of familiarity that gives him that aura of authority. I wonder if we knew Paul face-to-face if we'd take his letters so literally. I only used Billy Graham as an example that works for me.

As I've gotten older and learned more about the context of how the Bible came to be, my view has changed from the "Word of God" to an inspired word from God- through men. And, given that I think God is still speaking, I take it seriously. But, I don't think the book was closed or ever will be. I have no doubt that Paul's words are inspired as are the words of authors we still have with us today.

Peace,
Brian

karen said...

Brian,
You're right. Absolutely agree.

"But, I don't think the book was closed or ever will be."

Exactly! God IS speaking right now. Sometimes I think people have their nose so buried in the Book, that they're missing the Now. I had my own "road to Damascus" experience, but most folks won't believe that.

And, then when you know the history behind how the Bible was put together. . .well, you know.

Robert said...

wow I wish I would have realized this blog was here sooner lol somehow i have missed it. I wonder if any of us would take the calvinist position putting ourselves or loved ones under the microscope?? Can we honestly say we have overcome sin and been obedient in faith enough to be the *elect*??? Do we not have times where unbelief happens within us like the man who told Jesus, I believe help my unbelief??? Would a God who self-defines Himself as love create beings whom He knew before he made them that He would discard them to a place of torment simplyu because He is all powerful and can make a being like that if He chooses too??? Sorry if any of what i said is repetitive i am way late on here. I cannot believe the way all on here have stayed civil and gracious all throughout,providing more light than heat. Almost any forun i have seen this discussion play out harshness occurs. Kudos to you karen and everyone for being loving people.

karen said...

Robert, as always, your heart shines big:
"Would a God who self-defines Himself as love create beings whom He knew before he made them that He would discard them to a place of torment simply because He is all powerful and can make a being like that if He chooses too???"
Repetitive? Hardly.
Glad you're here!

TimD said...

You are alright. I love to participate in a good ass-whoopin; better when it looks like the odds are against us. Count me in. -- tim

You have so much stuff here I make periodic trips to explore. - td

karen said...

Thanks, Tim...I'm sending folks your way. Your stuff is awesome.

We have a nice time here, everyone plays nice together. We don't agree on everything, and that's okay.