Why ISIS Should Make Christians Rethink The Doctrine Of Hell

Why ISIS Should Make Christians Rethink The Doctrine Of Hell February 18, 2015

Screenshot 2015-02-18 08.19.46

The violence we’re seeing at the hands of ISIS is disgustingly barbaric. If mass beheadings, taking people into slavery, and throwing gay people off the tops of buildings wasn’t enough, they’ve now of course taken to burning people alive. First, it was a single pilot, but now they are parading 17 Kurds in cages with the promise that they’ll be burned alive too.

Burning people alive isn’t anything new, and certainly isn’t unique to ISIS– as Christians we have a long history with this practice as well. Many of the early Anabaptists faced this same fate for the “sin” of baptizing adults, as well as people who had the crazy idea that the Bible should be translated into common language for everyone to read for themselves. Heck, even Calvinism was founded by someone (John Calvin) who had a theological enemy burned alive for disagreeing with his theology (okay, in fairness to Calvin, he tried to do him a favor and get him beheaded instead).

Nonetheless, it’s 2015. Civilized culture has grown beyond the days of burning people alive, recognizing the practice as something that is completely offensive to any rational person. And, not just offensive- we consider it morally repulsive to the degree that many Christians want the perpetrators wiped off the face of the earth.

I must say, those instincts are correct– torturing people by burning them alive is morally repulsive. And so, we pray to God that he would intervene on behalf of these people who are suffering such unimaginable barbarism.

But here’s the irony of it all: while we find burning people alive morally repulsive when ISIS does it, most Christians seem to have no moral qualms about believing in a God they think will do precisely that. In fact, the traditional doctrine on hell paints God in a far worse light than ISIS– instead of just burning people to kill them, this doctrine believes that the people will never die– but will be tortured by the pain of the flames for all eternity. And somehow, they believe God will pronounce this as being good.

The doctrine of “eternal, conscious torment” can get even sicker depending how far one wants to take it: instead of people like Hitler being eternally tortured ISIS style, many would believe that folks like indigenous tribes living in the jungle who have never met a missionary or seen a Bible will all be tortured in the flames too. In fact, some areas of Christianity, such as extreme Calvinism, actually believe that God created most of humanity for the express purpose of torturing them in flames and that they have no right to complain or object– because God has every right to create things for whatever purpose he has in mind, including ISIS style torture.

I’d hope that if we could all detach from our individual Christian tradition for a moment and step back, we’d be able to see that this is actually sick.

As a follower of Jesus, I believe that we were all created in the image and likeness of God, and that God has planted in our hearts a sense of justice and morality. When we see hostages paraded in orange jump suits, caged up and about to be tortured, we feel moral outrage– and I believe this moral outrage comes from the spirit of God within us, reminding our consciences that it’s never okay to torture a fellow image bearer.

That same moral outrage at images of hostages about to be burned alive (such as the image above) should also cause us to pause for a moment and rethink what we actually believe about God and his character. Is God perfectly moral in all his ways? Is God altogether good? Is he altogether lovely? Does God look exactly like Jesus– the one who said “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”?

If God is– and I believe he is— this alone should cause us to be willing to rethink and reexamine the traditional doctrine on hell as “eternal, conscious torment.” Because if we don’t, we’re saying that burning people to torture them is sick and twisted when ISIS does it, but that it’s good and wonderful when God does it.

I’m tired of the canned statements designed to stifle actually using the hearts and minds God planted inside of us.

“But you don’t understand God’s justice.”

“You have no right to question God.”

“Being tortured is what we all deserve.”

“What is moral for God is different than what is moral for us.”

And you know what, I call BS on all of it.

It’s time to question. It’s time to rethink.

Is it possible that our views on hell have been more shaped by medieval barbarians who practically burned their enemies for the sport of it than the actual words of Scripture and the nature and character of Jesus?

Is it possible that we have taken these concepts given to us by people who enjoyed burning their enemies and then read them into the pages of scripture?

Is it possible that God is actually Jesus on the cross dying for his enemies and not an ISIS terrorist torturing his enemies? 

I believe a solid case can be made from scripture that hell as a place where God eternally tortures people because they grew up in a jungle without Christian missionaries, is actually unbiblical (you can find the archive of my hell articles, here). But even before we get to the biblical arguments, our moral outrage at ISIS burning people alive presents a completely good and valid reason to begin questioning and rethinking this doctrine. God gave us a conscience that bears witness to his– let’s use it.

Because I am convinced that if we rethink, reexamine, and attempt to rediscover, we might just see that God is not like an ISIS terrorist burning his enemies– but God is actually Jesus on the cross dying for his.

(and if you’d like to read a book on this topic, I recommend Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism.

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  • It’s just one of many things that I’ve seen where many of us have that particular kind of dissonance. It’s amazing just how many things fall into that category, barbaric when humans (specifically, people we don’t like) do it, but good when God does it.

  • jontrott

    I like much of your writing — just posted your recent ruminations on loving Muslims, for instance, on my facebook page — but I think you needed to go deeper here. Hell, if pictured in a Dantesque way, does seem (heck, is!) barbaric. But if hell (as C. S. Lewis among others suggests) is God granting the wish of a certain number of people to be separated from him eternally, I am agonized by that but also see its inevitability. If we are not Calvinists (and Universalists, I would argue, are Calvinists who’ve inverted irresistable grace) then we must assent to the possibility that God might grant human beings their own unwavering desire to be without God. I am completely unwillling to say who’s “on” or “off” that list! (That is entirely God’s business; I’m supposed to love my neighbor and love God.) Yet the doctrine of hell is, if anything, mentioned even more often in Scripture than is the doctrine of heaven. Just some food for thought. And I really do like your writing and your topics. Blessings.

  • Thanks. I’d invite you to read the entire hell series I linked to, because the position you’re articulating is precisely the position I hold.

  • I’d also say that the Hell that Lewis paints isn’t the “eternal torture” mold. The only torture involved is the separation from God. And I can’t speak for the others you allude to, but the picture from Lewis isn’t actually an eternal Hell, either; the Hell of the Great Divorce is theoretically a Purgatory that one can escape whenever one chooses, and is only truly eternal for those who choose to never escape.

  • Julian Washio-Collette

    Benjamin, have you read the Atlantic article on ISIS yet? Seems to me that there’s much to be mined in illuminating the psychological, ideological, and religious parallels between ISIS and American Christian fundamentalism.

  • Janice Brantner

    The word translated as hell in the Old Testament refers only to Adamic death, from which all are redeemed by Jesus. But yes, there are some scriptures that speak of eternal punishment (eternal death) for those who refuse to be reconciled to God.

  • Lewis’s ideas in The Great Divorce is actually where I stand. People in hell can change. That’s what I understand when reading 1 Peter 3.18-22. Jesus was sent down to the prisoners in hell to proclaim to those who died in the flood, to minister unto them.

    These were not average folks who were sometimes good and sometimes evil. These were the same people that made God wonder if He should have ever created humanity in the first place because they were pretty much so, evil to the core (Genesis 6.6). Christ ministered to them. Why would he do so if there was no hope of reconciliation?

    The Eastern Church also has a very strong tradition about heaven and hell not so much geographical places, but more so as states of mind or spirit. The more love one has, the more heavenly he or she becomes. The more hatred, the more hellish. That kind of thinking would agree with Clive Sinclair Lewis’s assessment as well. How so?

    Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love” First Letter of St. John, the Apostle 4.8 NRSV.

  • R Vogel

    I know, Ben, you believe in non-violence so this does not pertain to you, but I wonder about this ‘outrage’ about ISIS burning the Jordanian pilot to death. Is it the act people are outraged about? Are they just as outraged about the use of flame throwers in the Pacific theater of World War II? Or the incineration of over 200,000 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Or the Napalming of villages in Vietnam? Or the How many of these outraged people would be just fine if it was a ISIS member in that cage? Or Osama bin Laden? I wonder.

  • R Vogel

    This is great for someone like me. Heaven sounds about a boring as anything anyway, so it doesn’t really hold any hope for me. No torture makes hell no worse than a Thursday night and annihilation is the best of all worlds. Don’t have to worry about it at all. I already think there is nothing after we die, so this just makes it so.

  • I don’t fully agree with John Calvin, but I am a Universalist. I can see why you would argue that we are inverted Calvinists. LOL

    If I were Calvinist to the core and using Romans 5 to prove my point, then I would have to be Universalist, because just as all have sinned through one man’s disobedience, then all will become reconciled through the obedience of Christ.

  • … or that we burn to death innocent people with fire from drones on a daily basis…

  • Looks like I responded to the wrong comment, sorry! :)

  • Yes, yes, yes. That’s how I read that passage too.

  • ZionArt

    Benjamin Corey there are two points I must make to this posting.

    1. Your opining “many would believe that folks like indigenous tribes living in the jungle who have never met a missionary or seen a Bible will all be tortured in the flames too.” Gods word says in Romans 2:14-15 “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another”

    What the Lord is stating through the apostle Paul is if the indigenous tribes living in the jungle who have never met a missionary or seen a Bible would obey just the Ten Commandment without knowing it then those indigenous people will have eternal life and be with the Lord in Heaven.

    2. The word of God says 2Timothy 3:16 and 2Peter 1:21 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2Timothy 3:16). For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2Peter 1:21).”

    The word of God was not invented in the mid 1500, but has been forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89). The word of God states clearly in Revelation 20:12 about the dead who are in hell that they will be called up out of hell to be judged by God. And Revelation 20:14-15 says “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

    So those people in hell after they have been judged are going to be caste into the lake of fire along with death and hell where they will die a second time. The only two humans who will be tormented day and night forever and ever are the Anti Christ and false prophet (Revelation 20:10)

  • Ken

    Have you seen any of those videos on youtube of people who say that Jesus took them to visit hell so they may warn the world?

  • I do think we have accept that God is both perfect love and perfect justice–and we fall into important errors when we deny one or the other. I’m not confident as to how exactly this plays out. If God isn’t going to deal justly with the evil we see in ISIS (and everywhere else) in the life to come, then I must deal with it in this life–and that will lead to vigilantism/vendetta/blood feud/revenge and the world will be even worse. If God will deal justly with evil, I can content myself with that and focus on being an agent of peace in the world and not an agent of justice. More thoughts here: http://trentdejong.com/god-or-a-caricature/

  • Herm

    Do you actually mean to say that God is not a barbaric sadist imperialist and might even be exactly the opposite in Spirit? Wow, that would be Good News! Thanks!

  • I wonder about the eternity of the punishment. I know that both annihilationists and universalists refer to Jude 7 when speaking of eternal fire that that fire isn’t forever. Notice, if it were so, we would know exactly where Sodom is. All we’d have to do is follow the smoke.

    Annihilationism would note that the after effect of the fire is eternal whereas a Universalist (like myself) would see the word eternal as meaning no determined time of ending. One would say the fire — whatever the fire may actually be — leads to eternal punishment (death) while the other says it’s done when it is done (reconciled).

    However we look at it, we both can agree that the fire isn’t the eternal mechanism for torment/torture…

  • Guest

    Benjamin, you’re going to need to back this article up with scripture. Otherwise, none of this has any credence. Which it doesn’t.

  • GOOD NEWS INDEED!!!

  • R Vogel

    Oh, thank heaven! I thought I was in real trouble! ;p

  • R Vogel

    Right? I wish we could see the us in them and the them in us. We might not be able to avoid using violence to stop this threat (although I don’t think we have exhausted other options yet), but perhaps we can avoid causing the next one.

  • Just Thinkin’

    Here’s a question… if the end of hedonism is obliteration, then the choices we have are 1) live in Glory with Christ 2) nothing. Its a very strong argument FOR hedonism and a self serving lifestyle! Get what you can now, whats the worst that can happen? Rape, plunder, abuse, kill, get wealthy, rip off old folks, burn people alive, hurt everyone, destroy your kids though bad choices. Nothing matters because the worst that can actually happen is… well… Nothing.

    I agree that people should not be condition to love God to avoid consequences, but rather that they love God for Who He is, but I’m struggling with the permissiveness of your theory.

  • Herm

    The law is written in your heart and mind. If this article does not agree perhaps you should share, for all our benefit, what is written for you that disagrees with disciple Benjamin’s heart and mind. Truly I would be interested and would back up your care to share when in neighborly love. Thanks at least for your vote! Love you!

  • R Vogel

    Nothing matters because the worst that can actually happen is… well… Nothing.

    This is just silly. The worst that could happen is you could be raped, plundered, abused, killed, get ripped off, or burned alive, or have the whole cat’s in the cradle thing with your kids. Inventing eternal consequences is quite unnecessary. The human ones are quite sufficient. In fact if there is no afterlife, that I can get into with a heart felt death bed confession, the human consequences are all the more important. If I have only one life, then I probably don’t want to spend it rotting in a prison cell or have it cut short by a bigger badder version of myself.

  • Herm

    The choices actually are by your argument 1) live in Glory with Christ 2) live a self serving lifestyle until it’s over.

    The choice for me is just what is most rewarding 1) taking advantage of life’s abundant opportunities constructive and destructive for a short time 2) learning to do and be constructive for and with all for eternity (relational time without end). This I can comprehend in my heart and soul. I, or we all, cannot possibly comprehend what we have no experience with, heaven or Hell. I opt for altruism over egotism, but that’s just my choice from what I know to pick. Having chosen I somehow have no fear of what’s to come. There is a wonderful peace and joy I did not know until I got outside of me.

  • Herm

    … only cleansing what otherwise would be eternally destructive.

  • Just Thinkin’

    Ah, but you are thinking like a nice guy! If we are really embracing hedonism because of the lack of consequences, then no nice guys are allowed. Its all for yourself, because you will get eaten otherwise. Darwin wins! And nice guys will lose out horribly. All restraint will be cast off because why not?

  • Just Thinkin’

    Ah, but you are all thinking like a nice guy! If we are really embracing hedonism because of the lack of consequences, then no nice guys are allowed. Its all for yourself, because you will get eaten otherwise. Darwin wins! And nice guys will lose out horribly. All restraint will be cast off because why not?

  • Just Thinkin’

    Let me be clear, I do not support my own argument – I am 100% for a life lived for Christs glory. but my training means I cannot just watch as incomplete arguments are made

  • Excellent question! What if the best possible life we could live is one of ultimate altruism? I know that Nietzsche would disagree with my question, saying altruism doesn’t really exist. It is there to make us feel good about ourselves. But what if altruism does exist and the best possible life was to KNOW that one was living a life “greater” than what it first appears?

  • Herm

    Ah, thanks for the nice guy vote as that’s how I wish to think. How about I try an off the cuff analogy while that Spirit is still in my heart and mind? Good luck!

    Let’s picture you and your brother playing in your playpen. You relate to him by doing to him as you would have him do to you, you share in love outside yourself. He relates to you by taking from you before you can take what he hordes as his, he takes in love only for himself. Which one of you will your parents allow to drive the car alone out on the public streets? If malicious enough which one of you will your parents permanently separate from the public out of responsible love, empathy and compassion for the public?

    Death, knowing nothing and not remembered, permanently given to the evil is not a penalty. Death is a mechanism of love for both the evil and good. The good can live eternally without intimidation, manipulation, subjugation and confusion inflicted upon them by the evil. The evil are no longer fraught with the futile responsibility of attempting to live only for themselves at the cost of all others.

    My knowledge from a taste of the tree is that pure evil is purely destructive for all and conversely pure good is purely constructive for all. My knowledge from a taste of the cross is that at the end of this Earth good will prevail without competition and without end. Our choice, our opportunity. Thanks, Just Thinkin’. You are loved!

  • Herm

    Always without end invite me to complete my arguments and it shall be so by the end of eternity. You have been trained well, good teacher, but beware of the verbose!

  • Just Thinkin’

    It IS the best life we could live. But that is to live as a sheep in a world of wolves. What I am saying is that obliteration removes all need for altruism from the equation. The hedonists are right! If 70 years are all we get, then let’s get all of them!

    I prefer the argument that hell is a place chosen by those who deny God, with God entirely absent. it may not be some silly torture chamber, but has any one considered what an eternity without God would be like? When we are created for communion with him, and all doubt as to His existence has been removed? Heck, even one hour would be more than I could handle.

  • Agreed. But, let me add one more thing… Sooner or later (might even be after we die, for most I suppose this will be the case), eventually, everyone will be able to see life as it truly is and will freely choose to unite with God, the embodiment of love!

  • Kevin Thomas

    Nah–you miss out from an eternity with ABBA….. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.

  • Michael Benson

    He has backed it up. In the article, he linked the list of all of his hell articles. Here’s one with 25 verses of him backing it up: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/25-bible-verses-that-disprove-eternal-conscious-hell/

  • Herm

    Contrary to popular opinion, most as sincere egotists in their heart not knowing otherwise, Christ already dealt justly with evil in mankind and requires that His students in His Spirit do the same for as long as evil survives.

    The spirit of ISIS cannot prevail if left to their own doctrine as everyone is different. Their spirit requires everyone be the same as one of them and I’m not sure who that is. I know for certain it isn’t Muhammad for he showed much more love, respect and protection for Christians and Jews. Since none can be the same only one can prevail with all others executed. One is a lonely number.

    Jesus teaches how all others can share all together. Jesus teaches by His example that it is better to die now (in unilateral and reciprocal love for all others) and live again without end than it is to kill our enemy (in love for only me and mine) and die by the sword forever more. We can only store what is most valuable to each of us in the spiritual realm or the carnal realm. Jesus teaches one as infinitely more lasting than the other and has sacrificially given us the time and means to choose.

    Peace be with you Trent, thank you!

  • Herm

    It’s His kindness that makes eternity attractive for me.

  • I think that former fundie hasn’t left behind the fundie literalism. One surely needs to think of the hell fires as spiritual rather than material. Even or especially God (as in Ezekiel) is seen as fire and not just hell.. Everyone exists through God and therefore the Eastern Orthodox mystical tradition may not be far off from the real meaning of the doctrine when it proposes that the same light that illuminates the saved burns the damned. It’s a matter of soul direction and attitude.
    Given freewill It is possible to choose against God but not to detach from the divine being entirely or one ceases to exist. And the soul cannot cease to exist nor can God annihilate it without being lord of death rather than lord of life. God can only ban souls not annihilate them, but where they are banned they can only experience God negatively. That they are locked into eternity may have something to do with the fact that freewill as we understand it is involved with time. Once outside of time the choices within time can’t perhaps be undone – this seems to be behind gospels sayings like :”the night comes when no one can work”.

  • Mark Benson

    Great post, to get people thinking. Here’s more to think about. If God is going to burn people in Hell for not behaving right or loving Him, that means Billions are going there. Makes God worst than Hitler. Hitler killed only 6 million, but Perfect Love can Kill 6 BILLION? Think about it please. Ask Him about it.

  • Kevin Thomas

    What Herm said…

  • Mike Jones

    Benjamin, you called BS on several assumed responses to your conclusions (e.g. “But you don’t understand God’s justice.”, and so on). That might have worked in high school, but you can’t just call BS when discussing doctrine. Please show how each of those arguments are faulty and, especially, unbiblical. Appealing to my emotions or using 60’s hipster language isn’t an argument, it’s a sign of intellectual weakness. I’m sure you’re better than that.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Even the secular, non-religious world recognizes the toxicity and negative consequences in this life of hedonistic, narcissistic living. There is punishment in the now: broken relationships, lost jobs, legal consequences, disease, illness, a life without meaning or value, physical and emotional pain, sometimes death.

  • William Tanksley Jr

    Actually, Just Thinkin’, that’s not true.

    If there’s an option to not be obliterated, and that option included the best thing in existence, we should want to not be obliterated in order to get that.

    If the ONLY possibility were obliteration, then it would be logical to focus on gaining pleasure over a long life — Epicurus would be right. The statement “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” would be valid, and certainly nobody should put themselves in danger daily or fight wild beasts at Ephesus. Oh, this is what Paul says we should do if Christ’s death didn’t pay for us so that “you are yet in your sins.”

    So if we’re inescapably still in our sins, according to Paul, we SHOULD be Epicureans. But that suggests, by your logic, that Paul is either reasoning as though the alternatives are life in Christ or obliteration by being left “in our sins”; or perhaps that everyone’s equally doomed and there’s nothing we can do to lighten our fate.

