Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A thought....

...brought about by some interesting friends:

Where will the Jews that Hitler tortured and killed be for "eternity?"
They are not believers.
They do not proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.

When it's suggested that there may not be an "eternal torment" people will ask, "Then where will Hitler end up?"

Seems to me, he might be in heaven for eradicating non-believers; and all of those Jews that suffered and died must surely reside in hell "forever and ever" because of their sin of non-belief.

And, lastly, where is "hell" in the Old Testament?


Don R said...

Great post..Where did you get such things!
Don't know if you heard M.Zender and Dan Sheridan were kicked off the air after the station received 2, TWO, DOS, phone calls complaining they were not toeing the line theologically. Who says the almighty dollar doesn't talk. It doesn't talk, it yells. Let me think a little more about your post. Maybe I'll have a reply. what do you think of Steve Jones' posts on my blog. You can email a response. I just want to know what people think....

karen said...

That makes me incredibly angry. There are all kinds of doctrine twisters out there...Joel Osteen is one of them with his "what can God do for my life and money situation" sermons. People eat that self-centered stuff up...instead, the question is: "What can I do for God?" These are the guys that control what people get to be spoon-fed with in America.
Love Steve's posts. Very enlightening. I love to think instead of having someone think for me.

Don R said...

My first response to the idea that Jews murdered by Hitler STILL must be tortured "forever" because they were "unbelievers. As a history teacher, I remember watching a program on the Holocaust which interviewed survivors of the death camps. One gentleman in particular said, "I don't have to worry about Hell, I've already been there." That is a statement which I support. I feel that we, ourselves, as well as our fellow humans, can make this life "hell on earth". I know people personally who have been through an inordinate amount of trouble (hell) here on earth. I personally believe here is where we suffer; ALL of us suffer here. I don't claim to know what happens after this life, but if God is the loving God we read about in the NT, then I can't see that love asking for more "hell" for us.

karen said...

I agree....of course I don't believe that "hell" is where they'll be.

Don R said...

Your second question:Where will Hitler end up?
Our understanding is usually limited to this bodily form we inhabit at this time. I feel our spirits came from God and will return to Him in the same condition as they came. How will that be possible? I have no idea! I leave it to Him. I believe our spirits are nothing like these bodies, therefore, Hitler's spirit, my spirit, your spirit are essentially the same (in God's image). We must remember that Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Jeffrey Daumer, were all some mother's sweet little boy. When we can get to the point of truly seeing that (and I'm sure not there yet), then the idea of our spirit being in God's image will begin to change our hearts and minds about each and every person who lives and has lived on this earth.

Don R said...

Your third question: Where is Hell in the OT?

It ain't there.......

Kansas Bob said...

Maybe the real question goes something like this:

In the long haul what difference does it make whether I love or hate?

codepoke said...

Hey Karen,

I keep checking in on this conversation. And you're still working it. :-)

I'm not sure which of your questions are possibly somewhat tongue in cheek. Surely rewarding Hitler for killing is intended as some degree of hyperbole.

But the question behind your questions seems consistent. How can God punish those who have suffered already? That the rich might be tormented forever seems equitable. That the other 99% of humanity (especially outside the bizarrely affluent West) might be tormented forever for spending their few short decades in utter misery seems inexcusable. These are not people who defiantly stood against God in their pride.

Maybe I'll not convince you that I feel sufficiently for the plight of those who suffer for nothing. Still, sin is like that. It destroys the lives of children before they are born, and still pays death in the end.

Even the imbalance of horror on this sinful planet, though, cannot make God's justice unjust. Christ says that the punishment of cities who never heard the truth will be less severe than that of those who did. You know I favor the thought the guilty will suffer only for a time, and then be gone. I suspect those killed by Hitler will be allowed to see him go to judgement. But all those who die without spiritual rebirth will go to judgement.

karen said...

KB, what difference? All the difference! :-)

Those Jews, of which Jesus was one, were parents, spouses, children; and for many, their only "sin" was disbelief, according to orthodox teaching. If Christ died for all of our sins, would that one not be covered? Or is it not finished? It's only finished if we believe?

Basically, you're saying that Hitler was kinder than God. Is that possible? Of course my comments were tongue-in-cheek;
Why could Hitler possibly be kinder than GOD? Because at least Hitler put a stop to their suffering by killing them. God would torment them for eternity? I think God is bigger than that.
I'm re-reading the NT under a spirit of prayer. I hope I'll know more because I'm praying for Him to reveal Himself through my fresh eyes.
The word "eon" is the key, I think. God is a God of the eons, and He is the administrator of things happening in an order. 1 Corithians 15, I think it is, lays out the plan with the final being God as All in All. All go to the Lord in an order. There IS judgment. There is a place of Hades, or being away from Jesus in the time He reigns on earth when He returns. However, if there is a place of eternal torment, then God has not vanquished evil.
No one but Don has answered my question: Where is "hell" in the Old Testament?

Missy said...

Karen, as I've said, I've never figured hell for a physical place - not even sure I know enough to stand behind that - to be honest, I've never really searched it out in scripture. I'll look for it; please be patient while I read the OT... {c;

If you don't mind, I may just listen - sounds like I may get some good stuff here.

karen said...

