St. Gregory of Nyssa

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St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Kaviraj » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:37 am

Tom, you sometimes cite St. Gregory of Nyssa in your support for universalism. However, some Eastern Orthodox theologians have argued that Gregory was *not* a universalist and that universalists are misinterpreting him. Do you have any thoughts on that?
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Alex Smith » Mon Apr 11, 2011 2:53 pm

Tom has been away looking after some family issues. However, I've let him know he has a question in case he has a spare moment. I was asked this question two weeks ago and I asked Robin (Gregory MacDonald).
Robin wrote:Well, I am not a Nyssa specialist myself but the specialists that I know are all in agreement that he was a universalist. Morwenna Ludlow wrote an excellent book on universalism in Gregory of Nyssa (OUP) and Steve Harmon's thesis was about the use of the Bible in the universalism of Clement, Origen, and Gregory (Uni Press of America). The standard text on patristic eschatology (Daly) interprets him as a universalist. The only person I have come across that suggested otherwise was a theologian who was not a patristics scholar and who had a vested interest in not having universalists with theological stature in the early church. So it seems pretty clear to me.


Since then, I've also read the chapter in "All Shall Be Well" on Gregory of Nyssa and I'm left with little doubt that he was indeed a universalist (I'll try to find a quote during my lunch break).
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Alex Smith » Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:48 pm

'All Shall Be Well' p54, Steven R. Harmon wrote:
Catechetical Oration 26 (GNO III/IV, 67), Gregory of Nyssa wrote:In the same manner, after the evil of the [human] nature which is now mingled and united with it [i.e., human nature] has been removed through long periods of time, when the restoration of those now lying dead in evil to the original state has come to pass, there will be a harmonious thanksgiving from all creation, even from those who needed no purification in the first place. The great mystery of the divine incarnation grants these and other such things. For through those things which were mingled with human nature - birth, rearing, growth, even to the extent of going through the experience of death - he accomplished all the aforementioned things, both freeing humanity from evil and healing even the originator of evil himself. For the purification of moral disease is the healing of illness, even if it is painful.
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby tomtalbott » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:41 am

Hi Alex,

Thanks for calling my attention to this issue, and sorry for the delay in replying. I have yet to read anyone who has denied that St. Gregory of Nyssa was a universalist, so I have no idea what the relevant arguments might be. But here is an additional quotation from the Address on Religious Instruction 35:
But those, on the other hand, who have become inured to passion, and to whom nothing has been applied to cleanse the stain--neither the sacramental water nor the invocation of divine power, nor the amendment of repentance--must necessarily find their place. Now just as the appropriate place for debased gold is the furnace, so the evil mingled with these natures must be melted away in order that, after long ages, they may be restored to God in their purity.

Seems pretty clear to me.

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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby tomtalbott » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:00 pm

George W. Sarris has written a nice piece on the universalists among the early church fathers, and he includes some additional quotations of note from St. Gregory of Nyssa. You can find his post on the ChristianPost.com website at the following URL:

http://blogs.christianpost.com/good-reads/2011/04/hell-it-hasnt-always-been-forever-25/

It's worth checking out.

-Tom
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby pilgrim » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:59 pm

The claim is repeated here with reference to Edward Beecher:
http://blogs.christianpost.com/good-rea ... orever-25/
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby JasonPratt » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:31 am

Someone named "Gregory" (obviously not our Robin Parry) posted an interesting quote from Gregory of Nyssa here in a recent discussion at Victor Reppert's Dangerous Idea journal, involving Gregory's commentary on the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

The quote is taken (purportedly?) from the sermon "On the soul and resurrection":

Gregory of Nyssa, from 'On the soul and resurrection' wrote:This, in my opinion, is the 'gulf'; which is not made by the parting of the earth, but by those decisions in this life which result in a separation into opposite characters. The man who has once chosen pleasure in this life, and has not cured his inconsiderateness by repentance, places the land of the good beyond his own reach; for he has dug himself the yawning impassable abyss of a necessity that nothing can break through. This is the reason, I think, that the name of Abraham's bosom is given to that good situation of the soul which Scripture makes the athlete of endurance repose....Meanwhile the denial of these blessings which they witness becomes in the others a flame, which burns the soul and causes the craving for refinement of one drop out of that ocean of blessings wherein the saints are affluent; which nevertheless they do not get.


Gregory-the-respondent says that for brevity's sake "I did not finish the entire passage where he describes those who are so wedded to earthly passion that there is no remittance in the age to come."

