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disciple
10-28-03, 10:57 AM
I came across a post on another forum where somone received the following asking for others to comment on it for he could find nothing to argue against it with. I submit the same here for discussion.


Doesn't the Bible speak of "eternal torment"

Answer: No, the phrase "eternal torment" does not appear in the Bible.

Then why does the Bible say that the wicked will be destroyed with unquenchable fire?

Answer: Unquenchable fire is fire that cannot be put out, but which goes out when it has turned everything to ashes. Jeremiah 17:27 says Jerusalem was to be destroyed with unquenchable fire, and in

2 Chronicles 36:19-21 the Bible says this fire burned the city "to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah" and left it desolate. Yet we know this fire went out, because Jerusalem is not burning today.

Doesn't Matthew 25:46 say the wicked will receive "everlasting punishment"?

Answer: Notice the word is punishment, not punishing. Punishing would be continuous, while punishment is one act. The punishment of the wicked is death, and this death is everlasting.

Can you explain Matthew 10:28: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul?"?

Answer: The word "soul" has three meanings in the Bible: (1) a living being--Genesis 2:7, (2) The mind--Psalm 139:14, and (3) life--1 Samuel 18:1), which here refers to eternal life that God guarantees all who reach His kingdom. No one can take this away. The last part of Matthew 10:28 says both soul and body will be destroyed in hell.

Matthew 25:41 speaks of "everlasting fire" for the wicked. Does it go out?

Answer: Yes, according to the Bible, it does. We must let the Bible explain itself. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with everlasting, or eternal fire (Jude 7), and that fire turned them "into ashes" as a warning to "those that after should live ungodly", 2 Peter 2:6. These cities are not burning today. The fire went out after everything was burned up. Likewise, everlasting fire will go out after it has turned the wicked to ashes (Malachi 4:3). The effects of the fire are everlasting, but not the burning itself.

Doesn't the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 teach an eternal hell of torment?

Answer: No, indeed! It is simply a parable used to emphasize a point. Many facts make it clear that this is a parable. A few are as follows:

A. Abraham's bosom is not heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10, 16).

B. People in hell can't talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17).

C. The dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death. It is very obvious that the body remains in the grave, as the Bible says.

D. Men are rewarded at Christ's second coming, not at death (Revelation 22:11,12).

E. The lost are punished in hell at the end of the world, not when they die (Matthew 13:40-42). The point of the story is found in verse 31 of Luke 16. Parables cannot be taken literally. If we took parables literally, then we must believe that trees talk! (See this parable in Judges 9:8-15).

But the Bible speaks of the wicked being tormented "forever," doesn't it?

Answer: The term "for ever", as used in the Bible, means simply a period of time, limited or unlimited. It is used 56 times in the Bible in connection with things that have already ended. It is like the word "tall", which means something different in describing men, trees, or mountains. In Jonah 2:6, "for ever" means "three days and nights". (See also Jonah 1:17). In Deuteronomy 23:3, this means "10 generations". In the case of man, this means "as long as he lives" or "until death". (See Samuel 1:22, 28: Exodus 21:6; Psalm 48:14). So the wicked will burn in the fire as long as they live, or until death. This fiery punishment for sin will vary according to the degree of sins for each individual, but after the punishment, the fire will go out. The teaching of eternal torment has done more to drive people to atheism and insanity than any other invention of the adversary. It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause.

Brandan
10-28-03, 12:18 PM
First of all, if we are going to argue against "everlasting" punishment then we must argue against everlasting life as well. But I'll tackle this post.. I don't have much time though so I apologize if it is short.


Doesn't Matthew 25:46 say the wicked will receive "everlasting punishment"?

Answer: Notice the word is punishment, not punishing. Punishing would be continuous, while punishment is one act. The punishment of the wicked is death, and this death is everlasting.Bah, this is just stupid. I have never seen the word "punishing" used as a noun. We read the words "everlasting life" instead of "everlasting living" also. I'm curious as how these annihilationists reconcile a finite act of punishment on a finite individual with an infinite offense of an infinite individual.


Matthew 25:41 speaks of "everlasting fire" for the wicked. Does it go out?

Answer: Yes, according to the Bible, it does. We must let the Bible explain itself. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed with everlasting, or eternal fire (Jude 7), and that fire turned them "into ashes" as a warning to "those that after should live ungodly", 2 Peter 2:6. These cities are not burning today. The fire went out after everything was burned up. Ummm, the land where Sodom and Gomorrah once were located is still burning. It is a desert, salty and full of sulphur (brimstone), and in reality is a good picture of hell.


Doesn't the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 teach an eternal hell of torment?

Answer: No, indeed! It is simply a parable used to emphasize a point. Many facts make it clear that this is a parable. A few are as follows:

A. Abraham's bosom is not heaven (Hebrews 11:8-10, 16).I fail to see the point.


B. People in hell can't talk to those in heaven (Isaiah 65:17).So?


C. The dead are in their graves (Job 17:13; John 5:28, 29). The rich man was in bodily form with eyes, a tongue, etc., yet we know that the body does not go to hell at death. It is very obvious that the body remains in the grave, as the Bible says.I don't get this guys point.


D. Men are rewarded at Christ's second coming, not at death (Revelation 22:11,12).I still fail to see the point.


E. The lost are punished in hell at the end of the world, not when they die (Matthew 13:40-42). The point of the story is found in verse 31 of Luke 16. Parables cannot be taken literally. If we took parables literally, then we must believe that trees talk! (See this parable in Judges 9:8-15).Did Jesus simply teach us this parable because it sounded nice? If it's NOT teaching eternal punishment for the wicked, what exactly is it teaching?


In Jonah 2:6, "for ever" means "three days and nights". (See also Jonah 1:17).Give me a break! Has this person ever heard of context? Besides, "for ever" does not mean three days and nights. "for ever" in this case refers to the size of the earth. "Jonah 2:6, the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever;"


In Deuteronomy 23:3, this means "10 generations".This was figurative speech. This law was in force much later than 10 generations. It was meant to be in effect as long as the Old Covenant was.


In the case of man, this means "as long as he lives" or "until death". (See Samuel 1:22, 28: Exodus 21:6; Psalm 48:14).Yep, but so? This is used in a different context.


So the wicked will burn in the fire as long as they live, or until death.Are you saying they are burning now this very moment and will burn until they die?


The teaching of eternal torment has done more to drive people to atheism and insanity than any other invention of the adversary.Good - it's all part of God's plan for hardening individuals and increasing their punishment. Instead of "driving" people to atheism, I would hope it would drive an individual to their knees.


It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause.This person clearly doesn't know who MY God is.

GraceAmbassador
10-28-03, 12:31 PM
Dear Doug:

Of all people, you are the one, whose thoughts I would like to know about the 7th Day Adventist responses you posted above, I will be interested in your own answers.

Also, Brother Bill Twisse. He has a world of knowledge on SDA theology.

As for me, I would just concentrate on the argument made in the last phrase:

Why would teaching "eternal and continual punishement" as being the same thing as "eternal punishing" do this:


The teaching of eternal torment has done more to drive people to atheism and insanity than any other invention of the adversary. It is slander upon the loving character of a tender, gracious heavenly Father and has done untold harm to the Christian cause.
How can anyone be driven into "atheism"? Will the atheist now believe if we stop preaching about "eternal punishing"?
How can it be the "invention of the adversary"? Just as much as it does not say "eternal torment", the Bible does not say: "Behold yea thee and thou, whilst not that the adversary invented such an argument, that thou shalt suffer eternal punishement?" My point is always: If we will require a Biblical standard from one point, let's require the same standard from the other lest we be unfair and not balanced.

Where does it say in the Bible that it is a "slander upon the character of a tender gracious heavenly Father? What can be worse than some of the things done to the enemies of Israel in the O.T., for example, the mincing into pieces by Samuel, of a king, in the presence of the people? I am sure we all can quote many other things that, judging the character of God as this cultistic argument judges, then "god" would have no character at all, and would be indeed a "god" with small "g".

This argument about "slandering the character of God" is the very same they use when argumenting against Calvin. They use the same words: Calvin "slanders" God when he teaches about "election" and "predestination".

Finally, why and how has it "done untold harm to the Christian cause"? Do they mean that if we would stop preaching eternal hell, then "more people would get saved? Or do they mean that the enemies of the Christian cause would be less lenient with Christians? Or do they mean that missionaries and preachers all over the world would have a breakthrough in theology, finding the key for every question ever asked about evangelization? Or that preachers now would be well received in Oprah, Phill Donohue, Larry King Live, etc.? What is the harm? If we preach annihalation, which is basic what this is, would that make the sinner breath a little easier and feel more confortable in being punished?. Would they feel better if we say that they will go to hell, but only until judgment day when God will annihalate them?

Can anyone or anybody ultimately harm the Christian cause? I thought we were more than conquerors!

If yes, then is it not the SDA or, whatever organization espouses that God is a "little whimpy god" who lets people harm their cause, and that preach such legalistic set of rules for salvation be more a harm to the cause of the Gospel than preaching about an eternal, unending hell? Is it not the SDA worse that preaching about an eternal hell?

I can see a couple of skid road sinners breathing much easier now. They now know that they will spend only about 1000 years in hell, or may be one second, depending on when Jesus will return...

My style when debating with these people is: Answer your own question after you reason about the ones that I will ask on top of it. They can't!

Anyway, I also want to know your thoughts and every one else's thoughts.

Milt

GraceAmbassador
10-28-03, 12:38 PM
Dr. Gill:

I think we should publish your answers as "Answers to the annihalion argument of the SDA's".

Great resource!

Bill Twisse and I belonged (in the past) to a Forum called Former Adventists (I never was one but just took part on the Forum because I believe I could help them get out of legalism and understand Grace). The formers have answers for all these questions but are shut up by the current SDA's who still invade that forum with their arguments.



Thanks!

wildboar
10-29-03, 02:08 PM
I slugged this topic out with someone on another forum as well. As Dr. Gill pointed out, if we deny eternal torment and we are consistent we must also deny eternal life.

The most thorough refutation I have seen of both this and soul sleep is found in Vol. 3 of the Selected Works of John Calvin. The very last tract found in there is called Psychopannychia (the wake of the soul). I don't agree with every point that he makes, but he very thoroughly investigates all the relevant passages.

Calvin believes that the story of the rich man and Lazarus is a narrative and not a parable (which I disagree with him on). But he points out that even if it is a parable, a parable is a comparison founded in truth. The basic concepts of the parables must be actual realities for the parable to work. Those who teach annihilationism make the Parable and the passages in Revelation meaningless. Jesus would not have told the story of a man with a vineyard if vineyards did not exist.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

stauron
10-29-03, 04:17 PM
The only real trouble that I have is mostly a logical issue, not so much a directly scriptural one. I am not trying to discount the arguments that you fine gentlemen have presented, but I am not convinced by them yet either.

