Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:52 pm

Anna wrote:
smalltownpastor wrote:I think these passages are all about authority. The change is that in the future, all will recognize His authority, even though some continue to rebel against it, as they demons do now. But there will be no doubt who the King is.


The parallelism Paul is using would seem to make that unlikely. God subjected all things to Christ, therefore all things will be (in future) subjected to Christ specifically - not yet to God the Father


I would interject that the passage is not talking about future, as in our future, but possibly future as in their future!

1Co 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
1Co 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
1Co 15:25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
1Co 15:26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
1Co 15:27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

It says 'HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS' as opposed to 'HE WILL PUT ALL THINGS' and it must be noted that Paul is very articulate in his letters!
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Anna » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:16 pm

maintenanceman wrote:It says 'HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS' as opposed to 'HE WILL PUT ALL THINGS' and it must be noted that Paul is very articulate in his letters!


Isn't that a quote from the Psalms being applied as a prophetic statement? I've noticed that when it comes to prophecy, things which will happen in the future are often spoken of in present tense, and that's what I've assumed in the past about that particular line. How do you interpret 1 Cor 15:25 "he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet" and 1 Cor 15:28 "when all things are subjected under him"?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:35 pm

From a standpoint of fulfilled eschatology, These passages may well be speaking of the final reconciliation of Man to God through Christ.

You will notice
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
1Co 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

I kind of think it is a done deal :lol:
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:24 pm

maintenanceman wrote:From a standpoint of fulfilled eschatology, These passages may well be speaking of the final reconciliation of Man to God through Christ.

You will notice
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
1Co 15:23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,
1Co 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

I kind of think it is a done deal :lol:

Yes indeed… and the following two verses reiterate the fulfilled nature of this in that vs. 25 “for He must reign” is in the present tense, that is, THEN occurring in that ‘end of the age’ (AD30-70); AND conjointly within such infinitive reign vs. 26 shows that the “last enemy” ‘DEATH’ “is BEING destroyed” <-- this also is in the THEN present tense… as are ALL the other “it is raised” following in that passage, i.e., they should read as… “it is BEING raised”.

This shows the THEN present process and nature of “the resurrection” from one BODY (the old covenant) INTO another BODY (the new covenant) of which Paul elsewhere speaks of in terms of “putting off” and “putting on” aka “the old man” and “the new man” renewed in righteousness etc.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Anna » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:32 pm

Hm, interesting. I don't quite see it in the wording used, but I do see part of what you're saying with the tenses involved. I think I have a slightly unusual view of time, though, which possibly affects how I read the passage - but that would take a while to explain and could not be considered, by even the most generous estimate, to be related to the current discussion! :lol:

How do you view this as relating to modern times? At which point in Paul's narrative are we? Has the whole - down to all-in-all - been completed already, or do we exist at some point earlier in the sequence?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:43 pm

Anna wrote:How do you view this as relating to modern times? At which point in Paul's narrative are we? Has the whole - down to all-in-all - been completed already, or do we exist at some point earlier in the sequence?

Hi Anna…

As I understand it… we live in Paul’s “age/s to come” (post parousia) in the age of righteousness i.e., where God NOW views humanity as righteous BECAUSE OF the righteousness of Christ. The more humanity can *see and grasp this reality* the sooner the world will be the better for God being “all in all”.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:09 pm

davo wrote:
Anna wrote:How do you view this as relating to modern times? At which point in Paul's narrative are we? Has the whole - down to all-in-all - been completed already, or do we exist at some point earlier in the sequence?

Hi Anna…

As I understand it… we live in Paul’s “age/s to come” (post parousia) in the age of righteousness i.e., where God NOW views humanity as righteous BECAUSE OF the righteousness of Christ. The more humanity can *see and grasp this reality* the sooner the world will be the better for God being “all in all”.


Hi Anna,

I'll throw a idea in here.

I would say the all in all, (as davo says) is accomplished, but not yet realized.

The idea that the parousia has happened (fulfilled eschatology) is tantamount to heresy to many evangelicals. Though this thought (fulfilled eschatology) is at the least defendable and at best possibly as solid a view of the parousia as scripture can give us. But it is a hard position to come to (accept) after years and centuries of orthodoxy.

To many of those on this forum, it would have to be at least noted that UR is also looked on as heresy by many evangelicals. Though many are attracted to the idea (by the HS I would say) and continue to pursue the possibility they realize that scripture has to be looked at from a different paradigm.

The fascinating journey is to look at scripture from different perspectives, (also called paradigms,) so we can grow in wisdom and understanding.

If we look and ponder with positive expectations we can learn a great deal from each other.

Just a thought.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby qaz » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:12 pm

This is a great discussion.

STP, you bring up what are basically my objections to most UR literature; it really doesn't make sense to translate "aionion" as "age-lasting" (or something similar), which is what some translations that are popular with universalists do. "I want to have age-lasting life." "I want to live for the age." People don't talk or think like that. And the objection that if endlessness were what was being taught, God could have used another Greek word, IMO, is fallacious; it's unreasonable to demand another word when the word used works just fine to express the same thing. Likewise, I'm not sold on the idea that "aionion" is qualitative.

Now, to the questioning...

Kind of, although saying it that way isn't fair to God. I would probably say something more like this. While God has graciously chosen some to be saved, the gospel is truly available to be received in a real way by all, so that no one is without excuse, so that no one can blame God for their condemnation, and so that all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.


What exactly does it mean that God has "chosen some to be saved"? Since you say God has chosen "some", presumably, you think God has chosen not to save others.

I'm not sure "measurable" is the right word. A "just" penalty might be better. And since our sin has infinitely offended the infinitely holy God, it is just to receive an everlasting punishment.


