Very true Kevin, I was reflecting about it the other day and discussing with another person and we were like am I certain about this to have someone risk this possibility?
Thanks Kevin for sharing the link from Ravi. Need to check it out!
Very true Kevin, I was reflecting about it the other day and discussing with another person and we were like am I certain about this to have someone risk this possibility?
Now that one is a certain possibility
Please don’t wait to find out!
Thanks for the extensive work and scriptures shared. I really appreciate it. I didn’t know there was such a conversation on Connect before!
I was going to ask more about the spirit, soul and body, greek text etc and the implications for anihilation but one might need to check out that conversation to ensure one is not reinventing the wheel.
However, I got your point - just that I don’t think I’d be willing share this with one who asks me about "after this life"for the unbeliever…you did mention in one of your posts , I can’t give it word for word but your implication was that people might be tormented for a time before anihilation (correct me if wrong). But I thought about eternity and How a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, why would anyone risk temporary torment at all? Who knows what this even means in eternity and not our time?
I’d rather focus on encouraging people to know the Lord now first and foremost in response to His love. Based on the evidence we have and convictions, one can stand and boldly declare Salvation in Jesus Christ alone. I think the Good news is what I’d rather emphasize because God does not intend that people seek God out of fear of punishment.
On the other hand, when I look from the flooding in Noah’s time, Sodom and Gomorrhah, How God dealt with Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, the Captivity of Israel * even Israel did not believe prophecy about their captivity till it happened)…, it is clear that God does what He says.
So, I rather not consider a possibility that I am not totally convinced about based on scriptures because if otherwise hmm it is indeed a fearful prospect. So on the matter of eternal torment and annihilation I would agree with Kevin that the latter is a position I’d rather be wrong about…
I’ll end my thoughts here and thanks for this discussion
@Kevin_Hurst: "Just a few thoughts in reply here. I have been in a discussion on this subject before on Connect and it could probably go on until doomsday "
Oh my God, i hope not!
@Kevin: “I would just refer to Daniel 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
To me this gives a side by side comparison in the OT of what is going to happen in the future judgment. If everlasting life means to be with God in everlasting conscious bliss and fellowship, then everlasting shame and contempt would have to be the opposite of that; everlasting conscious shame and contempt.”
Here is another possibility. Everlasting Judgement is a one-time Judgement with unending consequences and effects. Everlasting Redemption is a one-time Redemption with unending consequences and effects. So Everlasting Condemnation could well be a one-time condemnation with unending consequences and effects.
Also, the opposite of an unending Life of joy and bliss is not an unending miserable Life, but rather no Life at all. Remember that Christ Jesus is everywhere present (In Him we live, and move, and have our being), so to be totally separated from Him would be to not live, not move, and not have any being. Yes?
As far as the usage of Greek words related, here is a source which shows that Philo and Josephus didn’t use the word for “everlasting” as meaning unending forever:
Regarding Zoe, the only Source of Zoe-Life is Christ, and the lost have no permanent connection to Christ, since they reject union with Him. Thus, they have no immortal life, just as Adam and Eve lost their immortality which they would have had if they hadn’t fallen and broken the direct connection to Christ-Life.
Again, i note that the perfect Law of God had no provision for long-term punishment, but it was extremely fair, in that the punishment for wrong-doing never exceeded the wrongness of the the action. Thus, an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth was to show us that our punishments need to be totally fair, never excessive. And God will show us the meaning of perfect fairness in His final Judgement. However, infinite punishment for a finite amount of sinning is clearly not justice, is it?
You are right about Adam and Eve not being eliminated upon their sinning, but rather they lost their conditionally immortal state, and became able to die, both physically and spiritually (since only Christ has immortal Life). Eternal separation from an everywhere present God is to be nowhere at all, but rather a being cast into “outer darkness” at a time when there will be no more darkness in our universe.
