A Fundamentalist View of Hell
04-09-2012, 11:00 AM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell
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.
All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
|Messages In This Thread|
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Lady Julian - 04-09-2012 11:00 AM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:15 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:42 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 02:53 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 03:16 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-09-2012, 05:36 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-16-2012, 02:17 PM
RE: A Fundamentalist View of Hell - Bob M - 04-17-2012, 04:36 PM
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