How did you come to know this? As far as I know, it's not a self-evident truth. Jews, who like us believe that God is infinitely holy, believe that some sinners are correctively punished in Gehenna for 11 or 12 months, thereafter they go to heaven while other sinners are annihilated or eternally tormented, with the length of punishment based on the type of sins committed. What are your thoughts on the sin unto death verses in 1 John?

Nor, as far as I know, does the Bible ever actually say the extremely popular doctrine you have posited. But let me ask you about its logic. Does it seem odd that God would exclude someone from his presence forever if he is not doing that for any sin whilst we're still alive? For example:

Chuck steals whilst alive.
Chuck is not sent to hell right away.

Why hasn't God turned his back on Chuck and sent him off to hell, then? If God is -compelled- to turn away from sin? Sin clearly doesn't immediately incur punishment.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Eaglesway » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:07 pm

It says 'HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS' as opposed to 'HE WILL PUT ALL THINGS' and it must be noted that Paul is very articulate in his letters!


yes, Paul is very articulate in His letters, using "until" and "when" to give perspective to the process of historical fulfillment through the "administration suitable to the completion of time"(Eph 1)

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

God has put all things in subjection to Christ, as a divine writ- even as Cyrus gave Nehemiah a writ to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple.

I have been given all authority in heaven and earth by my Father.....Authority to lay down my life and take it up again....

According to Colossians 1, Paul, being very articulate ;) says

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.


The writer of Hebrews clarifies this even further "YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him. 9But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.…

There was, there is, there will be. All things were created by Him- He always had all authority, but His authority was subject to the One who gave it to Him, the Father, who ordained that the Lamb be made a little while lower than angels for the suffering of death on a cross. For this reason also God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name above every name- but as yet we do not see every name subject to Him.

So when the loan is taken, and the workmen secured, and the materials gathered and the plan all drawn out, the house is built on promises fully secured, and its completion is only a matter of time. An administration suitable to the completion of times, the gathering together of all things into one in Christ.

Time is not yet complete. There are stages yet to begin. But in the mind of God and the faith of the saints, "It is finished", and it is coming down out of heaven adorned as a Bride in white linen.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:34 pm

maintenanceman wrote:I would say the all in all, (as davo says) is accomplished, but not yet realized.

As is typical with many words in the English language “realised” (realized) can be understood according to more than one meaning, among a few… realised as in accomplished OR realised as in seen/perceived. Clearly not all ‘believers’ realise as in perceive this great accomplished work, but then the same has been true of humanity in general when it comes to the magnificent reconciliation wrought through Calvary that initiated the final all in all of God.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Eaglesway » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:41 pm

It was accomplished on the cross. it is perceived by those who see it and are in it. it will be realized when it is complete.

Who was and is and is to come :)

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:11 am

Eaglesway wrote:Who was and is and is to come :)

To THEM… it’s called ‘audience relevance’ –– “it IS finished!
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Paidion » Fri Jan 22, 2016 11:25 am

It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
(Heb2:5-8)


The writer's quote is from Psalm 8:4-6 which states that God has put everything under the feet of man. The writer to the Hebrews declares that At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

When God is going to do a thing, it's as good as done! (Even though it has not yet occurred).

So the same thing with I Cor 15:27. When it says, "“God has put all things in subjection under his feet," that is under the feet of Jesus, it is God's plan to bring this into reality. It is God's intention and nothing can prevent it from coming to pass. It is stated as an event which has already occurred, though it hasn't yet occurred. When God intends to do a thing it's as good as done! So we might as well say that God has already done it.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Eaglesway » Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:16 pm

Paidion wrote:
It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.
(Heb2:5-8)


The writer's quote is from Psalm 8:4-6 which states that God has put everything under the feet of man. The writer to the Hebrews declares that At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

When God is going to do a thing, it's as good as done! (Even though it has not yet occurred).

So the same thing with I Cor 15:27. When it says, "“God has put all things in subjection under his feet," that is under the feet of Jesus, it is God's plan to bring this into reality. It is God's intention and nothing can prevent it from coming to pass. It is stated as an event which has already occurred, though it hasn't yet occurred. When God intends to do a thing it's as good as done! So we might as well say that God has already done it.


That says it well.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.


The things that are invisible are greater than the visible things. They are coming forth from the invisible realm, where it is finished, into the visible realm, where it is manifesting through time.


He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

By faith we know that the One who causes all things to work according to the counsel of His will has a purpose and a kind intention- to gather everything, invisible and visible, into one in Christ Jesus.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

He is the Alpha and the Omega, for from Him through Him and to Him are all things. The whole issue of His being enthroned over all is the salvation of all.

He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven
. Col 1:16


These sentences cannot be separated. They are progressions in the thought united by the theme.... "So that he will come to have first place in everything"..... deals with His ascension to the right hand of God. "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him"...... is the the nature of that ascension, leading to the result of it, which is, "and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself".

This same thought is presented in shorthand in Eph 4

He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. Eph 4:10


In long form in 1 Cor 15
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, hen comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

The last enemy is death, including the "second death"- all death, subjected to life, "Death where is thy sting, death is swallowed up by immortality".

Every knee shall bow, whether in heaven or one earth or under the earth,and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father as all are subjected and then gathered into the all in all. Reconciled by His blood, reconciled through submission, saved by confession, gathered in through repentance and faith and the rending of the veil.

If any man does not receive our gospel it is because the god of this world has blinded the eyes of them so that they cannot see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ

But whenever the veil is rent the blood and the water flow

The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish banquet for all peoples on this mountain;
A banquet of aged wine, choice pieces with marrow,
And refined, aged wine.
And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples,
Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.
He will swallow up death for all time,
And the Lord God will wipe tears away from all faces,
And He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth;
For the Lord has spoken
.(Isaiah 25)

It will flow to every created thing,"for so it pleased the Father to make all the fulness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by the blood of His cross"


Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”

And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,

“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
(Rev 5)

In showing mercy to all, God is gathering all into one through the Lordship of Jesus, who, because He humbled Himself in obedience unto death on a cross, Has been given the name above every name, and the privilege of "drawing all men unto Himself(John 12:32)"

Ever since the beginning this was God's plan and kind intention and the mystery of His will-invisible yet irresistible and forever settled in heaven.


