The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Arguments/positions against Evangelical Universalism.

Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:23 pm

Your view is unjust because people in hell continue to sin. Even here on earth nobody is perfect. How much more so is this true when people are separated from all grace and allowed to completely go their own way? People in hell sin - God punishes - people sin - God punishes and the cycle goes on and on. There is no cruel and unjust punishment in hell.

Do you believe God is that evil, that tyrannical, that disgustingly arrogant that He would do that?


This is exactly what people in hell will be saying. And no I believe God is eternally just and holy. Hence, He justly punishes evil as it continues forever. It's like the prisoner who gets locked up and continues to commit more crimes in prison. Justice says that he must get more time added to his sentence if he continually commits crime.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Jonny95 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:00 pm

Cole H. wrote:Your view is unjust because people in hell continue to sin. Even here on earth nobody is perfect. How much more so is this true when people are separated from all grace and allowed to completely go their own way? People in hell sin - God punishes - people sin - God punishes and the cycle goes on and on. There is no cruel and unjust punishment in hell.

Do you believe God is that evil, that tyrannical, that disgustingly arrogant that He would do that?


This is exactly what people in hell will be saying. And no I believe God is eternally just and holy. Hence, He justly punishes evil as it continues forever. It's like the prisoner who gets locked up and continues to commit more crimes in prison. Justice says that he must get more time added to his sentence if he continually commits crime.

But He creates a person into a fallen world consumed by sinful nature and allows that despite knowing that the person will never turn away from sin. What is the justification for that? What is the justification for creating and eternally sustaining the existence of that person? What is the justification for allowing sin to exist, allowing that person to be born into sinful nature if He never redeems that person?
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby DaveB » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:07 pm

Game, set and match, Jonny95, well done! :D
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:37 pm

What is the justification for that?


Jonny,

Man sins of his own will and is therefore justly held accountable and punished. The apostle Paul answers this objection of yours and when the Apostle Paul answers an objection of heresy it is wise to listen:

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Jonny95 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:22 pm

Cole H. wrote:
What is the justification for that?


Jonny,

Man sins of his own will and is therefore justly held accountable and punished. The apostle Paul answers this objection of yours and when the Apostle Paul answers an objection of heresy it is wise to listen:

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?

That does not answer my questions, Cole (quite apart from the fact that the reference to the potter and the clay could come from several places in the Old Testament, all of them hopeful not hopeless).

So let me ask again; what is the justification for God creating humans who He knew would sin, bringing them into existence in a fallen world without ever destroying the sin in them? What is the justification for God, the holy and just God, Who creates a world where permanent, eternal sin and injustice reigns forever (even if only in hell - it still continues)? What is the justification for God never saving people whom He could save if He wanted to but doesn't? Or if He can't save them, how disgusting do you think it is for God to take such a risk creating humans whom He knows may live eternally in sin and misery? How would He be justified in allowing sin's existence if good never ultimately wins?
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:50 pm

Jonny,

I find it hugely bizarre that you didn't see the answer to your question in the passage. I've already dealt with this before so, I'm not going to keep going over it and over it, but here it is:

What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?


You seem to think that God is obligated to show grace to rebel sinners who don't want to have anything to do with Him. This is bizarre. You know nothing about grace. Grace is unmerited favor and never owed to sinners. Hell is simply the just punishment of those who have been separated from God's grace for eternity. Because they are separated from God's grace (common and saving) they remain evil while in hell. Indeed, the longer one remains in hell the more hardened their heart becomes and thus, the more just God's punishment of them is. Part of the justice of hell is God keeping evil's harm and influence out of the new creation as God protects His children (the bride of Christ) from its destruction. The glory of God's justice shines forever as He shows His tender love to His children. Moreover, this glory has been there since the beginning. God experiences all past, present, and future events as being "present" in His timeless eternal now. It's this glory that God rejoices in. The glory of His beautiful mercy and justice. It's not that He's sadistic. For it's not the suffering of those in hell in and of itself that God is glorified in. Rather, it's His justice. God is eternal and therefore His justice must likewise be eternal. As the above passage states, all parts of His glory must shine forth so that His children may have a proper knowledge of Him. Thus, making their joy complete.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Jonny95 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:25 pm

Stuff it, I'll bite:

You seem to think that God is obligated to show grace to rebel sinners who don't want to have anything to do with Him.


