What Would You Have Asked Lazarus?

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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#151

Post by Byblos » Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:28 am

Judah wrote: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'm not sure I get what you mean re purgatory here Judah but just to clarify my understanding of it (and that of the official catechism as well) is that purgatory is not a place where the decision is to be made whether or not a person will go to heaven or hell (which you appear to be saying?). That decision is already made upon death. Purgatory is nothing more than a holding, purification place in preparation to enter heaven (since nothing impure can enter heaven and we all fell short of the glory of God). Some discomfort is suggested (spiritual or otherwise, I don't know), much the same way in the Bema Seat Judgement christians will have to account for their sins before Christ. Not to determine salvation but to determine heavenly rewards or lack thereof. I imagine it will be a terrifying moment to stand face-to-face with Christ and account for my actions (even though he already paid for our sins, that does not preclude accountability). I've come to understand purgatory much the same way.

Sorry for the off-topic post but I thought it was important enough to state my opinion.

God bless,

John
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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#152

Post by B. W. » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:25 am

ttoews wrote:
Judah wrote:My belief is that, when we stand in the full light of God and Judgement, that there is a full realization of the truth of who He is and who we are - in other words, perfect insight - and a part of that realization includes how we were created to be with Him, our true end which is ultimately desirable beyond anything else.
you say that we were "created to be with Him". I'll ask you the same question I asked FFC and that is, "How is that purpose not violated by placing the damned in hell where they will never have any hope of being with Him?" 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? 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.
If one receives such an insight, complete with the yearning for what should have been, then to be discarded (separated) must be horrific.
true, but I also note that separation is what the devil apparently chose for himself....and the damned are not called his children w/o reason.
I like the way you have shown there need be no contradiction between darkness and flames. That makes sense to me.
thanks, if I was more traditional it is the way I'd go.
There are many scriptures that point out that we were designed to live forever after we die. Ecclesiastes 3:11 shares this but those who are so inclined not to believe will change its meaning to fit their doctrine. If I show that Ecclesiastes 3:14 states that whatever God does He does forever those so inclined would flavor its meaning to their taste.

If I then point out Genesis 1:26-27 that God made man in his image and likeness and through sin that image lost, stained, defiled those so inclined would come up with some reason why that can't be true, living forever — in eternal punishment for this because God placed eternity in ones heart and holds them too account for what they did in mortal life due to sin, mortality fleeting however it may be — preposterous! They would cry! Unfair! Unjust! Unloving! It can't be as our enlightened human intellect can't discover a logical rhyme or reason why God would punish eternally. The scriptures must be wrong and our intelligent reasoning's must be right.

Again, if I point out Matthew 22:32 that God is a God of the living and not the dead in the light that what God does is forever, those so inclined will change the meaning of the text to suit their taste. If I share in light of Ecclesiastes 3:14 Luke 16:23 those so inclined will refuse to hear as Luke 16:31 is true indeed.

If I show that in Deuteronomy 5:11 that God will not hold one guiltless for taking his name in vain and in the light of Ecclesiastes 3:14 what does this mean to those so inclined to disbelieve? Psalms 7:9-16 would mean nothing to them as they would simply explain away that verse 16 cannot mean that this could last forever.

No matter what proof text is used, those so inclined will not be convinced of the truth Jesus that spoke in Matthew 25:46, Luke 12:4-5, and what Psalms 9:17 proclaims within the illumination of Ecclesiastes 3:14. Those so inclined would poo-poo the message and use reason on loan from Plato to discredit the truth. Does such wisdom show respect for God and his word?

What would it take for them to believe as nothing from the bible will ever be proof enough to show that there is eternal recompense to those so inclined not to believe eternal recompense true.

Therefore, what would it take? I do not know but I'll take a chance and soon write my story so you can scoff and mock and rip it to shreds. It matters not to me if you believe or not. Call me crazy if you like as it matters not to me. The truth I know contains the answers you seek.
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#153

Post by B. W. » Sat Oct 21, 2006 10:35 am

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My Story - it is real:

What can I say? Memories still haunt me 26 years later. The other day I was in a store with my wife. Its square shape caused a mental flash back. There I was back in a terrible place seeing things I can never forget all in a split second of time.