For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Eaglesway » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:17 pm

Rejoice! Be Glad! All that God has done results in God becoming All in ALL!
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 22, 2016 9:01 pm

Eaglesway wrote:Rejoice! Be Glad! All that God has done results in God becoming All in ALL!


Rejoice and be glad that God through Christ IS all in all! Jesus has done what he set out to do.

Thanks Eaglesway
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:07 am

You may have noticed that I kind of dropped off the map these last couple weeks. I've been travelling and without reliable internet access (and I won't be on much the next few days, either...but I do happen to have internet access right now, so I thought I'd post my latest responses to the book).

That being said, something clicked in me a couple weeks back, and while I'm still trying to be critical as I read the book, it's getting more difficult. I see his argument much more than before. I'm not fully convinced (yet?), but I'm much more hopeful for UR than previously.

Anyway, here are some more thoughts.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Many say sinners must suffer infinitely because a Holy God cannot allow sin in His presence. To believe this is to deny the DEITY of Christ. He kept company with sinners and took the world’s sin upon Himself

That's a good point, but it does seem just a little different, doesn't it? Going into God's heaven is tantamount to being received into God Himself. While Jesus was among sinners, He only "came in" to those who received Him.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“finite sins merit infinite penalty because they are committed against a Holy and infinite God.” If this were so, why does Scripture not state it?

Even though sins are finite in the sense that they happen in time and don't last forever, Jesus mentions one sin that is infinite. "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3:29). Of course, there's a lot of debate as to what this is, but I think it comes down to rejecting Christ (and therefore rejecting the Holy Spirit in your life, not seeing His merit, goodness, value, and therefore blaspheming Him). The eternal sin is rejecting Christ, and therefore has eternal consequences.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:I kill and make alive; I wound and heal (De. 32:39).

That God does this for some people does not necessarily mean that He does it for all people. Just as not all are healed in this life, so God may not give all life. But both the giving of life and healing could be talking about in the ultimate sense, how there will be no more sickness in heaven. If that's the case, this verse could certainly be intended to be applied to all people.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:The Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave [Sheol] and brings up (1Sa. 2:6). Sheol is translated “hell” thirty - one times in the KJV! He brings down to Sheol and brings up. How can one be brought up from what is supposed to be an irremediable state?

Sheol may not refer to hell at all, since both believers and unbelievers are said to go there. But if it does, and this verse really is saying that God raises people out of hell, then it opens up the possibility of postmortem restoration.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:We must die. But God does not take away life; instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him (2 Sa 14:14 NIV).

An interesting verse. Seems to compare death to exile, and would therefore say that God brings them back to life. It was spoken by a wise woman to King David concerning his sons, when Absalom killed Amnon, and Absalom was banished because of it. Her argument was essentially that God brings banished people back, so David should too. The question related to the discussion of universalism would be whether death is really being compared to exile. It could be that Amnon's death is mentioned as the backdrop to Absalom's exile. If that's the case, the verse wouldn't say anything about post-mortem opportunites for restoration, but about God's drawing the living sinner back to Himself. But it is an interesting verse.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol (Ps. 49:15 NAS). (See also: Ps. 30:2-3; 86:13; 116:3-8; Hos. 13:14). One is not left in Sheol forever.

Even if it's talking about hell, it could just be saying that hell has no power over the believer; that hell will not be their home. But it does seem, from the context, that it's talking about actually being ransomed out of hell. So it could be talking about being ransomed from the grave; that believers have life to look forward to even after death.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:All who go down to the dust shall bow before Him… (Ps. 22:29b). “All” who die will bow. Can what is annihilated bow? Bowing stems from a genuine and not a “forced” worship

Even if the bowing is done out of a position of forced subjection, I agree, it seems that these are not annihilated (at least not yet). Nevertheless, forced bowing doesn't seem to highlight the victory of God in Christ, since those may still have rebellion in their hearts.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:He will swallow up death forever and will wipe away tears from all faces (Is. 25:8). Death is swallowed up with tears wiped from all faces. Note the word “all.”

And yet, two verses later, we read that at least one people group will experience judgment at that time. "For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain, and Moab shall be trampled down in his place, as straw is trampled down in a dunghill." (Isaiah 25:10) So either the "all" is limited to the set of people who God has appointed for life, or Moab's judgment is temporary and afterward leads to life.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love (Lam 3:31-32 NIV). “For men” refers to all people. Death is no barrier to a God whose love cannot fail.

As this book has already noted, "forever" does not always literally mean "forever." So this verse could be talking about what happens in this life rather than in eternity. God shows His compassion to those who have grief in this life. Yet, some in this life experience pain their whole lives. So an ultimate, eternal understanding of this promise may be more universal in its application, and perhaps more appropriate in this context.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones (Mt. 3:9). If God can do this, can He not raise the lost from death? Is this too hard for Him (Jer. 32:27)?

Of course, nothing is too hard for God. So the question is, what does God ultimately want to do? A strong case can be made that God ultimately wants to save all sinners.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him (Lu. 20:38). If all the dead live to Him, then we can have hope beyond death unless there is no hope in God Himself!

It could be saying something like, "all who live, live in Him." But a literal translation of the phrase doesnt eliminate all refering to all people.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Christ died, rose, and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living (Ro. 14:9). These “dead” are apparently those who once lived on earth. At some point they exist again under Christ’s Lordship.