  • William Tanksley Jr

    That might be true, who knows. The Bible certainly doesn’t suggest anything like it, though; and the philosophical angle of existing without God is untenable — it just doesn’t make sense to exist without the One in whom all things consist.

  • Jason

    As a non-believer, it is always entertaining to watch people endure these mental gymnastics to try and reconcile concepts that are fundamentally irreconcilable. Eventually, people will realize that it is ALL bollocks, and spare themselves the death of several million brain cells.

  • Herm

    “But you don’t understand God’s justice.”

    “You have no right to question God.”

    “Being tortured is what we all deserve.”

    “What is moral for God is different than what is moral for us.”

    Those threats and judgments are all less than the equivalent of bullshit because that is their worth as there is no biblical argument for or against any to be able to value them, just the attitude in which they were delivered. In my discerning judgment none of them contain the very same intellectual language you demand and yet you defend them. God speaks to both the heart and mind of all from the greatest intellectual to the least illiterate. It was the intellectual side of the argument that prompted the most grief of Jesus. It was the least of these that were not served.

    Some of us were “hipsters” attending seminary in the 60’s and that’s all we really understand … slow intellectuals … too many drugs … but great music!

    Love you and will love your judgment as much as I have judged yours.

  • They’re not biblical arguments, they’re just cheesy one-liners, so there’s nothing to respond to. I’m much more interested in discussions and arguments that are based on historical and grammatical exegesis.

  • Eddie Vitulli

    Mr. Corey,
    Please consider a much better teaching on this topic. Hell is retributive not restorative.

    http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-376/the-truth-about-hell?Term=retributive%20justice

  • James C.

    “Is it possible that our views on hell have been more shaped by medieval
    barbarians who practically burned their enemies for the sport of it than
    the actual words of Scripture and the nature and character of Jesus?”

    ## No, it’s not, because this author was not mediaeval:

    “…14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

    http://biblehub.com/revelation/20-15.htm

    “42 Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire, 44 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 45 If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna, into the fire that will never be quenched— 46’where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.’ 47 If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna of fire, 48 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.'”

    http://biblehub.com/web/mark/9.htm

    The doctrine of punishment in fire after death is from the NT – it is not mediaeval in origin.

    FWIW, I have no problem believing there is a Hell. Nor do I see any contradiction of the Love of God. IMHO, the fire of Hell (whatever reality the metaphor stands for) is the Love of God, but experienced as Wrath by those who have made themselves the kind of people who are unable to experience the Love of God in any other way. I believe that the Love of God for the Blessed in Heaven, the fires of purgatory that purify & purge the Holy Souls about to enter Heaven, and the unquenchable fire that torments the damned, are all one and the same thing: three different modes of experiencing the Love of God, that differ because the attitudes of the three classes of recipients differ. If God’s Love for the damned were not unchangeable & eternal, there would be no Hell. God’s Love is known by those in Heaven as His Love, because they are responding to Him in the way men are created to respond to God. Heaven is eternal because God’s Love is eternal – and Hell is eternal for the same reason.

    There is nothing cruel in this: God desires our conversion to Him, not our damnation. He even died for us to prevent our damnation, for it is sin, and nothing else, that separates creatures from God. Hell is sin; sin experienced without the illusions that protect us from it. And Hell, or a small foretaste of it, can be experienced in this life. It is not cruel – except on the part of the damned – and it is not in the least arbitrary.

    The doctrine of eternal damnation, though exceedingly austere, takes the reality of our power to choose good or evil with the greatest seriousness. It does us the immense compliment of treating us as responsible & intelligent beings whose freely-made choices have great power to have effects, whether for good or ill. This is a refreshing change from ideas that we are the playthings of our neuroses, hormones, DNA, economic forces, or “luck”. Objections to it seem to emphasise the unpleasantness of Hell for those “in” it, while ignoring the Holiness of God. IOW, a lot of the objections seem to be man-centred, not God-centred.

    BTW, people were not burned “for sport” in the Middle Ages. Heresy was looked upon as paedophilia is now – as an horrendous crime that needed to be punished lest it infect & corrupt the whole of society. The most remarkable feature of many of the Inquisitorial tribunals is their mildness – Bernard Gui, bishop of Carcassonne from 1321 to 1323, was Inquisitor in Southern France from 1307 to 1321. He tried 930 cases of suspected heresy; 42 executions resulted. This is less than 2% of the total – & it compares extremely favourably with ISIS.

    If there is a Hell, the cruelties of ISIS are no reason to reject the doctrine – if Hell is a reality, the cruelty of men is no reason to reject the conviction that it it exists. That would be very confused thinking. If 2 x 2 = 4, no atrocities committed by arithmeticians in enforcing belief in the fact could ever be a reason to dispute the fact.

  • Morgan

    You said: “Everyone exists through God and therefore the Eastern Orthodox mystical tradition may not be far off from the real meaning of the doctrine when it proposes that the same light that illuminates the saved burns the damned. It’s a matter of soul direction and attitude.”

    Amen!

  • As 3000 years of salvation-cult hustling shows, if there is nothing from which to be saved, why be saved at all?

    Redemption doesn’t sell so well without the hell.

    […] they perform their ritual, and persuade not only individuals, but whole cities, that expiations and atonements for sin may be made by sacrifices and amusements which fill a vacant hour, and are equally at the service of the living and the dead; the latter sort they call mysteries, and they redeem us from the pains of hell, but if we neglect them no one knows what awaits us.

    Plato (4th century BCE) The Republic. Book II.
    classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

  • Morgan

    Jason – brain cells challenged by the story of man’s interaction with God must constantly grow to deal with the constant flood of anti-theist diatribes.

    The idea that a believer’s mind must be dull, impaired, or incapable of critical thinking is a modern myth created by non-believers, and is an opinion that Christian scholars and artists from Origen to Thomas Aquinas to Isaac Newton to C.S Lewis, Chesterton, Merton, O’Conner and, yes, Benedict XVI, would probably find amusing, or laughable.

    A personal testimony: My walk with God has made me more critical, more intellectual stimulated, and more prepared to explore challenging ideas, not less so.

  • spinefix4u
  • spinefix4u

    www dot hell truth dot com will exigetically and hermeneutically credibly & biblically explain away the patent arguments of

    “But you don’t understand God’s justice.”

    “You have no right to question God.”

    “Being tortured is what we all deserve.”

    “What is moral for God is different than what is moral for us.”

    Never the less a mind convinced against it’s will is of the same opinion still. The Holy Spirit is the one charged with convicting. We can only share what makes the most sense to us with the info we’ve been given. And this website does a fair job of that for me.

  • Andy

    Okay, that was funny.

  • Andy

    I hope you aren’t suggesting that occasionally indulging one’s self makes one an immoral narcissist.

  • Andy

    Suppose God does not punish anyone in the afterlife. Why must you deal with it at all? You can always turn the other cheek. Somebody famous once said that…let me see, who was that again…

    Edit: I’m talking about you as a person, not you or anyone else acting as a government agent, carrying out legal repercussions for broken laws.

  • R Vogel

    The ‘why not?’ is answered in your own statement. Because living in a state of pure hedonism, which is just as much a myth as heaven and hell, would quickly be unlivable. As Hobbes describe it “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” You would have no safety or security. You would victimize and be victimized. Hedonism only works in the Garden of Eden and that didn’t work out so well. Human beings, like all communal animals, are smart enough to figure this out and invent rules to govern behavior. No need for mythical hell fires, just good old human self interest writ large.

  • R Vogel

    Hear ye, hear ye! The Great GUEST has spoken!

  • gimpi1

    Because only sociopathic people would want to live like that. Removing “eternal consequences” doesn’t affect the vast majority of us, who generally do the right thing because we don’t want to hurt others. The idea that without some sort of threat over us, we turn into monsters has not been borne out by the evidence.

    In fact, threats often are used to turn us into monsters. People who speak up against the witch-hunt, the pogrom, the atrocities – they are often attacked by the authorities engaging in atrocities. Pressure for conformity, demonizing the other and fear can feed atrocity. Removing fear does not, in my view.

  • Chad Braunersrither

    There’s a great book out by Steve Gregg, http://www.thenarrowpath.com called , All You Want to Know About Hell: Three Christian Views of God’s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin. It’s critiques and explains 3 Christian views of hell followed by Christians over the last 2000 years. Most Christians are only aware of the Eternal Tormenting side of hell.

  • NathanMichael

    Question, Benjamin – when Jesus talks about judgement, what does he say about it? Is it pleasant? (Not that Love isn’t central to Jesus, but) Does Jesus talk more about love or judgement?

    Maybe Jesus was warning us about something he thought was real and ‘not good’. I can agree that maybe some of our thoughts on what judgement looks like are different from what Jesus had in mind, but i think we need to be careful not to throw out what Jesus said about judgement because it makes us feel uncomfortable with respect to our current worldview of the moment.

  • mike

    God does not think hell I good, infact it makes him sad that people choose to go there when they can easily go to heaven.
    And you may ask why does god let this happen? The answer is free will, he lets us decide whether or not to follow god or go our own way. If he didn’t give us free will we would all be like robots doing exactly as the instructor wants, there’s no life in that is there.

  • mike

    I agree that what Isis is doing is disgusting but everything you said about Christianity is wrong. Fails teaching is worse in my opinion. When people like you teach the wrong doctoring some people believe it and when they die and they still believe it, they will be sent to hell on account of you.
    For example God does not think hell I good, infact it makes him sad that people choose to go there when they easily go to heaven.
    And you may ask why does god let this happen? The answer is free will, he lets us decide whether or not to follow god or go our own way. If he didn’t give us free will we would all be like robots doing exactly as the instructor wants, there’s no life in that is there.

  • mike

    And another thing, you should site your sources so we know that your not just making this up

  • mike

    I do believe that you are right, and basically what I was trying to get across in my post

  • brit4Israel

    What a twisted article this is! Hell is punishment for the devil and all who’s names were not written in the book of life. When Jesus says “depart from me I never knew you” – on that day – where do you think they will go? Revelation 20 tells us where. We either believe Gods word or we don’t! If you want to play fast and loose with the bible then how do you know you are saved if what is written can be re interpreted? The cost of rejecting Christ and his teachings is MASSIVE! It’s eternal! No second chances.

  • brit4Israel

    Thanks but there’s only one book we need to read and it’s plain as day what it means. Every other book is a mere shaddowy interpretation of what it “could” be!

  • Do you take all of Revelation literally? Such as a beast with seven heads and ten crowns rising from the ocean to take over the world? Or do you think the beast is symbolic? Either Revelation is symbolic or it’s literal. You don’t get to pick some pieces to be literal and some not. If it’s symbolic, then the lake of fire is symbolic. Something to think about.
    Also, until you are dead, you won’t know if there are second chances. God will do as God chooses to do. The Bible and your beliefs cannot limit the love and mercy of Christ.

  • Ron McPherson

    Ben doesn’t deny
    the concept of hell as punishment. What he is calling into question is the view
    that it necessarily involves unending conscious torment.

  • brit4Israel

    No not all only the bits that are meant to be taken literally. Maybe Jesus is literal and not real at all?

  • Andy

    And what guarantees that all of the bible is God’s word?

  • Timothy Hawk

    Great post, Ben. It always amazes me at how vested people become in defending the conscious eternal punishment, as seen by many of these comments. If only so much passion was put into loving others, which cannot be disputed by any biblical interpretation, what an positive impact we could make for the kingdom of God. I enjoy your posts. Keep challenging the status quo!

  • So plain as day that we’ve been fighting and killing each other over how to interpret it for 2,000 years now…

  • Bradley Hyde

    The problem here is the Greek idea of an “Immortal Soul” which is NOT Biblical (God only has immortality). Scripture also says, “The soul that sinneth shall surely die” and Eve was told that if she ate the fruit she would die — not live forever in hell. Sodom & Gomorrah were destroyed with eternal fire (according to Jude) but they are not still burning. It is the effect, not the duration that is eternal. Check out the book, “Light on the Dark Side of God.”

  • Timothy Hawk

    So plain that there are thousands of denominations and groups claiming to have a corner on the interpretive market! Open your mind.

  • Herm

    You mean like loving yourself so you have something to contribute to loving your neighbor as yourself?

  • Ron McPherson

    So who decides which parts are literal and which parts are not? The tone with which you dismiss the author is troubling because you stated earlier, “We either believe Gods word or we don’t!” as if the author does not. Maybe the author takes portions as symbolic that you take literal, or takes literal what you take as metaphorical.

    For instance, I take the words of Jesus literally when He says:

    John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    Notice there are two fates – Eternal Life or PERISH (not an eternal GOOD life vs an eternal BAD life).

    John 11:25-26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth
    and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

    Again, there are two fates – Either life or DEATH. So why assume someone who does not believe as you do (with respect to what the Bible teaches about hell) plays ‘fast and loose’ with the Bible? I’m not trying to be argumentative, but rather hoping you’ll see that others may have valid points for what they believe.

    And the words of the Apostle Paul:

    Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    Again, two fates – Either life for the believer or DEATH to
    all others.

    I’ve read enough of Ben’s work that he simply takes the words of Jesus to be literal when He speaks of death. I would submit that those who believe in eternal conscious torment ‘re-interpret’ the word DEATH, which is no different than what you accuse the author of doing in ‘re-interpreting’ passages about hell.

    What perplexes me is this: Why do some accept the words of Revelation as literal (rather than metaphorical), yet take the easily understood words of Jesus (e.g. John 3:16) as metaphors (rather than literally)?

    Anyway, just wanted to provide some food for thought.

    Peace

  • Johnathan Ingram

    Who’s ever ideal it was to rethink any situation that God is doing, boe; you’re causing some folks to disbelieve. Quite frankly, I don’t think you have a full understanding of who God & Jesus is. So before you talk, know God’s purpose by speaking facts & not this fiction you call rethink.

    You wanna know something funny? We as Muslims & Christ believer; as well those that pray for God’s mercy & salvation, ISIS comes to start Armageddon….lol… We all die; and if you have read the bible, it would have inform you about the end of times; in which everybody gots to die & that means. Our choices are ours to make, but Isis. Is that bitter and hasty nation who God to was speaking about the book of habakka. So our days are in counting…lol lmbo….Lol…..lmbo…..Lol…..lmbo…lol

  • Mike Jones

    Thanks for replying. I stand corrected – you made up cheesy arguments and then knocked them down. Am I to assume therefore that the only disagreements with your beliefs are cheesy ones? How about producing some real arguments and knocking them down?

  • Jim Wehde

    Plain as day! 40,000 denominations can’t be wrong!

  • Philip Larson

    So the answer is to deny what Jesus taught more than Heaven. Sounds about right.

  • Philip Larson
  • Ron McPherson

    The problem with the article on the link you posted presumes Ben’s concept of hell is based on intuition alone without a biblical perspective. Ben has written numerous blogs on this topic (and which he provides a link to those blogs within the article) which are drawn from an analysis of the scriptures.

  • I’ve had an ongoing series on hell for months now- I’d think that’d suffice for producing some real arguments.

  • Octoberfurst

    Your spelling and grammar are horrible. Did you even graduate from High school? And what does “God does not think hell I good in fact it makes him sad” even mean?
    But what if someone never heard of Jesus or had an incorrect understanding of him? Should he/she go to Hell? What about someone who isn’t convinced that God exists? Should he/she go to Hell?

    You act like everyone has made a fully informed choice and “decides” to go to Hell. That’s absurd.
    And what about the authors main contention that eternal torture is repugnant? What do you think about that?

  • Octoberfurst

    You get “saved” from your old life to a new life in Christ. You don’t need a hell to get people to be saved. Jesus was offering a life filled with the love of God. That is why you need to be saved. To be the person God wants you to be.

  • Octoberfurst

    Wow you just repeated word for word what you wrote previously and it was just as dumb then as it is now. >sigh<

  • Octoberfurst

    I get a kick out of people saying that if there is no Hell then why not rape, murder, etc. Well because when you do such things society suffers. And if you believed there was no Hell would you just run off and become a mass murderer and rapist? I’m saying probably not. Most people wouldn’t. Why, because it is wrong. (But if you would you have serious problems that I don’t have time to address now.)

  • Octoberfurst

    Can you explain why so many atheist are very moral people? They don’t believe in God so why aren’t they out there pillaging and killing?

  • I couldn’t finish reading this because the outright hypocrisy. God apparently implanted good in the hearts of many, but in others he seemed to have implanted the exact opposite and stands idle as they torture the ones that apparently got the doese of goodness.

    Only in a religious mind could such an irrational thought live.

  • M Diaz

    wow…
    so many disclaimers..i suppose someone really needs to feel special

  • Mike Jones

    Yes, please see my comments on your other posts.

  • Mike Jones

    Or you will one day realize that it’s not all bollocks. My money is on that one.

  • brit4Israel

    The core message of the gospel is widely agreed upon hence they are Christian. But we are living in the last of the last days were even God’s people can be decieved. There us room in Christianity for seeing things differently but the core belief is not up for interpretation. Jesus died for our sins so we can be forgiven and saved. We know what sin is because God told us what it is – all rebellion and selfishness, rejecting God’s way. All sin will face judgement unless you receive God’s forgiveness through Christ. The bible is not hard to understand. Start with the gospels. What’s in red is most important.

  • ….Game of Thrones?

  • Jamie Lynn Mendez

    There is a difference between these two scenarios. Innocent people are being burned alive by those who have no right to judge. God warns us full well that “the wages of sin is death”. It isn’t his desire to torture us; quite the opposite. Can anyone argue that we have not been forewarned? Didn’t Christ suffer much worse to save us? The answer is so simple…just accept Christ as our loving Savior–God’s intent for us. And when you read the doctrine of hell…everlasting refers to a time period until the physical being is destroyed, not a literal we will burn forever and ever, just until our physical being is no more. Look into it.

  • napbadger

    I don’t really understand why you think Jesus came to die if there isn’t a hell to save us from? Seems a bit extravagant. Also, what do you make of Jesus himself talking about hell? Or, for example, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

  • niccollus

    It took ISIS to make this guy realize something that should have been obvious to begin with. Hell is made up, twisted nonsense. Welcome to reality. Don’t stop there. Pick out all the contradictions in your religion and toss ’em. This medieval way of thinking is holding back the whole world, and actually responsible for groups like ISIS.

  • Nathalia Ergon

    Brit: That would be ‘whose’ not ‘who’s’. Who’s means who is.

  • Nathalia Ergon

    You mean ‘literary’

  • Nathalia Ergon

    That would be “cite” not “site.” Site refers to a particular place, as “This site on the hill was chosen for the new atheist temple.”

  • Twins Papa

    Benjamin, I just read this article as well as your article on Scripture and Hell. Thought provoking. I’m trying to figure out if you are arguing against the concept of an eternal hell or the concept simply of hell? It would seem from the latter scriptural article that the second death is through the fires of hell, but here you seem to be arguing against even that. Can you help me understand a little better what you’re saying?

  • Patricia Trumble-Champ

    No where does the Bible teach that Jesus’ death saves us from hell(ever lasting punishing ) but from sin and it’s consequences eternal death.Also think what it means when it says “Death and hell were thrown into the fiery lake. (The fiery lake is the second death.)Rev.20:14 now hell as grave or place of punishing ,either way it will be destroyed.

  • I noticed you Italicized “do him a favor,” indicating you recognize that putting someone to death has similar moral problems. Not sure why you’re still on the annihilationist track with the quality, heartfelt reasoning you’re showing in this post. Your true premises and chosen eschatology are not yet consonant.

    Christ’s conquest of the grave was such that nobody has to be an interminably lost (apolesas) sheep or coin. Christus Victor = endless opportunity and ultimate hope. Purgatorialism is Biblical and historical (just as annihilationism is).

  • I’m what’s called a conditionalist or annihilationist. We believe that God alone is immortal, and that humans (and our souls) are not immortal. For those who choose to be reconciled to God through Christ, they are given the gift of everlasting life- immortality. Those who refuse to be reconciled to God do not get the gift of eternal life and cease to exist. We believe the overwhelming testimony of scripture is that those who reject God are totally destroyed. Traditional hell, on the other hand, believes that humans are naturally immortal and live forever in hell where they are tortured for all of eternity and never die. If you read the first post in my hell series (“how to let go of hell without letting go of the bible”), it breaks down conditionalism a bit more.

