Christian Universalism

Discussions surrounding the various other faiths who deviate from mainstream Christian doctrine such as LDS and the Jehovah's Witnesses.
FFC
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#31

Post by FFC » Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:34 pm

Hi Bernie,
I feel like the guy that showed up with a knife to a gun fight. :lol: Everything you've stated does line up with your own rational. I have really never thought about why I should not take the bible literally. that is a foriegn question to me. I read the bible and humbly take God at His word whether I understand it or not. Now, I agree that many can twist the literal word of God to make it fit their theology, but this can usually be cleared up with context, chesking the original language and grammar...or examining it against the Holy attributes of God. To say that fire is not fire, or eternal and everlasting are not forever seems wrong.

1Cr 14:33
For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

It is confusing to me that Jesus would go into graphic detail about people burning in hell forever if He meant something else. It's hard enough for people to accept the truth of the bible without it being one big spiritual puzzle. As christians don't we have the Holy spirit to teach us? If what you are saying is true than I am in big trouble.

Take care
"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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#32

Post by Bernie » Sun Jul 09, 2006 5:15 pm

Hi FCC,
I feel like the guy that showed up with a knife to a gun fight.
Nonsense. We just need to test our belief systems. There's nothing to fear if we seek the truth to the best of our ability, though we may both end up with some things to chew on. Adjustments to personal theology are a sign of growth.
Everything you've stated does line up with your own rational.
That's irrelevant. The question is, does it line up with Truth?
I have really never thought about why I should not take the bible literally. that is a foriegn question to me.
Could it be it's foreign because you've always simply accepted at face value what you've been taught? Most Christians I know hold beliefs they've been taught because it's "comfortable" to do so. That's not a good sign given human religious history, but it goes some distance in explaining why Jesus instructed Peter to "feed My sheep". Sheep are followers.
I read the bible and humbly take God at His word whether I understand it or not.
Then I expect you'll join me in praising God for saving all, as Paul so clearly stated in 1Cor 15:22: "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.”
I agree that many can twist the literal word of God to make it fit their theology, but this can usually be cleared up with context, chesking the original language and grammar...or examining it against the Holy attributes of God.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
“For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.”
(Rom 5:12-19)

Okay, let's talk context. What number of humans would you say are the “many” who died in Adam? And what number of human beings does Paul teach are those “many” who will be made righteous?

As to God's Holy attributes, I believe all His attributes are ruled by one particular one—perfection. This means that God's justice, mercy, love and forgiveness—as well as all His attributes—are exercised by Him in absolute perfection. Even the tiniest imperfection in any of God's attributes would negate His essence and He would no longer be God as we commonly define Him. Would you agree or disagree? If you disagree, where am I wrong in the above?
To say that fire is not fire, or eternal and everlasting are not forever seems wrong.
Then do you belive that in Jeremiah 5:14…. “Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, "Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire And this people wood, and it will consume them”….God is saying that He is making His words a literal fire in Jeremiah's mouth, and is making those to whom
Jeremiah speaks literal wood so they can be consumed by the literal fire of His words in Jeremiah's mouth? This is a startling position to take.

BTW, I don't say everlasting is not forever. I believe everlasting doesn't apply to length of punishment of human beings, but to the length of time evil will be removed from His creation.
It is confusing to me that Jesus would go into graphic detail about people burning in hell forever if He meant something else.
I agree. Where does He go into graphic detail about people burning in hell?
It's hard enough for people to accept the truth of the bible without it being one big spiritual puzzle.
But in fact, the Bible is one big spiritual puzzle. God appears to have made it hard. How do you know that the truth you suppose people accept that is 'hard enough' without deeper meaning isn't only a superficial sense of truth specifically designed by God to coax one into the harder spiritual truths?
As christians don't we have the Holy spirit to teach us?
Yes. Are you sure we really want to “hear” the truth?
If what you are saying is true than I am in big trouble.
This is puzzling. How is it that what I'm saying places you or anyone else in 'big trouble'? As I see it, what I'm saying is of benefit to all.

