Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:10 am

smalltownpastor wrote:My notes from today's reading:

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:It is impossible that an omnipotent God can fail in His purposes, and some would forever resist unconditional love opting for everlasting pain. This would be totally irrational. And even if one were that irrational, such resistance would not arise out of a free will, but an enslaved will, a will in bondage to an insane mind.

I know universalists are divided on this issue, but this would seem to say that God is cruel for keeping Satan and his demons in bondage forever. I know some think they will either be annihilated or even reconciled to God, but many don't. So if there's room for God to punishment these forever, how is it any different for God to punish people forever? Oh, because WE'RE people, and we don't like the idea of God punishing one of US. But from God's perspective, it's the same.



Well, STP. You know - that's an interesting abbreviation. It's also the abbreviation for a brand of engine oil and gas additive. Perhaps you are adding to the vitality of your congregation? :D

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Sometime ago, I did pose the question to universalists: What would happen to the devil and evil angels? One actually thought they would be annihilated. As an inclusivist and Purgatorial Conditionalist - for lack of a better term - the devil and evil angels are annihilated.


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To put it in Science Fiction terms: if we can think of humanity as zombies, then the unholy angels are like vampires. You need to drive a stake into their heart, in order to end their evil ways. But the zombies just don't recognize, they are feasting off the living. :lol:


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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby JasonPratt » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:47 am

Well, if it comes to a neo-classical view of vampires (e.g. Stokerish vampires), where they act rather like anti-saints, generally the story includes the detail that by staking them (and/or whatever) you're actually saving their souls. At least if they were good people originally.

Like, y'know, the devil and his angels. ;)
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:59 am

Craig wrote:When the good Samaritan saw a person in need, even his enemy, he did not pass by but did all he could to help.

In Calvinism, God wonderfully and graciously saves the elect, but "passes by" many in need of a Saviour and leaves them in their sin. He has sufficient power to be able to extend his grace to them, grant them repentance, faith, forgiveness and salvation but he instead chooses to pass them by and leave them in misery forever.

In the Calvinist view of God, how is God good and loving, in the way Jesus describes being good and loving, when he passes by those in need rather than helping as he is perfectly capable of doing? I found this troubling as a Calvinist and opened the door for seeing God, as he is revealed in Christ, in a different light.

Good points. Of course, it's not quite an exact comparison, since unbelievers are in active rebellion, but I do see your point, since the unbeliever isn't able to save himself by coming to God completely on his own. Since I don't necessarily fully hold to Calvinism, though (although you're probably right that I have leanings in that direction), I also fully hold that each person is responsible to trust in Christ, and that it is a true act of the volition of their will to trust in Christ. One of the problems I have with Calvinism is that it doesn't mesh with our experience. I haven't talked with many people who say they trusted in Christ against their will. No, they saw the beauty of Christ, and WANTED to trust in Him. I realize that theologically this is because God opened their eyes to His beauty, but experientially, we can't discount a person's acceptance or rebellion as being their own will, or else the Bible wouldn't be able to truly say that Pharoah hardened his heart at all.

steve7150 wrote:when Jesus tells us how to treat our enemies with compassion this is a law of God, not just a suggestion. So my point is does God act in a manner opposite of his own laws?

If I make a rule (law) that my kids to go to bed at 8 pm, but I stay up to 11 pm, am I a hypocrite?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:23 am

steve7150 wrote:when Jesus tells us how to treat our enemies with compassion this is a law of God, not just a suggestion. So my point is does God act in a manner opposite of his own laws?

If I make a rule (law) that my kids to go to bed at 8 pm, but I stay up to 11 pm, am I a hypocrite?smalltownpastor Posts: 69Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 7:08 pm
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STP,
The way I understand it God made 2 kinds of laws which were moral and ritual. Jesus didn't really observe the Sabbath IMHO because he was Lord of the Sabbath and the Sabbath was/is a ritual law. In other words if God decided the Sabbath was on Tuesday instead of Sat it wouldn't violate his morals. But when Jesus says to be kind & merciful and even love your enemies IMHO that is a moral law and if God tortures his enemies forever then he is violating his own moral laws and that violates his own character again IMHO.
Therefore the response that God can tell us one set of morals but keep a different set for himself is not the God of the bible IMHO.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:27 am

smalltownpastor wrote:If I make a rule (law) that my kids to go to bed at 8 pm, but I stay up to 11 pm, am I a hypocrite?


It depends. If you are watching an episode of the Walking Dead...a super hero movie... some horror, science fiction or fantasy piece... or some old vaudeville comics - I'll let it slide :lol:

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:31 am

Good points. Of course, it's not quite an exact comparison, since unbelievers are in active rebellion






But most people are more ignorant then in active rebellion. I was not brought up in a Christian family so had no idea Jesus was much different then Moses. In 2002 for the first time in my life I had the gospel preached to me and it struck a cord. What if I would have died before 2002? Would I spend eternity in hell? Would I be annihilated?
You know in Rev 20 when the unbelievers are tossed into the LOF and the books are opened? Have you ever considered that those books are not books of their works but the gospels being preached?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 2:59 pm

steve7150 wrote:if God tortures his enemies forever then he is violating his own moral laws and that violates his own character again IMHO.
Therefore the response that God can tell us one set of morals but keep a different set for himself is not the God of the bible IMHO.

Hmm, well, how bad is hell in your opinion? Even if it's time-limited, is it torment? And if so, wouldn't that itself kind of go against your argument (unless you think it's acceptable to torment our enemies for short periods of time)?

steve7150 wrote:Have you ever considered that those books are not books of their works but the gospels being preached?

Elaborate on that a bit for me.

Revelation 20:12 says, "And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done."

It seems fairly straightforward that the books contain "what they had done." But I'm interested in another viewpoint is there is one. (I did a quick search for it, but couldn't find anything about it online.)
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:15 pm

And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done."