Regarding the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, note that it is the last of a series of parables Jesus has been telling. And He Himself gives the meaning of the parable, at the end of it. And He doesn’t mention an unending hell there, since the parable takes place before the Judgement. The Second Death is immediately given after the Punishment required by the Judgement, then Death is cast into the Lake of Fire along with “Hell” (/Hades depending on translation).
I’ll listen to the Ravi presentation you refer to, thank you.
When you speak of “the terrors of the Lord” i don’t think you have to define that as limitless punishing and suffering. Just to be in the Presence of Infinite Power and Purity will be extremely terrifying for mere mortals. Add to that the knowledge (sometimes unconscious) each lost person will have of how much they thought / spoke / acted in their lifetime that was wrong, and we can understand their terror at facing a completely fair experience followed by death in the Fires of the Lake of consuming Fire.
So, if we don’t have to tell people that our most merciful, compassionate Father-God is going to torment/torture them forever if they don’t accept Jesus as Savior, then we can tell them He will be perfectly fair, and merciful to them, as He only gives them the precise amount of suffering and pain they deserve, and then embraces them in the completely "Consuming Fire"of His Almighty Love.
By the way, i hope your boss didn’t “annihilate” your job…
Hi, Nancy, i value your input on this subject. It may have been presented in some form(s) before, but i think i have some new factors to consider. Plus, the eternal torture of the lost has always seemed strange compared to the merciful and compassionate nature of Jesus which i have experienced. I tried hard to believe in unlimited punishment for the wicked, but it just didn’t seem like “justice” to have an infinite punishing for very limited finite sins.
And then i began so see some of the errors in the usual theology, and a new concept began to take form. Thanks for letting me share it.
"However, I got your point - just that I don’t think I’d be willing share this with one who asks me about “after this life"for the unbeliever…you did mention in one of your posts , I can’t give it word for word but your implication was that people might be tormented for a time before anihilation (correct me if wrong). But I thought about eternity and How a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, why would anyone risk temporary torment at all? Who knows what this even means in eternity and not our time?”
I was not saying lost people would be “tormented” in the sense of arbitrary pain, but rather that it would be highly fair and in keeping with His Law, to let them experience the memories of all those people they had harmed or caused to suffer. He might have something even fairer, by His Standards, than that, but to keep the lost alive for trillions and trillions of years so they can suffer, instead of granting them a final End which He could do at any time, seems totally inconsistent with His love, His compassion, His mercy, His fairness/justice and His Law.
“On the other hand, when I look from the flooding in Noah’s time, Sodom and Gomorrhah, How God dealt with Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, the Captivity of Israel * even Israel did not believe prophecy about their captivity till it happened)…, it is clear that God does what He says.”
You bring up some good examples of what i am saying. In the case of the flood, Noah warned the people of his time, for 120 years, that the flood was coming and they would be destroyed if they didn’t get on board the ark. Which they were – but they were not warned that they would also be tortured forever, and there is no indication that they are going to be. They may have additional conseqences for the evil they did in their lifetimes, but there is no OT rule that says anyone will be given unending punishing, for any crime or wrong. That is an invention of man’s theology, not a clear statement in Scripture.
Also, I have mentioned above that what happened to Sodom and Gemorrah is given in the Word, twice, as an example of what it will be like for the terminally lost.
2 Peter 2:6
“… he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly.”
“In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
We see, in both these verses, that the complete destruction by fire is what will happen to the lost. The “fire” was eternal, but did not burn the people eternally. The “fire” could not have been put out, since it was directly from God, but only lasted as long as it was needed to destroy the cities.
I hope we are beginning to see the pattern here. The standard concept of unending conscious suffering does not fit the Scripture when we look closer. True, Nancy?
I would like to start by saying, I found your response to those who are not saved, and the consequences of that choice….but I am afraid that I am not the correct Nancy to respond to……if I read further it should be Nancesah Nancy that you respond to.
I would feel discouraged if this was left unaddressed to the intended recipient….