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#33

Post by FFC » Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:01 am

Hi Bernie,

I said I would be in big trouble if you were right because if sin is falsity and I don't believe what you are saying then I am in sin because I'm not believing the truth.

Here are a couple of Jesus' graphic details of hell. Yes I know Gehenna was a literal dumping place of dead bodies which constantly burned, but as you say we can't just look at the literal, right. There is a spiritual truth here.
Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Here is part of a story that Jesus told that seems pretty graphic and pretty final. Torment, crying, no mercy, flames. Doesn't sound good.

Luk 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom
Luk 16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Mat 23:33 [Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

and this...3 times. Seems like a pretty awesome warning for Jesus to have said it 3 times.
Mar 9:44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mar 9:46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mar 9:48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Bernie wrote:“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned--for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
“But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
“For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:12-19)
This is a great word of hope. By Adam's sin death came into the world, and by Jesus' act of righteousness many are made righteous. But don't forget that Adam with his free will made a decision to eat from that tree which brought sin into the world, so cconverselyby deciding to accept by faith (believing) the work of Christ on the cross, many can have that righteousness. Neither are automatic. Both required a decision.
Bernie wrote:Yes. Are you sure we really want to “hear” the truth?


Yes, sir, I certainly do. I honestly hope with all my heart that you are right because I have friends and loved one who died and I'm not sure where they went. I would love to believe that they all end up in heaven.


[

I agree that God in His perfect Holiness can never do anything that contradicts any of His attributes. but God in his love would never force anybody to believe in Him like the Calvinists say. His mercy and love and forgiveness etc are put before us all the days of our lives. If we reject them then what else can He do but exercise His judgement.

Hell was not even ooriginallycreated for us, right? It was created for the devil and His angels. They are the ones who continue to use our sin natures to spit in the face of God. If we continue in that sin, depraved that we are or not, then God in His love can do nothing but let us have our way and one day face His awesome judgement at the Great white throne judgement.

All through the bible there are dire consequences for disobeying God and great rewards for entering into His rest. These rewards and consequences are not interchangable. What i mean is how could a Holy God allow someone who willfully rejected Him their whole lives be allowed into the place of those who believe in the sacrifice of His son for everlasting life?

Thanks for the great questions, Bernie. now I have one for you.

What does one do to have everlasting life?

God bless
John
"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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#34

Post by Bernie » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:58 pm

Greetings FCC,
I said I would be in big trouble if you were right because if sin is falsity and I don't believe what you are saying then I am in sin because I'm not believing the truth.
Actually, falsity is the property of evil. Being evil is not a sin….being evil is just what we are due to the fall. When Paul notes that he who lives according to the flesh dies, but he who lives according to the spirit lives. Just because you or I don't understand and believe truth on some level doesn't mean we're “in sin” to the degree you seem to imply. Everything spiritual is by degree, contrary to the way most of us have been led to think. Most Christians believe one is 'either/or' born again, 'either/or' going to heaven or hell, 'either/or' good or bad. In reality, all creation is fragmented with the properties good and evil. We all have some weak degree of choice between the two, but we aren't “in sin” in a major sense just by not recognizing truth.