Yes, yes I do. God has created us with longings, pains, hurts, desires, weaknesses, even to the point where we don't even function properly without him. As such God does have obligations towards us, obligations that outweigh our own obligations - for He's the one who has created us unable to function without Him. So yes he is obligated to show us grace, if indeed you can call it an obligation - though this 'obligation' is not from a law external to Himself per se but is from His very own nature and being and is carried out with ultimate liberty, not from a sense of extrinsic duty.

This is bizarre. You know nothing about grace. Grace is unmerited favor and never owed to sinners.


I would advise you not to make such sweeping statements as "You know nothing about grace" when you haven't got a clue what I think about grace.

Your second sentence here is made up of two points that do not follow on from each other. While I agree grace is unmerited favour and that we do not have to earn what God gives us, I also believe that God is obligated from His own being to give us this grace, especially through his own act of creation. By creating us, He has obligated Himself to us, and by creating us as only able to function with Him, He has obligated Himself to get us functioning perfectly according to His will, His will which is to share in His fellowship.

Hell is simply the just punishment of those who have been separated from God's grace for eternity.


Clearly they're not completely separated from God's grace. After all, He's keeping them in existence.

Eternal hell is just punishment is it? Why? Why is it necessary for justice to be fulfilled that sinners must suffer for all eternity? What does it do? What is the point? (Note: do not quote Romans 9 at me again here - it's wider context is utterly irrelevant to the point you're trying to make)

Because they are separated from God's grace (common and saving) they remain evil while in hell.


All glory to God for keeping and sustaining the victory of evil! Hallelujah!

Indeed, the longer one remains in hell the more hardened their heart becomes and thus, the more just God's punishment of them is.


Technically God's punishment cannot become more just than it was before otherwise it was unjust in the first place. God is infinitely just yesterday, today and forever. He does not change in that regard.

Again I'll ask; why is it necessary for justice that sinners must suffer for the sake of suffering? How does it deal with or correct sin? How does it destroy sin? How does it render everything just?

Part of the justice of hell is God keeping evil's harm and influence out of the new creation as God protects His children (the bride of Christ) from its destruction. The glory of God's justice shines forever as He shows His tender love to His children.


And no love at all to His enemies. All hail His tender love! Hallelujah!

Moreover, this glory has been there since the beginning. God experiences all past, present, and future events as being "present" in His timeless eternal now. It's this glory that God rejoices in. The glory of His beautiful mercy and justice.


Completely agree - but don't be separating mercy from justice here. He is just to those who are saved and merciful to those who are being punished.

It's not that He's sadistic. For it's not the suffering of those in hell in and of itself that God is glorified in. Rather, it's His justice. God is eternal and therefore His justice must likewise be eternal. As the above passage states, all parts of His glory must shine forth so that His children may have a proper knowledge of Him. Thus, making their joy complete.


No joy for the others down there though. Mind you, who cares if they're having a miserable time, God looks pretty damn powerful administering his justice up here. All hail his power! Hallelujah!
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:47 pm

Because man is a fallen sinner grace is never owed. In fact grace is never owed to creation. For you cannot deserve to be created. But because of man's demerit grace is especially never owed. I like your point about God keeping people in existence so it would be His saving grace that man is separated from in hell. When you sin God must punish for He is just. If you do the crime you do the time. God is glorified by His just punishment of evil as well as His gracious redeeming of evil. He is glorified by both and since He is eternal His infinite glory must shine forever. All parts not just one aspect. For His children's joy consist in the knowledge of Him. And if His children's knowledge of Him be imperfect then their happiness will likewise be imperfect. Thus, His justice shines forever making His grace all the more brighter. You can keep blaspheming this holy God all you want. But it would be wise to repent.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Jonny95 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:57 pm

Cole H. wrote:Because man is a fallen sinner grace is never owed. In fact grace is never owed to creation. For you cannot deserve to be created. But because of man's demerit grace is especially never owed. I like your point about God keeping people in existence so it would be His saving grace that man is separated from in hell. When you sin God must punish for He is just. If you do the crime you do the time. God is glorified by His just punishment of evil as well as His gracious redeeming of evil. He is glorified by both and since He is eternal His infinite glory must shine forever. All parts not just one aspect. For His children's joy consist in the knowledge of Him. And if His children's knowledge of Him be imperfect then his happiness will likewise be imperfect. Thus, His justice shines forever making His grace all the more brighter. You can keep blaspheming this holy God all you want. But it would be wise to repent.