Clearly we are judged by what they had done or to put it another way "by our works." That is a biblical principal but does God need books to keep records on us or can "what was written in the books" mean it tells the story of Jesus and him dying for our sins. It is an assumption that the books contain our works but I think the gospels or the bible is read to those in the LOF.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:16 pm

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD,” says the Lord GOD, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.…

Even the demons believe (know).

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it.”

They will know, but will they trust? Or will their knowledge be more like that of the demons?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:But the question should not be, “Can God change people?” but rather, “Why does He?” Why?

For His own glory.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:What He does for a few, He does for all!

I'm not sure that can be proven from Scripture. But I guess that's what this whole book is seeking to prove.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Many believers do not realize that there exists a whole theological stream in Christianity that actually believes God does not in fact love all people.

Every Calvinist that I've personally known did in fact believe that God loves every person. There does exist a brand of hyper-Calvinism in which they believe God does not love every person, but that is not the majority of Calvinists, and it is even spoken of as unbiblical by most Calvinists.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:When has God ever disowned Adam, Israel, or the nations?

Jeremiah 3:8, "that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce."

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:When has He ever ceased to be the Father of all creation?

I don't know, but I've been told (haven't delved into it too much in my own study yet), that the Bible never calls anyone except believers "the children of God." This seems to agree with all the Scripture that I can think ofb, but, like I said, I haven't done an extensive study on the topic.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:God created man in His own image…. (Ge. 1:27; 9:6). I said…all of you are children of the Most High (Ps. 82:6). You are our Father…our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand (Is. 64:8). Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? (Mal. 2:10). Seeing the multitudes…. in this manner pray: our Father… (Mt. 5:1; 6:9; 7:28). Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples….one is your Father (Mt. 23:1, 9). Men of Athens….For we also are His children. Being then the children of God… (Ac. 17:22, 28-29 NAS). I bow to the Father…from whom the whole family in…earth is named (Ep. 3:14-15). Be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (He. 12:9).

This is a good list of verses to be begin that study with! Some are quite compelling (especially Ps 82:6, Acts 17:28-29, and Mal 2:10).

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:“My son, give me your heart…observe my ways” (Pr. 23:26). What a revelation this is! God regards us as sons and daughters even before we give Him our hearts.

"Give me your heart" could be a call to sanctification in this context rather than initial repentance.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Will God do less for His children than we who “are” evil?

And yet, the passage does specifically say that they must ask in order to receive those good gifts.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:His will is for all people to find Him, even those who are not presently seeking Him. A time will come when they will, for God can orchestrate whatever circumstances are needed to change their hearts;

So why not do that now, before allowing them to experience the agony of an age of chastisement?

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:If the opportunity to receive Christ were given in this life only, then God could be accused of being partial.

All of creation testifies to His existence (Romans 1:20). No one is condemned for not hearing, but for rejecting even the truth plainly available to them.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:29 pm

steve7150 wrote:if God tortures his enemies forever then he is violating his own moral laws and that violates his own character again IMHO.
Therefore the response that God can tell us one set of morals but keep a different set for himself is not the God of the bible IMHO.

Hmm, well, how bad is hell in your opinion? Even if it's time-limited, is it torment? And if so, wouldn't that itself kind of go against your argument (unless you think it's acceptable to torment our enemies for short periods of time)?






We know God destroys from the OT and maybe 70AD Jerusalem but destruction is one thing yet torture/torment is quite another don't you think?
I don't know what hell or really the lake of Fire is. It could be a spiritual fire that burns away sin, do you think that's possible? The greek word for fire is "pur" , it could mean purify?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:41 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:So why not do that now, before allowing them to experience the agony of an age of chastisement?


It may not take an age, it may not be agony; as to why not now, I think we can trust God with that.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:10 pm

steve7150 wrote:We know God destroys from the OT and maybe 70AD Jerusalem but destruction is one thing yet torture/torment is quite another don't you think?

I agree that "destruction" sounds qualitatively different from "torment." But which kind of punishment did Jesus seem to be talking about in Matthew 25:46? Because if aion has to do with quality in that verse, as you've said I believe, then it's saying the punishment is very bad.

steve7150 wrote:The greek word for fire is "pur" , it could mean purify?

According to this website, there's an etymological connection, so that is interesting.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:13 pm

DaveB wrote:It may not take an age, it may not be agony; as to why not now, I think we can trust God with that.

That's my point, I suppose, for this whole debate. Even if we're confused about God's purposes concerning hell, we should trust Him to know better than us.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:25 pm

Agreed. What drives the discussion for me is the realization that our beliefs about the afterlife do affect how we interpret and respond in this life; it's just a human trait to want to know for sure.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:33 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:Good points. Of course, it's not quite an exact comparison, since unbelievers are in active rebellion,…

What a diabolically errant assumption… no wonder you lean the way you do; this is nothing but the party-line albeit couched in language of I’d rather believe other than I do but this is the way I feel I am led. :o

“Active rebellion” precludes ANY ignorance, which for the majority of people ‘ignorance’ is exactly where they are at… either through the nature of the case OR more likely by the poor caricature of ‘God’ peddled by religianity. But, to cut you some slack even Paul in his own rampant religiosity found the grace of God due to his own ignorance of unbelief, as per…
1Tim 1:13 …although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

The biblical story has MORE much more to say about covenanted people being in “active rebellion” (true “unbelievers”) and the consequences thereof of not repenting and following the way of righteousness etc.

But all that said… IF you truly believed (and I doubt deep down you really do) God’s ultimate purpose for the vast bulk of humanity was their eternal conscious torment then why fritter away the hours here over seemingly pointless arguments WHEN there are friends, neighbours and strangers OUT THERE in your own purview in peril of this ‘eternal conscious torment’ you cling to, and yet “how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard” when you are safe and cosy in here playing spiritual scrabble? :shock:
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:12 pm

davo wrote:What a diabolically errant assumption...

