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  1. #1
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    Universalism and Beyond

    Universalism is the natural place most Christians with a conscience arrive at….it is impossible for me to comprehend that anyone with even a miniscule amount of compassion could hold to the concept of a loving, merciful God sending people to eternal torment in Hell….it is beyond the pale of my comprehension. Even the most fundamentalist Christian will usually at some point realize the whole concept of Hell is ludicrous to say the least….this idea of people being tormented by demons in a place burning with fire and brimstone because of some 'original sin' is just plain crazy, but it has been a part of human myths for millennia, with one of the earliest accounts called the Epic of Gilgamesh dated around 2000 BC.

    No rational human being with an ounce of reasoning would ever consider the perverted idea of any type of eternal punishment for sins committed while in this finite existence as sane, especially the so called sin that is a consequence of being born. Is there anything rational about punishing a finite being for things done in this finite body, by making him eternal so he can be inflicted with everlasting pain and suffering, all because he didn’t confess Jesus as Lord? Talk about overkill, or hasn’t God heard of the punishment fitting the crime? Why would a merciful God punish people by using pain and suffering anyway? Doesn’t that go against the whole idea of grace, mercy and compassion? Even our human justice system tries to rehabilitate people who commit crimes, not torture them. It would be like sentencing a person to life in prison, of solitary confinement, with daily floggings, deprivation of food and water, excessive stifling heat….for the crime of: his neighbor chipping a tooth on a cookie he baked for him! Only a flawed mind could conceive of and believe in the horrors of Hell presented as a just punishment from God, by those who claim to be followers of Christ….kinda makes you wonder?

    The only way to truly experience freedom is by bursting out of the cocoon of the Bible that so many Christians are encased in. My quest that led me beyond Universalism, started with many small steps; the first of which was being honest about what the Bible really says. The first big, wake up call I got was when it dawned on me that the concept of Hell used in Scripture comes directly from mythology, so I asked myself: why was Jesus promoting a belief in Greek mythology? The terms Hades and Tartarus used in the Bible as the place of judgment, were common pagan ideas that began centuries before Jesus time in the 1st century. So, I thought to myself: if the concept of Hell presented by Jesus in the Bible was no more than a Greek myth, what other pagan ideas found their way into Scripture? To my shock and utter amazement, practically every idea I had assumed was original to the revelation of God through Jesus Christ, was no more than philosophical and mythological belief systems of various individuals, and cultures throughout history. Now, believe me, this took awhile to sink in….not to mention the big looming question of how could the Bible possibly be redeemed as the Word of God when it appeared to be no more than a compilation of philosophies and myths?

    The one thing the Bible does retain though is its historical value as a written record of the progression of man’s thought throughout the centuries, drawing from all the common ideas over a span of 1500 years and presenting them in a somewhat coherent form, and at best developing those ideas in a positive way. Many of the problems arise when people claim that the Bible is the literal word of God and try and force their interpretation of it on others, instead of seeing its humanity. For the time period in which Jesus taught, his ideas on the equality of all peoples were way ahead of their time, and stands as a principle that is true for all times….that one concept of all men being created equal, I believe is the foundation of the teachings of Jesus and secondly the stress given to forgiving others, this is what gives the Bible it real value.




    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
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  2. #2
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    Hell is a real place

    I believe hell is a real place because Jesus said so.

    "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

    '‘the worms that eat them do not die,
    and the fire is not quenched.

    Everyone will be salted with fire. "

    Mark 9:43-49

    You can't claim he was just endorsing or accepting the prevailing views of the culture of that time since you would be saying he was an accomplice to promoting falsehoods. If you believe that, then you also can't believe his claim to be the Son of God and the Way, the Truth and the Life at the same time. And if you don't believe who he claimed he was you can't be a Christian. So you are putting yourself on a very slippery slope. You either have to believe everything he says as truth or reject his claims about himself. Also if you believe he wasn't telling the truth in this instance, how can you believe what else he says?

    So if you believe who Jesus claimed he was then you can't just brush off what he says about hell as misguided or misinformed. You have to reconcile it with the rest of the Bible as Christians have been trying to do down through history.

    According to the Bible hell is a real place of torment, but it is not clear whether it is a place where the unsaved will go for eternity or just a temporary place of chastisement and purging until they repent of their sins.

    Clifford

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    I believe hell is a real place because Jesus said so.

    "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

    '‘the worms that eat them do not die,
    and the fire is not quenched.