  • To save us from death. We are not immortal, and only God can grant us eternal life.

  • Reynauld

    a lot of ancient fables based on NO evidence!

  • Reynauld

    nice to see a rational thought

  • Reynauld

    what does your incoherent gibberish mean?

  • Reynauld

    well some parts of it are so silly and nonsensical that I’d be ashamed that anyone would think it’s my word, were I a god

  • Reynauld

    Free will my ass!!! You exercise free will to reject these barbarian doctrines and you get roasted for eternity?? what kind of “free will” is that?

  • Reynauld

    Jesus said his hearers were living in the last days..well here we are 2000 years later…Revelation speaks of the ‘the things that must soon come to pass” 2000 years hence is not soon in any sense…

  • Reynauld

    Anti theist diatribes..you mean rational thought?

  • Reynauld

    God is absent now,..millions died in the black plague…diseases over the millenia..famine..the holocaust…and this God sits on his almighty throne..silent..unresponsive..each scientific advancement undermines the ancient stories…

  • Some folks like to rebut before they know what they’re rebutting.

  • Morgan

    Oh, no. Any rational thought expressed in a civil manner is not only welcome, but can be edifying. A Christian’s faith, in fact, is meant to be challenged, and the Christian is supposed to answer those challenges.

    From 2 Peter 3:15: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

  • steve theman

    It is a common belief amongst anabaptist as well as OOM and OOA’s that there is no hell. Not that they are right but that is their belief.
    As far as God enjoying people going to hell, God doesn’t send them they send themselves. The key thing is that God is just. In order for justice to be served a price must be paid. Christ died to pay for our sins but unless you accept his gift to you of salvation, then you fall under the law and justice.
    All those folks that never heard a missionary? Welll they saw Gods creation. The very creation gives them testimony to him. So they are without excuse.

    For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

  • Jeffrey Anthony

    I think you mean “And what about the author’s [with an apostrophe] main contention…” Your spelling and grammar are horrible. Did you even graduate from high [not High] school?

  • Octoberfurst

    Touche’. That’s what happens when I type too fast. However his spelling and grammar WERE horrible and if you can decipher his “God does not think hell I good in fact makes him sad” comment then I will give you a gold star.

  • Jeffrey Anthony

    Yeah, I proofread mine about six times before I sent it! I clearly know the difference between who’s/whose and it’s/its, but every once in a while I discover that I have carelessly used the wrong one.

  • Ron McPherson

    Just for the record, the author is not necessarily proposing “that there is no hell” – he is calling into question the traditional view of it.

  • jdkl

    Ben, I really want to go here with you with respect to the doctrine of Hell. I agree that eternal conscious torment seems extremely far from the nature of God that we as Christians believe in, however like you I take the words of Christ very seriously, if not always literally. That said, what of the parable of the lambs and the goats, what of the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man? I am not saying the Lord meant eternal Hell at this point, as I haven’t the ability to pick apart the Koine and Aramaic behind His parables. My take away message from the NT is that Christ promises eternal rewards for those that serve Him faithfully, and some sort of unpleasant fate after death to those who willfully reject him. That I think we can agree on. As far as what is warned against in NT, I’d like to hear more about it. Annihlationism, or even an eternity drifting in nothingness without the presence of God, or the ones you valued while you were alive, doesn’t seem pleasant, so it’s not as if you are advocating living a bad life, on the contrary, it’s still obvious that one should get right with God and Christ at the earliest opportunity to avoid “perishing” or the “Second Death,” whatever those things mean. We know they are not good.

  • Ron McPherson

    I must admit that’s one of my pet peeves. Another is when one assumes conditionalism is somehow devoid of God’s judgment (i.e. if judgment does not consist of consigning one to an infinite agonizing and torturous incinerator, then there is no judgment at all).

  • David Kopriva

    I am surprised that this article has no biblical backup and yet the bible has plenty to say about the subject of what hell is, if people live through eternity in hell fire. I recommend all to go unto Amazing Facts website where you can find a thorough biblical explanation of what happens when you die. This includes the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In a nut shell the Bible does not teach eternal torment. Even the passage in Revelation regarding this issue is misunderstood since it is not read carefully and without scriptural research. In Isaiah it says here a little there a little, in other words those things that are difficult to understand need to be thoroughly searched in the scriptures to understand its meaning. Rest assured God’s judgment is perfect and the rewards will be perfect as well.

  • Russell Waters

    Kind of reminds me of “you knew you were supposed to get the dishes cleaned, I didn’t give you the black eye, you gave it to yourself.”

  • Anthony

    Purgatorialism is not biblical. In any way. Puck up a Hebrew OT and a Koine Greek NT, and you will never see that concept in the canon. In deuteroconanical books, maybe, but not in the accepted biblical canon.

  • Sure you will! 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 explicitly describes what happens at the judgment to those who cry “Lord, Lord” but fail to live out an active faith. Their record is revealed by fire and they suffer “zemio” loss. “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he himself is lost (apololos, like the sheep/coin) ‘e’ suffers loss (zemio)?”

    The early Christian purgatorialists understood this as a description of hell for those who “shrunk back.” Augustine began the work of syncretizing purgatorial doctrine and practice (like praying for the deceased) into endless hell theology and Catholic Purgatory was the result. That’s why you’ll see Catholics today pointing to 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 as evidence of Catholic Purgatory.

    By contrast, Protestants and Evangelicals who believe in endless hell or annihilationism largely don’t know what to do with this passage. You’ll hear, “That’s just a scolding,” from some of them, but they cannot explain why those with dead (inactive in the sense of James 2 and Galatians 5:6) faith are being “saved, albeit through flames.”

    Unlike endless hell belief, both purgatorialism and annihilationism preserve the finite, balanced notion of God’s perfect forensic justice. Unlike annihilationism, both endless hell belief and purgatorialism preserve Christ’s conquering of the grave. Unlike both endless hell belief and annihilationism, only purgatorialism upholds God’s stated “as surely as I live” axial interests: He’d rather the wicked come to repentance than to die, and every knee shall bow and fully confess, and the outworking of his good pleasure is a unity of all things under Christ.

  • Katabole

    Thanks for the article. It certainly is interesting that the traditional concept of a burning Hell is not found in the Old Testament. It is not found in the book of Acts where it would be expected to be found when the disciples first went out and preached. It is not found in any writings of the first and early second century writers either who either were taught by or indirectly knew the apostles.

    I do not believe Hell is a place. It is a person. God. The only thing mentioned in the Bible that is “Eternal” is God and God’s attributes. Eternal means without beginning or end. In order to believe Hell is eternal, a person would have to believe that Hell never had a beginning. This is nonsense. The only thing that never had a beginning is God. Hell, even when Jesus mentions it, is a description of God’s wrath at the end of the age when He will consume all evil. A river of fire issues forth from God, encompasses all evil and consumes it. That is why the Bible calls God a consuming fire.

    There are 400 verses in the Bible that have the common theme of the end of the wicked and what happens to the wicked after death. 393 of those verses say the wicked are annihilated and destroyed after death and certainly do not burn forever. I find it disheartening that the majority view in Christianity of a conscious tormenting Hell is based on exegesis of seven verses. This is nothing more than following the traditions of men which Jesus warned about when He told the Pharisees, “Your tradition makes void the Word of God”. The Hell doctrine as taught as conscious unending torment is a sleight against our Great God and is not Biblical.

    I believe God is a loving God and at the same time a God of justice and will in no way acquit the wicked. Let the Muslims and uneducated Christians believe in Hell. Let Christians who study our Bible and love Christ believe what God claims about Himself; that God is just.

  • Jean Cattley

    Um, crucifixion is horrible torture, too. You talk of god dying on the cross – but what kind of god requires a horrible, bloody, agonizing sacrifice before he will forgive? You’d think he’d at least be able to live up to Matthew 5…

  • Alf Penner

    God didn’t crucify Jesus, we did. God didn’t ask for a sacrifice, we did. We need a rethinking of the nature of the Atonement as well. Penal substitution needs to be substituted as well.

  • Wayne

    http://www.helltruth.com/ is a site that examines this doctrine biblically and shows. How God is not like an ISIS terrorist.

  • Tundrahombre

    Nicollus, Do not be deluded. It does not take long to understand that hell is all around us. Tha is reality. Many times we create or own hell or put others in a proverbial hell because we solely care about one entity and that entity is not God. Hell may or may not exist outside of the realm of this present life yet it exists. What proof do you need beyond the ISIS video?

  • niccollus

    True – leading a selfish life might very well lead to one’s own little hell on earth. But what does that have to do with using ISIS to prove that being burned alive in eternal fire by God doesn’t make any sense? It never made sense to any person who isn’t a fear driven nonthinking follower of religious doctrine. I grew up a Catholic, went to Catholic school for 12 years (they were very big on hell), and did not need to see people burned alive on the news to to realize God sending you to hell was a dumb idea. I was marveling at the author’s belief he had really uncovered something that wasn’t obvious to most rational humans. Hell is a FAIRY TALE and if it exists at all, you are correct, it is right here on earth.

  • Jesus offered himself to be a sacrifice. We did not crucify him anymore than the Romans did or the Jews did. It was God’s eternal plan for salvation and Jesus took that burden of sin upon himself of his own free will.

  • This comment thread is a remarkable testament to the morally devastating power of bibliolatry.

  • So, uh… the argument on offer from HellTruth.com is basically that all the various synonyms for “forever” related to hell in the Bible don’t really mean, “forever”. You realize that’ insane, right?

    http://www.helltruth.com/q-a/forever-and-ever

  • Surya Shanmugam

    Damn it. My fellow brothers and sisters of Christ. We are all approching the end of times and it is very important to band together as one. Why are we so flurred up about what happens to those who have rejected Jesus? Who is incharge of what happens to them? Lord Jesus Christ himself. He is a great and divine person who died for our sins and it’s only right we bolster our relationship with him everyday and trust in him. Why not muster all this efforts into defending the Christian faith and standing up for the Word of God in a age of secularisim and relatavity? The amount of people out there who are ‘evangelising’ Atheism and other worldviews is increasing by the month and here we are quaralling amongest ourselves. The truth is clear: Those who reject Jesus Christ as their saviour will be separated from God and placed in Hell. What happens after that is in God’s hands. Sheesh…

  • glebealyth

    Having been chosen for that fate “before the foundation of the world”, rather implies that god did it, not us.

  • Tj Wagenknecht

    Gary, you must be able to understand the Hebrew mindset for forever. The Bible was originally in Greek and Hebrew, not English. αἰών, or aiōn, the Greek word translated as forever, according to the Thayer definition, can mean for a period of time and not always for eternity. The Hebrew word, o-lawm, can mean for a long duration. That’s actually the first translation given in the Thayer definition
    A few Hebrew examples of forever not meaning forever: Jonah in the fish said he was there forever, how long was he there? Three days.
    prophet was said to serve the Lord “forever.” Samuel the prophet is dead. That means that either Hannah broke her covenant with God or she had a different understanding of for ever.
    The Levites and priests were, according to God Himself, to serve in the tabernacle services forever. There is no more temple, and Jesus, who is our High Priest according to Hebrews 4:14, is from Judah, not Levi. Either God is a liar who for ever meant something different according to Hebrew understanding.
    That is the point being made. Language has evolved since that time. If we don’t understand that, than there will be many confusions in studying the Bible. Like calling the name of God terrible when that meant “Awesome”

  • Kelly Beane

    Thank you for tackling this subject. So few will. I’m sorry for all the eye rolling and condescending “sheesh” and “how crazy” statements you will get from Christians. If eternal means no beginning or end, then how could a punishmen be “eternal”…I mean, it has to begin at some point, right? I go to a really dark place of hopelessness when I see how unwilling Christians are too even CONSIDER they may have misunderstood God’s purposes for the ages, but would much rather sit in their high seat of certainly, even when that certainty means the possibility of their own loved ones burning for all eternity. It simply blows my mind. If God’s fire is his love, then we have nothing to fear.http://kellbell-justmythoughts.blogspot.com/2011/10/fire.html?m=1

  • You clearly know very little about Darwin. Evolutionary biologists see all sorts of altruism at work in nature. Loving and caring for fellow creatures, feeling empathy, apparently has survival advantages! No wonder humans have such a great capacity for love!

    You don’t need to believe in heaven or hell to know that the most fulfilling, satisfying, and joyful life to live is one that is filled with love.

  • Alf Penner

    When I said ‘we’ I mean ALL of us – all of humanity. I agree that God had an eternal plan for the atonement of the world, but I do not think that penal substitution holds as much merit as other, older theories held by the early church. Isaiah tells that “we considered him stricken by God”, which implies that he WASN’T stricken by God. He was stricken by us. I think that the fact that Jesus died a cruel death was a natural consequence of a violent world incapable of tolerating the message of the Prince of Peace. And because he is the Prince of Peace, he would not fight back and would allow himself to be killed at our hands. This action is the atonement – the action that allows us to be at-one with God once again.

  • Alf Penner

    But who does the reconciling? Is it not Jesus? In Colossians we read: “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” When it says ‘all things’ it really means ALL things. Can not God have his cake and eat it too? I think he can. To simply say that those who would otherwise (traditionally) go to hell are just destroyed is like saying (using your ISIS torture metaphor) that instead of lighting souls on fire, he just puts a bullet in their heads. This does not sound like the actions of a loving God. And what of the ‘saved’ loved ones? Will they not suffer in knowing their loved ones are ‘no more’? Will God wipe their memories? Isn’t that deception? These are things incongruent with the life and person of Jesus. I also do not believe in eternal conscious torment. I think the Orthodox church offers a better idea in that ALL souls go to heaven, though for those who don’t (initially) want to go there, it will be hell. Of course, hell DOES exist. We make a million different hells here on earth. Our job, as followers of Christ, is to bring heaven here too.

  • Lisa

    I understand what you are saying, but the thing is that Jesus suffered an excruciatingly painful death to pay for a person’s sins. If that person refuses “repent and believe” the will have to pay for their own sins. Personally I would rather be burned alive (especially if doused with accelerant beforehand) than hang on a cross for 6 hours. Also, Hell doesn’t have to be a place of eternal suffering, scripturally speaking… It could be a place where the soul suffers but then is ultimately destroyed, becoming non-existent. Jesus speaks of Hell as a of Destruction.

  • Joe Durika

    What do you do with Matthew 25:46? aiōnios (without end, everlasting, never to cease) kolasis (correction, punishment, penalty). These are the words of Jesus in describing how the wicked will be dealt with.

  • Joe Durika

    Does God exist?

  • Whew! That’s a relief! God is good! And he is the creator of the universe!

    … wait … then where did all this suffering come from?

  • Why do you imagine that embracing hedonism is without consequences? Even we poor atheists know that alcohol and food in excess makes life miserable; that taking advantage of multiple sexual partners with no care for individuals will quickly lead to people disliking and avoiding you; that thieves and murderers get caught or suffer violent ends; that cheating teaches you nothing; …

    All of these consequences happen in this life – not an afterlife. But most importantly, even we poor atheists know that the greatest joys in life come from lovers and friends that are longstanding, reciprocal, honest, and caring.

  • I think it’s so cute the way that Christians think of us atheists – as hedonist wolves.

    When I look around at the violence in the world today, I do see a lot of wolves, but they’re all religious wolves.

  • Herm

    … from the opportunity to responsibly choose in the image of the Creator who would love to relate with us. Are carnal parents good or evil when choosing to bring children, no less in their image than God, into a life that they knew the risks of suffering and the rewards of shared joy?

  • I’m sure that sounds pat and clearcut to you, but it’s pretty clear to me that the vast majority of the suffering in the world does not come from human “choosing”, much as we would like to hang everything on the “fall” – everything from hurricanes to viruses, to birth defects, to cancer, to accidents, to …

  • Herm

    That’s not what I said. Are you placing blame? I am not. We did not choose life, no child does. We received opportunity of which we, as versus pets or puppets, have a choice to leave this opportunity better or worse than we found it. We can join it, fight it and/or savor it. We can choose to be egotistic or altruistic. Without the choice of those who gave us this opportunity there simply is no choice because we never were.

    Would you prefer to have been locked in a sterile room to keep you safe free from risk and dependent upon your handler to be able to relate second hand to anything beyond your cell? Is that the creator God you would choose that would keep your safe without the knowledge of good and evil? Would you prefer to live sheltered that way forever or to have the responsibility of knowledge to choose terminally? All things that are we can learn and share with our Teacher, good (constructive) and evil (destructive).

    I really am thankful for my life that I am learning in everything to do to all others as I would have all others do to me. I am thankful for the chance that I might have an eternity to relate and be related to just that way. If I have only this carnal life I am thankful for the opportunity including the pain, struggle and grief.

  • Of course I’m not placing blame. I’m not sure how you see blame in my comment. How could I blame anyone for suffering that we do not choose? I was just responding to your response: Me “where did all this suffering come from?” You “from the opportunity to responsibly choose”. I think that most suffering has nothing to do with choosing.

    I am thankful for my life as well, but I would choose no creator God, because such a God adds or subtracts nothing to the life I have.

    I do think it’s odd that, in imagining the good that a God would be capable of, you see the only alternatives as a sterile, locked cell or a world that harbors the most horrific tortures we see around us (see the picture at the top of the page). There are no alternatives between the two?

    I am grateful for life and the people I share it with. That is enough.

  • JustAggie

    It may be interesting to add Lev. 21:9 to the discussion: “”If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.” It seems to me that parts of the Bible are unethical (even extremely so) while parts of the Bible are ethical (even sublimely so). Much of the history of Christian ethics seems to be working out of these tensions.

  • Tundrahombre

    NIcollus, I am not so sure hell beyond this life is a fairy tale yet, like you, I am highly sceptical that hell consists of proverbial anguish in flames. I do believe that God honors the wishes of those who choose to not honor Him and they will be separated from Him. Does that mean ceasing to exist following death and judgement I do not know. I do know that the ancients looked foward to judgement day, not living in fear of it, it like the present day. Given the savage and brutal nature of the first century, heinous acts like being burned alive were commonplace. Judgement would be their day to finally see justice and not the day in which they would fear God’s wrath.

  • Caleb Romoser

    Amen and amen. I’ve just recently found your blog and I am so encouraged to find a kindred, life-affirming voice in this wilderness.

    I was having a very similar conversation to this one recently, and many of my friends kept saying “God’s ways are higher than our ways.” which is bullshit. Bad guys get eternal torture and good guys get eternal party is not any higher ways. I understand that sentiment and I’ve understood it since I understood Santa’s naught and nice list. I think God’s higher ways look a lot more like forgiveness for others when I have run out of grace to give. Thanks, Benjamin.

  • desertwolf

    This goes along with studies showing that prisoners who are treated well have lower recidivism rates than those who receive harsh conditions. Love is what heals, love is what changes.
    Of course ISIS intent is to bring us to war. They know our outrage will lead us to martyr them.

  • Decoding the cloud

    I want to say this. JESUS CHRIST will be the judge of all. His judgement is fair and just. He has the RIGHT to do as he pleases and we should give ourselves to him. I know that our GOD is a merciful GOD. He gave his son as a living sacrifice so that sinners like myself can now enter heaven by placing my trust in YASHUA as my LORD and SAVIOR. So I would leave the judgement and punishment to GOD.

    I want to address some of the Christians here in the US who support racist or extreme views. God is not a racist. The white race or the American people are not above anybody else. God does not distinguish between a Palestinian or an Israeli. He loves them both equally. PLEASE DO NOT blindly support evil and immoral actions of blindly invading countries, bombing people indiscriminately or wishing others to be wiped off the face of the Earth OR support immoral acts to be committed against illegal migrants.

    Jesus preached LOVE and FORGIVENESS. Follow this my friends.

  • Decoding the cloud

    Stan if you are thinking that Catholicism is correct that you could not be more wrong my brother. Catholicism is a lie from the devil himself. No other evil organization has done this much evil and survived and yet receives so much honor. Their atrocities in the name of Jesus against innocent people are worse than those of ISIS. They have purposely shunned Christ and installed false Gods and worship such as Mary and the saints. Catholics PRAY to these people even though they do not admit it. How do I know? I was born a Catholic too but the LORD opened my eyes. I am still a sinner but I at least know the truth.