I've always understood this to mean that the dead who believed in Christ while they were living shall still have Christ as their Lord, even after death. The context doesn't seem to be talking a out postmortem repentance. But I suppose when you read it already believing in postmortem opportunities to trust in Christ, it could support that.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1Co. 15:26). If death is destroyed, what is left? Life.

The traditional understanding of this verse is that when death is destroyed, there will be no more dying. Those in Christ will live forever and never die. But it does seem more consistent that even the second death is destroyed.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Why were New Testament believers baptized for the dead if they believed the lost dead were in a hopeless state?

Maybe they were baptized for the dead precisely because they believed they were in a hopeess state. Or maybe they knew it was possible to repent, but not be baptized while in hell.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Fear not, I… have the keys of Hell and of Death (Re. 1:17-18 KJV). Christ holding Hell’s keys is our assurance that He will release its captives at the proper time. If not, the words “fear not,” would be a mockery.

It wouldn't be a mockery. It is simply saying that those who trust in Jesus are saved from hell. So all who trust in Him have no reason to fear. On the other hand, usually when we think of keys opening doors, it's normally with the understanding that it's so that people can pass through the door from one place to the other, not just to avoid the door altogether.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Christ…went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah….the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.…He ascended on high…led captivity captive….descended into the lower parts of the earth…that He might fill all things (1Pe. 3:18-20; 4:6-7; Ep. 4:8-10).

There are so many opinions on this passage. There's little doubt that it's ambiguous, and that we should be careful to form an entire doctrine from it. Neverthless, a simple reading of the passage seems to support that Jesus gave these an opportunity to believe in Him after they had died, and that at least aome some them began to follow Jesus.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:I urge you to prayerfully re-evaluate the Scriptural evidence in support of hope beyond death and hell. (Ge. 18:14; Job 23:13; 42:2; Ps. 115:3; 66:3-4; 135:6; Is. 14:24, 27; 50:2; 55:11; Jer. 32:17, 27; Ez. 36:23-36; Dan. 4:35; Mt. 19:26; Mk. 10:26-27; Lu. 1:37; 18:27; Ep. 1:11; Ph. 3:20-21; He. 6:17; 8:10).

Almost all of these verses make the same point: God can do whatever He wants. There's no question about that. I was hoping this would be a list of verses that support the idea of portmortem repentance, salvation, and therefore, hope. It seems like this is what's most lacking. On the other hand, if God can do whatever He wants, and God wants those in hell to be saved through repentance and faith, then they will be. But are there any verses that say that they will not just bow (which can be understood as forced submission, while still having rebellious hearts), but have faith?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:It shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for you (Mt. 11:20-24; Lu. 10:14). What kind of everlasting punishment would be “more tolerable” than another?

Sodom will be restored according to Ezekiel 16. Apparently, God will grant them grace through faith. Even the worst of sinners (Paul) can obtain grace. So of course it will be worse on the day of judgment for those who do not repent.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:What is God’s “wrath” [Greek—orgee]? The KJV translators translate this one Greek word by four English words: “wrath,” “anger,” “indignation,” and “vengeance.” Which is it?

All of them, depending on the context. Words have a sphere of meaning. That’s how translation works.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Wrath [orgee—anger] has come upon them [Israel] to the uttermost (1Th. 2:16). Note: “God’s anger in its severest form has overtaken them” (Weymouth). Anger in its “severest form,” yet all Israel will be saved (Ro. 11:25-26).

I find this very fascinating. I have mixed thoughts about the argument, stemming from questions about the passages (who is Israel in each passage, should the wrath and/or salvation be understood in a universal sense or pertaining to particular cases and scenarios, etc), yet I do find the argument very fascinating. If it's true that all Israel experienced the greatest degree of God's wrath, and if it's true that all Israel (the same Israel that experienced God's wrath) will be saved, this is a very strong argument that God will save all, even if they have to go through hell first.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:In brief, God’s wrath is His passionate displeasure and just recompense of sinful conduct, which He deals with fairly according to deeds. This is all that can be said about God’s wrath.

That's all that can be said of God's wrath? I highly doubt it. God's character, actions, and purposes are deeper than we can fathom. The author's words here may be a brief summary of what can be said of God's wrath, but I'm sure volumes could be written.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come….Holy Father, keep them in your name…that they may be one even as we are one….that they may all be one…that the world may believe....that they may be one…that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me” (Jn. 17:1, 11, 21-23 NAS).

If the author would have quoted the entire passage, it would have been clear that Jesus was not necessarily praying for every individual, but for those whom the Father has given him, and not for the whole world (v. 2, 6, 9). Jesus even mentions at least one, Judas, who has been lost (v. 12). On the other hand, everything before verse 20 may be talking about Jesus's immediate disciples, and Judas was the only one who was lost at that time. But verses 20-23 may show that the whole world will believe. Edit: ok, so, I jumped the gun on this one. The author went in another direction: that Christian united in love ate a great witness to the world. He's absolutely right.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:How can a good God create creatures He knows will be tormented forever? There are two views. There is the prevalent view, that this is the price God had to pay to get a few into Heaven. The second view is the Blessed Hope. He does not face this dilemma at all, but reconciles all to Himself in the fullness of time. Which most glorifies the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? Which conforms with an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving Creator?

False dichotomy? Another view is that God knew and was intentional in what He was doing, even toward the unredeemed. Another question to ask would be, which best reveals God's righteousness, justice, and hatred of sin? But I must admit, redemption for all does seem more glorious and loving than eternal torment for some. And since Christ paif the price for sin, God's righteousness, justice, and hatred of sin are still fully revealed at the cross.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:12 am

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Many say sinners must suffer infinitely because a Holy God cannot allow sin in His presence. To believe this is to deny the DEITY of Christ. He kept company with sinners and took the world’s sin upon Himself

That's a good point, but it does seem just a little different, doesn't it? Going into God's heaven is tantamount to being received into God Himself. While Jesus was among sinners, He only "came in" to those who received Him.