The verses you quote above speak nothing of duration, yet you impose the traditional teaching of an eternal hell in yours statement, It is confusing to me that Jesus would go into graphic detail about people burning in hell forever if He meant something else.
Do you believe that Jesus' detractors—the religious leaders of His day who persecuted and murdered Him—are today and will forever be burning in torment in hell?
This is a great word of hope. By Adam's sin death came into the world, and by Jesus' act of righteousness many are made righteous. But don't forget that Adam with his free will made a decision to eat from that tree which brought sin into the world, so cconverselyby deciding to accept by faith (believing) the work of Christ on the cross, many can have that righteousness. Neither are automatic. Both required a decision.
You've completely sidestepped my question about context, FCC. We weren't discussing free will, but the importance of context in literal interpretation of the Scripture. What is the context intended by Paul of the “many” in Rom 5:12-19?
Yes, sir, I certainly do [want to know truth].
Tradition has largely failed us….We hate truth. Not all truth, but truth we haven't yet been cleansed to “hear”. Jesus teaches us this in Jn 3:19. No one comes to Christ unless drawn.
I agree that God in His perfect Holiness can never do anything that contradicts any of His attributes. but God in his love would never force anybody to believe in Him like the Calvinists say. His mercy and love and forgiveness etc are put before us all the days of our lives. If we reject them then what else can He do but exercise His judgement.
First, God doesn't “force” anyone to love Him. He removes the filth that prevents us from loving Him. Once removed, there is no other possible choice in the same sense that one must ultimately admit that freedom and justice are goods to which all humans are entitled.

Second, if you agree that perfection rules God's attributes, then I assume you must be a universalist, and most especially a rational esotericist! When we use God's dualistic design of reality as a lens through which to interpret Scripture, the only perspective that does not violate God's perfection is the rationally esoteric view of applying God's decrees for blessing to the particular individual and wrath to the property of falsity in man's spirit.

As I posted elsewhere on this site some time ago, the Scripture exemplifying this principle is found in God's conversation with Abram on the road to Sodom (Gen 18), where He establishes that He will not destroy the whole if good is found in it. This is the mystery of salvation.

The idea of an eternal hell violates God's perfection because it destroys the whole individual in whom some good resides. Justice is not meted out perfectly is God destroys good. Jesus Himself taught that this is impossible when He was accused of casting out Satan by the power of Satan. He noted the principle that a house divided will fall. Satan does not cast out demons because falsity is in unity with falsity. Likewise, truth is in consensus and harmony with truth; God is Truth. He will not destroy Himself, else His perfection is violated.

Christ's sacrifice deflected the Father's wrath from individual (particular) to spirit (universal; essence) so that blessing may be poured out on the individual. This is exemplified in Isa 65:8-9: “Thus says the LORD, 'As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, “Do not destroy it, for there is benefit in it,” So I will act on behalf of My servants In order not to destroy all of them. And I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, And an heir of My mountains from Judah; Even My chosen ones shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there.'”
Here's the mystery of salvation in a nutshell. There is One who stands in the stead, even though evil permeates the cluster (spirit, fragmented with falsity) of man, yet Christ intercedes to the Father, saying 'Do not destroy, for there is benefit (truth; some degree of life) in it (as per Jn 1:9). The bringing forth of offspring is spiritual language representing life being brought forth from the midst of destruction of falsity….this is regeneration. Paul understood this principle, as he noted, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). To die is the destruction of falsity. It's gain because it's regeneration, restoration, sanctification, spiritual life and strengthening. Only the rational esotericist upholds these principles.

Re my use of Gen 18 to show the principles on which I see a rationally esoteric view of salvation, someone else on this board retorted that the city of Sodom was destroyed, as if to refute the principle I'd presented. In fact, the city (the body) is destroyed because of sin. We all die physically. Falsity is a pathology of imperfection which corrupts and eventually destroys the body, but this has no bearing on salvation, as Jesus noted, “….everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die….” (Jn 11:26)
If we continue in that sin, depraved that we are or not, then God in His love can do nothing but let us have our way and one day face His awesome judgement at the Great white throne judgement.
You're limiting God, contrary to the Scriptures you claim to believe, FCC….. “….with God all things are possible." (Mat 19:26).
All through the bible there are dire consequences for disobeying God and great rewards for entering into His rest. These rewards and consequences are not interchangable. What i mean is how could a Holy God allow someone who willfully rejected Him their whole lives be allowed into the place of those who believe in the sacrifice of His son for everlasting life?
I agree that there are consequences for our motives and actions. How could God accept someone who rejects Him all their life? By perfect love, is how.
Thanks for the great questions, Bernie. now I have one for you. What does one do to have everlasting life?
We typically interpret this according to the way we've been taught to think. The Arminian mind frames this question to mean 'What do I have to do to obtain everlasting life'….the Calvinist usually frames it thus: 'What does God have to do in me for me to obtain everlasting life?'

