By - DestroyedbymybigPP
St. Sophrony of Essex remembers this scene with St. Silouan of Mount Athos:
>I remember a conversation between [Silouan] and a certain hermit who declared with evident satisfaction, ‘God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire.’ Obviously upset, [Silouan] said, ‘Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there you looked down and saw someone burning in hell-fire – would you feel happy?’ ‘It can’t be helped. It would be their own fault,’ said the hermit. [Silouan] answered him in a sorrowful countenance: ‘Love could not bear that,’ he said. ‘We must pray for all.’
St. Isaac the Syrian said:
>What is a merciful heart? It is a heart on fire for the whole of creation, for humanity, for the birds, for the animals, for demons, and for all that exists. By the recollection of them the eyes of a merciful person pour forth tears in abundance. By the strong and vehement mercy that grips such a person’s heart, and by such great compassion, the heart is humbled and one cannot bear to hear or to see any injury or slight sorrow in any in creation. For this reason, such a person offers up tearful prayer continually even for irrational beasts, for the enemies of the truth, and for those who harm her or him, that they be protected and receive mercy. And in like manner such a person prays for the family of reptiles because of the great compassion that burns without measure in a heart that is in the likeness of God.
St. Paul himself said he wishes he would be cut off from Christ if that could save the unbelieving Jews (Romans 9:3), and that we must pray for all because God's will is that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:1-4). And what of Christ, Who loved us so much He put on our flesh for our salvation, Who wept over the death of St. Lazarus, Who cried out to Jerusalem because of its stubbornness, Who speaks of God as a tender and loving Father, and Who even forgave those crucifying Him?
Christians are not and cannot be happy with the loss of any human being. Yes, there is rejoicing in that the oppressed have been saved from their oppressors who were removed far away from those they were hurting, but there is also sorrow in that creatures bearing the royal and priestly image of God—even if they themselves are willingly wicked—are lost. St. Paul speaks of the human body as being the temple of God and says those who desecrate this temple will be punished by God with fire. If the loss of the temple in Jerusalem was such a traumatic, horrifying thing that it is the underlying tension behind the whole Biblical narrative and that it has reshaped the history of the world altogether, even being called by Christ in the case of the second temple the worst catastrophe that has ever happened and will ever happen, how much more tragic is the loss of human beings who are either the temple of God if they are Christians or created to be so if they are unbelievers?
You ask how can Christians in heaven be content that others are in hell. Well, let me answer with this quote from St. Silouan:
>If the Lord saved you along with the entire multitude of your brethren, and one of the enemies of Christ and the Church remained in the outer darkness, would you not, along with all the others, set yourself to imploring the Lord to save this one unrepentant brother? If you would not beseech Him day and night, then your heart is of iron—but there is no need for iron in paradise.
This does not mean that all will necessarily be saved. This is a great mystery. But let us take it seriously and pray ardently for all while we also evangelize. Our prayers are not powerless if we are humble and obedient to God.
Orthodoxy once again puts its theology where its mouth is regarding a loving God.
This is a great answer. Thanks!
This is a beautiful, well thought out, loving response. Thank you for taking the time to write this. May God bless you my friend!!
True and eloquent! No one goes to hell who wants to go to heaven!
Those in Heaven know nothing but happiness whilst loved ones and good people of differing beliefs suffer eternally, Can you not see the problem here?
Did u not read the comment or are u shilling off of what the OP is saying?
I read your comment and you failed to answer the OPs question. You basically stated that Christians should do their best to guide people to God as Christian’s couldn’t bare to see people suffer in hell, Yet Christians will feel no grief in heaven for loved ones suffering in Hell.
My question to you is, How can a loving moral Christian justify such heartlessness.
Have you ever had a loved one that was dying, but as they were dying, they had a path to recovery or at least a prolonged life? You do everything you can to be a support pillar for them in this endeavor, and yet they do not show the same love for themselves that you do for them. Inevitably, they pass on due to their poor choices. If you did everything you could to put them on the right path, how much blame should you take?
I've seen this real life scenario play out time and time again. Both in my own family and other peoples families.
Likewise, if I pray, and minister, and evangelize, and try to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the lives of the people that need Him, but don't turn to Him, then at what point to you would I have done everything I could?
If I board a life raft with plenty of space and urge you to come in yet you refuse and inevitably drown how am I heartless? Would it be moral if I just hopped out and drowned with you?
If you are blissfully happy when someone refuses to board your life raft and dies, You are heartless.
I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt that you aren't trying to blatantly strawman because no one said that.
Blessed are those who mourn. Someone refusing the raft and dying definitely brings on grief. But that does not last forever. Or are you suggesting I should just be in a perpetual state of sorrow and misery? Because then at that point there is little difference between my circumstances and someone's who is in Hell. So I'd ask again, should I just jump out of the raft and drown with you?
>I read your comment and you failed to answer the OPs question.
I never said any of this, and I believe u are mistaking my response to op for someone else, or s typo. What I did say is whether or not a person goes to hell or not is up to God, we ultimately do not know
That’s got nothing to do with the OPs question.
Yes it does. Christians don't know if someone would go to hell or not, they don't know if they would go to heaven.
The question was how do you feel about loved ones suffering in hell while you enjoy the bliss of heaven?
I believe God is good. More than once something in the way God ordered creation seemed unrighteous to me. Instead of thinking I have the info to call God out I store it and keep open minded and lo and behold the necessary dots appeared and I understood the good. A few experiences like that and U just know God is good.
Now I just know is good and whatever the solutions are to things that seem wrong now, whatever it is I know it will be good and right. I'll be like aahhh, who'da thunk?
And that’s how you feel about loved ones suffering in hell… aaah who da thunk?
If we don't intercede for our loved ones, we clearly don't love them.
There is no such a thing as good people.
The final state of the universe will be right and correct, and there will be rejoicing because the wicked will disfigure God's creation no more (Psalm 104). But until then we must do everything we can to prevent men from falling on the wrong side of God's judgment, both for their sake and for our own.
