Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

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Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#1

Post by CuriousBob » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:45 am

How can any mind be better than "a house divided against itself" or superior to an unstable one if it maintains the position that the greatest of all entities loves its creatures at least as much as the most loving of those creatures loves its own, that the greatest of all entities is infinitly more capable of annesthetizing a suffering creature more than any man (or creature) is capable of doing, but refuses to do so and instead chooses to allow just one creature (let alone most human creatures) to suffer and not only suffer in this life but also suffer for eternity?

Another, though less accurate, way of putting it, for minds that are incapable of grasping the thought might be thus: If God is at least as capable of applying general annesthesia to a man or woman as a surgeon is and if He loves His creatures at least as much as the most loving of human fathers does, why would He choose to allow either any or most men and women to suffer for any length of time and especially for eternity regardless of their choices in this life or why would He allow them only one of two choices instead of three (i.e., Why wouldn't He allow annihilation as a third choice)?

It seems the deeper I go in my quest to find a solution to the problems that this question creates for sound minds the more impossible it becomes for me to find a solution that does not require me to become unstable in all my thoughts towards a God who claims to love me at least as much as a natural human father would. I know that a natural father wouldn't allow his only child to suffer for one minute, much less for any longer, if he could help it, because I am that father. So, the solution to a problem that the God of the Bible seems to have created will continue to evade me until I decide to adopt the thinking of an unstable or unsound mind or unless I adopt a schizoid personality. I don't like this, because I want to continue to love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind and the problem (i.e., the stumblingblock) prevents me from doing so.

I would truly appreciate whatever any Christian here can do do correct me where I am wrong and restore my confidence in the God of the Bible. I still continue to believe He is the only God who is capable of answering my questions, performing miracles, and protecting me from mine enemies.

What I need most of all is an angelic visitation, an audibe voice, or a dream from my creator and heavenly Father. Any and all prayers for this purpose on my behalf would be most greatly appreciated.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#2

Post by jlay » Fri Apr 24, 2009 1:59 pm

To understand hell, we must understand sin. To understand sin, we must understand who our sin is against. So that takes us to the character of God.

If a god is corruptible then it isn't trustworthy and its judgments are not just.
The bible describes God as being infinately Holy, beyond our ability to understand. This is consistent from Genesis to Revelation. Read Isaiah 6 and Rev. 1 to see the effect of His holiness.

Why does the sun emit consuming heat? you could come up with all kinds of scientific theories, but nothing is simpler than saying, "that is just what it does." The sun is hot, super hot. It isn't trying to be hot, it just is hot. And anything that gets in its way will be consumed.

God is holy. He just IS holy. He doesn't try to be holy, he just is. Infinately holy beyond what we can imagine.

Does a judge render verdicts based on getting kicks out of sending people to jail? No, a good judge makes rulings, harsh rulings, because he is bound to the Law. The Law is a revealed trait of God's holiness. He is bound to it. Not because it is just what He thinks, but it is who He is. The bible says that God gets no pleasure from seeing the wicked punished.

We also must understand His love.
It is because of His love that wrath exist. God's love for us would be insufficient if He were to tolerate sin in any form or fashion. God IS love and His wrath is a product of His loving nature. He loves us too much to let us remain in our fallen state. God is not some god who is sitting back, uninterested in people going to Hell. He is active. He is pursuing man through our conscience, and through His people, and through His word.
if He loves His creatures at least as much as the most loving of human fathers does

This can be a dangerous analogy. As much as a father loves their child, that love is still inadequate to explain God's love. when my daughter breaks my rules, she has sinned against a fallen sinful father. We can not mistakenly compare our sins against God to a child breaking mom's favorite lamp. It is wholly inadequate.

God is not necessarily pushing us away when we sin. We are running away from Him. We can not run to Him, when we are sinning. Sin is a choice. In fact the bible teaches that everything He did to purchase us away from sin, He did while we were STILL sinners. The fact that God sees our sins, even our sinful thoughts, is a product of His love. He watches over us. He isn't sitting there, waiting for us to mess up, so He can grind us to powder. He created us, and is watching over us in love. The result of that is nothing is hidden from His eyes. Not even your thought. Yet, still he is longing to redeem us, and make us right with Himself.

So, what is God's love? Is it a pat on the head, a hug, or butterflies in your stomach? Well the bible says that the cross is God's demonstration of His love. (Romans 5:8) What if I said, "hey, I want to show you my love. I'm going to let my child, who lived a blamesless life be arrested, brutally beaten, and nailed to a cross. And this is to make right the wrongs you have done. There it is, my love." But, that is exactly what God did. Now, if sin is tolerable to God, then what He orchestrated at the cross was insane. The cross shows us how utterly wicked and intolerable sin is to a Holy and pure God. The cross of Christ was/is the only place where God's love and mercy can be reconcield to His justice and wrath. There is no plan B.