I would agree with the Calvinist that the answer to this is: nothing. But I suspect the answer that's of more relevance might be found in an alternative question: 'What must one do to avoid the roaring flames of hell in the afterlife?'

And thank you for the honorable dialog, FCC.

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#35

Post by FFC » Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:19 pm

[quote-"Bernie']We typically interpret this according to the way we've been taught to think. The Arminian mind frames this question to mean 'What do I have to do to obtain everlasting life'….the Calvinist usually frames it thus: 'What does God have to do in me for me to obtain everlasting life?'

I would agree with the Calvinist that the answer to this is: nothing. But I suspect the answer that's of more relevance might be found in an alternative question: 'What must one do to avoid the roaring flames of hell in the afterlife?' [/quote]

Okay, Bernie, if you would, 'What must one do to avoid the roaring flames of hell in the afterlife?'
"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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#36

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:26 am

Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

//bartsbarometer.com/

FFC
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#37

Post by FFC » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:47 am

You're bad, Bart! :lol:
"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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#38

Post by Bernie » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:03 pm

Okay, Bernie, if you would, 'What must one do to avoid the roaring flames of hell in the afterlife?'
Literal answer: "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mat 19:21)

Spiritual answer: Die in regenerative fire in time and space [sanctification] sufficient to forge faith necessary to protect from the presence of God, the lake of clansing Fire in the afterlife, as Daniel's friends walked in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.

BTW, what caused you to ask this particular question?

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#39

Post by FFC » Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:48 pm

Bernie wrote:
Okay, Bernie, if you would, 'What must one do to avoid the roaring flames of hell in the afterlife?'
Literal answer: "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (Mat 19:21)

Spiritual answer: Die in regenerative fire in time and space [sanctification] sufficient to forge faith necessary to protect from the presence of God, the lake of clansing Fire in the afterlife, as Daniel's friends walked in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace.

BTW, what caused you to ask this particular question?
I'm just trying to figure out your relationship to God, Bernie. Maybe I could ask you a question. If someone asked you "what must I do to be saved?" what would you tell them?
"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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#40

Post by Bernie » Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:00 pm

If someone asked you "what must I do to be saved?" what would you tell them?
Strive to believe that you're a sinner in need of salvation, that God came to earth in the form of Jesus of Nazareth and died for our filthiness so that any who heard the gospel of Christ Jesus and accepted it may find salvation in time by faith....."And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

What answer did you think I'd give?

BTW FCC, you've not answered a number of my questions. I'm surprised that, being obviously in the minority here, others have not joined the discussion to discount my universalism. If what I contend for is aberrant and heretical, it should be a simple matter for those who possess the truth to point out the errors in my theology.

Unlike most universalists, who tend to try to incorporate the idea of universal salvation into current orthodox thinking, I believe my view is unique in that I make minor adjustments to errors in theology--which, once corrected, leads naturally to the conclusion that all will be saved. It's all right in front of us in Scripture, it's always been there. The Lord apparently chooses His own timetable to reveal layers of truth as per His good pleasure.

Truth is a funny thing. The Pharisees couldn't refute Christ, yet they hated Him and His message and refused to believe anyway. Belief is a hard thing, a spiritual thing. I take the position that coherence, unity and congruity are not merely directly related to, but woven into truth. I think what I contend for falls strongly within this arena. Would you disagree, and why?

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#41

Post by Bernie » Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:02 pm

Opps....I just noticed that I've been referring to you as FCC rather than your actual moniker, FFC.

O the embarrassment. Please forgive me.