I appreciate your very candid response.

A few things...

I don't believe in ECT anymore (but close). You can read an update to my beliefs on my introduction thread.

I'm not on these forums to convince anyone. I'm learning a lot about UR, trying to understand it as best as I can, and the best way I know to do that is through dialogue: challenging, talk-about-the-tough-stuff dialogue. If I'm ever to become an Evangelical Universalist, it's going to be through studying, thinking, and talking it through. That's what I'm doing here.

You're right, I should share the gospel more. We all should, right?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:37 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:I'm not on these forums to convince anyone. I'm learning a lot about UR, trying to understand it as best as I can, and the best way I know to do that is through dialogue: challenging, talk-about-the-tough-stuff dialogue.

Yep I get that… :)

smalltownpastor wrote:If I'm ever to become an Evangelical Universalist, it's going to be through studying, thinking, and talking it through. That's what I'm doing here.

I get that too. I’m not an EU, though I was once an evangelical but not these days. I am more an inclusionist which is in a similar direction as universalism, however I’ve ditched certain prior assumptions (we all have them) while embracing others, and yep dialogue helps formulate these things. :mrgreen:
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Paidion » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:09 pm

Hi STP, you wrote:I also fully hold that each person is responsible to trust in Christ...


How can you hold fully hold that, in light of the fact that millions, if not billions, of people on earth have never had the opportunity? How can they be responsible if they've never heard the gospel even once? Indeed millions have not even heard the name of Jesus Christ except in profanity, and many have not heard the name at all.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:30 pm

IN a book by the Reformed author Lorraine Boettner, he answered this question simply: because God does not want them to be saved.
The name of the book is The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
Just one of many reason I fled Calvinism.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Paidion » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:44 pm

Thanks Dave, but I do not see how that answers the question. Even if it were true that God doesn't want them to be saved, it still wouldn't follow that every person in the world is fully responsible to trust in Christ.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:52 pm

I agree! I was only showing what a particular tradition has to say about the untaught billions. :D
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby BPW » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:39 pm

I little late to some of this discussion but. . .

STP does not talk about hell in every sermon. I think he does probably mention when talking about how wonderful God's grace is that one of the things God's grace does is rescue us from Hell. But he spends just as much if not much more time just talking about the joy we can have now and forever and peace we can have now and forever if we accept God's grace through Jesus.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:
It is impossible that an omnipotent God can fail in His purposes, and some would forever resist unconditional love opting for everlasting pain. This would be totally irrational. And even if one were that irrational, such resistance would not arise out of a free will, but an enslaved will, a will in bondage to an insane mind.

I know universalists are divided on this issue, but this would seem to say that God is cruel for keeping Satan and his demons in bondage forever. I know some think they will either be annihilated or even reconciled to God, but many don't. So if there's room for God to punishment these forever, how is it any different for God to punish people forever? Oh, because WE'RE people, and we don't like the idea of God punishing one of US. But from God's perspective, it's the same.


Kinda off topic but I'm gonna say it anyway
Sometimes I feel bad about wanting to gas spiders out of my home (bug bombs), or trapping mice on those super painful glue traps, and it is sort of for the same reason. I mean they are God's creation and I get rid of them in a torturous way. But then I only think about it for a second and then bam I flick that bug in the toilet to die a slow death from exhaustion and drowning. I know most people don't think bugs have souls and it is different (although mice are mammals and get people talking about dogs or other pets and animal souls gets believed a lot more). But still how can we for the most part think NOTHING of just stepping on a bug and killing it? I hope God is not like that in how he sees us or angels. But it does sometimes haunt me how easily I allow myself to help the little creatures die. Am I cruel? comparing Us to bugs and God to Us; seems like bugs would be under us in importance for sure but not nearly to the amount that we are under God in importance. How do we (as EU) feel convinced that God loves us and values us but yet so easily send a bug off to a torturous death?

I think some of the saints wrestled with this issue. I don't like bugs or mice and am not giving up getting rid of them when they invade my house, and I also am not going to always try to get rid of them in the most humane way because I don't have time for that. . . but I do feel a tinge of guilt and start pondering this sometimes.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:54 pm

Paidion wrote:How can they be responsible if they've never heard the gospel even once?

Exactly!! That of course is typically in error explained away by appealing to the likes of Rom 2:14-16… but again misunderstanding that said “judgment” was in regards to “works” and speaks NOT as is so often claimed to eternal destinies but rather to “rewards” themselves.

IF Jesus came into the world to seek and to save the lost
Lk 19:10…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.
1Tim 1:15 …Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,…

did Jesus succeed or did he fail? Simple question YES or NO?

Many a so-called “believer’s” faith says He failed. :cry:
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Craig » Mon Jan 18, 2016 3:29 am

smalltownpastor wrote:
Craig wrote:When the good Samaritan saw a person in need, even his enemy, he did not pass by but did all he could to help.

In Calvinism, God wonderfully and graciously saves the elect, but "passes by" many in need of a Saviour and leaves them in their sin. He has sufficient power to be able to extend his grace to them, grant them repentance, faith, forgiveness and salvation but he instead chooses to pass them by and leave them in misery forever.

In the Calvinist view of God, how is God good and loving, in the way Jesus describes being good and loving, when he passes by those in need rather than helping as he is perfectly capable of doing? I found this troubling as a Calvinist and opened the door for seeing God, as he is revealed in Christ, in a different light.