God is not emotional. God does not lose His temper. That is a human thing. The bible says He is angry with the wicked every day. Every day. His anger towards sin is always the same. His love is always the same. They are not conflicting emotions, but are the traits of the Holy nature of the Creator.

What is Hell?
The bible speaks of fire and brimstone, but most of the descriptions are figurative representations. Revelation is clearly written in a figurative style. The parable of Lazurus and the rich man is also figurative. Unless Abraham's bossom is where we Heaven is. But it is most assuredly meant to convey the truth and reality of eternal seperation from God. And it is not a pretty picture.

If God is good and created the earth good, then it can not be good apart from Him. There is no hope for good if we are completely seperated from God. If we are seperated from goodness, what do you have left? Hell. No one enters Hell, apart from rejecting God's light that He has put within them. God created us with eternity in our hearts.

If there is no anger towards sin, then there is no wrath, no judgement, and no hell. And then the cross is non-essential. If God is compromised in any way in regards to holiness, and His hatred of sin, then how could we trust His love? If the Holiness of God is not a reality, then the God of the bible is not a reality. The alternatives are scary. If God's holiness is compromised then his love is compromised. There is no hope for heaven if the character of God is anything less than what the bible represents. That means we have no hope of being perfected. Any afterlife would be imperfect, with sin, falleness, suffering and pain. A god like this wouldn't be concerned with you, or you being saved, or even peacefully placed in a state of annihilation. He would be inadequate. He wouldn't be concerned with your eternal state, nor seeing rapists and murderers brought to justice for their crimes. But God is interested in you. He created you. He is perfect, pure, and Holy, and has provided everything you need to perfected in Him. He worked everything out, through Christ Jesus.

Now, here you are. Able to ask these questions. I would contend that apart for the intervening, beckoning grace of God you would not be capable of seeking answers to these questions. The fact that you can even ponder these things is evidence to me of the light that God has placed within you.

what if I was able to record your thoughts for just one week. Every lustful thought. Every time you thought something about that person you didn't like. Everything. Then at the end of that week I was able to take out the most sinful parts and replay them for your friends, family, children. Would you be concerned? I know I would. The bible says that every idle word, and even our hidden thoughts will be brought under judgment. Why our thoughts? Because before sin happens it is conceived in the mind.

God is going to see to it that murderers and rapists are brought to justice. He will also give justice others. "The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur." (Rev 21:8) 9"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Most people don't have a problem with God sending Hitler to hell. That is only because they have a distorted view of their own sin. How holy is God? Well if you had to look at a scale based on the span of the United States, God would be in Miami and Hitler would be in Seattle. We'd like to think we are in Tennessee. The reality is we are in Portland, and inching closer to Seattle every day.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"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: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#3

Post by BavarianWheels » Fri Apr 24, 2009 3:25 pm

.
.
I like your thoughts here, jlay.

:esmile:
.
.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#4

Post by CuriousBob » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:25 am

I want to thank you Jlay for taking the time to help me to solve this problem I have with the God of the Bible. I don't mean to be difficult, but your first statement is not making any sense whatsoever to me. In fact, none of your reply seems to address the issue that I have raised. This is very disappointing to me, because I had hoped you might have something more revealing to say to me.

What is there about hell (eternal agony, punishment, or damnation is what I was really referring to because death and hell, after the final judgment, will be cast into the lake of fire, according to the Good Book) that I must understand more than I already understand or did I indicate anywhere that I needed to understand hell and why would you suggest that hell can never be understood until sin has been understood? What is there to understand about agony or suffering (be it either temporary, indefinite, or eternal). If I were to apply your line of reasoning to suffering or agony, I might not seek to understand agony or suffering by appealing to pleasure or some other anonym. Instead, I might look for a choice of action that might have some bearing on the suffering or agony. But that wouldn't make sense to me, because I have always understood suffering by appealing to an anonym like pleasure or a synonym or physical sensation like pain.

For the same reason I am compelled to ask, "Why would you suggest that I must undertand the one that I am sinning against before I can understand sin?" How is that supposed to help me to understand sin?

Please remember that understanding hell, sin, and who the sin is against is not what I am concerned about here. I have definitions for such things that I am perfectly satisfied with at the moment, though I am always open to other definitions that I may not be aware of. So, I see no real need for anyone to help me to understand those things any better than I now do unless it can be demonstrated to my greatest satisfaction that a newer understanding may have some bearing on the topic that I started here.

In fact, your reply is evasive, in my estimation. It reveals arguments that are very old and unconvincing to me when dealing with the issues that I have raised. Do you understand the issues I have raised?

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#5

Post by jlay » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:47 am

I guess I don't friend. The age of an argument doesn't make it more or less valid. Just as the age of your questions don't make them any more or less a concern for you. In fact the questions you are asking are old. Very old. But that doesn't mean we should shun giving you an answer. Just because you have heard the answer before doesn't mean it is inadaquate or inappropriate. People reject truth all the time. How many times have the perpetrators of DUI heard, "don't drink and drive?"