With God’s Grace,
Thanks, Nancy (also). Error corrected. I apologize, if that is necessary – (which i doubt, because your correction was gracious). …[embarrased smiley face]
@DeanW, I have read through this thread where you have very energetically expounded your discovery that renders false a doctrine held almost unanimously as orthodox by Christians for two thousand years. Doesn’t that strike you as odd, brother?
Thanks for participating, Michael. You have struck on one of the things that has been very difficult for me, as you can imagine. I have struggled long and hard about how could so many brilliant people, more trained than i, have believed a doctrine that i can no longer see in the Word.
Still, there are others now, and in the past, who have seen what i am seeing, and one of them started me on my current search. The theologian is Clark Pinnock, and the book i looked at closely is “Four Views on Hell”.
The book has 4 thologians writing on the subject from 4 different perspectives, Literal, Metaphorical, Purgatorial, and Conditional. Here is a description of the book from Amazon:
“The interactive Counterpoints forum allows the reader to see the four views on hell—literal, metaphorical, conditional, and purgatorial—in interaction with each other. Each view in turn is presented, critiqued, and defended. This evenhanded approach is ideal for comparing and contrasting views in order to form a personal conclusion about one of Christianity’s key doctrines.”
That book led to more extensive research on my own, and i believe the Holy Spirit led me to some other sources and perspectives, which began to shape my own.
Now i see that the normal teaching on hell misses what the Scripture says about the destruction of the lost, the fact that only Christ has immortality (and Believers are given that at the Resurrection), but the lost are never given immortality, the Law of God never commanded any long-term punishment, Sodom and Gomorrah are given in Scripture as the example of what will happen to the wicked (complete consuming by Eternal Fire from God), etc.
Of course, the compassion, the grace, the kindness, the mercy, that God has shown me, a “recovering atheist” who has greatly deserved severe punishment, all serve to reinforce that He will treat the lost with much more mercy and compassion than to keep them alive forever so He can torment/torture them.
As you may have read above, infinite punishing for a very finite life of sin is not justice (by His Law) but rather injustice, whereas “an eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth” is quite fair according to His Law, which Jesus, David and Paul described as perfect.
One of the things that especially got my attention is the fact that Eternal Judgement, Eternal Condemnation, Eternal Redemption, Eternal Punishment all have the same construction in Greek, and that is a one-time occurance followed by unending effects. Which is something that not many people seem to have noticed, and it was one of the things that helped me see more clearly that the unending punishing of the lost is not consistent with what the Spirit was converying; instead a Judgement and Punishment that is perfectly fair, supremely fair, followed by a compassionate removal of life force which is the Second Death, would be extremely loving. And sin and sinners will then be no more, just as David said:
"For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
"In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
Another convincing factor was finding out about “Gehenna”, the word Jesus most often used for the fate of the lost, and finding out there were never any live people in the lake of fire (Gehenna), but only dead bodies, and Isaiah backed that up in 66:24. Plus, Christ said Gehenna destroys both body and soul.
Sorry, i got a little carried away. I’m still so excited in seeing, and sharing, the mercy and compassion of our perfect Heavenly Father/Dad, that i want to share all i have been given about the subject.
I would be glad to discuss your points of disagreement, and see if i can share the answers to your questions that help resolve them. It took me a long time to be able to accept a new way of seeing what the Word said all along, so i try to be patient, as He has been so patient with me.
Thanks again, Michael.
Interesting phrasing Michael…took me a while to get the point you were making
In going through this thread, I’m not sure I can explain my position against annihilationism better than has already been done, but the subject does put me in mind of a scene from the Mel Gibson movie, Braveheart.
In the final act of the movie, William Wallace is brought before the Royal Magistrate to answer for his “crimes” against King Edward the Longshanks and to be publicly executed. Wallace suffers grueling torture at the hands of the Magistrate, and continuously rebuffs the Magistrate’s offers for a swift death if he merely admits his crimes and pledges fealty to the King. As the torture wears on, it appears to the Magistrate that he will finally get his confession. He leans down to hear Wallace’s whispered word… only to have Wallace shout “Freedom!” It’s clear to the Magistrate that he will not get what he’s after out of Wallace, so he finally orders his beheading.