Good points. Of course, it's not quite an exact comparison, since unbelievers are in active rebellion, but I do see your point, since the unbeliever isn't able to save himself by coming to God completely on his own. Since I don't necessarily fully hold to Calvinism, though (although you're probably right that I have leanings in that direction), I also fully hold that each person is responsible to trust in Christ, and that it is a true act of the volition of their will to trust in Christ. One of the problems I have with Calvinism is that it doesn't mesh with our experience. I haven't talked with many people who say they trusted in Christ against their will. No, they saw the beauty of Christ, and WANTED to trust in Him. I realize that theologically this is because God opened their eyes to His beauty, but experientially, we can't discount a person's acceptance or rebellion as being their own will, or else the Bible wouldn't be able to truly say that Pharoah hardened his heart at all.

steve7150 wrote:when Jesus tells us how to treat our enemies with compassion this is a law of God, not just a suggestion. So my point is does God act in a manner opposite of his own laws?

If I make a rule (law) that my kids to go to bed at 8 pm, but I stay up to 11 pm, am I a hypocrite?


STP,

From what you have said here, I think many Calvinists would actually welcome you as a fellow Calvinist. :)

In my understanding a Calvinist would agree with you about man's responsibility. Someone like Jim Packer would call the “mystery” of how God's sovereignty and man's responsibility can both be true an "antimony".

Many Calvinists also do not believe that God makes people trust in Christ against their will, but rather God effectively works in their life to make them willing, to see his beauty and WANT to trust in him.

Just to clarify, do you believe God does work effectively in some people’s lives, when he really wants to, to change them so that they willingly will turn to him for mercy, rather than continuing in their rebellion?
And do you believe that if God withholds this grace from people, that they will be unable to truly repent and believe the gospel?


Re God keeping his own rules, I agree with you that in some matters, God (or parents as another example) can make rules for others without needing to keep the rule himself.
But an important consideration is that in the matter of love for people, including love of enemies, God says "Be like me, in loving others”.
If a father said to his child "go to bed at 8pm, just like me", and then the father went out partying until 2am - that would be a problem.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:16 am

DaveB wrote:IN a book by the Reformed author Lorraine Boettner, he answered this question simply: because God does not want them to be saved.
The name of the book is The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
Just one of many reason I fled Calvinism.


Thanks Dave.

I remember listening to a sermon by RC Sproul, talking about the fall and total depravity. He said one of the most asked questions about this subject was- 'What about innocent little babies?' To this RC said (going from memory here) something to the effect of "there are no innocent babies"!

I too came to realize Calvinism wasn't the way for me.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby maintenanceman » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:19 am

davo said:

…did Jesus succeed or did he fail? Simple question YES or NO?

Many a so-called “believer’s” faith says He failed. :cry:


I wonder how many Christians ever ponder on this point?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:33 am

You know, what? I always respect theology and philosophy professors. They open one up to various viewpoints - even different from their own. I found this interesting segment today: Musings about Universalism, Part 4. It's nice to read this, as an inclusivist and Purgatorial Conditionalist:

And from that first and third paragraph, there's no hope for any here - including our STP Baptist pastor :!: :lol:

When I was in college I started struggling a lot with what I learned in Sunday School. As a child I was told that when you die there would be a Judgment Day. And on that Day you would find out your fate for all eternity. Some of us, those who were Church of Christ, would get to go to heaven. All others would go to hell. And there the lost would undergo never-ending torment.

This Sunday School vision of heaven and hell worked pretty well. The simplistic reward-punishment vision of morality fit my young mind. Plus, I'm sure the threat of hellfire kept me out of a lot of trouble as a teenager.

But as I grew up, and as my cognitive abilities matured, this Sunday School vision of heaven and hell started to worry me. A host of questions kept me up at night. Johnny's a Baptist and a better person than I am--a better Christian--but Baptists are going to hell. And how about Catholics? Good Lord will they burn!

In light of these questions I grew a bit more ecumenical. Well, maybe all Christians I concluded, even Catholics, will get to heaven. But how about someone like Gandhi? He's going to burn for eternity, right? And how about all those Jews who died in the gas chambers? Their Christian neighbors shipped them off to Auschwitz where they inhaled Zyklon B and woke up in hell, right? One torture chamber to the next? Only the second one is forever. And run by the Almighty.

So I had a faith crisis. How could I believe in and worship a God I viewed to be monster?

Desperate, I went to my bible professor and spilled the beans. I said, through tears, if I have to believe in the hell I was taught in Sunday School then I'm out, I can't obey or worship that God. This is the end of the line. And here's the kicker: I believed in God. I looked at my bible prof and said: I'd rather go to hell than worship that God. Let me be damned, but I can't go further. I want to be with those Jews from Auschwitz. And if God isn't with them then what hope is there for my faith?

My professor smiled. He understood where I was coming from. And for the rest of the semester he pointed me to a variety of resources about the doctrine of hell. He basically introduced me to the diversity of the Christian faith. Apparently, I discovered, Christians disagreed a great deal about hell. I thought hell was a one-size-fits-all doctrine. But I discovered there were all sorts of visions on offer. That semester we read C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. And I read Edward Fudge's The Fire that Consumes. And for a time, I became an annihilationist.



But if you do go rafting, take a Baptist with you. :D Well, STP. If I go white water rafting, would you care to join me? The video presenter is a Baptist - by the way. :!: :lol:


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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:41 am

But as I grew up, and as my cognitive abilities matured, this Sunday School vision of heaven and hell started to worry me. A host of questions kept me up at night. Johnny's a Baptist and a better person than I am--a better Christian--but Baptists are going to hell.

No no no… this cannot be right about Baptists as the bible is very clear, “the dead in Christ rise first.:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:20 am

I also found the first answer interesting, in the How am I supposed to know which denomination is correct?:

Here is the question:

Since there are thousands of denominations, all of which have the same ancient documents but very different interpretations, how am I supposed to know which is right?

Before someone says it doesn't matter, I would argue that it does because some Christians say we're saved by faith alone while others say works are required. Also, some believe "once saved always saved" while others believe you can lose your salvation.

These are serious matters if my eternal soul is on the line, so how am I supposed to know which denomination is correct?