Here is your first question.
How can any mind be better than "a house divided against itself" or superior to an unstable one if it maintains the position that the greatest of all entities loves its creatures at least as much as the most loving of those creatures loves its own, that the greatest of all entities is infinitly more capable of annesthetizing a suffering creature more than any man (or creature) is capable of doing, but refuses to do so and instead chooses to allow just one creature (let alone most human creatures) to suffer and not only suffer in this life but also suffer for eternity?
What I hear is, why does God allow suffering here on earth, and for eternity?
Please reword this in a way that is more clear, if I am wrong. If I am right, then your criticisms of my arguments being old would doubly apply to your question. The question, "why is there suffering," is as old as man's expulsion from the garden of eden. The answer to that question begins in Genesis, and continues throughout all of scripture. Paul even wrote, "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Christianity isn't exactly a recipe for life enhancement is it?

I'm not clear what you are driving at by saying that God is capable of annethetizing a suffering creature. As if some how God would be more acceptable to you if he would apperate, and give all those suffering a dose of morphine? If there were no suffering, then you could have no confidence in the Bible. If there were no suffering the bible wouldn't make no sense at all. The bible is exhaustive in explaining that all suffering and death in this world is a direct result of man's fallen nature and his total depravity. That in fact man chose to seperate himself from paradise to live in a fallen world. This is a central theme in all of scripture. And the bible waste no time delving into explaining this issue.

an audibe voice
The bible is the written WORD of God. His voice for this generation. I can't help but think of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 'He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "
If God is at least as capable of applying general annesthesia to a man or woman as a surgeon is and if He loves His creatures at least as much as the most loving of human fathers does, why would He choose to allow either any or most men and women to suffer for any length of time and especially for eternity regardless of their choices in this life or why would He allow them only one of two choices instead of three (i.e., Why wouldn't He allow annihilation as a third choice)?
This question is the one that specifically led to my first response. This question in and of itself questions the motives of God, and indicates to me a lack of understanding of man's fallen nature, God's holiness, and the seriousness of sin. I say this bluntly to not bead around the bush. To lose confidence in the bible means you once had confidence in the bible. If one has confidence in the bible then they will "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15
You say, "regardless of their choices in this life or why would He allow them only one of two choices instead of three?"
“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 8-9
In fact prior to this verse it is instructed to let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.

Jesus does imply that judgment may very well come in varying degrees. Read Matt 11:20-24.

God speaking through the prophet Hosea had this to say,
"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

Knowledge? Where does true knowledge come from? "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
The Law of the lord is perfect, converting the soul. Hosea says that ingoring the Law of God has led to this rejection of knowledge.

So, the bible warns that we can in fact REJECT the truth. The bible is the most printed book to ever exist. It is also the most rejected.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"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: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#6

Post by zoegirl » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:01 am

:amen: :clap:
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#7

Post by CuriousBob » Sat Apr 25, 2009 3:07 pm

The age of an argument doesn't make it more or less valid. I am not saying and I hope I am not implying that it does. All I am saying is that I am very familiar with your reasoning and have good reasons for rejecting that type of reasoning. I am not interested in creating contention between fellow believers. That is the furthest thing from my mind! Rather I am interested in seeing if there is some stone I have left unturned, so-to-speak, or something I may have missed in my search for a solution to the state of confusion that the Bible generates within me, after having considered things like the fact that at least one of the more than 40 different authors of the Bible leads me to believe that in 1 Corinthians 14:33, "God is not the author of confusion but of peace [soundness of mind]" and despite the fact that, in 2 Timothy 1:7, I am told that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind".Just because you have heard the answer before doesn't mean it is inadaquate or inappropriate. People reject truth all the time. How many times have the perpetrators of DUI heard, "don't drink and drive?" Agreed! But that is irrelevant for the reason I just gave you.

What I hear is, why does God allow suffering here on earth, and for eternity? Actually, that is only partially correct. It is the degree of suffering that I am getting at. Suffering or pain is to be expected and I am not objecting to it here. Unbearable pain and suffering or agony is what I am attempting to put my finger on in this discussion and it is precisely what I am objecting to in light of everything that I know for sure about the biblical God's substance, essence, character, and/or nature. None of the established fundamental evangelical biblical answers that I am familiar with and that you are rehashing appear to address the question of eternal torment, agony, or unbearable suffering that I am most concerned about for the purposes of this discussion. And I greatly fear they never will be addressed until the question is seen, at the very least, in light of the apparent contradictions that exist in a significant number of biblical statements (far too numerous for me to exhaust my resources on at this time), such as that in 2 Peter 3:9, which clearly leads us to believe that, on the one hand, God is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9) and such as that in Romans 9:22, which, on the other hand, clearly leads us to believe that He is willing that some should perish (Romans 9:22) and as other equally clear statements in the Bible leave no room for doubt that every last one of the souls that resided within the fleshly vessels described in Romans 9 were bound to suffer beyond the grave for the rest of eternity.