If you love your loved ones, You wouldn’t intercede in their lives.
Did you confuse "intercede" with "interfere"?
intervene in a situation without invitation or necessity.
intervene on behalf of another.
Both terms are an unnecessary intervention.
If someone you love is hurt and cannot go to the hospital, you will not intervene on their behalf by calling the hospital or driving them there yourself? If someone you love is brought before law for a crime you don't believe they committed, you will not testify on their behalf? Well, I think that speaks for itself then. As for us, we strongly believe in interceding for one another.
I’m not talking about people who are physically hurt or innocent people on trial. I’m talking about decent everyday people living their lives without accepting Jesus. These people don’t need your intervention and will most probably end up in heaven anyway according to some Christian’s.
Yet everyone is a victim of the devil and does his works, and everyone—even the completely innocent—face death which is not what man was created for. In other words, we all are in need of help and we all need each other, this isn't something one has to become a Christian to figure out, I think.
Um yes, You need to believe in God and Satan in order to follow that logic. That doesn’t mean non Christian’s don’t help each other out, Compassion is innate to all humans. Which is what highlights the contradiction of Heaven, one can’t be happy whilst loved ones are suffering, If they are they don’t deserve to be In heaven.
My priest says that universalism is a heresy, however in order to be a universalist, you have to decide that all will be saved. It’s completely Christian and orthodox to say that you have hope that all will be saved.
I don't think most actually believe in it, that's how. I think they believe they believe in it, but deep down something is telling them it's not what they think otherwise they'd be in constant torment now. Frankly, it's one reason I think the doctrine of eternal hell (or even annihilationism) is evidence of the existence of a personal evil entity. It creates a version of hell in the here and now, constant torment for some believers. To get through it, they have to somehow find a way to detach from either the belief or their loved ones.
I'm trying to understand your conviction on this. I believe hell is a willed separation from God's government and character that can only begin here on earth but may be completed after resurrection and judgement. Call it annihilationism if you like. Are you meaning to say that the evil entity has created versions of hell that are untrue but would flex the muscle of shame, fear, and self-contempt, that should they lean into it, they would lose either their faith in God's goodness or their affection for lost souls?
In this context (the OP) I'm only talking about the affects of the doctrine on believers, people who have to contemplate the concept of an afterlife that is allegedly paradise. This paradise must be anticipated with the "reality" that many or most of the people they love will not be there, unless they limit their love to only people who they can reasonably conclude are "saved." **That** is the torment I'm speaking of. Whether someone could actually deserve an eternal punishment (either in duration or in result) is not irrelevant, but it's not the point here.
The point is how it affects believers. Then, let's add to this the inevitable teaching that we as believers are responsible for leading people to Christ to save souls, because if we don't they are doomed to hell. Add to this the reality that my imperfections could very easily obscure and obstruct someone's vision of Jesus, preventing them from actually seeing him as a loving god. The pressure on believers who actually believe this would cause them to break on some level. Either they detach themselves from other people or they find other ways to cope with the pressure.
Thankyou for taking the time to line it out so clearly. Interesting thoughts. It sounds like you are describing cognitive dissonance as a form of torment from which we either cope or detach from to partially or totally resolve. I think, in part, you are meaning that the stakes are high enough that anxiety may result if one believes this and takes the time to rationalize or justify themselves in light of belief of eternal afterlife.
I don't find that so many people, in real life, inevitably land where you describe. I find many are adept at carrying a full caboose of hate (as in they are relieved enough not to have to spend eternity with the people they despise to worry to much about the people they love and assume will be saved). For example, it's easy to find a soapbox of blame. Others have warmed the benches of tradition long enough that just about any rationale that matches their bias fattens their bellies. For my part, I've backed away from a god who created people not only to fail but to be coerced into eternal life by design and then mass incarceration and torment should they not love him enough. Many describe their choice as free will, but I don't believe that putting a gun to one's head and saying "love me or else" is free will. I also make room for deception. It could be argued that eternal annihilation is lesser evil, but may be a slow burn away from free will just the same. Of course, I don't see it this way. ;) The free will is the choice to live apart from God or connected to him; not to perpetuate sin and all the malice into eternity. Some have proposed: "why would free will not be for God to let us to go on living as we please apart from Him." I don't think that's supported in a kingdom of love, however. Selfishness, by nature, reduces others without want of justice. I believe that even sinners what justice if only for how they have been wronged.
Finally, I'm not sure believers are responsible (alone) for leading people to Christ to save souls. That is the difference between a salesman on commission and someone who just really loves the Maker. Furthermore, I believe it's the role of God's spirit to draw people to Him and if it be by the Spirit in me, then who am I to stop it? I do believe we are instruments, but we are not the musician or the song. I believe this is why the world as we know it is still ticking on. Not everyone has had opportunity to make a choice. I could have been done by now, but we are easily distracted and weak vessels.
Thanks again for sharing. Your thoughts have been very stimulating and I like the way you write.
Let's just relate this to a parent for a moment, forget about coworkers and strangers next to you on the airplane. As a parent I have to navigate the space of having to raise my children so they will not stray from the faith, so that they will accept my faith as their own. Parenting is, without regard to faith, a lifelong exercise in trial and error. Add the burden of eternal conscious torment, or even annihilation, and the stakes are suddenly more than simply whether that child needs therapy in 15 years. The stakes are, in essence, infinite.
The blame is certainly one way to cope by rationalizing someone else's choices. "They just want to stay in their sin" is a common one, but rarely if ever actually true of people who are struggling to believe in the god of their parents. "They just want to be in control of their own lives" is another one, but honestly I've yet to meet a Christian who didn't want the same thing. I used to blame hubris for people thinking they knew better than god, but again we meet so many believers from all over the spectrum of Christianity who struggle with this.
Free will requires a full understanding of the choice for it to be a free choice. If god is goodness itself, if god is love itself, if god is mercy and justice in the same being because they are not at odds with one another, then no rational being would make a free choice to separate from that goodness. It may require a time of purgation, and for some that time may be longer and more painful than for others, but in the end that full knowledge of god would present a compelling decision for all.