I remember well, in the hospital they told me my blood was congealed. Estimated time I was gone for this to occur would have take about four hours. I was found in my bedroom. Breath laboriously returned and so did the pain. Whoever found me brought me in. Wires taped to my chest, heart monitor pinging, IV tubes hooked into my arms, doctors and nurses coming and going.

Why was I alive? What right did I have to return? I still feel guilt for surviving, even today. I did not deserve the mercy I experienced — none. I always wondered why this happen me. Who would ever believe me if I told them?

For years I remained quiet about it, spending my time pacing back and forth in my house and waking up from nightmares. They say war veterans never forget the things they saw and remember experiences as though they were yesterday. I understand what they mean.

I came to Christ because of a nightmare. Why did you bring me back is a prayer someday I hope to have answered. Some people I know wish I never came back, maybe even some of you. Back then, 26 years ago, I was an atheist and never believed in God, the devil, heaven or hell. It didn't matter.

It does not matter. Reality cannot be denied. Standing before judgment, the thoughts and intents of ones heart fully exposed, clothed yet naked, nothing concealed. Realizing and seeing how I lived my life held no comfort. Revelations of insightful truths about God and why's explained in manners so profound to fathom completely. Becoming aware of how perfect God is and for a brief glimpse seeing the wonder of who He is without ever seeing His face.

The awful realization that my life denied Christ dawned upon me clear that day, long ago. If only I had another chance to be reconciled but at that moment — impossible. If allowed into a glorious land, I would pollute and defile it. Eternity is real. No death after one dies. No sweat sleep to forget. Only a realization of God and who He is and forever will be: Majesty! Spender! Purity! Glory! Awesome! Powerful! Holy! Righteous! Just! Wise! Fair! Penetrating! Consuming!

26 years ago back then, I forsook God. Standing before Glory it was made clear to me if I was allowed to continue unchanged — throughout eternity I would remain that way because God is perfect in all His ways. True to Himself is He. He gives life and the Lord will not steal it away. Instead accountable to God alone and alone you'll stand facing a new reality. Everything exposed. You come to an understanding that a place of restraint is necessary because of God and find yourself hurled there due to love.

To be rejected by love is pain indeed. Realizing how you reject true pure love by how you lived life with disdain towards the one that truly loves is agony. In an act of profound love, you are granted a place you desired as evidence and made absolutely clear by your very life course: a land without God and His love, banished forever from these. What you really desired now made obvious. There, a new reality rings clear; what you sow, you will reap in many varied degrees.

It is a place of shadows, weeping, gnashing of teeth, cries, shrieks, hideous laughter, a hot wide broad dusty road traversed with odd beings: a land that is hot, cold, dry, sulfurous, smells of rotting life, old roses, linseed oil, and fleshly decay. A domain of fire, pale yellowish light; it is a circle with cells or cubes pressed within its walls, inside each a person trapped in their own nightmares and scenes once lived in life: recompense. Some suffer more than others all in just degrees way too hard to explain to the human ear unaccustomed to sights unseen.

What is made clear — eternity is real — you were designed for life that can't be stole. If you remain as you are unchecked, unredeemed, in eternity you would continue to spread it around. A place of just restraint was thus made. Once placed there, you will never be able to return and the reason why is made so clear that acceptance comes willingly.

Why would God allow such a place as this? The human mind rejects the notions that it could ever be. That God designed it as a place to restrain. You see, the majesty of God so fair, so right, so pure, so just, that He will not steal back what He gave, life, but seeks voluntary love returned — not coerced. He is fair and just beyond compare. None are like the Lord.

He will permit woe and sin and rebellion and holds it to account. It is part of His plan to remove dross for the purity to come. Only His purity shared will seal and redeem. Those that reject His gift, He grants them just recompense. The Lord rejects them that reject Him and loves those that love Him. With those He loves He imparts purity and cleansing divine so forever one may abide forever without rebellions decrees ever occurring again.

Those that reject will always reject, as that is how righteous and fair and just God is; He will not steal nor take life's gift away in a blinding flash of nothingness. That is how Grand God is. Though He can, He will not extinguish as He remains true to Himself, a God of the living and not the dead. One long ago knew this, iniquity was conceived and rebellion was born and for a short time gotten away with. Dross removed so purity will remain, all in the due course of time.