I thought that eternal life was the consequence of being "in" Christ.

I don't see anyplace in scripture that the unjust are given life of the ages.

I would love to be instructed on this point, because it has always kind of stuck in my craw no matter how the argument about the rest went.

Thanks

Brandan
10-30-03, 05:54 AM
I don't mean to be cruel here, and I mean no offense to you stauron, but right now, it doesn't seem surprising to me that one who has a problem understanding a future physical resurrection also has a problem with understanding eternal punishment. I'm sorry if this is so far off topic, but I think the two are related somewhat.

GraceAmbassador
10-30-03, 06:49 AM
Dea W.B.


Those who teach annihilationism make the Parable and the passages in Revelation meaningless. Jesus would not have told the story of a man with a vineyard if vineyards did not exist.

Absolutely correct!

What theorist want us to believe that, in order to make a point, Jesus had to resort to "bad theology", or meaningless fairy tales.

Duh! If they, the annihalationist, do resort to bad theology, it is natural for them to think that Jesus does the same...

Milt

disciple
10-30-03, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
I don't mean to be cruel here, and I mean no offense to you stauron, but right now, it doesn't seem surprising to me that one who has a problem understanding a future physical resurrection also has a problem with understanding eternal punishment. I'm sorry if this is so far off topic, but I think the two are related somewhat.
they would be related if the only reason he objected to eternal punishment was because of his preterism. i don't know if this is the case.

i was wondering earlier. who are the "big guns" evangelicals out there who openly teach annihilationism? the only one i know of is john r. w. stott. i don't know his stand on preterism but i know he's an annihiliationist and gets a lot of flack for it.

Brandan
10-30-03, 09:39 AM
Originally posted by disciple
they would be related if the only reason he objected to eternal punishment was because of his preterism. i don't know if this is the case.Ummm, I would tend to think so. There are some preterists who think "hell" or "gehenna" was completely fulfilled in 70AD! And if you take their theology to the logical conclusion, this would make sense. The hyper preterist mantra is "realized eschatology" - everything has been fulfilled. I'm beginning to see more and more each day how preterism is truly heresy of the worst sort.

stauron
10-30-03, 10:25 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
I don't mean to be cruel here, and I mean no offense to you stauron, but right now, it doesn't seem surprising to me that one who has a problem understanding a future physical resurrection also has a problem with understanding eternal punishment. I'm sorry if this is so far off topic, but I think the two are related somewhat. OK Then, back to actually argument instead of ad hominems, can anyone explain my original question?

I am really asking for input here, not disingenuously looking for a fight or trying to promote heresy of the worst sort.

If you all have such brilliant, tight arguments, then tell me how we get around giving eternal life to those outside of Christ?

If scripture teaches eternal punishment (which I have no problem with I am just trying to be consistent) then why is eternal life associated with being in Christ?

Brandan
10-30-03, 10:45 AM
I would hardly call suffering for eternity "life".

disciple
10-30-03, 10:59 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
I would hardly call suffering for eternity "life".
there are people who are suffering in this world every day. would you say that they aren't alive or that they don't have life? i see what you're saying here but i don't think it adequately deals with stauron's objection.

Brandan
10-30-03, 11:43 AM
People are alive physically - yet they are dead spiritually. Everywhere I look I see walking "dead" men.

disciple
10-30-03, 11:55 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Gill
People are alive physically - yet they are dead spiritually. Everywhere I look I see walking "dead" men.
i agree. i think then the issue to discuss is what is meant by life. is it simply existence/consciousness or is it something else? and are we talking about life spiritually or physically? i would say that in the eternal punishment model, people exist eternally but they don't have "life" (defined as spiritual life being in a relationship with God). so they are alive in the sense of being conscious but this does not necessarily mean that they have "life." how would annihilationists describe or explain this?

here's a question: how would one explain eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46) in terms of eternal destruction (cf. 2 Th 1:9)? i know that is a big issue among annihilationists that how can it be eternal destruction if they still exist. anyway, wondering how one might explain 2 Th 1:9 to an annihilationist.

disciple
10-30-03, 12:36 PM
Originally posted by disciple
i was wondering earlier. who are the "big guns" evangelicals out there who openly teach annihilationism? the only one i know of is john r. w. stott.
here is a quote from an article i found:


Alternative, unorthodox views concerning the final state of the wicked are no longer limited to the fringe. Today, individuals who have been regarded as solidly within the evangelical camp are abandoning the doctrine of conscious, eternal punishment in favor of various "annihilation" scenarios. Probably the most prominent evangelical to go over to the annihilationist position is Anglican John R. W. Stott, Rector of All Soul's church in London. Stott's shift came to light in a book published by InterVarsity Press entitled Evangelical Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue. In this book, Stott responds to liberal Anglican David Edwards on a range of theological issues. It was in response to Edwards's position on judgment and hell that Stott presented his reformulated views.[6] Though Stott is probably the most respected evangelical to espouse the annihilationists' cause, others have joined this growing movement as well. Clark Pinnock, John Wenham, Philip Hughes, and Stephen Travis have all positioned themselves as annihilationists within the evangelical camp.[7] In addition, Adventist scholars who regard themselves as evangelical, such as Edward Fudge and David A. Dean, also actively propagate annihilationist views.[8]

see the following:

http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/cri/cri-jrnl/web/crj0085a.html
http://www.forananswer.org/Matthew/Mt25_46.htm
http://www.ifca.org/voice/01Sep-Oct/James_Mook.htm

GraceAmbassador
10-30-03, 12:52 PM
Let me put my no cents worth on this conversation.
I read a few writers, including the Greek Scholar, Spyro Zodhiates, and it seems to me that this text is one of the few examples in the Bible (2 Thes. 1:9) where one has to interpret the text just with a little bit of sense of proportionality.

Now, no one, please, go on preaching on this or establishing a doctrine on this. This is only my opinion and is open to correction. However, it is important enough to consider.

Let's see it:

1 - The term: The term "everlasting destruction" seems almost an oximorum in the English language: How can something or someone be "eternally or everlastingly destructed". Does not the word "destruction carries an end in itself. "Let the fire burn to its own destruction, said the fireman". All of us have seen in our groceries stores something similar in olive oil bottles: Extra virgin oil. How can anything be "more or less virgin than the other" what does that mean?

So, in order for us to find out what this "strange wording" means, or "eternal destruction" or "everlasting destruction" or a destruction that never actually is destroyed enough and keeps on being destructed endelessly through eternity, allow me to use what I called above, the principle of proportionality:

2 - One versus the other in the same proportion: The penalty of everlasting destruction, which the Apostle explains as "being away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power", first of all, dooms its recipients to be away from the presence of the Lord forever. One of the people I worked for in the past, whose name I leave out since it will elicit the scorn of many, used to define hell as the "total absence of God and that which is Godly". Look at the world today. Even with the presence of the Ek-klesia here we see so much misery and suffering that sometimes is hard to bear. Now imagine a place where people are away from the presence of the Lord and the Glory of His power!
In any case, I believe there is an implied idea of consiousness since the "everlasting destruction" if taken not as a "strange construction of words", means "a destruction that never ends, or, continual destruction". I believe Paul would have said it plainly that this people would be "eternally destroyed" and there would be no need to say "away from the presence of God and the Glory of His power". This would be the same as to say: "You will die and be buried 6 feet under and when it rains, you will see how cold it gets down there when the dirt is wet...Tough on you!" We would not say that to anyone, I think. Neither would the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to say how it would "feel" after they had been destoyed if the destruction was to be ever completely achieved .

3 - The promise for the elect: Without quoting scriptures, let us try to agree that the elect will have the opposite, or everlasting reward which then means a clearer "reward that never ends" in the presence of God and the Glory of His power and that state will also be a conscious state. Then we have this:

4 - Proportionality: The idea of punishment for the wicked in my humble and subject to correction opinion is directly proportional to the punishement of the wicked, just as much God's character of love for the elect is proportional to His character of justice or judgment for the wicked.

As per the above, I have no choice to believe that both the the reward for the saint and the punishment for those who ain't (just to get a rhyme) is proportional in timing and intensity just as God is proportional in His character of Love, and Justice and all the other of His attributes.

How does it seem to you?

I welcome comments and corrections.

Milt

GraceAmbassador
10-30-03, 01:05 PM
First: Allow me to exempt Spyro Zodhiates from any responsibility on my opinion about "proportionality". Do go suing him for what I said. I mentioned his name just as one of the scholars I checked with and could not find any creative answer. The theory of "porportionality" between reward and punishment is a product of my own creativity or lack thereof.

Second: The terms in 2 Thes 1:9 "away from the presence of God and the Glory of His power" is subject to the modifier "everlasting". So, these people would be "everlastingly separated from God and the Glory of His power." I propose to you that this eliminates AD 70 from the scenario since we can witness and many people could thereafter "the presence of God and the Glory of His power". Or else, I missed something and somebody please, give me an update!

Milt

disciple
10-30-03, 01:25 PM
Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
The penalty of everlasting destruction, which the Apostle explains as "being away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power", first of all, dooms its recipients to be away from the presence of the Lord forever.
i think you've keyed in on the correct phrase in the 2 Th passage:

2 Th 1:6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed for our testimony to you was believed.

although we still need to decide what is meant by away from the presence of the Lord. because certainly, if one is annihilated, they are also away from the presence of the Lord are they not? but i think the statement will make little sense if we took it this way. it seems to me that the penalty of eternal destruction is that the person is away from the present of the Lord and from the glory of His power which can only mean that the person is conscious or aware of this penalty (the penalty would seem to be a non-penalty if the person wasn't even there to know about it).

also, there is the issue of 1 Co 15:32 ...let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. if this is true, then there is no real reason for anyone to repent. if i could live it up in this life and my only penalty is to cease to exist while everyone else gets to party on with God, then i think for many it would be a toss up. let's see, live like hell in this life and just get snuffed or live a life of discipline and restraint in this life and get to live forever. depending on my mood that day, i'd pick either.

personally though, i do have an emotional problem with eternal torment (or God torturing) but that is my own issue. i also struggle emotionally with God commanding some of the things He did in the OT. thankfully though, theology is not determined by how i feel about it. but it still doesn't "fix" my emotional struggle (or make it go away). i perfectly accept that He is God and can do whatever He pleases and that whatever He does is just and good and righteous. but i still struggle with some things emotionally. and this is indeed one of those things.