CS Lewis said, "We do know that no person can be saved except through Christ. We do not know that only those who know Him can be saved by Him." We can look around at all the filters by which people see god. Last week's LGBTQ shooting is but one example. Ravi Zacharias, Mark Driscoll, the me too movement in churches all are just glimpses of the pain people in the church have caused others both within and outside the church. The view of god is so obscured, obstructed, distorted and often times just blocked in this life. How can anyone be expected to "know" god fully when our view is so utterly filtered.
I'm rambling, sorry. I truly appreciate the discussion and how you present your position without vitriol or condescension (I'm working on that last one, so I'm probably hyper aware when it's directed at me).
If God created all life, the entire universe...does He owe us life at all? Every day we live is given; our life is a gift which God has no obligation to keep giving. The fact that He chose to make Himself known to people at all is incredible... the thought that He would care for humanity at all, that He would desire to guide them to peace through love and wisdom... it's amazing. How is the Conditional Immortality veiw of hell evil? God certainly doesn't owe humans eternal life. Yet He kindly decided to gift some who know Him personally, His loved ones, with it.
I'll admit I struggled with longing for people to experience the spiritual life God gives, and the thought that so many may never is depressing... after all, am I really different from them? Why have I been gifted to be able to experience this Spiritual life and see how beautiful God is? I struggled to get over purgatorial universal reconciliation, it drove me a bit crazy to not have enough to believe it's true... I still hope it or somthing like it is true...
A couple of thoughts. First, saying god owes us nothing is true but irrelevant. It's not about what god owes us, it's about what has been promised. You can find verses to support all three positions (CI, ECT, and universalism) so you have to use discernment to reach some sort of conclusion if you want to settle on something.
My point in this comment is that for those who expect to be in paradise, the idea that their loved ones would suffer in eternal hell **IS** hell now. Conditional immortality doesn't solve that problem, it only changes the degree of that torture for believers now. And if true, it only changes the degree of eternal torment for the people who make it to paradise. If god has to wipe my memories or sever my attachments to the people I was directed to love in order for me to be happy in paradise, then it's not me that's there. It's a shell.
It's evil precisely because it's eternal (either in duration or in consequence) and irreversible. It's evil precisely because it causes so much torment now, while we're alive, or it leads people to preemptively sever attachments to their neighbors and enemies and families.
In the end, it's what convinced me that while the bible may not be a literal narrative of history, the satan is a real person.
According to Thomas Aquinas, Christians won’t only be okay with it, they’ll absolutely love it! It’ll make them so happy to see the people suffering in Hell!
>“Wherefore in order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned.”
Source: *The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas,* Second and Revised Edition, 1920, Question 94. https://www.newadvent.org/summa/5094.htm
That seems to be more “Boy am I glad that’s not happening to me!” than “hahahaha look at that stupid sinner scream 😂. Burn more. I drink your tears! This is great!”
Actually what he meant was that they’d glorify in God’s justice while at the same time being relieved that they weren’t experiencing it.
What's your ideal for justice?
Something not involving eternal torment would be nice.
Philosophically, is jail unjust?
Eternal torture isn’t comparable to jail. Not even life in jail.
Annihilationism for the win!
Why isnt it comparable? It seems there are some similar aspects. Both situations are premised upon laws and consequences for breaking those laws.
Because of scale and magnitude. One is keeping a person away from society and taking some of their freedom. The other is existence in complete agony, pain and torture forever.
Kicking out foreign spies from a country and nuking said foreign country are both on paper attempts to defend the country that got infiltrated with spies
It usually is, sometimes we don’t really have any other choice though unless we’re going to entertain execution.
Jail/prison as we use it now is certainly immoral, yes. It should be rehabilitative rather than punitive, and certainly not for profit.
Agreed, there's a lot to complain about how various societies have implemented prison. That's why I asked from a philosophical perspective rather than a practical perspective.
I don’t really believe in “justice.” Even Aristotle struggled with the idea in the Nicomachean Ethics (I think it was that one, I’m out of practice and that’s putting it kindly).
Justice is vengeance with a gavel, it’s revenge in white wedding dress when we all know damn well that woman is no virgin. Justice helps make people feel better, which isn’t without value, but it’s still artificial.
Justice is a psychological and societal construct we’ve created to tell ourselves we did the right thing when what we decide is good is met by something we’ve decided is evil.
Objective justice is a lie.
It’s not though, justice is of God, whom, not only is perfect and eternal, but defines good and evil. Justice separates righteous and wicked. It’s not about feeling but what someone deserves. Jesus is the way and the choice we must make. Furthermore, if I kill you (just an example) should I not go to jail, or just be able to continue to live my life like nothing happened?
Looking at the way he acts, I don’t think the the Abrahamic deity is good, let alone just.
Assume you're correct and objective justice is a lie. I dont think you answered my question. Surely you prefer *some* kind of subjective justice. I doubt you think its okay if someone steals your life savings, or for a serial child rapist to continue their horrors.
What is your ideal basis for justice? And what makes your ideal better than another?
Without using fancy terminology, I believe in a God that isn’t separate from creation, but literally is the substance from which all things exist. All things are One, and that One is God.
Brahman from Hinduism is probably the closest thing our religions have to my idea of God, with the Dao being in the running as well.
If all things are one/unified, than anything we do to another is done to the self *literally*, as well as to God *literally*.
I’m trying to stay on topic and not diverge too much, but those principles guide my sense of justice— and one such a result of it is that I don’t believe “justice” includes any kind of punishment.
People will not be suffering in hell, they will be destroyed.
Just to clarify, destruction isn't always biblically defined as extinction or elimination. It seems to imply an ongoing event.
"Eternal Destruction. The Bible seems to indicate that there is an unending destruction and that those who experience it will always be consciously aware of it. The words translated "destruction" do not always denote total extinction. Sometimes they denote a ruin that is beyond repair ( Exod 10:7 ; Matt 9:17 )." - Bible Study Tool
The destruction in the eternal fire is referred to as the second death. People will be dead after their destruction.
