14 April, 2007

What the Bible says about "being tormented in hell"

I've had the distinct privilege in the past few weeks to be condemned to eternal torment in hell by Christians and atheists alike for nothing more then defending my beliefs. I thought it was high time to take a look at this rather ineffective sentence of torture by people who should know better.

That there is a place called "hell", there is no doubt, but no where in the Bible is there any claim that it is to be a place of eternal torment for certain people (wicked Christians or atheists alike). As many are aware, in the Old Testament the word translated "hell" is the Hebrew word "Sheol" ("the world of the dead") and in the New Testament the Greek language shows "hell" to be "Hades" ("the grave").

There is no record in the Bible of God ordaining a place of eternal fiery torment for the wicked
God condemned the Children of Israel for their dreadful crime of burning their children in the fire; which, said God, "I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind." (Jer. 7:31) How then, can any teacher or critic accuse God of a worse crime: burning people for eternity in an imaginary place of torment?

A few Biblical references to hell:
• King David was certain that the wicked went to the grave (sheol): "let the wicked be ashamed and let them be silent in the grave" (‘sheol’, grave, hell, world of the dead) (Ps. 31:17). King David was just as certain that when people die, their thinking process ceases, so they cannot suffer torments: "put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man….his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth, in THAT VERY DAY HIS THOUGHTS PERISH." (Ps.146:3-4). To be tormented anywhere, one has to be able to understand what is going on , BUT, if his thoughts perish on the day he dies, then so does his understanding. How effective is torment if the person being tormented doesn't know he's being tormented?

• Job knew that ‘the grave’ (hell) was a place where people are at rest and not tormented. "There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest...when they can find the grave." (Job 3:17,22) Job is contradicting the popular idea that the wicked go to hell to be tormented eternally by claiming that ‘there the wicked cease from troubling’.

• Solomon wrote of the state of the dead, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten" (Ecc. 9:5). Nothing could be more final and comprehensive: the dead KNOW NOTHING . How can they be tormented if they know nothing?

Hell is the Grave
In the entire Old Testament, there is not one mention of the ‘hell-fire’ taught for generations by misguided Christians and non-Christians alike. In the 31 references to "hell" in the Old Testament, the word will be found to refer to the grave, or a covered place.

• Jonah referred to his ordeal of being in the belly of a ‘great fish’ for three days, "…out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice". To Jonah it was certain this was to be his grave, unless saved out of it.

• Amos the prophet wrote, "Though they DIG into HELL (sheol, the world of the dead…grave….pit.) thence shall mine hand take them." ( Amos 9:2), showing that the grave was meant.

• Again, David was adamant that he believed hell was the grave, for he wrote "..if I make my bed in HELL behold, thou art there." (Ps.139:8)

• The Apostle Peter assures us that David is not in heaven (Acts 2:34), and as there is no evidence he was one of the wicked who was to be tormented in hell for ever, then the only place David can be, logically, is in the grave.

• Isaiah the prophet writes of the death of the King of Babylon, saying, "Yet thou shalt be brought down to HELL, to the sides of the pit" (Isaiah 14:15) Verse 19 refers to the GRAVE, confirming that Isaiah was speaking of hell as the grave

What are all those people doing in hell?
• Daniel answers this question so simply: "And many of them that SLEEP IN THE DUST OF THE EARTH, shall awake, SOME to everlasting life, and SOME to shame and everlasting contempt." (Dan. 12:2) Daniel is describing many who are in the grave as sleeping and some of them are raised from the dead to eternal life, BUT, some of them that sleep experience judgment in the ‘second death’. Thus Daniel shows that righteous and wicked are in the same place, the grave.

• Jesus speaks of many who sleep in the grave: "…the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice." (John 5:28) Jesus is speaking of resurrection and thus shows that all, (or all manner of) the dead in the grave are ‘sleeping’, waiting for the call (from the Lord Jesus), to ‘come forth’.

• Paul writes of the ‘saints’ at the time of the coming of the Lord Jesus, "We shall not all sleep…the dead shall be raised…." (1 Cor. 15:51-52) What he is saying is that some of the saints will be alive at the time of the Lord’s coming, but those in the grave, who are asleep, shall be raised from the dead (e.g. these saints aren't in heaven).

Does it matter what we believe?
Revelation 18:23 shows so clearly that a great number of people were to be deluded by the ‘sorceries’ of the latter day Babylon: "By thy sorceries were all nations deceived". This is an appeal all thinking men and women to study God’s word and learn the truth of all things and reject the false teaching of hell torment.

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42 Comments:

Blogger kchood said...

Nice word games, but they don't hold up. All men are appointed once to die (Heb 9:27) and yes the terms hell and sheol in the Bible very often refer to death in general, rather than specific terms. Hell may not be eternal punishment, but there is an eternal fiery punishment stored up for those who have not been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 20

12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

May 31, 2007 2:59 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

kchood,

Thanks for the comment and welcome to the site.

As you're no doubt aware, in the book of Revelation symbols are often interpreted. For example: "the woman" is "that great city" (Rev. 17:18); "waters" are "peoples" (Rev. 17:15).

Similarly, the "lake of fire" is interpreted to be "the second death". (Rev. 20:14; 21:8).

We know that to die means to have no thoughts (Psa. 146:4), and to "know not anything." (Ecc. 9:5). This Scriptural definition of death is therefore incompatible with the interpretation that the lake of fire and the second death refer to conscious eternal torment.

Therefore, the second death is literally the second death as Revelation clearly reveals. The lake of fire is symbolic of eternal destruction - never again will these people be resurrected. This is their punishment. It's the same fate as Sodom & Gomorrah, two cities who are said to be "suffering the vengence of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7) and will never be rebuilt.

This chapter makes wonderful sense when one considers that after the end of Christ's 1000 year reign, death and the grave will be no more. Death and hell will literally suffer the second death, never again playing a role in the immortal lives of men.

Rev 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

May 31, 2007 3:27 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

"Death and hell will literally suffer the second death, never again playing a role in the immortal lives of men."

The second death is not the death of hell/sheol because the grave itself can only die once (unless you see an earlier death of sheol depicted in the Bible). There is no first death for the grave. There is, however, a first death for all peoples (except a few rare exceptions in the Bible) and it is this death that the righteous are resurrected from while the wicked go on to a death that is more explicitly revealed in the New Testament, just as the New Heaven and New Earth are described in detail in Revelation but not the Psalms.

I would also read you to read and pray over the parable of the rich man who does experience conscious torment in the after-life: Luke 16:19-31

The second death and resurrection happen in parallel to each other, not consecutively. Rev 21:1 (notice how it does not say "because the first heaven and the first earth but omits any mention of hell...the location has changed!)

God shall wipe away the tears from -their- eyes, the following promises of death and suffering being wiped away clearly pertain only to those who have been resurrected to life, not death, and cannot thus be used as support for the lake (notice how it is a physically identifiable place? no it is not a lake as we understand lakes, but the meaning is clearly meant to show that the unrighteous go -somewhere-, not simply into fire or into darkness, but into outer darkness) of fire as a metaphor.

June 08, 2007 11:02 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

btw, for a good look at the afterlife and symbolism versus literalism check out this page: http://www.bible.ca/su-heaven-hell-photogallery.htm

if eternal punishment is just symbolism then so is eternal reward

June 08, 2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

The lake of fire is the second death. Rev 20:14 and 21:8. Plain and simple. The death state as described in Scripture is one of finality, not eternal, conscious punishment. In death there is no consciousness, no memories, no life. Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

For the mortals who are alive during the 1000 year reign of Christ but judged to be wicked, once they perish, there will not be another resurrection. They will die the second death, that is to say, they will die a final death, one in which there will never again be the possibility of being brought back to life. Likewise, death and sin will also perish in the second death, never again to play a role on this earth, and then God will be all in all (1 Cor 15:28).

Currently, everyone who dies, righteous or wicked, all go to the same place: the ground. There is nothing in Scripture that describes a “re-death” for the wicked who are already dead. For all those who are not resurrected when Christ returns, this is their judgment – to remain dead for the rest of eternity.

I'm not saying eternal punishment is symbolic, I'm saying that eternal CONSCIOUS TORMENT as punishment is symbolic. No where in Scripture is anyone ever said to be writhing in conscious agony in hell as a punishment (similarly, no where in Scripture is anyone ever said to have gone to heaven to live in immortality [save Christ] as a reward.).