Brandan
10-30-03, 01:53 PM
2 Thess 1:9, (GILL), Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction,.... With destruction both of soul and body, though not with the annihilation of either; their gnawing worm of conscience will never die, and the fire of divine wrath will never be quenched; the smoke of their torment will ascend for ever. Sin being committed against an infinite and eternal Being, will be infinite in its duration; nor will it cease to be in the persons punished, who will not be in the least reformed or purged from sin by punishment; which will make the continuance of it just and necessary. And these will be driven

from the presence of the Lord; as the former clause may express the punishment of sense the wicked will feel in their own breasts, this may intend the punishment of loss; or what they will be deprived of, the presence of the Lord, in which the happiness of angels, and of glorified saints lies; and may also signify how sudden and terrible their destruction will be. As soon as the Lord appears, they will perish at his presence like wax before the fire; and so awful will be his appearance, they will flee from it with the utmost terror, and call to the rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of the Lord, and to screen them from his wrath:

and from the glory of his power; or his glorious power, in which he shall come, and which will be exerted, and shown in raising the dead, and gathering all nations before him, in passing sentence on them, and in executing it. For he has power, as to save, so to destroy, as to glorify the bodies and souls of his saints, so to destroy the wicked, both body and soul, in hell; and the glory of his power will be seen in the one, as well as in the other. And now it will be, that tribulation will be rendered to the troublers of the Lord's people.

wildboar
10-30-03, 02:13 PM
The following is taken from an article in the Standard Bearer which can be found at http://www.prca.org/standard_bearer/volume79/2002oct01.html
and which is largely a quote from an article in Newsweek.


The subject of hell has been gaining some attention in recent months-especially because there are increasing numbers of churches who deny its existence or ignore it altogether. Newsweek magazine, August 12, 2002, has a cover feature on "Visions of Heaven," showing that views of heaven serve to inspire as well as inflame Jews, Christians, and Muslims. There is a follow-up article on hell, written by Kenneth L. Woodward. There are some interesting comments on common views of our day:

The most famous sermon in American history was a graphic evocation of the horrors of the damned in hell. As Jonathan Edwards expanded on his subject, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," so many moans and cries rose from his proper New England congregation that the learned theologian had to pause while his listeners recoiled in fear of their fate in the life to come. That was on July 16, 1741. Such a sermon could not be preached today-not even by Billy Graham, who has eschewed the fire-and-brimstone sermons of his youth. If the modern pulpit is any index, hell has disappeared from the modern religious imagination, and so has Edwards's angry God.

Historians tell us that hell began to fade, at least among liberal Protestants, during the 19th century. By the end of the millennium, it was a doctrine that most Christians cheerfully ignored. Today, few Roman Catholics line up on Saturday nights to confess their sins, even the "mortal" kind. For born-again Christians, hell functions mainly as a goad for the unconverted. Once saved, the twice born have only to worry, as Graham himself once put it-about how high a place they'll reach in heaven. On television, celebrity preachers discourage negativity. Robert Schuller says he hasn't preached on hell in 40 years. Asked which kind of God they believe in, most Christians prefer to think of him as a friend in high places. (Apparently no one reads the Book of Job anymore.) And hell, for those who think about it at all, is a place for other people….

…For most educated believers, such grim imaginings ("hot flames of hell sear the bodies of suicides and other terrible sinners, while their errant souls writhe in a foul pit of snakes") long ago lost their power to coerce. Images just as grotesque are available at the local multiplex. According to most contemporary theologians, hell is not an eternal torture chamber. Rather-and here the pope and Graham agree-hell means eternal separation from God.

My own hunch is that the prospect of hell never deterred anyone who had not first experienced genuine fear of the Lord. But that traditional religious experience is hard to come by when God is imagined as our Best Buddy. It may well be, as some contemporary theologians argue, that even the worst sinners will eventually be restored to the kingdom of heaven. But this attenuated view of hell tends to rob the evil that we do of its lethal gravitas. "If what we do now is to make no difference in the end," argued the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, "then all the seriousness of life is done away with."

Ultimately, we become what we love. Hell is not a hot place, but a community of those who remain outside the circle of Divine Embrace. All are called to enter heaven, but it is hubris to suppose that any one of us is worthy of a free ticket.

Amazing that a well-known writer and editorialist writes all of these things. There is obviously some discernment of the historical teachings of the church as that is based on Scripture's testimony. Surely it is true that there is either a denial or at least ignoring of the subject of hell in the preaching in most churches today. It is true that the gospel must be preached: the proclamation of Christ crucified as set forth in Scripture. But one cannot then ignore what has been called the "antithesis." Hell is a reality; it is a definite place of punishment where the wicked must endure the wrath of God forever because of their sins. Though Scripture describes it in earthly terms, the reality of that place of suffering must be more terrible than anything which can be described by man today. Scripture presents heaven and hell. Scripture speaks of elect and reprobate. That such antithesis is denied or ignored points out the fact of the rapid apostasy of our day and age. God grant that we remain faithful to the Word-also concerning the place of hell.

GraceAmbassador
10-30-03, 03:11 PM
Dear Disciple:

You are correct!

Origniannly posted by Disciple
although we still need to decide what is meant by away from the presence of the Lord. because certainly, if one is annihilated, they are also away from the presence of the Lord are they not? but i think the statement will make little sense if we took it this way. it seems to me that the penalty of eternal destruction is that the person is away from the present of the Lord and from the glory of His power which can only mean that the person is conscious or aware of this penalty (the penalty would seem to be a non-penalty if the person wasn't even there to know about it).
This is exactly what I meant by this:

Originally posted by Gace Ambassador
2 - One versus the other in the same proportion: The penalty of everlasting destruction, which the Apostle explains as "being away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power", first of all, dooms its recipients to be away from the presence of the Lord forever. One of the people I worked for in the past, whose name I leave out since it will elicit the scorn of many, used to define hell as the "total absence of God and that which is Godly". Look at the world today. Even with the presence of the Ek-klesia here we see so much misery and suffering that sometimes is hard to bear. Now imagine a place where people are away from the presence of the Lord and the Glory of His power!
In any case, I believe there is an implied idea of consiousness since the "everlasting destruction" if taken not as a "strange construction of words", means "a destruction that never ends, or, continual destruction". I believe Paul would have said it plainly that this people would be "eternally destroyed" and there would be no need to say "away from the presence of God and the Glory of His power". This would be the same as to say: "You will die and be buried 6 feet under and when it rains, you will see how cold it gets down there when the dirt is wet...Tough on you!" We would not say that to anyone, I think. Neither would the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to say how it would "feel" after they had been destoyed if the destruction was to be ever completely achieved .

What I meant is that we do not say to a person: "when you die you will feel the cold of the wet dirt", because we know it is absolutely insane to believe that someone would feel anything after the "destruction" of death. Likewise, in a reversed sort of way, I do not believe that the Holy Spirit would have inspired Paul, after proclaiming the destruction of the wicked, to add the words "away from the presence of God and the power of His Glory" if the wicked could not somehow "feel" and "know" that they are in such a state.

One point that puzzles me is that the argument for annihalation, at least from those who presented to me presonally, espcecially the SDA is that a "loving God would never plan to punish people eternally". They have a disproportional and an inbalanced way to see the relationship between two of God's attributes: Justice and Love. (Or Righteousness and Love)
Actually those that so argument, are saying that God is inbalanced.

One fair question could be then: "Why does it make God inbalanced? It He not severely punishing the wicked by ultimately destroying them away from His eternal presence?"

Yes. Perhaps in all appearances it does not make God inbalanced because He is punishing severely anyway. The severity of the punishment, however, is disproportional to the blessedness of the reward". There we find a disproportion or inbalance. I believe that most every time (correction please) that the Bible mentions our rewards as opposed to the punishment of the wicked it mentions a perfect proportion between the severity of the punishment and the blessedness of the reward.

What concerns me is how the Bible deals with these two extremes of rewards:
Example:

If the reward is eternal, and in it we will reign and have eternal functions, then the punishment is eternal and in it there will be eternal sufferings.

I don't know, but that's what I think the point of the NT is when it speaks of one and the other as two opposites.

Psalm 85:10: Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other

I believe that this text is a great metaphor for the perfect balance of all God's attributes.

Milt

disciple
10-30-03, 05:07 PM
"Gentlemen, when you speak of heaven, let your face be all aglow and smiling and lifted up and brilliant and let it be unashamed when you speak of heaven. But when you speak of hell, any old face will do."

tomas1
11-16-03, 08:43 AM
I hope you don’t mind if I jump in here. I think both sides of this issue are guilty of thinking to highly of themselves.
The annihilationist thinks he can speak for God as to what punishment is just and what punishment is over the top when we can’t even decide in the natural realm between the death penalty and life imprisonment. Some think death is the more severe punishment others think it would be worse to sit and think about you crimes with no chance of release. We have no idea what nonexistence is like nether do we know what eternity will feel like. I think we should leave justice and vengeance up to God.
The average traditionalist thinks. “Man was created to last forever” when the Bible is clear that only God is immortal 1 Tim 6:16. If we were ever truly out of his presence we would no longer exist because he upholds all things Col 1:17.God can truly kill both the body and soul in hell.
Why can’t we just let the Bible speak for itself? The wages of sin is death, and wrath and destruction which is some how everlasting. Whether this means that God chooses to keep the reprobate conscious for all eternity or just that there is no chance for forgiveness is up to him and his justice. Only he knows what is just. We can however be sure that the punishment will fit the crime.

Bob Higby
11-16-03, 06:36 PM
Well, here we are back on this topic again! I could write for hours after what I have been through on this one.

A correction:

Adventist scholars who regard themselves as evangelical, such as Edward Fudge . . .

Ed, whom I was personally well acquainted with years ago but have since lost contact, was never an Adventist. Unless he has joined recently--which I simply do not believe. That is, unless it is the Millerite 'Advent Christian Church' which he once expressed some interest in. He was a Church of Christ pastor for many years. He was exiled from them over 'gospel' convictions of sola fide at the time of his censure, not the doctrine of hell. His book on that topic appeared later. The last I knew he pastored an independent assembly.

It was right after Ed published his book 'The Fire that Consumes' in 1982--that scores of other books defending traditional hell quickly appeared. Most of them were written by Calvinists. Ed was always upset about being mis-labeled as an Adventist. He has a website.

I sympathize with what Tomas has said and would label myself as neither conditionalist nor traditionalist. Jonathan Edwards was infralapsarian; thus his views of hell were based on 'eternal law' philosophy. Like thousands of traditional Protestants.