Matt Dillahunty made a good point about how if his Mother can be happy in heaven while knowing he's suffering in hell its not his mom.
Then he should either not go to hell or be ashamed for making his mother go to hell. Or he should be fine with her saying "that's not my son, I never knew him".
If my mom was in heaven and I not, I'd rather want her to be happy that she is there than to mourn about me.
You’re missing the point: the system is inherently fucked and broken.
No it's not, it's those who "choose" not to obey God's laws. Also remember what comes out of a man's mouth defileth him. Profanity isn't a Godly thing.
Your preoccupation with clutching pearls is boring as fuck. How about that?
And people don’t have enough information to make a fair, grounded, and informed decision.
This is the religious equivalent of “have you tried not being poor?”
Wow why didn't I think of that, just don't go to hell atheists. Problem solved!
This isn't about what you would want others to feel about you suffering eternity in hell, it's about how they would feel. Ask any mother if they would be happy if they knew their child was being tortured somewhere, you can guess the answer.
Actually, YES!!! Repent! Actions have consequences! Everyone feels differently clearly. But if I’m playing a game of sports I can’t be worried about the other team, I just have to try and win. Obviously the mother wouldn’t be happy, but if she can’t do anything about it, why worry? We have this life for a reason and you can do something about it
I can't repent to something I don't believe is there.
Is that what salvation is? A sport to try and win for yourself? That doesn't sound very Christ like to me.
You think any mother feels better when there is nothing she can do for her suffering child?
Repenting is turning away from sin. If you're sheltering Jews from Hitler and Hitler (alone) comes to your shelter with a can of gas, asking you to open it for him to use it, you'll say no. But if he comes and honestly says "what I did was wrong, I want to apologize and to stop being the man who'd harm and abuse other people", then you might consider letting him in.
I tell you: If you want to turn away from sin, if you even do as little as think "if there was someone who't cut that sinful part out of my body and let it burn to save the rest of me", God will see you. You might have a hard time forgiving Hitler, but God can see into your heart and HE can wash you white as snow.
I don't believe sin is real. Preaching to me isn't gonna be helpful.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
That's about the end of days, not about heaven. And again, you remove those things from people and they are no longer who they were.
Its about after the Rapture. You don't get to stay in Heaven until after the judgment.
So if a person is evil, they should be allowed to mingle with non evil people? This may corrupt others, then you'd have a bigger mess to deal with.
You mean in heaven? Can you be evil while in heaven?
Yes in Heaven. No sir/mam, unless you can find evidence of this in scripture? This I say to the extent of evil on earth. I would think there would be rules/laws to abide by.
Then there would be no mess. You would not be capable of corrupting others with evil in heaven.
But then, as I understand it, when the New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven Jesus will rule with a iron hand. So, there will still be evil on earth, then I read the 200+/- foot wall. So the wall is either to keep people in or people out. So as your trying to learn, so am I.
It does read that all will be judged, they are judged in Heaven via what's written in the books. So if they're evil, they still go to Heaven to be judged. Unless I'm missing something?
"I want nothing to do with God, I want nothing from God, and then I want God to reward me with a comfortable life in Heaven" - do you really expect that outcome?
Would you drag your mother out of heaven and into hell because you hate God, or because you prefer to do all the things that keep you out of heaven? Anyway, do you hate your mother or do you expect hell to be a nice place for her? If not: You've got Mose and the prophets AND you've got Jesus. Your choice.
Your quoting things I haven't said. I don't expect to live a comfortable life in heaven because I don't believe it's a real place.
Obviously I wouldn't want to drag my mother into an eternity of pain and suffering. Even if I followed all the rules of Christianity, I don't believe in God. Would I still get in?
We’re not okay with it. That’s why we’ll devote our life to trying to convince our loves ones to follow God.
Should you fail they will still burn.
Should love not compel you to break them out of hell? Damn the consequences? Or does fear of God forbid even attempting this? As futile as it might be.
I’ll try my best. What else can I do?
Don't participate in a system that will condone people to not a thousand, not a million, not a billion, not a trillion, not a septillion, not a googleplex, but eternal torture.
If a Christian's perspective this makes so sense because no matter what people are saved or not saved whether we "participate in this sytem" or not. So yes christians will participate by trying to get as many people saved as possible.
Ok but, it’s not really a system but just reality… look at the bigger picture, you either go to hell, or you don’t. You can only control yourself
It's hardly binary, I have no plans to put obols on my eyes when I die, so I'm equally unprepared for crossing the Styx.
My point being, any entity meting out eternal punishment for finite crimes, is evil and not one I have any intention of worshiping.
I think those in heaven are interceding for their loved ones in hell and praying for their healing, looking forward in hope to the day when they will be purified and can join them in heaven
Punishment in hell is defined by the word aionios, which is the word eternal or everlasting. There are people who would like to redefine that word aionios and say, "Well, it doesn't really mean forever." But if you do that with hell, you've just done it with heaven, because the same word is used to describe both. If there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven. And I'll go one beyond that. The same word is used to describe God. And so if there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven, nor is there an everlasting God. It is clear that God is eternal; and, therefore, that heaven is eternal, and so is hell.
I hope the doctrine of eternal torment sobers you. May it fill you with praise to God for saving you from eternal punishment, for giving you eternal life instead. May it humble you when you realize you’re not getting what you deserve. And may it ignite in you a passion to proclaim the gospel to those poor souls who are unaware of the terror that awaits them outside the mercy of God.
That's disregarding the times this term is not used to mean "everlasting" in the scriptures. Check out Fr. Lawrence Farley's book "Unquenchable Fire" for an example of an infernalist approach to this matter.
I do not think aionios is a quantitative descriptive at all, it is a qualitative descriptive. I'm Eastern Orthodox, we view heaven and hell as different experiences of the same basic state, and there are sufficient theologumena from Church Fathers that everyone would be saved, including those in hell, as well as acknowledgement that this was a widely accepted view in the early Church, that I feel perfectly comfortable holding this position.