There is nothing immortal about man. Psalm 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Nowhere are we told that death constitutes the continuation of life in any form. The only hope of restoration from the grave, life after death, is the resurrection:

Eternal punishment = death
Eternal reward = life

It is a constant, unchanging equation, from Genesis through to Revelation.

The rich man and Lazarus is a parable. The events in it are not be taken literally. Is Abraham’s Bosom a literal location? There is a great gulf between Abraham and the rich man, but they can see and talk to each other – is the gulf to be taken literally? Abraham was dead and hadn’t yet received his reward (Heb 11), how could Lazarus go to his bosom? Do you believe that the rich man was so stupid as to expect righteous Lazarus to leave the comfort of "Abraham's bosom" and spend time visiting the rich man in flames of fire? Can there exist a "great chasm" that is so great that no one can pass across it, and yet the inhabitants on both sides are able to carry on a conversation with each other without difficulty?

BTW, everyone mentioned in the Bible died (yes, including Enoch). The wages of sin is death. There are no exceptions to the rule.

June 11, 2007 12:27 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Jason,
Thanks for inviting my to your blog.

Your line of thinking is how I have been interpreting this subject.

The passages that are used do not show eternal torment; like you pointed out, they say there is a lake of fire which is the second death which in my mind means it's over.

Others,
Where is the idea of eternal torment coming from? I don't see it in the Bible.

July 14, 2007 1:10 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Oops, I forgot to ask you to elaborate on what you mean by Enoch dying...I suppose you mean Elijah too.

July 14, 2007 1:12 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hi Jennifer, thanks for your comments.

Supporters of hell get the idea of eternal 'torment' from verses implicitly referring to torment. The favourites are those verses which mention 'weeping and gnashing of teeth'. Mat 8:12, Mat 13:42, Mat 13:50, Mat 22:13, Mat 24:51 and Mat 25:30 are the most common.

However, a closer examination of these verses reveals something very interesting - the weeping and gnashing of teeth is a result of not being admitted into the Christ's Kingdom when he returns, NOT the result of being tortured until the end of time. Luke 13:28 makes this idea crystal clear:

"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out."

When those who are judged unworthy see the forefathers of Israel and the prophets in the kingdom, their reaction will be indescribable...

Furthermore, there are two important points to consider:

1. In all the 'gnashing of teeth' references in Matthew, note the separation of ideas -

"And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." (13:50)

None of these verses say there will be a gnashing of teeth IN the furnace of fire. Instead, the inference is once the unrighteous are condemned to eternal destruction (the furnace of fire), THEN there will be a weeping and gnashing of teeth (and rightly so!).

Secondly, the unrighteous in Matthew are being cast either into 'outer darkness' or a 'furnace of fire', both of these are symbols of eternal destruction NOT eternal torment (the lake of fire is another symbol). Those who will be judged unworthy once Christ returns will have no more hope for salvation. Much the same as the five foolish virgins, once they realize they've missed out on salvation, there truly will be a weeping and gnashing of teeth. Can you imagine the reaction of all those who have dedicated their lives to their beliefs only to find out in the end they were wrong? It's an incredibly sobering thought and all the more reason to 'search the Scriptures daily' to come to a true understanding of what God would have us do (instead of taking someone else's word for it).

July 14, 2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

As for Enoch and Elijah, the common understanding of the fate of these two men is that neither died. This in itself poses a number of serious problems:

1. Hebrews 11:5 mentions Enoch but then verse 13 says "These all died in faith..." This would seem to imply that Enoch died. (See also Romans 5:14>

2. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death..." (Also Ezek 18:4,20)

3. Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

4. John 3:13 "And no man hath ascended up to heaven..." (if they're still alive, where are they?)

Enoch - This man was 'translated so he should not see death' (Heb 11:5) The word "translated" in Greek is "metatithēmi" and it's used in the following places:
• Act 7:16 "And were carried over (metatithēmi) into Sychem, and laid in the sepulchre that Abraham bought for a sum of money of the sons of Emmor the father of Sychem."
• Gal 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed (metatithēmi) from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"
• Hbr 7:12 "For the priesthood being changed (metatithēmi), there is made of necessity a change also of the law."

There's no hint of something magical about the Greek word metatithēmi. By definiton, it simply means 'to transfer' or 'to change'. Enoch was taken by God and put somewhere else so he wouldn't die at that time.

Elijah - One of the few unknowns in the Bible - where DID Elijah go? We know he didn't go to heaven (John 3:13) so we can put thought to rest. There is evidence that Elijah was back on earth after he was taken away in the whirlwind. A letter was received by Jehoram, King of Judah, from Elijah, after Elijah was taken to heaven. Either the letter was written before he went to heaven and delivered later by a messenger on earth (unlikely), or Elijah was "caught away" as was Philip from the Gaza Road to Azotas, (about 17 miles, see Acts 8:39,40) for an unspecified purpose and returned to the earth.

Consider the evidence:
• Elijah had been taken to heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Kings 2:11).
• Elisha had taken over the duties of Elijah in the reign of Jehoshaphat. (2 Kings 3:10,11).,
• Jehoram received a letter from Elijah, the prophet. (2 Chron. 21:1, 9-12). King Jehoram reigned after Jehoshaphat. (2 Chron. 21:1).

Longwinded, I know :) I hope this answers a question that on reflection, I'm not sure you even asked...!

July 14, 2007 4:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Well, you gave a very thorough explanation! I'm not sure I agree with you on the interpretation of Enoch and Elijah simply because in context they do both seem to imply that the men were taken to be with God.
"Enoch walked with God" comes before "and he was not; for God took him." And there's a difference in translation...which one are you using? I looked up the KJV, NIV and NASV and none of them used your wording.
And I can't see Elijah showing up somewhere else and not having an account of it; as important as he was.

I see where you are getting your line of thought from here, but I don't think it is absolutely conclusive.

Did you happen to see Piper's comments and the verses he gave? I would be interested to hear what you have to say about the verses in the NT quoting Jesus' words about torment.

July 15, 2007 3:30 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Noah "walked with God" (Gen 6:9) but there's no suggestion Noah went to heaven to do so.

The verses I was referring to re: Enoch were from Hebrews 11. The verses in this chapter seem to clearly show that Enoch died.

There are many people in Scripture who's entire lives aren't recorded. Samson judged Israel for more then ten years but no account is given about it. The lives of 'important' people like Adam and David and Solomon and Melchizideck aren't fully recorded either. I'm not so sure that your Elijah argument is a sound one...

Considering the verses regarding sin and death in Romans I don't see why we would think these two men are exceptions to the rules, especially considering they're never mentioned as exceptions. Sin and death have passed onto all men, Elijah and Enoch included.

July 15, 2007 8:43 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Hi Jason, I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you!

This is getting off the topic, but I am stuck on Elijah and Enoch for a moment.

What do you do with Hebrews 11:5? You mentioned Hebrews 11 supporting your position but this is what the NIV says:
" By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God."

NASV:
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."

KJ:
" By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God."

Amplified:
"Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God."

I agree that we are all sinners, but I'm not convinced of your position that they were not taken up to heaven. I think the exposition you gave on the word metatithēmi sounds good, but it seems that it could just as easily mean to transfer to heaven.

You have some very good points which I have been thinking about.
I'm getting to what you wrote on my blog now too and will come back here to add more soon.

Thanks!

July 23, 2007 1:50 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for your post.

Enoch
In Hebrews 11:5, the original Greek uses the word “translate” so there’s no doubt this word should be used instead of “was taken from this life”, etc. Secondly, of Enoch and the others mentioned alongside him (Noah, Abel, etc.), verse 13 plainly says “These all died in faith, not having received the promises…”

Metatithēmi could mean ‘transferred to heaven’ but this would be in direct violation of John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven…” Enoch being taken and put somewhere else on earth so he wouldn’t die at that specific time and place solves this potential problem.

Elijah
No record exists of Elijah going to heaven (God’s dwelling place – see John 3:13) or being given immortality. In the absence of this evidence, it would be far safer to follow the precedent laid out in Scripture: all men sin, the wages of sin is death, all men die.

July 23, 2007 2:27 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That makes sense.

What do you do with Revelation 20:10?
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

July 23, 2007 2:12 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Good question. Revelation is one of those prophetical books where it's often easier to show what something isn't instead of what something is.

For example, we know the lake of fire is the second death because Rev 20:14 tells us much. We can also extract that Rev 10:20 isn't talking about a place of literal torment since this would mean that Jesus and the angels in Rev 14:10 would be in hell.