After all these years, I still cannot find the right words to describe this. Poetic discourse fails - bluntness too. After all, who would believe my account? How many would argue that it is not true? Why did it happen? I know not. It did and its mystery still haunts my mind.

I remember well, standing in a horrible fix. Both diabolically beautiful and ghastly beings began to rush me in order to place me inside a fate I deserved. Then they cowered and ran away as someone grabbed me from behind lifting me with a force of grace, power, and love indescribable. I was carried out of that place, held fast; He should have dropped me and left me there. I deserved no better.

He did not. I wept on his shoulder such tears. As He carried me form the shoulders and from the bend of my knees, I noticed the ugly gnashes in his wrist, holes they were, you could see how the bones of the wrist had been pulled apart as if by a great weight. I will always remember this part and continue to ask why, why did you do this for me? Why? Why? Why?

A sound, a sight, a smell, and it all comes back, hauntingly real leaving more questions than answers. Who would ever believe one really returned from the land of the living dead? For that matter would anyone really care? I am a no-body. This should have happened to someone famous as the world would listen and the media would become a circus. But to me? Who cares? Who would believe, certainly not those so inclined to dogmatic prejudice.

Now you know my story and why I know that Hell is real and eternal and nothing anyone can say will ever change my mind: I was there and only by God's mercy and grace, I returned. Laugh scoff, mock, make fun, it matters not. I know the truth that you seek. For years I have kept this quiet and yet made it known as the Lord permits. Maybe I should no longer speak about it or maybe instead shout from the house tops God's love sublime.

God Bless You All
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Is eternal death eternal punishment?

#154

Post by DonCameron » Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:03 pm

Judah said…

“I don't see annihilation as punishment because I presume that is a state of nothingness with no awareness.”

Apparently most everyone else on this Forum feels the same way. You sincerely believe that in order to be punished one must be alive so that they are aware they are being punished - otherwise there is no punishment.

Judah, it is evident that you love God and his Son and are looking forward to receiving God's gift of eternal life and spending it in his presence forever. With this wonderful hope in mind, what about the following scenario…

What if, for whatever reason, you don't pass on Judgement Day and discover that your name is not round written in “the book of life” and therefore are immediately destroyed; put out of existence forever with no hope of ever being in God's presence. This hope that has sustained you all your life has been taken away from you. And too, the hope of reuniting with members of your family (who all do receive God's gift of eternal life) has also been taken away from you. For billions and billions of years your family will have an annual reunion but you will be the only one who never shows up.

Some Questions:
Under such circumstances' with all that has been taken away from you (your life, your God and your family) , do you still feel that you were not being punished in any sense of the word? If you were not being punished, what would you call it?

What if God changed his mind and felt that a billion years was long enough for you to be punished with death and therefore had Jesus resurrect you at that time? How long would your punishment have lasted?

Is simply putting someone to death “punishment”? Isn't that what “capital punishment” is? I've never heard anyone reason that, “Well, since the one put to death wouldn't be aware that he was being punished, therefore capital punishment isn't really punishment.”

To the contrary, many people strongly feel that capital punishment is such a severe punishment that they call it “cruel and unusual punishment.” They feel this way even if the one being punished is a mass-murderer; child molester or a terrorist.

In my apparently different way of thinking, if someone is put to death as the punishment for doing something wrong, and he remains dead for one week and then is brought back to life, I think of his punishment as lasting one week. If he was brought back to life 10 years later, his punishment will have lasted 10 years. But if he is never brought back to life, his punishment will last forever. i.e. everlasting punishment.

Why is it that the above makes perfect sense to me but may not make any sense at all to you (and others)? I cannot help but wonder what makes the difference in what does or doesn't make sense in this matter.

Let me know what you think.

Don
P.S. I now understand why the above reasoning doesn't make any sense to B.W. He is thoroughly convinced that he has literally been to hell and back - and there was nothing unconscious about it.

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#155

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:31 pm

This is interesting human reasoning, but it does not reflect scripture nor does itr focus upon what God thinks in the midst of it.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: Is eternal death eternal punishment?

#156

Post by Judah » Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:42 pm

Don,

How can there be an experience of loss if there is no awareness? The hell that is a place of utmost torment and despair - all those terrible things - can be no punishment for me if I do not experience it. If annihilation was my lot, I would have no experience of hell. I believe that there is just retribution following Judgement, and for it to be retribution I must have awareness to experience it.