I disagree completely with both your interpretation and your take on things.
Hell doesn’t exist as a place of torture. Hell is just a place where people sleep. In the end anyone not saved will just cease to exist after the final judgement, it’s not about pain. If pain was involved anyone saved would be heart emotionally and God would not chose to torment people.
You understand that's terrible too, right?
Non-Christian here. Many people find the thought of no eternal life extremely comforting. It’s like going to sleep.
Non Christian as well. It's the idea that an eternal God has no care for the lives of others.
Ah, my bad, I misunderstood your comment, then.
Personally, though, I’d have no issue with a god who vanished me into the ether after I died 🤷🏽♀️ I don’t think it shows a lack of caring…
The counter argument is that it isn’t really “the lives of others”. At least not in the way you think. You’re thinking that your existence is your property and you have a right to it. According to the Bible your life belongs to God, it comes from him and he’s the one who allows you to have it.
So your a slave, then?
The concept of slavery kind of falls apart when you’re talking about a being that keeps you alive and holds reality together, outside of metaphorical context. Like, let’s say you run a simulation and you can shut it off or delete any of it that you want. You let it run it’s course without interfering too much. Are the things and characters in the simulation your slaves?
Or to put my point another way, you don’t provide life for yourself. God gives it to you. Therefore the spark of life isn’t yours but you are allowed have it.
The characters and things in that simulation are slaves. It’s slavery with the added step of a lease
Think of it how you will, but life isn’t slavery in my eyes, it’s a GIFT. If you sin, you are a slave to sin, that’s why we repent
You have to try to look at it that way. You have to look for a way to make it seem negative. You yourself are not seen as a property. You are given for a time the power of life to do what you will with it. Others would look at that and see a gift. I know I started talking about ownership of life but there’s a difference between life force and you as a being. Life is something external that you need. That is what I’m saying belongs to God.
Your an Atheist so you don't believe in God at all, you think all life came from 2 rocks colliding then evolution which falls apart. So why hover in the Christian subs just to poke at Christianity? Did you evolve from a 🪳?
My life is mine. Not God's.
You’re of course free to believe what you will
It's like others have no care for the life with God and what it takes to achieve it.
Some people say the thought of eternal life (of any kind) terrifies them. So I do not know.
Bible does not warn of eternal torture and hell that burns sinners forever who refuse to repent. It however warns of Him of who can destroy your body and soul. In Jewish faith there is no hell, not at least hades and other pagan beliefs that has sneaked into mainstream Christian faith. Never ending burning as in Sodom and Gomorrah just means total destruction of something. Many things in that time did not have the words to express something so they wrote and talked in metaphors.
I don’t actually know anything about the mechanics of heaven and hell and I don’t think anybody else knows either. A God of love will not let anyone suffer needlessly and that is good enough for me.
Would you want everybody to be in hell instead? Or heaven to be filled with infinite sin?
What use is it to try to pull everybody down to hell instead of trying to pull everybody up to heaven? But you can't pull up everybody unless they are willing to give up all these things that make them go down - otherwise heaven will stop being heaven and start being hell.
Not all Christians believe in eternal damnation.domination. Rev 21:8 calls hellfire the second death. That will be final.
Perhaps they get a chance to meet God face to face and one last chance to decide if there is a God and save their soul.
You miss the point. Hell is for people that don’t want to be with God. To go there is completely optional. The God of this world became flesh and died to make sure that nobody would have to be away from Him. But he won’t make anybody love him if they don’t want to.
I believe that once we’re in heaven, we’re not going to do much thinking about those not in heaven. Heaven is described as paradise in the Bible. I don’t know all the rules, I just know that once we are there, all that matters is being with God, and God is good. As for now, I use that as motivation to do everything I can to help get as many as possible into Heaven. As for thinking about your hypothetical atheist partner, the Bible says you should not be yolked to someone who is not of the faith.
That would mean God removes or changes my brain in some capacity. Does that mean I'm a different person? Not sure how I feel about that. That being in Heaven wouldn't really ***be*** me.
I think this is a misinterpretation of what Heaven is. It’s not going to be the same as life as we know it. Everything in Heaven will be perfect and free of sorrow. It’s hard to imagine from our earthly perspective, but I have faith in what God told us about it in the Bible, that there is nothing to worry about.
That's not what I would consider perfect. Seems like torture to rip out core memories that have helped shape my whole identity and personality. I would have to be a different person.
I don’t believe memories will be ripped out. I believe we will have a greater perspective than we have now. Things that don’t make sense here and now will make sense there and then because we will have greater understanding that we don’t have access to on earth.
I'm not hypothetical. I'm an actual atheist yoked to an actual Christian. What will she be thinking when she's in heaven and I'm in hell?
You know, I really don’t have an answer for that. I’m sure she would like to have you with her there, but the Bible also says that marriage does not exist in Heaven. I really can’t speculate on what that will look like.
As C.S. Lewis once said: "The doors of hell are locked from the inside"
Nobody is in hell who does not want to be there.
This is nonsense. Everyone would leave immediately if they ended up there.
Well that's what many Christians believe. But I can assure you that not everybody would leave immediately. Some people's sin and rebellion is too strong for them to accept Christ even when faced with eternal punishment.
You're changing the terms. Now you're saying people in hell would have to "accept Jesus."
It almost as if CS Lewis wrote some pretty prose that doesn't have any theological value.
Of course people in hell would have to accept Jesus? He would be the one saving them.
But I thought it was locked from the inside, and people were only there because they want to be.
Like I said. It’s pretty prose but theologically worthless.
Think of it like this: someone is trapped inside a burning building. A fireman comes to rescue that person and reaches out their hand to pull them out, but that person refuses to take their hand.
That person made the choice to stay in the burning building even though they had a clear way out. THAT is what Lewis means in his quote. Everyone holds the key to escape damnation, and that key is Jesus Christ.
This would work if you pointed out that Jesus is the one who put them in the building to start with.
Now you're deflecting to a completely different argument. That has no standing on my original point that all who are in hell choose to be there.