  • Decoding the cloud

    EVIL did not originate from GOD. It originates from SATAN who has also blinded you into being an atheist. Every human has a choice daily to either be good or bad. Jesus said that everyone is a sinner. NObody is worthy to go to heaven. You and I and no better than the people from ISIS because we break other commandments of God on a daily basis. The wages of sin is death. I pray that the Lord opens your eyes and you will also know the truth and it will set you free.

  • I’m not a Catholic, no.

    Quick history:

    (1) From the earliest evidence we have, Christian leaders and laypeople couldn’t come to consensus on hell. In the 2nd century, we see writings in support of annihilationism, in support of purgatorial hell, and in support of endless hell. Each used similar language and ascribed their views to Scripture.

    (2) By the 4th century, we see purgatorial hell and endless hell at increasing odds with one another. Prominent figureheads supported endless hell, and prominent figureheads supported purgatorial hell, and considered the issue a “friendly controversy.” Augustine tried to incorporate the views and practices of purgatorialist Christians into endless hell belief (a maneuver that eventually yielded Catholic “Purgatory”).

    (3) In the 5th century, reactions against the violent Late Origenists and the theological campaigning of Augustine of Hippo began a vector toward the dominance of endless hell belief. The second ecumenical council and Athanasian Creed finally rejected purgatorial hell.

    So, no, Catholicism is officially hostile to what I’m talking about.

  • C. D. Carney

    I love this article. I believe God is mercy, justice, goodness, and all that wrapped up into one. What I don’t believe God is is a sadist who created creatures in his image to glorify him all so that he could send 9/10ths of them to hell. I’ve also heard that hell is degrees of separation from God and not eternal hellfire but all I know is that I don’t want to risk finding out what happens to the baddies. Some might call me crazy and say I’m praying in vain but sometimes I pray for the wicked just because I thought no one else would and that maybe if I remember them to the Lord maybe one day someone will remember me to him. I pray for peace and love. I pray for justice and understanding and hope they all intertwine comfortably.

  • Anna

    Are you saying that you believe Christ’s death saves everyone, even if he rejects christ.? I always felt that a burning hell was a metaphor to illustrate how bad eternal separation from God actually is. I don’t think God condemns anyone who truly desires him. The Holy Ghost can find people in jungles. He can move in their hearts. I always saw hell as more of an ongoing society, but separated from God, due to gods holy nature and a person’s lack of repentance. God wants everyone to be saved. But I am not a bible scholar. I will read you other articles. Thanks

  • scott

    This is an interesting article. The argument is essentially one of human rights. It is basically affirming that humanity has the right not to be tortured to death as a means of punishment for some supposed crime determined by ISIS that no one accepts (wrong religion,homosexuality, ethnicity etc). My questions are as follows. What if the person being killed by fire, torture etc. was Hitler? What if the person being killed was someone who beyond a shadow of doubt caused the dehumanization, torture, suffering and extermination of millions? Does the collective right of all those he violated trump his rights? Would the ethic presupposed in this article hold if the person is deserving of the punishment? What punishment would be adequate in the sense of accomplishing justice for a man like Hitler? To be sure the masses would not be of one mind in the answer to that question.

    Taking this to the next level… does the argument for human rights not to be tortured forever (essentially what hell is) supersede the right of God for justice for the cosmic treason of rebellion? If it is true that God is infinitely good and infinitely holy, than any sin, no matter how infinitesimal would be produce infinite guilt worthy of infinite
    punishment. Is God’s divine right for justice superseded by his creation’s (the guilty) human rights? If so what is the basis of an argumentation for that?

    Complicating this question even more is the doctrine of substitution, in that God through Christ willingly paid the penalty for mankind’s sin and cosmic treason by his death on the cross. In this way God makes an “out” for the guilty. The innocent (Christ) takes the punishment for the guilty and the guilty is credited with the perfect righteous record of Christ. In this one move God satisfies both perfect justice and mercy.
    The rejection of this grace is just a further slap in the face of the
    judge who has offered to take the punishment for our crimes. The problem with
    this article is not that is presupposes hell as to terrible, but that it
    underestimates the terribleness of man’s treason against God. What is and
    adequate punishment for crimes against and infinite God? This article simply
    makes too little of sin, and too little of God’s holiness. With proper
    perspective of the infinite nature of both our guilt and depth of God’s Holiness no one could argue the justice of eternal punishment.

  • Guy Norred

    In regard to the Hitler example. I don’t have any idea how one becomes Hitler, not that I can’t imagine doing bad things (or give examples of bad things I have done), but I cannot at all imagine what it would take to make me the kind of monster we all see him as. I don’t know, but God does.
    What God sees when he looks at Hitler’s heart, I have no idea, and therefore I should not even pretend to be his judge.

  • and I believe this moral outrage comes from the spirit of God within us

    You had me right up until that line. Which God? What about those of us who are atheists? Those of us who may follow a nontheistic religious tradition? Or are you falling back on the fundie canard that we all believe in Jesus Christ, but that some of us are just so darn angry at God that we reject the message?

    As an aside, it speaks very badly of modern Christendom that it needs an actual real-life example of people being burnt alive to rethink the idea of hell.

  • Olivia Jackson

    Still there! The moral outrage exists because of the spark of life. Whether or not that it is acknowledged, doesn’t make it untrue. GOD, whether in the guise of Brahma, Allah, or YHWH, or the That-which-exists-in-and-beyond-the-Universe is responsible. And believing in GOD can take many forms.

    as the greek poet once said “WE are all GOD”S children.”

  • Olivia Jackson

    Ego. The extreme end of imagining oneself isolated from GOD.

  • kingmcdee

    I would just like to point out that there is absolutely no reason why anyone has to accept your false dilemma – that Revelation contains symoblism does not entail that absolutely everything in it is purely symbolic.

  • So who decides what is symbolic and what is not?

  • This is SO on point. I’m inclined to believe that God does, in fact, look like Jesus. For a lot of years the whole “eternal, conscious torment” belief didn’t bother me. Over the past few years, the more I thought about it, the more it turned my stomach. Definitely don’t hold that view anymore.

  • Hmm. I didn’t realize Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t believe in hell. Thanks for sharing. That’s interesting.

  • I think you’re assuming a couple of things that aren’t at all obvious.

    First, that a sin is infinite based on the infiniteness of the victim. I think better ways to measure a sin are the evil of the actual act done, or the evil of one’s intentions, but doesn’t make sense to say a finite being is capable of infinite evil.

    And second, you assume a sort of math that says certain amounts of sin equal certain amounts of punishment. How can you prove that the world (or God) works this way? In life, punishments teach, and so there is a reason why you’d want the punishment to be in some way proportional. But in eternity, no one can learn anything, so why assume proportionality? Don’t just say “justice” — justice means different things to different people, and it seems unjust to punish anyone except for their own benefit.

    (Personally I do believe in hell — but I believe it’s a place of total desolation from God, not fire. Not really interested in arguing that here, so much as to point out the flaws in your argument.)

  • Guy Norred

    Sorry to be obtuse, but are you saying that I am imagining myself isolated from God, or that Hitler imagined himself isolated from God?

  • No One ‘has to’ believe Anything..!! No One is going to be ‘punished’ by any hypothetical ‘God’..!! Ancient writers do not usually provide us with much in the way of ‘truth’ or ‘fact’..!! Reality is whatever it happens to be, in spite of human ideas or opinions or beliefs, or teachings..!! Believe Not, that you not be hoodwinked, or fooled, misled, misinformed, controlled, used..!! Numerous beliefs are quite erroneous, switch now while you’re thinking of it, while you have a chance..!! The fires of hell do not exist, thank Real God, ‘go to heaven in a handbasket’ [whatever that meaneth], go to the ‘heaven’ of your choice, play heaven Bingo for eons, be born a gain as another human baby if you’d like, be a soul, man.. No One goeth to No hell, for it existeth Not.. This ‘devil’ thing is likewise phony baloney, Fear Not, my worthy children.. Nature is everywhere, Nature is Everything, including the hypothetical Intelligence which evolved once in the Universe..?! Use your head, it’s there for a purpose..!! PIE 0201

  • Olivia Jackson

    Hitler. I believe that Original Sin is imagining that we have been cut of from GOD. The creative power of the human mind more-or-less makes that a reality, and is what allows us to interact with the Spirit of Error/Deception/Injustice and be cruel and callous to each other.

  • Olivia Jackson

    I’ve started concluding that the Law of Moses as recorded in the Torah is a mix of GOD’s commands, Moses’s interpretations of Divine Justice, and later Pre-Exilic interpolations. Especially with the way Jesus treated the Law.

  • cipher

    And I’ve no doubt that day, if it comes, will give you a great deal of pleasure. I’m sure you salivate whenever you think of it (and I’m equally as sure you think of it often).

    There is no one more self-righteous than a Christian who is being threatened with having his torture porn taken away.

  • cipher

    Precisely. This is the logic of the abused child: “It’s all my fault. Daddy doesn’t want to hurt me. I’m so bad he has no choice.”

    Of course, it is impossible to explain this to the vast majority of Christians.

  • Herm

    As a Christian who doesn’t give a damn about Heaven or Hell, only what is constructive for all today, I agree with you. I can only testify that Matthew 7:12 fulfills what I do give a damn about, not in retribution or retaliation but in actual love for my enemy, merciful neighbor, self and my Lord God. I have found in that unilateral Spirit there is reconciliation possible to bilateral peace and joy, even if I must die that my enemy might live to find this to be true.

  • phantomreader42

    So, scott, is your god REALLY so petty and narcissistic that it considers not worshipping it to be deserving of infinite punishment? Why should anyone with a conscience worship such an arrogant, self-serving monstrosity?

  • scott

    Sheila, to your first point. I think we get into trouble when we are putting measures on the evilness of sin and thus limits on the punishment for it. This is not out place, this is God’s determination. If His determination is that the offense is worthy of eternal punishment than who are we to question that. If God is over all things than he is subject to nothing, especially our interpretations.

    Your second point is less clear to me but I would question that the sole purpose of punishment is teaching or corrective. There is a difference between punishment that is corrective verse punishment that is punitive. Hell is a punitive punishment for the guilty and to those declared innocent (because of Jesus) Hell is evidence of God’s hated for sin, His power and justice (as defined by God not us).

  • scott

    Phantom, If i stood up to the world and said I was the greatest being that ever lived it would be: 1) a lie 2) self-dilluted 3) conceited and prideful 4) egotistical. There is truly greater beings than myself.
    However if it is true that I am the greatest being that ever lived,if in fact I created the world and all other beings, even time itself, than this would not be a lie, or conceit but just the truth. It would be wrong for me to say any different, it would be a lie. Furthermore, anyone who claims something different than the truth of my greatness would be misguided, and living under false pretenses. Their word would be a fantasy and not the reality and thus it would be unloving for me to allow them to continue in their delusion.

    God is not arrogant or conceited in proclaiming the truth about himself, he simply can’t be if all that he claims about himself is true. Only one who claims grandiose falsehoods to be true can be guilty of pride, arrogance or undue self-intrest. If there is something greater than God than he is a liar and a fake and he is narcissistic and arrogant. If there is not than he can not by definition be those things.

    Ironically when we claim that God is arrogant and narcissistic than we are setting ourselves up as God’s judge and superior which is the definition of excessive self adulation. We are the arrogant narcissist.

  • phantomreader42

    Claiming that someone is misguided or living under false pretenses is NOT a justification for SETTING THAT PERSON ON FIRE AND BURNING THEM ALIVE FOREVER FOR YOUR OWN DEPRAVED ENTERTAINMENT!!!!!
    The fact that you need to have that pointed out to you is deeply disturbing.

  • phantomreader42

    No, scott, YOU are the arrogant narcissist. YOU are the one who has made your sociopathic god of torture in your own vile image. Today you’re gleefully endorsing burning people alive for disagreeing with your imaginary friend. How long until you decide it’s okay to burn people alive for disagreeing with YOU?

  • phantomreader42

    Burning people alive forever is not justice. The fact that you are so hopelessly disconnected from reality that you can confuse the two shows that you simply do not know what words mean. If you’re really so eager to watch your imaginary friend burn people alive, please do the world a favor, and start by setting YOURSELF on fire.

  • phantomreader42

    Any god who would torture people forever, as punishment for such absurd and petty “offenses” as “not licking the invisible sky-tyrant’s boots”, is not only evil, but the most evil being imaginable. Why would anyone with a conscience willingly worship such an atrocity? The dogma of hell is a foul lie, made up by sadistic sociopaths and manipulative frauds. If a god that evil existed, the only moral response would be DEICIDE!

  • scott

    Calm down a little… I think you are misunderstanding what I am saying. My argument was for God’s right to make truth claims about his nature without people declaring God to be an arrogant narcissist.

    Concerning divine punishment, mankind has rebelled against God, lives under a false pretense that they themselves are god and thus all people are deserving of divine wrath and eternal punishment. The apostle Paul says this “The wages of sin is death”. Before you go all bold, CAPS LOCK on him the next part says “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”

    Did you see that? God offers salvation from His wrath for all to believe. What is offensive about that? God is offering a gift to mankind. They must either accept that or reject it. If they reject it, they make an active choice to continue in their rebellious power play against God and the end result is eternal punishment. It is not God’s desire that any should suffer this end nor is it mine. That is why he made a rescue plan for humanity through Jesus. He poured out his wrath for sin on Him. It is by his sacrifice and death on the cross that people can be saved. He offers salvation from hell and reconciliation to God as a gift. It is not a gift earned by good morals, or good deeds. It is a gift of unearned favor given out of love for mankind. That is not a petty, hateful, arrogant god, that is a God who has gone to great lengths to offer rescue. This is what Jesus said:
    “For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him shall not die but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world but in order that the world might be saved through him” -Jesus

  • Susan Wright

    I love every word of this article! Thank you.

  • Raichu

    If they reject it, they make an active choice

    I do not think this lines up with the way people actually think. Very few non-Christians look at the reality you have laid out, perceive it the way you do, and then say “well I’m just gonna rebel then!”.

  • Raichu

    What’s your take on the fallibility of humankind? God did not make us perfect, or we never would have sinned. It is actually IMPOSSIBLE to live a life without sinning if you are human. Why would God make a creation that’s imperfect beyond its control and then punish that creation for being the way He made it?

  • Raichu

    Why are we so flurred up about what happens to those who have rejected Jesus?

    Is this a serious question??? Maybe because, I dunno, we LOVE those people and don’t want to see them suffer?????

    Your comment honestly disturbs me. You basically advocate cloistering our community and thumbing our collective noses at those who don’t believe – “screw you, I’ve got mine!” – and being perfectly at peace with their suffering.

  • Raichu

    My take away message from the NT is that Christ promises eternal rewards for those that serve Him faithfully, and some sort of unpleasant fate after death to those who willfully reject him.

    I’m curious as to whether you think all of humanity fits exclusively into one of these two groups.

  • Excellent post. I’ve been doing some soul-searching on this topic for a few months, after the death of my Jewish father. A family friend asked me if I had shared the gospel with him so he could go to heaven, and that deeply triggered me. Anyone who knew my father knew that religion made him immensely uncomfortable, perhaps because of the types of Christians you describe who think ISIS-style hell is perfectly acceptable and just.

    But then that leads me to ask…what is hell, exactly? Jesus did die to save us from something, right?

  • Hi Beth- so sorry to hear of your father. If you check out my Letting Go of Hell series, I think the other posts will answer a lot of your questions.

    Peace,
    Ben

  • I understand what you’re saying as a Christian myself, but here’s the part that always baffled me: the way this ‘system’ is set up is so not everyone has an equal chance at salvation. What were the odds that I happened to be born on the Western side of the planet, where Christianity is deeply ingrained in American culture? What about the places that missionaries can’t or haven’t reached? What about the people who were taught a misunderstanding of the gospel message?

  • scott

    Hi Beth,

    There are two pieces of scripture that come to mind when I read your reply. The first one is in Revelation 5:9 where the apostle John is given a front row seat to the future. There, in numbers that can not be counted, are representatives of believers from every “tribe, tongue and nation” all worshiping the Son Jesus. This means that the good news (gospel) of Jesus will spread to the ends of the earth and people from everywhere will hear, respond and believe on Jesus and be saved from the wrath of God that is to come. This is good news.

    As far as equal chance this is really a question of fairness (a valid question). How can God hold people accountable for not believing in something that they have never heard?!?! How can God condemn people for ignorance? This question is answered by the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1:18-20:

    “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

    What we learn from this is that the truth about God can be seen even in nature, the things that have been made. This is known as Natural Revelation (a lesser revelation of who God is). Man’s rejection of this Natural revelation (suppression of the truth) is enough to condemn them even if they have not rejected Jesus (a fuller revelation of who God is). They reject this truth because they don’t want to give honor to God or thank him. They would rather worship created things than the creator. In short the wrath of God is coming and there is no one who will have an excuse, there is no one who will be able to stand before God and say they would have chosen Jesus if they only heard. They have already rejected the Father to whom all nature points. The rest of Romans 1 makes it clear that those who reject the natural revelation we live in every day around us wouldn’t believe even if they had opportunity. They would rather pursue evil than good and God lets them, “gives them over”, to run as far and as fast from him as they can. Jesus said this in Matthew 7:

    “13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

    Needless to say Jesus’ word were deeply offensive to the people who heard him and continue to be till this day.

  • scott

    I believe the creation narrative, subsequent rebellion and fall on man as written in Genesis is a literal account. It is the orthodox Christian position for thousands of years and only until recently (last 100 years) has it been considered myth. The apostle Paul confirmed the genuineness of this account in Romans 5 when he tells us that sin is in the world and death through sin because of Adams rebellion Romans 5:12. He goes on to say that the whole earth groans “under the weight of the curse”. The entire faith structure of both Judaism and Christianity makes no sense without a fall as there is no explanation on the origin or nature of sin without it.

  • You basically repeated everything I was already taught about hell, and did nothing to help or comfort me at all. Thanks for that.

  • I am not a pastor or any kind of layperson of a church and I have never been to seminary or Bible college, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am just a regular Joe who believes and trusts in Father God, the creator of all things visible and invisible, and in His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah who gives us life because He took my and your penalty for all our sins. I also believe Yeshua teaches us to know and understand Him; meaning He teaches us to know God. I used to accept the traditional belief of hell being eternal even though it made no sense and didn’t fit God is love; I don’t anymore. I had something happen to me back in 2011 that caused me to search deeper into God’s Word than I ever had before or ever wished to. I started a blog called “Keep the Faith” and it is here that I post what I have learned. I believe hell will be deep regret for not believing the Truth which God is willing to freely give us if we only ask Him for it. When I searched the Greek and Hebrew words that have been translated forever or everlasting, it seemed to me to be how we often us forever. It’s like when you go into a store and see someone you haven’t seen for a while; “I haven’t seen you forever”. Even for a short time we will use the word forever like having a bad sickness you might say it lasted forever; like Jonah did to describe his time in the belly of the whale.

  • kaydenpat

    A minority of Christians hold the view that hell is not forever. I don’t see how you can reconcile a loving God with a God who would torture people forever.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annihilationism

  • Josh Greeson

    Beth–all of your questions are valid and you are right to ask them. They are, however, directed against the limited calvinistic- and/or arminian-type views of election, predestination, eternal torment, pray this magic prayer before you breathe your last breath,” “make a decision for Jesus” views of salvation, etc.. The reason you have your questions is because those views they are directed against are not the only christian views to consider. Your heart already knows this. There are valid Scriptural answers to your questions. Your questions come from the lenses that you’re already wearing when coming to the Scriptures, without even realizing it, most likely based on the particular denominational streams and upbringing you’ve been most exposed to. Read “The Inescapable Love of God” by Thomas Talbott. I believe it will help you. Blessings!

  • Josh Greeson

    Scott, it is impossible for a finite creature to create/incur infinite guilt.

    Your understanding of “eternal” punishment is limited to your understanding of that common and unfortunate choice of English word many translators choose. It might help if you were to study the Greek word, “aionios” and read how it was understood by ALL of the Greek-speaking church fathers who immediately succeeded the original 12 apostles. That is just one tiny step in the right direction.