In this scene, it is clear who holds authority over life and death – Longshanks. But when it came down to it, for all his authority over Wallace’s body, Wallace’s heart remained his own, and so Wallace’s death was a release, and thus a reward rather than a punishment.
Apply this reasoning to annihilationism. If God is truly God, He must be God over all. If Hell is eternal, then God’s authority remains supreme, even over the sinner’s rebellion. But if Hell is a place of annihilation, where the souls of the eternally rebellious are eradicated, then in at least this respect, the sinner’s authority is SUPERIOR to God’s. Like William Wallace, there is a place within him where the King will never reign supreme, until the very moment that the sinner is blasted into oblivion.
In short, annihilation necessarily argues that the sinner is the true God, and Yahweh is less than God.
Interesting one Jeremy,
well, given the teachings of founding
fathers…see article shared by Kevin, exposition from Ravi, countlesss other pastors, we can’t possibly name all here and above all the scriptures, there is certainly much that can be said about this topic…
I tried doing a random study on the use of the word everlasting in the New Testament using some Bible versions, Strong cocordance and dictionaries and observed that “everlasting” in it’s greek form aionios is associated with timing. I think the implications of this for annihilation is profound. However, as much as I would have loved to ask many more questions and present my thoughts about the points presented for anihilation, I was begining to wonder at what seems to be the real issue …
Why am I begining to think or so it seems to me that the issue of annihilation might be much more about man’s perception of God that it is about about different scriptural interpretations ?
I really appreciate the scriptures provided in the posts and Dean’s convictions about the matter I think what drives convictions is very vital because on my part , as I read I am yet to find scripture that convicts me of the anihilation possibility.
So, if I were to defend this position, I would want to be sure my evidence from scriptures lines up (because His Word is infailible) - and not because it is implausible for me to imagine a loving God and people who rejected Christ’s sacrifice being tormented forever.
In reality, it’s so heart wrenching just thinking about it especially when someone passes on. Frankly, each time time I lost someone, I could take comfort because of the hope of the ressurection. In cases where I was not certain about their salvation, I could only hope they had received the Lord in their last minutes. I could not bear to think otherwise. Like someone said, we can’t talk about eternal judgements casualy, it is most heart wrenching because the stakes are too high.
I am also reflecting about the following;
there is the price Jesus paid on the cross so men would have eternal life and not be condemned. The very gospel we read in English was first translated into English with the price of the translator’s life. Christians have faced lions, and died violent deaths accross the centuries and are continually being matyred today ( check open doors) because they would rather die than not preach this good news. So I am thinking, why this high price? It’s true the primary thing is that men are reconciled to the Lord, yet 2 Corinthians 5:11, Appostle Paul’s cry for his people in Romans 9 and Jesus’s words about judgement, the Book of Revelation indicate that rejecting Christ means making a choice for damning eternal consequences worst than anihilation.
For this reason I shudder just thinking about one being wrong about anihilation…
Hi Jeremy, and welcome. I enjoyed the movie Braveheart, and especially the scene where Wallace shouts out FREEDOM!, which you refer to. I see this topic a little differently, though.
In the case of conditioned, or conditional, immortality, there is nothing immortal about the person who is persistently lost. And their rebelliousness must be eliminated from the Kingdom of Heaven. There will be no more rebellions after the End of sin and sinners.
And the Word makes clear that there will be nothing but the ashes of dead bodies, corpses, in the Lake of Fire, after the final Judgement and Punishment, called the Second Death.
“For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the Lord, so shall your offspring and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares the Lord. And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
Also, Jesus said Gehenna (the Lake of Fire), destroys both body and soul.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (the Lake of FIre).”
“Then Death and Hell/Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the Second Death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire (which Jesus called Gehenna)”.
The persistently lost are never given immortality, and they are destroyed body and soul in the Fire that never goes out – they are given a supremely fair treatment / punishment followed by a compassionate termination. He commands us to love our enemies, because that is His nature, also – so in His mercy He prevents them from suffering forever.