Anyone want to work on that? (I'm not a Patristics scholar by any stretch of the imagination, so I have to let other people fiddle with these things. :) )
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby SLJ » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:21 pm

Here's an online version of On the Soul and the Resurrection.

I think Gregory the Commenter stopped reading way too soon. His quote is found at the end of pg 106, but Gregory of Nyssa wasn't nearly done yet. The quote below begins around pg 110.

Gregory of Nyssa wrote:In fact what belongs to God must by all means and at any cost be preserved for Him. If, then, on the one hand, the soul is unencumbered with superfluities and no trouble connected with the body presses it down, its advance towards Him Who draws it to Himself is sweet and congenial. But suppose, on the other hand, that it has been transfixed with the nails of propension so as to be held down to a habit connected with material things,—a case like that of those in the ruins caused by earthquakes, whose bodies are crushed by the mounds of rubbish; and let us imagine by way of illustration that these are not only pressed down by the weight of the ruins, but have been pierced as well with some spikes and splinters discovered with them in the rubbish.What then, would naturally be the plight of those bodies, when they were being dragged by relatives from the ruins to receive the holy rites of burial, mangled and torn entirely, disfigured in the most direful manner conceivable, with the nails beneath the heap harrowing them by the very violence necessary to pull them out?—Such I think is the plight of the soul as well when the Divine force, for God’s very love of man, drags that which belongs to Him from the ruins of the irrational and material. Not in hatred or revenge for a wicked life, to my thinking, does God bring upon sinners those painful dispensations; He is only claiming and drawing to Himself whatever, to please Him, came into existence. But while He for a noble end is attracting the soul to Himself, the Fountain of all Blessedness, it is the occasion necessarily to the being so attracted of a state of torture. Just as those who refine gold from the dross which it contains not only get this base alloy to melt in the fire, but are obliged to melt the pure gold along with the alloy, and then while this last is being consumed the gold remains, so, while evil is being consumed in the purgatorial fire, the soul that is welded to this evil must inevitably be in the fire too, until the spurious material alloy is consumed and annihilated by this fire. If a clay of the more tenacious kind is deeply plastered round a rope, and then the end of the rope is put through a narrow hole, and then some one on the further side violently pulls it by that end, the result must be that, while the rope itself obeys the force exerted, the clay that has been plastered upon it is scraped off it with this violent pulling and is left outside the hole, and, moreover, is the cause why the rope does not run easily through the passage, but has to undergo a violent tension at the hands of the puller. In such a manner, I think, we may figure to ourselves the agonized struggle of that soul which has wrapped itself up in earthy material passions, when God is drawing it, His own one, to Himself, and the foreign matter, which has somehow grown into its substance, has to be scraped from it by main force, and so occasions it that keen intolerable anguish.


Interesting stuff...
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby TGB » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:11 pm

A book club (online or otherwise) reading through Gregory's stuff would be VERY cool.

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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby SLJ » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:01 pm

TGB wrote:A book club (online or otherwise) reading through Gregory's stuff would be VERY cool.

Tom


I'd like that too.
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:54 am

I think the "Gregory" of the thread would answer by denying that this further quote from "On the Soul and Resurrection" over-rules the observation made (apparently?) earlier that some souls shall not get the refinement of the blessings wherein the saints are affluent.

(On the other hand, he has recently admitted that St. Gregory might have been a proponent of universal reconciliation in his youth but "matured" out of it. ;) My reply to him on this was that in theory the maturation might have been either way, and that we would need a solid chronology of authorship to chart any movements from him on this part.)
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby roofus » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:03 am

JasonPratt wrote:I think the "Gregory" of the thread would answer by denying that this further quote from "On the Soul and Resurrection" over-rules the observation made (apparently?) earlier that some souls shall not get the refinement of the blessings wherein the saints are affluent.

(On the other hand, he has recently admitted that St. Gregory might have been a proponent of universal reconciliation in his youth but "matured" out of it. ;) My reply to him on this was that in theory the maturation might have been either way, and that we would need a solid chronology of authorship to chart any movements from him on this part.)


There are so many claims on both sides of these issues that simply demand that we bow to the claimers authority, as there are quite often no sources given, or the sources simply chain to other sources. Another way to argue in this light is to simply cut to the chase: "accept my claims by my authority.

There seems to be so much work to be done!
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby SLJ » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:15 am

JasonPratt wrote:I think the "Gregory" of the thread would answer by denying that this further quote from "On the Soul and Resurrection" over-rules the observation made (apparently?) earlier that some souls shall not get the refinement of the blessings wherein the saints are affluent.