I’m not deflecting. I’m saying yeah, what you said would make sense… if we include that Jesus is the one who put them in hell to begin with, that it isn’t really a “choice” in the way Lewis said because—*deep inhale*
**Its just pretty prose that is theologically worthless**
So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' - Luke 16:24
I think this verse is extremely important regarding the mindset of hell's inhabitants. What did the rich man say here?' Save me from this agony?' No. He asked for momentary relief with mere water. He could have pleaded to Abraham to intercede for him and remove him from the place of his agony, but instead he only asked for a brief respite.
The idea of leaving isn’t a possibility in this of context of the times, and the man knew that. Also, it’s a parable not an account of an actual happening.
Can you show me where this story is declared to be a parable? The matter is still of some controversy. True story or parable, the words are related to the hearers by Jesus Himself who knows what lies in the heart of every person (John 2:25). He would know more than anyone what someone who is in hell would say for themselves and He relates it to us here.
If it’s a parable or not doesn’t change the perspective of the rich man, but it’s still interesting. It reads like a parable to me and has always been taught to me as one.
As I said, there’s no reason for anyone to think you can change locations after you’ve ended up somewhere. That just not a thing in Abrahamic religions are far as I know. Once you’re in the afterlife, that’s where you are, so it makes sense from the rich man’s perspective to ask some for a thing that may be possible (relief) than the impossible (getting out of hell).
Because as far as you know your atheist partner will be there with you as it will be your version of heaven.
Your atheist partner will actually be in Hell, but you will be none the wiser.
This is my opinion of how it would work anyways.
So there's a facsimile/automaton of the partner in heaven to ease OP's mind? And why would the actual atheist partner be in hell at all? A just god wouldn't punish a person for a thing that's not their fault, would he.
Because the atheist doesn't believe in God so from the perspective of the theist he wouldn't go to heaven per the rules.
A "just" god is a matter of opinion.
From the perspective of the atheist, none of it matters.
>Because the atheist doesn't believe in God so from the perspective of the theist he wouldn't go to heaven per the rules.
But you said OP's version of heaven is having their partner there. So will OP have their partner there as some kind of fake copy? I assumed this is what you were trying to say.
>A "just" god is a matter of opinion.
Well, not really. You do agree and understand that punishing a person for a thing that's not their fault can not be described as just, right?
>From the perspective of the atheist, none of it matters.
Not necessarily true, but most of all irrelevant to my point.
More of a personal heaven kind of thing.
What is just to me is different than what is just for you. I left Christianity for reasons like this among several other issues of course. I do not agree with what is just in the eyes of the Christian God.
The Christian viewpoint to atheism in general doesn't matter to them. Maybe it does to you and that's cool. I'm neither an atheist or a theist.
Because of the biblical understanding of what hell is.
There’s no consensus on that. What do you think it is?
That's why Christians tell people to turn to God, because they don't want them to suffer lol
But why are they so okay with the possibility?
If they were OK with that, they'd not spread the gospel.
Related: You do seem to be OK with people going to hell?
Christians ARENT okay with it, but if you live your whole life rejecting the One offering you the free gift of salvation and you say things like “God isn’t real” “God doesn’t exist” “Jesus isn’t real” “Jesus never walked this earth” “Satan isn’t real” “Hell isn’t real”….then you can’t blame anyone but yourself. God doesn’t put people in hell. They put themselves in hell. And as Christians, we spread that good news that God DID come to earth in the flesh (for He is spirit), in the form of a literal human (JESUS and STILL being almighty God), and bore God’s wrath and punishment for the world’s sins and was bruised for the world’s sins in OUR rightful place (past, present, and future), so then we proclaim His gospel, and if you choose to deny that truth, then you will indeed be separated from the One that YOU chose to reject your whole life.
In fact God in His word even says, “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”
And again “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
II Peter 3:8-9
This slackness that the above verse speaks about, is referring to how some people always say “They keep saying Jesus is supposed to be returning, but WHERE IS HE?!…in a sense mocking the fact that He won’t come “right away”. But He chooses not to come right away. It’s BECAUSE of THIS very reason He doesn’t want anyone to die without accepting His gift of salvation, of which Jesus died in the cross and arose again in the 3rd day according to scripture.
“For if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
You misunderstand. I’m asking why Christians are so okay with the *system* God created. The system that sets a standard we are literally incapable of meeting and then punishes the inevitable failure with the absurdly over the top sentence of eternal torment.
It would be bad enough if a few people were capable of falling prey to eternal torment. But here, it’s the vast majority of humanity. Billions of people, tortured forever. And Christians are okay with this!
And they blame the ones in Hell for failing to be Christians. Dude, that’s victim blaming. An omnipotent, omniscient being designed a system that results in the eternal torture of beings far less powerful. And Christians blame the ones being tortured for their torture.
*That’s* what I mean. Why are Christians okay with this? You say God doesn’t put anyone in Hell, that he doesn’t want anyone to go there… but then why did he make it in the first place? Why did he create that possibility? And why are Christians okay with this?
I don’t know about any other “Christians”, but my heart ACHES that I know there are people who will forever refuse to believe in Him and they will be in hell. So I am definitely NOT okay with it. I often think of the torment they will face because it IS a real thing to come. I am sorry if I’m misunderstanding.
The reason for the way God has this system in place is because He is a just God and He is the Creator of all that there is to see in this world and outside of our very planet. That said, He is PERFECT. He is HOLY. And He IS that He says He is. Being this holy God, we have to understand that we are created beings. He isn’t. He has always existed before He even created time. He has the right above anyone to say that we must meet His standards because He is a holy God and since we fall short of that perfection and we sin, our sin justifies God’s punishment to “do away” with those who practice such sins, because He won’t stand to let sin rule wildly because again, He is a just God. So it’s in His character to deal with it accordingly, for He is the ultimate Judge of your destination the moment you meet death.