Paul even wrote, "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Christianity isn't exactly a recipe for life enhancement is it? I am not saying it is. In fact, it takes discipline to be a real Christian in the truest sense of the word or in the sense that the early church perceived it to be. And that discipline is most certainly a form of suffering that every individual who wishes to follow the New Testament Jesus as closely and flawlessly as possible must rigorously subject himself to. But Persecution for righteousness' sake and in this life is not the suffering that I am attempting to discuss under this topic.

I'm not clear what you are driving at by saying that God is capable of annethetizing a suffering creature. As if some how God would be more acceptable to you if he would apperate, and give all those suffering a dose of morphine? I prefer to say, "The biblical God would be far more appealing to every sound mind, not just to mine, than He already is if he were to "be" (as opposed to "give") that dose of morphine to all who are potential candidates for unbearable suffering in whatever physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual form that agony may express itself". In fact He would obviously appear more consistent with Himself if He were to do so. As it stands though, He doesn't appear so. I am hoping that someone here can help me to see Him in a way that assures me that He is consistent with Himself in this respect. As long as He appears inconsistent with Himself, I must remain like "a house divided against itself" (an undesirable predicament to be in) while placing my confidence in Him and I must continue placing my confidence in Him because I am compelled to agree with Peter, who said, "Who else can we turn to, Lord? Thou hast the words of eternal life." and because He is the only one among the gods who has demonstrated an ability to give the kind of comfort that only a loving God could give.If there were no suffering, then you could have no confidence in the Bible. If you meant it wouldn't matter what you believe about God if He couldn't or wouldn't punish you for eternity for refusing to please Him, then you would have a good point, as far as I am concerned, only if you believe that a complete absence of eternal consciousness in either bliss or agony is preferable to eternal agony.If there were no suffering the bible wouldn't make no sense at all. In what way(s) would you suggest it wouldn't? It continues to make sense to me in many areas, though, admittedly, it doesn't in the area that concerns this discussion.The bible is exhaustive in explaining that all suffering and death in this world is a direct result of man's fallen nature and his total depravity. True enough.That in fact man chose to seperate himself from paradise to live in a fallen world. This is a central theme in all of scripture. And the bible waste no time delving into explaining this issue. True enough again.

an audibe voice
The bible is the written WORD of God. His voice for this generation. I can't help but think of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. "'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' 'He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " Without a doubt. But he did and still does appear to people in dreams or visions and He still does provide angelic visitations and speak with an audible voice to people, not just Christians either.

If God is at least as capable of applying general annesthesia to a man or woman as a surgeon is and if He loves His creatures at least as much as the most loving of human fathers does, why would He choose to allow either any or most men and women to suffer for any length of time and especially for eternity regardless of their choices in this life or why would He allow them only one of two choices instead of three (i.e., Why wouldn't He allow annihilation as a third choice)?

This question is the one that specifically led to my first response. This question in and of itself questions the motives of God, and indicates to me a lack of understanding of man's fallen nature, God's holiness, and the seriousness of sin. I say this bluntly to not bead around the bush. As this discussion progresses I hope to find out if you are and just how much you are right on this point.To lose confidence in the bible means you once had confidence in the bible. If one has confidence in the bible then they will "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim 2:15 I thought this is prcisely what I have been doing.
You say, "regardless of their choices in this life or why would He allow them only one of two choices instead of three?"
“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55: 8-9
In fact prior to this verse it is instructed to let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.Now this is one I hadn't associated with the topic of this discussion. I will take it into consideration though.

Jesus does imply that judgment may very well come in varying degrees. Read Matt 11:20-24. No doubt.

God speaking through the prophet Hosea had this to say,
"my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children."

Knowledge? Where does true knowledge come from? "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge."
The Law of the lord is perfect, converting the soul. Hosea says that ingoring the Law of God has led to this rejection of knowledge. Please show me how this applies to the discussion.

So, the bible warns that we can in fact REJECT the truth. The bible is the most printed book to ever exist. It is also the most rejected. That being the case, what are you saying or how does that affect this discussion?

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#8

Post by jlay » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:35 pm

That being the case, what are you saying or how does that affect this discussion?
i am saying that just because we have the truth doesn't mean we accept it. In fact that seems to be your point of contention. There are some areas that you disagree or are at conflict with the scripture. I think that is something every Christian deals with on one level or the other.

I guess this whole annesthetizing is really were you lose me. I am not sure why you think that is a valid concept in light of what God has revealed.
All I am saying is that I am very familiar with your reasoning and have good reasons for rejecting that type of reasoning.
I'd be curious to know them, because we can't really dig much deeper. These are extremely sound theological concepts. If you have rejected them, then you view them as wrong. So the fact is, there will be contention, that's just a reality. There is no division in the mind of God, so either I'm wrong or your wrong. Is it possible that you are wrong in your rejections?

