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Old 04-19-2006, 08:19 AM   #61
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I am a Catholic..as i recalled when I was young I would picture GOD as old man with white hair and a beard, just like in Michelangelo's painting. But as I grow older I would think that maybe the Bible was reffering to us having souls and free will.
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Old 04-19-2006, 06:00 PM   #62
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Fear is all they got

that is why they are not living fully realized lives now.
Maybe for some. Maybe for many.

I can only speak for myself. Whatever my personal issues I have as a Christian, the one thing I'm not is afraid. Certainly not of hell. I couldn't worship a God of hell.

As far as not living a fully realized life. I'm not sure what I'm missing, that I would gain if were not a believer. Perhaps you could enlighten me?
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:43 PM   #63
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I don't have a problem with the existence of Hell ("Gehenna," as Jesus refers to it), because I don't have a problem reconciling anger and love. The absence of one is not the presence of the other, and vice/versa. If we as human beings reflect both anger and love, and we are reflections -- however warped -- of the image of God, then clearly He must be capable of both.

However, Christians are too focused oftentimes on the golden ticket to get out of one place and to another, rather than focusing on Jesus' gift of abundant life for the present time. Paul even criticized believers in Thessolonae for quitting their jobs and waiting for Jesus' return, rather than following His command to love and serve where they were.

The "Left Behind" people should probably stop jumping up and down in their back yards.
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Old 04-19-2006, 07:50 PM   #64
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But, for those of you that know Hebrew, what do you make of Gen. 1:27 "in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them"

Could that imply that masculine and feminine together make up the totality of who God is? While definitely not orthodox Christianity (and I'm about as orthodox as they come, if you hadn't noticed), I've always wondered if there might be a feminine aspect to God.
What's the passage that talks about God gathering His children like a mother hen gathers her chicks?
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Old 04-19-2006, 09:51 PM   #65
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Are you saying that those in hell can choose to accept Christ at any time be "sprung" from torment?
No, at some point the ability to make that "choice" is gone. The only sin that sends you to hell is the rejection of Jesus.


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Originally posted by maycocksean
What bugs me about the doctrine of eternal torment is the intentionality of it. God is keeping these people alive to suffer, to what end?

This really gets to the issue of "who has to change?" We have God and we have hell. Do we ask God to change to fit our concept of what a loving God should or should not do, or do we change to conform to His concepts (as described in Scripture)?

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Choosing the sleep of death (i.e. an unconscious state of non-existance), the "destruction", over having to live in heaven under God's law of love. Well, now that's a choice. As I understand it, God is love. God is life. Apart from God there can be no life, no love. For a created being to live apart from God would mean that God would have to "artificially" keep that person living. And to live apart from God, in an existence devoid of love. . well, that would be hell. (One could argue you that Satan and his devils live hell. . .but even for them it won't be eternal). Is it possible to have love apart from God who is the essence of love. No? So the choice is simple. Live under God's law of love or don't live at all. Because the "don't live at all" does not involve unending, psychic and physical torment, then we have an actual choice.
Again, when we say God is love, what do we mean? Our concept of love, or God's concept of love? If we speak in term of generalities, we end up creating our own version of God - placing ourselves on the same level as God (or higher).

Jesus spoke of hell, He spoke of eternal suffering.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:06 AM   #66
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This really gets to the issue of "who has to change?" We have God and we have hell. Do we ask God to change to fit our concept of what a loving God should or should not do, or do we change to conform to His concepts (as described in Scripture)?



Again, when we say God is love, what do we mean? Our concept of love, or God's concept of love? If we speak in term of generalities, we end up creating our own version of God - placing ourselves on the same level as God (or higher).
nbc I think you are right on the crux of the matter. I don't get to debate this very often because everyone in my denomination believes the same as I do. It's nice to be challenged for a change.