I use the example above, of a favorite dog, one you really love best, who gets rabies and begins to bite everyone viciously. You may still love your once best-friend, but because you know they cannot continue to live without hurting others, you have to “put it to sleep”. You don’t torture your old friend, you just have to end their life for their own good, and the good of everyone else.
It will be the same way with the permanently lost of mankind. Jesus wept over the people of Jerusalem who would soon be destroyed for rejecting their Messiah, and i believe our Lord will feel the pain of the lost being judged and their lives ended, but they must be terminated for they would be miserable in His Presence, and they would continue the “war of rebellion” of Satan against God.
So it will be a case of “I love you, but you must die now”. And then there will be no more war, and no more sinners. The concept of eternal torment/torture portrays God as maintaining endlessly the life of the sinner, empowering them to sin continuously eternally, instead of mercifully stopping their existence. Which would mean He grants them immortality, but the Scripture never says that, only mankind’s theology.
We can maintain that God’s justice requires them to be tortured forever and ever, but His Law never had any provision for long-term torment/torture, since the strictest penalty for sin was death, a separation from physical life – the Ending Punishment will be a complete separation from the Source of Life, in mercy and compassion – He knows that He would have to force them to be completely different in order to save them for Eternal Life, and perfect love must be chosen freely, not forced.
Hey, that’s right! FREEDOM to exist forever only comes from oneness with Christ, for there is no other Source of unending existence. In Him, “we live, and move, and have our being” – totally apart from Him we have no life, no motion, no being. And God’s treatment of the lost will show both His Fairness/Justice toward, and His loving compassion for, His creatures who rejected Him.
Say, Jeremy, i was reviewing your post and i think i did not do justice to one of your points, so let me take another look.
Here’s what you said:
"Apply this reasoning to annihilationism. If God is truly God, He must be God over all. If Hell is eternal, then God’s authority remains supreme, even over the sinner’s rebellion. But if Hell is a place of annihilation, where the souls of the eternally rebellious are eradicated, then in at least this respect, the sinner’s authority is SUPERIOR to God’s. Like William Wallace, there is a place within him where the King will never reign supreme, until the very moment that the sinner is blasted into oblivion.
In short, annihilation necessarily argues that the sinner is the true God, and Yahweh is less than God."
There is a fallacy in this “less than” statement i think. The final destruction of the lost does not make them “the true God”, or “Yahweh less than God”. Why? Because our All-powerful Eternal Heavenly Father/Dad is always ultimately in control of everything – yet He wants His “forever children” to freely choose to want to be with Him, for perfect Love requires that freedom to exist.
He doesn’t want robots who are programmed to say, “I luv U God, I luv U God”, etc. He wants genuine relationship with dependent (yet somewhat independent) children who have chosen freely (with His guidance, encouragement, and empowerment, of course) to be with Him intimately for time beyond time.
Could He remove our “free will” (free within limits) at any time? Sure, but that is not His Plan nor His desire. Our freedom to choose Him permanently is infinitely valued. And that includes the total freedom He wants for the lost to be able to reject Him, and to reject a life with Him forever.
So does He let people determine their own destiny (within limits He sets)? Yes. Does that make them God? Not at all. They have no power or awareness, at all, to make choices apart from His enablement, second by second (or nanosecond by nanosecond).
I hope that helps you see a different perspective on the final elimination of the persistently lost (by their choice). And i hope you then see the mercy, the fairness, the compassion of our Dad who doesn’t want the lost to suffer any more than they have to, in order for Justice to be served, since they reject His forgiveness and salvation in Christ.
He has commanded us to love our enemies. So He cannot do less than He commands, and it will be with great empathy that He puts the rebel-kids to rest in nothingness. Think of how wrong it may have been to portray our perfect Dad as wanting to torture, for trillions and trillions of years (and beyond), His very own creatures who could have chosen to be Sons, if they had only become willing.
