God, Heaven and Hell

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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Kurieuo
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God, Heaven and Hell

#1

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:22 pm

The following posts/discussion was taken from the topic, Why do bad things happen to Christians? A modified poe. Please discuss issues of God, Heaven and Hell here rather in the original thread.
Ivellious wrote:As much as this might ruffle some feathers, I think it's not right to look at it from the perspective of "Well, we know why bad things happen to the unbelievers, but why us?" As far as I can tell, Godless people have been the most powerful and abundantly influential people in history, far outweighing the successful pure Christians. Likewise, bad things happen to all kinds of people.

It is totally non-discriminatory as far as I can tell, which leads me to believe God doesn't really care what religion you are, if you look at good/bad things as a function of God. Of course, that almost sounds naturalistic in a sense, to think that nature is what it is and does not consciously do things for or against anyone.

But these questions are almost insanely impossible philosophical questions, so...I'll leave it at "I don't think there is a good answer."
B. W. wrote:Where do such spend eternity? That is what matters. Maybe, this life is the only good some Godless people will ever know...

Such things the justice of God holds that many fail to see it.

Where will you spend eternity Ivellious?
Ivellious wrote:It's a bit of a loaded question, don't you think?

Look, I'm not here to bash the beliefs of those here, or to get in trouble again for being too vocal about my opinions that directly contradict Christianity. Not at all. All I'm saying is that I can't imagine an afterlife where most of the people I know and love will not be there. I can't imagine a God so open to punishment without much room for error. I could write a small novel on that subject of Heaven alone. You don't need to quote scripture to prove my points wrong, because I've read it, and it's part of the reason I have stepped away from the church and pursued my own avenue of spirituality and connection with a higher power (you may call him God).
Ivellious wrote:But isn't it a bit cruel to teach them a lesson, let them learn, and then say "oh well you're a slow learner so I'm damning you to Hell."?
Tina wrote:Whoa, slow down. GOD doesn't damn anyone to hell. Each individual damns his or herself. You choose to love GOD or not. Due to freewill, you go to hell because GOD is respecting your decision of you not wanting to be with HIM. And, besides, natural disasters are necessary to keep the planet working properly. Yes, people get effected by it, but if they love GOD, they will trust HIM, they will rely on HIM to help them through the terrible event, therefore, strengthening their relationship with GOD, strengthening themselves, and helping them deal with situations later in life.
Ivellious wrote:But isn't what you said before contradictory to that? What is "learning the hard way" if you never learn to love Christ as your savior in life? Then you die, and you get punished, like a good parent would if you screwed up as a kid. But, as opposed to your dad grounding you for not learning something fast enough before, God supposedly decides that eternity is a much better punishment. It seems to me, and most outsiders, that it is incredibly sad to think that our father could take a finite amount of failure and turn it into an infinite amount of punishment. No matter how you look at it, it's punishment.
Tina wrote:Here's an example--You keep doing something you know you shouldn't do. Your dad keeps telling you not to do it. You ignore him. You go out and do it again, but this time you suffer the consequences for your actions. Then, you come back to your dad, apologizing, and asking him for help. Being the loving father he is, he helps you, and reassures you that he'll always be there for you, and you learn your lesson.
I've seen bad events turn into love fests. They can bring people together, they can teach a lesson, they get people's attention. GOD has done things in the Bible to do just that. He wants to get people's attention. He wants them to be with HIM, so He has to get their attention. If anyone wants to be with GOD, GOD wants them to be with HIM even more. The FATHER loves us. If you already love Christ, and then die, you'll go to heaven and be with GOD. As I said before, GOD wants people's attention, unbelievers, followers that stray, believers He wants a stronger relationship, everyone. If everything went perfect, then we wouldn't learn. I also think we wouldn't turn to GOD as much. GOD is an all powerful, all knowing being. HE loves us. HE knows what HE's doing. The issue is how much we trust HIM.

* I used to ask these same questions until I finally accepted that GOD truly loves us. It's easier to understand the things that happen, if you understand more about GOD
Kurieuo wrote:Just wondering and interested to know, if you were God what would you set up in the afterlife for people?

To spec that out a little, God for me is the source of everything that has been created, the source of good, righteousness, love and in control of what happens to the destinies of created beings. Without God, these things do not exist.

When someone dies, how much "error" would you accept in someone as God? A little error, no error, all -- where do you draw the line? What does this say of your righteousness?

How do you handle those who might be frightened by you and just want to run and hide?

What about those who despise you, do you impose yourself upon them or let them be as separate from you as is possible? Also add in, someone in their family loves you and does want to be with you?