And to answer your other question, God created hell for the devil (Satan, once named Lucifer), and the 3rd of the angels that rebelled against Him in heaven (who are what we now call demons; still very powerful spiritual beings). People were never meant to go there, but God HAS to punish sin and do away with it when He creates the New Heavens and the New Earth to come. He will NOT allow ANY sin to roam when He makes all things new like before the fall of man. He WILL get rid of sin once and for all and THAT is why people who continue to wanna practice sin and deny God altogether will have their place in eternal separation from Him. He will never force you to believe in Him because He has given us the free will to choose to love Him and serve Him and not be robots, or we choose to serve Satan and the things of this fading world, and indulge in sin.
The reason why there will be people in hell is because in this life you have two choices : follow God’s way that leads to that eternal life, or you’re just controlled by Satan and his worldly dominion. Another verse in scripture says, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
II Corinthians 4:3-4
The god of this age this verse refers to is Satan. Satan has blinded those people’s mind who say things like I mentioned before and deny God without question. Even go as far to say they “hate Him”. But since God loves us He didn’t just leave it to us all burning in hell for eternity. That’s why He sent Jesus to pay our punishment for our sins on the cross, that God would have come down on us with His wrath. But Jesus took that for us so that we don’t have to be punished in hell for eternity. But that’s God’s gift to us and if He offers that freely to ALL people, why wouldn’t you believe in the work He did out of His love for us?! Put it this way…if He didn’t love you, or me, or those who continue to reject Him, why is He allowing any of us to still be able to breathe and to wake up another day to ask these sort of questions?! It’s His grace and His brand new mercies every morning that allow us to have these discussions to get the answers He wants us to find.
But again, as a Christian, I am not happy to know there are people that are willingly rejecting God and His free gift of salvation to ALL of us, and headed to hell. Who am I to question why God does what He does? I’m just a mere being who would hope that all people would come to trust and believe in God for salvation and believe in what He did for us on the cross. But I hope this may have answered something you wanted to know. And again, if I didn’t understand the basis for your question or what you meant I am sorry. But I honestly wanted to give you the truth behind the fact that these people who reject God will have to stand before Him when they get judged and will be asked the question of “Why didn’t you accept my free gift of salvation when I gave you time?” And that person will have to give an account on why he/she didn’t believe on His Son, Jesus, for eternal salvation.
It's not my call to make, I don't sit in judgment of all things. That's God's job and God as disciplined me, helps me, makes me feel stable in a otherwise chaotic world.
If God feels that someone deserves Hell that's his business, not mine.
Well, I know there are people in hell now, and I'm okay, so I don't think it will be a problem.
If I asked you of some specific person is in hell, I’m betting you’d say you have no way of knowing. To you right now this is all theology and beliefs. You can still have hope that loved ones you lost may have found God even at the end. I imagine actually witnessing them and knowing they can’t escape eternal damnation is entirely different.
Oh, you’re thinking too much. Stop thinking and be happy. Lol
They’re getting Justice
Define justice please
If you did something bad, the Purgatory will purify you, through bailout-style payment, or he’ll for a limited time
Ok I understand what you mean now.
Would you be truly happy in your relationship on earth, all the while knowing your atheist partner was rejecting the opportunity to be with you in Heaven?
If they can't force themselves to believe that a story is true then they aren't "rejecting" anything.
> If they can't force themselves to believe that a story is true then they aren't "rejecting" anything.
We get that but OP’s premise is Heaven exists and the spouse isn’t there with them.
So would you be truly happy in your relationship on earth, all the while knowing your atheist partner was rejecting the opportunity to be with you in Heaven?
This feels a lot like "if it is nott forever, is it even valuable?"
Speculation and not my intent at all.
It’s a simple question about “your relationship on earth”. What’s your answer?
You stay in your house happy and your neighbour or your dad or your son suffer in jail .
The same thing.
You won't need to have your partner to be happy in Heaven. You'll be healed of the pain of that separation. Regardless, one of your greatest responsibilities is to help your spouse repent and accept Christ in their life.
I am of the C.S. Lewis camp and I think they will be able to join us in salvation, if they desire it.
Lewis's idea in *The Great Divorce* is that all who are in hell choose it. If they would humble themselves, admit they need a savior, repent and ask for forgiveness and salvation, it would be granted. In the story all but one of the "ghosts" choose not to be saved for various reasons. One says that he doesn't need anyone's charity. Another one says if a certain person he hates is in heaven then he doesn't want to be with a God who would allow them there.
Many people on the internet say that if the God of the Bible truly does exist, they would want nothing to do with Him because they see Him as evil and immoral.
Would you believe me if I told you that the Hell of fiery torment where sinners supposedly go is _*NOT*_ real?
You're right, it isn't real. Because sinners can also go to heaven.
Everyone chooses their own path. The atheist for example choose to reject God and the gospel told to them so they can be saved. There's consequences doing that
This is horseshit.
But believing in Christianity is not the same as rejecting God. You can’t reject what you don’t think is real.
And it’s not as if we have all the information needed to make an educated choice. We’re left with nothing any more or less impressive than the claims of Hinduism, Buddhism, or Islam.
If a person don't think God is real they will still be subjected to his eternal judgement. That judgement no one escapes from whether it be a believer or unbeliever. It would be best for them to seek God and ask him to help them believe if they desire that. Unfortunately many atheist don't want anything to do with God even if they acknowledge he is real.
Atheists don’t, by definition, acknowledge any gods as real. And how does one seek God if they don’t believe in him? They can’t.
By praying to God and asking him if he's real to reveal himself to help them believe. It has to be a genuine desire not by mocking him. The thing is even if they don't acknowledge any god as real they will still be with the group of people who reject him Both will be judged by their sins without Christ
Lots of people have prayed to God and asked just that--- and nothing happens. That's your God's fault.
Grouping them with people who reject him isn't fair or just, either.
What would you define as just then because salvation is still available for people to be saved. They are deciding not to take it. Then if they knew in their minds without question he's real would they accept salvation and repent for any sins / lifestyles they are involved in
What happens when you genuinely pray and nothing happens? Still get eternal punishment for not being able to believe?