I will address some of your specific scripture references that you have mentioned, in just one moment.

I spot one obvious thing in your post. You quote, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". That is a great scripture. Who gives? God gives. Do you gain these things by working real hard and being the best Christian you can be? Not according to this verse. They are given.
In another part you state, "it takes discipline to be a real Christian." Actually that is in conflict with the scripture above. Christ's message wasn't, "you really just need to live a more disciplined life, and I've come to teach you how to pull yourself up by your bootstraps." You see discipline, no matter good it sounds, is all about your ability. And the only place our ability got us, was to sin and death. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. Yes, God disciplines those He loves. He does it. On the day of pentecost, did the gift of tongues appear because the disciples had been practicing in the upper room for a week? Nope. God again. In John 14 and 15 Jesus teaches some deep concepts on the Holy Spirit. did He ever once imply that the key was effort, or discipline? In fact in John 14:15 the word 'will' doesn't even appear in the greek text. "if you love me you will keep my commandments." Essentially it says, I you love me, you observe my commands. Does a tree produce fruit because it works at it? Nope. God wants to produce through you. chapter 15 deals with the produce of the fruit.
God is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9)

first this verse and Rom. 9:22 are contextually two different topics. To have conflict they would 1st need to be addressing the same issue, and coming to different conclusions. In this verse, you have clearly chosen to interpret it out of context. Go back a few verses. "But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men."

The word "willing" in verse 9 is translated "wanting, desiring or wishing" in other translations. It is a verb, not the noun which is used to signify "God's sovereign will." That is a totally different greek word. A teacher might say, "I don't will that any of my children fail the test." but that does not mean she will not ALLOW that result.
This is the same greek word used in Luke 10:22. wills,Chooses or desires.

A clear understanding of these two verses demonstrates there is absolutely zero conflict.

Interesting that right before romans 9:22, verses 19 and 20 say,
"One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?"

In regards to suffering. The cross pretty much screams suffering. God gave up His son, with whom he was well pleased, to save a wicked, depraved wretch like myself, to spare my suffering. I accept.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"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: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#9

Post by CuriousBob » Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:14 am

Jlay. It is a real pleasure discussing this contentious issue with you. But this post is primarily a note to let you know that I have just read your most recent post and plan to deal with everything you touch upon, point by point, the next time I have the time to do so. Hopefully it will be within the next 24 hours. But it might be longer. How much longer depends on my schedule. I do want to deal with them though, because I want to know if there are answers I have somehow missed and because I am anxious to arrive at answers that I would be confident in sharing with others who are dealing with similar stumblingblocks to mine.

In all honesty, I have always found it difficult to gain an understanding of Scripture that was both sound and stable at the same time. Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot honestly say I have such an understanding. Maybe you do. So I will probe to see if you really do. If I discover that you don't, then I will have to depend more upon God Himself than men who admittedly are not infallible expounders of Scripture or the things of God. That is probably the best thing I could do when I come to think of it. But, I still feel a need to consult with other men who follow the Lord's Christ if only to prove to myself that they do or do not have the answers. More later...Please wait before you post or please don't present any new material in response to this note so I don't have to deal with more than I can handle in one post. Thank you.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#10

Post by B. W. » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:31 am

CuriousBob wrote:Jlay. It is a real pleasure discussing this contentious issue with you. But this post is primarily a note to let you know that I have just read your most recent post and plan to deal with everything you touch upon, point by point, the next time I have the time to do so. Hopefully it will be within the next 24 hours. But it might be longer. How much longer depends on my schedule. I do want to deal with them though, because I want to know if there are answers I have somehow missed and because I am anxious to arrive at answers that I would be confident in sharing with others who are dealing with similar stumblingblocks to mine.

In all honesty, I have always found it difficult to gain an understanding of Scripture that was both sound and stable at the same time. Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot honestly say I have such an understanding. Maybe you do. So I will probe to see if you really do. If I discover that you don't, then I will have to depend more upon God Himself than men who admittedly are not infallible expounders of Scripture or the things of God. That is probably the best thing I could do when I come to think of it. But, I still feel a need to consult with other men who follow the Lord's Christ if only to prove to myself that they do or do not have the answers. More later...Please wait before you post or please don't present any new material in response to this note so I don't have to deal with more than I can handle in one post. Thank you.