I will critique your response, but there is no real right or wrong answer. I'd just find your response interesting.
B.W. wrote:I posted this answer on another thread but it fits here as well with an added paragraph for Ilvellious

When you understand how people desire to slay the good in the world as they did so Christ Jesus – One's faith in humanity is lost. You also see the same thing in people’s attack against Christians as well. Such folks, shout in similar contexts like this: We must Prove them hypocrites ! Their faith no better than anyone else’s, so off with their heads! Christian aren’t Good, so let’s slay them, mock them – lets write on websites and put them on trial – so we can shout Crucify!

Why do people want to slay goodness in others? Look at the occupy wall street people – if one does well – you hear them shout –Rich people are evil we need to take what they have! Does matter the charities they give too or the character – if they are decent folk – its let put them on trial and slay them and take what they have.

No Offence to you personal Ivellious, but you sure seem behaving just like that with the tone of your post on the Forum, which seek to belittle, mock Christians, put them on trial. I wonder if you are seeking to slay goodness? Not all of Christians are hypocrites and charlatans so why so busy trying to paint every Christian as they were all bad apples? Would you be satisfied doing so with Christ, shouting crucify or fetching the nails? A tree is known by its fruit…

When people desire to poke fun, mock, despise goodness, put people on trial and all that and then is it any wonder bad things happen to good Christian people? And with every false accusation, mocking, trail, etc, a greater foe is revealed so that the events of Revelation chapters 19 thru 20 will come to pass, justified, and beyond all shadow of doubt. What bad are you doing here Ilvellious? Why would God desire you to be His next door neighbor in heaven?
Ivellious wrote:I'll try to answer those questions, but if you will, I won't put myself too much in the shoes of God, so to speak. I don't claim to know the perfect solutions.

The way I look at the afterlife is this. I believe that everyone is the "child" so to speak of a higher power. I think that the higher power that had a hand in shaping the universe certainly identifies us all as its children. I think all people have the opportunity when they die to go to heaven, or an afterlife, or whatever you want to call it. People can be with their loved ones, live free from pain and suffering, can watch over loved ones still living, and so on. I don't know if heaven conforms to one all-encompassing place that all people go to, or if it is somewhat "specialized" for each person. I do believe that all people will be there someday. Let me clarify:

I do not see eternal punishment for anyone, not Hitler, not serial killers, not rapists, psychopaths, or so on. There are several reasons for me coming to this conclusion. First, I do not believe the higher power that I believe in is quite the taskmaster or pompous egomaniac that some religions make it out to be. I believe it goes by many names, takes many shapes, and does not play favorites with any of us. I think that it recognizes that people are all individuals, and whether God has a place in their lives is irrelevant because being happy and respecting ALL the world around us is the key. I don't think God takes an active role in shaping our lives. For this reason, I do not believe God chooses to let certain religions (or lack thereof) into heaven.

Second, I maintain the ludicrousness of eternal punishment for finite crimes. That's fairly straightforward, especially when certain individual's "crime" is simply not accepting Jesus as their savior.

Third, I think God recognizes that some humans are broken. Hitler was a broken man. Many people who commit awful crimes are simply put, broken individuals. No human being that is put together properly in the head could be that girl who killed her neighbor's children and laughed about it. Frankly, I would believe that when she dies, she will be reprimanded and punished, but those truly broken individuals will be seated closest to God, because God recognizes that it is not always their fault, in a matter of speaking.

To clarify, I do believe in punishment. Evil and depraved people will be punished, but I firmly believe that God will absolve everyone when their conscience shines through. For those who cannot realize the error of their ways (the "broken" ones), I believe God has the ability to hold them closely and fix them in a sense, so that their souls can be whole again. I believe that our souls, free from dark feelings and mortal concerns, can even come to forgive those who have committed crimes against us. Honestly, some people may take a long time to be punished, and it may seem like eternity. I wouldn't be shocked if God punished us all to some degree, that is, for the errors in our ways, we would have to atone and accept responsibility for them. The severity would be judged by God, and once completed, you could be accepted into your afterlife.

Error is hard to quantify. Like I said, I know that there are broken people out there, physically and mentally. Is that a fault of God? Hardly. Again, I don't believe in a God who takes those kinds of actions regularly. It also depends on what you consider error. Is murder an error? Yes, of course, and I can't fault God for human actions. Is being Hindu an error? We would disagree on that. At the same time, I again believe that God could very well find punishments to suit all "errors," as long as that might take for some. I don't believe God accepts people with errors into heaven, at least not until they have properly atoned.