The apostles preached 'judgment to come' and left the details to God. We are not to describe what this eternal judgment is according to detailed speculation, only to warn men against the fearful prospect of facing judgment without a savior. It is enough that we state that it will be a terrible prospect. The apostles went no further than this. Hell-evangelism never converted a single soul in and of itself.

I would add, however, that the Bible surely teaches eternal conscious punishment of all wicked devils (whether spirit or human) and not annihilation! My friend Ed is wrong. I could write much as to why but it can wait.

Disciple and GA, I would like a defense as to why the Greek of 2 Thess. 1:9 must mean destruction 'away from' instead of 'proceeding from' God's presence. I favor the latter and believe it is the rendering that harmonizes with the rest of scripture.

GraceAmbassador
11-16-03, 08:06 PM
Dear Bill: Let me see what I can do here:

Disciple and GA, I would like a defense as to why the Greek of 2 Thess. 1:9 must mean destruction 'away from' instead of 'proceeding from' God's presence. I favor the latter and believe it is the rendering that harmonizes with the rest of scripture.
First, let me attempt to resort to the prima fascia text alone:

2 Thess 1:9, (KJV), Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

It appears that the text does say that the destruction will be:

1 - everlasting
2 - away from the presence of the Lord
3 - away from the glory of His power

I will propose two possibilities designated by A and B:

A - Away from His presence:
the word translated "presence" is prosopon which can be also translated:

1) the face

a) the front of the human head

b) countenance, look

1) the face so far forth as it is the organ of sight, and by it various movements and changes) the index of the inward thoughts and feelings

c) the appearance one presents by his wealth or property, his rank or low condition

1) outward circumstances, external condition

2) used in expressions which denote to regard the person in one's judgment and treatment of men

2) the outward appearance of inanimate things

Also, consider this: prosopon Word Count - (source The Blue Letter Bible (http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/1069030563-2634.html))
Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count — Total: 78
AV - face 55, person 7, presence 7, countenance 3, not tr 1, misc 5; 78

Doug if you reading this you may find it strange, but Bill knows me and he knows that I think many (if not all) things taught by Paul has some root in O.T. teaching and even wording. He does supresses Judaism in all its forms, but He the wording is of one who understood the O.T.

Here is what I am talking about:

Paul may be using the reverse teaching of the O.T. Blessing we all know:
Numbers 6:24-26, KJV
24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

vs. 24: - the "shine of the face of the Lord upon us" is synonymous with the blessing of God, or at least, one aspect of His blessing

vs.25 - the Lord's lifting up of His countenance is also a sign of His Blessings

In fact, through the O.T. we have this hebraism for blessings or happiness being indicated by the light of one's countenance. Cain had his countenance fallen, Jacob recognized something was wrong with Laban because of his countenance, and a few other examples.

Taking prosopon to mean, face, or countanance, or the "anterior part of the human head" (Thayer):

I would say that you are right, i.e., that what Paul is saying is simply that these doomed ones will not enjoy:
1 - The shine of God's face - blessing
2 - The lifting up of His countenance - blessing
So, destruction will be the absence of God's blessing and protection against the devil and hell. However it may not mean that God will be "absent" from such a destruction.

Then, we would have this:

Everlastingly these people will be destructed by God turning His face away from them, but it does not mean that God will not be in control or absent, aloof, or "away" in the sense of "not present" in their destruction. (Note that the term "the glory of His power" has implications far beyond anything we can imagine, meaning, perhaps, "eternal protection", which means in reverse, eternal un-protection.)

If I may, then, and if I am right, the verse should be read this way (pardon the Miltonian translation)

And they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, when the Lord will turn the light of His face away from them, and He not will never protect them using the glory of His power

Translated as such, I believe the automatic inference that God will be "absent" or that they will be "absent" from the presence of God, will be removed. Only His "blessed shine of His face, or His lifting up of His countenance" will be forever unavailable.

I believe exactly like you, Bill. This is not a very easy point to prove, and I do not want to make the text to say what I think it should say, but that is as close as I could get.

B - When will this happen?:

Now, check verse 10. It appears that it continues the clause on verse 9 by explaining what event, or when this will happen:

2 Thess. 2:10, KJV
When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

If if automatically infer that God will be "absent" from such a judgment, then we would be at variance with this:

Mt 25:28-33, (KJV)

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

If verse 2 Thess 2:10 and Mat 25:28-33 speak of the same event, then it is obvious that Jesus will be present, or God will be very much present. I do believe, (correction requested) that this is in line with N.T. teaching and that 2 Thess. 2:9 is not speaking of hell only, but perhaps the the event and the means whereby they will initiate the payment of their penalty, and how long it will last. It still proves that such destruction is eternal, but this alone is not what Paul is trying to convey.

I believe we can conclude without falling into error that such destruction will "procede from God's presence".

I hope this helps and does not cause undue polemic.

Milt

Bob Higby
11-16-03, 09:11 PM
Dear Milton,

I will study and ponder what you have presented over the next few days. Thanks for presenting your convictions.

Bob Higby
11-17-03, 05:00 AM
Dear Milt,

I would not discount what you have said at all about the face and countenance of God. In fact, I agree with it wholeheartedly. The presence of God for the believer certainly includes the comfort of beholding Christ's wonderful and approving face. This is one of the major aspects of enjoying the presence of the Lord's love and grace.

With regard to 2 Thess. 1:9, though, I'm doubting whether this 'presence' is the same for the wicked. Is it not possible that the same face of Christ which is joy to the righteous is terror and abhorrence to the wicked? In other words, is this passage indicating that the non-elect will never have the future privelege of beholding God's wonderful and gracious face--OR is it saying that the wicked will forever behold his face in horror--knowing that they rejected his grace. Just one additional thought to introduce this discussion.

disciple
11-17-03, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Disciple and GA, I would like a defense as to why the Greek of 2 Thess. 1:9 must mean destruction 'away from' instead of 'proceeding from' God's presence. I favor the latter and believe it is the rendering that harmonizes with the rest of scripture.
i thought i had already commented on this idea, but looking back through my posts, i could not find it. basically, i think that there are two aspects to God's judgment of the wicked: 1) it is away from (in the absence of) His presence of favor a la Num 6:24-26 like milton said; 2) it is in the very presence of His wrath and condemnation. so depending on what you mean by presence, it can be either. i believe this verse is discussing the former.

also, i strongly believe that the presence in 2 Th 1:9 is the same presence spoken of in Num 6:24-26 (rather than some literal physical presence, although this is not excluded; the figurative of favor/blessing is to be preferred as the primary sense here). this is the best explanation of the text IMHO. the reason that i believe that it is away from the presence or face of the Lord (i.e., His favor) is because of the preposition APO which generally means from or away from.

recall though, that i'm not intending to deny God's omnipresence but believe it means that His favor/graciousness/blessing is not present or available to those in judgment. God's face of favor, pleasure, and blessing is altogether absent from those who enter into judgment but He is still omnipresent in a 'physical' or 'ontological' sense (if we can even put God within those categories/terms).

wildboar
11-17-03, 10:27 AM
All that exists and will exists, exists because God speaks it. God is everywhere. At the core of hell is the terrible experience of the wrath of God this is why Jesus was able to make a propitiation upon the cross without going to the physical hell. Jesus experienced hell while on the cross.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

GraceAmbassador
11-17-03, 11:20 AM
Brethren:

Note the words of David:

Ps 139:1-24, (KJV)

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

David agreed with us (we're in good company) as to the presence of God always even if his bed would have been made in hell!

I believe that God will be present but will not make himself available to deliver them from torment. The idea is that there will be an awareness of God's presence, no longer as the Savior, but as the Just Judge.

Milt

tomas1
11-18-03, 05:59 AM
Amen! A sinner would love to be away from God.


I apologize for my bluntness of my last post it’s just that after hearing for my whole life that when the Bible says predestined it really means something totally different then escaping that error only to hear that when it says New Covenant it really means the same Covenant, It will take a lot to convince me that when it says words like perish and death it really means never perish and never die. It might, I just need to hear it from scripture!


Could some one help me out with this? We all agree that the sentence is forever. I just can’t seem to find except with 3 individuals listed in Rev 20:10 that its subjects are. So using the same logic we use to say that the Sabbath and the Priesthood of Aaron ended when their subjects did. Could not Hell (in a way) end when the sinner’s debt is paid? How long this takes would be up to the judge. Any scripture about this would be greatly appreciated.

Brandan
11-18-03, 07:32 AM
Good article by Jon Zens on Hell...

http://www.5solas.org/media.php?id=283

wildboar
11-18-03, 09:14 AM
I think at least part of the confusion comes from the difference between the modern philosophical definition of immortality and that of the Scriptures. SDAs and JWs have a field day preying upon the ignorance of many Christians who are ignorant of the Biblical definition of immortality. In the Scriptures, immortality is not simply eternal existence. Immortality is eternal life. Eternal life involves eternal fellowship with God. The Bible often speaks of the unregenerate as being dead. The unregenerate man is certainly conscious and alive by all medical definitions, but Scripturally he is a dead corpse and he is under the wrath of God.


Could not Hell (in a way) end when the sinner’s debt is paid?

The problem is that the sinner's debt is never paid. The person suffering eternal torment does not do so willingly as Christ did, and so is still in his sin.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
11-18-03, 09:27 AM
Originally posted by wildboar
I think at least part of the confusion comes from the difference between the modern philosophical definition of immortality and that of the Scriptures. SDAs and JWs have a field day preying upon the ignorance of many Christians who are ignorant of the Biblical definition of immortality. In the Scriptures, immortality is not simply eternal existence. Immortality is eternal life. Eternal life involves eternal fellowship with God. The Bible often speaks of the unregenerate as being dead. The unregenerate man is certainly conscious and alive by all medical definitions, but Scripturally he is a dead corpse and he is under the wrath of God.
good point WB. this is crucial in the discussion. death is often used as a metaphor.

Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

it probably never means just cessation of life functions in Scripture. to me, the idea of separation is present in almost all contexts. this (i.e., separation) seems to be what summarizes the idea of death best.

tomas1
11-19-03, 07:09 AM
I understand that this view is in the minority among Christians but there are some who are not SDA and JW who hold it. Fudge has already been mentioned and here is a good article by a reformed Baptist http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/5862/hell2.html. In the end the question is what does the Bible say.


Of course death and life are often talked of in their spiritual sense. As soon as a person believes he “has eternal life” and “passes from death to life”. But unless you are a hyper Preterist you think at some point this will also be physical.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live’. John 5:25. Surely this is physical as well as spiritual.
Am a reading you right that death unlike life never has final a physical meaning? I’ll still need some scripture on that one.

tomas1
11-19-03, 07:12 AM
The problem is that the sinner's debt is never paid. The person suffering eternal torment does not do so willingly as Christ did, and so is still in his sin.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar


I'll have to think about that one !

disciple
11-19-03, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by tomas1
I understand that this view is in the minority among Christians but there are some who are not SDA and JW who hold it. Fudge has already been mentioned and here is a good article by a reformed Baptist http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/5862/hell2.html. In the end the question is what does the Bible say.