I would agree that our practice and understanding of love is incomplete ("now we see through a glass darkly" ) compared to that of God's and to a degree a believer must acknowledge that "His ways are not our ways." I would also agree with nathan1977's statement that anger and love can coexist. But you can really only take this so far before it becomes absurd. Yes, God's concept of love (and anger) is different from our own but I would say it is not radically so--not to the point that it is beyond our comprehension or inherently contradictory to our understanding of love. This is why I say I understand a God of love who destroys. . .it doesn't fit with our "human" concept of love, perhaps, but I can comprehend it. A God who tortures however. . . You could say that God is a ruthless, tormenter worse than Adolf Hitler (because at least he eventually put his victims out of their misery) but that is okay because that His version of "love." But to say that, IMO is absurd.
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Jesus spoke of hell, He spoke of eternal suffering.
Jesus did speak of hell, but I think it is debatable as to whether he spoke of eternal suffering. He spoke of eternal consequences, yes. He spoke of eternal results. But he also spoke of destruction of the wicked.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:15 AM   #67
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Originally posted by nathan1977
I don't have a problem with the existence of Hell ("Gehenna," as Jesus refers to it), because I don't have a problem reconciling anger and love.
I'm not seeing your point. What does anger have to do with it?

Anger isn't permanant, because then it's hate.

Hell has nothing to do with anger. Hell is the absence of love. Not the presence of anger.
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:17 AM   #68
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


I'm not seeing your point. What does anger have to do with it?

Anger isn't permanant, because then it's hate.
Exactly right Bonovox.

Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Hell has nothing to do with anger. Hell is the absence of love. Not the presence of anger.
Also exactly right. The absence of love is Hell. And I imagine that given the choice between living for eternity with a God they despise, living the life of torment that is life without love, or being destroyed (i.e. entering of a state of non-conscious, non-existence) most of the "wicked" would choose Option #3. And a loving God would grant them that.

Some might say that Option# 3 doesn't exist. Either live with God or live without love (i.e. live in hell). But as I"ve already said, that's not much of a choice and is such "options" are not presented by a God of love.

So far all of my arguments are "logical" but there are Biblical ones too for those who predisposed to such things.

Hell ruins not only God's image. It also poisons the Christian faith. It makes Christians more comfortable with a kind of vindictiveness that doesn't belong in a faith supposedly rooted in love. It makes Christianity indefensible to any thinking person who is not a Christian, which in turns leads Christians not to "think too much about it."

I think if you're going to believe in Hell and still believe in a loving God, you end up coming to Tommyvill's conclusion--that God won't actually send anyone there.
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:51 AM   #69
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean

Hell ruins not only God's image. It also poisons the Christian faith. It makes Christians more comfortable with a kind of vindictiveness that doesn't belong in a faith supposedly rooted in love. It makes Christianity indefensible to any thinking person who is not a Christian, which in turns leads Christians not to "think too much about it."
YES!!

The kind of thinking you describe has never made sense to me. And there is no way in hell (pun intended ) I can make myself believe in such a god just to avoid the possibility of hell. And I can't help but wonder about people who do believe it, if they actually believe it, or if they are just covering their asses. And if it's the latter, wouldn't any god worth his or her salt know?
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:08 AM   #70
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Do you think God knew exactly what he was getting into when he created man? Did he deliberately create a being he knew was capable of defying him once he granted free will or did he miscalculate man's recalcitrance?
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:14 AM   #71
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Well first, regarding the Hell discussion...

I thought it was the case that mainstream Protestant understandings of who goes to Hell were predicated on the idea that Original Sin ensures damnation? (i.e., it's not so much that disbelief in Jesus per se sends you to Hell, but rather that Original Sin guarantees you'll go to Hell unless you accept the intervention of a Savior.)