When I have had surgery under a general anaesthetic, my body has been worked on inside with a lot of cutting and so forth - all massively painful stuff had I been aware of it. Thank goodness I have not. I wake up afterwards and there is no memory of the surgeon's scalpel. If the punishment of annihilation is a lack of awareness, then in my view it is no punishment at all - I absolutely must be fully aware in order to experience it.

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#157

Post by Judah » Sat Oct 21, 2006 12:50 pm

John,

Thanks for your comments on Purgatory. I did understand that it is a place of purification with the door beyond leading to heaven.

The problem that I have is in reconciliation with the idea that by God's grace we have been justified by our faith in Christ, and that justification is the imputation of His righteousness. My understanding is that this happens in an instant, rather than over time (which would require the "holding place" of Purgatory) and therefore no need for this step in the process. How do you react to those thoughts?

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#158

Post by Judah » Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:13 pm

B.W,

That is an amazing testimony, and to me it does have that "ring of truth". I wondered if something like that had happened to you - it was your comment on what I had posted previously where you made reference to folk who have had NDE.

I think it is all too natural for everyone to resist this idea, that we have our default destinations set to eternal horror. I mentioned this on another thread here and the dilemma it can present at times when talking with the bereaved. I am always hearing it said of someone who has died "now she will be at peace" and so forth - whether that person is a Christian or not. And in my own mind is that terrible scenario such that you have just described, B.W.

I have lost family members who had not professed any faith in Christ, who to all appearances had denied Him. How do I cope with my thoughts on what they are experiencing now? Both my dearly loved parents, for instance? Not easily. It would be such a relief if I could believe that we all ended up in heaven, regardless. But I do not see that Scripture allows for that. It was suggested to me that such thoughts should help motivate my witness to Christ.

I still believe that the best way for me to handle this whole question of eternal punishment is to do what I said previously:

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.

I believe this is a God-centred approach to understanding the situation, rather than one centred on human reasoning, and thus it is centred in truth - the reality of His truth.

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Re: Is eternal death eternal punishment?

#159

Post by ttoews » Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:55 pm

Judah wrote:How can there be an experience of loss if there is no awareness? The hell that is a place of utmost torment and despair - all those terrible things - can be no punishment for me if I do not experience it. If annihilation was my lot, I would have no experience of hell. I believe that there is just retribution following Judgement, and for it to be retribution I must have awareness to experience it.
how many times must I say it? Annihilation need not be immediate. Hell may be a period of torment followed by annihilation. As Don has pointed out, capital punishment is a form of punishment and so annihilation would necessarily also be a form of punishment....BUT it need not be the only form of punishment endured by the damned in the annihilationalist scenario.

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#160

Post by ttoews » Sat Oct 21, 2006 2:24 pm

B. W. wrote:Question is - can you and I take God at his word: the smoke of their torment arises forever and ever describes as much as the old saying - it is raining cats and dogs.
BW, I have dealt with the smoke verse already...and so you should be able to see that I am taking God at His word. Here is another example. Earlier (Oct 3) Byblos provided a list of proof texts for the eternal torment view and three of those verses are found in Jude. The passage reads as follows and I have placed in bold the bits that appeal to traditionalists.

5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. 12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.


In the first two cases (v6 & 7) the words "everlasting" and "eternal" appear to give the traditionalists reason to think that torment in hell must also be eternal. That, however, is an unwarranted assumption. In the first case it is chains that are said to be everlasting and in the second case it is fire that is said to be eternal. Neither uses "everlasting" to describe the duration of torment. On the contrary, I believe that both of these verses aid the annihilationist's position. Everlasting chains are used to hold angels for a non-everlasting period (until judgement). An eternal fire is used to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah in a short period of time. As such, clearly the use of an eternal thing does not mean that the use (holding of angels for judgment or destruction) goes on for all eternity.
In verse 13 we see the last two of four metaphors used by Jude to describe the wicked. The four metaphors are:
a) clouds without water, carried about by the winds;
b) late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
c) raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; and
d) wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

So it seems what the traditionalist does is that 1)he seizes upon the last phrase of the fourth metaphor, 2)disregards whatever understanding should be gained by that phrase's connection to stars, 3) ignores the other three metaphors altogether, and 4) declares that b/c "forever" is used, the torment of the wicked in hell must continue forever. Why not focus on the 2nd metaphor and declare that the wicked die a natural (seasonal death) and then in hell are uprooted (twice killed) so that they will never come alive again?