Consider these two points also:

1. Relying on the highly symbolic nature of the text of Revelation only highlights the lack of evidence elsewhere in the less sybolic scriptures.

2. Rom 6:23 sums up the two possible destinations human beings have accessable to them - "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Eternal torment isn't mentioned.

As for what the "torment" actually represents, I'll be honest in that a Revelation vs. Scriptural word study isn't my forte :) Out of my league, I'm afraid. However, I am confident that it doesn't mean literal torment for any of the reasons listed above.

July 23, 2007 3:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Jason,
I see. I will be reading more about Christadelphians.

Thanks for you time!

~Jennifer

July 24, 2007 2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jason.

Great site you've got going here, im reading through it slowely, coming in very handy you have some awesome points.

Im raised in Australian christadelphia, (thinking about baptism soon) so obviously ive been through all this stuff before but its good to read because you really bring out some great points and verses (eg: Gods condemnation of Israelites for putting children through fire) which i hadnt heard before, and while not conclusive in themselves, give that added depth to your argument and really demontrate God's principles are always constant through the Bible.

Josh

(btw, my email: notraceofpenguins@hotmail.com)

November 13, 2007 3:39 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

this is odd, because for me, I see hell being a place of eternal torment (although the torment does not need to be literally induced by fire)

I also see numerous passages on the topic of everlasting torment (indicating an immortality of the soul, and if not, at the very least, God not allowing them to die [although I'm not too sure how different those two are])

You also said in a comment to one's blog (I forget which one, I'll look it up later) where you were explaining to some atheists that the traditional idea of hell doesn't fit, and that the Jews believed sheol to be a place of intense shame (it seems to be a form of punishment to me)

I guess it all comes down to this: what does death mean to you?

December 16, 2008 7:15 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

It should be noted that the term "eternal torment" doesn't exist in Scripture. Instead, we find phrases like "eternal punishment" and "eternal judgment". When we consider the ultimate gift to be given by God to the righteous will be eternal life, it naturally follows that the complete opposite of this would be eternal death. The punishment of the wicked won't be to suffer in physical agony for eternity, but instead to remain dead for the rest of time, never again having the opportunity to live.

Death is the fulfillment of the punishment God laid out in the Garden of Eden - "For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Gen 3:19)

"When you [God] take away their breath, they die and return to the dust." (Psalm 104:29)

"All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (Job 34:15)

The scriptures teach that when we are dead we do not think, we do not love and we do not hate. When dead, we do not work or plan and we are without knowledge and wisdom. In fact, we will not even remember God or be able to praise Him. In short, we will not have a conscious existence.

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished. . . Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10)

Ultimately, man suffers exactly the same fate as the animals:

I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal...All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. (Ecc 3:18 -20)

December 16, 2008 8:07 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Hey Jason

In regards to your argument, I'm gonna have to copy and paste it, because it's way too tedious to have to scroll back and forth. Also, could you tell me how to activate italics on this thing? thanks.


Jason: It should be noted that the term "eternal torment" doesn't exist in Scripture. Instead, we find phrases like "eternal punishment" and "eternal judgment". When we consider the ultimate gift to be given by God to the righteous will be eternal life, it naturally follows that the complete opposite of this would be eternal death. The punishment of the wicked won't be to suffer in physical agony for eternity, but instead to remain dead for the rest of time, never again having the opportunity to live.
___________________________________

I'm not sure which translation you're using (indeed, if any, perhaps you can read Greek and Aramaic, please let me know if you can, because I have other questions concerning meaning of certain words) but I can cite several passages that describe hell as everlasting torment:

Revelation 20:10 - And the devil, who decieved them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where thebeast and the false prophet were thrown. They will be TORMENTED day andnight forever and ever.

Mark 9:47-48 - And if your eye causesyou to sin, pluck it out.It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye thanto have two eyes andbe thrown into hell, where "their worm doesnot die, and the fire is not quenched."

And I don't think I need to repeat Luke, with Lazarusand the rich man.

I saw your response to Jennifer regarding Revelation, and with all due respect, I don't see it as being an adequate response. If what Revelation is saying to not be taken literally (In terms of torment, since it seems to be using alot of imagery to suggest everlasting CONSCIOUS TORMENT)than how shall we take it, then?

As for your argument against the passage in Luke, it does not explain away the meanings behind the symbolism, such as heaven being a place of happiness and hell being a place of suffering.

And I guess this also has to go against the imortality of the soul, as well, otherwise the eternal punishment argument collapses.

Matthew 25:46 Then they will go to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

Matthew does not descibe death to be non-existence (for I consider for one's conscious to cease to be the same thing as non-existence) for how can one be punished without being alive in the sense of having consciousness? The dath talked about in the gospels doesn't seem to be non-existence, but eternal suffering, not destruction, but ruination.

___________________________________

Jason: Death is the fulfillment of the punishment God laid out in the Garden of Eden - "For dust you are, And to dust you shall return." (Gen 3:19)

• "When you [God] take away their breath, they die and return to the dust." (Psalm 104:29)

• "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. (Job 34:15)

The scriptures teach that when we are dead we do not think, we do not love and we do not hate. When dead, we do not work or plan and we are without knowledge and wisdom. In fact, we will not even remember God or be able to praise Him. In short, we will not have a conscious existence.

• For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished. . . Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10)

Ultimately, man suffers exactly the same fate as the animals:

• I also thought, “As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal...All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. (Ecc 3:18 -20)
___________________________________

This is one of the things that slightly bother me. For one, how is it that Scripture, being divinely inspired, can contradict each other?

Using those verses alone, you would have convinced me of the mortality of man. However, just as the verses I mentioned, as well as some others that I haven't (I will mention at another time) convinces me that Scripture is not innerant. I haven't studied the Grek and the Hebrew, I don't understand everything in context with the verses or the culture that was back then, so perhaps my mond will change one day. However, there are those who claim to have studied these things and to know them, who believe that scripture is innerant, and they also believe in the Trinity and immortality of the soul (In books such as The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel and the Case for Faith by Lee Strobel, as well as the books that he cites in his bibliography and appendix).

I say this because I do not have an argument to refute the verses you gave me (except for Ecclesiaties, where the writer seems to have shifting moods and perspectives on life, and makes me wonder of the accuracy of such a book, although I do not doubt that many can give me explainations of its accuracy). Rather, I see two differing persectives on the whole point of the immortality of the soul and of hell, and I see both perspectives in the Bible.

December 17, 2008 7:23 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the verse where Jesus states, in reference to Judas' fate, "for him, it would be better to not have been born."

December 17, 2008 7:26 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Revelation 20:10 - The lake of fire is the “second death” (Rev 20:14), not a place of conscious torment. Consider that death and hell end up here also, representative of the age to come in which death will no longer exist.

Consider also that fire is used in Scripture for utter destruction, not for preservation in torment. Sodom and Gomorrha were destroyed by fire and brimstone and are now set forth as "an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire". (Jude 7, Gen. 19:24). But are these cities still burning? Scripture affirms that these cities were overthrown in a moment (Lam. 4:6) and turned to ashes. (2 Pet. 2:6; Deut. 29:23). See also Lev. 10:1,2; Num. 16:35; 2 Kings 1:10).

Mark 9:47-48 - Christ is quoting from Isaiah 66:24. The fire is located outside Jerusalem in Israel (Isa. 66:20) and travellers will observe the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against God. Neither fit the profile of a subterranean dungeon. Then there’s the matter of those immortal worms…

And I don't think I need to repeat Luke, with Lazarus and the rich man.

A parable.

If what Revelation is saying to not be taken literally (In terms of torment, since it seems to be using alot of imagery to suggest everlasting CONSCIOUS TORMENT)than how shall we take it, then?

Revelation can’t be taken literally. It’s a book of symbols. E.g. the lake of fire is the second death, the Lamb is Christ, etc. etc.

As for your argument against the passage in Luke, it does not explain away the meanings behind the symbolism, such as heaven being a place of happiness and hell being a place of suffering.

As mentioned in the initial post, no one’s been to heaven (John 3:13) and the dead have no thoughts (Psa 146:4 & Ecc 9:5).

And I guess this also has to go against the imortality of the soul, as well, otherwise the eternal punishment argument collapses.

Absolutely.

Matthew does not descibe death to be non-existence (for I consider for one's conscious to cease to be the same thing as non-existence) for how can one be punished without being alive in the sense of having consciousness?