Here is the first answer - which I like, by the way: 8-)

I believe that God's grace covers honest errors we make in most things that denominations divide over. So as far as your "eternal soul" being on the line, I'm of the opinion that your choice of denomination doesn't have the power to harm your soul, (unless you approach the question with a flippant or mocking attitude.... that is, unless you are generally speaking approaching God in "bad faith" not even trying to obey him because you take his grace for granted.)

The only reason it matters to me at all which denomination to be a part of (or not -- I consider myself non-denominational), is I love God and I want to make him happy... when you want to make someone happy, you try to pay attention to what they want, and to do it as best you can, right?

So if you are trying in good faith to make God happy, look at what he says, in whatever depth your intellect is capable of undertaking, and decide which makes the most sense to you. I know a lot of people who have taken "truth seeking" tours of multiple denominations and/or religions looking for the best case for each one, pitting them against each other reasonably, and finally deciding on one perspective that seems to them to be the most reasonable.

Isn't that basically the same way we determine which anything is correct? If, upon careful examination, it makes more sense to you to say the sky is blue than that it's green, or that universal health care is better than low taxes, or that climate change and evolution are real ... you go with what makes the most sense to you don't you? Why would that be any different when choosing which group of believers to associate yourself with?


I also like this part of another answer, even though I never watched the movie. Has anyone ever seen it? 8-)

If I can recommend one thing, it would be to watch a movie I've just seen called "Hell and Mr. Fudge" which is a dramatization about actual person who did research into the question of: If there is truly eternal punishment of the soul in Hell. I recommend this movie because it shows the correct process of careful evaluation of any question or matter of doctrine. He first recognized the two differing arguments about the subject and then he reviewed what each side offered in support of their arguments. When you have studied for yourself what each side says and their basis, then you can make a more informed conclusion.



Now this movie trailer has made me curious, as to what Reverend Fudge concluded - regarding hell. I think it was the annihilationist position. But I'm really a universalism/annihilationism hybrid (after all, gas/electric cars are more practical), with me as an inclusivist and Purgatorial Conditionalist :!: :lol:

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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:18 am

randylkemp wrote:Has anyone ever seen it?

No, but BPW and I are going to watch it tomorrow night! It's free if you have Amazon Prime.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby lancia » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:50 am

DaveB wrote:In a book by the Reformed author Lorraine Boettner, he answered this question simply: because God does not want them to be saved.
The name of the book is The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.
Just one of many reason I fled Calvinism.


How anyone can hold to the view "God does not want them to be saved" in light of clearly contrary verses is mind-boggling, e.g., [God] desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Paidion » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:52 am

Small Town Pastor wrote:Good points. Of course, it's not quite an exact comparison, since unbelievers are in active rebellion...


Probably fewer than 5%, and certainly fewer than 10% of non-believers are in active rebellion. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if at least half of all non-believers have never even heard of Christ or the gospel (consider the whole world and not just North America and Europe).

I think the few (comparatively speaking) that are in active rebellion, are mostly former Christians or people who were raised in a Christian environment. And I think even most of them are not rebelling against Christ, but against an ugly caricature of Christianity to which they were exposed in their youth.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby DaveB » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:53 am

Lancia - agreed.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:51 am

davo wrote:did Jesus succeed or did he fail? Simple question YES or NO?

Yes, of course He succeeded.

(if you just want the simple answer and no elaboration)

Craig wrote:Just to clarify, do you believe God does work effectively in some people’s lives, when he really wants to, to change them so that they willingly will turn to him for mercy, rather than continuing in their rebellion?

I'd strike the part that says "when he really wants to," because that implies that He doesn't really want to for others. God desires for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Craig wrote:And do you believe that if God withholds this grace from people, that they will be unable to truly repent and believe the gospel?

I don't know on such issues. The secret things belong to God. I don't think anyone who would repent is kept from repenting, if that's what you're asking.

Craig wrote:But an important consideration is that in the matter of love for people, including love of enemies, God says "Be like me, in loving others”.

I agree, and God certainly loves all people. But when it comes to judgment, God specifically says, in essence, "Leave it to me" (Romans 12:19). Whether it's of limited or unlimited duration, and whether it's corrective or not, or whether it's in this life or the next, it's His place to show wrath toward sin. So, yes, we're to love like He loves (Jesus dying on the cross for us is a HUGE example to follow), and then leave wrath/judgment/punishment to Him, however He sees fit.

randylkemp wrote:
My professor smiled. He understood where I was coming from. And for the rest of the semester he pointed me to a variety of resources about the doctrine of hell. He basically introduced me to the diversity of the Christian faith. Apparently, I discovered, Christians disagreed a great deal about hell. I thought hell was a one-size-fits-all doctrine. But I discovered there were all sorts of visions on offer. That semester we read C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. And I read Edward Fudge's The Fire that Consumes. And for a time, I became an annihilationist.

Great story. I agree, there's plenty of room within Christianity to disagree on these issues and still recognize each other as one family in Christ. I'm perfectly fine with the idea of having universalists as members of my church (heck, my wife is one of them!).

randylkemp wrote:Well, STP. If I go white water rafting, would you care to join me?

Gladly! Sounds like fun, let's go!

davo wrote:
But as I grew up, and as my cognitive abilities matured, this Sunday School vision of heaven and hell started to worry me. A host of questions kept me up at night. Johnny's a Baptist and a better person than I am--a better Christian--but Baptists are going to hell.

No no no… this cannot be right about Baptists as the bible is very clear, “the dead in Christ rise first.:lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm not sure whether to laugh with you or be offended! :lol: :lol: :lol: :shock:

Paidion wrote:Probably fewer than 5%, and certainly fewer than 10% of non-believers are in active rebellion. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if at least half of all non-believers have never even heard of Christ or the gospel (consider the whole world and not just North America and Europe).