And intense compassion, plus the decree that sin and sinners must be brought to an End, is what the Word calls His Wrath, even though it comes from the one who is Perfect Love…
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the Truth.’ (Christ is the Truth)
1 John 4:8
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is perfect love.”
Matt 5:43-46 Jesus speaking:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?"
And if Jesus can command us to love our enemies, can His/our Father not love even His worst enemies? Does anyone torture the ones they love, non-stop, forever???
I also wanted to respond to what you said, Nancy, about wanting to see the final elimination of the lost (after a perfectly fair one-time punishment) clearly in Scripture before letting go of a long-held doctrine for many people.
I agree totally. It was one of the things that i had to resolve for myself, and that took quite a while. I tried to defend the unending torment of the lost, but the more i studied the issue, the more i could see that it was a teaching that depended on several misconceptions, and ignored a lot of the Word which indicated extinction instead of God keeping them alive to be tormented / tortured without the mercy of cessation.
That is why i have included many references above to support the triumph of loving mercy over infinite retribution. I won’t repeat them all here, but let me at least share, again, the first sections above so people reading here won’t have to go looking. Plus, you may be able to see them with different eyes than when you first read them. That’s no put-down – i also have had to study and restudy this topic over many years, to come to my current conclusions, and i am not done yet.
A. On Divine Judgment/Punishment
The soul that sins must die. Eze 18:20
The wages of sin is death, not eternal torture. Rom 6:2
The highest penalty of the perfect Law of God was simple death, with no provision for long-term torture. (please search Scriptures to verify)
Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins, He wasn’t tortured forever for them. 1 Cor 15:3
Eternal punishment is not “unending on-going punishing” but rather a one-time punishment with unending consequences and effects (similar to Eternal Judgment, Eternal Redemption, etc – one-time events with eternal consequences/effects).
The finally lost are given the Second Death, not the first eternal torture. Rev 2:11, 20:14
Only dead bodies, corpses, will be seen in the Lake of Fire which burns forever. Isa 66:24
B. On the final destruction of the wicked/lost.
The persistently lost are called “vessels of destruction” by Paul. Rom 9:22
Their final end is destruction. Phil 3:19
For, “Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it”. Matt 7:13
Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, “destroys both body and soul” according to Jesus. Matt 10:28
The last enemy of God to be destroyed is Death; the lost are destroyed first in the Second Death before Death is eliminated. 1 Cor 15:26, Rev 20:14, 21:8
Sodom and Gomorrah are the example God gives, twice, of what will happen to the wicked - destruction by Eternal Fire. 2 Peter 2:6, Jude 1:7.
(This was a complete burning up into ashes, with no long-term torture involved.)
God will destroy those who destroy the earth, and they will be ashes under our feet. Rev 11:18, Mal 4:3
I just finished listening to Ravi’s short discussion of the general area of the “final state of the lost”, linked to above. And i think perhaps he has not considered the body of ideas presented here, which are not quite the same as standard “annihilationism” (a term i don’t use – i would describe it, instead, as a compassionate termination of existence – after a perfectly fair one-time punishment – or “the Second Death”).
The keys to seeing the fairness/justice of the full concept which i present are that only Christ has immortality according to Scripture and only Believers in Him get permanent immortality of body and soul – those who reject an eternity with God are choosing self-destruction in the purifying fires of His love.
The standard of fairness/justice for the treatment of the lost before their termination is best seen in His perfect Law, which has no provision for long-term punishing, but the highest penalty was/is death (which is the “wages of sin”). And, since the finally lost reject the forgiveness and mercy and unending Life which our Father wants to give them, they could very fairly be allowed to experience all the suffering and pain which they have caused others in their lifetime, in thought, in word and in deed.
Following that experience, which could be compressed in time, the merciful thing for God to do is to put them out of their misery, forever, by passionately embracing them in His consuming fire (as Scripture calls it in several places). And thus, our teaching that He will keep the lost alive, second by second for eternity, so they can be tortured or tormented for an infinite amount of punishing (though the crimes were finite in scope), would be seen as a misunderstanding of both His fairness/justice, and His compassion for those who chose to be His permanent enemies, though He truly loves them, even as He has commanded us to love our enemies and do good to them.