Of course death and life are often talked of in their spiritual sense. As soon as a person believes he “has eternal life” and “passes from death to life”. But unless you are a hyper Preterist you think at some point this will also be physical.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live’. John 5:25. Surely this is physical as well as spiritual.
Am a reading you right that death unlike life never has final a physical meaning? I’ll still need some scripture on that one.
i guess my point was that death does not just mean cessation of life functions. that's the way our culture understands the term, but that doesn't seem to be the way it is presented in Scripture. the core meaning seems to be separation.

tomas1
11-21-03, 05:39 AM
[i]Originally posted by wildboar



The problem is that the sinner's debt is never paid. The person suffering eternal torment does not do so willingly as Christ did, and so is still in his sin.

[/B] This is a very convincing argument. I find it very comforting to think that not one of the billions of souls in hell for all eternity will have been like King Agrippa “almost persuaded” in this life or will never like Esau repent with tears or ever realize that God really is just and their punishment is deserved (Rom 3:19) or will never even after a trillion years come to willingly accept the sentence that is handed out for their own sin. The problem with it is I don’t think the Bible says anything that would lead me to draw that conclusion. (If it does please let me know)
Its arguments like this that really scare me. The fact is I can’t trust something just because it sounds so good. I have been deceived before. I have learned to hold on to the Word of God with both hands. If I can’t find it there I leave it to God. After all “The secret things belong to God” and to speak where he doesn’t seems to me to be in a way stealing. I know this can be a high bar but I think we will all agree that it is best not to make DOCTRINE from arguments,even ones as convincing as this one.
Before we go forward let me make it plain that I am not saying that all you guys are wrong and that I have been blessed with special incite on this issue far from it. I just don’t know the details of what God has planed for the reprobate. I don’t think the Bible tells us other than it’s bad……..and fair .
Thank you for bearing with me.

tomas1
11-21-03, 06:38 AM
it probably never means just cessation of life functions in Scripture. to me, the idea of separation is present in almost all contexts. this (i.e., separation) seems to be what summarizes the idea of death best. [/B]


Death doesn’t mean separation when the subject is natural phenomenon i.e. the Dead Sea, or animals (Ecc 9:4) or us (2 Cor 5:8). What is so special about the unelect? Doesent the Bible say they are like animals (Jude: 10)? It seems to me you are assuming what your trying to prove.

wildboar
11-22-03, 03:31 PM
Jude 10 says that the ungodly are like brute beasts in the stupid things they say, it does not talk at all about punishment or death. Many take passages from Ecclesiastes which speak of men being silent after death or perishing just like the beasts. However, these things are also said of believers, so if we are consistent it will lead us to become Sadducees. Other passages of the Scripture tell us of existence after physical death so we have to realize that David, Solomon and others were talking about things from an earthly perspective.

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The same Greek word is translated as both eternal and everlasting here. If the punishment is not everlasting for the reprobate it cannot be everlasting bliss for the elect. The Bible says these two things are everlasting, not man or philosophy. The Bible does not speak of a second chance for anyone.

Someone suffering in hell may experience sorrow for their sins because of their present state and the result of their sin, but they will not experience godly sorrow. Godly sorrow requires regeneration. As was shown by the Israelites and by the miracles of Jesus, every sign and wonder in the world can be performed but no belief or true repentance will result unless it is given by God.

The Bible never says that Esau experienced true repentance. In fact he becomes the model set forth as the example of God's everlasting hatred.

As for Agrippa, he seems to have been being sarcastic and that is I think what the translators of the KJV were trying to convey.

In this instance the NIV is actually more literal and also captures the idea better.

NIV Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, "Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?"

The following verse also makes more sense in light of this translation.

NIV Acts 26:29 Paul replied, "Short time or long-- I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

tomas1
11-22-03, 05:35 PM
Now that was a great post WB
It’s scripture like that that I need to hear. First let me admit that I am no scholar of the Greek so please feel free to let me know when I screw up like with the Agrippa reference. I was trying to relate with scripture what I have experienced in my own life on more than one occasion. As I shared the gospel with someone and looked into their face I’ve seen sorrow and regret but they for reasons known only to them and God could not or would not repent. I just don’t think we know the hardness to any individual persons heart.

As far as the punishment being eternal the same as “eternal life” that is exactly my point. We know that hell (the punishment) is eternal and the life of the believer is eternal but were does it say that the sinner is eternal. It might I just haven’t found it yet.


Again I’m not saying that there is any pardon or forgiveness for the sinner just that we don’t understand the what is required to satisfy God's justice

tomas1
11-22-03, 06:21 PM
Someone suffering in hell may experience sorrow for their sins because of their present state and the result of their sin, but they will not experience godly sorrow. Godly sorrow requires regeneration. As was shown by the Israelites and by the miracles of Jesus, every sign and wonder in the world can be performed but no belief or true repentance will result unless it is given by God.

If you are saying that Gods requires Godly sorrow and repentance for his wrath to be satisfied and can give me some scripture to prove it. You will have convinced me of my error.
I am under the impression that repentance is required for justification not punishment. If that were the case how could the punishment on Sodom be complete surely their was no repentance there.

GraceAmbassador
11-22-03, 06:36 PM
Again I’m not saying that there is any pardon or forgiveness for the sinner just that we don’t understand the what is required to satisfy God's justice

We do understand what is required to satisfy God's Justice!
Just take a look at Calvary!

Jesus fully and completely satisfied God's Justice at Calvary on our behalf. In Him we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ!




As far as the punishment being eternal the same as “eternal life” that is exactly my point. We know that hell (the punishment) is eternal and the life of the believer is eternal but were does it say that the sinner is eternal.

By logical necessity, if the sinner is the one punished with the "eternal life of punishment" then the sinner must be in a way "live eternally" well.

Perhaps if you would explain what is exactly what you said we will be able to provide you with a proper answer.

Your point, however, the one quoted first, is of a great concern to me. Perhaps, again, you misspoke. Any Christian can only be a Christian because the Holy Spirit reveals to him what is required to satisfy God's Justice It is the most basic and fundamental revelation the Holy Spirit gives us about God, His justice and Grace. Note: It is not that one needs or must know, it is that they get to know because the Holy Spirit reveals to them by Grace.

wildboar
11-23-03, 12:42 PM
tomas:

I was making reference to the two types of sorrow Paul spoke of.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus speaks of consciousness after death. It would seem rather deceptive on the part of Jesus to teach a parable had absolutely no truth behind it.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
11-24-03, 11:42 PM
Tomas,

I once believed in the final annihilation of the wicked (following gradations of suffering in the last judgment) for many years after experiencing true conversion. I was once a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. So I have true sympathy for the motive behind what you are presenting to us, even though I do not now agree with the conclusions you seem to be espousing (if I properly understand what you are saying).

In no way do I believe the doctrines of Al Martin, Robert Morey, and Marc Carpenter: i.e., the teaching that those who presently deny an eternity of suffering in hell for the wicked are lost. This teaching would equate personal salvation with maturity of knowledge, which is against the gospel of free grace. God justifies us by grace in Christ through faith and THEN (afterward) works within us to clarify the truth on many points.

WB states:
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus speaks of consciousness after death. It would seem rather deceptive on the part of Jesus to teach a parable had absolutely no truth behind it.

Agreed. But so many Protestant expositors have gone beyond the language of scripture in Luke 16. It is simply untrue to propose that this is not a parable--but a full statement of ultimate reality 'behind the curtain.'

The rich man has thought and reasoning. This would not be possible if hell consisted of physical torture 'without measure' (Calvin): ditto Romanism, Islam, and Jonathan Edwards. (Note: current day free-will teachers like Dave Hunt promote the sermons of Edwards on hell as passionately as the Calvinists). Although Abraham denies Lazarus the comfort of a drop of water on the tongue, it cannot possibly be said that the rich man experienced no sense of the goodness of God. He had rational thinking and the ability to present his argument. This would not be possible of souls experiencing 'infinite torture' in 'bodies of asbestos' designed to communicate 'immeasurable suffering' caused by white-hot fire (like the hottest stars) torturing infinitely at every moment.

APO

Arndt and Gingrich present five meanings; all used in the NT.

1. Of place, exclusively, from, away from.
2. To denote the point from which someth begins in literal and figurative meaning.
3. To indicate distance from a point.
4. To indicate origin or source.
5. To indicate cause, means, or outcome.

The typical evangelical interpretation assumes that #1 and #3 are the essence of what 2 Thess. 1:9 is saying. I do not believe that this is the correct interpretation of the passage. The context, as well as the rest of the New Testament, teach that the wicked shall suffer IN the presence of God (points #2, #4, and #5) and not AWAY FROM his presence. In other words, the proper translation is 'from' or 'issuing from' and not 'away from.'

There is no absolute proof of either translation. Both are possible. The issue is that of which translation honors the emphasis of the WHOLE of scripture.

disciple
11-25-03, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
APO

Arndt and Gingrich present five meanings; all used in the NT.

1. Of place, exclusively, from, away from.
2. To denote the point from which someth begins in literal and figurative meaning.
3. To indicate distance from a point.
4. To indicate origin or source.
5. To indicate cause, means, or outcome.

The typical evangelical interpretation assumes that #1 and #3 are the essence of what 2 Thess. 1:9 is saying. I do not believe that this is the correct interpretation of the passage. The context, as well as the rest of the New Testament, teach that the wicked shall suffer IN the presence of God (points #2, #4, and #5) and not AWAY FROM his presence. In other words, the proper translation is 'from' or 'issuing from' and not 'away from.'

