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God is love (and the creator of hell)
« on: September 11, 2018, 01:11:19 am »
I’ve been thinking that hell is incompatible with the existence of the Judeo-Christian God. I’m open to being wrong and am looking forward to your objections.

My first argument has to do with God’s quality of being love/loving and his creating hell. Many Christians understand God’s creating humans and sending His son Jesus to die for our sins as acts of munificent love. 1 John 4:8 says God is love. But there’s also hell, and I think God being loving and creating hell are at odds with each other. I’m taking hell to be what most Christians believe in, the hell that is contains the “lake of fire”, where non-Christians go to suffer forever. Here’s my argument in a more regimented form:

1- If God is all-loving, He would not have created hell

2- He did create hell

3- Therefore, he must not be all-loving (1,2 MT)

Obviously, if you don’t believe in God or hell this won’t be of interest to you. I’m more interested in seeing someone square the commonly-understood concept of hell with the loving character of the Judeo-Christian God. Thanks everyone!

Re: God is love (and the creator of hell)
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 03:27:54 pm »
There are three main views of hell based on the Bible. 1 the fire that torments ie. eternal suffering. to the fire that consumes i.e. annihilation. 3 the fire that purifies eventual reconciliation
I believe annihilation is  more in keeping with the correct interpretation of the whole of scripture, the context of the original authors’ statements, the goodness of God and the free will of man. Edward fudge spent a good part of his life studying this subject and wrote a book called “The fire that consumes”
Repeatedly the Bible says things like the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life. It does refer to eternal punishment but that could refer to the eternal consequences of capital punishment. It also refers to the fire that will not be quenched and the worm that does not die, but the New Testament author seems to be referring to Ezekiel, where they kept burning the corpses after a battle and the worm kept eating the corpses, similar to how we used to keep fires going in the city dump.
Therefore I think number two in your argument is the weak point and hell has been misinterpreted 2000 years later in another language in another culture
I am up for discussing any other verses from other parts of the Bible on this topic.



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Re: God is love (and the creator of hell)
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2018, 01:32:07 pm »
From (1) there are two questions, what does “all-loving” mean, and what is the exact nature of hell? In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus is found giving a description of hell that squares with the standard Christian beliefs, but at the end, where He says someone failing to heed the laws of Moses would also fail to heed one rising from hell to speak of its torments, it appears likely to be a rhetorical device. The next question, obviously, would be why don’t you send a lot of people like that, instead of just one? In particular, send the worst dead relatives, the way Dickens imagined for A Christmas Carol. If hell is real and it is so easy to send back from the dead, surely there’d be ways to convince the living of it! Jesus was possibly bluffing in this instance, using forceful concepts but with imagined states and powers, apparently just a step ahead of Dickens in creating a work of fiction.

The possibility arises, however, that as the living God, Jesus saw something worse than hell, but was stuck with poetic imagery trying to describe it, in a world that basically rejects God as the rest of His life would prove. There may be something like eternal damnation, where the hellishness is not in torments but in loss of capacity. Jesus did also warn that, “all that they think they have, shall be taken from them.” If hell is not a place of suffering, but instead one of diminished capacity, an all-loving God can administer it. In this case doors were opened but the entities could not enter, in fact hating God for it. God’s loving nature is upheld in having done all that was possible, not the impossible. In particular I notice men are treating the Earth as if it is disposable, although it may not be. Fortunate indeed are the souls chosen for human birth; but how do they repay the Lord?



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Re: God is love (and the creator of hell)
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2018, 08:21:46 am »
It's always good to define our terms.

In common understanding "Hell" is a fiery place of torment where the damned suffer for all eternity.

Where did this term come from?

If we start with the Bible we have 3 words which have been translated variously:

In the Hebrew Scriptures we have sheol.

In the Christian Greek Scriptures we have hades, tartarus and gehenna.