Mind?? I love it, and I love your comments and thoughts, always.

I'm just sayin' here:

I DON'T KNOW. None of us really do, do we? We have to look at the Greek, and most of us are unable to do so with a keen eye. We're reading what men have put together, yes, with HS inspiration--However, I know enough to know that they made big boo-boos on some things. Words are added to scripture. The history of the Bible is political as well...and chaotic in some ways...the TRUTH is in the originals--which we don't have. We only have copies.

I am not struggling with my Abba Father. He and I go way back. I'm struggling with the concepts that I've laid out here. He is God. He is love, and He sent His only Son to pay the price for the sins of all humans.

I'm just struggling with why it's a big deal that some believe in the eventual reconciliation of all of His children. . .and why it's so popular to believe (yes, and HOPE) that bad folks are going to get theirs for eternity.

And, there is no "hell" in the OT.

Don R said...

Karen- I am not sure I understood CP, but it seems he thinks unbelievers will suffer some sort of punishment and then be annihilated! I just don't see that in a God who is described as LOVE. Hope I didn't misread what he said; then again, I hope I did and he really doesn't believe in annihilation.

karen said...

Well on re-reading, Don, it sounds like that's what he meant.

Kansas Bob said...

When I asked:

"In the long haul what difference does it make whether I love or hate?"

Karen repsonded:

"Those Jews, of which Jesus was one, were parents, spouses, children; and for many, their only "sin" was disbelief, according to orthodox teaching. If Christ died for all of our sins, would that one not be covered? Or is it not finished? It's only finished if we believe?"

Guess I don't get the connection between my question and the answer. So, here is another way to ask the question:

If we all end up in 'heaven' then why not just act however we want to act ... all morality is relative ... all opinions are equally right ... all attempts at being a 'good' person are just an expression of humanism ... evil is really an illusion because there is no evil to be dealt with because it has all been dealt with on the cross. Hitler is okay - we are all okay ... I'm okay, you're okay?

Second question:

Is Satan included in heaven? If not why not? Doesn't the same arguments hold for him as for human beings?

bruced said...

If Hitler is in hell, then I will be too. I am also a murderer. A murder among many murderers, I am the worst of murderers...


Don R said...

The continual response to the propostion that all will eventually be with God is always, "if everyone is going to be in heaven, then why not act however we want. Are you saying the only reason you don’t cheat on your spouse, abuse your children, or steal from your neighbors is because you’re afraid of going to hell? I don't think so. I certainly hope that's not it. We have a conscience. Maybe that's part of it. It seems that the person usually asking that question claims Christianity. My answer is always the same, Grace merely allows us to live a life of sin, but IT DOES NOT MAKE SIN BENEFICIAL!

Why would you want to act contrary to what you know, from Jesus' teaching, is morally appropriate? Most philosophies have a basic set of moral principles that are very similar. I feel this demonstrates that there is a spiritual spark in all of us which shows up in humanity's attempt to recognize as deal with the spiritual side of existence. This is not to say that spark sometimes appears to be absent from some people.
"Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is constructive." (I Corinthians 10:23)

karen said...

I understand what you're saying, KB. My point about the Jews was that those were good people and they'll end up in a "hell" according to orthodox teaching. That doesn't seem right to me. I'm thinking the basis of evil is satan, by name, for example. We're all tempted, and most of us take the bait from time to time. But there are good people among those that don't believe in a heaven, hell, or a God. Then there are people of God who believe in a hell and punishment, but they do horrendous things. Most of us have a sense of right and wrong...and for most of us, our worst behavior manifests itself in selfishness...not in torturing or murdering people.

Second question:
Is Satan included in heaven? If not why not? Doesn't the same arguments hold for him as for human beings?

Great question, KB...and one that stretches me a whole bunch. But, I don't know why satan is who he/it/is. I do indeed believe in the manifestation of evil...I've seen it. Where did satan come from? Did God make him? Yes, because He is the Creator of everything, and satan has been called a fallen angel. There must be some free will even in heaven. :-) Anyway, yes, I think that if Christ came to die for the sins of mankind, and that He is the conqueror of all evil, and of death, then eventually...and I think, eventually, there is victory over all that is evil. That song, Refiner's Fire, went through my head today. He will refine everything including those that are evil to Him when He is the All in All as in the 1 Cor. verse I mentioned. I'm not saying there is no judgment or punishment for a time for those deserving. Each in their time...Christ the firstfruit, the believers, with Him on earth, then the cleanup.
Thanks for these questions that I really don't have any answers for! ;-)

karen said...

also...I think some (for one, some universalists) might believe that there is NO punishment...everyone just gets swept up with God.
I can't wrap myself around that because scripture doesn't say so--it seems more like there are ages that transpire, dues to be paid, before the great culmination. I know we're to worship God, not the Bible, though.

I really appreciate your thoughtfulness about this, and questions and answers,
and I appreciate kindness shown by everyone to everyone.

Kansas Bob said...

Karen, not sure that I understand your answer: are you saying that Satan will also be in heaven?

Kansas Bob said...