Precisely. Psa 146:4, Ecc 9:5, etc.

This is one of the things that slightly bother me. For one, how is it that Scripture, being divinely inspired, can contradict each other?

There are no contradictions. When someone dies, they cease to exist. When Christ returns to this earth, the dead will be raised and he will judge mankind. Those who are found righteous will be given eternal life, those who are judged wicked will be completely destroyed, never to be raised again. These are fundamental Bible truths established, first first point being established at the very beginning in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:19). Throughout Scripture, the opposite of life is always death, not eternal physical torment. It doesn’t logically follow that a loving God would not only establish a system where sinners are physically tormented for eternity but also neglect to tell anyone about it until the New Testament.

Rather, I see two differing persectives on the whole point of the immortality of the soul and of hell, and I see both perspectives in the Bible.

I think you’ll find that if you figure out the symbols being used, specifically the ones referencing fire, plus considering the context in each verse you examine, the answers will come soon enough.

December 17, 2008 3:05 PM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

hey Jason


for one,I should've made it clearer that I do not believe hell is a place of PHYSICAL torment. For me, it is a place of regret, sorrow, knwoing what you could've had, but realizing that you screwed it up, that kind of thing. In essence, eternal LONELINESS (please tell me of how I can use italics and bold face please)

As for Sodom and Gommorah,Jesus said that it would be more bearable for them then for those who would reject him and his message (although I didn't know that non-existence had different levels of suffering, although if what you say is true, then that is what Jesus is saying)

As for Revelation, I understand that it is full of symbolism, but it doesn't explain away the imagery that is used in there. It's like saying that Christ will not rule for a thousand years because it's symbolism (which is actually what some believe), or that Christ is not the king, for that is symbolism. Of course, some things are too be taken literally in Revelation, and as I understand it, you believe that Christ will come back and reign for a thousand years, so their are things you take literally for a book that cannot be taken literally.

As for the second death, I can understand your point there, but again,why use everlasting fire as a picture for non-existence?

I read Psalm 146:4, and it only strengthens my argument. "When their spirit departs, they return to the ground" where is it that their spirit goes? (I know you'll be quoting the versus that suggest soul-sleep, but what was the CONTEXT in which Davidwas speaking in Psalms? Did David believe in Sheol? (Yes, yes,I know,"grave" is another word, but it doesn't take away from it's meaning [which by the away, in another comment to someone's blog, I think it was steve's, you said that sheol was a place of intense shame])

You still havenot given me a good reason why we should discount the symbols in Luke's story. "It's a parable".
Yes, I know it's a parable, but what was the point of the parable? It was reward or punishment. And with the rich man, his punishment included knowing what he lost, not non-existence. I understand that heaven is not Abraham's bosom, but the point was that Lazarus was loved and satisfied, whereas the rich man was not. Not through non-existence, however.

You also didn't raise up my point of Jesus stating that non-existence was a better alternative than what was in store for Judas.

As for you agreeing with me that the non-existentcannot be punished, you told Ken that hell was a punishment (although not eterally counscious) but now your agreeing with me that dead are not punished, they justdont exist, and that's their punishment. (Again, which brings me back to Revelation and other verses citing eternal punishment (yes, including death, which means that I need to understand what they believed death had consisted of [yes you gave me psalms and other versus, but I'm still not convinced])

I suppose I should quote J. P. Moreland in aninterview with Lee Strobel about his views of hell (in the Case for Faith), "Make nomistake: Hell is punishment, but it's not a PUNISHING. It's not torture. The punishment of hell is a separation from God, bringing shame, anguish, and regret. And becausewe will have both body and soul in the resurrected state, the misery experiencd can be both mental and physical.But the pain that is suffered will be due to sorrow in the final, ultimate, unending banishment from God, His kingdom, and the good life for which we were created in the first place [loving God with all one's essence and worshipping him in everything].People in hell will deeply grieve all they've lost."

I have no desire to re-write the whole book for you, so if you want to read it, perhaps it will give you a better understanding of what I percieve hell to be. (However, that doesn't mean I agree with everything that is said in there ;])

As for anotherpoint, logic and reasoning can only get you so far. For example, why would a loving God create human beings he knew would just end up screwing Him over later, and would either punish them or send them into non-existence? How can God reconcile free will and His sovereignty(and please do not say that he gives up his power, It's been clearly written that although He grieves mankind's actions and ultimate fate, He still is somehow in control of everthing, [like with Paul, in Romans 9, where his argument to those asking wh God blames us for things that he ultmately is in control of, Paul simply states that we cannot judge God, that in this case it is beyond his own understanding).
The point that I'm trying t bring across is what I've said above: Logic can only get you so far (unless if you've been gifted with superior logic).

December 18, 2008 5:07 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

For one,I should've made it clearer that I do not believe hell is a place of PHYSICAL torment. For me, it is a place of regret, sorrow, knwoing what you could've had, but realizing that you screwed it up, that kind of thing. In essence, eternal LONELINESS.

There is no “knowing” once you’re dead. “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten….Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished;” (Ecc 9:5-6)

(please tell me of how I can use italics and bold face please)

You'll need to use tags. Do a quick Google search (I can't write the tags and have them show up properly).

As for the second death, I can understand your point there, but again, why use everlasting fire as a picture for non-existence?

Because fire represents destruction. An everlasting fire therefore symbolizes everlasting destruction.

I read Psalm 146:4, and it only strengthens my argument. "When their spirit departs, they return to the ground" where is it that their spirit goes?

Spirit is the Hebrew word "ruwach" and it means "breath". Thus, the KJV reads: “His breath [ruwach] goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psa 146:4) God gave the breath of life to man in the Garden and when He takes it away, man perishes:

“Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust” (Psa 104:29)
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc 12:7)
“…the God in whose hand thy breath is…” (Dan 5:23)

We can conclude therefore that when God takes the breath of life away from the man He gave it to, the individual dies. Nothing more happens (i.e. going to hell).

Yes, I know it's a parable, but what was the point of the parable? It was reward or punishment. And with the rich man, his punishment included knowing what he lost, not non-existence. I understand that heaven is not Abraham's bosom, but the point was that Lazarus was loved and satisfied, whereas the rich man was not. Not through non-existence, however.

I agree. But the purpose of the parable wasn’t to describe what happens when one dies, it was to expose the false teachings of the Pharisees.

You also didn't raise up my point of Jesus stating that non-existence was a better alternative than what was in store for Judas.

And what was in store for Judas? Overwhelming guilt ultimately leading to suicide.

As for you agreeing with me that the non-existent cannot be punished, you told Ken that hell was a punishment (although not eterally counscious) but now your agreeing with me that dead are not punished, they just dont exist, and that's their punishment.

My point was that it’s impossible for someone to be consciously tormented if death is the end of conscious thought. The punishment for the wicked is to remain dead for eternity.

For example, why would a loving God create human beings he knew would just end up screwing Him over later, and would either punish them or send them into non-existence?

This loving God also gave man freewill to chose their own path and the ability to inherit eternal life. Read Deut 30. Life on one side, death on the other. Not, life on one side, eternal physical suffering on the other. If endless physical suffering was the ultimate punishment for the wicked, it should also be expected God would have mentioned this in Genesis (when describing the punishment on Adam & Eve), Deuteronomy 30 or any other instance in the OT where the consequences of one’s actions was the topic.

There’s also the obvious problem of judgment. Outside of Revelation, only one judgment of the dead is ever mentioned and it will occur when Christ returns, not before. People can’t be suffering in hell now otherwise judgment would already have been passed.

December 18, 2008 6:49 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Hey Jason

I see all the versus describing death as no more consciousness, yet for me it still does not take away from the verses describing death to be otherwise (Yes, even witht he context.)

For example, in the second death described in Revelation, it goes beyond my reasoning why God would raise these people from the dead only to put them back in the state they were in.

you also use verses from the Psalms, but in the Psalms this is also written, "He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever." (Palms 104:5)

whereas in other passages, it states the ends of the earth

anyway, that was just suggesting that scripture contradicts itself, though I have little doubt you'll have evidence to counter this claim

You: I agree. But the purpose of the parable wasn’t to describe what happens when one dies, it was to expose the false teachings of the Pharisees.

Me: I agree as well, however in exposing the pharisees Jesus only encourages this "false" belief of hell.

You: And what was in store for Judas? Overwhelming guilt ultimately leading to suicide.