Glory to our great Savior, both fair and compassionate, and wiser than our theologies have often been… Maybe, if you know Ravi personally, he would be interested in seeing for himself this possibility? Or are you reading this topic even now, Ravi? If so, welcome, brother, i look forward to your evaluation.
These musings raise more questions. The following are just a few.
When sin ushered death into our bodies did it eliminate the knowledge of good and evil?
What made us as God? The knowledge of good and evil or a immortal body.
If it was necessary to eject us from the garden where the tree of life flourished; were we created with immortal bodies?
Why have a tree of life if you are created immortal?
Are we concluding that a immortal body is the same thing as a immortal soul?
What is meant by the “breath of Life?”
Did GOD breath the “breath of Life” into a mortal body? Or a immortal body?
Do we conclude the “breath of Life” is simply the start of biological function?
Is the point of salvation to extend biological function of the body?
Is it accurate when we conclude in order for GOD to be considered fair or just it must be defined by what we consider fair and just? Or if GOD is not portrayed in the light of our conclusions than He is not a “perfectly loving God.”
Do we believe that conditions upon earth and the varied ways we resolve them, or the conditions that govern Heaven?
Is it logical to use terms like eternal punishment but not immortality?
Whatever eternal punishment looks like, isn’t “eternal” also immortality?
Just a few or the questions raised by some of the reasoning.
Some great questions, cer7. I may not have all the right answers to them, just now, but i am willing to engage in a process which will invite our Heavenly Dad to clarify the answers, for both of us. I will start, for some reason, at the bottom and work upward. May we both see things in a new way that will glorify our God, and show His fairness / justice and mercy clearly, as the Cross of christ does.
Q1 “Whatever eternal punishment looks like, isn’t “eternal” also immortality?”
A1: If the End of the punishment is complete elimination of the life force, there could be no imortality in it, by definition.
Q2: “Is it logical to use terms like eternal punishment but not immortality?”
A2: If the Punishment for the lost is exactly a fair experiencing of all the pain and suffering a person has caused others, and then a termination of all life force, then there is no immortality left, but rather a Punishment which has eternal effects, similar to Eternal Redemption, which is a one-time Redemption with unending effects / consequences. (likewise, Eternal Judgment, Eternal Salvation, etc)
Q3: “Do we believe that conditions upon earth and the varied ways we resolve them, or the conditions that govern Heaven?”
A3: I’m sorry, there seems to be something missing in the wording of this question, can you clarify it? Thanks.
Q4: "Is it accurate when we conclude in order for GOD to be considered fair or just it must be defined by what we consider fair and just? Or if GOD is not portrayed in the light of our conclusions than He is not a “perfectly loving God.”
A4: What is logical in this context is: what does God’s Law give as the highest punishment? In the Perfect Law, the most extreme punishment is death – there is never any punishment that requires “very long-term punishing”. And “the wages of sin is death”, not unending torture. So it is not our ideas of what is fair that count, but what God has revealed clearly as His way of treating evil. I believe He wants us to use His own guidelines for His merciful treatment of His enemies rather than an imagined theology.
Q5: “Is the point of salvation to extend biological function of the body?”
A5: The point of Salvation is to reconnect our mortal natures to His immortal nature, so that we may receive immortal bodies like His resurrected Body, indwelt fully by His Spirit, when He raises us up to be with Him, forever and ever (and ever, and ever, etc)
Q6: “Do we conclude the “breath of Life” is simply the start of biological function?”
A6: The “breath of Life” is not biological life which i believe is “Bios” in Greek, and that refers to physical life, and it is the origin of the word biology. But “Zoe”, spiritual life, is the breath of Life which empowered the made-from-earth body of Adam to become a “living soul” as Scripture puts it. And yet, when the first couple fell / sinned, they lost a direct connection to the only Source of eternal Life, so they died spiritually in a sense, but did not die physically. The Lord had told them that they would die in the very day that they rebelled, and so they did, but they lived on physically so that they could ask for (and receive, i believe) reconnection to the Source of Life that never ends.