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#42

Post by FFC » Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:36 am

Hi Bernie,

You stated that:
The idea of an eternal hell violates God's perfection because it destroys the whole individual in whom some good resides.
How do you reconcile that with Romans 3?

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:


Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.


Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

And the description of depraved man gets even worse as you read on. I'm not saying that non christians don't display some natural goodness, but in their dead spirit their is nothing that comes even close to good.

I asked about your spiritual welfare because I wanted to know where you were coming from. I don't doubt your salvation. I know some good christian friends that share your belief. As I said in a previous post I was very close to embracing it myself. I didn't though. I prayed and prayed to god asking him if this could be true and I felt in my spirit that it wasn't. When I looked at the whole of who God is, and the whole of His word I wasn't able to be completely convinced.

Whether I like it or not the idea of hell and punishment, and the eternality of it is pretty clear. If god wants to show me different I'm open, but right now I'll stick to taking Him at His word...relative I know...but it's all I can do.

Take care
FFC
"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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#43

Post by Bernie » Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:12 pm

Hi FFC,

I don't understand the question. What discrepancy do you see between the notion of God's perfection being violated by an eternal hell and the fact that man is by nature spiritually corrupt? Could you elaborate?

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#44

Post by FFC » Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:41 pm

Bernie wrote:Hi FFC,

I don't understand the question. What discrepancy do you see between the notion of God's perfection being violated by an eternal hell and the fact that man is by nature spiritually corrupt? Could you elaborate?
Hi Bernie,

I'll try. God is Holy. Being holy, his judgement is perfect and his punishments just. He could never allow sin in His presence unless that person chooses the path that God puts before us all, that is to believe on His son who died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. Once that happens we are made righteous and are sanctified in God's sight because when He looks at us He sees that the blood of Christ that takes away all sin has been applied to us.

If spiritually dead person does not choose that path of life then he is still dead in his sins. If that person dies in that condition God has no choice but to judge that person and ultimately throw him into hell.

If God didn't throw that person into hell his justice would be less than just and his holiness less than holy thereby making God less than perfect.

Hebrews 9:27 says "It is appointed unto men to die once and then comes the judgement."

Christians won't have to go before that great white throne judgement because Christ took the consequences of that upon Himself on the cross...but unless a person believes that Christ died for that reason God would be anything but perfect if He gave that person a pass.

Yes, God's mercy endures forever, but I believe as long as a person is alive and rejects the free gift of eternal life God in his perfect justice has no choice but to punish that person eternally.

How's that?

Take care
FFC
"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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#45

Post by Bernie » Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:26 am

Hi FFC,
God is Holy. Being holy, his judgement is perfect and his punishments just. He could never allow sin in His presence unless that person chooses the path that God puts before us all, that is to believe on His son who died on the cross to take away the sins of the world. Once that happens we are made righteous and are sanctified in God's sight because when He looks at us He sees that the blood of Christ that takes away all sin has been applied to us.
This is the popular formula being taught in the organized churches, but it has some serious problems. First, you've provided nothing that refutes the Biblical principle I provided earlier about God destroying good with bad. I have further evidence from the Bible of this principle and will provide it if discussion warrants it, but for now the example I used is sufficient. After agreeing that God's holy judgments are perfect and just, you present a formula in which the perfection of His justice is violated by condemning to eternal hell a human being in which some good exists.

I'm not sure you understand the depth of the problem you're facing, FFC. A stalwart of Arminian theology is prevenient grace, that God makes a human being capable of proper moral judgment. The most radical Arminian view--that all moral judgments made by a human being are totally or almost totally efficacious in nature--is untenable....and even moderate forms of the free will question are ambiguous. Justice meted out in absolutes against a darkened and mutable will is simply wrong. If you wish to argue this point, I'll provide Scripture to support my position.