I think the main point is not whether it's a little different or not but that Jesus was in the presence of sinners and sin and also Satan at times in the past (like Job) was in God's presence. Also the Holy Spirit too as Jesus said to the Pharisees that the Holy Spirit was in the midst of them.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:42 pm

STP,

Glad to hear the scriptures are kinda "getting to you." ;)

Brief responses to your observations:

God can clearly allow sin in His presence, since as Paul told the Athinians, "In Him we live and move and have our being." It's not as if there is anyplace where God's presence ISN'T. Since He is omnipresent and infinite, how could there be? The question isn't whether sin can be in God's presence so much as it is whether sin can CONTINUE in God's presence. He IS the refining fire, after all. Is it that His very presence destroys sin? (Note, not necessarily destroys the sinner, as in Paul's example of being saved "as through fire"). It seems to me that though He may allow man to cling to his sin as long as he chooses to cling, man may not have the ability, let alone the resolve, to cling to that sin f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

If the unforgivable sin IS 'rejecting Christ' (which could well be), then how many of us have committed it at some point? When we received Him, we stopped committing it--therefore He forgave us. It cannot be forgiven so long as we remain in it, certainly, yet everyone who has ever "made a decision for Christ" has also repented for having rejected Him before that decision.

"I kill and make alive . . ." If this verse is taken alone, you could well be right. With the supporting caste of scripture, however, it takes on perhaps a more intense meaning than "for some only."

I believe that Sheol in the OT refers to the grave. Beauchemin appears to me to be appealing to those persons who insist it refers to 'hell,' and there are quite a few of these folks as I'm sure you're aware, particularly amongst the "King James Only" crowd.

"God would find a way to restore the banished person . . ." The wise woman was saying what Joab(?) asked her to say, as I recall (without looking it up). This is a good principle and I agree, but I believe these are the words of human beings reported in the Bible as opposed to a direct quote of God (such as the prophets would give). Therefore while I like the verse, I didn't find it persuasive, taken by itself.

"God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol." This is the psalmist speaking, so again, unless "Sheol" means "hell" (extremely unlikely since the OT doesn't appear to have a hell doctrine--which is in itself interesting), this doesn't really speak to Universalism, IMO. Nevertheless, it should be significant to those who insist that Sheol means "hell."

"All who go to the dust shall bow . . ." Exactly. Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth, for the Father seeks such to worship Him. If the worship (bowing) is coerced, it is not acceptable to God at all. He is not some human despot--He is the Father of us all who longs to give and receive love with His created children. (As Paul said, "We are all His offspring.")

"He will swallow up death and wipe the tears from all faces." As you will have noticed, Isaiah swings wildly from "Olam" judgment to ultimate redemption all through his prophecies. You can't take them in chronological order or you'll go mad. One minute God is raging, pronouncing judgment, and the next He's saying, "Oh my son! How can I give you up?" Israel would have been ultimately destroyed and ultimately redeemed over and over and over if one insists on taking this record in chronological order. If God is going to wipe the tears from ALL faces, then He means to redeem all. Otherwise, there will always be some (all, in fact) even among the redeemed who continue to weep if they continue to obey His command to love all, even enemies.

"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever . . ." If God treats men with love and compassion up until the time of their physical death, and then suddenly stops loving them and begins hating them, then hasn't God, who does not change, whose mercies never come to an end, in fact changed? Have His mercies then not come to an end at least for some (and realistically, for most)? I think you're right here (and commendably honest with yourself, too--not always easy to do). There are certainly and tragically many who never experience joy or compassion in this life, and who also may never hear the good news at all, let alone in a way they will be able to believe or understand.

"God is able to raise up children to Abraham . . ." I think the case for God's desire to raise up the lost from death is WAY more in character with His love, as defined in 1 Cor 13 and elsewhere than the notion that He somehow desires some to suffer eternally "for His glory." God's not like that. God is good. God is love. God is powerful enough to do ALL His will.

"He is not the God of the dead . . ." I think this is a very strong point for UR. Our physical death is not a barrier to God. Scripture doesn't pretend that it is, but the traditions of men have taught this for so long, we think scripture teaches it. Scripture does not teach this--not with any strength. We can take two or three weak verses (two, really, and one of these spoken by Solomon in his backslidden state) and try to make the point. Bottom line though, is that scripture simply doesn't teach a "death deadline."

" . . . that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living . . ." We read everything through our 'filters,' and it's hard to see things objectively unless we remove the "shades" over our eyes. There are no 'dead' amongst believers--none at all. To us, from our perspective, they sleep, but Jesus said that those who live and believe in Him would not die. He must not count the cessation of bodily functions as "real" death.

The second death is destroyed . . . exactly! What does it mean for death to be destroyed if there are those who continue in it? If death still holds on to its prey, how is it destroyed? The only way for death to truly be destroyed is to reverse it. Otherwise, even if it doesn't happen any longer, it still exists in that it has the power to hold some of those who have fallen prey to it. God has been effectively denied the pleasure of enjoying at least some part of His creation. Impossible.

"Why be baptized for the dead . . ." I don't think this verse is especially convincing either. No one really knows what it even means though there are many speculations and I have my own favorite theory. Still, its significance remains murky to us, with our lack of cultural knowledge of the time.

