A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Printable Version
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A Fundamentalist View of Hell - exOBCstudent - 04-09-2012 09:58 AM
(I saw another thread out there on Heaven but wanted to bring this subject up too)
While sitting in the Easter service yesterday the preacher said some things that really got me thinking about the IFB views of Hell and what things they claim will/will not be like.
My wife and I had a discussion about it yesterday and I'll ask some of the questions I had and what general things we covered as I'm still learning what to and what not to believe about this subject of an eternal Hell.
The more I actually list these teachings I had growing up, the more ridiculous the teaching of Hell becomes to me...at least from a Biblical standpoint. I'm not arguing whether or not it exists as a holding place for Satan and his rebels from the first (known) war in Heaven.
Some discussion points we came to:
Also, if you take the penalty of Hell out of the biblical equation for non-believers, you still get a good solid theology of Christ who loved us through redemption, cares about what we do in this life, and will through all eternity as well.
I'm just hoping to get some thoughts here as well since I'm just getting to question all this for the first time and really would like some outside input on the whole matter.
What do you guys think?
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Lady Julian - 04-09-2012 11:00 AM
Just a few thoughts / observations to add here.
Quote:If God's love is so great, why wouldn't He make a way to keep EVERYONE He created from destruction?
I think the medieval writers have an interesting answer. I'm not sure how far I agree with it personally, but it's at least worth thinking about.
Medievalists such as Augustine and Dante and Dante's Catholic translator Anthony Esolen suggest cautiously that God, in allowing sinners to choose Hell, accord the sinner some respect as an individual, one who can choose to love God or to love something else besides God. Given this assumption, Hell is not so much a punishment as a natural consequence of sin; it's the difference between the punishment of an angry parent smacking their child and the consequence of losing a friendship because you lied to a friend or something. All of the sinners in Dante's Hell are beyond God's grace, not because of God, but because of themselves, and the worst of their torments is that they are perpetually attached to that which they loved more than God.
So Augustine says this:
Quote:The good things which you love are all from God, but they are good and sweet only as long as they are used to do his will. They will turn bitter if God is spurned and the things that come from him are wrongly loved.In other words, fundies picture God's justice as being mean to the sinner (fundies wouldn't consider it meanness, but that's essentially what their image of Hell amounts to). Medievalists picture God's justice in Hell as simply falling into a pit which we dug for ourselves: We are created to love God, and when we love anything instead of God, we experience hell (lower-case). According to the medievalists, at least.
BTW, remember here that Augustine and Dante don't see things like drinking wine and having sex and going to movies (had they existed in those days) as necessarily not loving God: Their goal is not to get rid of some loves (like fundies do) but to prioritize our loves appropriately, so that we love food and sex and human relationships but God most of all.
Incidentally, the medievalists also suggest that for the sinner who has elected not to love God, the justice of God is the only blessing that sinner is still able to receive. So, more Augustine:
Quote:If [a man] abandons Your love, his only refuge is your wrath. Wherever he turns, he will find your law to punish him, for your law is the truth and the truth is yourself.In other words, the sinner who has chosen not to love God will experience God in the law, though not in grace; this is better, to the medievalist, than not experiencing God at all. Even God's law at least puts the sinner in touch with God, at some level. I'm not saying this is true or not, but it is one alternative to the theory that God puts people in Hell out of hate. To the medievalist, if someone has rejected God, then justice and not mercy is the only gift they are able to receive.
Practical suggestions: Have you read C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce? Read that, if you haven't. Great Divorce is fascinating because it takes the stress of theories about the substance of Hell - fire or ice? Everlasting or limited in time? Satan or other angels? Purgatory or no purgatory? Instead, it puts the stress back on human choice for or against God and on the Gospel. Good book.
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - exOBCstudent - 04-09-2012 01:11 PM
That's an interesting view point but still not quite answering the questions and theories I get the more I question this doctrine on Hell.
I haven't read that book but I think it sounds really good. Maybe that book would address some of the thoughts I have. My mother has been studying the doctrine of "Eternal Punishment" since writing her book and has given me lots of food for thought. Some idea that I've never been allowed to think about.