If we look at these in it's use in the Hebrew Scriptures we have:

Sixty-four times mentioned, and it's rendered "hell" thirty-two times, "grave" twenty-nine times, and "pit" three times. (in some translations)

HADES. This word occurs eleven times, and is rendered "grave" once, and "hell" ten times.

TARTARUS. This word occurs only once, and then in a participial form, in 2 Peter ii 4.

GEHENNA. This word occurs twelve times in the New Testament, and is always translated "hell."


There's also the presumption that the nefesh - soul of humans and animals are different in kind.

Humans supposedly have an immortal soul.

Try as you might, you'll never find the two words together. No where do we see the soul referred to as immortal.

Souls can die.

"The wages sin pays is death"

Death is the opposite of life.

The point of the resurrection is to counteract the death penalty we inherited through our common ancestor Adam.

He forfeited everlasting life before he had offspring, so the value of his life even in his offspring is necessarily forfeited.

Who could save us? Well the mystery of the messiah or redeemer who would be the at-one-ment between God and fallen man was long coming and was fulfilled in Jesus. He did not get his life force from Adam, but directly from God. So one could have argued that he had a right to everlasting life on earth. He could have started another race of humans untainted by sin, but instead offered up the value of his perfect life as the lamb of god, the passover to buy all mankind, the living and the dead from the grave.

This latter is a resurrection which has yet to occur. Christ was the first resurrected to immortality, and when he returns with his  angels and intervenes in human affairs, he will put an end to all human governments and God's Kingdom by Christ Jesus will be the only government to rule over the earth. Then  God's will WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Then the dead will be raised up, as the scriptures say "these to a resurrection of life" and others "to a resurrection of judgement". The judgement will be that period referred to as the millenial reign of Jesus. Prior to all this, all souls not alive are simply asleep in death awaiting a resurrection.

Later, when all humans who previously lived in a state of relative ignorance of God, his will and his judicial decisions now become aware and educated during that time and grow to perfection (coming to life) these will face the same manner of test as did Adam, and those who fail that test in a state of perfection will face what the scriptures refer to as the "second death". Though this place is referred to in fiery terms, it's a symbol of permanent death from which there will never be a resurrection.

We see both death and hades thrown into the lake of fire. Were this not symbolic, it would make no sense.

1 Cor. 15:12-28 (ESV)

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hopeb in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27For “Godc has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.



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Re: God is love (and the creator of hell)
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2018, 09:47:32 am »
Souls can die.
The full proposition is, “According to Christian scripture, the soul can die.” For, according to Hindu scripture, the soul is immortal, passing from life to life for the sake of purification. The Christian scriptures do not address Hinduism or any other religion. You find no prophets offering comparisons, and explaining why the Christian vision is right. As logical individuals, we need to face all possibilities, including that God gave partial revelations in many different places on the globe, none of them clear or well-grounded. The Pharisees used to hammer on Jesus’ head too, with scriptures as they understood it.

To put it a little humorously, you’re stuffing the Bible in a scripture-cannon, and shooting it at me, but the pages get torn along the way and I find no real person of moral worth standing behind it. The Bible is the supreme lesson on vague speech. To use the word “death” is not to know what death means. When there is no clear teaching on an immaterial soul, we really don’t know the Bible’s stance on its fate when the body dies. You are accepting the voices of the Bible as authorities, evidently drawn in by the masses who accept them. Perhaps some knew more than they said, but where are they today?
« Last Edit: November 09, 2018, 10:48:21 am by jayceeii »



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Re: God is love (and the creator of hell)
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2018, 10:32:15 am »
Ecclesiates 3:18-20
18  I also said in my heart about the sons of men that the true God will test them and show them that they are like animals, 19  for there is an outcome* for humans and an outcome for animals; they all have the same outcome.+ As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit. So man has no superiority over animals, for everything is futile. 20  All are going to the same place. They all come from the dust, and they all are returning to the dust. 21  Who really knows whether the spirit of humans ascends upward, and whether the spirit of animals descends down to the earth?