    Also, understanding that the discipline of the Lord (read: hell) is not solely, or even primarily, punitive in nature–but rather corrective, instructive, with a view to the eventual repentance and reformation/transformation of the heart and mind of each individual. Go there and then take off the imaginary “decision deadline” of physical death, and you’ll be off and running.

    Blessings!

  • Nimblewill

    They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the
    fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor
    did it enter my mind.
    Jeremiah 19:5

  • Robert

    Bravo.

  • Guest

    Actually, the old testimate never mentions hell. Most Jews believe the soul is purified by fire and then sent back with the others.
    Our word of ‘hell’ has Nordic and Greek pagan orgins (hades).
    Many of the times Jesus referenced a place of fire/Burning it was a real on-earth place located outside the city for the buring of waste.

  • Why should we “rethink” what God, through the Bible, has already stated to be true? Or is the “condemnation” that those without Him choose (John 3:18,36) just a slap on the wrist in Heaven? Does that mean Heaven isn’t perfect?

    I believe you’ve missed out on one vital difference between the prisoners of ISIL and God’s wrath against sin. The ISIL prisoners do not deserve, by God’s standards, their temporal fate. Our sin causes all of us to deserve God’s eternal wrath, and only Jesus’ atonement for our sin is the only way out.

  • Guest

    If the God of the New Testament is identical to the God of the Old Testament, then I have a very hard believing that such a being could rightly be described as “merciful”. That very God (of the OT) endorsed burning people to death for their sins:

    “Also the daughter of any priest who profanes herself by playing the whore profanes her father also. She shall be burnt with fire.” Leviticus 21:9

    It’s funny how he has no problem with teenagers/young adult humans (That’s behavior typical of a young woman, so I’m estimating) being roasted to death, yet the idea of doing the same thing to children “never crossed his mind”, presumably because of how barbaric the practice is in principle.

    Also, while I’m on the topic of cruel and barbaric punishments, I challenge anybody on this site to go to the best gore website and actually look at images of people who have been stoned to death, so you can have some idea and appreciation of what your God supposedly endorsed 3000+ years ago, and what he would supposedly still be demanding if Jesus hadn’t “fulfilled the law” and it’s requirements. If you can watch Isis beheadings, you can look at those images, uncomfortable as they make you.

    Then ask yourself this: is this sort of slow, traumatizing, cruel punishment that constitutes torture under international law (Source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47552 ) consistent with the idea of a holy, all-loving, merciful, just, etc, God, or is it consistent with the moral values of a primitive, patriarchal, iron age society predicated off of honor and shame? What’s more parsimonious as an explanation? The answer is pretty simple to me.

    The Bible is and was a product of it’s times and while there are good things within it’s pages to commend it, there’s also a lot of garbage in there as well. It simply makes more sense to view it as a human document, rather than a divine one, in my opinion. And assuming there is some kind of God, I’d like to know why he seemed to *always* reflect the values of the culture he revealed himself to, which is precisely what you’d expect from a God that was merely a mental projection of those cultural values.

  • Guest

    The story has always struck me as a sort of “coming of age” kind of deal, primarily. Transitioning from a state of childish innocence into the real world of adulthood where actions have consequences which are sometimes painful but nonetheless provide opportunities for growth. Another suggestion I’ve heard thrown around is that it was kind of an ancient just so story to explain various aspects of human existence, such as why humans naturally fear snakes, why we wear clothes, why childbirth hurts so much, etc, in a pre-scientific society that puzzled over such questions. There are an innumerable amount of “live options” on the table to account for the stories (or a combination of any of those options), so to say it must fit within a rigidly literalistic framework seems myopic to me.

    Also, given the influence of the Christian religion on society for the past 2000 years (which has only recently endorsed evolution), is it any wonder that the creation story has traditionally been interpreted literally? That the majority of people have believed in a particular interpretation of Genesis (Under threat of excommunication or worse for denying a literal fall) says nothing about how *credible* such an explanation is, in and of itself.

  • Valerie Hunt Imsen

    Its sad that you don’t believe the Bible you have been studying for so long. I suppose you don’t believe the God of the Old Testament is the same God of today? Yes, Jesus died for our sins but if people reject that there is nothing more God can do for them! Why don’t you think God chose to go through such drastic measures to redeem?

  • WhamBamThanksBigO!

    An afterlife in which those who didn’t measure up to God’s standards get eternally punished doesn’t seem like a very radical message to me. Rather, it sounds an awful lot like what a normal person would like to see happen to his enemies — revenge.

    What’s going to blow your mind more: Confirmation that the worst human monsters were thrown into an eternal torture chamber, or having them greet you at the gate, weeping, begging your forgiveness, and washing your feet before you share the joy they too have found upon realizing how very wrong they were?

    The first is soooooo painfully human. The second is beyond all human understanding.

  • WhamBamThanksBigO!

    Certainly there is a lot of theology to cover to arrive at a sound, supported conclusion as to why Jesus died for us. But part of me thinks, personally and perhaps without a shred of evidence, it was in part to make us realize how foolish we are in our petty pursuit of vengeance.

    “You are so bloodthirsty… Here, I will give you my Son — I give you GOD HIMSELF — so that you can vent your frustrations, ostracize him, torture him, and kill him. Is that enough? Does this slake your blood lust? You have killed God… satisfied now? Or do you finally realize how ridiculous you are?”

  • Ah, but consider this, in light of the references I made earlier: would Heaven be at all pleasant to the person who wants nothing to do with God? If Hell is the one place where God isn’t, then that’s where we choose to go. Why shouldn’t He give us what we want?

  • Frank Krischick

    i believe when god says that he loves his children he truly meanes this but we cannot step with our sinfull/dirty feet in his kingdom for it is holy god’s sacrified his only beloved son to dye for us instead because only jesus was capable of overcomming our eternal punishment by resurecting him on the 3rd day.
    God wants us so much because of our good intendent diversity of minds and acts.
    There is only one thing to do believe the gospel of jesus Christ.
    No one can enter the kingdom but through Jesus alone

    Get the message ?
    God thought it’s enough to waste so much lifes who lived in vain even through believes people were infected by Satan’s inspiration to be sinfull.
    Because if we enter his kingdom with dirty feet it will infect the entire kingdom of god
    and God cannot allow that.
    that’s why Jesus died for mankind to cleanse them from sins if we allow him to do so
    i might not understand how it works for now but someday i will see and understand :)
    GBU

  • MarkG

    Here is how I understand hell. Bear with me as it will take a bit to get to the point, but know that I have an M.A. in Theology from a Catholic seminary. God is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, theologically referred to but not fully appreciated as “Trinity.” It is a mystery. Yet we are created in God’s image, as affirmed in Genesis. The Father is who he is. The Son is the Logos, the word of understanding how God knows himself. The Spirit is the love God has for himself as he knows himself to be. (This is how the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.) We humans, not being God, still have existence, knowledge of ourselves, and the ability to love such truths. But our existence is marked as created beings, intellectually progressing beings, loved beings. This is how we image God, through who we are as rational creatures who can come to know truth, goodness, beauty, love, being, all the transcendental goods that philosophy studies but as finite beings. So, the greatest part of our existence is 1) to realize it has meaning and 2) that this meaning is related to being loved by God. It is not wrong that God made us this way. But it does require the possibility of infinite gain (heaven with God) be paired with the possibility of infinite loss (hell being apart from God). The greatest suffering of a person condemned to Hell is the loss of meaning. They could have had God, they could have had heaven, they could have had it all but it is irreversibly lost to them. From my opening statements you now realize that knowledge of the loss and the resulting loss of meaning is the worst pain of hell–not physical fire. Physical fire is used as an image of this. Only at the last judgment when souls are united to resurrected bodies will their be physical pain added to mental torment. And this will be the last act of goodness God grants them. Even in this life people in mental distress over loss of love or meaning (ex: in the death of a loved one) try to act out by crying, moaning, screaming, tearing their clothes, breaking things, pulling out their hair, smashing arms and legs into things, pounding the ground in grief, etc. Actually such things help to distract the mind and serve as an outlet for the pain. The physical fires of hell you have a problem accepting in the teaching of the Bible is the least of such a person’s worries. In fact, learning of their judgment, souls long to throw themselves into physical pain to relieve their suffering. You have it all backwards because you don’t know the Tradition of the faith, you only read bible verses which are inadequate to explain such things to you. The real question you should be asking is how can the apparently small things of everyday life, even the big things that sometimes come our way, be used by God to judge us worthy of an eternally conscious existence in heaven or hell. This will raise other questions about who is “worthy” and the nature of “redemption” as an act of grace vs. act of faith vs. act of charity. The Catholic Church affirms that God gives everyone on the planet enough help in this life to know the choice they are making even if that choice of eternal destinies is not known with as much clarity as the Christian faith teaches.

  • Lev

    „Is it possible that God is actually Jesus on the cross dying for his enemies?“

    I am inlove with this question.

  • Jeanne Fox

    Adolf Hitler didn’t think he was isolated from God, just the opposite. Hitler saw himself as an instrument of God’s will. He wrote in Mein Kampf “And so I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. In standing guard against the Jew, I am defending the handiwork of the Lord.” Chapter 2 , book 1 page 49. Murphy translation. Throughout Mein Kampf, Hitler acted as if he were totally in tune with God and Nature. That’s how seriously deluded he was.

  • This is an excellent article.

  • Those are some very good points.

  • One Truth

    Sorry, Gods word does not link up with universalism at all.

    Thomas Talbott…. Satanic Cult Leader.

  • One Truth

    “Very few non-Christians look at the reality you have laid out, perceive it the way you do”

    2 Thessalonians 2:9-12……….

  • One Truth

    Concerning the words, Hell, Hades, Lake of fire and Eternal punishment, either you do not know your Greek, the meanings of the words and how they were used, OR….you do know, but would rather lie and use a slide of tongue technique on those of a lesser knowledge of Gods word to lure them into the cult universalism.

    At any rate, God in His infinite wisdom knew that satan would use these kinds of slippery tricks to try and lead others astray.

    And Josh, you mentioned……
    “who immediately succeeded the original 12 apostles.”

    Well Josh, luckily we have plenty of scripture with the original twelve, plus Jesus, who speak of eternal punishment without using { the disputed } word.

    Matthew 25:46……Acts 13:46…….1 John 2:15-20…….Matthew 13:47-51……Matthew 13:36-43 and last but not least Revelation 20:10-15

    Just to name a few.

    Oh, and one from the Old Testament, since a previous poster did not believe that the Old Testament contained any scripture concerning Eternal Damnation for The Wicked who deny Jesus Christ and choose to follow satan……

    Malachi 4:1-3.

    For those who might be interested, The cult of universalism is a dangerous, satanic lie, in the sense that you can go on living your life the way you want and not worry about Truly Repenting of your sins and coming to Christ for Salvation.
    And why on earth would you need to? EVERYONE is going to Heaven, Right? Well then whats the danger of living in sin? There’s no Hell, Live it up………..

    Oh wait…… Matthew 7:13-14.

    Josh, you would’nt call Jesus Christ a liar would you?

  • One Truth

    Yes, it is. And the enemies who heed to Gods Calling and Repent, Believe and Follow, are no longer considered enemies, but sons of the Living God, who have been redeemed, washed in the blood of Jesus and will be with their God for all of eternity.

    And I am in love with this answer.

  • One Truth

    “The Bible is and was a product of it’s times and while there are good
    things within it’s pages to commend it, there’s also a lot of garbage in
    there as well. It simply makes more sense to view it as a human
    document, rather than a divine one, in my opinion.”

    Which is why God has sealed you from knowing His Truth.

  • One Truth

    Isis is not HOLY and JUST, Almighty God Is.

  • One Truth

    1) There are so many in the new testament, who cares. But….. if it pleases you…..Malachi 4:1-3…..Same same

    2) Non Messianic Jews cant agree on anything, Gods word declares this concerning the Sadducees and the Pharisees.

    3) Sir, you do not know your History or Greek.

    4) Jesus never made such a reference. Never

  • One Truth

    “A minority of Christians hold the view that hell is not forever.”

    That’s because they are not True Christians and they do not study, nor do they believe the Word of God. So they are simply jumbled up with all other worldly / religious people who are being mislead by The Liar himself, Satan.

    “I don’t see how you can reconcile a loving God with a God who would torture people forever.”

    You do not know or understand The True and Living God, who has offered you His loving Redemption, because you are of the group in which I stated above. And God does not torture anyone…..They chose that fate when they rejected Jesus Christ and His Salvation that was offered to them……

  • One Truth

    “His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah who gives us life because He took my and your penalty for all our sins.”

    My Goodness, If there is no Hell to rescue us from, then why did Jesus have to go to The Cross to redeem us from the penalty of our sins?

    Are you under the impression that some can SIDESTEP Jesus Christ and His Great Sacrifice, and not have to pay with eternal separation from a HOLY GOD, because they chose to Reject Jesus and stand before God in His Holy presence on their own, in the NAKEDNESS of their sins, not being CLOTHED in CHRIST?

    Sir, May I suggest that you read and study the parable of the Wedding Feast……Matthew 22:1-14

    Sir, you need to get yourself a Real Greek Lexicon and stop doing google searches or relying on bing for your research on the Greek language. And Please….Study your Bible and pray for Godly Wisdom.

    If your heart is humble and truly seeking, He will answer you.

  • One Truth

    “But then that leads me to ask…what is hell, exactly? Jesus did die to save us from something, right?”

    My Dear Friend, You just answered your own question. Jesus went to The Cross to Redeem you from Eternal Death. Being forever Separated from the God. Because He Loves You so much….. Will you accept?

  • One Truth

    “You are so bloodthirsty… Here, I will give you my Son — I give you
    GOD HIMSELF — so that you can vent your frustrations, ostracize him,
    torture him, and kill him. Is that enough? Does this slake your blood
    lust? You have killed God… satisfied now? Or do you finally realize
    how ridiculous you are?”

    Um….Are you writing lyrics for a new Speed Metal song?

  • One Truth

    And there you have it folks…..Hundreds of years later, Gods Word has finally been debunked. What took you so long Paul?

  • One Truth

    So there is no relative truth……EVERYTHING is truth? Nice concept.
    Don’t think that this is going to pass when you stand before The One True God though.

  • One Truth

    “What if the person being killed by fire, torture etc. was Hitler? What if the person being killed was someone who beyond a shadow of doubt
    caused the dehumanization, torture, suffering and extermination of
    millions?”

    Most of these folks would be celebrating in the streets. Because that life would’nt matter.

    Wait, That would be a double standard from their opinions here on God……Hmmmm

  • One Truth

    “What’s your take on the fallibility of humankind? God did not make us perfect, or we never would have sinned.”

    No……God made us perfect, yet in true love, He gave us a freewill instead of creating robots. How courteous of our Loving God.

    “It is actually IMPOSSIBLE to live a life without sinning if you are human.”

    Yes, now that we have a sin nature. Exactly why Jesus went to The Cross for our sins. That was nice of God too.

  • One Truth

    YOUR SINS HELD CHRIST ON THAT CROSS, phantom………What should God do with you, as you continue to slap, spit on and re-crucify His Beloved Son who died for you? Let you into His Holy Kingdom?

  • One Truth

    Acts 1:8…….
    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has
    come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

    Mark 16:15-16…..
    And He said unto them “Go into All the world and preach The Gospel to All creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”

  • Raichu

    Wow, I actually forgot about this conversation.

    Looking at it though, I just have one logical issue with it: how is it possible for a perfect being to sin? You claim God made us perfect, and then we chose to sin. If we were perfect, then even with free will, how could we have sinned? Wouldn’t that be impossible?

    Oh, actually, one other question. How does one person’s sin, or two parents’ sin, get automatically imbued into their offspring?

  • Raichu

    So you’re saying that God made them that way on purpose and then they’ll be damned?

    ??

  • Josh Greeson

    Over the top much?

  • Josh Greeson

    TODD-
    The apostles used the Koine Greek word aioinios with the same common understanding that all the native Greek speakers of the age did–“of or pertaining to an age (aion)” or “age-long” or “age-associated.” What “slippery tricks” am I using? Insisting that the words be understood by us as they were by the writers?

    I can tell by the fact that you’ve gone through this thread and responded to so many people that you are passionate for the Lord, and I commend you for that, while simultaneously suggesting that there might be more effective means of sharing what you believe is the truth, if you ever have any hopes of someone listening to you.

    There are simple answers to the questions you raise by referencing those Scriptures, and books have already been written to answer them. I doubt you’d be willing read them, because it’s much easier to stay where you are than to humbly challenge your own assumptions by truly studying viewpoints other than the one you already hold.

    That said, while I do not ultimately wish to continue this discussion here, I want to throw a few points out for your further consideration as I leave the thread.

    * Is God GOOD or isn’t He?

    * Would it be “good” to create humanity, knowing
    in advance that the vast majority of them would do everything you didn’t want, and would ultimately end up being tortured forever and without end—with no
    possibility of eventual willful reformation, repentance, and redemption?

    * Or.. might it be “good” to create him, knowing
    that his works—though evil and painful in the short-term–might serve some useful redemptive purpose in the long-run (ages of ages) that might not otherwise be possible without?

    * Might God’s love and truth—in the end–prove to
    be stronger than the devil’s hatred and deception?

    * Do you believe (as the majority of Western
    Christians since Augustine do) that the majority of PEOPLE will go to hell?

    * Do you believe that hell is a place of “eternal
    conscious torment?”

    * Or might it be a refiner’s cleansing fire, that
    burns away the wood, hay and stubble?

    * Might it be a testing that causes us to finally “come
    to ourselves” and look to God, like the prodigal son in the pig’s pen (Luke 15:7)? [P.S. Will you rejoice when they do, or will you get bitter like the older brother, get into a huff, and refuse to enjoy the party that should be
    for all of us?]

    * Might it be a corrective punishment, which works
    for our benefit, to a remedial and redemptive end–as all of God’s training does (Hebrews 12)?

    * Might it be the intense kindness of God in the
    middle of our rebellion that feels “like coals of fire on our head” (Rom.12:20)?

    * Do you believe God wants/desires for ALL men saved (1 Tim.2:4, 2 Pet.3:9)?

    * Do you believe God is foreknowing and All-powerful and will ultimately get what He wants—whether it be now or later? Or can a man (by his strength, weakness, blindness, rebellion, sin, stupidity, or what have you) thwart God’s design and plan for his salvation?

    [NOTE: You can’t believe BOTH of those two statements, while simultaneously believing that all will not be saved at some point]

    * But what about love and the necessity of free will that enables it?

    * Is it possible that God, willing that all would be saved, being all-powerful, and honoring man’s freedom to choose, could create a process of restorative justice, correction and instruction, whereby all men eventually have a change of heart and mind (repent), believe, and freely choose Him?

    * Could it be?

    * Or is man’s will too strong for God? Or is the salvation of humanity too difficult a thing for God? Can a nation be saved in a day? Can a world be saved in the ages of the ages?

    * Do you believe that Jesus really is the “Savior
    of the world,” or just a small percentage of the world?

    * Is He the ACTUAL Savior, or just a POTENTIAL
    Savior (Is a lifeguard a savior, even though he stands watching from the beach while a man drowns in front of him?) Is His arm made short? Could He save us or
    not? Which was He—unable or unwilling?

    * Do you believe that His arrival really was “good
    tidings of great joy… to ALL men?” Or just to some? Or is it really bad news and a good suggestion?

    * Do you believe that Jesus came “that the WORLD
    through Him might be saved,” or just a lucky few?

    * Do you believe that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost?” How many were lost? So did He find and save them, or did He go home empty-handed?

    * Is He, or is He not, the “Lamb of God Who takes
    away the sin of the world? Did He take away the sin of the world or didn’t He?

    * Or did He just create some potential salvation that now lies in the hands of individual, lost, dead in sin, rebellious mankind to somehow get their act together, have faith, meet some particular denominational understanding of what it takes to cross their T’s and dot their I’s, if they have any hope of being saved?

    * DID JESUS FAIL IN ACHIEVING THESE GOALS? Did He save the world, or didn’t He? Is He the Savior of the world, or isn’t He? Is He the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, or isn’t He?

    * Or would you call it a Victory and a Triumph for
    Him to walk away with 1%? 10% 50% 75%?

    * Was the shepherd happy and satisfied to have 99
    of his 100 sheep in the pen? Or did He go after the last one and drag him home? Was the woman happy with 9 out of her ten coins? Was the loving father satisfied that at least one of his two sons remained at home?