This is a topic (as they say - right up my alley) I'll post more as soon as I can but for now, I have a severe sinus infection and basically cannot respond in full form right now. So for now, I'll read and follow topic :wave:
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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#11

Post by CuriousBob » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:52 am

BM? I am very pleased to learn of your interest in this topic and do look forward to your contributions to the discussion. :esmile:

Jlay. I am beginning to realize that this discussion is not helping me to arrive at the solutions I am after as quickly as I'd like it too. So, I think it would be in order if I were to start it again in a different manner or by using a slightly different approach (i.e., one that hopefully gives you and everyone else who cares to contribute to it a chance to see where I am coming from and where I want to go with it. Having said that, though, I don't want you or any other potential contributors to lose track of the thoughts that I have already introduced.

After thinking y:-? about it a little, it might have been better for me to have started off by utilizing the following lines of reasoning:

If it can be demonstrated that the God of the Bible clearly tells you and me that He loves both us and our offspring more than we love ourselves or our offspring or at least as much as we do and if it is true that you and I will do everything in our power to demonstrate our love to our offspring or to prevent our most cherished one(s) from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, then how would it be unreasonable for any of us to feel like we are being sacrilegious or wrong for expecting God to do everything within His power to demonstrate His love to us by doing everything within His power to prevent us and our most cherished ones from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, let alone for eternity?

[align=]OR[/align]

If it can be demonstrated that the God of the Bible annihilated the desparately wicked mighty men of renown that were born unto the sons of God that left their heavenly estate to intermingle with and marry the daughters of men or if it can be demonstrated that He allows all biological forms of life apart from that which was made in His own image to die someday and become as if those forms had never been born, then, likewise, it can be demonstrated that He has the power to cause those of us whom He has made in His own image to some day die and become as if we had never been born and, in this way, it can be demonstrated that you and I would not be unreasonable or sacrilegious if we were to expect Him to do so when He becomes aware that we would not be fit to live in or enjoy life in a world that "the only begotten from the dead" "hath prepared for them that love Him". That being the case, I see nothing sacrilegious in suggesting that the God of the Bible would not appear to be consistent with Himself if He were to deny man an opportunity to choose eternal unconsciousness if his only other option was eternal agony.

If we choose to interpret ECCl. 3:11, as the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society does, in support of a doctrine that suggests that all men were created to prefer eternal agony over eternal unconsciousness, then we would have to be like a house divided against itself if we were to maintain that the God of the Bible is just and certainly not cruel. However, F.F. Bruce's commentary, which I just found at http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/b ... _bruce.pdf does not use the clearest of terms to suggest this at all. So, I see no good reason for using it in support of such a doctrine. And F.F. Bruce is one of my favorite evangelical historians.

Jlay!

I am hoping that what I have said thus far has given you a good sense of where I am coming from and where I am going with these lines of reasoning. If not, I will elaborate some more in subsequent posts.

With great anticipation, I am looking forward to your most careful answers and I welcome every careful answer that others may care to contribute to this discussion. I want you to know how much I appreciate your contributions and everyone else's contributions to this discussion. And I really covet your prayers in helping me to deal with this extremely important issue.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#12

Post by jlay » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:38 am

If it can be demonstrated that the God of the Bible clearly tells you and me that He loves both us and our offspring more than we love ourselves or our offspring or at least as much as we do and if it is true that you and I will do everything in our power to demonstrate our love to our offspring or to prevent our most cherished one(s) from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, then how would it be unreasonable for any of us to feel like we are being sacrilegious or wrong for expecting God to do everything within His power to demonstrate His love to us by doing everything within His power to prevent us and our most cherished ones from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, let alone for eternity?
I'd very much like to see B.W.'s insights on this.

Of this I am certain. God did everything possible to prevent anyone from suffering for eternity. That solution is the only one that satisfies his absolute hatred of sin, and His perfect sense of justice. That solution is calvary.
We can not magnify one chracteristic of God while muting others.
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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: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#13

Post by Jac3510 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:52 am

CB,

Here is perhaps a heretical thought for you: why do you believe that everyone is God's offspring? Before you answer, take a look at John 1:12, and then tell me what you think.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#14

Post by CuriousBob » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:39 pm

Jack3510,

What did I say that led you to the conclusion that I believe that everyone is God's offspring?

If there is any belief concerning God and every object or entity apart from Him that I am most strongly inclined to agree with, it is this:

Before anything else existed; yes even before nothingness itself existed, there was God and only God. Everything (including nothingness and including the particles that insects are made of, the particles that men are made of, and the substance or characteristics that spirits consist of) that now exists apart from God was once and in some sense still could be thought of as God. Why? Because even nothingness itself had to be a part (for lack of a better term) of God, to put it most bluntly, if the Bible is to be taken seriously. That is only a small part of what I think, though I am always open to more insights and suggestions. But it is just a start in my feeble attempt to describe what I think.

Here is another way I might accurately communicate my perceptions of God and the reality that I have been born into:

Time has everything to do with beginnings and endings of imagined or real events and/or processes. In a very real sense, time is nothing more or less than the points at which a thought or action or any combination and sequence of such begins and ends. With this in mind we can start to develop a theology that is centered around an ultimate and uncaused cause, which, by its very nature, can never be correctly referred to as an effect or anything less than a cause. Unless I indicate otherwise, "God" is the generic term I will always be using when referring to the great uncaused cause and usually the term I use when referring to the Almighty One that the human authors of the Bible constantly refer to.