Me: Yes, however that led ot non-existence, which can be inferred that Jesus is saying that non-existence is better than what was going to happen to Jesus (not being born and using your definition of being dead is the same thing. Therefor, commiting suicide is obviosly not the only thing that was going to happen to Judas).

You: This loving God also gave man freewill to chose their own path and the ability to inherit eternal life. Read Deut 30. Life on one side, death on the other. Not, life on one side, eternal physical suffering on the other. If endless physical suffering was the ultimate punishment for the wicked, it should also be expected God would have mentioned this in Genesis (when describing the punishment on Adam & Eve), Deuteronomy 30 or any other instance in the OT where the consequences of one’s actions was the topic.

Me: For one thing, I am a determinist, so I must ask you what you believe free will means.

You: There’s also the obvious problem of judgment. Outside of Revelation, only one judgment of the dead is ever mentioned and it will occur when Christ returns, not before. People can’t be suffering in hell now otherwise judgment would already have been passed.

Me: It boggles my mind why God would raise the non-existent to existence, only to put them into non-existence again. Logically, wouldn't he only raise the ones who would live with him forever? But thenagain, there are alot of things spoken in the Bible that seem to go beyond logical understanding (I'm not saying that doesn't make false) However you were trying to convince me using logic, and I just don't see the logic here.

January 18, 2009 3:00 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

for the last part of my comment, I meant that just because something seems to go beyond our understanding, that is false because of that.

January 18, 2009 3:03 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hi Danny,

Death is either a conscious state or a non-conscious state. It can't be both. There are many, many verses that tell us death is, essentially, non-existence. Everything shuts down and that person ceases to exist. There are no verses that tell us that, after dying, our thoughts continue on and we're aware of being dead.

Regarding the second death mentioned in Revelation, this is the second judgment that will occur once the reign of Christ comes to a close. Those who are judged righteous when Christ returns don't need to fear the second death (Rev 20:6). This final judgment is for the mortals living on earth during the reign of Christ, not the dead. What we're being told here is that after this judgment, there will be no further resurrection. The 'second death' is the ultimate end both for the wicked inhabitants of the earth and sin and death (Rev 20:14).

Sorry but I'm not sure how Psalms 104 fits into this discussion...?

Regarding Jesus and the parable of Lazarus, I don't see how he's supporting the false belief in hell. He's simply using the beliefs of the Pharisees against them.

As for Judas, I don't follow. If Judas hadn't been born, he would never have reached the point where he would commit suicide. To use your words, Jesus is saying that non-existence is better than what was going to happen to Judas (not Jesus). It's almost impossible to fathom the overwhelming guilt and sheer embarrassment at knowing you were solely responsible for handing the Son of God, the Messiah, the saviour of mankind, over to his enemies to have him killed. It would have been an unbearable burden.

Regarding freewill, I believe in the dictionary definition: Done of one's own accord; voluntary.

January 18, 2009 2:47 PM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Hey Jason

Regarding Judas, I am talking about his ultimate end. yes he felt overwhelming guilt that led to his suicide, but in the end, HE DIED. In your own definition of death, he no longer exists. That is the same as not being born. that was the point I was making, that his ultimate end in your definition was the same as the "better" alternative Jesus was describing.

There are verses describing that both the righteous and the unrighteous will be raised from the dead to be judged, and what I was saying was that why would God raise the unrighteous dead only to kill them again?

As for Psalms, I was simply pointing out that the Psalms tend to say different things, and that I don't necessarily consider them all to be taken as a universal truth

As for the parable of Lazarus, I didn't realize that the Phariseeshad believed in a place of fiery torment proior to meeting Jesus...I thought they had believed in sheol

Matthew 5: 29-30 speak of hell

Matthew 10:28 not only speak of hell, but give an idea of soul, perhaps not immortal, but unable to die, with exception of God's power

As for free will, I will use the two definitions used in dictionary.com:
1: Free and independent choice; voluntary decision
2: the doctrine that the conduct of human beings expresses personal choice and is not simply determined by personal or divine forces

I personally believe that our wills ar not free, but are rather "slaves" to one's own nature. Th choices that we make reflect our hearts, what we care most about, what's really important to us, etc...things that we arenot in control of. I believe such a definition is also present in the Bible, although I also acknowledge that there seems to be different understandings of this throughout the Bible.

My point of bringing up free will was that when you were explaining that Adam and Eve made their choices, what was the reason behind those choiced? why would they desire something outside of God's will, if they were "perfectly good", and were like Him? I continually hear these versus, that God is good, and fully satisfies, and that when you have Him, you need no other.I also hear Jesus being described as that, such as being the living water that will never let you thirst. My point was that yes, Adam and Eve made their choice, but it was not independent from everything, there were factors influencing their choices, hence why I hesitate to call our wills "free". it's like stating that America's a "free" country, but people don't understand the meaning "free."

January 19, 2009 4:10 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

If Judas hadn't ever been born, he wouldn't have experienced the overwhelming emotions that led to his suicide. This is why it was better for him if he hadn't been born.

You said: There are verses describing that both the righteous and the unrighteous will be raised from the dead to be judged, and what I was saying was that why would God raise the unrighteous dead only to kill them again?

Because that's how we're told the righteous and wicked will be judged. We don't know anything beyond what Scripture says on the matter :)

You said: As for the parable of Lazarus, I didn't realize that the Pharisees had believed in a place of fiery torment proior to meeting Jesus...I thought they had believed in sheol

The Pharisees believed the wicked soul went to a place of torture while the righteous went to a place of bliss.

You said: Matthew 5:29-30 speak of hell

The Greek word here is 'gehenna', which was a garbage pit just outside of Jerusalem. Gehanna is not a supernatural place of eternal torment nor does the Bible ever teach a believer should literally cut off a limb if it's 'offending' them. Therefore, we can safely conclude these verses are symbolic.

You said: Matthew 10:28 not only speak of hell, but give an idea of soul, perhaps not immortal, but unable to die, with exception of God's power

Christ is saying here that we don't need to fear those who can kill our physical body (because we can be resurrected by God's power), but we should fear the one who can destroy us completely (i.e. God not resurrecting people, such as what will happen at the second death).

I personally believe that our wills are not free, but are rather "slaves" to one's own nature. The choices that we make reflect our hearts, what we care most about, what's really important to us, etc...things that we are not in control of.

I disagree. Throughout Scripture, we are told time and again that we are in control of all these things. We decide absolutely which path we want to follow. Man is inherently evil but that's not an excuse for committing evil acts. In Romans 7, Paul describes this mental battle - namely between doing what his 'flesh' (sinful desires) wants to do and what he knows he should be doing (the will of God).

My point of bringing up free will was that when you were explaining that Adam and Eve made their choices, what was the reason behind those choiced? why would they desire something outside of God's will, if they were "perfectly good", and were like Him?

Genesis doesn't describe Adam & Eve as being "perfectly good". God has always put two choices before man - right and wrong. It's up to us to decide. The decision facing Adam & Eve was no different.

My point was that yes, Adam and Eve made their choice, but it was not independent from everything, there were factors influencing their choices, hence why I hesitate to call our wills "free". it's like stating that America's a "free" country, but people don't understand the meaning "free."

Just because there were factors influencing Adam & Eve's decision doesn't mean they were forced to choose to disobey God. Innumerable factors influence our decisions as well but the power to decide still rests solely with the individual. Adam & Eve, like us, had complete free will, irrespective of what was going on around them.

January 19, 2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Hey Jason

You: If Judas hadn't ever been born, he wouldn't have experienced the overwhelming emotions that led to his suicide. This is why it was better for him if he hadn't been born.

Me: I understand what you're trying to tell me, but what I'm saying is that his ULTIMATE END would be the same as not being born. Yes, guilt is a horrible thing to have, but according to you, he didn't have it for a very long time. Rather, he killed himself in an effort to get rid of it. You might as well just say that whenever you're miserable, you might as well have not been born. His end would be the same as not beginning.

You said: Because that's how we're told the righteous and wicked will be judged. We don't know anything beyond what Scripture says on the matter :)

Me: So essentially, you don't know. I understand. The point was that it would seem to be a waste of time to re-raise the dead only to kill them off again. Or are you telling me that their punishment is knowing that they messed up, and then proceed unto non-existence? (that's what you were telling me about Judas, I'm hoping you can see what I'm talking about now).

You said: The Pharisees believed the wicked soul went to a place of torture while the righteous went to a place of bliss.