As I read it, Gregory did not say they would never get the blessing, but that while they remained tied to the fleshly desires of this world they cannot receive them. The later quote I gave detailed the torment they would experience as they were dragged free of that bondage by God.

But I don't know that this particular instance can be considered generally universalist, because he's speaking particularly of
that soul which has wrapped itself up in earthy material passions


.... which does not necessarily encompass all levels of sinners and sin.

Since this one chapter is all I've read of Gregory, I may not know how to understand him properly.

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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:54 am

roofus wrote:There are so many claims on both sides of these issues that simply demand that we bow to the claimers authority, as there are quite often no sources given, or the sources simply chain to other sources. Another way to argue in this light is to simply cut to the chase: "accept my claims by my authority.

There seems to be so much work to be done!


I certainly give him credit for at least quoting St. Gregory! Though he seems fuzzy about dealing with other quotes from St. Gregory (aside from allowing that, uh, maybe he was after all in his immaturity before he grew up as a Christian teacher. :) But I can hardly fault him for that move in principle.)
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby JasonPratt » Fri Apr 29, 2011 8:42 am

Tom has himself now brought up some further quotes from the same text to discuss with "Gregory" in the thread. I'd say Tom is doing very well so far! :D -- but of course opinions might vary. (Such as "Gregory"'s opinion. :mrgreen: )
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Kaviraj » Tue May 03, 2011 1:49 pm

[deleted. I found the link :)]
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Sobornost » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:07 am

Regarding Gregory – a piece of very sloppy scholarship here be a non-expert – I’m going to quote Wikipedia -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_of_Nyssa

It is generally agreed that Gregory believed in universal salvation or resurrection. In the Life of Moses, he writes that just as the darkness left the Egyptians after three days, perhaps redemption [ἀποκατάστασις] will be extended to those suffering in hell [γέεννα].This salvation may not only extend to humans; following Origen, there are passages where he seems to suggest (albeit through the voice of Macrina) that even the demons will have a place in Christ's "world of goodness".Gregory's interpretations of 1 Corinthians 15:28 ("And when all things shall be subdued unto him ...") and Philippians 2:10 ("That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth") support this understanding of his theology.

However, in the Great Catechism, Gregory suggests that while every human will be resurrected, salvation will only be accorded to the baptised.While he believes that there will be no more evil in the hereafter, it is arguable that this does not preclude a belief that God might justly damn sinners for eternity.Thus, the main difference between Gregory's conception of ἀποκατάστασις and that of Origen would be that Gregory believes that mankind will be collectively returned to sinlessness, whereas Origen believes that personal salvation will be universal.

OK – I have seen this discrepancy between Gregory’s earlier writings and his Great Catechism referred to before by Orthodox scholars who want him for the ECT camp (they make a distinction between the heterodox youthful Gregory and the orthodox ‘mature ‘Gregory’ of the Great Catechism). My two pence worth in this debate – and its just a suggestion – is that Gregory in the Great Catechism is presumably writing for new/immature Christians. And if his teaching about universalism is less certain here than in his other writings one reason could be that like Origen he held to a notion of ‘double truth’ – namely, that universalism should only be fully disclosed to mature Christians already schooled in Christian virtue. Perhaps I’m talking rubbish :lol:
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby akimel » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:01 am

I came across this article yesterday which is germane to the discussion of this thread: "The Fire of Purgation in Gregory of Nyssa’s De anima et resurrectione."
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Feb 01, 2015 6:32 am

There is an academic paper you can read entitled Reconsidering Apokatastasis in St Gregory of Nyssa's On the Soul and Resurrection and the Catechetical Oration. One point mentioned is
This claim, that the unrepentant will be separated from the “land of the good,” precludes any notion of universalism transposed onto St Gregory by modern ...
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Light of the East » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:49 pm

I guess this is as good a place as any to put up my first post. I am coming in here to act as devil's advocate for the Hellfire & Brimstone Club. The reason I am doing so is because I am really catching hell (pun intended) for my interest in Patristic Universalism. Therefore, it is necessary for me to throw up all those doubts that are being shoved in my face and get my responses in order.

My first question is this: I understand that up to the fourth century and the time and writings of Augustine, the teaching of apocatastasis was pretty widespread in the Church. So where and when did the Hellfire Club begin? Is that to be laid primarily at the feet of Augustine? In your opinion, why didn't the writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa and others carry the day?