I suppose it depends on how you define "active rebellion." I take from Romans 1:18 that those who "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (talking about all Gentiles who don't know Jesus) are in active rebellion, because they even reject what can be clearly perceived about God by looking at His creation.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby JasonPratt » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:59 am

I think Gabe clicked the wrong button trying to reply to BPW above -- it got listed on the mod report as a spam post meant to sell something (how I have no idea; maybe a bug in the forum code. Pun not originally intended. ;) )

I'll redirect Gabe's post back here. :)


Gabe Grinstead wrote:Not really the same thing BPH. You don't torture bugs. You annihilate them. The process of death is painful, even a natural death in most cases. We will all have a torturous death, or most of us. Certainly there are degrees. But the fact of the matter is that you are not trying to keep bugs alive while torturing them. You also have no way to communicate to them.

That said, the torture of anything for the sake of torture disturbs me greatly. But a bug bomb cannot in anyway be compared to ECT.

To summarize, God can communicate with us. We cannot communicate with bugs. We don't have the power to raise the dead. God does.



To summarize... God can communicate to us. We can't communicate to bugs.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:04 am

I just had a thought. Maybe Romans 12:19 isn't talking about post-mortem punishment, or even about any kind of vengeance toward us, but about His wrath being poured out on Christ, on the cross.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:34 pm

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Scripture straightly declares God to “be” love (1Jn. 4:8, 16), but never to “be” vengeance. God is one; He is not divided within Himself.

I recently heard Peter Hiett wonder in a sermon whether hate truly is the opposite of love, because Ecclesiastes 3:8 says that there's a time for hate. So if there's a time for it, it must not be sin. So he wondered if the opposite of love was apathy or something like that. He didn't come to any conclusion, just wondering out loud.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:God is not anger though He can be angry, God is not vengeance though He does avenge. These are attributes, love is essence.

That "God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29) could mean that His essense includes vengeance, though admittedly, this is less clear.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:Why is it that on earth God’s anger lasts but a moment and His favor is for life, but (tradition says) after death, His favor is not even a moment, and His anger is forever? How can God’s love change so drastically at the beat of a heart?

Good point. Yeah, I haven't fully grasped this aspect of it. The best I can reconcile it is that those in hell continue in active rebellion, and that any acknowledgement that they make concerning the Lordship of Christ is like that of the demons: they know it, but rebel against it.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:In order for God to be “all in all,” all must first be subjected to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (1Co. 15:28a). This cannot happen without Christ being formed in each person

"When all things are subjected to him" seems to mean that all things will be under His rule. This does not necessarily rule out the possibility that some will be in prison. He will rule over them as well.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:He works in men’s hearts and intercedes for them throughout all ages (He. 7:25) to draw them to Himself and conform them into His likeness.

"Throughout the ages" is missing from Hebrews 7:25 (I'm assuming the reference is beside those words in order to support that claim). Nevertheless, the verse does say, "he always lives" to make intercession for them (πάντοτε ζῶν), which I suppose could mean essentially the same thing.

Hope Beyond Hell wrote:One final point regarding His first public address: did you notice the response of the people? “All marveled at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth” (Lu. 4:22). Gracious words—the people marveled!

I wouldn't make too much of this. The people often didn't understand Jesus, and were very fickle. They loved Him one minute, and turned on Him the next.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:43 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:
davo wrote:did Jesus succeed or did he fail? Simple question YES or NO?

Yes, of course He succeeded.

(if you just want the simple answer and no elaboration)

Indeed, so in terms of this discussion the logic is unassailable…

smalltownpastor wrote:
davo wrote:
But as I grew up, and as my cognitive abilities matured, this Sunday School vision of heaven and hell started to worry me. A host of questions kept me up at night. Johnny's a Baptist and a better person than I am--a better Christian--but Baptists are going to hell.

No no no… this cannot be right about Baptists as the bible is very clear, “the dead in Christ rise first.:lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm not sure whether to laugh with you or be offended! :lol: :lol: :lol: :shock:

:lol: as a past Baptist myself, said with tongue planted fully in cheek. ;)

smalltownpastor wrote:I just had a thought. Maybe Romans 12:19 isn't talking about post-mortem punishment, or even about any kind of vengeance toward us, but about His wrath being poured out on Christ, on the cross.

I’d say the context reflects antemortem, not dissimilar to the likes of 2Thess 1:6 which (from my perspective) views such in terms of what was leading up to and encompassing the AD70 parousia.

As for “His wrath being poured out on Christ, on the cross” –– I think a better case for that can actually be made from an alternative understanding of Jn 12:32 where “draw all” is left without the following generic “men” or “people” that isn’t in the Gk. text (which is why it often appears in italics) and rather apply the “draw all” to the aforementioned “judgment” that was against “this world” of the previous verse, i.e., at the Cross Jesus drew ALL God’s ‘judgment’ (wrath) for sin upon himself.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:46 pm

JasonPratt wrote:I think Gabe clicked the wrong button trying to reply to BPW above -- it got listed on the mod report as a spam post meant to sell something (how I have no idea; maybe a bug in the forum code. Pun not originally intended. ;) )

I'll redirect Gabe's post back here. :)


Gabe Grinstead wrote:Not really the same thing BPH. You don't torture bugs. You annihilate them. The process of death is painful, even a natural death in most cases. We will all have a torturous death, or most of us. Certainly there are degrees. But the fact of the matter is that you are not trying to keep bugs alive while torturing them. You also have no way to communicate to them.

That said, the torture of anything for the sake of torture disturbs me greatly. But a bug bomb cannot in anyway be compared to ECT.

To summarize, God can communicate with us. We cannot communicate with bugs. We don't have the power to raise the dead. God does.



To summarize... God can communicate to us. We can't communicate to bugs.