Again, religious belief is not a concern. Now, say an atheist runs from the concept of God because they simply want to avoid morality and commit crimes and depraved acts. That would obviously be a situation where God may punish an individual. If someone is an atheist because they genuinely don't believe and yet they still live a more fruitful, happy, and moral life, then their punishment may be less severe than others who do believe in Christ.

Of course some people might despise God, whether they wrongfully blame God for certain events in their lives or they simply have some inborn hostilities. But, here's my take: Say you die and the higher power greets you. You say that you hate God for what he did to you. I'm sure God, being patient and loving, would strip away the mortal antagonistic attitude and show you that God was not responsible. If that disposition led to improper actions by you, God would punish you. But the God I choose to believe in would not push away someone for selfish or mortal beliefs. It may take a long while, but certainly God could ease the hate in that heart and let him/her into the afterlife eventually.

Obviously there's much more, but I've already got a good novel going so I'll stop and let you tear into my idealistic worldview. I don't really ask for much other than please don't simply respond by attacking it or throwing Bible verses at me. Not that you can't compare this to Christianity, but comparing this to scripture would be an obvious conflict and really get nowhere fast.
Ivellious wrote:OK, I don't have loads of time but to BW:

I really don't intend to attack Christians, especially not as a whole. I seek to respect others, and perhaps share my opinions, but I ask not for your support or your sympathy on the matter. I realize some people take it personally when I debate the scripture or other aspects of Christianity.

I seem to be a rather polarizing figure on the forum, and I guess I can't be too shocked. I have had personal messages and thread posts praising my patience and understanding and respectfulness, and I've also had an admin. ban me and I get a few other members infuriated over the same types of posts that others praise. I'm not trying to be offensive at all, but the reason I'm here is that most of the time I am allowed on this site to express an opinion without being obliterated by negative messages. I understand that sometimes I seem like I stereotype and label and by disagreeing with the Bible I might seem like I'm personally attacking you. I'm sorry if you feel that way, but you can take my word that I hold no animosity toward Christians as a whole, nor am I out to be an "anti-Christian troll."

And, for the record, while most people on the site are respectful, and I don't ask you to take responsibility for this, but I too have felt strongly under attack at times here so you'll have to forgive me if I get worked up occasionally. When certain members here stereotype, label, and openly condemn me for my beliefs, you had better believe I feel disrespected.

Forgive my rant, I'm tired and I just needed to get that out there. Night all.

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#2

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:43 pm

Ivellious wrote:I'll try to answer those questions, but if you will, I won't put myself too much in the shoes of God, so to speak. I don't claim to know the perfect solutions.

The way I look at the afterlife is this. I believe that everyone is the "child" so to speak of a higher power. I think that the higher power that had a hand in shaping the universe certainly identifies us all as its children. I think all people have the opportunity when they die to go to heaven, or an afterlife, or whatever you want to call it. People can be with their loved ones, live free from pain and suffering, can watch over loved ones still living, and so on. I don't know if heaven conforms to one all-encompassing place that all people go to, or if it is somewhat "specialized" for each person. I do believe that all people will be there someday. Let me clarify:

I do not see eternal punishment for anyone, not Hitler, not serial killers, not rapists, psychopaths, or so on. There are several reasons for me coming to this conclusion. First, I do not believe the higher power that I believe in is quite the taskmaster or pompous egomaniac that some religions make it out to be. I believe it goes by many names, takes many shapes, and does not play favorites with any of us. I think that it recognizes that people are all individuals, and whether God has a place in their lives is irrelevant because being happy and respecting ALL the world around us is the key. I don't think God takes an active role in shaping our lives. For this reason, I do not believe God chooses to let certain religions (or lack thereof) into heaven.

Second, I maintain the ludicrousness of eternal punishment for finite crimes. That's fairly straightforward, especially when certain individual's "crime" is simply not accepting Jesus as their savior.

Third, I think God recognizes that some humans are broken. Hitler was a broken man. Many people who commit awful crimes are simply put, broken individuals. No human being that is put together properly in the head could be that girl who killed her neighbor's children and laughed about it. Frankly, I would believe that when she dies, she will be reprimanded and punished, but those truly broken individuals will be seated closest to God, because God recognizes that it is not always their fault, in a matter of speaking.

To clarify, I do believe in punishment. Evil and depraved people will be punished, but I firmly believe that God will absolve everyone when their conscience shines through. For those who cannot realize the error of their ways (the "broken" ones), I believe God has the ability to hold them closely and fix them in a sense, so that their souls can be whole again. I believe that our souls, free from dark feelings and mortal concerns, can even come to forgive those who have committed crimes against us. Honestly, some people may take a long time to be punished, and it may seem like eternity. I wouldn't be shocked if God punished us all to some degree, that is, for the errors in our ways, we would have to atone and accept responsibility for them. The severity would be judged by God, and once completed, you could be accepted into your afterlife.

