Yes, I do believe the purpose for our creation is to be with Him - to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, as I've often heard said. But it is not all
that there is to His purpose. As I understand it, He wants us to make a choice to be with Him, to be restored to the righteousness that He had intended for us so that we may be perfect as He requires of us.
Because, as it is written in Romans 3:23 that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
", I also believe our "default destination" has become that of separation from Him and whatever horrors that hell happens to provide. Although so many people do so, we (people in general) cannot presume to go automatically to Heaven. That would bypass Judgement (or make a mockery of it, not being on God's terms with Himself as the judge) and is more like the belief of Universalists, not Christian doctrine.
I also believe that God does not want to lose any one of us. Many verses say so.
Ezekiel 18:23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance
1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
So... given that many people do not take up on His provision of salvation through Jesus Christ, for whatever reason, I would say that His purpose in that respect - but not in the respect that He has allowed us the choice - is violated.
ttoews wrote:What is the purpose of endless torment? Will that put an end to sin/rebellion against God? If the purpose of endless torment is "justice" in your mind, why is endless torment more "just" than torment followed by annihilation or than immediate annihilation?
I have also questioned the "justice" in eternal damnation - separation from God, somewhere I would not want to be, a situation of torment. However, it helps me more if I start from the position that God's justice is perfect, that no-one could be more fair than Him, that He has no corrupt agenda, and that none of us will be dealt anything but absolute justice. These ideas are based on qualities inherent in His character. Therefore, if it is so that endless torment is a part of His justice, then it is undeniably just - even if I do not understand how that can possibly be so. I am recognizing my human inadequacy when it comes to understanding some (many) of the ways of God.
ttoews wrote:If every sin is an "infinite offense against an infinite God" (btw I view this as a ridiculous argument) then as the damned continue to curse God during their eternal torment an infinity upon infinity of "offense" is accumulated and "justice" can never hope to catch up.
I figure that God in His wisdom has set the entry criteria for heaven to be consistent with His character of righteousness and love, therefore there can be no place for sin at all. And it appears to me that for those who reject God right to the end of their lives, it is they themselves (rather than God) who are choosing the default destination rather than to be made perfect in Him. I am not letting up on our own responsibility in this matter.
When we come to see Him face to face, we see both Himself and ourselves in the full light of truth, and some (many I think) will realize with horror the predicament of having got it so wrong. Say a second chance choice is allowed right at that moment. Would it be a genuine
choice freely made to serve God in love, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him, if one has rejected Him right up until then and therefore a decision would be heavily influenced by desperate avoidance of such terrible consequences? I'm not so sure that it would. Therefore despite the horror, the unsaved sinner has sealed his own fate. I don't think it is every sin that gets added up, but rather, that it is one's fundamental state of being in sin. Now this is supposition on my part, but if I was thrown into hell, I might just be filled with immense hatred and resentment and all kinds of evil nastiness toward my persecutor God whom I could likely blame for having done this to me - for not telling me more upfront what it was about beforehand, not warning me more, not removing temptations, not persuading me, and all the other excuses for blame imaginable. That is likely to harden my resolve to hate, not lessen it towards love and righteousness. So I am locked into that situation by the evil in my own heart.
Now I cannot work out the mechanics of it all - where hell can exist and be separate from God, how that stops sin (who said it had to, by the way?) and at what point there may be annihilation perhaps. As it happens, I don't see annihilation as punishment because I presume that is a state of nothingness with no awareness. I don't go along with purgatory which looks like a kind of similar arrangement but with recovery and admission to heaven as the final outcome, rather than torment then nothingness. I have already admitted that I have to remain agnostic on much of this - I simply don't know. But I do know that for whatever lies ahead of that nature, Jesus was pretty emphatic that it was not where you would want to go - not unless you had an over-riding preference for evil, that is.
The fact that I cannot be certain about too many of the details of all this does not preclude my interest in the dialogue here. I have given the questions my best shot for the time being.