Incidentally, gei'hinnom ("Gehenna") in the Hebrew scriptures simply refers to the literal valley of Hinnom, reputedly once a place where children were sacrificed to pagan gods, and in Biblical times used as a garbage dump and a place for tossing the bodies of dead animals and criminals. Fires were continuously kept burning there to keep down both the stench and the bulk of the waste. By the time the Talmud was recorded, however (and presumably several centuries earlier), some rabbinic commentators had developed gei'hinnom into the concept of a "place" analogous not to Hell, but to Purgatory: one where the dead undergo temporary "purification" through torment, thus readying them for the possibility of resurrection in end times (the latter based on Daniel 12, the only unambiguous prophecy of resurrection in Hebrew scripture--though Daniel was not considered nevi, a prophet, within Judaism, except by apocalyptic sects like the Essenes). However, a few of these commentators opined that extremely wicked people might remain in gei'hinnom forever (one rather nastily named four contemporaries whom he thought especially good candidates). So, while there were some apocalyptic sects within Judaism that took gei'hinnom to be a place of eternal punishment, this has never been mainstream Jewish understanding. (Sheol is something completely different, and more akin to the Greek notion of the realm of the shades; again not a place of damnation, though.)
Quote:
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Do you think God knew exactly what he was getting into when he created man? Did he deliberately create a being he knew was capable of defying him once he granted free will or did he miscalculate man's recalcitrance?
I don't really interpret the Genesis story literally enough to answer this question the way you've posed it, but there is a comical midrash (non-Talmudic commentary) recounting the lengths God went to conveniently "forget" to mention to the angels that humans had indeed been given the capacity to choose whether or not to do good. Also, according to the Talmudic and Kabbalistic understandings of Genesis 1 I mentioned earlier, the bestowing of free will was definitely intentional, because God requires the help of beings endowed with moral choice to help Him complete and sanctify the ongoing work of creation.
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:14 AM   #72
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Do you think God knew exactly what he was getting into when he created man? Did he deliberately create a being he knew was capable of defying him once he granted free will or did he miscalculate man's recalcitrance?
He knew, and it was deliberate-but he's also the eternal optimist in spite of the massive faults and failings of that which he adores.. That's why God is a Red Sox fan
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:45 AM   #73
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:
I thought it was the case that mainstream Protestant understandings of who goes to Hell were predicated on the idea that Original Sin ensures damnation? (i.e., it's not so much that disbelief in Jesus per se sends you to Hell, but rather that Original Sin guarantees you'll go to Hell unless you accept the intervention of a Savior.)

This is correct! I'm ashamed to say that I don't have such a strong conceptual grasp of faiths other than my own the way you seem to. You're making me wish I did! Which is a good thing
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Old 04-20-2006, 08:48 AM   #74
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Do you think God knew exactly what he was getting into when he created man? Did he deliberately create a being he knew was capable of defying him once he granted free will or did he miscalculate man's recalcitrance?
He knew. Just like parents know when they bring a child into the world. But He couldn't create humankind any other way and still have a love relationship with them. Love requires freedom, even the freedom to walk away.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:02 PM   #75
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Quote:
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I don't really interpret the Genesis story literally enough to answer this question the way you've posed it, but there is a comical midrash (non-Talmudic commentary) recounting the lengths God went to conveniently "forget" to mention to the angels that humans had indeed been given the capacity to choose whether or not to do good. Also, according to the Talmudic and Kabbalistic understandings of Genesis 1 I mentioned earlier, the bestowing of free will was definitely intentional, because God requires the help of beings endowed with moral choice to help Him complete and sanctify the ongoing work of creation.

That is pretty fascinating and the midrash had some wonderful
psychological truth, lol. Personally, I believe that when God allowed free will, he ceded both some power and omniscience (whether deliberately or not) and that he did not know what man was going to do-- he could observe and interact and nudge and promise and threaten and reward, that he could make educated judgments, but that in many ways man was as much a mystery to God as God was to man.

The last sentence of the quote above is thought-provoking. I am woefully ignorant of much Torah but have always been intrigued by what I have read or heard.
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