Thanks Jason. I think it was a bug, but since I was on my phone, it is possible that I clicked on the wrong button.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby steve7150 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:44 pm

I don't like bugs or mice and am not giving up getting rid of them when they invade my house, and I also am not going to always try to get rid of them in the most humane way because I don't have time for that. . . but I do feel a tinge of guilt and start pondering this sometimes.
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You know this is a great thought you brought up and occasionally I actually have thought about this. I have to kill insects or animals that invade my house although I do try to make it as fast and painless as possible. But in a neutral setting I try not to bother them if possible. However I think insects and animals act almost entirely by instinct and I think that accepting dying at some point is in their DNA. In other words I wonder if it means the same thing to them as it means to us?
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Anna » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:59 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:
Hope Beyond Hell wrote:In order for God to be “all in all,” all must first be subjected to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (1Co. 15:28a). This cannot happen without Christ being formed in each person

"When all things are subjected to him" seems to mean that all things will be under His rule. This does not necessarily rule out the possibility that some will be in prison. He will rule over them as well.


Thought I'd jump into this discussion, though I'm new.

Aren't all things already under God's rule in the sense of God having power over them, and therefore subjected to Christ in the same way (assuming you're a Trinitarian)? "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'" (Matt 28:18) So if all things being subjected to Him means only that all authority is His, then it has already happened - which is not the claim Paul is making.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:21 pm

Anna wrote:Thought I'd jump into this discussion, though I'm new.

Jump right in! I've barely been around much longer, and no one has told me to be quiet yet! :lol:

Anna wrote:Aren't all things already under God's rule in the sense of God having power over them, and therefore subjected to Christ in the same way (assuming you're a Trinitarian)? "And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.'" (Matt 28:18) So if all things being subjected to Him means only that all authority is His, then it has already happened - which is not the claim Paul is making.

That's a interesting point. And, of course, there's also the sense in which everything has always been under God's rule, since He is God after all. The passage itself seems to have at least some of this in mind, and that's kind of the point. "For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'all things are put in subjection,' it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:27-28).

The book of Hebrews also quotes Psalm 8, and then says this about it, "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" (Hebrews 2:8). So it seems the New Testament recognizes that although Psalm 8 says that all things are subject to Christ, yet there remains some things which are not yet.

It's worth noting, also, that Psalm 8, at least in the ESV, seems to speak more about ruling over all: "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:4-9)

What to make of all this? I have no idea.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby davo » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:16 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:The book of Hebrews also quotes Psalm 8, and then says this about it, "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" (Hebrews 2:8). So it seems the New Testament recognizes that although Psalm 8 says that all things are subject to Christ, yet there remains some things which are not yet. …

What to make of all this? I have no idea.

I might venture a thought from a fulfilled eschatological perspective where this isn’t a problem. What “remains” or the “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him” is understood in what is called the “already but not yet” BUT is seen as what was occurring in the transition of “the ages” from Old to New covenants, i.e., THEIR age.

There was an overlapping period of approximately 40yrs (a biblical generation) AD30-70. A time of trial and testing where faithfulness was exhorted and challenged and fidelity would bear its reward in terms of life into the coming new age… this is of the same biblical pattern of Israel coming out of Egypt to Land of Promise (bondage into liberty). Faithfulness for NT saints would see them inherit the promises (Heb 6:12), better promises.

Now the “at present” represented THEIR “time of the end” (Dan 12:4, 7) AD30 forward when “knowledge shall increase” i.e., knowledge of salvation/deliverance aka ‘the gospel’ unto AD70 where and “when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.” Thus the AD70 parousia of Christ was the point at which “God may become all in all.1Cor 15:28. Thus from that time forward all is in subjection to Him for He is God over all.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Anna » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:31 pm

smalltownpastor wrote:That's a interesting point. And, of course, there's also the sense in which everything has always been under God's rule, since He is God after all. The passage itself seems to have at least some of this in mind, and that's kind of the point. "For 'God has put all things in subjection under his feet.' But when it says, 'all things are put in subjection,' it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:27-28).

The book of Hebrews also quotes Psalm 8, and then says this about it, "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" (Hebrews 2:8). So it seems the New Testament recognizes that although Psalm 8 says that all things are subject to Christ, yet there remains some things which are not yet.

It's worth noting, also, that Psalm 8, at least in the ESV, seems to speak more about ruling over all: "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8:4-9)

What to make of all this? I have no idea.


Good point. So are we seeing a "now/not yet" kind of tension here? In what sense could someone be said to be fully subjected to Christ and yet continue to sin? Be put in subjection, sure - but that's not necessarily the same thing as being in subjection, at the present instant. God can be "in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" without the entire world being instantly reconciled, no? So couldn't the same sort of principle apply here? If these passages referred only to being under divine rule and not to universal obedience, then what change would be taking place - and how would it bring about God's being "all in all", unless all were in the same state of being?

I'm not sure how coherently I'm presenting this - I'm writing in a bit of a rush, and haven't really worked through all this before - but those are my thoughts on the matter.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Eaglesway » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:17 am

IMO, There is no sense, in terms of God dealing with humanity, that everyone is under His rule- else there would be no need for subjection or reconciliation. That God is ultimately in control of everything is a given- but that does not take into account His purpose, which according to Eph 1:9-11, is to gather everything into one in Christ; and 1 Cor 15:23-28 which speaks of all things (including every adversary) being subjected to Christ so that God may become "all in all"(everything in everyone"). These and a few other verses, like John 12:32 and Col 1:15-20 indicate to me that the subjection spoken of is not just suppression and forced obedience, because if that were so it would only speak of God being "over all"- which He currently already is. The subjection spoken of in these verses is therefore, imo, subjection to the love of God so that He becomes "all in all". That is "the nature" of the oneness all are being gathered into.

If God has become all in someone, they are in His love and His love is in them, because God is love- so if He is "all" in someone, they are subjected to love- which is true freedom. Love is the "glorious liberty of the children of God" spoken of in Romans 8, into which the whole creation will be "set free from futility" into said "glorious liberty".