Cole, I'm not going to continue responding, you didn't answer a single question of mine and I don't think you're going to either.

Don't accuse me of blasphemy though - that's a very loaded charge that you've just issued without cause and I'd suggest you actually think before accusing someone of that. I don't take too kindly of being accused of it and you're only accusing me of it because I disagree with you.

I wasn't disagreeing with you because I hate God or hate you; it's on the contrary. So don't just respond by using the blasphemy card. It's pretty unhelpful and not particularly nice either.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 6:05 pm

Whatever you say Jonny :roll:
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:19 pm

It's only reasonable that those who are separated from God's grace in hell become more hardened in their hearts as time goes on. They continually sin in hell and keep getting more punishment. Moreover, it also seems reasonable that the harder their hearts become the less they see and experience how horrible their punishment is. From the perspective of those in eternal bliss hell is quite horrible. But from the perspective of evil in hell it's not so horrible. Part of the misery of hell is the sad fact that those who are in hell for awhile don't realize how miserable their condition has become because they lose the capacity to appreciate genuine happiness after they are in hell for awhile.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Agnostic Gabe » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:42 pm

Cole H. wrote:It's only reasonable that those who are separated from God's grace in hell become more hardened in their hearts as time goes on. They continually sin in hell and keep getting more punishment. Moreover, it also seems reasonable that the harder their hearts become the less they see and experience how horrible their punishment is. From the perspective of those in eternal bliss hell is quite horrible. But from the perspective of evil in hell it's not so horrible. Part of the misery of hell is the sad fact that those who are in hell for awhile don't realize how miserable their condition has become because they lose the capacity to appreciate genuine happiness after they are in hell for awhile.


Cole, ALL of this is conjecture. Not only is Hell ambiguous to begin with, but to add all this speculation on top of it is really over the top. There is a strong part of me that doesn't think you believe this, or want to believe it, but are hoping we can refute it. I don't know what to think in your case, but you do appear to be troubled by this. Whether I am correct or not regarding this, I think it is fair to say this conversation is over, isn't it? You seem to have your mind made up and in all fairness, all of us have our minds made up on this particular issue... I am pretty sure I have heard every argument as to why it is just for God to torture people, or allow people to waste away with an eternal disease and I just am not buying it and you do... Can we really come to agreement? Probably not. We best agree to disagree on this matter. :)
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Wed Mar 04, 2015 9:15 pm

Gabe,

This isn't about me but the truth of a holy God who justly punishes those whose are evil and who's hearts have been hardened. Not speculation at all. But, I'll let it go for now. :D
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:33 pm

The more I study scripture the more I think Annihilationism is true. It makes sense that all things being made new in heaven and earth as referring to the new heavens and earth. Humans outside the new creation in the eternal fire experience total destruction both body and soul. This is the second death. The eternal fire was created for Satan and his angels. They are supernatural beings and in a completely different category than humans. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever in the eternal fire. In this way the glory of God's justice will shine forever. Destroying the wicked humans is an act of God's mercy and punishment mixed. This is His severe mercy. Some experience God's mercy as everlasting destruction others as everlasting life. All flesh will worship and confess Christ to the glory of the Father because the unbelieving humans in the Lake of Fire are dead. As it tells us in Isaiah the gates of the city are opened so that the redeemed can go out to look on the dead bodies.

“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain.
From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord.

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” - Isaiah 66:22-24
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby davo » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:13 pm

The really good news for those who cling to this myth of an endless torturous fire chamber after death is that at least they’ll be able to talk to their loved ones who just didn’t make the grade as they writhe in perpetual pain just across the way… it says as much right here:

…he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and bin the presence of the Lamb.