There is no absolute proof of either translation. Both are possible. The issue is that of which translation honors the emphasis of the WHOLE of scripture.
grammatically i would say that #4 or #5 are possible, but #2 sounds temporal and doesn't really work here. even if taken locationally (e.g., begins at his face and glory), this just doesn't sound normal/natural to me. here is what i found on B-Greek list:


Without being dogmatic about it, I have to say that it seems strange to me to think in terms of PROSWPON TOU KURIOU AND hH DOXA THS ISCUOS AUTOU as agents of OLEQROS--the more so in that hUPO is more normal for a personal agent, or an instrumental dative for an impersonal means. More natural, in my view is to understand APO with these genitives in an ablatival function: "who will pay everlasting ruin away from the presence of the Lord and away from his glorious might" or the like. Moreover, the relative pronoun hOITINES must refer back to TOIS MH EIDOSIN QEON KAI TOIS MH hUPAKOUOUSIN TWi EUAGGELIWi TOU KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU--i.e., we have an active construction, so for that reason also APO with these genitives hardly seems likely as introducing an agent construction or even a source. Perhaps that argument can be made, but it seems unnatural to me.

disciple
11-25-03, 12:06 PM
here's another post from B-Greek:


APO PROSWPOU appears 6 times in the NT (326 times in 210 passages in the LXX—but I'm not going there). In each instance it appears that it signifies separation from the presence of . . . whomever. In Acts 5.4, e.g. it says

hOI MEN OUN EPOREUONTO XAIRONTES APO PROSWPOU TOU SUNEDRIOU . . .
I think that the fact that this is said in regard to their relationship to a group (viz., the Sanhedrin) makes it abundantly apparent that the idea is separation rather than source.

disciple
11-25-03, 04:53 PM
in addition, we must decide what the function is of the prepositional phrase APO PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU KAI APO THS DOCHS THS ISCOUS AUTOU is. what does it modify? is it adverbial modifying TISOUSIN (pay) or is it adjectival modifying hOLEQRON AIWNION (eternal ruin)? i've been told that a good rule of thumb is to take prepositional phrases as adverbially unless it makes no sense or makes better sense adjectivally. i confess that the grammars lack much in terms of discussions on prepositional phrases. so the answer here must be tenative whatever reading we take.

i think it makes more sense to take it adverbially here in that 'the paying' is 'away from' the Lord's face/presence and 'away from' from his glorious power. the reason i prefer this reading is that the Lord's face/presence is usually used in the positive sense in the last day (e.g., his favor). plus it just makes more sense to me (ruin proceeding from the face/presence and his glorious power doesn't read very well to me). in addition, 'ruin' hOLEQRON AIWNION modifes hOITINES (whoever) and describes what happens to them, not what the Lord does or what comes from the Lord (in other words, the subject of the sentence is not KURIOS but hOITINES). this reading also accords better with other texts that speak of the judgment:

Mt 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'

Mt 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, `Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;...46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

also see Ps 5:5; 6:8; Lk 13:25ff; Rev 22:15

wildboar
11-25-03, 05:04 PM
APO PROSWPOU appears 6 times in the NT (326 times in 210 passages in the LXX—but I'm not going there). In each instance it appears that it signifies separation from the presence of

Actually it occurs seven times. Perhaps this person simply was not counting the passage in question. I have a certain theological stand on this issue, but I'm taking no real firm stand on the proper translation of this passage as of yet. I do intend to look into it, I'm particularly interested to see what Wanamaker says about this in his commentary.

Regardless, there do seem to be at least one instance in the NT where separation of presence is not intended.

ESV Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus,

This passage seems to use apo to designate origin or source.

It is certainly true that the remaining passages Acts 5:41; 7:45; Revelation 6:16; 12:14; 20:11 all seem to speak of separation.

From a strictly grammatical viewpoint I am inclined at this point to make no firm judgment on the 2 Thessalonians. If Paul used this phrase more often I would probably be more certain of the proper way in which to translate it. Even then, I could not be completely certain since as is shown Luke uses it twice one way and then once another way.

I have not fully investigated the passages in the Septuagint, but apo prwsopou seems to be used in a variety of ways.

I am slightly more inclined to read 2 Thess as meaning away from. However, I do not believe this means there is a place that exists where God does not exist. It seems to be speaking of an absence of fellowship with God and beholding Him in Christ.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
11-25-03, 05:16 PM
The clause is hOITINES DIKHN TISOUSIN hOLEQRON AIWNION *APO PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU* KAI APO THS DOXHS THS ISCUOS AUTOU, ktl

This phrase APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU is a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase LiP:NeY-YHWH "before-the-face-of YHWH".

It is quite common in the NT.

Bob Higby
11-25-03, 09:45 PM
I have read all of these arguments on APO (here and elsewhere) and they are well-stated and argued. There is no question that 'away from' the face of God's comforting and glorious presence has many powerful arguments to defend itself--if we base our conclusion strictly on the possible scope of Greek grammar and usage in other passages (both scriptural and external). But I'm saying that I have considered all of this and still reject the 'away from' interpretation. This is based on the teaching of the WHOLE of scripture and the context of 2 Thess. 1:9. Although I do not have time tonight to present my argument to support this, I certainly will shortly.

Grace and peace,

wildboar
11-25-03, 10:34 PM
Matt. 25:41 seems to be in agreement with the away from idea.

Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

It is constrasted with verse 34.

Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:




This phrase APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIOU is a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase LiP:NeY-YHWH "before-the-face-of YHWH". It is quite common in the NT.

Actually APO TOU PROSWPOU TOU KURIO is found only twice in the NT.

KJV Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

KJV 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

It is also found only twice in the Septuagint. It is found in the canonical book of 1 Kings but is absent from the Hebrew counterpart and it is found in Judith.

LXE 1 Kings 21:27 And because of the word, Achaab was pierced with sorrow before the Lord, and he both went weeping, and rent his garment, and girt sackcloth upon his body, and fasted; he put on sackcloth also in the day that he smote Nabuthai the Jezraelite, and went his way.

KJV 1 Kings 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.

KJA Judith 2:14 Then Holofernes went forth from the presence of his lord, and called ail the governors and captains, and the officers of the army of Assur;

In the case of the Judith passage a human master is being referred to.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Brandan
11-26-03, 06:54 AM
John Gill on the Final State of the Wicked in Hell

Brandan
11-26-03, 06:56 AM
Arthur Pink on Eternal Torment

disciple
11-26-03, 10:08 AM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
But I'm saying that I have considered all of this and still reject the 'away from' interpretation.
i've been mulling this one over a bit and i wonder if there may be an intentional ambiguity here (i.e., it is both from [source] and away from [separation]). or perhaps another option that the repetition of the preposition APO is because Paul wants us to understand each differently. for example:

...away from (separation) the Lord's face/presence and from (source) His glorious power

i think though that we mustn't make theology out of a preposition. prepositions are notoriously pesky and can be very difficult to translate correctly. nevertheless, i think both ideas (source and separation) are used to describe the judgment. i personally think we need to recognize both. in other words, it's not really and either/or thing whether or not we commit to understanding this preposition one way or the other.


Although I do not have time tonight to present my argument to support this, I certainly will shortly.
i look forward to it.

Bob Higby
11-26-03, 08:03 PM
Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am preparing my 'proposition' on this subject. When I am finished we can go further with this most important and enlightening discussion.

disciple
11-26-03, 09:50 PM
Originally posted by BillTwisse
Happy Thanksgiving to all! I am preparing my 'proposition' on this subject. When I am finished we can go further with this most important and enlightening discussion.
happy thanksgiving indeed! don't get too stuffed on turkey ;)
i look forward to hearing from you bob and to hearing from you all again soon.

Bob Higby
11-30-03, 07:14 PM
NOTE: I am not trying to discount ALL notions of separation but rather am attempting to discover the primary focus of the passage.

The context of 2 Thess. 1:6-10

What is the meaning of APO in 2 Thess. 1:9? Is it ‘away from’ or ‘coming from.’ Both translations are legitimate uses of the Greek.

The context has a very important bearing on the answer to this question. Paul has just assured the Thessalonians that God will justly recompense with tribulation those who are causing tribulation for believers. This will take the form of a ‘flaming fire’ vengeance toward those who disobey the gospel. Is not the presence and glory of the Lord in vs. 9 the very fire mentioned in vs. 8? The whole message of scripture on this subject is that our God is a blazing fire of judgment against his enemies. So the context definitely favors the interpretation of flaming fire ‘coming from’ God’s presence--as the cause of eternal destruction.

The ’away from’ interpretation would create a disjuncture between the punitive fire in vs. 8 and the glorious presence and power of the Lord in vs. 9. According to the usual interpretation, the punishment consists of an eternal banishment from the pleasure of experiencing the Lord’s wonderful and visible glory. While this notion certainly contains a measure of truth about the spiritual realities of eternity, it does not fit the context of 2 Thess. 1:6-10.

The broader question has to do with the nature of hell itself. Is its essence a banishment from God’s wonderful presence or an endurance of God’s undesired presence? The Pauline writings are lean on a clear and definite teaching of eternal, conscious punishment. Perhaps this is what has led many to interpret 2 Thess. 1 according to the ‘conscious banishment’ teaching. It would more clearly show Paul to be in harmony with the accepted interpretation of the synoptic gospels and Revelation on this question.

There is no question about the fact that the wicked in eternity will be banished from the presence of God’s redeeming love and grace. But this banishment is purely spiritual, not physical. At least 3 sayings of Christ portray this type of banishment:

1. The ejection of the wicked from the hall of God’s kingdom banquet into outer darkness.
2. All those sayings where Christ proclaims ’away from me’ to the wicked on the last day.
3. The parable of the sheep and the goats.

Although these teachings reveal a definite separation in the judgment, perhaps even geographical to some extent, there are many other teachings in the Bible which go against the notion of a material banishment from the presence of God and the saints.

1. Dan. 12:2 . Perhaps one of the only literal descriptions of hell in the Bible. Shame and contempt are possible for the wicked only where they are forced to endure the presence of God and the saints.

2. Isa. 66:24 , which is the basis of the NT teaching on Gehenna. Really the same concept as Dan. 12:2, except that a new metaphor is introduced. The notion is not that dead bodies will be immortal and still be able to literally sense gnawing worms and torturing fire. That is later Rabbinic teaching. The point is that the contempt (abhorrence) experienced by the saints when beholding the damned will be like the experience of looking upon rotting corpses full of worms and smelling their crematory flames. Although corpses in the literal Gehenna were changing over on a regular basis (though the fire always burned), those of the wicked will endure eternal shame and contempt in the presence of the righteous.

3. Luke 16 (the parable of the rich man). The rich man is certainly in the presence of Lazarus and Abraham, though a gulf separates them from full contact. I view this as a parable like all the others. It represents but does not literally portray the final reality. Nonetheless, banishment to an invisible darkness in an unknown corner of the universe is certainly not the idea portrayed. Dives suffers torment in the presence of the saints.

4. The apocalypse always portrays the lake of fire as being torment in the presence of God, the lamb, the angels, and the saints. Together with Christ, the saints will rule and judge the nations with a rod of iron.