Error is hard to quantify. Like I said, I know that there are broken people out there, physically and mentally. Is that a fault of God? Hardly. Again, I don't believe in a God who takes those kinds of actions regularly. It also depends on what you consider error. Is murder an error? Yes, of course, and I can't fault God for human actions. Is being Hindu an error? We would disagree on that. At the same time, I again believe that God could very well find punishments to suit all "errors," as long as that might take for some. I don't believe God accepts people with errors into heaven, at least not until they have properly atoned.

Again, religious belief is not a concern. Now, say an atheist runs from the concept of God because they simply want to avoid morality and commit crimes and depraved acts. That would obviously be a situation where God may punish an individual. If someone is an atheist because they genuinely don't believe and yet they still live a more fruitful, happy, and moral life, then their punishment may be less severe than others who do believe in Christ.

Of course some people might despise God, whether they wrongfully blame God for certain events in their lives or they simply have some inborn hostilities. But, here's my take: Say you die and the higher power greets you. You say that you hate God for what he did to you. I'm sure God, being patient and loving, would strip away the mortal antagonistic attitude and show you that God was not responsible. If that disposition led to improper actions by you, God would punish you. But the God I choose to believe in would not push away someone for selfish or mortal beliefs. It may take a long while, but certainly God could ease the hate in that heart and let him/her into the afterlife eventually.

Obviously there's much more, but I've already got a good novel going so I'll stop and let you tear into my idealistic worldview. I don't really ask for much other than please don't simply respond by attacking it or throwing Bible verses at me. Not that you can't compare this to Christianity, but comparing this to scripture would be an obvious conflict and really get nowhere fast.
Thanks Ivellious.

Here is an embedded assumption I believe many who disagree with Christian theology on an afterlife with a heaven and hell seem to have.

It is believed that if someone knew God, that such a person would want to be with God in His kingdom. Scripture is clear on two issues that often get conflated together by Christian and non-Christian alike: 1) God will judge and appropriately punish people for their sin, and 2) Those who reject God do so because they hate Him.

Now finite sin, might deserve finite punishment. However, finite sin shapes eternal beings. Therefore, finite sin has eternal consequences for the persons we ultimately become at death. I do not see how it is possible for God to change someone, unless God forcibly changes who they are. And to do this God needs to divinely "rape" them by forcing Himself onto them. And I mean "rape" in every sense of the word, because no person wants another they can't stand to force themselves onto them. They just want to run and get away or fight back.

Now if this seems plausible, then it is possible. And what is possible is what I actually believe to be the case. Therefore, the finite sins of say Hitler have eternal consequences for the person he turned into and was upon his deathbed. Now, Hitler gets spiritually awoken and sees God whom he sinned against. God will judge and punish Hitler for his sins, but then what? Measuring in a way that we might perceive as a just penalty, let's assume his sins amount to a billion years expulsion for all the death multiplied by the pain and suffering he inflicted. Ok, great. Now he has paid for his crime. But what of his heart and who he was and now is? I see no reason to say that would have changed, and every reason to believe if anything Hitler would be more hardened against God whom he is so powerless against. In Hitler's eyes, Hitler is justified and God is wrong. Is God expected to accept this? How can God accept Hitler's terms unless He becomes divided against Himself?

You say:
  • "Of course some people might despise God, whether they wrongfully blame God for certain events in their lives or they simply have some inborn hostilities. But, here's my take: Say you die and the higher power greets you. You say that you hate God for what he did to you. I'm sure God, being patient and loving, would strip away the mortal antagonistic attitude and show you that God was not responsible. If that disposition led to improper actions by you, God would punish you. But the God I choose to believe in would not push away someone for selfish or mortal beliefs. It may take a long while, but certainly God could ease the hate in that heart and let him/her into the afterlife eventually."
In essense, it seems to me you believe God should force Himself onto everyone, qualified by God "easing" Himself into the heart of others. The Bible I read already tells me God is trying to draw people towards Himself because He desires none to perish. However, many bury the truth of God because they hate Him. That indeed, all of us run away from God and our carnel minds reject God. It is only by God's luring us to Himself that He can seep in enough to cause some to change in our hearts. While there might be subtle differences, I think nearly all Christians would agree with this regardless of denomination.