Me: Wow. I didn't know that. I had always heard argument pointing to the contrary: that the Jew's had believed in sheol, especially since these were the people who studied the scriptures, the same ones you used to point out that there is no place of torment.

You said: Greek word here is 'gehenna', which was a garbage pit just outside of Jerusalem. Gehanna is not a supernatural place of eternal torment nor does the Bible ever teach a believer should literally cut off a limb if it's 'offending' them. Therefore, we can safely conclude these verses are symbolic.

Me: I see. Thank you for clearing that up.

You said: Christ is saying here that we don't need to fear those who can kill our physical body (because we can be resurrected by God's power), but we should fear the one who can destroy us completely (i.e. God not resurrecting people, such as what will happen at the second death).

I understandyour point. Thank you.

You said in regards to my understanding of free will:
I disagree. Throughout Scripture, we are told time and again that we are in control of all these things. We decide absolutely which path we want to follow. Man is inherently evil but that's not an excuse for committing evil acts. In Romans 7, Paul describes this mental battle - namely between doing what his 'flesh' (sinful desires) wants to do and what he knows he should be doing (the will of God).

Yes, I agree, however scripture also talks about influences we cannot control, as well as us being "slaves to sin". And last time I checked, I never volunteered for that. Sounds like some that is given. Also, what we desire is not something we control. We can choose to lock out information, to be obtuse, to try to ignore these things, however, those choices are determined by what we want. And as I said before, we cannot control that. We might be able to influence it, but I think one should be completely honest with himself first (and I have yet to meet anyone who is completely honest). Also, how are we to follow the first and greatest commandment if we are not changed to be like God? Also, I think it's best for me to ask you: What do you think Jesus meant when we were to love the LORD our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths?

You said: Genesis doesn't describe Adam & Eve as being "perfectly good". God has always put two choices before man - right and wrong. It's up to us to decide. The decision facing Adam & Eve was no different.

Me: I thought it was different than what you described it. My understanding was that they had to continually eat of the fruit of life, then when they ate the forbidden fruit, they were forbidden to eat of the fruit of life thereafter. However, after re-reading it with your point of view, I can see your logic. Regardeless, the letters of the apostles describe Christ as the second Adam, AND that he was their to REINSTITUTE our relationship with God. However, Adam was not satisfied with such a relationship. I realize that in your eyes he did not each the fruit of life, hence he would not have the relationship that true Christians would have now. I am now divided on such view points, but thank you for giving me your understanding of this problem.

Sorry, I got a little off topic. My point was that why would Adam choose the wrong choice? Satan (or whatever you want to call him) tempted him, yes, but why would he listen to him? Did he not have arelationship with this almighty God? How could he believe that this God, whom he was created after, who was called good, not believe in him, but rather the serpent? As Christ being the second Adam, why did he not fall? Because heknew what was better. It all goes back to my previousargument. We do make choices, but our choices in and of themselves are influenced by other factors, regardless of it being divine or natural.

Of course, please don't misunderstand. I didn't mean to say that because of that were not responsible for our actions, but rather the hopelessness of believeing that we are completely free.

My point was that yes, Adam and Eve made their choice, but it was not independent from everything, there were factors influencing their choices, hence why I hesitate to call our wills "free". it's like stating that America's a "free" country, but people don't understand the meaning "free."

Just because there were factors influencing Adam & Eve's decision doesn't mean they were forced to choose to disobey God. Innumerable factors influence our decisions as well but the power to decide still rests solely with the individual. Adam & Eve, like us, had complete free will, irrespective of what was going on around them.

January 19, 2009 6:50 PM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

sorry, for the last two paragraphs, I forgot to delete them.

January 19, 2009 6:54 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

I don't quite follow your Judas comment. Whether Judas' ultimate end would have been the same as him not being born isn't the point Christ is making. Judas betrayed the Saviour of mankind and afterward committed suicide out of guilt. In all fairness, this is a bit more then simply being 'miserable'. I don't know of too many other people in history who have the unique label as being the person to hand Christ over to his enemies ...

You said: Or are you telling me that their punishment is knowing that they messed up, and then proceed unto non-existence?

Correct.

You said: Wow. I didn't know that. I had always heard argument pointing to the contrary: that the Jew's had believed in sheol, especially since these were the people who studied the scriptures, the same ones you used to point out that there is no place of torment.

The Pharisees were experts in Scripture but they also taught a great number of false doctrines in order to exert control over the masses. This is why they hated Christ so much - he was showing the average person how wrong the Pharisees were and, in essence, usurping their authority.

You said: Yes, I agree, however scripture also talks about influences we cannot control, as well as us being "slaves to sin".

Not at all. "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." (Romans 6:22).

You said: Also, what we desire is not something we control. We can choose to lock out information, to be obtuse, to try to ignore these things, however, those choices are determined by what we want.

I agree. But this has nothing to do with freewill. We can't control our bodies to stop it from getting hungry when we haven't eaten, but we do control how we satiate that hunger (e.g. buying food vs. stealing food).

You said: Also, how are we to follow the first and greatest commandment if we are not changed to be like God?

We don't need to be like God in order to love Him just like we don't need to be like our parents before we can love them.

You said: Also, I think it's best for me to ask you: What do you think Jesus meant when we were to love the LORD our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strengths?

That we're to love God with all of our ability.

You said: My point was that why would Adam choose the wrong choice? Satan (or whatever you want to call him) tempted him, yes, but why would he listen to him?

Adam wasn't tempted, Eve was. Genesis 3:6 explains why she ate the fruit: "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

You said: How could he believe that this God, whom he was created after, who was called good, not believe in him, but rather the serpent?

For the same reason anyone chooses not to believe God but to follow after their own hearts: Pride, greed or lust.

You said: We do make choices, but our choices in and of themselves are influenced by other factors, regardless of it being divine or natural.

But 'influences' don't remove our freewill, they only encourage us (for the good or bad) to behave in a certain manner.

January 20, 2009 11:28 AM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Jason,

You said: I don't quite follow your Judas comment. Whether Judas' ultimate end would have been the same as him not being born isn't the point Christ is making. Judas betrayed the Saviour of mankind and afterward committed suicide out of guilt. In all fairness, this is a bit more then simply being 'miserable'. I don't know of too many other people in history who have the unique label as being the person to hand Christ over to his enemies ...

And according to you, he is not conscious to experience the pain of being seen in history as a traitor. Yes, he must have felt horrible, but my pointwas (and still is) that his ultimate end is the same as not being born, "it would be better for him to not have him born", so nonexistence does not fit the bill, for me. His suffering only lasted for a finite amount of time. Not being born can last for eternity. Such pain on earth, if your understanding of what Jesus said is correct, is limited in time, and for me, is not worse than not being born. You might as well say that it would have been better for Judas to not have been born, since he is not going to exist anyway. Anyway, my understanding from the context in Matthew s that he is going to suffer. According to you, he is not. People who are not bron do not suffer. Therefor, I do not believe that non-existence is worse than non-existence. I am looking at everything from an ultimate point of view, not something that goes on in passing, such as Judas' suffering from guilt and suicide.

You: Not at all. "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life." (Romans 6:22).

Me: That verse only furthers my point, that we are slaves to one thing or another, whether it be sin or righteousness, we always have something that influences us, therefore I cannot call our wills free in the sense that we make our choices completely independently, as Free Will suggests.

And I don't think Pride, Greed, or Lust is something chosen, it is something inherent. You might as well say we choose when we're hungry, or to have reflexes, perhaps.

February 01, 2009 4:10 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

Judas died, this is what we're told and this is what we can prove. There is no mention of Judas going anywhere else other then the grave nor is there any mention whatsoever of Judas consciously suffering after death. Not even Peter, who witnessed the betrayal, condemns Judas to an eternity of conscious torment (Acts 1:16-20). To suggest Judas has been consciously tormented by a loving God for the past 2000 years for his act of betrayal is, quite frankly, ridiculous. God has no need to inflict pain on someone for the rest of time.

Judas' suffering did only last for a finite time - I agree. Jesus' death also lasted for a finite time. Jesus is now immortal, and Judas is still very much dead.

You said: That verse only furthers my point, that we are slaves to one thing or another, whether it be sin or righteousness, we always have something that influences us, therefore I cannot call our wills free in the sense that we make our choices completely independently, as Free Will suggests.

And my point is that influences don't force us to do anything. Scripture is abundantly clear we do have free will and with free will comes personal responsibility.

You said: And I don't think Pride, Greed, or Lust is something chosen, it is something inherent.