Another problem is the notion that human spirit is made literally clean and pure in a single regeneratvie act and is thus justified before God by a 'blab-it-n-grab-it' exercise of the lips. (There's actually some level of truth to this per Mat 11:12, but this is a different topic....) I wrote a refutation of this popular modern regeneration myth about eight years ago and it's never been refuted. If you're interested, you can find the article in a link I provided earlier in this thread. Because regeneration is progressive and fragmental, the fact is, sin resides in God's presence every day. Humanity is what I call a 'loving wound' in God's essence. He appears to have created a universe in which man had (and has) the potential to bring the disease of falsity into ontological reality, and we've more than gladly participated in this capacity. Salvation at base is a removal of this property of evil from creation, which all starts in spirit and flows to mind and enters material reality [body, etc.] from there.

One of the questions I asked earlier that you never answered was whether the religious hierarchy who had Jesus murdered were currently spending an eternity in hell. Jesus gave us the answer to this when He cried from the cross, "....'Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing'" (Luke 23:34). Before you accept the pat answers of tradition, you should consider the power in Jesus' statement that all things are possible. He doesn't give us truth directly. We're not able to receive it all at once; it would destroy us. We have to work for it, be salted with it, participate in this "salting". Salvation is a mystery, but it's all there in the Bible to see if the Lord gives eyes and ears to hear and see. He gives if He's asked to give, but we hate asking for our own death.

Actually, most Christianity is damned to different degrees. Christian arrogance fuels the belief that Jesus is talking to non-Christians when He says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it" (Mat 7:13), despite the evidence the Lord provides in vv. 21-23! In fact, the principle in v. 13 applies to every human being...the mystery explained in Zech 13:7-9:
"Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it will come about in all the land," Declares the LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

Tradition and its adherence to particulars (the same spiritual disease that the enemies of God, atheists, wallow in and use, by the way) is too blind to see the message behind the words. Destruction occurs in human spirit, where the properties of good and evil (true and false) exist fragmentally in every human being. The two parts that are cut off and perish is depicted in a variety of places in the Bible, too numerous to include here, but take a look at Ezek 21:2-5, Jn 15:1-6, Isa 10:15-23, 65:8-9 as examples.

You have the theme of destruction of evil right, FFC, but find a false comfort in being taught the pat answers of tradition while God has woven the mystery of His unfathomable love and mercy into the background of His inspired word. We don't want to hear it because love is death and we love our falsity. When Biblical fire, hail and plague of destruction are applied to the universality of essence (spirit) instead of particulars or 'whole human beings', God's perfection is accomplished. The 400 year enmity between Calvin and Arminius melt away and vanish. God's wrath is in fact His love, because His holy fire only destroys that which stands opposed to His righteous essence (falsity; evil), while all that is alive in the truth is purified as gold and silver. Because we love our theological and ontological darkness (Jn 3:19), we create soothing doctrines that taste good to the palate and tickle the ear (Job 34:3-4) and tend to stop short of the deeper truth. These base teachings are firmly grounded in truth, but we love to hang on to our errors, too.
If spiritually dead person does not choose that path of life then he is still dead in his sins. If that person dies in that condition God has no choice but to judge that person and ultimately throw him into hell.
I'm continually amazed at the restrictions the religious mind insists on hanging on God. God chooses as He wishes, according to His own council (fortunately for us all) and not according to what humans say He can and cannot do. In His perfect love, He chooses to simultaneously destroy and perfect. This is the base message of salvation: the bringing of life from death.
Christians won't have to go before that great white throne judgement because Christ took the consequences of that upon Himself on the cross...but unless a person believes that Christ died for that reason God would be anything but perfect if He gave that person a pass.
Actually, it's not Christians but believers who avoid the second death and are protected by Christ's imputed righteousness in the next life. We Christians automatically assume that the two are identical. They clearly, according to Mat 7:21-23, are not. Your allegations of perfection according to the formula you use here simply fall apart under close scrutiny, FFC.

Sorry this is so long. Will be gone a few days, so may not be able to respond for a bit. Thanks for walking with me here, I appreciate your participation.

In Christ.....Bernie

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