As a bonus question, to the best of your knowledge, when did the grave (Gehenna) become Hell?

Thanks for your answers and insights.

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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:17 pm

Light of the East wrote:I guess this is as good a place as any to put up my first post. I am coming in here to act as devil's advocate for the Hellfire & Brimstone Club. The reason I am doing so is because I am really catching hell (pun intended) for my interest in Patristic Universalism. Therefore, it is necessary for me to throw up all those doubts that are being shoved in my face and get my responses in order.

My first question is this: I understand that up to the fourth century and the time and writings of Augustine, the teaching of apocatastasis was pretty widespread in the Church. So where and when did the Hellfire Club begin? Is that to be laid primarily at the feet of Augustine? In your opinion, why didn't the writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa and others carry the day?

As a bonus question, to the best of your knowledge, when did the grave (Gehenna) become Hell?

Thanks for your answers and insights.

Ed


There is an actual historical group, called the Hellfire Club. See:


Hellfire Club was a name for several exclusive clubs for high society rakes established in Britain and Ireland in the 18th century. The name is most commonly used to refer to Sir Francis Dashwood's Order of the Friars of St. Francis of Wycombe.[1] Such clubs were rumoured to be the meeting places of "persons of quality"[2] who wished to take part in socially perceived immoral acts, and the members were often involved in politics. Neither the activities nor membership of the club are easy to ascertain, for the clubs were rumored to have distant ties to an elite society known only as, The Order of the Second Circle.[3][4]

The first official Hellfire Club was founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton and a handful of other high society friends.[5] The most notorious club associated with the name was established in England by Sir Francis Dashwood,[6] and met irregularly from around 1749 to around 1760, and possibly up until 1766.[7] In its later years, the Hellfire was closely associated with Brooks's, established in 1764. Other clubs using the name "Hellfire Club" were set up throughout the 18th century. Most of these clubs were set up in Ireland after Wharton's were dispelled.[8]
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Cindy Skillman » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:25 pm

Welcome to the group, Ed!

I encourage you to post in the Introductions section and let us know as much about yourself as you're inclined to share. (I don't remember if that's the exact name of the section, but something like that.) You probably noticed that we have a "one topic per week" rule--the introductory post doesn't count against that, so please don't hesitate. I approved your post, and you have one more post to go (or maybe two) and then your posts will automatically go up when you submit them. That's our low-tech "firewall" against spambots joining and, you know, spamming us. If your post doesn't get approved right away, that's my fault, or Jason Pratt's. I'll try to keep an eye out, but Jason's really more diligent than I am.

I'm going to tag @JasonPratt and @Paidion for your question. I could attempt an answer, but they know a lot more about the early fathers than I do.

Again, good to have you and I hope you find everything you need in your quest. :)
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby JasonPratt » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:43 am

Light of the East wrote:My first question is this: I understand that up to the fourth century and the time and writings of Augustine, the teaching of apocatastasis was pretty widespread in the Church. So where and when did the Hellfire Club begin? Is that to be laid primarily at the feet of Augustine? In your opinion, why didn't the writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa and others carry the day?


Eternal conscious torment as a Christian doctrine goes back at least as far as the 2nd century (the 100s), and although there's some dispute as to whether some patristics held it or not (such as Irenaeus and Justin Martyr), others are quite indisputable, Tertullian being a big example. This is aside from the question of canonical meaning; also aside from extra-canonical texts that aren't strictly patristic (such as apocryphal texts) but still were widely regarded as orthodox.

As a Jewish doctrine, ECT goes back into the 1st century and beyond, but there's the usual spread of differences and some probable oversimplifications in writers (like Josephus) reporting positions.