Given Scripture is true on these things, then who we are when we die is the person we've decided to be. We are "set in stone" so-to-speak, only the stone we have been set in is this temporary life we have lived on Earth. Is it any wonder that the angels were treated differently in their rebellion against God? They didn't have time like we do to work through their thoughts, feelings and beliefs, but rather judgement was given once they challenged God. We can challenge God all we want, and then on our deathbed desire God to come into our lives and it can be the case. Yet, if we die hardened against God, then when we wake up, we are still the same person. We may now fear God, but that is because He is Almighty. Just because our feelings are now overrun by fear, does not mean what we previously ill-harvested against God is no longer there.

So it really comes down to one big assumption why non-Christians might disagree with and criticise the theology of a heaven and hell. That is, the assumption that God can change someone of their own free volition. The thing is, when most reject the Christian theology of an afterlife with heaven and hell, they base their criticism on a huge assumption that everyone would freely change. I do not see that assumption in Scripture, but rather the opposite being endorsed and every emphasis being placed on this life to become who we are.

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#3

Post by 1over137 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:01 pm

Kurieuo wrote: Just wondering and interested to know, if you were God what would you set up in the afterlife for people?

To spec that out a little, God for me is the source of everything that has been created, the source of good, righteousness, love and in control of what happens to the destinies of created beings. Without God, these things do not exist.

When someone dies, how much "error" would you accept in someone as God? A little error, no error, all -- where do you draw the line? What does this say of your righteousness?
Rigthteousness. Hmmm. Is it right to let people in hesitation about whether He exists or not? If I were God I would appear to everybody and say: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"

What I want to say is that it would be fair to punish for eternity after meeting the person and the person chooses not to follow Him.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#4

Post by Byblos » Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:15 pm

1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: Just wondering and interested to know, if you were God what would you set up in the afterlife for people?

To spec that out a little, God for me is the source of everything that has been created, the source of good, righteousness, love and in control of what happens to the destinies of created beings. Without God, these things do not exist.

When someone dies, how much "error" would you accept in someone as God? A little error, no error, all -- where do you draw the line? What does this say of your righteousness?
Rigthteousness. Hmmm. Is it right to let people in hesitation about whether He exists or not? If I were God I would appear to everybody and say: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"

What I want to say is that it would be fair to punish for eternity after meeting the person and the person chooses not to follow Him.
Hmm, sounds like a story I heard happened long ago.
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#5

Post by jlay » Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:48 pm

I,

I am very curious, apart from your own opinion, what evidence is there of this god? It seems too me that you have formed a god in your own mind that better fits your worldview. So I must ask, who is god in that scenario? That my friend is idolatry and its the oldest sin in the book.
because being happy and respecting ALL the world around us is the key.
How did you determine this to be the meaning of life?
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"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#6

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:37 pm

1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: Just wondering and interested to know, if you were God what would you set up in the afterlife for people?

To spec that out a little, God for me is the source of everything that has been created, the source of good, righteousness, love and in control of what happens to the destinies of created beings. Without God, these things do not exist.

When someone dies, how much "error" would you accept in someone as God? A little error, no error, all -- where do you draw the line? What does this say of your righteousness?
Rigthteousness. Hmmm. Is it right to let people in hesitation about whether He exists or not? If I were God I would appear to everybody and say: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"

What I want to say is that it would be fair to punish for eternity after meeting the person and the person chooses not to follow Him.
Gee, sounds like a God of love to me. I'm sure everyone would jump at the chance to freely love God rather than respond out of fear.

There is also a hidden assumption in your logic. That is, God is not evident. I do not accept this premise, which also goes against what Scripture declares. I believe God is clearly evident through what has been created, and furthermore that God actively draws each of us towards Himself. Those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart. However, that does not mean God is not evident. It just means He is easily hidden, but such is based on our own choice. And importantly, people do not choose God necessarily out of fear, but rather love. Have you not heard that love casts out fear? Where fear overrides one's response, there is not love.

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#7

Post by B. W. » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:52 am

Kurieuo wrote:
1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: Just wondering and interested to know, if you were God what would you set up in the afterlife for people?

To spec that out a little, God for me is the source of everything that has been created, the source of good, righteousness, love and in control of what happens to the destinies of created beings. Without God, these things do not exist.

When someone dies, how much "error" would you accept in someone as God? A little error, no error, all -- where do you draw the line? What does this say of your righteousness?
Rigthteousness. Hmmm. Is it right to let people in hesitation about whether He exists or not? If I were God I would appear to everybody and say: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"

What I want to say is that it would be fair to punish for eternity after meeting the person and the person chooses not to follow Him.
Gee, sounds like a God of love to me. I'm sure everyone would jump at the chance to freely love God rather than respond out of fear.