    Everyone will be salted with fire. "

    Mark 9:43-49

    You can't claim he was just endorsing or accepting the prevailing views of the culture of that time since you would be saying he was an accomplice to promoting falsehoods. If you believe that, then you also can't believe his claim to be the Son of God and the Way, the Truth and the Life at the same time. And if you don't believe who he claimed he was you can't be a Christian. So you are putting yourself on a very slippery slope. You either have to believe everything he says as truth or reject his claims about himself. Also if you believe he wasn't telling the truth in this instance, how can you believe what else he says?

    So if you believe who Jesus claimed he was then you can't just brush off what he says about hell as misguided or misinformed. You have to reconcile it with the rest of the Bible as Christians have been trying to do down through history.

    According to the Bible
    hell is a real place of torment, but it is not clear whether it is a place where the unsaved will go for eternity or just a temporary place of chastisement and purging until they repent of their sins.

    Clifford
    Hi Clifford,

    Glad to see you back on the forum...

    Have you ever considered that the words written in the Bible are the interpretations and perceptions of men expressing how they viewed God in the mind-set of commonly held beliefs of the time periods in which they lived, and are not the actual words of God?

    All I'm doing is stating the facts as I see them....I'm not the one who wrote those things in the Bible. Hades, and Tartarus were solidly established places of torment in the Greeks myths that were written hundreds of years before Jesus, so if he used that concept then I can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Jesus validated those Greek myths. Hades is by no means the only concept that was taken from mythology....satan, demons, resurrection, creation, flood and the list could go on and on. It's actually hard to find an original idea in Scripture that was not taken from the mythologies and philosophies of man.

    I really feel that the only way one can truly grow in understanding is by seeing things as they really are, it does no good to blind yourself to what is written.

    Blessings,
    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    I believe hell is a real place because Jesus said so.

    "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

    “‘the worms that eat them do not die,
    and the fire is not quenched.

    Everyone will be salted with fire. "

    Mark 9:43-49

    You can't claim he was just endorsing or accepting the prevailing views of the culture of that time since you would be saying he was an accomplice to promoting falsehoods. If you believe that, then you also can't believe his claim to be the Son of God and the Way, the Truth and the Life at the same time. And if you don't believe who he claimed he was you can't be a Christian. So you are putting yourself on a very slippery slope. You either have to believe everything he says as truth or reject his claims about himself. Also if you believe he wasn't telling the truth in this instance, how can you believe what else he says?

    So if you believe who Jesus claimed he was then you can't just brush off what he says about hell as misguided or misinformed. You have to reconcile it with the rest of the Bible as Christians have been trying to do down through history.

    According to the Bible hell is a real place of torment, but it is not clear whether it is a place where the unsaved will go for eternity or just a temporary place of chastisement and purging until they repent of their sins.

    Clifford
    Great post Clifford and I totally agree with you.

    Hades and Hell are real, Jesus could not be saying things out of falsehood and in urgency for the Bible said, "in Him there is no falsehood".

    Hades and Hell may be myths, so what? It doesn't matter if myths were used as long as it brought a clearer understanding of the message across. I believed Jesus used myths so that the God's message got through to them that is easy to understand. Getting God's message across to them is much more important than the myths used as it involves salvation. Don't teachers used illustrations, stories, folklores, traditions or events which the students already knew in order to get the gists of the lessons across? Don't all Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter knowing that these are all based on pagan religions and myth? Well, to me, it's ok as long as you celebrate with the Christian God in mind.

    I like the way you put it across:
    You can't claim he was just endorsing or accepting the prevailing views of the culture of that time since you would be saying he was an accomplice to promoting falsehoods. If you believe that, then you also can't believe his claim to be the Son of God and the Way, the Truth and the Life at the same time. And if you don't believe who he claimed he was you can't be a Christian. So you are putting yourself on a very slippery slope. You either have to believe everything he says as truth or reject his claims about himself. Also if you believe he wasn't telling the truth in this instance, how can you believe what else he says?

    So if you believe who Jesus claimed he was then you can't just brush off what he says about hell as misguided or misinformed. You have to reconcile it with the rest of the Bible as Christians have been trying to do down through history.
    Continue to doubt God or question God for his perceived wrong doings will only lead one into the slippery slope to finally reject God totally. I believe thus RAM is one of the first casualties when he declared he is no more a Christian and I believe his wife, Rose, will follow suit. They are in our prayers

    Many Blessings.
    Last edited by CWH; 03-05-2011 at 07:42 PM.
    Ask and You shall receive,
    Seek and You shall find,
    Knock and the door will be open unto You.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    I believe hell is a real place because Jesus said so.