Well, since this is getting a bit long, i’ll continue with the rest of the questions in a later posting. Do you have any feedback so far, cer7? Thanks for the interchange, it is exciting that we both may see things slightly differently as the result.
@DeanW Honestly, if hell is temporary and the punishment is temporary why bother with redemption? Most people would be content with just nothingness.
If redemption and punishment only occur once, with redemption producing results of immortality and punishment rendering nothingness; where’s the beef?
Lastly, if humans could accurately define GOD and all His attributes would that be GOD? Can humanity define its Creator? Is the Creator plausible or believable because He follows our understanding?
Thanks for trying to answer my questions. But knowing myself makes me understand others. I have no confidence in the reasoning of humanity. I accept that it is earnest, but I also accept that it is flawed. I am persuaded that what comes next is to a great extent a mystery to minds that at their best can only guess. It is good that our guessing does not distract from the need for salvation. It is great that not fully knowing does not rob me of what GOD has next for me, I just need to love Him and keep His commandments. Thanks!
Hi again, cer7, shall we continue from where we were? First, let’s finish the original set of questions before going on to the second set, OK? (I am going in reverse order from the bottom to the top of the first post.)
Q7: “Did GOD breath the “breath of Life” into a mortal body? Or a immortal body?”
A7: God breathed life into a mortal body. And the life He gave Adam/Eve was conditionally immortal. If they hadn’t rebelled, they would have remained connected to the Life of Christ (the Image of God), but they chose to be independent of the Source of unending Life, and thus broke the connection, becoming mortal – they died.
Q8: “What is meant by the “breath of Life?””
A8: That would be life from Christ, with the potential to have immortality by accepting connection to His unending Life. We are born spiritually alive yet mortal. We have to be “born again” to receive the eternal Life Christ has for us, else we will die physically, and spiritually. (The Lake of Fire destroys both body and soul, and the life force returns to God.)
Q9: “Are we concluding that a immortal body is the same thing as a immortal soul?”
A9: No, an immortal body would be an indestructible body, whether or not it was alive. An immortal soul is only possible when the person is directly connected to Christ, the Source of unending Life, and then they will get an immortal body at the Resurrection, which the lost are never given.
Q10: “Why have a tree of life if you are created immortal?”
A10: Adam and Eve were created conditionally immortal, the condition being that they remained connected to Christ, in whom they were created. They broke the condition, so they died spiritually (and later physically) and thereafter they, and all their offspring require a reconnection with the only Source of unending Life – which we have in Salvation by Him.
Q11: “If it was necessary to eject us from the garden where the tree of life flourished; were we created with immortal bodies?”
A11: No we were not created with immortal bodies, but the original couple could have lived forever if they remained connected to Christ, but not otherwise – that was the condition God set, and which they broke, so their bodies were mortal, and their souls were mortal, in need of a Savior. He kicked them out of the Garden so they could not just eat of the tree of Life and attain a form of immortality apart from Christ.
Q12: “What made us as God? The knowledge of good and evil or a immortal body.”
A12: The knowledge of good and evil didn’t make us God, only like Him in knowing both good and evil. Before they committed evil they didn’t have any first-hand knowing of anything but good. They never had an independently immortal body, only a conditionally immortal one, and they broke the condition, by doing evil.
Q13: “When sin ushered death into our bodies did it eliminate the knowledge of good and evil?”
A13: No, when they sinned they lost the conditional immortality they could have had (permanently) by remaining “in the Vine”, and it gave them their first experiential knowledge of evil, and thereby death.
I think that handles the first set of questions briefly. OK so far, cer7? I’ll go on, with the next posting, to the second set of questions soon. Hope you are enjoying this as much as i am – God will be glorified as we continue.