    * What seals someone’s salvation—Christ’s work, or
    theirs (whether that work be a prayer, a confession, a baptism, “repentance,” assent to some set of doctrinal beliefs? Which list will get the job done? Yours? Mine? Or one of the other 40,000+ Christian denominations’ lists?

    * Is it works that closes the deal? Is salvation a
    transaction that relies on you and me for its completion? Or does God save us single-handedly? Is it Grace after all, and does that grace prove to be—as Calvin
    caught a fuzzy glimpse of—IRRESISTIBLE, after all?

    * I could go on like this for hours.

    Listen, your accusations against ultimate reconciliation (“universal reconciliation,” “universalism,” etc.) are likely founded on a misunderstanding or a lack of information and consideration of other angles on the same texts you cite. We agree on more than you think!

    You and I would likely both agree that Jesus is the ONLY
    means of salvation. We would both likely agree that faith (trust) and repentance (a change of mind and heart that ultimately results in a change of behavior) are necessary in order for a person to experience and enjoy the benefits of salvation.

    However, the main thing you and I would likely disagree on is the answer to this question: Is there a deadline by which a person must believe the right things, come to the right conclusion about Jesus, and make confession unto salvation? You would likely place a decision deadline at
    physical death, whereas I would not. I know, “once to die, and after this the judgment.” Without even going into what “the judgment” means, or the scenarios played out when people have died more than once, or the other verses that discuss these possibilities–it’s a reeeeaalll stretch to say that this verse means, “If you don’t jump through the right hoops before you breathe your last, you’re doomed forever.”

    I know the Scriptures you referenced as well as you do. It’s ridiculous for you to make the assumption that I don’t. It’s also ridiculous for you to assume that your interpretation of those verses and the concepts
    contained in them is the correct one, while everyone else is wrong. Maybe you aren’t seeing the forest for all the trees. Maybe humility says that it’s possible you’re wrong and someone else could be right.

    I believed in eternal conscious torment for 20+ years. Then I believed in conditional immortality/annihilationism for another 10+ years. It’s hard to break with things you’ve believed and been taught. It’s humbling to admit when you’ve been wrong. It’s through sincere study of the Scriptures and relationship with Jesus that I am where I am in my journey—not through ignorance, philosophy of men, sentimentality, unsanctified mercy, or any other
    thing you might ascribe my beliefs to. I may be in a sifferent place in another 10 years. I hope you are too!

    What I will say is that if we’re being open and honest in
    our appraisal of the relevant Scriptural texts, there are more interpretive possibilities than we are comfortable dealing with. Much easier to throw God in a box and tie it with a pretty bow. But you know, then we keep growing and realize that He doesn’t fit in our silly little boxes, however pretty they may be, and however we wish He would.

    Do you believe the exact same things you believed 5 years ago? 10? 20? If so, I’m sad for you, because that would mean you aren’t growing in your knowledge of the Lord. If you’ve changed some doctrinal belief before
    when additional light came to you by His Spirit, is it not possible that it could happen again on this subject?

    Thanks for playing bro. I hope you take this in the sense it was intended—a friendly brother encouraging an exploratory conversation that pushes us all outside of our neat theological packages we think God fits in. I’ve been in this (believing in salvation through Jesus) for over 35 years now, and my box gets bigger every day—with the eventual goal if it falling down for good. We want so badly to have it all figured out though, don’t we? Love you bro!

  • One Truth

    Is that what it says? That God forced man into sin, made them that way? No.

    Verse 10 : “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, BECAUSE they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

  • One Truth

    “I just have one logical issue with it: how is it possible for a perfect being to sin? You claim God made us perfect”

    God did make us perfect.

    If I take raw silver and make a silver coin, put that coin in a sealed container and keep it in my house forever, That coin would stay in mint condition. But remember, its just a coin.

    But if that coin was alive and had legs, and it wandered outside on a nice sunny day, but did not come back, but choose to stay out in the weather, it would tarnish and weather.

    Because Adam and Eve choose to sin against God in the beginning, there where consequences. They were warned, but did it anyway.

    We should be so lucky that God, in His Rich Mercy, has given us a way back to Him…..

    His name is JESUS.

    “If we were perfect, then even with free will, how could we have sinned? Wouldn’t that be impossible?”

    No….You just answered your own question….We have FREEWILL. That’s what Freewill is…..FREE WILL.

    “Oh, actually, one other question. How does one person’s sin, or two parents’ sin, get automatically imbued into their offspring?”

    The same way genetics are passed along, but the sin nature is passed on Spiritually. It was a curse that man put upon himself through disobedience towards God.

    Remember, a choice was made.

    If you choose to get drunk, get into a car ans drive off. Five miles down the road, you hit a car full of people and they die, Who’s fault is it?

    a) Gods
    b) The person that made the alcoholic drink
    c) The person who sold you the drink
    d) Yours

  • One Truth

    Yes, but Lindsey, Its not what view You hold, but what Gods word says.

    We will ALL find out soon enough, what the real truth is, but…….Will we ALL be ready to Stand before a HOLY GOD?

  • And God’s word must always be interpreted. Your interpretation is no more correct than mine. We’re all trying to figure it out. Am I prepared to stand before a Holy God? I don’t know. Are you? I’m not sure that I’ll be standing at all. I am, however, secure in my relationship with God.

  • One Truth

    “And God’s word must always be interpreted.”

    It will be…..If you have been born again by the Holy Spirit of God.

    True Christians will be taught by God.

    John 14:16-17……”
    I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He maybe with you forever; that is the Spirit of TRUTH, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him
    because He abides with you and will be in you.”

    John 14:26….”
    But the Helper, the HOLY SPIRIT, whom the Father will send in My name, HE WILL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

    James 1:5……But if any of you lacks wisdom, let
    him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

    BUT, Look what Jesus says in regard to those who are Proud, Arrogant and act as if they don’t need to call out to God for His Truth, or even call on Him at all…..

    Matthew 11:25-27………At that time Jesus said “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and have revealed them to little children.

    Yes, Father, for this way was well pleasing in Your sight.

    All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son, and to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

    Lindsey, you don’t need to try and figure it out. Cry out to God, and He will hear you. Ask Him for understanding. And He will give it to you. Get yourself a good bible, ( New King James, American Standard, English Standard ) and start studying His word and keep in prayer with God.

    If you do not go this route, you will never know the truth, because only God gives it. So you see, its not my interpretation, or yours or anyone’s, Its Gods word to us.

    “Am I prepared to stand before a Holy God? I don’t know. Are you?”

    YES, 100% YES……….

    1 John 4:13-15………These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
    This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
    And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the request which we have asked from Him.

    May God Bless You Lindsey.

  • One Truth

    No Scott. As a follower of Jesus Christ, We have to understand something Very Clear, There is Spiritual Warfare going on 24-7 and the enemy does not rest.

    When it comes to Gods word, there’s one absolute truth, everything else is a lie.

    These warnings are throughout Gods word, but here is just one example: Galatians1:6-9…………

    “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

    which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to DISTORT the gospel of Christ.

    But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”

    Some might think that I am being a little harsh in my posts. Can you imagine what individuals thought of the Apostle Paul when he rebuked them in this Raw Truth, as he was lead by the Holy Spirit to do so?

    ANYONE who teaches ANYTHING other than Gods Inerrant Word is a Liar and a pawn for satan.

  • One Truth

    Josh, I just have one question for you. And this is really all that matters.

    Do you believe that The Bible is the INERRANT Word of GOD?

  • One Truth

    “Hell doesn’t have to be a place of eternal suffering, scripturally
    speaking… It could be a place where the soul suffers but then is
    ultimately destroyed, becoming non-existent. Jesus speaks of Hell as a
    of Destruction.”

    There is not one verse in the Bible where it states that souls will ultimately be destroyed as in ( non existent ) or as the jehovah’s witnesses put it “Annihilated” . Not One.

  • One Truth

    “You basically advocate cloistering our community and thumbing our
    collective noses at those who don’t believe – “screw you, I’ve got
    mine!” – and being perfectly at peace with their suffering.”

    That’s not what he is saying at all. He is just saying that Gods word ( regarding a place called Hell )says it and its true.

    And they have made their choice and there is not Anything anyone can do to Force them to change their mind.

    And Christians should ( As the Apostle Paul said ) AGREE and let there be NO divisions among you…..

  • One Truth

    Everything you just posted is of Your opinion…..Not even close to being biblical.

    “Let Christians who study our Bible and love Christ believe what God claims about Himself”

    So why did you not comment on Gods word from the bible, instead of piping out your humanistic opinions?

  • One Truth

    Gods word make perfectly clear what Hell is. Traditional view / Non traditional view…..Our views and opinions do not matter, Gods Truth matters. And He has made it Very Clear.

  • One Truth

    “Purgatorialism is Biblical and historical (just as annihilationism is).”

    Where? Give One example from Scripture.

    And by the way, good luck with that.

  • One Truth

    Very well said friend. And you may be a sinner brother, but at least your sins have been forgiven. God Bless

  • One Truth

    Stan , where do you find this garbage? Wikipedia????

    Again, wheres the Scripture?

  • One Truth

    I think we’re throwing pearls Joe. They don’t seem to care…..

  • Romans ch. 11 for the promise that the ‘pleroma’ of Jews and ‘pleroma’ of Gentiles shall be reconciled eventually.

    1 Corinthians 3:15 for the purgatorial punishment that awaits the “lazy servants.”

    Ephesians ch. 1 for God’s mission objective.

    See the Purgatorial Hell FAQ to explore the issue further. The issue is legitimately complex.

    http://stanrock.net/2015/05/20/purgatorial-hell-faq/

  • One Truth

    Stan, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 is not talking about Hell or The Judgement, It is simply referring to the Born Again Believer going before the Bema Seat of Christ where you will get/lose rewards for what you did on earth, regarding the gifts that were given to you and how you used them.

    James 2 ?

    Galatians 5:6 ?

    You lost us Stan……….

  • Josh Greeson

    Todd, that’s “really all that matters?” Is that what Jesus asked His disciples—“What do you say about the Scriptures?” I could’ve sworn He asked, “Who do you say that I am?” THAT, my friend, is really all that matters.

    I believe that JESUS is THE Word of God. What do I believe about the Scriptures? I’ll let the Scriptures do the talking:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17
    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
    instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

    2 Peter 1:21
    for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

    1 Corinthians 10:11
    Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

    John 20:31
    these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    1 John 5:13
    These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

    I am comfortable leaving it where the Scriptures leave it, without feeling the compulsion to sign off on the extra-biblical terminology in your denominational doctrinal statement. I believe the Scriptures are a reliable guide to life and relationship with God the Father, through God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit. I believe the Scriptures offer us a record of the progressive revelation of His nature, culminating in the ONLY clear picture of God we have—the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

    Hebrews 1:1-2a
    God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son…

    2 Corinthians 4:4
    …Christ, who is the image of God…

    Colossians 1:15a
    He is the image of the invisible God…

    Hebrews 1:3a
    who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…

    I love and treasure the Scriptures, but they are not an end in and of themselves. As John recorded Jesus’ words to the Pharisees by the inspiration of the Spirit:

    John 5:9
    You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.

    If we stop at the Scriptures, we’re missing the point. The Scriptures are there to point us to Jesus Himself. Paul the Apostle’s cry was not, “That I might know the Scriptures…,” but it was, “That I might know HIM, and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10)!

    Let’s not become so focused with the map or the road sign (super helpful and invaluable though they may be), that we camp on the side of the freeway, and never reach the Destination they faithfully tell us is just ahead. So what’s “really all that matters,” Todd?

    If you hand a Bible to two faithful and genuine disciples, it is still UNAVOIDABLE that they will end up with two different interpretations of various aspects of doctrine expressed in this same inspired book they both claim to believe.

    So here’s another question for you: Are you relying on your ability to correctly interpret the doctrines of Scripture to secure your salvation? Or are you comfortable trusting Jesus alone to handle the saving? Are you leaning on your faith, or relying on His Grace? Jesus and His Grace have proven to be much more trustworthy and reliable than my own understanding and faith.

    2 Timothy 2:13
    If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

    It’s by faith we experience and enjoy what He’s
    already accomplished by His Grace. Jesus is quite the capable Savior, and quite the faithful Lord. The sooner I believe it, the better for me, but I won’t count on some particular set of doctrinal hoops I’ve jumped through–nor ducks I’ve managed to get in a row– to get my name in the Book of Life. My faith is in Christ alone!

  • Josh Greeson

    P.S. none of what you said in this comment is relevant to this conversation.

  • One Truth

    It certainly is Josh. Its a relevant response, to your response of my comment concerning Mr. Talbott, his teachings and the cult in which he represents.

    May I also add that it is relevant to those who contradict Gods Word on Anything, such as the writers contents of this blog.

    Absolutely relevant .

  • One Truth

    Stan, 1 Corinthians 3:15 is not talking about Hell, purgatory ( there’s no such thing) or The Judgement, It is
    simply referring to the Born Again Believer going before the Bema Seat
    of Christ where you will get/lose rewards for what you did on earth,
    regarding the gifts that were given to you and how you used them.
    Born Again Christians will Never be punished by God. Disciplined, Yes, Punished, Never….

    Romans 11, Paul is describing how the fullness of the ( believing ) Gentiles will come to pass and the remnant of the Jews, who will go through the Tribulation period, will eventually be grafted back in to Gods family ( The remnant meaning, those who come to accept Jesus as the Messiah ) during that terrible time. Which is what Daniel the Prophet spoke of as the 70th week of fulfillment.

  • One Truth

    That’s completely ridiculous.

  • Regarding 1 Corinthians 3, it IS about the Judgment. Verse 13: “The Day will bring it to light.” This parallels Romans 2, which describes the Judgment process as an exposure of all secrets.

    Indeed, 2 Corinthians 5:10 confirms:

    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

    You can, rightly, call this a process of chastisement or discipline for those with remaining recompense due for bad things they did. That process is exactly what Catholics call Purgatory.

    Regarding Romans 11, you are allowing your preconceptions to stomp over what the text says. You posit that only the remnant of Jews shall be grafted in. But Paul explicitly says that the unelect, non-remnant are not beyond recovery:

    Romans 11:5,7,11a

    “So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. … What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened. … Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all!”

    After reviewing your other posts in this thread, you do a lot of good work defending Scripture against truth relativists and unbelievers, but unfortunately remain conceited with regard to God’s plan of purgatorial universal reconciliation. Your attitude seems much like the loyal brother of Luke 15 or Jonah after Nineveh is spared. Paul was trying to stop his brethren from having this conceitedness when he wrote Romans 11:

    “I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the ‘pleroma’ of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved.”

    ‘Pleroma’ is not ‘all of the small part.’ It means absolute completion, even to excess. Verse 12 says the ‘pleroma’ of Jews will be included eventually. Verse 25 says the ‘pleroma’ of Gentiles will be included eventually. The upshot? Verse 32: “For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”

    – The Earth is the Lord’s, and the ‘pleroma’ in it.

    – Love is the ‘pleroma’ of the Law.

    – Christ is the ‘pleroma’ of the deity bodily.

    Be careful with ‘pleroma’. It cannot be qualified as easily as ‘pantas’. Mormons try to qualify it when they seek to downplay Christ’s Trinitiarian role. We must not allow ourselves to bend it to our preconceptions.

    Romans 11:23

    “And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.”

    How can the ‘pleroma’ of Jews and Gentiles be grafted in, if it is contingent upon true belief — confession and submission?

    Paul supplies the answer in Romans 14:10b-11:

    “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will fully confess to God.'”

    That “fully confess” is the same word used to describe those who sought John the Baptist, and the sin confession of James 5.

    The context of Romans 14 is a warning against judgmental believers, but Paul is quoting a passage from Isaiah which continues that the unrighteous shall come to this submission and confession in shame. Not endless rebellion, not incorrigibility, but shame, submission, confession. That is how the ‘pleroma’ is possible when reconciliation requires faithfulness.

    Your “Wikipedia” comment elsewhere was unacceptable and uncalled-for, and makes me reluctant to invest myself in a back-and-forth with you. I’ll let this post stand and let you have the last word. God bless.

  • One Truth

    { “If you hand a Bible to two faithful and genuine disciples, it is still
    UNAVOIDABLE that they will end up with two different interpretations of
    various aspects of doctrine expressed in this same inspired book they
    both claim to believe.” }

    Only if one of the two is not being led by the Holy Spirit. God is not a God of confusion Josh.

    1 Corinthians 1:10………Now I exhort you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that YOU ALL AGREE and that there be NO DIVISIONS AMONG YOU, but that you be made complete in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGEMENT.

    Matthew 12:25…..”Any kingdom DIVIDED against itself is laid waste; and any city or house DIVIDED against itself WILL NOT STAND.”

    I have heard many a people who say they are believers tell me, “its o.k. to disagree on this or that regarding Gods word”. That’s not what Gods Word says at all as you have seen in the scripture above.

    And if you know Gods Word, then you know that there’s much more where that came from.

    Also, Josh, You can read John 6:41-65, pay special attention to verses 59-63.

    They did not understand nor like what Jesus had to say, yet it was truth no matter the fact of what they wanted to hear. You can equate that with the True doctrine of Eternal Punishment for those who choose to Reject Christ for Salvation.

    I cannot say whether or not you are a Born Again Christian, Only God knows your heart my friend.

    I will say this, a person can be a True Christian, yet not understand Gods Word very well, because they have not leaned on Him for His Wisdom. Unfortunately this is all to common. I would suggest that you pray about this brother.

    As said before, We are to agree on ALL of scripture and God can make it so with those who trust Him.

  • One Truth

    { “So here’s another question for you: Are you relying on your ability to correctly interpret the doctrines of Scripture to secure your salvation?” }

    Josh, Please tell me your joking here….

    Please read Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:4-5 & 7:21-23

    Josh, there are many religious people/groups ( Mormans as just one example ), who do not know Jesus Christ, yet claim that they do.

    That way of thinking is Very Dangerous, As Jesus said Himself in the above scripture.

    1) If you have the wrong Jesus, you have no life

    { “Are you leaning on your faith, or relying on His Grace? Jesus and His Grace have proven to be much more trustworthy and reliable than my own
    understanding and faith.” }

    2) There is No grace applied to us without true repentance and Faith in ALL that Jesus Said and Is.

    I Corinthians 2:4-5……..”And my message and my preaching were ( not in persuasive ) words of wisdom, (but in) demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
    so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

    So Josh, do not trust in the wisdom of worldly men, but on the message of the gospel, which is the Word of God, Jesus Christ, as taught by the Holy Spirit, if you will listen.

    Yes, Jesus paid it ball on the cross, but if one does not put ALL of their Faith in the Word of God, and take the entirety of Gods Word as Inerrant Truth, there is a BIG Problem. Your now at satans mercy, for his job is to lie and lead astray. Read the parable of The Sower.

    I mean, That’s GODS WORD, and JESUS is the WORD of GOD. In ALL TRUTH. In Him there is no falseness.

  • One Truth

    Stan, a back and forth would be a waste of time. Please pray for Godly Wisdom.

  • One Truth

    Amen Brother.

  • Clema Burke

    This article… makes me wonder what Bible people who agree with it read. The idea that something God does or will d o is not right because… it’s inhumane?!?! Try sending your son to die on a cross, THAT’S inhumane! But we’re all glad that he did.

    I think Todd Parker and Scott are more on track than the Ben is on this topic. In his progressives ideas on hell, Ben seems to be trying to make God appealing like Budda… cuddly-looking, accepting everybody and everything, and no absolutes.

    If God says that the punishment for sin is ETERNITY in the Lake of Fire, who are we to say that this is unjust?!? If you really disagree, then you do not understand the seriousness of sin, fron his perspective.

    The fact that Ben would compare God to ISIS only shows that he thinks he knows better than God on what punishments humans deserve.

  • Raichu

    It also said that God would “give them over” to wickedness…

  • Raichu

    If you make a silver coin and want it to stay silver, you don’t give it legs so it will walk around and tarnish.

    Also how does “free will” line up with you and I being born with no choice but to sin? Sin passed along spiritually? How is that our choice?

    re: the drunk driving thing: if a person is perfect, they will have no inclination to drive drunk.