"I hold the keys of hell and death . . ." I think this is probably more significance to those of CS Lewis's persuasion that, as he said, "Hell may be locked from the inside." That is to say, people barricade themselves in and refuse entrance to all comers, especially to the Son of God. Lewis was a brilliant man and a wonderful writer, but imo this was a silly thing to say. The whole idea of hell as it has been traditionally seen from references in the gospels is that it is a horrible place from which EVERYONE would long to escape. If it's the sort of place or state from which the wicked would not wish to escape, then it's not the hell we've learned to fear at all.

Preaching to the spirits in prison . . . You're right--you shouldn't form a whole doctrine around this one rather strange verse (or two, actually). That said, in a supporting position to the many, many more clear passages concerning God willing that all should repent, etc., it is certainly worthy of mention. A simple reading of this passage teaches at least hope of salvation after physical death. (ALL salvation comes to those in a state of spiritual death, which is, imo, the sort of death Jesus finds significant.)

"I was hoping this would be a list of verses that support the idea of postmortem repentance . . ." There's a thread on that topic here. I'll look it up for you when I finish this response.

More tolerable for Sodom . . . How can God restore Sodom (that is, the people of Sodom, presumably--not the empty city or some other people who go to live in the location of old Sodom--that would be no miracle) if there is no post-mortem repentance? And . . . as He is no respector of persons, won't He do for all what He will do for Sodom? Offer (at least) post-mortem repentance?

"What is God's wrath?" Very true. Translation is as much art as science. Nevertheless, I think it's important to remember that translations often depend (HEAVILY) on earlier translations, and translators like the rest of us have their views on theology and their filters. They will see what they've been taught to see. Not their fault--no one's fault--it's just the way things are. We need to strive to see, not through a glass darkly, but to see as best we can what.is.actually.there. It's extremely tricky to do this, but we should always give it our best attempt, and then try harder.

"Yet all Israel shall be saved . . ." I think that an unbiased and thoughtful reading of Paul concerning "all Israel" being saved--an in context reading--will point one in the direction of physical Israel being referenced in this passage. I just don't think it's reasonable to see him agonizing over his "kinsmen after the flesh" and wishing himself cast away if it would save them, etc., and then to say, "Oh, Paul obviously means the church here." No he doesn't. In other places, Paul DOES mean the church, but sometimes Paul means physical Israel, and this is very clearly one of those places. The only reason anyone would suppose otherwise would be a case in which that person was bringing his own theology into the passage and thus NEEDED Paul to be referring to the church.

All that can be said of God's wrath . . . Doubtless, you're right, STP. Whether Beauchemin meant it to be or not, this is a hyperbolic statement as written. Yet there are people who say a great number of things about God's wrath that can't be truly substantiated from scripture.

That they may be one that the world may know . . . . I think Jesus was speaking of A) His disciples and B) the church that was to come. I think He was praying for the elect, which I have come to believe from scripture, are those who come to Him first (in this life). He's speaking of His firstfruits (and if the firstfruits are holiness to the Lord, then the entire harvest is consecrated.)

False dichotomy? I really and genuinely believe that God is good, STP. Here's a quotation from John Stewart Mill that really speaks to me on the topic of God's brand of goodness:

If in ascribing goodness to God I do not mean what I mean by goodness; if I do not mean the goodness of which I have some knowledge, but an incomprehensible attribute of an incomprehensible substance, which for aught I know may be a totally different quality from that which I love and venerate,…what do I mean by calling it goodness? And what reason have I for venerating it? …To say that God’s goodness may be different in kind from man’s goodness, what is it but saying with a slight change of phraseology that God may possible not be good?


Incidentally, you may enjoy the article in which I found the above quote. Here's the link, in case: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/perfect-goodness/

Hopefully this will add something to your "stewpot" as you suss this out, STP. Thanks for being honest enough to look at this doctrine thoughtfully and sincerely.

Blessings, Cindy
. . . we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of everyone, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:53 am

Sorry I've been away for so long. I finally finished Hope Beyond Hell, so I thought I'd post my final responses.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Man’s tendency has always been to amplify what seems to be the hard side of God, and our tradition reflects that.

Of course, we can always be critical of views different from our own. We might say that any view that includes any kind of punishment for sin is harsh. But the question isn't what seems harsh, but what does the Bible say?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Once reconciled, God’s purpose is for us to become transformed into the image of Christ. This is why believers are said to be “especially” saved (1Ti. 4:10) since they are presently submitting to God who is working salvation in them

This is the best explanation of the "especially" clause from the universal reconciliation perspective that I've heard so far, and it does make sense within that framework.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:with divine retribution He will come to save you” (Is. 35:4 NIV). Do not fear because God comes with recompense? Divine retribution to save you?

Many of these verses that highlight both God's mercy and judgment are referring to two groups of people: one that receives mercy, and the other that receives judgment. That being said, the judgment is often clearly temporary, with mercy to follow.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:We [believers] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds…according to what he has done, whether good or bad....He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Co. 5:10, 21 NAS). Recompensed for bad deeds, yet righteous in Christ?

Such verses that talk about being repaid for our works should take into account that "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent" (John 6:29). If you "accomplish" that "work," you will be rewarded accordingly. Of course, it's God who accomplishes that work in us by His grace, so we can't boast about it, yet it does show how faith leads to righteousness, which is through Christ.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Judges according to work…redeemed…precious blood of Christ (1Pe. 1:17-19). Judged according to work, yet redeemed?

Again, John 6:29

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:In one sense, we are “justified” by faith (Ro. 5:1, etc), yet, in another sense, we are not. A lowly tax collector is “justified” as a result of his humility, while a high ranking Pharisee is not justified in spite of his prayer and faith (Lu. 18:9-14). Now what if this humble tax man had acted like the wicked servant in Mt. 18:32? He too would have been delivered to the jailers until his original debt was paid (34-35). So then, lasting justification depends on our continuance in merciful deeds. Jesus repeats the same idea when emphasizing the role of faith in prayer. He admonishes us that while praying, unless we forgive, we will not be forgiven (Mk. 11:22-26). So then, God works through both mercy and judgment to accomplish His will in each of our lives. Is this not fair and just?