For me, this subjection is to be brought into willing communion with the King of love.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:31 am

Hi, STP. Please be sure to let everyone know, what you and your wife think of "Hell and Mr. Fudge." We don't want to have Mr. Fudge dangling - do we? :lol:

"Weird is just a side effect of being awesome." -- Bill Murray


And Bill Murray played himself in Zombieland 8-)


Image

Image

Now I'm off to see my doctor (the astute in the audience here. will recognize the loudspeaker announcement "Dr. Howard, Dc. Fine, Dr. Howard" in the background, and identify where it is originally from) :lol:


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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:10 am

Anna wrote:So are we seeing a "now/not yet" kind of tension here?

I definitely think so.

Anna wrote:In what sense could someone be said to be fully subjected to Christ and yet continue to sin? Be put in subjection, sure - but that's not necessarily the same thing as being in subjection, at the present instant. God can be "in Christ reconciling the world to Himself" without the entire world being instantly reconciled, no? So couldn't the same sort of principle apply here? If these passages referred only to being under divine rule and not to universal obedience, then what change would be taking place

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.

Anna wrote:and how would it bring about God's being "all in all", unless all were in the same state of being?

I think it's talking more about His presence as King in all places. I don't think it can mean that God will in be every person, because the next verse talks about being baptized for the dead (not that he was endorsing the practice, but that he recognized the rationale for it). The rationale is that everyone, including the dead, will be subjected to God, and therefore those who haven't trusted in Him need to repent and be baptized. Paul didn't say (at least not in these verses) whether that was possible post-mortem, but I think at the least the argument went something like this:

  1. Everyone (even the dead) will recognize that God is King.
  2. Some of the dead do not trust in God as King.
  3. Some (of the living) say "Since they haven't trusted in God as King, and yet they will still be subjected to Him one way or another, let's be baptized on their behalf, that they might not be condemned." Apparently, they at least recognized that it was too late for the dead themselves to trust in Christ if they have not already.
  4. And yet, whether this baptism on behalf of the dead works or not, Paul has said that God will be all in all.

It seems like this would have been the perfect time to say, "Hey, don't be baptized on their behalf! They'll come around on their own! God will be in them!" But that's not what he says (although, to be fair, he doesn't directly speak against that either, rather he leaves it kind of open). Still, it seems "all in all" continues to refer to God's authority over all rather than being in each person.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby smalltownpastor » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:17 am

smalltownpastor wrote:It seems like this would have been the perfect time to say, "Hey, don't be baptized on their behalf! They'll come around on their own! God will be in them!" But that's not what he says

Or maybe that is what he says...

"Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Anna » Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:42 am

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 - and once all things are subjected to Christ (in whatever sense the term is being used) then Christ will be subjected to God the Father in that same sense so that God will be all in all (whatever that may mean). Christ obviously recognizes the authority of God already, so the word subjected in this passage can't be referring to mere recognition of authority - otherwise Christ would already be subjected to the Father.

smalltownpastor wrote:I think it's talking more about His presence as King in all places. I don't think it can mean that God will in be every person, because the next verse talks about being baptized for the dead (not that he was endorsing the practice, but that he recognized the rationale for it). The rationale is that everyone, including the dead, will be subjected to God, and therefore those who haven't trusted in Him need to repent and be baptized.


Baptism for the dead doesn't seem intrinsically tied to Paul's subjection/all-in-all claims. The formatting of 1 Corinthians, to my mind, runs something like this: Paul explains how essential the resurrection is to the Christian faith; Paul reassures the congregation that there is a resurrection, and goes into some detail on what that means; Paul illustrates various problems the faith would have if there weren't a resurrection ("otherwise", or in other words "if what I'm telling you isn't true, then why..."); Paul answers anticipated questions about resurrection bodies. If the all-in-all verse and the baptism-for-the-dead verse aren't even part of the same thought, the same section of the letter, then what basis is there for thinking that the baptism for the dead verse is intended to help us interpret the all-in-all verse? And if it's not, is there any reason to think that baptism for the dead has anything to do with subjection to God, as the word subjection is used in 1 Cor?

smalltownpastor wrote:It seems like this would have been the perfect time to say, "Hey, don't be baptized on their behalf! They'll come around on their own! God will be in them!" But that's not what he says (although, to be fair, he doesn't directly speak against that either, rather he leaves it kind of open).


As you said, he doesn't necessarily endorse the practice - he's just using it as an example. He's recognizing the rationale for the practice (whatever that rationale is) and pointing out how pointless the practice is if the dead are not raised. Telling people to stop doing the thing he's just used to help make a case for the resurrection wouldn't exactly help his case for the resurrection! (If he considered the dead people in question to be beyond help, he could have told them to stop for that reason - but he didn't do that either. But either way, it doesn't seem like something he was concerned about.)

smalltownpastor wrote:Still, it seems "all in all" continues to refer to God's authority over all rather than being in each person.


I know hardly anything about Koine Greek - do you know if this makes grammatical sense, or does someone else here know? Eaglesway made a good point earlier; why is God referred to as "over all and through all and in [you] all" in Ephesians if "in all" means the same thing to Paul as "over all"?

This is very long and I may be getting the discussion off track. :oops: If you want to get back to responding to Hope Beyond Hell, I can stop focusing and bothering on this one point and let you move on. :)
Last edited by Anna on Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Responding to Hope Beyond Hell

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:47 am

I follow a Roman Catholic blogger called Douglas Ernst. Douglas is really a tea party fan and comic book lover. So that's what he blogs about (not that I'm a tea party fan - mind you). But today he had an interesting blog post, which might fit here. I'll post the link here (and so nobody complains, I 'll use BIT.LY instead of IS.GD - satisfied?): Yes, dead relatives can visit you in your dreams

And for anyone having IS.GD anxiety attacks, I'll throw in this - for the math lovers here (using OW.LY):i Largest known prime number discovered in Missouri

And how about a "controversial" quote?:

"A woman is like a tea bag -- you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." -- Eleanor Roosevelt
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