In the beginning (i.e., starting from the point at which the universe that I was born into came into being), God is all there was; there were no universes apart from God (if it is permissable to call Him a universe); there were no living beings apart from God; there were no particles, molecules, atoms, photons, electrons, or you-name-it apart from God; there was no dark matter apart from God; there were no black holes or white dwarfs apart from God; etc., etc., etc...

Also, at some point before the universe in which I was born came to be and at God's beck n' call, someone and something or many ones and many things other than God came into being, began sharing God's being with Him and became aware of themselves and things around them just like He always was (except on a scale that was infinitely less restricted than everything and everyone else's). In other words, God decided either to multiply Himself and become multiple beings, at least one universe, angels, men, women, children, etc... primarily because, apart from Him and all that He consists of, nothing new or nothing that does not, in some way, ultimately prove to be part and parcel of His own being and substance can possibly come into existence or He found a way to divide His own substance, consciousness, and life into many seperate substances, consciousnesses, and lives.

Whatever defects exist within God's creation are defects that would never have existed had He never created. Therefore, it seems that the conclusion is inescapable: God appears to be entirely responsible for whatever defects exist within His creation as all designers and manufacturers are responsible for the defects that exist within their manufactured products. But, it also appears as if God wants to put the blame entirely on the shoulders of His own creation for a defect that He terms "sin". It is primarily conslusions like this derived from this type of sound thinking that creates problems for people like me who yearn to trust in God and become godly.
Last edited by CuriousBob on Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:57 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Re: Heaven & Hell Vs Annihilation

#15

Post by B. W. » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:11 pm

jlay wrote:
If it can be demonstrated that the God of the Bible clearly tells you and me that He loves both us and our offspring more than we love ourselves or our offspring or at least as much as we do and if it is true that you and I will do everything in our power to demonstrate our love to our offspring or to prevent our most cherished one(s) from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, then how would it be unreasonable for any of us to feel like we are being sacrilegious or wrong for expecting God to do everything within His power to demonstrate His love to us by doing everything within His power to prevent us and our most cherished ones from experiencing any excruciating pain or agony for any length of time, let alone for eternity?
I'd very much like to see B.W.'s insights on this.

Of this I am certain. God did everything possible to prevent anyone from suffering for eternity. That solution is the only one that satisfies his absolute hatred of sin, and His perfect sense of justice. That solution is calvary.

We can not magnify one chracteristic of God while muting others.
Thank you! I'll try even though my sinuses hurt and my head is a bit foggy so bear with me.

One argument oft used is what I call the “we are all God's children” argument. This idea is manipulated out of context of Acts 17:24-31 which says:

Act 17:24, “God, who did make the world, and all things in it, this One, of heaven and of earth being Lord, in temples made with hands doth not dwell, 25 neither by the hands of men is He served--needing anything, He giving to all life, and breath, and all things…” YLT

Commentary: Paul, speaking to the philosophers of his time, here reveals that God creates and grants a gift of life. He is referring back to Genesis 1:26-30 and this is important to note because humanity was originally fashioned according to whose likeness — reflection?

Acts 17:26-28, “He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth--having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings-- 27 to seek the Lord, if perhaps they did feel after Him and find, --though, indeed, He is not far from each one of us, 28 for in Him we live, and move, and are; as also certain of your poets have said: For of Him also we are offspring." YLT

Commentary: The Greek word translated offspring is not saying we are all his children but rather Paul is quoting a poet philosopher who lived about 300 years before Paul whom his audience was familiar: That was Phaenomena of Aratus and his poem reads like this:

With Jove we must begin; nor from him rove;
Him always praise, for all is full of Jove!
He fills all places where mankind resort,
The wide-spread sea, with every shelt'ring port.
Jove's presence fills all space, upholds this ball;
All need his aid; his power sustains us all.
For we his offspring are; and he in love
Points out to man his labor from above:
Where signs unerring show when best the soil,
By well-timed culture, shall repay our toil

(In Phaenomenis, p. 1. -- Vid. Fabricii Biblioth. Gr. l. 3. c. 18. p. 453)

Sound much like the 'we are all Children of God' argument. The Greek word used is not the Greek word for Child or Children. It is the word genos. Hence Paul alludes back to the Genesis account. Genos means, kind, nature, generations, stock, tribe, nations, groups bound to one another by the fact they are alive and have common purpose and some type of connection. It is translated and used that way in the NT.

Bottom line:

So what is Paul saying? So are we really all God's children whom God will never inflict judgment or bear wrath upon because he loves? Or instead is Paul saying that we have a connection to God by being fashioned a rational, intelligent, living being (a genos not another god)?