    Likewise with Adam and Eve, if they were perfect, they would have been unable to disobey God. They might have had a lot of free will to do other things, and still be perfect. (Also why did God make them with free will so they could disobey Him, and then put the one thing He didn’t want them to have right in the middle of their garden?)

  • Raichu

    uh

    “Why are we so flurred up about what happens to those who have rejected Jesus?”

    What else is that supposed to mean, other than saying why should we care about those who are damned?

  • One Truth

    EVERTHING that you just ranted about is CHOICE.

    We do not HAVE to sin, we do because we have a bent nature toward it.

    God loves us enough to give a way out.
    Take it or leave it. Another choice………

  • One Truth

    Exactly. Do you know why? Read it again…..

    “BECAUSE they did not receive the love of the truth ( Jesus Christ ) so as to be saved.”

    Choice.

  • One Truth

    I think you better read my post more carefully. I did not quote what you listed above, I quoted you on assuming Surya was unloving and hateful toward those who reject Jesus with your comment below ……….

    “You basically advocate cloistering our community and thumbing our
    collective noses at those who don’t believe – “screw you, I’ve got
    mine!” – and being perfectly at peace with their suffering.”

    Now, the point is simply this, if someone rejects the love offered by Christ, They will refuse the love that a Christian will offer as well.

    So why waste the time. I mean, you have been a perfect example. You don’t care about what I Have Tried to explain to you regarding Gods love and forgiveness, and it does not seem to be going anywhere, so I really have nothing left to say to you.

    That does not mean I don’t care about you as a person or that I wish harm on you, because that is certainly not how I feel. There’s just nothing left to say……

    I admit that I myself would not have worded it like Surya, but I understand what the point was, and it certainly was not “screw you I’ve got mine!”.

  • Raichu

    what is a “bent nature” and how is it not an inherent part of us?

    (You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to. It’s starting to feel a bit circular. But at least hopefully you can see where I am coming from.)

  • Raichu

    Bad wording, actually. “Because they did not receive” sounds like “because it was not given to them”.

    I’d have to go back to the original, on that.

  • Raichu

    I like how you assume I don’t care about what you’re saying (and why would I be having this discussion if I didn’t care…?) and are now categorizing me with nonbelievers…? Have I not made it clear in this thread that I am a Christian? I struggle with fundamentalist dogma, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have faith.

    “Now, the point is simply this, if someone rejects the love offered by Christ, They will refuse the love that a Christian will offer as well.”

    That’s patently untrue. How do you even come to that conclusion? (And God did not tell us to only love people if they wanted us to, btw. We’re supposed to love people, period.)

  • One Truth

    Because they did not receive, meaning because they did not accept. This verse is talking about those who reject Jesus Christ / Gods love.
    Remember, salvation is a gift that we must accept and receive. If not, then we remain dead in our sins against God.

  • One Truth

    I’m sorry and I am not trying to be unkind. It has just been a real trying conversation, back and forth. And I think that you just made a point for me.

    You said….”I like how you assume I don’t care about what you’re saying”

    That was my defense on behalf of Surya, when you said…

    “Your comment honestly disturbs me. You basically advocate cloistering our community and thumbing our collective noses at those who don’t believe – “screw you, I’ve got mine!” – and being perfectly at peace with their suffering.”

    You were assuming that this was their attitude, as well as others who believe in eternal punishment for those who reject Christ, but this is not the case.

    I see that you are very compassionate toward people, and I try to be the same. but that does not mean that we will all see eye to eye.

    And what I meant when I said that those who reject Christs’ love will also reject ours is simply this, They reject Christ for His message, Christians who proclaim the same message, which is what we are to do, will in the same way be rejected.

    Jesus Christ say’s this Himself……” If they hated Me, they will also hate you.” Again Jesus also said in the High Priestly Prayer to the Father, “I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

    I am sharing these things with you because I want you to know Gods true word. In accepting and knowing Gods truth, you will draw closer to God in your relationship with Him, and that is what God desires of you.

    If you are truly a born again Christian, the fact that hell exists should not bother you personally, but it should cause you to desire to share Gods word with others in a deeper way because you are concerned about their salvation.

    You say that you struggle with fundamentalist dogma. The bible is Gods True Inerrant Word. Please be careful and do not believe what the world tells you about Gods Word. At the same time do not even just take my word for it, because I say its truth. Ask God.

    Jesus said……”Ask and it will be given to you, Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened”

    I will tell you what I have told people for years……If you truly believe in God, Then ask Him to speak of His love and truth to your heart. And then listen. If your heart is right, and you humble yourself before Him, He will disclose these things to you, but you MUST believe and have faith.

    I will be praying for you.

    I surely hope that you will go into deep prayer with God and trust Him. He loves you very much.

  • One Truth

    Bent nature toward sin. That means because of the fact that we are born with a sin nature, we naturally desire live in sin.

    Its only because of our conscience, Gods voice within us, that we even know its wrong. This all started when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That very action of disobedience against God brought about a spiritual curse against mankind from there after.
    But God loved us so much that He sent Christ to atone for our sins, and therefore has given us an escape from the bondage of sin. This is the gospel that is to be preached on in the world to all.

  • Raichu

    This is getting very circular lol. I’ll stick with the other comments for now.

  • Raichu

    Again, I understand that. I think it was badly worded.

  • Raichu

    I pray about this all the time. And I sincerely appreciate your prayers for me. :)

    I am greatly troubled by the existence of conventionally-defined hell, if it is indeed what people say it is. How can I not be, if I love others? I can’t imagine a greater tragedy than human beings being condemned to eternal torment – especially those who are generally good people. How can people ever justifying doing anything but trying to survive and, in 100% of their spare time, trying to convert other people, if that’s what they truly believe?

    I’m not saying I reject the notion outright, but I struggle with it. I find it illogical and also patently horrifying. It doesn’t line up with the notion of a loving God who is wholly good, to me.

    One other note: I don’t think most of the secular world hates Jesus. I think many people are indifferent, but indifference is not the same thing as hate (unless this is another language thing again).

  • One Truth

    Again, faithfully pray to God for great wisdom and understanding, and He will surely grant it to you.

  • One Truth

    Here is the same type statement from Jesus…….

    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.”

  • One Truth

    “I can’t imagine a greater tragedy than human beings being condemned to eternal torment”

    I do understand what you are saying. But I have come to understand a greater sorrow. That some of those who Christ underwent all of His torment and suffering for, have mocked, laughed at and blasphemed His name and rejected His message AND His overwhelming love for them.
    Thus they have chosen and sealed their fate themselves and done so in a most horrendous way.

    Luke 9:26…….”For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words , the Son of man will will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

  • One Truth

    Well Mr. Corey, What you believe is irrelevant when it comes to Gods Truth. For those who read Gods word and take it Literally as Truth, there is no place for molesting Gods perfect word and making it say what we want.

    You sir are a LIAR, and are only aiding the enemy in leading souls that do in fact, life forever, into eternal damnation. Have you never read Revelation 20:10-15? That s the ONLY of MANY scriptures that I really need to give.

    Jesus Christ taught more on Eternal Punishment in Hell than He did on Heaven for a reason. It was and still is a warning for All to Repent from a life of sin and follow Him.

  • One Truth

    Who would be afraid of or worried about Death if all it pertained to was annihilation? Ceasing to exist at all, no consciousness?

    NO ONE. That would not be Punishment…..

  • One Truth

    Patricia, You conveniently forgot to read vs.10… Now add vs.15 and what do you have? Tormented day and night forever and ever.

  • One Truth

    Those who Study Gods word already have. Revelation 20:10-15……Read it.

  • One Truth

    Timothy, Is it loving to call JESUS CHRIST a liar, and to lie to people about where they will end up if they continue to reject Christ for salvation?

  • One Truth

    Not what, Who…..God Himself does.

  • One Truth

    Well….Its certainly a good thing your not.

  • One Truth

    Ben denies Gods Inerrant Word, which leaves him No Credit.

  • One Truth

    “Also, until you are dead, you won’t know if there are second chances.”

    Wow, are you seriously willing to take that chance?

  • One Truth

    God teaches His true children. If you have been born again by the Holy Spirit, you will receive understanding of Gods Word, but only then…….

    Matthew 13:10-17, John 14:16-27, 1 John 2:24-29

    James 1:5-8, Its is Gods will that we seek these things from Him.

  • One Truth

    “So who decides which parts are literal and which parts are not”

    For those who are being led by the Holy Spirit of God, the Truth is shown to us in Gods Word. If you keep ALL of the bible in context, Scripture interprets Scripture.

  • One Truth

    “what kind of “free will” is that?”

    Freewill.

  • One Truth

    “But what if someone never heard of Jesus or had an incorrect
    understanding of him? Should he/she go to Hell? What about someone who
    isn’t convinced that God exists? Should he/she go to Hell?”

    Romans 1:18-21……..Read it.

  • One Truth

    “Your spelling and grammar are horrible. Did you even graduate from High school? And what does “God does not think hell I good in fact it makes him sad” even mean?”

    Relax, He’s from another Country. And he may not type good English, but his wisdom far exceeds yours.

  • My question was, who decides what is symbolic.

  • What chance? My hope is in Christ crucified. I have no worries about the after life–my work is here and now. Whatever comes next is not something I concern myself with.

  • One Truth

    If you are truly a born again Christian, and your hope is in Christ, should you not believe every word spoken by Christ as to be true?

  • One Truth

    Scripture, Gods word. The topic at hand is whether Eternal Punishment in a real, existing Lake of Fire actually exists, and where those who die without Christ Jesus will be there for all of eternity. The answer is without a doubt ,Yes.

    Why? Because Jesus said so throughout scripture.

    So at the end of the day, whether some of the visions that John saw in Revelation where symbolic and some where literal, they are all significant and real.

    You said “Either Revelation is symbolic or it’s literal.” That is not true at all. You have both. Example, You asked…..

    “Do you take all of Revelation literally? Such as a beast with seven heads and ten crowns rising from the ocean to take over the world? Or do you think the beast is symbolic?”

    The beast Literal, the heads, horns and diadems….. Symbolic:

    Revelation 12:3 and 13:1 proclaim that both satan and the beast are in control of this world power through earthly kings and rulers ( notice both are described to have seven heads and ten horns, one noticeable difference however is the # of diadems and their locations on the two).

    Revelation 17 gives an explanation as to the symbolic nature of what John saw and chapter 11, in the book of Daniel also explains this as well.

    Satan, the beast, the false prophet, Hell / Hades and the people, Lake of Fire……. all Literal:

    Revelation 20

    As one studies Gods Word, ( With the aid of the wisdom given by the Holy Spirit ) one will see that scripture will interpret scripture through the old and new testaments and whether symbolic or literal, it all ties together as Gods True, Inerrant Word.

  • I understand that you believe what you believe. I follow the Holy Spirit as I read scripture and he has made clear to me that what matters is what Christ did on the cross. Everything else we can disagree on and nothing else really matters since none of us can know with certainty what existence after death will truly be like. I understand your interpretation of the scriptures above, but I do not agree with it. Thanks for taking the time to share it, tho!

  • You clearly should, as that is what you believe. I read scripture with my heart and soul tuned to the Holy Spirit and personally judge every word through Jesus’s actions of unconditional love on the cross. Those particular actions were his most eloquent sermon on how we are supposed to live and behave in the world.

    I do believe every word spoken by Jesus, however, my interpretation can be completely different than yours. We are two different people with two different life experiences, and two different walks with Christ. Our interpretation of scripture will not necessarily be the same. And that’s okay. Because in the final judgment, I won’t be there with you nor you with me. We will stand alone with God and all we will have is the relationship we’ve built with him and the cross as our atonement.

  • One Truth

    “I do believe every word spoken by Jesus, however, my interpretation can be completely different than yours. We are two different people with two different life experiences, and two different walks with Christ. Our interpretation of scripture will not necessarily be the same. And that’s
    okay.”

    That is not only, Not O.K., but that is Extremely Dangerous. That’s EXACTLY what satan wants people think. That’s how he tries to divide Gods people. Why do you think there are so many religions and believes out in the world? Because satan is a liar and a divider.

    Lets look at what Gods word says concerning this.

    Matthew 12:25…..”Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

    Please read John 6:41-65 concerning Jesus Christ speaking on trusting our own interpretations….Take special note of verses 59-63.

    The Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:10, clearly commands……”Now i exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that You All Agree and that there be No divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the Same Mind and in the Same Judgement.”

    God is not the God of confusion, but that is exactly what satan does the best.

  • Andy

    And how does he do that? Through the bible? Please. That’s a textbook example of begging the question.

  • One Truth

    Yes, through the bible. Thats why God authored it. Its His word.

    And No, That is a textbook example of Faith In God.

  • Andy

    Okay, we’re done here.

  • Timothy Hawk

    Jesus never taught about a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. You have misinterpreted his teachings. He did not teach about eternal destiny, as that was not a concern. What he did teach was how to live a life of slalom, because that WAS a concern; the main concern! Our responsibility is to love God and love others, that’s it. The rest is up to God.

  • One Truth

    Just how much of Gods Word do you actually believe?

    10%, 20%, 50%, 60%……?

  • One Truth

    Just because you do not believe Gods Word, does not mean it is inaccurate.

    You will Certainly stand before a Holy God one day, and be Speechless in your sins!

  • One Truth

    “I’m much more interested in discussions and ( arguments )”

    That’s your problem. You have NO facts, but you live for the argument.

  • One Truth

    Your ignorant, humanistic / worldly based arguments are absolutely useless against Gods True Word.

  • One Truth

    “If you check out my Letting Go of Hell series”

    That’s right Beth, Take Ben’s word for it, Gods Word means nothing……

  • Stuart Blessman

    yu dun shewed dem! amen brotha, kep prechin!

  • One Truth

    “Jesus never taught about a place of eternal punishment for the wicked.
    You have misinterpreted his teachings. He did not teach about eternal
    destiny, as that was not a concern.”

    Is it fitting for you to call Jesus Christ a LIAR? Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:10-15

    Have you not read His Word, or do you just simply follow the latest commentaries?

  • de_la_Nae

    You bride of Satan.

    You betrayer of Christ.

    You twisted, selfish hellspawn.

    Pray that there is not a Hell, boy. Pray to God with all your might, because by your actions you cleave closer to it every day.

    Repent, wayward brother. Cease this evilness, and seek the Lord.

    Before it is too late.

  • One Truth

    I did, What about you?

  • Herm

    All Christians are not HOLY and JUST, Almighty God is.

  • Herm

    “… Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”” John 4:23-24

    ““If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. …” John 14:15-18

    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” John 16:12-15

  • One Truth

    Hello Herm. Concerning your quote of John 4:23-24,

    You left out the verses ( Verses 20- 21 ) in which Jesus’ reply actually comes from. The woman had simply questioned Jesus on the LOCATION of where to worship. His answer was that it would not be a physical place, but in your heart.

    Your other quotes from the Gospel of John are true and important as well, But, the Holy Spirit also speaks to us in conjunction with us reading Gods Word, which is why God spoke it to men ( John 14:26 ) and had them write it down and pass it around.

    2 Timothy 4:1-2………

    I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

    2 Peter 2:19-21………..

    So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shinning in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
    But know this first of all, that NO PROPHECY OF SCRIPTURE is a matter of ones own interpretation,
    for NO PROPHECY was EVER made by an act of human will, But men moved by the HOLY SPIRIT spoke from GOD.

    And now we have this prophetic word to study and share.

  • One Truth

    They certainly will be…..And God will make it so…… By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit…….1 Peter 1:2

    Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16……….As children of the Living God, we are commanded by God to ” YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY”

    Sir, Do you have a problem with God and His Children?

  • Herm

    Not at all with God and Their little children. Not at all with disciples of the only Rabbi. Not at all with those cleansed in their heart and mind by the Holy Spirit one with all of God.

    Religions of any form on this earth I have a problem.

  • One Truth

    Then if I read you correctly, we are in agreement.

  • Herm

    All that is in the Bible has come, here today. The scripture is not the word of God as proclaimed to the world after Jesus’ ascension. The word of God is the Holy Spirit who speaks only what Jesus and the Father say to each of our hearts and minds. The New Testament was not even written when…

    “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.” Acts 4:31-32

    …and this was written after the fact.

    The Old Testament was finished as fulfilled when Jesus gave up His spirit.

    “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

    “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:37-40

    Our Messiah is the Lord of all of heaven and earth today and was when given full authority by our Father.

    “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14:20

    I am not leaving out contextual verses but pointing you to where you can ask the Counselor to help you see the context by which this inspired scripture is written and has been compiled for each of us to find the Spirit of Truth, the Counselor you query. The exact same Spirit that appeared as a dove to John the Baptist.

    There is only one Rabbi, Instructor, High Priest, Lord, Messiah, Christ and Word at the beginning and that’s my Brother Jesus whom I live with constantly with my heart and mind filled by the Holy Spirit. There is only one Father, my Father in Heaven.

    I am not telling you what you must do for all I can do is point to where you can find a peace and joy you will only know as a living little child of God today. That is, also, all the Bible can do for you.

    I so hope you can find what you so fervently ask, seek and knock for. Your logic and your discipline are exemplary but do not reflect the light of peace and joy found only ion the Spirit.

    Love you!

  • Herm

    Possibly only the Spirit knows for sure and I pray that we are, thank you.

  • One Truth

    The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as The One True God, That is Whom I serve and by Whom I am taught.

    And the word of God is Gods Inerrant Word, which I study and believe.

    “The scripture is not the word of God as proclaimed to the world after Jesus’ ascension.”

    The New Testament IS in fact, The true word of God, written by the disciples, whom were filled with the Holy Spirit.

    “The New Testament was not even written when…”

    You are correct, It was after this that the disciples wrote it, just as commanded ( You Will Be My Witnesses ).

    Acts 1:8……..”But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and YOU shall be MY WITNESSES both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and EVEN to the remotest part of the earth.”

    And so….Filled and directed by the Holy Spirit of God, they wrote down Gods Holy Word (2 Peter 1:19-21 / 2 Timothy 3:16 ) in order to spread Good News throughout the world.

    It is actually no different than when Moses, King David, King Solomon and the Prophets all wrote down Gods word to be preserved for generations to read and study.

    Jesus quoted the Old Testament quit often, They were basically His Words. The New Testament is simply the second half of Gods Word, concerning Jesus Christ being the Fulfillment of it as a whole.

    As Jesus said…… “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”

    May God Bless You and I Love You Too Brother.

  • Herm

    On this we will disagree but on what we do agree will help us both to learn as we individually need directly from our Rabbi.

    When Jesus said, “It is finished” the Law and the Prophets were fulfilled.

    “For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

    … at the moment His spirit left the heaven and earth disappeared as the dead know nothing. Everything was accomplished.

    The Bible is an expose first of the relationship between mankind and God from the beginning. Second is the pointer to how to become a student of Jesus. Each of the mortals could only write the picture in their hearts and minds to the level of their education and experience.

    For disciples of the Christ to be able to “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” did not end with the book of Revelations. If we have the Word of God inside our hearts and minds the Bible is of little need except to point others to the divine pointer for themselves. The Bible is no good without the Spirit both in the writing or the reading. When the Spirit resides without ceasing binding our hearts and minds one with the hearts and minds of God the Bible pales to the value of the ashes to which it will return.

    As to inerrant I find that just the exceptions Jesus epitomizes relative to the God of war in the Old Testament and to the Prince of Peace on the cross in the New Testament begins well to speak to that and the influence mankind has had in the Bible’s writing. It never was an eye for an eye our Father’s will, never. Love and mercy is our Father’s will. I have already covered all the Law and the Prophets which each that hangs and sums does not deny in any way our responsibility to our Covenant with God found in the Decalogue. For ours to kill the sinner as punishment was not in the Decalogue. We can isolate ourselves from the sinner without killing. Jesus sought out the sinner without killing.

    I have gone on too long trying to write a succinct synopsis of where I believe we disagree. I do not believe we disagree with Luke 10:27. That being so gives us an eternity of growing and learning as little children of God. For me that is just about enough for me to get it for absolutely certain. Just after the end of eternity I promise to tell you in no uncertain terms exactly how it is especially if you tell me when you arrive hopefully before me.