Now I wonder weather or not Hell isn't for only the devil and his angels. I also wonder how fire is supposed to torment a spiritual being if they have no flesh. If so would sitting around a campfire keep evil spirits away?
I guess I'm looking for a more literal discussion of the subject.
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Lady Julian - 04-09-2012 02:00 PM
Point taken. Enjoy your literal discussion!
Before I bow out gracefully, I did want to note that I personally have found the medieval writers practical. You raise some good questions when you ask why God doesn't prevent people from going to Hell (at least in the more traditional viewpoint), why He "set us up for eternal destruction". It's troubling question.
I brought up the medieval perspective as one possible answer to this question, because to medieval believers, God doesn't send people to Hell; they send themselves, whether they go through hell on this earth or after death. I think this answer has the benefit of making God less of a monster for "setting people up for eternal destruction" and giving his own special creatures the power of choice.
But that's really all I've got, because I'm much more of a literature person than a theology person. I'll leave the question to people on the forums who've read more theology than I. Good luck on finding answers to your questions!
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - exOBCstudent - 04-09-2012 02:15 PM
(04-09-2012 02:00 PM)Lady Julian Wrote: Point taken. Enjoy your literal discussion!I wasn't trying to get you to "take a hike". Sorry if that's how I came across. I just meant that you were adressing the subject from a different viewpoint than what I was looking to discuss that's all.
You don't have to go anywhere.
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012 02:15 PM
(04-09-2012 01:11 PM)exOBCstudent Wrote: That's an interesting view point but still not quite answering the questions and theories I get the more I question this doctrine on Hell.
The resurrection in the end times is for believers and unbelievers. We will have bodies, kind of like Jesus post-resurrection body. That is how fire factors in.
I agree that many of the Fundy ideas are far fetched, but saying that hell was added when translations were made is not the answer. The Greek texts have hell, hades, tartarus, lake of fire. And the thought that there is no escape once you die is pretty well backed up by the Bible. It is appointed to man once to die, and after that the judgment.
There are a few well-known evangelicals who have started with a belief in hell and then moved to a belief in universalism or anihhilationism. Clark Pinnock is the best known. He ended up believing that everyone eventually goes to heaven.
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - exOBCstudent - 04-09-2012 02:23 PM
(04-09-2012 02:15 PM)Bob M Wrote: The resurrection in the end times is for believers and unbelievers. We will have bodies, kind of like Jesus post-resurrection body. That is how fire factors in.I think perhaps some of these folks you mentioned are the source of many of the arguments I've heard recently about the doctrine of eternal punishment.
I understand the final judgement and believers/unbelievers. One thing I wonder though is whether or not Hell is eternal and a point of no return. It seems to make about as much sense to me as handing a 4 year old a live hand grenade and letting them play with it however they please.
It just doesn't seem like Christ in all the love He has for His creation to allow us to "play" with something as seemingly terrible as eternal torture. As an uber fundy and former IFB kawlege student I know the verses that are out there...just wondering if there is MORE than just the things I've learned about it all.
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012 02:42 PM
(04-09-2012 02:23 PM)exOBCstudent Wrote:(04-09-2012 02:15 PM)Bob M Wrote: The resurrection in the end times is for believers and unbelievers. We will have bodies, kind of like Jesus post-resurrection body. That is how fire factors in.I think perhaps some of these folks you mentioned are the source of many of the arguments I've heard recently about the doctrine of eternal punishment.
The eternality of punishment is proven when Jesus uses the same word to describe eternal live as eternal punishment in
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - exOBCstudent - 04-09-2012 02:49 PM
I've heard that there is no greek word for "eternal" just "time and times". Do you know anything about that argument?
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012 02:53 PM
(04-09-2012 02:49 PM)exOBCstudent Wrote: I've heard that there is no greek word for "eternal" just "time and times". Do you know anything about that argument?
the word is αιωνιον
It is an adjective made from the word for ages. And it is in that form that it means eternal in other contexts. And the point is not what does the word mean, but that the same exact term describes life as destruction. So, if life is forever (i.e. to the ages), then destruction is as well.