    "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where

    “‘the worms that eat them do not die,
    and the fire is not quenched.

    Everyone will be salted with fire. "

    Mark 9:43-49
    Hey there Clifford,

    Well ... if we really want to take Christ literally, then we must admit that he was talking about the garbage dump in Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem. Here is a picture of "hell" -



    You can hop on a plane and visit hell whenever you feel like it. Tourists in Israel frequently make jokes about visiting "hell."

    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    You can't claim he was just endorsing or accepting the prevailing views of the culture of that time since you would be saying he was an accomplice to promoting falsehoods. If you believe that, then you also can't believe his claim to be the Son of God and the Way, the Truth and the Life at the same time. And if you don't believe who he claimed he was you can't be a Christian. So you are putting yourself on a very slippery slope. You either have to believe everything he says as truth or reject his claims about himself. Also if you believe he wasn't telling the truth in this instance, how can you believe what else he says?
    Uh oh. We've got a problem. We have a mountain of evidence that the Bible promotes ideas common to the Bronze age that are now known to be false. For example, the cosmology of Genesis 1 with six literal days of creation about 6000 years ago with a solid dome "firmament" dividing the "waters" that were above from those below is a prime example. Serious scientifically minded Christians have been trying to figure out how to admit theses problems while not impugning God as a promoter of falsehoods. One of the more popular attempts is Accommodation or Concession which suggests that God merely used the language of the day to communicate his truths, without actually endorsing the false science of the day. This is an extremely challenging problem for the serious student of Scripture. It cannot be resolved by merely appealing to a literal interpretation of the words in Scripture without falling into the gross error of Young Earth Creationism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    So if you believe who Jesus claimed he was then you can't just brush off what he says about hell as misguided or misinformed. You have to reconcile it with the rest of the Bible as Christians have been trying to do down through history.
    I don't think we are "brushing it off." We are simply questioning the traditional interpretations, and if they are coherent with the rest of the Biblical teachings, such as "God is Love" and "God is not an insane demon who would delight in tormenting souls for eternity."


    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    According to the Bible hell is a real place of torment, but it is not clear whether it is a place where the unsaved will go for eternity or just a temporary place of chastisement and purging until they repent of their sins.

    Clifford
    That is an excellent attempt at a resolution. It is known as the "Purgatorial View of Hell." I think it's a pretty good solution because then hell would have a truly good purpose - to bring sinners to repentance. Unfortunately, almost all "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" Christian reject this view because they believe in Eternal Conscious Torment. Indeed, a 6th century council (IIRC) condemned this view as anathema. Bummer.

    Great chatting,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hey there Clifford,

    Well ... if we really want to take Christ literally, then we must admit that he was talking about the garbage dump in Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem. Here is a picture of "hell" -



    You can hop on a plane and visit hell whenever you feel like it. Tourists in Israel frequently make jokes about visiting "hell."

    Richard
    Just trying to refute RAM's definition of hell as the garbage dump in Gehenna using the NT, It just doesn't sounds right:

    Matthew 5:22
    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 5:29
    If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 5:30
    And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 10:28
    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 18:9
    And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 23:15
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, as you are.

    Matthew 23:33
    “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna?

    Mark 9:43
    If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, where the fire never goes out.

    Mark 9:45
    And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    James 3:6
    The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    2 Peter 2:4
    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

    Many Blessings.
    Last edited by CWH; 03-05-2011 at 08:17 PM.
    Ask and You shall receive,
    Seek and You shall find,
    Knock and the door will be open unto You.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
    Hi Clifford,

    Glad to see you back on the forum...

    Have you ever considered that the words written in the Bible are the interpretations and perceptions of men expressing how they viewed God in the mind-set of commonly held beliefs of the time periods in which they lived, and are not the actual words of God?

    All I'm doing is stating the facts as I see them....I'm not the one who wrote those things in the Bible. Hades, and Tartarus were solidly established places of torment in the Greeks myths that were written hundreds of years before Jesus, so if he used that concept then I can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Jesus validated those Greek myths. Hades is by no means the only concept that was taken from mythology....satan, demons, resurrection, creation, flood and the list could go on and on. It's actually hard to find an original idea in Scripture that was not taken from the mythologies and philosophies of man.

    I really feel that the only way one can truly grow in understanding is by seeing things as they really are, it does no good to blind yourself to what is written.