In fact, the very context in these verses of Acts 17 bears out the later: Paul is referring to God creating a genus of beings collectively called Man. Placing them in certain locations (vs 26) so that, like Phaenomena of Aratus, humanity would grope for God in hopes of finding him (vs27).

What Paul is saying is simple. God wants you and I to find him and return to him and be remade into the original design God had in mind. Sin entered the world and broke the mold so to speak and as we shall soon see — all humanity became children of wrath, children of the devil, cut off from God.

Acts 17:29-31, “Being, therefore, offspring of God, we ought not to think the Godhead to be like to gold, or silver, or stone, graving of art and device of man; 30 the times, indeed, therefore, of the ignorance God having overlooked, doth now command all men everywhere to reform (repent), 31 because He did set a day in which He is about to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom He did ordain, having given assurance to all, having raised him out of the dead.” YLT

Commentary: Look at these verses again: Don't think for a moment that you and I are gods. We were made a genos (created beings bound one to another) who were granted life (vs25), made alive as God is alive, sharing a semblance of intelligence, reason, etc, in order to govern as God's representatives (image and likeness of God - Gen 1:1:26-30). We have all fallen away from this. Therefore, do not base what God should be like on anything we create (such is the idolatry of philosophy based on the works of fallen men — read vs29).

From this (vs 30-31) all humanity is to repent because God is going to judge the world through Christ. The poem and philosophy of Phaenomena of Aratus may sound nice but it denies God's Judgment — therefore Paul was calling the people on Mars Hill to repent and become saved so they can become the adopted sons of God.

Paul wrote this: Eph 1:5, “…He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will...” ESV

In fact the bible specifically states there are two kinds of children:

1 Jn 3:10, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” ESV

Eph 2:3, “among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”


All humanity, through sin are by nature children of wrath. Jesus even told many religious leaders they were children of the devil (John 8:44).

In conclusion: There are two types of children.

We are not all children of God as there are clearly two types of children. Those of darkness (devil) and light (God) meaning those who have been adopted back into God's fold restored to God's original design (genos — which we were created: Note Rev 21:1-4 not to be another god but rather his servants — his people). The choice of whose child you want to be is before all humanity such is the power of the cross.

Eph 5:8, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…”

2 Pe 2:14, “They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!”

1 Th 5:5, “For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.”

1 Jn 3:1, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”


In Acts 17 Paul is telling the philosophers to repent and turn away from the sayings of people like Phaenomena of Aratus. What they teach may sound appealing and reassuring but look at it more. Who are we to dictate to God how he should be toward us? Doing so proves rebellion true — people want God to bow to them, their ideas, philosophy, modes of reasoning. In other words, manipulate God's own nature of love to bend the rules a little to get what one wants. This would make God less than God if he permitted this behavior to continue.

Look at this stanza from Phaenomena of Aratus: By well-timed culture, shall repay our toil

God will repay our toil
"??? I rest my case... Read the Stanza of the poem quoted above again if you you don't understand...

If God let this continue, man would become God and God would be man's servant and no longer God. From this, Paul tells those on Mars Hill to repent and come to Christ adopted legally back into the fold. If not, they remain children of wrath, darkness, without God, waiting for the day they'll stand in judgment.

What judgment? How have we manipulated God to bow to our ideas, philosophy, modes of noble sounding reasoning in hopes we can escape such a thing as God's judgment and wrath. Why would God want such unredeemed in heaven? If he did,sin would become continuously replete. It is we who need to repent — not God.

Such notions of soul sleep, annihilationism, universalism are cemented to the historical and documented philosophies of men in hopes God would stoop. From such notions, turn away. Please, do not use the progressive notion of wagging the dog — spinning error into truth. The doctrine of hell and the afterlife came before Plato. I think it was Justin who stated that Moses was before Plato and made the case that the philosophers took ancient teachings and spun these to suit them.

The Old Testament indeed teaches life after death and hell and judgment one faces. Don't be fooled - these are not appealing to human sensibilities - facing eternal punishment. So beware of how people will say anything to have God stoop to them. The cross defies all human ideologies -- Who has heard of such a thing as the cross? Jesus' own words on the matter of hell are very convincing. Don't spin these into error as is the manner of some.

Soul sleep and annihilationism comes from the Atomist and Stoics and universalism from many diverse philosophies of many men/women as well. In truth — will God bow to you or you bow to God? The bible causes us, by God's Spirit, to see our sin and bow to God. That is why people refuse to believe what the bible says about God's judgment and the state of life after death spinning error into truth by wagging the dog.
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Well that's all for now...I am a bit tired and re-edited this way too many times ...

All scriptures not cited are from the ESV

God bless and return to Christ!
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Science is man's invention - creation is God's
(by B. W. Melvin)

Old Polish Proverb:
Not my Circus....not my monkeys

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