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Old 06-13-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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Two Questions

During college, I struggled with the concepts of petitionary prayer and election/atonement. I've managed to sort out where I stand on that, but the recent threads on Christianity have lead me to two other questions regarding heaven and sin. Neither seem to fit the original topics, so I'll ask them here:

1) In regards to heaven or similar concepts found in other religions - Do you go right away? When you die, do you go straight to Heaven or Hell? Are these like actual places? What are the qualifications of getting in?

2) In regards to sin or similar concepts - What is sin? What is the devil?


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My thoughts, which I often struggle with because they seem to be different from most Christians, even in my denomination:

1) You don't go to heaven right away. You die, you're dead. Heaven isn't sorted out until Christ's second coming. You get there because you accepted your imperfection and accepted Christ's grace. You believed in something greater and more powerful than yourself.

2) Sin and the devil are not real things. Like cold is the absence of heat, sin is the absence of good. "Total depravity" does not mean that everything is inherently sinful, it means everything has the potential to be sinful, because only God is 100% good. Since sin is the absence of good, everything created by God is inherently good.
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:54 PM   #2
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As close as we are on theological points, I think we have some different answers here.

1. I don’t see a waiting period in Scripture before entering Heaven (being in the presence of the Lord). At the Second Coming, there is a bodily resurrection. But there is also a new Heaven and new Earth in the time following the Second Coming. The only time span spoken of in Scripture is the “twinkling of an eye”; which I understand to be a very short period of time. As for Heaven being a real place, Scripture does not speak of a “state of being” but describes God on a Throne, the tossing of our crowns before Him, the eternal worship. Sounds very real to me – and real in a sense beyond what we can fully comprehend here.

The qualification to enter Heaven is to be sinless. No one qualifies on our own. Christ, as the propitiation of our sins, cloaks us in His Righteousness, thus we appear sinless before God.

2. Sin and Satan are real things. With the repeated references to Satan, from the fall of Lucifer, to the temptation in the garden, to his final defeat by Jesus – he is very real. Satan is not the opposite of God, for he is limited in power.

Sin is also the violation of God’s commands – so I am having trouble reconciling the idea that sin is the absence of good.
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Old 06-13-2006, 03:06 PM   #3
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Thanks, Doug. My responses to my own questions aren't totally set in stone. They just reflect how I currently feel.

As for the heaven thing, I guess I was leaning towards heaven not being an immediate thing because I've always felt that heaven and Christ's new kingdom are the same thing. I've never really grasped the concept of dying and then going to some other "place" that is heaven, and then joining Christ later on. In my mind, it just seems to work better that when you die, you die. When Christ returns to rebuild his new kingdom, that is the real judgment day and that is the real heaven.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:24 PM   #4
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I always appreciate the different perspective. Your responses definitely have me thinking through these concepts again. I guess they will only be set in stone when we are with the Solid Rock.
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:04 PM   #5
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I can't remember why I came to that conclusion about sin. I typed this hugelong post, and it went nowhere. If I remember, I'll try to explain better.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate any other thoughts...
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Old 06-13-2006, 05:19 PM   #6
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i've always wondered about this too.
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
1) In regards to heaven or similar concepts found in other religions - Do you go right away? When you die, do you go straight to Heaven or Hell? Are these like actual places? What are the qualifications of getting in?
I think you go right away. I believe Heaven and Hell are actual places--Heaven being with God for all eternity, and Hell being the absence of God for the same period of time.

The qualifications to get into Heaven--accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. Accepting that nothing you can do will get you into Heaven, because Jesus took care of it for you. That's grace.

Quote:
2) In regards to sin or similar concepts - What is sin? What is the devil?
Sin is doing whatever you know is wrong.

The devil is a force of evil who tempts us into doing wrong. He is the opposite of love, the opposite of peace, and the Prince of Liars.
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by aislinn

Sin is doing whatever you know is wrong.
So if you don't know it's wrong, it's not a sin?

So what about all those people of other religions, or never heard about Christ, or just never taught right from wrong?

What happens to them?
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:50 PM   #9
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I grew up around a church that believed (essentially) LivLuv's thoughts above.
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Old 06-14-2006, 08:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by aislinn
The devil is a force of evil who tempts us into doing wrong. He is the opposite of love, the opposite of peace, and the Prince of Liars.
But what is the devil? Isn't it simply the lack of good within ourselves? A void that is filled with temptations? Or is it a monster with horns? A little guy sitting on your shoulder? Or just the darker side of your own conscience?
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


But what is the devil? Isn't it simply the lack of good within ourselves? A void that is filled with temptations? Or is it a monster with horns? A little guy sitting on your shoulder? Or just the darker side of your own conscience?
What we find in Scripture is a fallen created being (Lucifer) who can appear as an "angel of light". Satan does not try to scare us away from God (turning 180 degrees), but lure us away from complete focus on God (turning 1 degree). Satan can use a seductive temptation or a discouraging frustration. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit within to help us stand firm through these attacks from outside.
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Old 06-14-2006, 12:35 PM   #12
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Re: Two Questions

1) In regards to heaven or similar concepts found in other religions - Do you go right away? When you die, do you go straight to Heaven or Hell? Are these like actual places? What are the qualifications of getting in?


no, these are not literal places, these are concepts designed to further control over human populations. that said, what we might come to understand as "heaven" has to do with the continuation of "energy" or what might be known as a "soul" -- that which is not destroyed when the body ceases to exist -- into some fuzzy notion of a collective energy that is never created nor destroyed, it simply manifests when conditions are optimal.

am not 100% sure i "believe" this, but it seems to make as much sense as anything else.


2) In regards to sin or similar concepts - What is sin? What is the devil?


the devil is a fabrication, though it might be comparable to the side of human nature that is purely self-interested, especially when self-interest is achieved at the expense of others -- i think notions of temptation and the battle against our "Id" are useful here.

sin is another cultural construct, not a thing that exists independent of the individual. it performs a useful function to help enable human beings to live together by giving us a set of hard-to-argue-with rules.
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