    Blessings,
    Rose
    Have you ever considered that the words written in the Bible are the interpretations and perceptions of men expressing how they viewed God in the mind-set of commonly held beliefs of the time periods in which they lived, and are not the actual words of God?
    Hi Rose,

    I quoted what Jesus said, not interpretations or perceptions of men. I believe what the apostle Paul said in 2 Tim 3:16

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness....

    All I'm doing is stating the facts as I see them....I'm not the one who wrote those things in the Bible. Hades, and Tartarus were solidly established places of torment in the Greeks myths that were written hundreds of years before Jesus, so if he used that concept then I can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Jesus validated those Greek myths. Hades is by no means the only concept that was taken from mythology....satan, demons, resurrection, creation, flood and the list could go on and on. It's actually hard to find an original idea in Scripture that was not taken from the mythologies and philosophies of man.
    People have called those Greek beliefs myths because they think they are false. But if Jesus endorsed them then they are no longer myths, but TRUTH.

    I really feel that the only way one can truly grow in understanding is by seeing things as they really are, it does no good to blind yourself to what is written.
    You are just seeing things from your limited human perspective as we all are. The Bible reveals God's divine revelation that we could never come to with our own understanding because they are outside our realm. Jesus came from heaven and revealed to use heavenly truths that our human understanding could never find out.

    Clifford

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hey there Clifford,

    Well ... if we really want to take Christ literally, then we must admit that he was talking about the garbage dump in Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem. Here is a picture of "hell" -



    You can hop on a plane and visit hell whenever you feel like it. Tourists in Israel frequently make jokes about visiting "hell."


    Uh oh. We've got a problem. We have a mountain of evidence that the Bible promotes ideas common to the Bronze age that are now known to be false. For example, the cosmology of Genesis 1 with six literal days of creation about 6000 years ago with a solid dome "firmament" dividing the "waters" that were above from those below is a prime example. Serious scientifically minded Christians have been trying to figure out how to admit theses problems while not impugning God as a promoter of falsehoods. One of the more popular attempts is Accommodation or Concession which suggests that God merely used the language of the day to communicate his truths, without actually endorsing the false science of the day. This is an extremely challenging problem for the serious student of Scripture. It cannot be resolved by merely appealing to a literal interpretation of the words in Scripture without falling into the gross error of Young Earth Creationism.


    I don't think we are "brushing it off." We are simply questioning the traditional interpretations, and if they are coherent with the rest of the Biblical teachings, such as "God is Love" and "God is not an insane demon who would delight in tormenting souls for eternity."



    That is an excellent attempt at a resolution. It is known as the "Purgatorial View of Hell." I think it's a pretty good solution because then hell would have a truly good purpose - to bring sinners to repentance. Unfortunately, almost all "evangelical" and "fundamentalist" Christian reject this view because they believe in Eternal Conscious Torment. Indeed, a 6th century council (IIRC) condemned this view as anathema. Bummer.

    Great chatting,

    Richard
    Hey Richard,

    Well ... if we really want to take Christ literally, then we must admit that he was talking about the garbage dump in Gehenna, the valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem.
    Jesus was just using Gehenna as a example the people he was speaking to could relate to. Doesn't mean he meant the garbage dump was hell. Just using a metaphor to show that hell is a terrible place.

    Uh oh. We've got a problem. We have a mountain of evidence that the Bible promotes ideas common to the Bronze age that are now known to be false. For example, the cosmology of Genesis 1 with six literal days of creation about 6000 years ago with a solid dome "firmament" dividing the "waters" that were above from those below is a prime example. Serious scientifically minded Christians have been trying to figure out how to admit theses problems while not impugning God as a promoter of falsehoods. One of the more popular attempts is Accommodation or Concession which suggests that God merely used the language of the day to communicate his truths, without actually endorsing the false science of the day. This is an extremely challenging problem for the serious student of Scripture. It cannot be resolved by merely appealing to a literal interpretation of the words in Scripture without falling into the gross error of Young Earth Creationism.
    No problem. Would you expect God to use scientific language to describe creation and the formation of life to an ancient people who had little or no scientific knowledge? Of course not. He used terms they were familiar with. The gist of the story is still true so God is not promoting falsehoods. But to claim Jesus was just promoting Greeks myths when he spoke about hell is saying he was promoting falsehoods for no good reason. If hell was not real Jesus would have endorsed the concept. He was not afraid of going against the prevailing views of his day in other matters.