And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’


Believers won’t be able to pass over to aid their “evil” loved ones; but at least they themselves being in the very presence of the Lamb will be able to bid them best wishes, eternally… oh joy!! :twisted:
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:40 pm

Those in the "holding tank" in Hades are in torment before "The Lake Of Fire" (the second death) where God has mercy on those in the "Lake Of Fire" by annihilating them. God will have mercy on all. Those in the Lake Of Fire receive His severe form of mercy as they are destroyed forever. Those who are in eternal life receive His saving grace or mercy. Christ's presence takes different forms.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby davo » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:02 pm

Cole H. wrote:Christ's presence takes different forms.

As so it seems do the shifting sands of your arguments. :roll:
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:03 pm

I'm learning Davo. I noticed you didn't deal with what I said though.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby steve7150 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:36 pm

Those in hell remain unrepentant forever. Those in hell sin - God punishes - they sin - God punishes - they sin and the cycle goes on forever.












Where do you get this from Cole?
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:52 pm

Steve,

I've changed my view. See above.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby steve7150 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 6:40 am

The more I study scripture the more I think Annihilationism is true. It makes sense that all things being made new in heaven and earth as referring to the new heavens and earth. Humans outside the new creation in the eternal fire experience total destruction both body and soul. This is the second death.








Annihilation may be true and UR may be true and some hybrid model may be true. What strikes me is that this "Lake of Fire" is in fact pictured as a Lake and a lake is something you can walk out of. The gates of New Jerusalem are open all the time which may be for folks in the LOF to walk through when they are able to. Lastly in Rev 22.17 , five verses from the end of the bible "the Bride and the Spirit" invite anyone to drink from the water of life. That may be an allusion to UR or something close to it.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby LLC » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:36 pm

The way I see it, you cannot force someone to love. So to say we must keep going through some refining fire until we finally come to see things God's way, would be just that-forced. We must first choose to be with God, then let His Holy Spirit and His Word guide us. If you love someone set them free. If they come back to you, then it will be true love.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby davo » Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:24 am

LLC wrote:So to say we must keep going through some refining fire until we finally come to see things God's way, would be just that-forced.

Well quite apart from “forced” it simply isn’t true… this notion of post-mortem refining through fire, supposedly “the lake of fire”, is TOTALLY reading theology back into the text of Scripture, i.e., eisegesis.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby LLC » Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:47 am

I think the bible speaks mostly about what is happening on Earth, and the spirits that are inside of our physical bodies. This is what we must focus on and for good reason, because no one on Earth knows what is going on in heaven until we get there. God doesn't spend too much time talking about it because it would be like trying to explain calculus to a 3 year-old.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby corpselight » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:34 pm

This thread has to have the record for sheer number of theological turnarounds for Cole so far... :?

No theologian is totally wise or correct. There never has been a single strand of thought on the fate of the damned in all of the history of the Church. Lewis was inconsistent as Jason pointed out. Paul was overwhelmingly universalist, and the only heresies he really got angry about were gnosticism because they hate the flesh and think Christ couldn't be wholly God or wholly flesh, let alone both, and he got upset about people trying to impose THEIR legalistic interpretations on God's grace.

Another patently obvious issue is that if God is only going to show mercy to those who repent, who has any hope at all? God could arbitrarily show no mercy to me, and thus i don't repent, and thus i never get the mercy...so i'm damned into a Calvinistic vortex of hopeless doom. Well, sod that for a laugh..i think i'll follow Jesus, the Lord of just mercy and triumphant love, who NEVER EVER gives up on a single being, and will not stop til this broken universe is healed. Not a single atom will remain unredeemed, and thus there CANNOT be any corner of the universe, no matter how small, where God is not found, therefore this "hell" Lewis couldn't bring himself to disbelieve in will not exist anywhere, locked from the inside or not.

If Lewis is a "great teacher" or "thinker" etc, would it not be wise to follow his example? he saw MacDonald as his teacher...and MacDonald WAS wise enough to throw hell away. Lewis wanted to, but couldn't overcome the doctrinal baggage. Maybe if he knew what we know now about the translations, and the Church fathers...maybe he wouldn't come round. Well, he's a universalist now, that's all i can say!
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:50 pm

Yep. I can't figure the doctrine of hell out. Best to leave it alone for now.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby steve7150 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:44 am

Yep. I can't figure the doctrine of hell out. Best to leave it alone for now.