There is also a hidden assumption in your logic. That is, God is not evident. I do not accept this premise, which also goes against what Scripture declares. I believe God is clearly evident through what has been created, and furthermore that God actively draws each of us towards Himself. Those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart. However, that does not mean God is not evident. It just means He is easily hidden, but such is based on our own choice. And importantly, people do not choose God necessarily out of fear, but rather love. Have you not heard that love casts out fear? Where fear overrides one's response, there is not love.
Add to this: Many people's logic is fear based. For example: if God does not exist then there is no judgment of myself - demonstrates a person's fear of losing control – fear of being actually responsible for one’s self, so, to masquerade this fear, it is easier to pass on blame to God, evolution, DNA, etc.

It is also the fear of love itself which a person decries – if they love me, what do they really want/require from me, or what’s the catch, or I need to test this if they really love me, they’ll do things my way.

Fear of not being able to save oneself through acts of appeasement and self affliction, and suffering, which other religions of the world do, except for biblically based Christianity which is founded on the opposite: God’s Grace. Fear of being wrong in that their personal acts of appeasement, self denial, philosophic traditions, opinions, cannot manipulate favor with god, gods, or even no god.

Fear of accepting that biblically based Christianity, by its uniqueness of relying solely on God’s grace, is correct. Biblically based Christianity goes against the grain of mankind, so people fear it. By biblically based Christianity, I mean those that adhere to the true tenants of the gospel message of Christ Jesus of grace and not the hijacked version and warping of Christianity for political control and purposes.

Perfect love cast out such fears. Only one that loves in that manner is the one who proved his love to a sanctimonious, spite filled, manipulative, demanding, rebellious bunch of folks. How – by offering himself, which now opens a choice set before us. Without that choice, love fails to be love because it would deny just justice of God’s love too God himself and to us. God will not deny himself.

Ivellious, what manner of fear keeps you away from Jesus who is wooing you?
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#8

Post by 1over137 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:59 am

Kurieuo wrote: Gee, sounds like a God of love to me.
And isn't He?
Kurieuo wrote: I'm sure everyone would jump at the chance to freely love God rather than respond out of fear.
Hmmm. Interesting. I am not that sure. "If you abandon me you will loose it." If you abandon me, you will loose love, you will loose harmony, you will loose peace. What would be left? Frustration and depression. I think that some people would really like to be independent. They would like to be gods themselves. They would not immediately jump at the God's offer. But after realizing that they would loose love, harmony and peace they would finally reconsider the offer and go with Him.
Kurieuo wrote: There is also a hidden assumption in your logic. That is, God is not evident. I do not accept this premise, which also goes against what Scripture declares. I believe God is clearly evident through what has been created,
You say you believe God is clearly evident through what has been created. Well, let's start with belief that something was created. Something created means that there is a Creator, that there is God. Period. What kind of God is He, is another question. May I ask you what has been created that God is clearly evident?
Kurieuo wrote: and furthermore that God actively draws each of us towards Himself. Those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart.
Those who persist. Hmmm. Why they persist? They do not have enough information. Or, there is devil influencing them. In both cases, is it their fault? Should they be punished for eternity? What other reasons people may have to persist? You also said that "those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart." Why is that? Why they receive darkened heart? Is God not so patient? Does he really darken people's hearts? I do not understand this.
Kurieuo wrote: And importantly, people do not choose God necessarily out of fear, but rather love. Have you not heard that love casts out fear? Where fear overrides one's response, there is not love.
I agree that people do not necessarily choose God out of fear. Why I agree? Let's take for example me. If it were the truth that there is no loving God, that there is no happy end, then there would be no happy end. I did not decide to believe in God out of the fear of no happy end.

P.S.: If I do not respond for several days, it would not mean I abandoned this thread. I am looking forward to further debate. And why? Because I want to grow. As God said: "Come and let us reason together."
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#9

Post by 1over137 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:29 am

Why this silence? What I wrote wrong?
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#10

Post by B. W. » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:07 pm

1over137 wrote:Why this silence? What I wrote wrong?
Your post was directed to Kurieuo so we'll wait unless you would like for others to respond as well...
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#11

Post by 1over137 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:53 am

B. W. wrote:
1over137 wrote:Why this silence? What I wrote wrong?
Your post was directed to Kurieuo so we'll wait unless you would like for others to respond as well...
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What would be your response B.W.? You can step into the debate if you want. I'd be glad if you do.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#12

Post by domokunrox » Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:51 am

I want to respond here, but I feel like the topic is confused at the moment.