Finally, in dealing with Jude one should note the similarity between it and the 2nd chapter of second Peter:

2 Peter 2:....4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly;....12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.....15 They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech--who spoke with a man's voice and restrained the prophet's madness. 17 These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them.

In that passage being burnt to ashes in the manner of S & G is said to be an example of the fate of the wicked. "Destroy" and "perish like beasts" are also used. Now, does that sound more like annihilation or like eternal torment? Does the burning of Sodom go on forever?
BW, you have had your rants, so please allow me mine.
BW, you ask, "What would it take for them to believe as nothing from the bible will ever be proof enough to show that there is eternal recompense to those so inclined not to believe eternal recompense true."
By eternal recompense I know you mean eternal torment. The answer is that it would take a clear teaching. What is particularly frustrating is that you think this clear teaching exists when it doesn't. From this angle it seems that the traditionalists have had their view of eternal torment so thoroughly engrained within them that they never really look at the texts. If a verses uses "eternal" then that verse is seen to teach eternal torment, notwithstanding that torment is not mentioned, notwithstanding that the eternal thing is used for a non-eternal period of time and notwithstanding that the use is within a metaphor utilizing stars. The traditionalist insists that annihilation does not qualify as a punishment, yet no one would suggest that capital punishment is not a punishment. At times it seems like I am conversing with a character from Alice's Wonderland....death is not death, destruction is not destruction, annihilation is not punishment, and everything and anything can mean eternal torment.
Well, there's my rant and like Alice's rabbit ....I'm late, oh dear!

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Re: Is eternal death eternal punishment?

#161

Post by Judah » Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:03 pm

ttoews wrote:
Judah wrote:How can there be an experience of loss if there is no awareness? The hell that is a place of utmost torment and despair - all those terrible things - can be no punishment for me if I do not experience it. If annihilation was my lot, I would have no experience of hell. I believe that there is just retribution following Judgement, and for it to be retribution I must have awareness to experience it.
how many times must I say it? Annihilation need not be immediate. Hell may be a period of torment followed by annihilation. As Don has pointed out, capital punishment is a form of punishment and so annihilation would necessarily also be a form of punishment....BUT it need not be the only form of punishment endured by the damned in the annihilationalist scenario.
If annihilation is to be regarded as a punishment, then am I right in thinking that it is being regarded as a lesser punishment than full awareness of the torment of hell?

If so, then I see annihilism as the wishful thinking of those who cannot believe in anything so awful as hell for all eternity, or that a God of love could do that to his creatures.

If annihilation is a means to reducing the awfulness of hell by suggesting an endpoint, it then reduces the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross for us. He saved us from the penalty of our sins, but if the penalty is to be lessened by annihilation, then the gravity of the situation is lessened and His sacrifice was made for a lesser penalty. Annihilation takes away from the price Christ paid.

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#162

Post by FFC » Sat Oct 21, 2006 5:26 pm

ttoews wrote:
FFC wrote:So, Don, would you say that the unconscious punishment is not having conscious eternal life in heaven with God? If so than most people would say "so what!".

How is it punishment to be separated from God and annihilated forever from someone and something that most people could care less about. I'm thinking a more fit punishment would be to let a person exist just outside of heaven, being able to see it but being eternally excluded from it. Constantly reminded of what he blew off and can never have. Now that would be punishment!
FFC, please allow me to apply your comments to the world we live in. Let's say your country captures a terrorist who wanted to board a plane and fly it into a building. The USA considers two options:
a) execution, or
b) life imprisonment.

Would you comment in the same fashion as you have done above? Would you ask the following:
So, ttoews, would you say that the execution is not having conscious life in this world that is controlled (to a large degree) by the USA? If so then most terrorists would say "so what!".

How is it punishment to be separated from the USA and killed? That fate is something most terrorists could care less about. I'm thinking a more fit punishment would be to let a person exist in a prison just outside the USA's society, being able to see it but being excluded from it. Constantly reminded of what he blew off and can never have. Now that would be punishment.