It's perfectly OK to be undecided Cole. :D
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:53 pm

Thank you Steve. I really appreciate that.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby JasonPratt » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:18 am

Cole H. wrote:Jason,

I appreciate that you have been a lot more kind to me here than in the past. I will consider what you said. Let me read it over. And seeing that you have read your Lewis I will also keep what you said in mind. Thanks buddy!


ACHOO!! sniffle. head cold recently. trying to catch up on the thread now.

Also, you asked me a while back to remind you about the mood swings if they happened, and to check if a sudden reversal on principles you once accepted is happening with a seasonal change. I'm far from the most empathetic person on Earth, so I expect I handled that badly -- sorry if so. :|
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby JasonPratt » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:16 am

To recap my points from here:

1.) In the same work Timothy Keller was quoting (which TK should have recalled since it's one of the few times Lewis wrote strongly in favor of divine persistence to save), Lewis first repeatedly argued and stressed that as Christians we should not expect God to give up on saving sinners. But then later, in the portion quoted, Lewis decided this meant God is forced to give up by the sinner, being defeated by the sinner on His purpose to save them from sin.

1.1.) It's rather amazing that TK (the Calvinist Presbyterian, not the Arminianistic Cumberland Presbyterian ;) ) would quote that since Calv theology is absolutely against the idea that God is defeated by sinners in saving them from sin; much less that God would simply choose to give up even though He would succeed if He kept trying. Calvs explain final perdition on the ground that God never chose to save some sinners from sin at all. When he says (as in the headline for his website) "you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope," he means all-of-you-inclusively for the sin and flaws, but then switches immediately to only addressing the elect in the second half of his sentence, those whom God has chosen to save from their sins. That isn't necessarily "you", it's only 'maybe you'. Lewis was the opposite of that: he definitely meant "you" both ways, but didn't really mean "you" were more loved by God than "you" ever dared hope. Otherwise he would have at least dared to hope that all "you" would be saved. But he didn't.

(Or rather, they both do mean all inclusively in both ways sometimes, but not consistently so -- or they'd be, or would have been, Christian universalists. ;) But part of their appeal is that they do both apparently promote the gospel assurance of total scope and also the gospel assurance of original and victorious divine persistence.)

1.2.) But this also runs against the thrust of Lewis' argument earlier about divine persistence, which was that we should expect from God's nature both that He would act to save everyone and also that He would persist until He gets it done. Nor was it a question of God being "obligated" to do so by moral appeal to a standard higher than God: Lewis based it (though admittedly not very clearly) on God's trinitarian characteristics. This is why Lewis thought God was forced to quit; but in doing so he still ended up disavowing his own principles about why we could expect God to keep at it. He should have concluded, if God never saved some sinners, that God still keeps at it in a never-ending stalemate. Though even that would run against his emphatic insistence elsewhere that God is competent to win the chess match, an analogy which doesn't obviate the free will of the opponent at all.

1.3.) Despite Lewis' insistence there that God sadly quitting and letting sinners lock themselves into annihilation (more or less) had the authority of scripture behind it, there is nothing in scripture about God sadly quitting. Timothy Keller on his theology ought to be even more strongly against that; and Lewis shows elsewhere he does know better than that: God actively punishes sinners so long as they remain impenitent. (You yourself were quoting scriptures showing God's active punishment of sinners.) Similarly, sinners can't annihilate themselves: if any are annihilated, God actively chooses to do that, by choosing to withdraw His ongoing action by which they have continued to exist up to that point.


2.) You (or whoever you were reading, be it Lewis or Keller or whoever) were appealing to the principle of accepting whichever soteriology involves the most fairness. ("What could be more fair than that?" etc.)

I am 1000% in favor of that approach. Which is why, on that principle, I reject Lewis' notion (per soft Arminianism) of a final victory of unfair people insisting on being and remaining unfair and never coming to be fair.

I also on the same principle reject the harder Arminian notion of God deciding to authorize final unfairness by choosing to give up empowering and leading unfair people into being fair people.