Whether or not it's inherent doesn't mean we're forced to acts on these temptations. This is precisely why Eve was punished for eating the fruit - she KNEW what was right, but she CHOSE to do wrong.

February 01, 2009 4:51 PM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Hey Jason

You said: To suggest Judas has been consciously tormented by a loving God for the past 2000 years for his act of betrayal is, quite frankly, ridiculous. God has no need to inflict pain on someone for the rest of time.

Me: To make such a claim is irrelevant. Regardless of wheter or not you think that it would be rediculous and immoral for a real hell to exist, I still do no see the real punishment in suffering for a short period of time, then going to a state where you cannot remember that suffering. It's wasted time and effort. I say it's not a eral punishment because there is not substance to that punishment in this sense: That ultimately, Judas' ultimate end would be the same AS not being born. Suffering only for a short period of time only to not exist, to not evenremember it, for me, is a punishment that is a waste. Do you remember bad things happening to you? What about the things you don't remember? If you can't remember the bad things that happened to you, it's like they NEVER HAPPENED. Granted, in some ways those things could have changed you in some subtl (or not so subtl) ways, but if you don't remember it, then there is no pain in it, hence, why I say that Judas' suffering, in my mind, has to be a place of eternal conscious torment.

And to elaborate on what is needless and rediculous, consider: God does not need us. Yet he creates us, and goes through pains because of us, yet still he chooses to save a few;(yes,I've heard the argument that it is love that he has that comes him to do these things, but if he loves everyone, why only enlighten a few? and what definition of love is to be used in this case?); How God does not change and is omniscient, yet changes his mind (yes, it could just be that the writer is trying to explain what happened in a way that we can understand it, but to admit that would be to admit that God cannot be fully understood, and thus, your previous argument of what is rediculous and needless in your mind may not be such in God's mind); Why would God create people he knows will ultimately reject him, if he knows the future and loves these people? (again, this goes witht he understanding the free will does not exist, but let me elaborate on what I believe free will to be. I believe free will, when using the word "free", implies that we are able to make descisions outside of any influence placed on us. As such, I do not believe that this is possible, since we have "natures", and that we make choices, yes, we do, but we make our choices based on what we want, and what we think will give us what will satisfy us. So yes, I do believe we make choices, but no, I reject that our wills are free from influence in our decisions.)

Anyway, I was re-reading the previous comments on this post, and saw the Elijah Problem. What did the Jews believe in the times where the writings depicting Elijah's "ascension" were recently made? Do we know what they believed?

And as for the verse in 1 Timothy, regarding all scripture to be God-inspired, from what I understand, that letter was written in regards to books from the OT, whereas many letters in the NT came after 1 Timothy. I fail to see how that verse applies to those book (I'm not saying that those books are wrong, I'm just getting sick of hearing that verse being used by so many people to explain why they believe everything in the Bible to be innerant.)

Also, Scriptures also indicate that God orchestrates everything, and that he sometimes even directly influences the hearts of people to do something, for whatever reason (to fulfill a prophecy, etc.)

And whether or not something is inherent GREATLY influences what wil happen, in regards to our choices. Andlast time I checked, Eve wasn't punished on the grounds because she disobeyed God, and before that, she didn't eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil, how would she have known a difference between right and wrong? All she would have known was to obey or disobey God (I'm not saying there is no right or wrong in that, only that that was the only sense she could've had.)

February 02, 2009 7:36 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

You said: To make such a claim is irrelevant. Regardless of wheter or not you think that it would be rediculous and immoral for a real hell to exist, I still do no see the real punishment in suffering for a short period of time, then going to a state where you cannot remember that suffering.

It is relevant. God doesn't physically torment people for eternity because of sins committed in a mere lifetime. This concept is completely absent in Scripture, from the punishment for sin described in Genesis, to the punishments described in transgressing the Old Law, to the punishment handed out to the wicked when Christ returns.

Judas' punishment is death - eternal and absolute death. Judas does not exist nor will he ever exist again. He betrayed Christ, realized what he had done, and hung himself in grief and shame. It would have been better if he hadn't been born because then he would never have done those things.

It's wasted time and effort.

For who?

I say it's not a eral punishment because there is not substance to that punishment in this sense: That ultimately, Judas' ultimate end would be the same AS not being born.

It's a real punishment from God's perspective. The punishment for wickedness is to return to ground from where man was taken (Gen 3:19).

Suffering only for a short period of time only to not exist, to not evenremember it, for me, is a punishment that is a waste.

You're looking at this from the wrong perspective. This isn't about your sense of justice, it's about God's justice. It makes no difference if we agree or disagree with these punishments - they are what they are and they're unchangeable.

Do you remember bad things happening to you? What about the things you don't remember? If you can't remember the bad things that happened to you, it's like they NEVER HAPPENED. Granted, in some ways those things could have changed you in some subtl (or not so subtl) ways, but if you don't remember it, then there is no pain in it, hence, why I say that Judas' suffering, in my mind, has to be a place of eternal conscious torment.

This isn't justice - this is the epitome of cruel. To be physically tormented for eternity, by a loving, merciful God, for the sins committed during but a blip of existence on this planet is illogical and irrational. The God we worship has no need to punish someone in this way. It simply doesn't fit with what we know of Him or what the Bible says will happen to the dead.

God does not need us. Yet he creates us, and goes through pains because of us, yet still he chooses to save a few; (yes,I've heard the argument that it is love that he has that comes him to do these things, but if he loves everyone, why only enlighten a few?

This is off topic but I'll say this: the responsibility to learn about God and His plan for salvation rests solely with the individual. The tools are there for anyone to come to this knowledge - most simply choose to reject it. This has been mankind's preferred direction since the beginning of time.

I believe free will, when using the word "free", implies that we are able to make descisions outside of any influence placed on us. As such, I do not believe that this is possible, since we have "natures", and that we make choices, yes, we do, but we make our choices based on what we want, and what we think will give us what will satisfy us. So yes, I do believe we make choices, but no, I reject that our wills are free from influence in our decisions.)

I really want a million dollars - am I being forced to rob a bank? I desperately need a new car - am I being forced to buy a car when I know it'll cost me my house?

What did the Jews believe in the times where the writings depicting Elijah's "ascension" were recently made? Do we know what they believed?

Could you elaborate...? I'm not sure what your question is.

And as for the verse in 1 Timothy, regarding all scripture to be God-inspired, from what I understand, that letter was written in regards to books from the OT, whereas many letters in the NT came after 1 Timothy. I fail to see how that verse applies to those book (I'm not saying that those books are wrong, I'm just getting sick of hearing that verse being used by so many people to explain why they believe everything in the Bible to be innerant.)

To put it simply, the verse applies to all of the Bible (OT and NT) because God was perfectly aware how the Bible would ultimately be formed.

Also, Scriptures also indicate that God orchestrates everything, and that he sometimes even directly influences the hearts of people to do something, for whatever reason (to fulfill a prophecy, etc.)

Sometimes He does, yes.

And last time I checked, Eve wasn't punished on the grounds because she disobeyed God,

God told them not to eat the fruit - Eve did. Punishment followed.

and before that, she didn't eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil, how would she have known a difference between right and wrong?

Because right and wrong isn't the same as good and evil. A child knows the difference between right and wrong long before the concept of good and evil is understood.

February 02, 2009 9:49 PM  
Blogger dannydamagichobo said...

Jason,

You said: It is relevant. God doesn't physically torment people for eternity because of sins committed in a mere lifetime. This concept is completely absent in Scripture, from the punishment for sin described in Genesis, to the punishments described in transgressing the Old Law, to the punishment handed out to the wicked when Christ returns.

Judas' punishment is death - eternal and absolute death. Judas does not exist nor will he ever exist again. He betrayed Christ, realized what he had done, and hung himself in grief and shame. It would have been better if he hadn't been born because then he would never have done those things.

I said: It's wasted time and effort.

You said: For who?

My response: My wording was incorrect. What I'm trinying to convey is that is was pointless for Judas to exist if he was going to die anyway. Yes, I understand that it was so that Jesus could be crucified, but for Judas himself, it was meaningless. That's what I meant.

I said: I say it's not a real punishment because there is not substance to that punishment in this sense: That ultimately, Judas' ultimate end would be the same AS not being born.

You said: It's a real punishment from God's perspective. The punishment for wickedness is to return to ground from where man was taken (Gen 3:19).