The real issue is whether damnation is a passive or active purpose in relation to the will and purposes of God. If it is passive, the wicked are definitely out-of-sight, out-of-mind in relation to God’s eternal kingdom of salvation. If it is active, the reward of the saints will be the subjection of their enemies IN THEIR PRESENCE. God will prepare the kingdom banquet table for his redeemed in the presence of their enemies and flout it in the faces of the damned for eternity.

wildboar
12-02-03, 09:37 AM
I decided to look this passage up in several recent commentaries on the Greek text. What I found interesting was that all saw a reference to Is. 2:10ff and each dogmatically proclaimed their view without reference to the other interpretation. Most of them favored the "away from" idea, but there were a few that preferred the "from" idea.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-02-03, 11:09 AM
Originally posted by wildboar
I decided to look this passage up in several recent commentaries on the Greek text. What I found interesting was that all saw a reference to Is. 2:10ff and each dogmatically proclaimed their view without reference to the other interpretation. Most of them favored the "away from" idea, but there were a few that preferred the "from" idea.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar
which commentaries did you consult?

wildboar
12-02-03, 12:52 PM
disciple:

Wannamaker in the NIGTC series

Morris in the NICNT

Beale in the IVPNTC

Green in the Pillar NT commentary series

There were more that I can't remember off the top of my head. I was at work pulling these books off the shelf and reading them. Green seemed to give the most thorough explanation of the passage but did not interact with conflicting views much.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-02-03, 12:56 PM
Originally posted by wildboar
There were more that I can't remember off the top of my head. I was at work pulling these books off the shelf and reading them. Green seemed to give the most thorough explanation of the passage but did not interact with conflicting views much.
thanks! btw, where do you work?

wildboar
12-02-03, 03:06 PM
Baker Book House

disciple
12-02-03, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by wildboar
Baker Book House
cool! i just ordered a book from there several months ago. do you work there while you go to school?

Brandan
12-02-03, 04:05 PM
I think that's a really cool job. I ordered a set of Calvin's commentaries from baker books - special deal 99 BUCKS!

wildboar
12-03-03, 09:36 AM
Yeah, Baker doesn't pay alot but it puts lots of free books on my shelf and they encourage you to read when it's slow to familiarize yourself with the products:D I'm taking 12 credit hours between college and seminary and working about 20 hours a week. Next semester will be my last at college and I'll only be taking a total of 9 credit hours and I'll be switching to full time at Baker. One of the classes I'm doing is an independent study where I'll be doing a translation of Robinson's Byzantine text of Revelation along with notes about OT background so I've been able to start that to lighten my load for the upcoming semester. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I start seminary full-time.

Anyhow, I think I'm leaning more towards Bill's interpretation of the Thessalonian passage. I was reading a portion of Beale's commentary on Revelation (NIGTC) last night and the imagery really seems to favor the idea of "from" rather than "away from" and the more I look at the paralell passage in Is 2:10, that also seems to favor "from".

Revelation 6:12-17 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Isaiah 2:10 Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty.

The LXX of Is 2:10 does in fact use many of the same words, just in a different order. Also Acts 3:19 seems to have the most similar grammatical construction of any of the passages and apo there simply cannot mean "away from". In fact if I do not make as a big of a deal about exact word order as I did in my previous posts there are several OT passages that seem to favor the idea of "from".

Numbers 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun.

Numbers 20:6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

tomas1
12-09-03, 06:29 AM
What a great exchange. This is the kind of thoughtful discussion on the scriptures that seems to me to be lacking when this subject is talked about.

Maybe I should quickly explain my stand on the details of the final judgment. I just don’t know. Some times I lean toward the traditional view and sometimes toward conditional immortality. For me its like my stand on the Millennium I think its up to God. However I find that for many Christians any position different from Dante or Jonathan Edwards is heresy. This bugs me.


In the sprit of the great scholarship of your last posts could I get you all (especially WB and bill) to comment on 2 peter 2:12-13a?

But these, as unreasoning creatures, born natural animals to be taken and destroyed, speaking evil in matters about which they are ignorant, will in their destroying surely be destroyed, 2:13receiving the wages of unrighteousness

This passage seems to be translated in many even contradictory ways in the versions I have looked at. The NAS makes it seem as if the false profits will be destroyed at the same time and way as (natural Creatures). The NIV says they will perish like beasts. The KJV appears to say they will be destroyed in there own destruction this makes no sense to me? How about a little help

wildboar
12-09-03, 05:58 PM
I think the NASB takes it to mean in the same manner, I don't think the translators intended it to mean at the same time.

As verse 19 says, they are enslaved to their lusts. I think what is primarily in view is the self-destruction caused by a sinful life and not necessarily the final judgment. I think the final judgment may be being alluded to at some points, but I don't think it is the focus.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

tomas1
12-13-03, 11:42 AM
WB
I would like to thank you for helping me work through this issue you have been more help than you know.
I have always thought that the only way to come to the traditional conclusion of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked was to start with the belief that man is naturally immortal. Since this idea is not found in scripture I felt I had won the argument.
Your idea that since man cannot of himself truly repent his sins would never be paid for really made me think however. Rebellion is after all Sin.
Then wile browsing another thread I came to the discussion on 1 Cor: 15. I had read this passage a thousand times but vs. 25 and 26 jumped out at me.

15:25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 15:26The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

I had never thought of death as an enemy that Christ wanted to defeat. I felt it was just a natural state and would be a good way for God to dispose of sinners (after they had paid for their sins). But the Bible is clear that death even of sinners does not please God. Eze 18:22
So it is possible that Hell is the ultimate expression of Common Grace. God chooses to keep alive even those who hate him. What a thought!
I’m still working through this and I still feel it’s not wise to go beyond what the bible says about hell. But I think I have been convinced.
Thank you again
Peace

wildboar
12-13-03, 05:21 PM
tomas:

I'm glad I could be of some help. However, I disagree with the common grace issue. I have discussed this more thoroughly elsewhere on this site, but I'll try to sum it up here. Grace has to do with intent. Riches, poverty, sickness, and health can all be acts of God's grace depending upon God's intent in giving them. Riches can cause the elect to praise God, but God can use the same riches to harden the reprobate in which case it is not grace. Psalm 73 explains why God gives good things to the wicked, and it has nothing to do with grace. Certainly allowing someone to exist so that they can suffer eternally in hell would not be a display of God's grace. Such an act is no display of God's love for a person. Non-existence would be far better which is why the wicked are pictured in Revelation as trying to kill themselves and hide from the wrath of God.

I believe the "wicked" in the Ezekiel passage has the same meaning as the "sick" and the "sinners" in the Gospels.

Luke 5:29-32 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? 31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Surely, Jesus was not saying that the Pharisees were righteous. Jesus was pointing to the fact that the pubicans and others acknowledged their sinfulness. Jesus was preaching against self-righteousness.

If we read the Ezekiel passage in context we find the same thing.

Ezekiel 33:10-20 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? 11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. 13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. 14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; 15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. 17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. 18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. 19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. 20 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.

Notice that the passage begins with Israel asking how it is possible that they can live with all the sin they know they have commited. God promises them that if they repent, they will live. However, he warns all those who believe they are righteous, that if they sin just once, they will be damned.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

Bob Higby
12-14-03, 09:07 PM
Tomas,

As for me, I definitely have nothing whatsoever to do with the views of Dante or Jonathan Edwards on this issue. To me, they are espousing the errant ews of the early 'fathers': Manichaean hell. Since the body is viewed as the chief instrument of sin (as opposed to the spirit--which is the biblical perspective on the real seat of evil), the physical body is also viewed as the chief subject of the torments of hell. The devil is viewed as king over hell instead of its chief subject; he has no body. So the devil is viewed as the chief torturer of the damned.

It is interesting to note that Arminians love Jonathan Edwards 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God' as much as the Calvinists. Case in point: Dave Hunt.

Let me state that I hold to the orthodox view of eternal, conscious punishment of the damned. I teach 'judgment to come' in the biblical and Pauline perspective--without trying to help God out by 'heating up the flames' with explicit preaching of exquisite tortures. It is enough that men are confronted with the reality of a resurrection of damnation that they must face; also that the presence of God is a consuming fire and the source of the chief torment that the damned will suffer. God has not revealed all details of his plan on this matter. We should not preach as if he has. It is enough that we preach the fearful prospect of falling into the hands of a wrathful God--absent from the atonement of Christ.

So it is possible that Hell is the ultimate expression of Common Grace. God chooses to keep alive even those who hate him. What a thought!

No! Hell is not grace! You are correct in stating the mystery that God chooses to keep alive those who hate him, against the notion of 'natural immortality.' But his reasons for this are to eternally exalt his glory in the public damnation of rebels against the gospel of grace. The saints also will be granted a share in the rule and reign of Christ over lost souls. It is sort of like Alcatraz, that island near San Francisco. The criminals imprisoned there were very close to the joy of the free world. They continuously could hear the wonderful pleasures and carefree laughter of the yacht club on the nearby island. But they were excluded from all of it.

God will create an eternal prison like this which will be wonderfully perfect in its order and justice. Christ and the saints will be the wardens who rule over it, in addition to experiencing all of the pleasures of eternity due to grace on the outside. I'm only illustrating eternal realities, of course, not claiming exactly what they will be.

tomas1
12-15-03, 05:25 AM
I see your points BT and WB and I think I agree.
You can't expect this to all become clear over nite ! :D

Bob Higby
12-16-03, 03:48 AM
No, Tomas, you are most certainly right on this! Everything is urgent to corrupt politicians and theologians, since it is important to them that their ideas be accepted immediately. For us who love the Word of God, we take all the time we need to get it right!

tomas1
12-18-03, 05:28 PM
I think we can agree that man is not naturally immortal and that God must choose to keep him alive. If we then determine that God will decide to do this for the reprobate as well as the elect the question becomes why? I’m willing to accept that he might not want to reveal it to us. But it would be a great comfort to know. Here are some possible reasons followed by my thoughts about them.

1. Common grace defined as God choosing to do good things for all of his creation not just his elect. (I will leave his intentions in this to him.).
Maybe hell it is better than nonexistence but I don’t think so.

2. God wants his wrath and justice to be forever before his elect.
Wouldn’t the sight of the torment of the three beings mentioned in Revelation 20:10 be sufficient for this.

3. His desire is to let us rule over something
Surely the whole of creation plus those same three beings just mentioned is plenty to keep us busy.

4. Because they can’t truly repent their sin is never fully paid for.
Since repentance is a gift that God gives to whom he chooses.
This is equivalent to saying that God chooses never to allow them to repent. This leads us back to square one.

you guys are great for sticking with me on this

Bob Higby
12-18-03, 10:44 PM
Tomas, good questions. I can't answer now but will in early January after I have gone on vacation and moved!

wildboar
12-19-03, 08:23 AM
tomas:

Certainly God gives good gifts to all, but that does not mean that God works all things for the good of all. Even if one accepts the notion of common grace, which I see no reason to, I don't think most would say that God gives good things to all all the time. Certainly God sends famine. God killed all the first-born Egyptian children and sent various other punishments to people. If God had any kind of love for the reprobate it would seem that He would not create them.