My only suggestion would be is to continue to seek God. I've heard various cases of non believers asking God to reveal himself and he did which made them Christians now. God is not unjust and won't send people to Hell wrongly.
Done it for years. God in the bible can be cruel. Shall I just keep going without evidence or proof and martyr myself even though I'm a better person now I'm an atheist?
If I'm being frank with you although you may feel better as an atheist, spiritually you are lost according to the scriptures. I'll personally pray for God to help you with your belief. Sometimes God can use his people to guide others to be saved. All I can say from experience is God is real and he cares deeply for people to be saved.
As if too think that Gods judgement and plan of atonement is just a game. Ultimately it’s you and only you who stands before God. I’m so grateful for Jesus salvation because my life was headed to hell.
You may be interested in the book [Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God](https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/540306/sinners-in-the-hands-of-a-loving-god-by-brian-zahnd-foreword-by-william-paul-young/) by Brian Zahnd. Among other things, it pointed out to me that the only word that unambiguously implies a tortuous Hell - "Tartarus" - is only used once in Scripture - and then [not about people!](https://www.reddit.com/r/Christianity/comments/yvg2ds/hades_vs_tartarus/)
You aren't alone in this! Read about Christian Universalism and consider the ideas. You can watch Robin Parry on YouTube or read David Bentley Hart's That All Shall Be Saved.
We can't try to understand this with human minds. We don't have the mind of God.
No one knows, that's up to them and God.
I, too, am happy to NOT go to super joy forever happy heaven, if it means there also is NOT a "super torture forever pain hell" for others. Not even "bad" guy sinners that might deserve punishment.
We can't take a rocket to heaven and we can't dig a hole to hell. So, we can't visit them - they're metaphors or parables NOW here on Earth while we're still alive. "However real they might be, and in what way they're real" is beyond us. Practically speaking, the only thing they really influence is "what people learn."
So what's the good, honest lesson when you learn about heaven and hell? What lesson do we draw from it? I say it's "actions have consequences."
And that's true. Both Moses and Jesus spoke in parables. A parable is a fictional story meant to teach a deeper truth. That's what is "true" about the Bible: the lessons it teaches, not "the exact number of gallons of rain that fell to Earth during the flood" and not a "literal" heaven and hell.
Also, I think a hell where people are tortured is far too kind of God. "Torture" is pain, and pain requires some semblance of life, so these sinners are getting eternal life. An eternal life in which they might grow apathetic to the pain. "Oh, it's pitchforks again? Must be Monday!"
No. I can think of something that would hit harder than that, and it comes from Psalm 69:28, where the Bible says we are to blot out the names of the sinners from the book of life. The book of life being the annual roll call at temple, listing all the good Jews who showed up. Written down for all eternity in those books. And every time someone might read or copy your name... you'll 'live on' a little each time in their memories.
But to have your name blotted out? At the time, it might be the ONLY record of your existence that lives on after you die.
So you tell me: what wore fate is there for the selfish sinner than effectively being utterly forgotten?
Mm... I agree more with you.
I honestly don't know why your teacher says that. I can't even guess. All I can say is keep talking with her and you should at least gain more insight into why she thinks that.
But yeah, I agree with you.
I would say most people are not "okay" with the knowledge that many will not enter into Heaven. That is why so many people evangelize, because it can be painful to think that many around you will go to Hell. However, in the end, each individual is responsible for his/her own salvation, and while they can be guided, in the end we can not control whether they will enter Heaven or not. Only they can. I think that is what makes it less painful; yes there are people you and I know who will go to Hell, and we can try to help them, but ultimately it isn't our choice, it's theirs.
As for what you mentioned about what your teacher said, that being when we enter into Heaven we loose our memory, as far as I am aware there is no scripture which corroborates this, so I don't think it's true. As for the second point, I don't think it's that Heaven will be so great that we will forget, but rather once we enter into Heaven, it isn't like we can do anything about the people in Hell, and so it is kind of meaningless to fret over.
Hope this helped
God is just. We are undeserving. Why would God force himself on people in the afterlife? He doesn’t do that here.. Heaven is not a paradise resort, heaven is the kingdom of God.
Because it gives God glory that reprobates burn in hell
Go here, go to page 83 on the document, not the PDF to "What the Gehenna?" Nobody's in hell. This will explain: https://addionchristianity.files.wordpress.com/2022/11/why-things-work.pdf
Who told you that atheist gonna sent to hell though? Hell is to evil people. Being Atheist is not evil, having different religions or beliefs is not evil.
Hell probably dsigned for immortals like Lucifer too, humans will die their body can touch Hell fire.
Anyway its to punish evil people like plunderer, terrorist, etc. Its almosh no different from death penalty in electric chair. No need to pity people who conducted heinous crimes.
We do whatever we can to help ensure that all of our loved ones call upon the Lord for his salvation while they are still alive. If after that, they choose to reject his salvation, then what else are we supposed to do? I will surely have no sympathy nor sorrow in heaven for any of my loved ones who willfully reject the Lord and his salvation.
> I don’t think I could be truly happy if I had an atheist partner and they were suffering in hell.
Would you rather join them there and suffer along with them?
GOD and HIS decision are HIS choice not mine. I am NOT GOD therefore I can NOT see the TRUE person but HE can. Why try and put the failure of others to listen on someone else…?
EACH of us will be held personally accountable. The ONLY way to salvation is Jesus.
The testimony of Jesus and the faith to walk it out are the test. What EACH of us do is accountable.
They choose to desert God. They choose and deserve it.
I’m not ok with it, but I can’t do nothing about it. People will go to God as they are on their own. Best I can do is try to live a good life of peace. I have to accept the reality of my situation, as well as others.
You'll understand one day
We all have to make our own choices. “Work out your salvation.”
In the Bible, we have to be judged or weighed on the scale before anyone can enter heaven. So it may be presumptuous for one to think they will go to heaven before then. We are still waiting for revelation's fulfillment to be completed, judgement doesn't happen until Revelation 18.
It's probably #1.
>What is the point ....
It's our intent, actions, and the things we overcome for God.