As to why the writings of orthodox trinitarian (and proto-trinitarian) fathers didn't carry the day for universal salvation, that's partly because they weren't trying to dogmatically settle that question; even when using universal salvation as a maximum Christological argument, they were aiming for the Christology and other related theological points. It's also partly because many of them held the doctrine of reserve, where they deemed it better to give common people simpler ideas even if inaccurate ones, on the theory that uneducated and spiritually immature people would only abuse the truth -- but then that affected the shape of the writings they left behind. Stronger threats were naturally more useful for opposing and inoculating against heretical positions (regardless of which side thought the other was heretical), and that played its part. Relatedly, after the days of Nyssa and Theodore of Mopsuestia, the western half of the Empire was under constant raiding threat by pagans (who were also sometimes neo-Arian Christians), and this played a part in people's attitudes. As the catechetical schools denounced each other over subtle Christological matters, and flung the same denunciations at authorities trying to stake out a central orthodox position, a crisis developed over which institution should best be capable of passing along or (where necessary) rendering dogmatic judgments about what counts as correct and incorrect belief and about how true Christians should be identified as in common union together. This came down to the Roman bishop in the seat of Peter, and the Roman Emperor in Constantinople, both of whom had motivations to paint chief authorities in the catechetical schools (like Origen and TheodoreMop) as radical heretics to be excomm'd posthumously. Eventually this led to the split in Orthodox Catholicism between the Roman Catholics on one side and Eastern Orthodoxy on the other. And that split would necessarily encourage the idea of deadly final penalties for those outside the faith on either side.

There is also some evidence, although I haven't looked into it myself yet, that after the fall of Constantinople in medieval times, Russian Orthodoxy led a renaissance that borrowed heavily from Roman Catholic ideas -- but the ruthlessly cruel byzantine scheming of Byzantium (Constantinople) doesn't give me much expectation that the leaders there managed to keep some pure doctrinal light only swallowed by Russian tampering afterward.

So the too-simple answer is that there is no simple answer. Sorry. ;) :mrgreen: :geek:

Light of the East wrote:As a bonus question, to the best of your knowledge, when did the grave (Gehenna) become Hell?


That depends on what you mean by the question, and even then you're going to get some different answers. The simplest and I think most historically correct answer is that "hell" is simply "hole" or "pit" in pre-English Germanic languages, and translates "sheol" pretty literally; consequently, it translates anything in the NT that also renames or translates "sheol" well enough. That includes Gehenna, which is connected in the NT to "hades" being used as an Greek alternative term to "sheol". If anything, "hell" translates "Gehenna" too shortly; it ought to be the hell of lamentation, "Ge/ga" being one of the synonyms for "sheol" although usually used for a more open pit or indention, thus also for "valley", thus also for the geographical feature of the valley of the (sons of) lamentation around 3/4 of Jerusalem.

Whatever those terms can mean Biblically then, "hell" can mean Biblically. There's nothing at all wrong with the word. Gehenna became hell when Christians started teaching in ancient Germanic languages, however early that was.

If you mean, when did Gehenna start meaning a finally hopeless punishment, that was one of the several Jewish positions predating Christianity, using the physical valley of Gehenna as an analogy; and the question of when some Christians picked it up is just the question of what idea is original to Jesus' teaching and how far the apostles kept to it before multiple ideas show up among different respected orthodox teachers (and why that happened). So, no simple answers there.
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Geoffrey » Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:05 am

JasonPratt wrote:If you mean, when did Gehenna start meaning a finally hopeless punishment, that was one of the several Jewish positions predating Christianity, using the physical valley of Gehenna as an analogy...


Jason, I have seen this claim more times than I can remember. I have never once seen in a document pre-dating A. D. 30, however, the Greek word "Gehenna" used to refer to post-mortem unpleasantness.

The earliest I have ever seen the Greek word "Gehenna" used to refer to post-mortem unpleasantness is in the mid to late 2nd century A. D.
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Re: St. Gregory of Nyssa

Postby Paidion » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:18 pm

I think Gehenna is the Lake of Fire about which John wrote in Revelation.

Jesus gave many warnings about the dangers of going to Gehenna:

Matthew 5:22 But I tell you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the Gehenna of fire.
Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into Gehenna.
Matthew 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into Gehenna.
Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Matthew 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the Gehenna of fire.
Matthew 23:15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of Gehenna as yourselves.
Matthew 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to Gehenna?
Mark 9:43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to Gehenna, to the unquenchable fire.
Mark 9:45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
Mark 9:47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
Luke 12:5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, fear him!


In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus says that King will say to the "goats", ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the lasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." I think this "lasting fire" to which Jesus refers, is Gehenna or the Lake of Fire.

However, I think the purpose of Gehenna is that of correction. It is part of bringing the hardened and rebellious to repentance and submission to Christ . It is a very severe correction, and it would be better to avoid it if possible, and Jesus seems to have suggested ways to avoid it.

"Gehenna" is not the same as "Hades." The latter means "the grave," although there were people, even among the Jews, who thought it was the place to which people went after death, and Jesus employed that belief in his parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the point of the parable being that even if it were possible for someone to return from the dead and tell the living about the suffering of some people in Hades, they would not repent.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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