I disagree, and can't even understand how the author believes this based on everything he's written up to this point. Works do not justify us at all. Works show that we have saving faith. They are the evidence of salvation, and never the basis for it. Verses that say things like "unless you forgive, you will not be forgiven" emphasize the evidence of salvation so that we might test oursleves to see whether we are of the faith, but they do not say that the evidence itself is the reason we are saved.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Ephesians 3:20 states God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. Do we believe it? Can we dare believe, hope, and pray for something this grand and wonderful—that God can and will accomplish all His will for humanity?

I'm not sure we can apply any question we want to this Scripture. I might think it would be awesome for God to appear in bodily form to me today. But wishing something and even thinking it would be great doesn't mean God thinks it great. On the other hand, there are plenty of verses that seem to say that God desires all to be saved.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:If I am to err, let it be for expecting too much of God, not too little.

We should not be content erring at all, but always seeking to know and rejoice in truth. Is it a little thing to save any sinners? Granted, at least from our perspective, it would be an even greater thing to save all sinners.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:One of the last things Christ said while hanging on the cross was, “Father, forgive them” (Lu. 23:34). Did God not answer His prayer?

Who was Jesus talking about? It may be that Jesus, in context, was refering only to those who physically put Him on and nailed Him to the cross. They did not realize the gravity of the whole situation. But perhaps, as we often rightfully say, all of our sin put Him on the cross, so Jesus was here praying for all of os, for our full forgiveness.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:(Ep. 2:6-7). To whom does God plan to display the exceeding riches of His grace if not to those in greatest need of it? Why display it to those who have already known and experienced it?

I see the author's point, but I do think we will never get over grace. We will know that we are never in heaven because of our work, but because of God's grace, so it will always be on display to us.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Those who glorify Him on that day will have come to know Him through the elect!

A bit of an assumption regarding the text. Maybe a fair assumption, but still not explicit in the text.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“He is able even to subdue [win the hearts of] all things [people] to Himself” (Ph.3:21).

I'm not sure "win the hearts of" is within the range of meaning for the word translted "subdue."

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Verse 22:17 says, “Come! Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely!” Is it not right to think that this invitation applies to the very sinners mentioned in the same context (verses 15 -17)? When does Christ stop being a Savior?

I never thought of that, but it may make perfect sense. One of my hangups of post mortem opportunities for salvation is that the Bible doesn't seem to talk about invitations to trust in Christ after this life. But perhaps the final verses of the Bible are exactly that.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:With God all things are possible. (Jer. 32:17; Mt. 19:24-26; Mk. 10:27; Lu. 1:37; 18:26)

Yes, but not all things are actual. So the question should not be whether God could save everyone, but whether He will.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Christ was not speaking only to believers here as seen in Lu. 6:19, 7:1; Mt. 5:1-2, 7:28-29; and Mt. 8:1. He addressed the crowd. According to our tradition, the majority of humanity is hopelessly lost. Therefore, when will these lost ones receive the kingdom, be filled, and laugh? I no longer struggle with this passage, as I can simply accept it as it is.

As with many of the proverbs, the beatitudes could be oversimplifications to emphasize ideal attitudes and behaviors. On the other hand, Jesus did not seem to qualify these statements as non-universal spiritual truth, which is how we often preach them..

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:What part of creation groans and labors with birth pangs more than people? All people in God’s appointed time will be delivered from the bondage of corruption and share in the blessings of the sons of God, the first-fruits (elect) of His creation. That is what this glorious passage says. Any other view demeans this precious promise into something insignificant. If people are not referred to here, how do we understand the following passages? Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2Co. 5:17). In Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails but a new creation (Ga. 6:15). “Creation” clearly includes people!

It seems obvious to me that the word "creation" is being used in different ways in these passages.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:If death, the last enemy, is destroyed, then life is the result. If this is not so, the statement is void of meaning.

I find this to be a very powerful argument. Im not sure the "traditional" view of hell has a satisfactory explanation of these verses, although I wouldn't rule out an anhilationist view. But the author does make a good point about life being the result of destroying death.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach. (1Ti. 4:9-11)

I have understood this as saying that Jesus is the savior of all in the sense that He is the only savior there is, and He is available to all. I'm fairly content with that understanding of the verse, although I do see how I may be reading it into the text.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Do you think the cruel soldiers who crucified Christ were forgiven? I do. Christ prayed for them, sealing His request in His blood.

I'm not sure we know exactly the scope of what Jesus was praying for. It may be that He was praying very specifically for the sin of the soldiers actually nailing Jesus to the cross. It may not pertain to their salvation, but just to that particular sin.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:In “For as all...even so all,” the agreement makes grammatical sense. In “For as all...even so some,” the statement makes no grammatical sense because “all” and “some” do not agree in context: “for as…even so” requires agreement. Grammatically, you cannot say, “all” to mean “some.” “All” means “inclusive;” “some” does not.

Good point. Perhaps the first "all" is also limited to those who would be saved though. So, talking to Christians, it may be saying something like, "We all (Christians) die in Adam, but we all (Christians) live in Christ." This doesn't seem like a stretch from the context, but a more universal scope for the first "all" does seem like a more natural reading.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:An honest seeker of truth must acknowledge these relationships. Basic grammar and ethics require it.

The author exalts his own reasoning and discounts the honest expository work of people who disagree with him. I think we can disagree without calling other lying idiots.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Ro. 5:20)! How can a believer claim Christ gained back less than what Adam lost?