Anyhow, I think the problem keeps coming back to our definition of immortality. I would certainly agree that man was not created immortal and that not all men are immortal. This is very clear in the Bible. However, the Bible does not define immortality as mere existence. Existence is how much of philosophy defines the Bible. We must let the Bible define its own terms.

In Biblical terms, to live is to be in loving fellowship with God, to be dead is to be under God's wrath. Adam certainly died when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He still existed, but he died and came under the wrath of God. Jesus came that we might have life, that doesn't mean that Jesus came that we might exist.

I differ from BT, on the issue of us being guards over those in hell. I don't find this in the Scriptures and it seems to be speculative. The Bible seems to picture heaven as eternally beholding God in Christ.

There doesn't seem to be anything recorded in Scripture that suggests there is still possibility of repentance in hell. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus doesn't have the rich man repenting at the end and going to heaven. It pictures him as asking to have an angel sent to his brothers so that they do not have to experience the eternal horror which he must.

Sola Gratia,
WildBoar

disciple
12-19-03, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by wildboar
In Biblical terms, to live is to be in loving fellowship with God, to be dead is to be under God's wrath. Adam certainly died when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He still existed, but he died and came under the wrath of God.
he and all his progeny are dead men walking (i.e., physically alive but spiritually dead):

Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

tomas1
12-20-03, 07:26 AM
What I’m trying to get across when I say that man is not naturally immortal is the fact that man like all of creation exists only because God wills it. If at any moment God chooses to remove his attention from any particular individual that man would cease to exist.

I know from previous posts that you all agree with me on this one although we might be a minority in the Christian world.
One more thing I’m sure that by this point it is painfully apparent that I am a simple hillbilly with no education beyond high school so please continue to overlook my poor punctuation and misspelled words.
Peace

tomas1
01-08-04, 04:01 PM
Hey BillTwisse Don't forget me :D

Bob Higby
01-09-04, 02:38 AM
Tomas,

No, I haven't forgotten my commitment to respond to your points! I remember a similar commitment to respond to a post by Doug: I'm still working on that one.

First of all, let me state that you are right in affirming the erroneous nature of the doctrine of natural immortality. If the souls of the non-elect are determined in God's purposes to endure forever, this condition should be referred to as 'eternal existence' and not 'immortality.' Immortality is a condition granted only to the elect angels and elect humans who are saved in Christ.

1. Common grace defined as God choosing to do good things for all of his creation not just his elect. (I will leave his intentions in this to him.).
Maybe hell it is better than nonexistence but I don’t think so.

I will agree that God determines in his purposes to do good things for the non-elect. Of course, as you know by now, I deny that this purpose should be termed 'common grace'--as grace in the NT is always salvific and only for the redeemed.

Whatever hell is, it is most certainly worse than nonexistence, otherwise the reprobate would not call for the rocks to fall on them when beholding Christ in the judgment!

2. God wants his wrath and justice to be forever before his elect.
Wouldn’t the sight of the torment of the three beings mentioned in Revelation 20:10 be sufficient for this.

Maybe, but the number of reprobate souls who will suffer God's wrath is irrelevant. Whether it is three, three hundred, three thousand, three million, three billion, or three trillion is a moot point. Our problem as humans is that we don't want to see 'loved ones' as part of God's display of wrath. This is natural sentiment. However, in the judgment, the veil over our eyes is lifted and we will comprehend the true nature of eternal sin. We cannot see that in this life. It is properly called 'the mystery of iniquity' in the Bible. In fact, the sin of all devils (non-elect souls) is the same. If I have an Aunt who is non-elect, she is exactly the same in nature as the devil, Judas, Nero, or Hitler.

3. His desire is to let us rule over something
Surely the whole of creation plus those same three beings just mentioned is plenty to keep us busy.

My response to argument #2 is applicable here also. It is not up to us to determine how many non-elect souls we will reign over with Christ. By the way, if there is any doubt that elect humans will personally reign over the non-elect in eternity, read the promise to the 4th assemby (Thyatira) in Revelation. Christ's rule with a rod of iron will be shared with his saints.

4. Because they can’t truly repent their sin is never fully paid for.
Since repentance is a gift that God gives to whom he chooses.
This is equivalent to saying that God chooses never to allow them to repent. This leads us back to square one.

I don't agree with this. If God denies repentance to some, he also created them with hearts that are unable to repent. We do not fully understand his purposes in this (in this life) but still accept it as what is revealed truth. We have to trust that God will make all things plain regarding this in the judgment.

tomas1
01-09-04, 04:09 PM
Thank you for the answers BillTwise that’s about what I would have come up with if I was answering myself. It’s funny how the Spirit works huh. The charliehorse between my ears concerning hell is just about straitened out.

You said: However, in the judgment, the veil over our eyes is lifted and we will comprehend the true nature of eternal sin. We cannot see that in this life.
I’m interested in everyone’s definition of eternal sin How does one commit it? Can any one go to hell with out committing it? Can we know by observing whether someone has committed it? I don’t think I have ever read any thing written about this subject from a Calvinist perspective.

Bob Higby
01-09-04, 11:15 PM
This is one point in which I differ from what is generally viewed as orthodox Calvinism, so you won't find my understanding there.

In the typical Calvinistic view, the sin against the Holy Spirit is simply one great sin among many. It is not unique, but limited to a particular act of sin which the Lord has determined never to forgive: attributing the work of Christ to Satan.

Overall, though, I'm glad to see we are coming to some mutual agreement in our understanding of this subject. And I'm certainly not claiming to have all the answers! :cool:

tomas1
01-10-04, 01:00 PM
Bill twisse said: This is one point in which I differ from what is generally viewed as orthodox Calvinism, so you won't find my understanding there.

I got that impression from your other posts. But I think your opinion might help me to understand God’s purpose in keeping the reprobate around for eternity. The Bible does say that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven even in the age to come. This would explain the whole “must repent for punishment to be complete theory”. Besides you must know by now I’m not too concerned with being orthodox, just Biblical.

Bob Higby
01-10-04, 02:47 PM
Tomas:

The passage which makes this issue most clear to my mind is Mark 3:20 through 4:34. This whole section of Mark is one treatise and intended to be read as a unitary teaching. The context goes progressively from one point to another--but the whole truth emphasized is the reality of double predestination and what it involves.

Background (prior verses): Massive crowds follow Jesus because of his miraculous powers, Jesus begins to discriminate against some in the crowd by warning the unclean spirits not to make him known (3:12), the calling of the twelve as his preferred associates (more discrimination, though one is a betraying devil).

Introduction: the sin against the Holy Spirit: Jesus begins to speak in parables to hide the truth from the reprobate (vs. 20-27). He reveals the nature of eternal iniquity and damnation: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (vs. 28,29). Certain acts are evidence of the likelihood of this condition: such as calling Jesus himself unclean and devilish (vs. 30). Jesus begins to reveal double predestination: the plundering of the devil's house (election of a sinful people to salvation) and those plunged into eternal sin.

Family Division as further evidence of Christ's double predestination: (vs. 31-33). Christ's true family are those who do his will (i.e., turn to him and receive forgiveness, as the next parable will illustrate), everyone else is outside the family.

Jesus speaks his most important parable to the crowds (4:1-9). Understanding of the parable (hearing) is given only to the elect, the rest are excluded (Mt. 13:23--only those represented in the fruitful soil are given understanding, the rest are hardened). The three bad soils represent those who are hardened in eternal iniquity.

Jesus explains the purpose of parables, a) to reveal the mystery of the kingdom only to the elect and b) to prevent those outside the family from understanding and believing unto salvation (vs. 10-12). God actively and deliberately hides the truth from those predestined to eternal iniquity.

Jesus affirms the sower as the most basic of his parables and explains it to those given understanding. (vs. 13-20) It is the mystery of double predestination.

The truth hidden in parables will be revealed in the judgment. (vs. 21-23) Implied: the reprobate will weep and gnash their teeth when they finally understand the truth, still hating the gospel nonetheless.

Further discrimination, the 'treasures of darkness' (Isa. 45:3) will be plundered from the reprobate and given to the elect (vs. 24-25).

Further explanation of the kingdom, (vs. 26-29) it is not consummated all-at-once but is a mystery pervading humanity and calling the elect to salvation for a long time. However, when the mystery of the growing kingdom is finished, the end will come swiftly and unexpectedly.

The kingdom of the gospel, beginning small, will become great and mighty in the end and fill the whole earth. (vs. 30-32, Dan. 2)

Jesus continued to speak in parables, hiding the truth from the reprobate. vs. 33-34.

I have to go now but maybe we can soon discuss the implications of all this.

tomas1
01-13-04, 05:04 PM
Bill twisse
I think you might be on to something here. I went back and read all the eternal sin texts that I could think of using the parable of the Sower and double predestination as a template. Everything seemed to fit. Especially interesting is 1st John 5:16-20: right after John says that there are 2 kinds of sin in verse 16 he tells us that we who are born of God can’t sin (he must mean a sin leading to death Because a brother can commit a sin not leading to death vs 16). Then comes verse 19, which seems to be a clear reference to double predestination.

Hebrews 6:7,8 even seems to be a reference to the Parable of the Sower.

I do have a question though. In the parable all of the soils are exposed to the seed but in real life there are lots of people who never hear the Word at all or hear a distorted version of it. Where do they fit in this Interpretation?

Bob Higby
01-14-04, 11:43 PM
Tomas,

First--let me state that you are 'right on' in your interpretations of the rest of the New Testament in light of Christ's teaching on the sower.

In the parable all of the soils are exposed to the seed but in real life there are lots of people who never hear the Word at all or hear a distorted version of it. Where do they fit in this Interpretation?

Well, the distorted version of the gospel is irrelevant to the interpretation of Christ, unless there is enough of the truth of the gospel present to make it relevant! In any case, we must admit that some do not hear the Word. For these we must admit that one of two realities are present:

1. God converts some through the gospel apart from human proclamation. The rocks truly cry out! (or some logical equivalent, obviously). Either God works in this life apart from the normative proclamation of the gospel, or else some (infants who die before hearing, idiots, etc.) are saved in connection with their first hearing of the gospel in the next world.
2. God does not purpose to save any who do not hear the Word.

I will not try to solve this issue immediately. I will only confess now that one of the above two must certainly be true.

In the gospel,