I also on the same principle reject the Calvinistic notion that God chooses never to empower (much less lead) some unfair persons to being fair, but instead actually creates them unfair and by His choice ensures they remain forever unfair (until He annihilates them or not).

What glorifies God more? For some sinners never to come to glorify God by their triumphant choice? For some sinners never to come to glorify God by God's authoritative choice? For some sinners to come to falsely glorify God, while remaining rebels in their hearts, by God's authoritative choice? Or for all sinners to come to truly glorify God, in cooperation with God's choice?

Even if some unjust/unfair people never come to do justice, and never come to properly glorify God, no one anywhere in any way can coherently argue that that results in the most conceivable fairness, justice, and glory to God. The moment authors appeal to that to supposedly bolster their argument for final perdition, you should recognize they're making at least one highly important and inconsistent mistake somewhere.


This is aside from any discussion of the scriptures you cited, which I and others have discussed in much more detail elsewhere (and which at the time you agreed with the results of those more in-depth discussions about). At the very least, they do not describe the hell of C. S. Lewis. Which was a main reason why I always had at least a few nagging problems with his approaches and arguments on that topic.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Cole H. » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:12 am

Yes, Jason I can see that. Thanks for the post. :D
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Micah » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:05 am

Am excited to be seeing the new stage production of 'Great Divorce' this weekend! Although I've shifted in recent years from Lewis's view that some will ultimately never turn from being a 'Ghost' to be transformed through Christ, to instead agree with the universalist views of his 'master', MacDonald, I still think this fantasy has some keen insights about how many people both here in this earthly life and in hell will continue to cling to their old illusions. I just believe that eventually the experience of outer darkness will break down all such illusions, when the self that experiences what seems like isolation from all else cries out in despair and hatred of what it's become, and 'listens at the door' for any sign of life, Love -- and then would gladly rush back to the consuming fire of God to have the sin destroyed -- as Macdonald pictures in 'Unspoken Sermons'.

Looking back through this thread's comments on justice -- it keeps coming back to me that in reality there is no justice without Love. Love is the highest Law, the greatest command upon which all else hangs, per our Lord. Every injustice is therefore at root a violation of this highest Law, a violation of Love. The only way for justice to be truly served is to have the injustice itself destroyed, which can only really occur if Love is established/restored between the violator and the victim, through repentance and forgiveness. This annihilates the wrong between the persons.

This can never be achieved through annihilating or eternally punishing a person, as if mere suffering or blotting out of a person could do anything to undo the violation of Love. It must be achieved through the way, truth, life of Christ -- and eventually every injustice will be so reconciled, and God will truly be All in All. :)
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Agnostic Gabe » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:38 am

Micah wrote:Am excited to be seeing the new stage production of 'Great Divorce' this weekend! Although I've shifted in recent years from Lewis's view that some will ultimately never turn from being a 'Ghost' to be transformed through Christ, to instead agree with the universalist views of his 'master', MacDonald, I still think this fantasy has some keen insights about how many people both here in this earthly life and in hell will continue to cling to their old illusions. I just believe that eventually the experience of outer darkness will break down all such illusions, when the self that experiences what seems like isolation from all else cries out in despair and hatred of what it's become, and 'listens at the door' for any sign of life, Love -- and then would gladly rush back to the consuming fire of God to have the sin destroyed -- as Macdonald pictures in 'Unspoken Sermons'.

Looking back through this thread's comments on justice -- it keeps coming back to me that in reality there is no justice without Love. Love is the highest Law, the greatest command upon which all else hangs, per our Lord. Every injustice is therefore at root a violation of this highest Law, a violation of Love. The only way for justice to be truly served is to have the injustice itself destroyed, which can only really occur if Love is established/restored between the violator and the victim, through repentance and forgiveness. This annihilates the wrong between the persons.

This can never be achieved through annihilating or eternally punishing a person, as if mere suffering or blotting out of a person could do anything to undo the violation of Love. It must be achieved through the way, truth, life of Christ -- and eventually every injustice will be so reconciled, and God will truly be All in All. :)


Amen! Great post.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Micah » Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:50 am

Thanks, Gabe :)

Oh, by the way, the 'Great Divorce' play was excellent! Recommend seeing it if you get a chance...

http://greatdivorceonstage.com
Last edited by Micah on Sat Mar 14, 2015 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Geoffrey » Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:14 am

Jason, thank you for sharing your studies of C. S. Lewis. Whenever I read his works, it seems to me that his theological system is essentially universalist, but then he gets pulled up short when he reads the Gospel passages that "translate" gehenna and hades as "Hell". "Well, there you go! God incarnate talks about Hell, which unfortunately puts an end to universalism."