Is only imprisonment punishment?
Would the terrorist ever realize the beauty of the American Way?
Will the damned ever want to be with God?
As much as I am proud to be an American I wouldn't compare america to heaven. :)
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible." - Corrie Ten Boom

Act 9:6
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?

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#163

Post by DonCameron » Sat Oct 21, 2006 6:18 pm

Judah,

You said...
If annihilation is to be regarded as a punishment, then am I right in thinking that it is being regarded as a lesser punishment than full awareness of the torment of hell?


I think in terms of the death penalty as being a more 'humane' and just punishment when compared to torturing someone (with or without fire) every moment of every day day and night without letup for trillions and trillions of years.

This has brought a thought in my mind...

Here on earth, Which is considered the more severe punishment: The Death penalty, or Life in prison?

The death penalty is always portrayed as the more severe punishment. In the TV series "Law & Order" the criminals and their attorneys often try to get the State to "take the death penalty off the table" in favor of life in prison without any chance of parole.

Even though they realize it isn't going to be easy, they would rather face whatever 'torment' that goes on in prison for the rest of their lives then to be put to death.

But when it comes to punishment in the Bible, many on this Forum look at it the other way around. You feel that life in the Bible's 'prison' (Hell) without any possibility of 'parole' is a much worse punishment then the death penalty.

Just a thought.

Don

ttoews
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#164

Post by ttoews » Sat Oct 21, 2006 7:10 pm

FFC wrote:As much as I am proud to be an American....
oh my, I see you suffer from a much more serious problem than the questionable interpretation of a few passages on hell :lol:
....I wouldn't compare america to heaven. :)
good point...the hot spot doesn't even look that bad by comparison :wink:

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Re: Is eternal death eternal punishment?

#165

Post by ttoews » Sat Oct 21, 2006 9:41 pm

hey Judah, (sounds like a beatles tune)
Judah wrote:If annihilation is to be regarded as a punishment, then am I right in thinking that it is being regarded as a lesser punishment than full awareness of the torment of hell?
I would say that it is a lesser punishment than eternal torment in hell. Please keep in mind that if there is anything other than immediate annihilation upon earthly death, then full awareness of God's glory and of opportunity missed is available in various annihilation scenarios.
If so, then I see annihilism as the wishful thinking of those who cannot believe in anything so awful as hell for all eternity, or that a God of love could do that to his creatures.
I admit I see it as being more just and more purposeful. Think about eternal torment for a minute. Compare that to the nazi concentration camps where torment was not 24/7. Hope is the only thing that kept the inmates sane and yet in hell no hope will exist. How long do you think a man could stay sane in that situation? What is the purpose of torturing the insane? If you believe God sustains and refreshes the damned (both mentally and physically) in hell so that they may endure more torment then I think you are presenting God as a sadist....b/c that is exactly what we would call a man that did the same to another man.
If annihilation is a means to reducing the awfulness of hell by suggesting an endpoint, it then reduces the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross for us.
I think your logic here is bad. By this logic, if there are degrees of punishment in hell, then the lesser degrees reduce the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross for us. By this logic, God should resurrect the damned so that they can experience 10 times, 20 times etc. more pain than we can now experience so as to enhance the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross for us. No Judah, I don't think your argument here works. Remember Romans 9: 22-24 which reads:
22 What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles.
The damned end up in hell. Their purpose is make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy. Their purpose is not to preserve the riches of his glory through their suffering or to enhance the the riches of his glory through their suffering.
He saved us from the penalty of our sins, but if the penalty is to be lessened by annihilation, then the gravity of the situation is lessened and His sacrifice was made for a lesser penalty.
Jesus's sacrifice was made b/c God loves us. That works just as well with annihilation. Perhaps one should measure the value of the cross on 1) what Christ gave up, 2)on what Christ endured, 3) on what life we can receive as a result and not merely 4) on what man can avoid as a result? I would suggest that by the time one has considered 1, 2 and 3 number 4 isn't as important as you seem to suggest.
Annihilation takes away from the price Christ paid.
no, Christ paid the price of the perfect Lamb enduring a wrongful and painful death....that is the price no matter what fate of the damned may be. I fear that in assessing the value of Christ's sacrifice you have focused on the wrong thing....on the fate of the damned instead of items 1 and 2 above.

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