I said: Suffering only for a short period of time only to not exist, to not evenremember it, for me, is a punishment that is a waste.

You said: You're looking at this from the wrong perspective. This isn't about your sense of justice, it's about God's justice. It makes no difference if we agree or disagree with these punishments - they are what they are and they're unchangeable.

I said: Do you remember bad things happening to you? What about the things you don't remember? If you can't remember the bad things that happened to you, it's like they NEVER HAPPENED. Granted, in some ways those things could have changed you in some subtl (or not so subtl) ways, but if you don't remember it, then there is no pain in it, hence, why I say that Judas' suffering, in my mind, has to be a place of eternal conscious torment.

You said: This isn't justice - this is the epitome of cruel. To be physically tormented for eternity, by a loving, merciful God, for the sins committed during but a blip of existence on this planet is illogical and irrational. The God we worship has no need to punish someone in this way. It simply doesn't fit with what we know of Him or what the Bible says will happen to the dead.

My response: What I'm saying is that it doesn't fit what Jesus was telling Judas. You look at it from the middle, I look at it from the end.

As for hell being illogical, I can also argue that it was illogical for God to create man (Adam), give him a warning about the forbidden tree, knowing full well what would happen to him and to the rest of mankind. It would be illogical to think that God respects "free will", and condemns people for their actions as respect for it, only to "make us like the angels" and to not be able to sin 9in your understanding), and thus take our "free will" away.

I use quotes for free will because I don't believe in the free will you describe it to be. my understanding is that free will is when someone is able to do something that they want to do. Your underwstanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Man is the ultimate decider of his actions, andd that there are no greater influences that determine his descision besides him alone (which I COMPLETELY disagree with).

You said: This is off topic but I'll say this: the responsibility to learn about God and His plan for salvation rests solely with the individual. The tools are there for anyone to come to this knowledge - most simply choose to reject it. This has been mankind's preferred direction since the beginning of time.


You said: I really want a million dollars - am I being forced to rob a bank? I desperately need a new car - am I being forced to buy a car when I know it'll cost me my house?

My re: When met with such conditions, one might make that choice in believing that it is the best option for them. However, most people don't, because they KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES of what might happen. They know that society won't accept them, and they don't want to live in a lie. In weighing if it is worth it or not, they decide that it is not, because the cost outweighs the benefit.

Your strawman argument doesn't hold, because ultimately, your descision is being influnced on wehther or not you will be accepted, and whether or not you will fully be happy in doing such a thing.

I said: What did the Jews believe in the times where the writings depicting Elijah's "ascension" were recently made? Do we know what they believed?

You said: Could you elaborate...? I'm not sure what your question is.

Me: What I'm asking is what did the Hews believe when the Story of Elijah was being told? What did they mean by being "taken up"?

I said: And as for the verse in 1 Timothy, regarding all scripture to be God-inspired, from what I understand, that letter was written in regards to books from the OT, whereas many letters in the NT came after 1 Timothy. I fail to see how that verse applies to those book (I'm not saying that those books are wrong, I'm just getting sick of hearing that verse being used by so many people to explain why they believe everything in the Bible to be innerant.)

You replied: To put it simply, the verse applies to all of the Bible (OT and NT) because God was perfectly aware how the Bible would ultimately be formed.

I find that to be a bad argument, because the people who were first hearing the letters did not have access to the other leters and books that we have now, as well as the fact that the authors had differing beliefs themselves.

I said: Also, Scriptures also indicate that God orchestrates everything, and that he sometimes even directly influences the hearts of people to do something, for whatever reason (to fulfill a prophecy, etc.)

Your Re: Sometimes He does, yes.

Well, I appreciate you conceding this much. However, this still means that God ultimately overrides free will.

I mistakenly said: And last time I checked, Eve wasn't punished on the grounds because she disobeyed God,

You interjected: God told them not to eat the fruit - Eve did. Punishment followed.

My comment continued: and before that, she didn't eat the tree of knowledge of good and evil, how would she have known a difference between right and wrong?

You re: Because right and wrong isn't the same as good and evil. A child knows the difference between right and wrong long before the concept of good and evil is understood.


My re: I disagree. I know where you're getting at, but I don't believe in separated right and wrong form good and evil, because I do not believe evil to be some force or object.

Hope to hear your response soon

April 15, 2009 3:30 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Danny,

You said: My wording was incorrect. What I'm trinying to convey is that is was pointless for Judas to exist if he was going to die anyway. Yes, I understand that it was so that Jesus could be crucified, but for Judas himself, it was meaningless. That's what I meant.Why was Judas' existence pointless? We all die - does that make our lives pointless?

What I'm saying is that it doesn't fit what Jesus was telling Judas. You look at it from the middle, I look at it from the end.I'm looking at it from a Biblical point of view regarding it's teachings of the death state, in addition to Jesus never mentioning Judas would be physically punished for eternity.

my understanding is that free will is when someone is able to do something that they want to do. Your underwstanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Man is the ultimate decider of his actions, andd that there are no greater influences that determine his descision besides him alone (which I COMPLETELY disagree with).Man is the ultimate decider of what he does and as such, he is held responsible for his actions.

My re: When met with such conditions, one might make that choice in believing that it is the best option for them. However, most people don't, because they KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES of what might happen. They know that society won't accept them, and they don't want to live in a lie. In weighing if it is worth it or not, they decide that it is not, because the cost outweighs the benefit.But the individual still isn't being forced to choose one way or another. Consequences have nothing to do with with the freedom to make a decision.

Your strawman argument doesn't hold, because ultimately, your descision is being influnced on wehther or not you will be accepted, and whether or not you will fully be happy in doing such a thing.Absolutely. But the influence itself doesn't remove the freedom to make a choice.

What I'm asking is what did the Hews believe when the Story of Elijah was being told? What did they mean by being "taken up"?They meant being taken up into the sky. This is the general direction things travel when a whirlwind is involved. :)

I find that to be a bad argument, because the people who were first hearing the letters did not have access to the other leters and books that we have now, as well as the fact that the authors had differing beliefs themselves.You've already made your mind up the Bible isn't inerrant. I don't think it matters what my argument is.

Well, I appreciate you conceding this much. However, this still means that God ultimately overrides free will.No, it means God sometimes directly influences the hearts of people.

My re: I disagree. I know where you're getting at, but I don't believe in separated right and wrong form good and evil, because I do not believe evil to be some force or object.When a 3-year old child misbehaves, are they wrong or are they evil?

April 16, 2009 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This first passage from Revelation shows that the lost of the tribulation will be punished by eternal torment.

"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name" (Revelation 14:9-11).

Notice the phrase: "... in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb ...." I will comment more on this later.

The only way that their smoke can ascend up forever is if they are on fire and are not consumed by the flame. One may be reminded of Moses and the burning bush: "And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt" (Exodus 3:2-3).

This next passage from Luke shows that the wicked from the Old Testament went to a place of flames and torment. Jesus told of the account of Lazarus and the rich man. We know that this is not a parable because the actual names of Lazarus, Abraham, and Moses are given. The rich man was not in the Lake of Fire yet, but rather, he was, and still is, in Hades. The differences between the Lake of Fire and Hades are discussed in detail in part 2.

"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (Luke 16:19-31).

Notice that the rich man is conscious, in great agony, and well aware of the fact that he cannot leave.

Jesus often spoke of eternal torment for the lost during his earthly ministry:
.

November 23, 2013 3:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-48). Also see Isaiah 66:22-24.

November 23, 2013 3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh wicked one i rebuke you in the name of Jesus, for you twist and tangle the words of GOD the father, to your will, but it is NOT your will but the Fathers, i pray for the souls that bare witness to your teachings, i pray that the spirit of discernment rises up in them that they be lead away from these things...i pray this in the name of Jesus Christ amen...

November 23, 2013 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Jason said...

he rich man and Lazarus is a parable. The events in it are not be taken literally. Is Abraham’s Bosom a literal location? There is a great gulf between Abraham and the rich man, but they can see and talk to each other – is the gulf to be taken literally? Abraham was dead and hadn’t yet received his reward (Heb 11), how could Lazarus go to his bosom? Do you believe that the rich man was so stupid as to expect righteous Lazarus to leave the comfort of "Abraham's bosom" and spend time visiting the rich man in flames of fire? Can there exist a "great chasm" that is so great that no one can pass across it, and yet the inhabitants on both sides are able to carry on a conversation with each other without difficulty?

November 25, 2013 11:09 AM  

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