Is someone saying that heaven and hell is Logically impossible? Or based on evidence, places that do not exist?

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#13

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:08 am

1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: Gee, sounds like a God of love to me.
And isn't He?
If you were God, and as God you said: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"... this does not sound like a God desiring our hearts to me, but rather a quite threatening and imposing God.
1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: I'm sure everyone would jump at the chance to freely love God rather than respond out of fear.
Hmmm. Interesting. I am not that sure. "If you abandon me you will loose it." If you abandon me, you will loose love, you will loose harmony, you will loose peace. What would be left? Frustration and depression. I think that some people would really like to be independent. They would like to be gods themselves. They would not immediately jump at the God's offer. But after realizing that they would loose love, harmony and peace they would finally reconsider the offer and go with Him.
You have ripped my words entirely out of context, which suggests to me a less than honest discussion is happening. However, nonetheless I will respond further to your beliefs of how God could better present Himself in our world.

It was CS Lewis I believe, where I first read the suggestion that God being directly present in the world as you appear to propose, would ultimately mean noone could reject Him.

Think about this question: Do we have more freedom in this world God created to reject God, versus a world wherein God is directly present?

Given we do have more freedom to reject God in our world, a good second question is why would God not want to be more present if more people would accept Him? Well, the answer is perhaps that many would not really be freely accepting Him in a world where God is awesomely present. Consider Paul, who travelling to Damascus came into contact with Jesus in a great light. Paul was literally floored and could not stand up. He went blind. Or consider Moses who after being on Mt Sinai shone so bright he had to wear a veil for the sake of others. Priests in Israel had to tie a rope around their leg when entering the holiest of holies, for if they had any blemish they could fall down dead and need to be pulled out by the rope.

God is awesome in every sense of that word. Being in His direct presence leaves people in a type of "fear" of being awestruck. For God to be directly present in this world leaves people with hardly a choice to reject God. And love is not coerced, but must be a free decision. And this temporary world God setup is I think the perfect one for testing our responses to God, and for transforming and shaping who we are.

Let's also not forget that everyone will come to directly know and experience God. Every knee bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Romans 14:11) Making mention of CS Lewis again, in The Great Divorce he provides a detailed glimpse of what he understand Hell to be like. In it, people are locked in hell from inside themselves rather than anything outside. All people have to do is cross over into heaven, yet they are fearful of God and prefer to be where they are. Heaven to them is painful for they cannot stand in the presence of God. And yet, there is nothing stopping them from crossing over except their own self.

Now I don't fully agree with CS Lewis' depiction of Hell, because Scripture is clear God is also responsible for the fate of the lost. Yet, I think CS Lewis is right on one thing. When we die, who we have become is effectively locked in. The nature of who we are is no longer changeable, except perhaps those who have willingly given their heart to Christ and as such permission to God to transform us into our new and imperishable bodies. Those who have rejected God, well, they have made their decision. God reads their decision on their hearts, regardless of whether they think they saw Him in our world. Their negative response to Him hereafter -- which I believe will either be one of wanting to hide away or seething and simmering -- effectively locks them into their own hell for eternity. It is a situation those who reject God create for themselves -- they are locked from the inside and God divorces them, sealing them into a world apart from Himself from the outside.

Now, I'm not saying you must believe with everything I've said. I don't expect everyone to have the same opinion as me. These are my current beliefs about what happens to those who reject God and what hell is, and I see that it is entirely Scriptural and in keeping with many great Christian thinkers. It also is helpful at explaining how come some are lost if God desires all to come to Him. Because He places great value upon our choices.
1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: There is also a hidden assumption in your logic. That is, God is not evident. I do not accept this premise, which also goes against what Scripture declares. I believe God is clearly evident through what has been created,
You say you believe God is clearly evident through what has been created. Well, let's start with belief that something was created. Something created means that there is a Creator, that there is God. Period. What kind of God is He, is another question. May I ask you what has been created that God is clearly evident?
Kurieuo wrote: and furthermore that God actively draws each of us towards Himself. Those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart.
Those who persist. Hmmm. Why they persist? They do not have enough information. Or, there is devil influencing them. In both cases, is it their fault? Should they be punished for eternity? What other reasons people may have to persist? You also said that "those who persist in rebelling against God receive a darkened heart." Why is that? Why they receive darkened heart? Is God not so patient? Does he really darken people's hearts? I do not understand this.
I'm just paraphrasing Scripture really. Scripture which we believe to be God's special revelation is something we're heavily dependant upon as Christians to understand spiritual matters. Romans 1:18-23 says exactly what I'm saying about God being evident:
  • 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

If you disagree then fine, but your disagreement is not with me but rather what Scripture plainly says. Which is, God is so evident that all are without excuse. Those who deny God, their hearts are darkened, even hardened against God.