    I don't think we are "brushing it off." We are simply questioning the traditional interpretations, and if they are coherent with the rest of the Biblical teachings, such as "God is Love" and "God is not an insane demon who would delight in tormenting souls for eternity."
    Sure sounds like brushing it off to me when it is declared that hell is just a Greek myth endorsed by Jesus. Whoever claimed that God delights in tormenting souls for eternity? Those I have read that believe in the eternity of hell don't claim that God delights in tormenting souls. Just the opposite,

    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezek 18:23

    Clifford

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWH View Post
    Just trying to refute RAM's definition of hell as the garbage dump in Gehenna using the NT, It just doesn't sounds right:

    Matthew 5:22
    But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 5:29
    If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 5:30
    And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 10:28
    Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 18:9
    And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    Matthew 23:15
    “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, as you are.

    Matthew 23:33
    “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna?

    Mark 9:43
    If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, where the fire never goes out.

    Mark 9:45
    And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    James 3:6
    The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna.

    2 Peter 2:4
    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, that is the garbage dump of Gehenna, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

    Many Blessings.
    Ha! No need to be so repetitive Cheow. It's more elegant to make your point in fewer words.

    When Jesus spoke, he often could have pointed to the valley called Gehenna. We know it was a literal place where garbage was burned. The fact that this sounds "strange" to your ears only proves how hard it is for modern folks to understand the Bible which was written 2000 years ago in an ancient language of an entirely foreign culture.

    The fact that Gehenna was a real place where garbage was burnt is the source of its symbolic meaning. But folks have been adding to that meaning with 2000 years of mythology about fires and demons with pointed tails tormenting souls in vats of burning excrement. Most of the common conceptions of hell are not found in the Bible at all. What is the true meaning of "Gehenna"? You will never know till you carefully study it. Simply rejecting it by mechanically repeating words that sound "funny" to your modern ear is not meaningful Bible study.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    Jesus was just using Gehenna as a example the people he was speaking to could relate to. Doesn't mean he meant the garbage dump was hell. Just using a metaphor to show that hell is a terrible place.
    Exactly! It was a metaphor to show that the consequence of sin is death and destruction, like being thrown out as garbage. A very vivid image! But literal? No way. Sure, Gehenna was a literal place where literal garbage was burned, but you have used this as "proof" that there is a literal place called "hell" where souls spend eternity (or until they repent). I don't think that is justified because it is, as you noted, a metaphor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    No problem. Would you expect God to use scientific language to describe creation and the formation of life to an ancient people who had little or no scientific knowledge? Of course not. He used terms they were familiar with. The gist of the story is still true so God is not promoting falsehoods. But to claim Jesus was just promoting Greeks myths when he spoke about hell is saying he was promoting falsehoods for no good reason. If hell was not real Jesus would have endorsed the concept. He was not afraid of going against the prevailing views of his day in other matters.
    When you say the "gist of the story is still true so God is not promoting falsehoods" you are simply promoting the Accommodationist position. That's fine, but it is fraught with grave difficulties. For example, when God spoke of the "dome" over the earth, he was promoting something that is not factually accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clifford View Post
    Sure sounds like brushing it off to me when it is declared that hell is just a Greek myth endorsed by Jesus. Whoever claimed that God delights in tormenting souls for eternity? Those I have read that believe in the eternity of hell don't claim that God delights in tormenting souls. Just the opposite,

    Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezek 18:23

    Clifford
    I agree completely that God does not delight in tormenting souls! That's one of the reasons I know the doctrine of hell is false.

    Now as for the origin of the doctrine of "Hades" aka "hell" - that doctrine is totally dependent upon Greek myth. The lowest place in Hades was called Tartarus. The Greeks said it was the place that Zeus imprisoned the 12 Titans. The book of Enoch said that God chained the angels the sinned in Tartarus, and Peter copied that idea:
    2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
    So now what are we supposed to believe? That the entire body of Greek myth that defines Hades and Tartarus is false (there is no "Zeus" there are no "Titans") but the places themselves (Hades and Tartarus) are true, as is the part about the changed angels? Most is pure pagan mythology, with bits and pieces of divine truth thrown in? That does not seem believable to me. Especially when I see that the Bible "endorses" other aspects of Greek mythology, such as the personification of the God of Death called "Thanatos" who is shown to John as the Fourth Horseman who, along with the Greek God "Hades" is thrown into the Lake of Fire.

    So this issue cannot be resolved simply by asserting that whatever the Bible says is "true" because the Bible is now shown to be composed with many mythological elements that Christians otherwise reject as false. We have some more work to do. This is another very sticky wicket.

    Great chatting,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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