Interesting point. I've always understood this in terms of being able to cover the sins of specific individuals, but I see how it could refer to how the grace abounds to cover all sins of all people.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:they think God’s moral standard is somehow different than ours.

Isn't it, though? If God's moral standard was not infinitely greater than ours, then He would have no basis for judging man at all. But there is a way that seems right to man, but in the end leads to death.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Christ suffered excruciatingly for the salvation of each person that ever lived.

The Bible never quite says it like this. It may or may not be a fair inference from Scripture.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Does His love change in the twinkling of an eye or a heartbeat? Is He that fickle? Not so.

I completely agree, even from an eternal torment perspective. It's precisely His burning love that torments those who refuse to believe and trust in His grace.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Will He cease to love them after their last breath?

Perhaps that's exactly what hell is.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:He is the Good Shepherd who goes after His sheep until He finds them.

Of course He is. The question is, who is His sheep?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:How is it possible that God could say all was “indeed very good” knowing eternal woe was the destiny awaiting the vast majority of humanity?

Everything is very good if it ultimately conforms to God's purpose for it.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:The fact that He sees everything as “indeed very good” brings me much comfort and peace. It confirms He has everything under control! It confirms the Blessed Hope.

It definitely confirms God has everything under control, but not necessarily the blessed hope as the author defines it.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Of all places in Scripture, this would be “the place” to state, in the strongest possible terms, the danger of infinite punishment—as our ultimate motivation for evangelism.

Why? I'm not a huge fan of when we say what we think Scripture should have said if it wanted to say a certain thing.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Ge. 2:17). If death meant infinite punishment, why did not God say so? How about the Law of Moses with all its penalties and threatening? They all relate to earthly penalties.

Interesting argument. Of course, any warning at all is only by God's grace, because we've broken God's commands, and God doesn't owe us anything.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Our example should be the lives and preaching of those who understood our Lord’s teachings best, the Apostles. They were called to proclaim His Gospel to the whole world. If you would like to know what they taught regarding judgment, you need to read the book of Acts. Nowhere do they proclaim infinite punishment. Neither is Gehenna mentioned by any of them anywhere

Maybe, but I wonder what other doctrines they did not mention in their preaching discourses.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Is this all that can be said about such an unimaginable and horrible judgment—“righteous judgment”?

If God is righteous (having no sin, because He hates sin, which is contrary to His character), then any listener would expect His judgment against sin would be severe. But I do see the author's point: that even if they recognized it would be severe, infinite punishment is far more severe than anyone might expect. So a warning might be nice.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:our “sick” hearts can deceive us. But in the essential principles of good and evil, all sane people have an instinctual God given sense of right and wrong.

I agree, but the question is: what are the grey areas? And can even a really big issue such as hell, which is somewhat philosophical for us now, be such an issue?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:His witness in our hearts is our God-given defense system protecting us from error, yes, even when interpreting the Scriptures.

Not sure I agree here. The Holy Spirit should help us, not our own moral compass.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:the blood of Christ affirms man’s infinite value. He does not annihilate or torment forever what has infinite value in His sight.

Where does it say that man is of infinite value to God? Man is valuable to God, "more valuable than many sparrows," but not of infinite value. However, it might be argued that the image of God in us is of infinite value, so God will restore man for the sake of His name.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:How can I be 100% sure that my faith, or my obedience to all God’s commands (until my last breath), will fully satisfy God?

We are sure not based on the amount of our faith, but the existence of any faith in Jesus, which is a gift from God.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:one can estimate that close to 99% of the world is going to a place of eternal suffering according to Evangelical leaders. How is this possible? Can this be what God purposed for His world?

Narrow is the gate, and few find it. Although that verse may be talking about 1) Jesus alone (as Peter Hiett preaches), or 2) the elect, who become Christians in this life, while others are saved in the next.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:He purchased all men on the cross (Jn. 19:30).

Maybe the Bible says this elsewhere, but it doesn't say it in this verse. When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! ” Then bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:of faith (unless you find it too difficult), being a beacon of peace, joy, and love to others who are hurting.

I greatly appreciate that he encourages people to remain in churches. Churches are the visual expression of the Body of Christ. If you must leave church altogether because of a particular viewpoint, then start a church, even if it's a small group Bible study that meets together a couple times a month. If the church's view on this issue is going to change, it can only happen if people who hold this view are continuing to worship with local churches, and expressing the view with joy when appropriate, with persistence and patience.

Well, that's the end. With life often getting "in the way," it took me much longer to read this book than I expected, but that's also because I looked up nearly every time the author quoted a verse of Scripture to see whether he was quoting it in context. While I feel like I caught him on a few, I see where he was coming from on most of them.

Anyway, this may come as a shock to some of you, but I've come to accept EU as a perfectly valid belief within Christianity. I now try to preach in such a way as to allow either interpretation. I even kind of lean toward the "hope" that all will be saved.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Bob Wilson » Thu Oct 13, 2016 1:35 pm

Wow Small Town, Thanks for sharing the conclusion of your scrutiny! I'm impressed with your ability to sort through the stronger and weaker arguments, and to remain open to a different possibility than that with which you began. God bless you and your ministry, Bob
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Thu Oct 13, 2016 2:25 pm

Small Town Pastor said:
Anyway, this may come as a shock to some of you, but I've come to accept EU as a perfectly valid belief within Christianity. I now try to preach in such a way as to allow either interpretation. I even kind of lean toward the "hope" that all will be saved.


Thank you for sharing this. This is huge. :!: :shock: :D
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Caleb Fogg » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:00 am

STP,

Was very excited to see your most recent post. I love your openness to what God is saying and your diligence in searching the scriptures. Though I'm not on this forum much these days, I remember when your wife (BPW) first came on wrestling with these things. I'm so thankful that this is an issue that you can now be more unified on as a married couple. Blessings to you both!

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