Many non-Christians are confused. They think because they don't see God in the world, that God does not exist or if he does that they surely can't be blamed. Yet, what they fail to realise is that their hearts are darkened. So God who is actually so obvious, and even was once obvious to them until they outgrew God like "Santa Clause", is now seen as being on par with a fairy tail. They believe themselves wiser than to believe in God, not realising in following after their own desire to deny God that they have become blind to the obvious and invented their own fairy tales.
1over137 wrote:
Kurieuo wrote: And importantly, people do not choose God necessarily out of fear, but rather love. Have you not heard that love casts out fear? Where fear overrides one's response, there is not love.
I agree that people do not necessarily choose God out of fear. Why I agree? Let's take for example me. If it were the truth that there is no loving God, that there is no happy end, then there would be no happy end. I did not decide to believe in God out of the fear of no happy end.

P.S.: If I do not respond for several days, it would not mean I abandoned this thread. I am looking forward to further debate. And why? Because I want to grow. As God said: "Come and let us reason together."
I feel the point I was making was not grasped. My words were not in relation to how things are, but rather how things would be in a world you were proposing wherein everyone undeniably experiences God's presence. A world wherein God is like you saying: "Listen! I am God, the creator of everything. I created people and gave them free will. But some wanted to be like me and disobeyed me. They wanted to be independent. But being independent means loosing me. I offer love and harmony and peace and life. If you abandon me you will loose it. Do you go with me or not?"

It is in such a world that many would respond out of fear rather than love.

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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#14

Post by 1over137 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:46 am

Kurieuo wrote: Think about this question: Do we have more freedom in this world God created to reject God, versus a world wherein God is directly present?
I think that the amount of freedom is the same. And I also think that both worlds are not contradictory. There can be a world wherein God is directly present and at the same time created to reject God (by rejecting I do not mean now denying His existence but rather abandoning Him).
Kurieuo wrote: The next question is why would God not want to be more present if more people would accept Him.
I see that you think that He is present enough.
Kurieuo wrote: For God to be directly present in this world leaves people with hardly a choice to reject God.
If He was directly present, yes, people would not reject Him finally, based on their fear. Who would like to suffer for eternity?
Kurieuo wrote: And love is not coerced, but must be a free decision.
I agree. But why are people promised to terribly suffer in hell? Could not God just leave unbelieving people as they are? Or hell is about leaving people as they are? And life without God means suffering?
Kurieuo wrote: Now I don't fully agree with CS Lewis' depiction of Hell, because Scripture is clear God is also responsible for the fate of the lost.
So, God is responsible for how much people will suffer in hell?
Kurieuo wrote: If you disagree then fine, but your disagreement is not with me but rather what Scripture appears to plainly says. Which is, God is so evident that all are without excuse. Those who deny God, their hearts are darkened, even hardened against God.
Scripture says that "God has made it plain to them." Then, if His existence was made plain to them, why they refuse His existence?. If we assume that God is loving, why would someone refuse loving God?
Kurieuo wrote: Many non-Christians are confused. They think because they don't see God in the world, that God does not exist or if he does that they surely can't be blamed. Yet, what they fail to realise is that their hearts are darkened and so what is actually so obvious, and even was once obvious to them, has now become like a fairy tail. They believe themselves wiser than to believe in God, not realising in following after their own desire to deny God that they have become blind to the obvious.
So, what was once obvious is for some no more obvious. I wonder why. Because if it was once obvious that loving God exist why would somone want to suppress His existence? This does not make sense.
Kurieuo wrote: My words were not how things are, but rather how things would be in a world you were proposing wherein everyone undeniably experiences God's presence.
So, if I understand correctly, you claim that loving God would rather create "world to reject God". Well, IMO the loving God would create a world wherein His existence was really obvious and at the same time people would be free to reject Him and for that they would not be punished by great suffering.
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Re: God, Heaven and Hell

#15

Post by RickD » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:09 am

So, if I understand correctly, you claim that loving God would rather create "world to reject God". Well, IMO the loving God would create a world wherein His existence was really obvious and at the same time people would be free to reject Him and for that they would not be punished by great suffering
Hana, I'm being completely honest when I say that God's handiwork in creation, is really obvious. I'm not sure if that's what you're getting at when you say "His existence", though. Do you mean a God manifesting Himself in a "physical" existence?
John 5:24
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