This goes to show you how powerful and even insidious tradition can be. In spite of Lewis having a first-rate intellect and education, and in spite of his own Christian system having universalist implications, Lewis apparently never asked himself if the word "Hell" (in the sense of never-ending torment) was a proper translation of gehenna or of hades.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Gordon » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:01 pm

Hi Cole,

Sorry, I'm new here and a bit late in adding my two cents to this discussion. I may not even be adding anything new, but I see this as very simple.

Yes, the doors of Hell are locked from the inside. Great analogy. We choose separation from God.

Now, Hell must be a truly horrific place, since it is the complete separation from all that is good. Which leads to the question, what sort of person would willingly choose to remain in such a place?

Your answer is: someone who lacks the grace of God to make the right decision.

And here is where the catholic and Protestant traditions diverge. The catholic church condemned as heresy this notion that God did not make his Grace available to all men, but only to the elect. In fact, they went to great lengths to clarify the doctrines of Grace so as to clear up the confusion surrounding it as a result of Protestant teaching. You can get a very detailed explanation here:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06689x.htm

See especially, "The universality of actual grace" near the end of the article.

The Calvinist notion is circular logic. God knows you will reject him, therefore he denies you his grace that allows you to choose him. Step outside that logic for a moment and ask yourself, what man in his right mind would willingly choose all bad things, forever?

If you were being tormented, wouldn't you look for a way out? How could you possibly spend all of eternity without checking how the locks on the door functioned? The very purpose of punishment is to change our thinking. Otherwise it is mere vindictiveness.

Here in this world, where life is a mixture of good and bad, men choose the bad some of the time. Some of them openly reject the notion that God has given us instructions that will lead us to the good. Even in choosing the bad, most people choose what harms others, not themselves. The moment they find themselves in pain, they stop doing what caused the pain. So in this scenario we can see how people would stay in a room locked from the inside.

But Hell, if it exists and matches the tourist brochures, is a very different place. There is no good. Now you are the one in torment. You are no longer having a good time tormenting others. There is nothing enjoyable about the place. Were you to arrive in such a place, practically your first thought would be, "Where is the exit?"

So if the divine consequence of choosing to separate yourself from God is a total fulfillment of your wish, realized more perfectly than is possible in this world, then that should drive you back to God faster than anything else possibly could. And God's Justice and Mercy and Benevolence and Wisdom would all be seen in the simple fact that he put the lock on the inside!
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Eaglesway » Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:19 pm

If the lock is on the inside, then only I can open it, but with what key? and where do I get that key?

"No man comes to me except the Father draw him"

So I guess the Father chose a multitude to not draw, or else He drew all, but there were many who would not come.

But if God put the lock on the inside, did He know? Or did he not know, who would open the door? Was it an experiment without His forseeing the end for each one?

And also, if God put the lock on the inside, He must have put the key on the inside too.

So, once in prisoned, with a key on the inside, would deah, and awakening in a prison of agony -not induce anyone to take that key and open that door which is locked from the inside?

Of course it would.

Some might hold out longer than others, but what fool would hold out forever? Who's will could be so strong as to hold out forever, and Why?

So then, God must taken away the key from them. So it is no longer true that the door is locked only from the inside- because God has taken away the key, so that they must suffer forever for the insult of having rejected Him.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby corpselight » Tue Mar 17, 2015 1:44 am

Gordon and Eagle, those are really great ways to put it! Excellent posts.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Gordon » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:23 am

Eagle,

You have described the paradox that many theologians have tackled, but Paul appears to have reached the only completely logical conclusion on.

"No man ..." means NO man. No one. Zero. Nada.

How many in Heaven? How many choose God? Zip, Zero, Zilch.

"God has shut up ALL in ...." Hell? Oops! No.