    Love you! We are blessed in spite of all our inadequacies natural for little beloved children of God. Thank you!

  • One Truth

    “It never was an eye for an eye our Father’s will, never. Love and mercy is our Father’s will. I have already covered all the Law and the Prophets which each that hangs and sums does not deny in any way our responsibility to our Covenant with God found in the Decalogue. For ours to kill the sinner as punishment was not in the Decalogue. We can
    isolate ourselves from the sinner without killing”

    Ahh Yes, It was not His will, But man rebelled. Herm, If this was not the case, Why did Christ have to come and go to the cross?

    And, Respectfully My Brother, You do not understand Gods original intentions with the Israelites.

    They were to be a Holy Priesthood. They were to be His witnesses. They had seen all of Gods glorious miracles. From the deliverance from Egypt, parting of the Red Sea, Manna and meat in the middle of nowhere to water from the rock. They Had No Excuse To Grumble.

    Yet, they continually grumbled against Moses and God.

    So God gave them the laws to show them how sinful they really were. They needed to realize that they were not as righteous as they thought they were. They were dead in their sinful tresspasses against a Holy God.

    This is the whole point in the Old testament, There HAD to be a righteous sacrifice to cleanse us from our sins. God showed us that We Could Not Provide It.

    Oh, But Christ came and did. That Sacred Lamb of God. Who takes away the sins of the world. But who would heed His call?

    In the Acts 7:48-53, Our Brother Stephens Defense brought about his death. A true martyr of God, who spoke boldly to the unbelieving, self righteous Jews, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, said…..

    “However, The Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says:
    “HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME? SAYS THE LORD, OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE?
    WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?”
    You men who are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit;
    You are doing just as your fathers did, Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;
    YOU who received the the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”

    God Is Love, No Doubt. But as a loving father disciplines his children, so will God in His love, discipline His.

    My Brother,
    At the end of the day, we must always remember this:
    Romans 11:33-36……………….
    “Oh ,the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
    FOR WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO HAS BECOME HIS COUNSELOR?
    OR WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?
    For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever, Amen.”

    For those others reading……..God Loves You and He is calling You to Him…….Please Answer His Call. Christ died on the cross so You could have Life Eternal with Him in Glory..

    May God bless you and keep you Herm…..In Christ Jesus.

  • Tim Lewis

    From studying the Bible, it seems to me like the final punishment is to be a death sentence caused by chunks of burning sulphur raining down on you or a lake of burning sulphur. I don’t know how long it will take to die, so it’s difficult to compare it to ISIS. The Bible says the punishment is proportional to sins, so it’s likely the perpetrators of the cage burnings will suffer at least as much as their victims. This is why you hear of the devil going on for many consecutive days and nights.

    I’m not sure for your average Joe Bloggs uninterested in Jesus person though. All the punishments end in permanent death, unconsciousness, nonexistence, oblivion, the end, though regardless.

  • Satan is one single angel. He is not omniscient nor omnipresent. We do not need him to cause division, nor is he capable of that. We do that ourselves.

    I do not see myself as divided from Christian brethren with whom I disagree. Dogmatic disagreements do not keep us from feeding the poor, loving our neighbors as ourselves, and trusting in the act of Jesus on the cross to save us from our sin.

  • One Truth

    So…you do not believe that satan has any power or influence, or the fact that he has a legion of demons working 24 7 , against Gods truth and purpose?

  • One Truth

    My statement said nothing about satan being omnipresent. He’s not alone and to underestimate his powers is foolishness in itself. Let alone you thinking that disagreements on Gods word is ok.
    He is leading you along in the exact direction he wants you to go.

    You’ve got a smorgasbord of blogs on every kind of ideology and religion on this web site, and everyone would have everyone else believe that theirs is the true religion and that we should just all except that. Do You have any idea you is behind such a cluster of a mess?

    Its not God, and it did not become that way because everyone agrees.

    If Adam and Eve had never ate of the fruit, we would ALL still know Truth.

    You said this of satan in your reply……..”We do not need him to cause division, nor is he capable of that. We do that ourselves.”

    Your part right if you are saying that he can not force us to divide, But he is working hard along with his demons, to cause it.

    And he does it through disobedient people who are unwary of him and his ways.
    I can tell that you do not know Gods word, for if you did, you would know this, for it is taught Throughout the bible.

    Examples : John 13:27, Matthew 22:31-32 and 1 Peter 5:8

    But you made my point at the end of your statement…….”We do that ourselves.” Your right, But who is the spiritual ringleader in which those in such disobedience follow?

  • I believe we give fallen angels way more credit than they are due and excuse ourselves of much evil by blaming it on them. They can tempt and that’s about it.

  • Not all the blogs on this site believe their way is the only way.

    All I need to know about you is that you trust in Christ for your salvation. In that, you are my brother. Whether you believe I am a sister in Christ or not doesn’t impact me because I have to be true to Jesus’s words as the Holy Spirit reveals them and as I interpret them through my relationship with Christ. I cannot be a cookie-cutter of you, nor you of me. As long as you are loving Jesus and loving those around you without condition, I don’t have a concern with dogma that we don’t agree on.

  • One Truth

    Only God know our hearts sister. I am not doubting your love for God. I Only hope this of you, That you love Christ enough to lean on Him and Him only for understanding. I know that if you do this, He will lead you. God Bless You.

  • One Truth

    I’m not giving them credit for anything or asking you to give them credit. I am only saying that we cannot deny their existence or the power that they have been allowed.

  • God bless you, too!

  • Cindy Temple

    I know I believe 100% and Matthew 25:46 does not say everlasting punishment is a place. Punishment means correction. They go away from the others as an age long correction fitting to their offense. Daniel:12:2 says.. an everlasting contempt.
    They will always be an aversion in the minds of those who live.

    If you compare that to Revelation 20… they go to the second death. A permanent death or separation from the source of life.
    Those who choose to hate God will receive no reward of inheriting anything from Him. Just death.

  • One Truth

    “does not say everlasting punishment is a place.”

    “Those who choose to hate God will receive no reward of inheriting anything from Him. Just death.”

    Umm…I don’t care where or what YOU or I think it is Cindy. NOBODY will enjoy being there one minute, let alone for ALL of Eternity in Torment, Day and Night Forever and Ever.

  • Cindy Temple

    The good news is that we don’t have to think about what it is since the Bible says what it is. Death. …with no possible chance of resurrection.

  • One Truth

    Well, If you are a born again Christian (Follower of Jesus Christ) then no, no worries at all.

    If not….I assure you, its not death in unconsciousness.

    You might want to read Luke 16:19-31.

  • Cindy Temple

    A parable is not literal. Surely if hell were so tormenting what good is one single drop of water?? Can all of us followers fit in the bosom of Abraham or does he take turns ? You don’t actually think our hearts are dirt or that Jesus is going to marry 5 virgins do you?
    ..of course not.

  • One Truth

    Sorry Cindy. That is not a parable. We know this because there is an actual persons name in it.

    The rest of your post is…well…I just wont comment.

  • Cindy Temple

    You might want do a brief study on Medieval art. It is one of the top 5 most popular parables right along with the Ten Virgins, Good Samaritan.. well.. I don’t have time to do your research for you. Google is your friend.

  • One Truth

    Medieval art is not the Word of God.

    The ten virgins and the Good Samaritan do not mention personal names, were you listening?

    Google is not research for this subject, Gods Word is. Therein lies your issue.

  • Cindy Temple

    According to you.. BibleStudy.org, BibleGateway.com, BibleStudyTools.com, BibleExplained.com… and Christian history in general is all wrong and YOU are right because your idea is that a well known Pharisaical ‘name’ is mentioned. Ooookayy
    Well then you can look forward to sharing Abrahams bosom in the center of the earth with your brethren while I and Abraham wait for the reality of the Kingdom of God to come.

  • One Truth

    Look, your post are full of humanistic dizzyness and worldly views and opinions.

    You throw websites out there instead of Scripture, to point to what you would say are biblical facts. These are childish games that I will not waste my time with.

    If you are even able to have any kind of an intellectual, conversation on the Word of God, Show me scripture to back up your (so called ) Christian History.

    And your extremely immature comments about ( Abraham’s Bosom ) only expose your ignorance.

  • One Truth

    By the way Cindy, how many deaths are there?

  • Ike

    Sorry,
    this article is basically balderdash. Why do you think Lamb of God was
    slain in the spirit at the foundation of the world? Why do you think
    Yahshua came? It was to save us from the wages of sin – physical and
    spiritual death. Sin is no small matter
    – it prevents us having a relationship with our Loving God both now and
    FOREVER. No wonder God hates it so much. When Adam and Eve sinned, our
    fate was already sealed, we were literally dead already. What fate is
    worse than eternal death, death forever? Thank God, however that Yahshua
    provided an escape route. The Bible is without error, do not be led
    astray, not even for a moment. From Genesis to Revelation, it is
    consistent, and reveals Yahshua as the God of Love, but also the God of
    Justice. Let us not feel the force of His Justice, for it is a terrible
    thing..

  • Ghendo

    Sounds to me like you have fallen into the original temptation… “Did God actually say….?” Causing Eve to question God’s goodness and commandments.
    Psalm 94:9ff

    He who planted the ear, does he not hear?

    He who formed the eye, does he not see?

    He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?

    He who teaches man knowledge —

    the Lord — knows the thoughts of man,

    that they are but a breath.

    Surely God knew exactly what he was doing when he said that the end of those who continually, wilfully rebel against him will end up in eternal torment. The pictures of Hell as being of fire and brimstone should serve as a warning, and are as close a description to the reality as is possible to be.
    If they are the earthly descriptions that he chose to help us understand spiritual realities then we need to take them very seriously, not call into question his goodness and righteousness. It seems to me that we need to be very careful of attempting to “judge” God and his word.

    We can start by merely trying to trim the tree, but end up on the wrong end of the branch!

  • One Truth

    Who is “Judging” God and His word?

    Friend, I think you replied to the wrong person.

  • Reynaldo De Leon

    Can’t it just be possible, Ben, for God to be sovereign in how He deals with people, including those whom He chooses to save and whom He chooses to punish, especially with how they are to be punished?

  • RonnyTX

    Amen Benjamin,amen! :-) And here’s a real good article to read on such as this. And many more good articles on the following webpage. Articles that show that a Jesus Christ created hell of eternal torment was added to the bible and was not in there,as the scripture was written in Hebrew and Greek.

    http://www.tentmaker.org/FAQ/DoesJesusREALLYLoveLittleChildren.html

  • RonnyTX

    When I was born of God,when God saved me,God gave me the desire that every person would have the same type of relationship with God,as I then had. :-) And I see in scripture,that God desires everyone to be saved and not perish. So yes,God is sovereign and from that,it follows that everything will come to pass,that God desires and wants. So,that means that every last person,from Adam on down,will be born of God! :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Ike,there can be no such thing as eternal death,since the last enemy Jesus Christ is going to destroy is death. :-) And when He destroys death,the only thing left is going to be life. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    And it is God,the goodness of God who shows us we are lost,brings us to repentance and takes us on to faith in Jesus Christ. And I don’t remember for sure where I read this;but the author was so right in saying,that God destroys His enemies by make them His friends. :-) And that is what God does for each person,as they are born of God. :-)

  • One Truth

    “God who shows us we are lost,brings us to repentance and takes us on to faith in Jesus Christ.”

    Ronny, That is not what Gods word says at all. You really need to let go of the universalistic lies if you want to find truth.

    Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Jesus was not bringing anyone to repentance, He was declaring to the people to repent and believe.

    Matthew 9:20-22, Jesus declares to the woman “Take courage, YOUR faith has made you well.

    Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him (GOD), for he who comes to God MUST BELIEVE…..

    God does NOT take everyone on to faith, We must have faith in order to believe and be saved. That is how we are BORN AGAIN, John 3:3, And without this Jesus says, no one will see the kingdom of GOD.

    Ronny, Everyone is not going to Heaven. To deny this fact is to call Jesus Christ a liar.

  • Ike

    Yahshua destroys physical death, éternel death in the lake of fire will still be around.

  • Reynaldo De Leon

    No, that’s universalism and it doesn’t have a tie to Calvinism.

  • RonnyTX

    They do have these ties. That God is sovereign,it is God who chooses who will be saved and it is God,who does the saving. And I know a good bit about the teaching of Calvinism,since I was brought up in such a church,from infancy. And from there,taught to believe in Calvinism,by some people. And I believed that way,until 5 years ago. Of course,it got very hard for me to even be in a crowd of people,seeing as I was taught that the vast majority of people were going to hell. How can anyone be Calvinist in belief and not have that trouble? And it was 5 years ago,that I first came upon someone online,who was Christian universalist in belief. And I thought that sounded too good to be true! (ha) But I read up on what some of these people said,why they believed the way they did and the scriptures they had,to show why they believed that way. And that is how I came to see,that they were right. :-) And that God had chosen to save eveyone,by way of Jesus Christ and the cross. :-) And that,.that is exactly what I so desired,right after God saved me. At that time,I so desired that every person have the same type of relationship with God,as I then had. But then it was back to my home church,where I was again sitting under the teaching there,that said God only chose to save a few people and at the best,God simply let the rest go to hell. And I thought that had to be true. Why? Because I was also believing the lie I’d been taught to believe in church, that when I heard from our preachers or teachers,it was the same as my hearing from God. So if they said something and I wasn’t sure of it,then I was taught I was questioning God. If they said something and I out right didn’t believe it,I was taught I was calling God a liar! So in my Calvinistic type church,I was taught to sinfully idol worship some people,in that way. And the way I see it,the same goes on in some Armenian/free will type teaching denominational churches. And the best thing that can happen to a born of God person in any church like that,is God getting them out of such and freeing them from such. And that is exactly what God did for me. :-)

  • RonnyTX

    Ike,Jesus Christ will be there,with the ones who are thrown into the lake of fire. And yes,being in His presence,will be torment to them;but,it will be for their own good. :-) Why? Because it will be in and because of the presence of the Lamb,that they will come to repentance. :-) It will be because of Him,that they will know they are lost and because of Him that they will know their sinfullness. What is this? Why it’s the goodness of God,that brings the person to repentance! :-) And then,God will take them on to faith in Jesus Christ. And it just doesn’t get any better than that! :-) And when that happens, for every last one of us,then Jesus Christ will have destroyed death completely and all that will be left,is life! :-)

  • Ike

    Your biblical evidence for that is…

  • RonnyTX

    One Truth,I knew long before I came to believe in what some call Christian universalism,that it was God who saved the lost person. How did I know that? By God doing that for me. :-) And I only came to see the truth of Christian universalism,5 years ago and that when I was in my mid 50’s. But God saved me,when I was 16 years old. Now let’s go back a ways,to when I was 12 years old and even younger.

    Not putting in a lot of details on this here and now;but at 10 years old,God simply let me know I was a sinner. Then at 12 years old,some of my church elders made me feel extremely guilty about something. So,I went up at church in tears. And I agreed with everything the pastor told me about God,Jesus Christ,the bible and all he said. Now this preacher thought I’d been saved and a bit later I was baptized. So of course,I thought I had been saved too and had become a Christian. I believed that for 4 years,until God showed me better.

    An older brother of mine and I,we had went on a trip and were at a Baptist bible camp. One night we were out driving around,with some of his friends. Then just out of the blue,God let me know I was lost. Talk about a shock to me! For I had completely believed I had been saved,4 years before that. But I knew what God told me was true and that because of Who was doing the telling.

    Then the next night,was the last day of camp and after the last message of the week. I was outside the little chapel building there and not knowing what to do?! But one thing I worried about,was people back home at my home church,thinking I had lied to them,if they found out I was lost. But God overcame that and simply led me to go back into that little chapel. And right inside of the door,God had put someone,who was to help me. This guy,he simply asked me if he could help me? And not wanting to admit I was lost,I simply told him I didn’t know if I was lost of saved? And the guy simply had me set down beside him in a pew and began to read a scripture passage. He never commented on it;but just read it to me. And as he did,I knew God was there. And I knew it was God,who was holy. And God let me compare the holiness of God,to my sinful selfrighteousness. And that was the goodness of God,that led me to repentance. :-) And just as soon as I had repented/agreed with God,the love of God began to pour out on me. :-) And God simply put a picture in my mind of three crosses. And I knew on that center cross was Jesus Christ and that he was there,taking all of my sins upon himself. :-) And that is how I came to know,how greatly God/Jesus Christ loved me. :-) And that is how,I was born of God. And the man reading a scripture passage to me,he simply asked me if I wanted to pray? And I did. And my first prayer to God,was my simply thanking God,for what God had just done for me.

    Then I was out of the chapel and going over to another building and telling my brother and some other people, about what God had just done for me. Then out to the middle of the compound,where they had a fire going there and telling everyone there,about what God had just done for me. Well,no one could of shut me up then! :-) And yes,the desire God gave me,was that every last person also have the same type of relationship with God,as I then had. God gave me that desire.

    In the days after camp,I also witnessed to others. People I had never seen before in my life. But then it was back home and to my home church in Texas and there I had been brought up and taught that God had chosen only to save some people and the rest,they simply went to hell. So I set in church and waited for instructions about where and when we were to go out and witness to other people. And that never came. I thought that strange;but then,I also thought my church elders had to know what they were doing. And I had been brought up in that church,being taught to believe all they said and taught,was the same as God speaking to me. It wasn’t;but then I didn’t know that,at that age. And it was years later,when God delivered me from that man made/taught idol worship and sin. But deliver me,God did. :-)

    Now you and I don’t agree on somethings;but please don’t get the idea that I think that makes me better than you-for I don’t. But I do think we can agree on one thing and that is that God/Jesus Christ loves everyone. :-)

  • Reynaldo De Leon

    Note: Your response will have quotations and I will give you my responses below each one.

    “They do have these ties.”

    No, it doesn’t. Ben pleas for Universalism–that is his position because he believes in an all loving God would not want anything to do with condemning anyone to an eternal torment in hell.

    “That God is sovereign, it is God who chooses who will be saved and it is God,who does the saving.
    And I know a good bit about the teaching of Calvinism,since I was brought up in such a church,from infancy.”

    Certainly, you have demonstrated that you really do not know what you are talking about. OK, God is Sovereign and Chooses who will be saved and it’s God who does the saving (that’s Calvinism), but you’ve left something important out–God does not choose everybody. This is one of the many differences between Calvinism and Universalism.

    “How can anyone be Calvinist in belief and not have that trouble?”

    Never have I ever thought that a majority of people were going to hell–again, this shows your flawed understandings of Calvinism overall. Yes, I have thought about these thoughts beforehand but then I realized a few things: (1) God has done this before in the Old Testament–the world was flooded globally…surprise, surprise, (2) The elect, despite the existence of a definitive amount, has never been revealed–that number can be small (as you claim) or large–but the reality is this, we do not know, (3) God has made it clear that He exercises mercy and kindness in an arbitrary fashion–even Jesus mentions that the gateway to heaven isn’t broad.

    “And it was 5 years ago,that I first came upon someone online,who was Christian Universalist in belief.”

    I have met a lot of Universalists too, and you know what? They don’t sound Calvinistic one bit!

    “And I thought that sounded too good to be true! (ha) But I read up on what some of these people said,why they believed the way they did and the scriptures they had,to show why they believed that way. And that is how I came to see,that they were right.”

    Similarly, I have done the same; however, if I had to summarize Universalism in one sentence it would be this: God is so loving that He would never send anyone to Hell, despite what the Bible has to say on the subject.

    “And that God had chosen to save every one,by way of Jesus Christ and the cross.”

    Yes, and they ignore a lot of other things in the Bible and when it becomes obvious that their teachings fly in the face of Scripture (e.g., OT instances) they dismiss it right away as being purely mythical.

    Coincidence, I think not.

  • One Truth

    Unfortunately he does not have any. But he said it so……..

  • Thank you for such an important post! These are the questions that scare the “hell” out of evangelical fundamentalists. We think God holds us to higher standard than he holds himself? If Jesus is the image of God, how can he say, “Love your enemies and do good to them that hate you” and then turn around and damn his enemies to eternal fire??? It’s amazing that so many just can’t deal with the faulty logic of this. If God is like Jesus than God did precisely what he asked us to do…

    http://godsfoolishness.blogspot.com/2015/10/evangelicalism-questioners-and-seeking.html