... disobedience."

So why do some choose him and others don't? Trick question!

It only appears that some choose him. But NO ONE does.

The real question is, Why does he draw some but not others? THIS is the question that Paul addresses in Romans 9. God affirms that he does not draw everyone, at least not at the same time.

Once you grasp the above, it becomes nonsensical to say that certain ones must suffer because they rejected God. We have ALL rejected God. How could a just God choose to NOT draw some, and then punish them for the fact that he did not draw them? In light of our universal rejection of God, it is equally nonsensical to say that he foreknew which ones would reject him. Of course he knew who. EVERYONE!

So Paul comes to the only logical conclusion that is possible. God DID choose not to draw some, and yet in the end he has mercy on ALL. Romans 11 says this over and over, as if Paul knew that the church would fail to get the message.

It should also be obvious that if only those who are drawn will come to God, then it cannot possibly be an insult to reject him. We have all rejected him, and then come to him as he has drawn us. Some sooner than others. But the difference in time makes no difference ultimately. Just think about the parable of the workers in the vineyard who started work at different times, and yet all received the same wages at the end of the day.

The experience of suffering when we fail to obey God plays a major role in drawing us to him. The more we experience the consequences of disobedience, the more we see the sense in obeying him. Some may be more stubborn in their ways, and take longer to see the light, but as you point out, no one could possibly hold out forever.

Thus the reason that Jesus could affirm, "I will draw ALL men unto me".
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby LLC » Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:19 pm

If we have love in our hearts( even the smallest amount)when we leave this world, that just may be the key that we need to open the pearly gates.
Love endures forever. But if one's heart is totally devoid of any love at all, it just may be that it ceases to exist.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby davo » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:27 am

Gordon wrote:The real question is, Why does he draw some but not others? THIS is the question that Paul addresses in Romans 9. God affirms that he does not draw everyone, at least not at the same time.

As I understand it… this whole argument (and its consequential conclusions) is taken way too far because it is based on a false premise, that of assuming, being “drawn” to God is speaking of eternal destinies; it’s NOT.

Being “drawn” had NOTHING to do with “getting to heaven” postmortem. Being drawn to God had EVERYTHING to do with being “called” into the SERVICE OF GOD premortem, period. In the biblical narrative not everybody was called to this e.g., ‘many are called few are chosen’ etc.

Once you grasp this, the whole ‘works righteousness’ house of house of cards i.e., “you must accept Christ as your own personal Lord and Saviour” falls and evaporates. The biblical CALL of God was about purpose (service) NOT position (heaven).
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby Gordon » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:30 am

Yes Davo,

It is from the "premortem" perspective that I was answering Eagle.

At any given moment in time, we see one group of people who have been drawn, and another who have not. And I tried to drive home the point that they are both equal before God, because ALL have disobeyed.

It is only a question of timing. In God's time, ALL will be Restored.
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Re: The Hell Of C.S. Lewis

Postby JamesAH81072 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:52 pm

Paidion wrote:
Cole wrote:They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might - 2 Thess. 1:9


The word "away" does not occur in the Greek. By inserting it, the translator whom you quoted, is forcing an interpretation on the verse that, in my opinion is quite different from Paul's intention. Without the word "away" the sentence simply asserts that the punishment originates from the presence of the Lord.

And what is the punishment? It is lasting (not "eternal") destruction. Destruction of what? Paul uses this same word in the following sentence:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1Co 5:4,5)

This request was made of the man who was copulating with his father's wife. Paul wasn't asking that the man would be delivered to Satan to destroy him, but rather to destroy his flesh, that is his self-serving nature. Apparently, the Corinthian Church complied with Paul's instruction, and the man repented (had a change of heart and mind). In 2 Corinthians, Paul asks the Corinthian Christians to forgive the man. In getting his self-serving nature destroyed, the man had to go through a lot of suffering.

Likewise, those who afflicted the Thessalonians will have to have their flesh or self-serving nature destroyed when they are raised to life again. This destruction comes from the presence of the Lord, and will be painful for them. It is an "aiōnios" or "lasting" process. How long it lasts, depends upon the individual and his response to God's corrective love.


Actually ἀπό can mean either away/away from or from depending on the context.
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