I agree with your comment Don. So, why do you think we are each given a conscience when we bear no lasting reponsibility with how we respond to it? Are you saying that our conscience is just to help us live better today and that ultimately we are not accountable to God in any way with how we respond to our conscience? Does man bear no accountability to God?

karen said...

I don't know KB. . .God's big enough to bring everything to good, or He'll crush him like a gnat. Hey! Why doesn't He do that now?

I'm going to comment on your comment to Don....We, as Christians, hold ourselves accountable to God...except for some who sin horribly...and like I said, there are good and kind atheists. They just don't know they have that God thing within them.

codepoke said...

Ah. We come to a real point of disagreement.

> there are good and kind atheists. They just don't know they have that God thing within them.

I'm headed out the door for a 6 hour car ride to my first-ever tennis camp, but this is something we know. They do not have that God thing within them and remain atheist. John 3 means nothing if everyone is "alive" toward God. There is a point at which we are only alive physically. Then there is a point at which some are changed - they are born again.

Until that point, an atheist has the image of God within him, but not the life of God. After that point, the first resurrection, our former atheist has both the image and life of God within himself. He has become a new creature.


> Where is hell in the old testament?

Where is heaven in the old testament?

Jewish beliefs about the after-life were changed drastically in the message of Christ and rest of the new testament. If this is truly important to you, I can try to glean some answers from "The Resurrection of the Son of God" by NT Wright, where there is a very thorough analysis of the increasing revelation of the afterlife through Jewish history.

The quick answer, though, is that it's there in the same way the story of the Messiah is there. It's a seed of knowledge that only makes complete sense in the hindsight of Christ's life, words and the new testament revelation.

Missy said...

Karen, I'm reading all this with love, admiration and a great desire to learn. What fun!

I don't really have any answers, but it did strike me, that referring to anyone as "good," simply implies they are not as "bad" of a sinner as someone else. I have become convicted in my studies that sin is sin is sin. Putting it in a comparitive order just makes me feel better about my sin.

(BTW - my verification word is PSYKE. Very Freudian, eh?)

(oops, now its SOFCA - close enough to sofa - hehe!)

karen said...

Have fun at your camp, CP! I MISS playing tennis very much.
OK....disagree on the God thing. God made everyone, so, yes...they have a God thing in them, even if they don't know it.
Heaven in the OT? Um...Elijah?

Missy....yeah, I think we can call people "good." We're all sinners, yes, but God's not beating us over the head, is He? Do you think that a person who tends to people, gives time and love to others could be called good? I do. There is a far difference in them than those who hurt people, murder, etc.
And, no, BruceD is not a murderer. ;-)

Missy said...

Karen, I understand what you meant, and there is certainly a difference. But this is the issue that gives me pause on embracing a universalist viewpoint. I agree that some (most, actually) have a good character to push through and do what is right - but Jesus says it is just as sinful to think it as it is to do it (Matt. 5:28). I don't think God is beating us over the head with it; this is a big reason why I don't believe in hell. I don't think God desires to punish us, just help those who desire rescue from the wages they have earned. I believe in intelligent design, that God created an existence with consequences - not just physical, but spiritual. Consequences naturally place things back in order without force - it offers choice without chaos. The consequence of making the wrong choices is death, sometimes physically and sometimes spiritually, it's the way God made it.

Now, that being said, I think it's logical that some choices lead to death more quickly than others. You can't have more or less death, but you can certainly have quicker or slower death.

Am I making any sense?

codepoke said...

On the God-thing:
Ro 8:10 & 11
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

It is only the Spirit of God that is able to make us alive. Before that, we are dead. Even after being made alive, our bodies are half-dead, but before our John 3 experience - being born again - we are in no wise alive.

The first 8 chapters of Romans deal with this whole concept in depth. Romans 1 declares that God experiences and will execute wrath. Romans 2 says that having or not having opportunity to know the law changes nothing. God will reward those who do good with life, and those who do ill with death. Romans 3 says all will be rewarded with death, because there is not one who has done good. Romans 4 says the only one who could solve this problem is God Himself, and that faith in His solution was meant for our deliverance. Romans 5 says that deliverance is in Christ, and that it was worked fully out even before we knew about Him.

Then we get to Romans 6. Building on all this groundwork, Paul begins to apply all this eternal theory to our temporal lives. The thing to notice about Rom 6 is how many times Paul points out that we were dead. More than half his sentences make reference to our greatly underreported deaths. In fact, Paul bases his whole argument of our salvation upon fact of our death. We are dead in sin, and we must die to be freed from sin.

Romans 7 explains the law's relationship to death, and our relationship to the law, then Romans 8 talks (finally) about life. And that brings us back to the verses I quoted above.

Adam's sin reduced the original image of God to an empty husk. Now only the Spirit can make us alive, and only when we accept death and are born again. What is in us now of the image of God stinks like any other corpse, and needs to be made alive.

karen said...

I'm not ignoring your comments, Missy and CP....I have some thoughts on your wonderful thoughts.
I just have to go and sweat in a warehouse AGAIN on a project.
I've been praying on this subject solidly for 2 days.

Joe said...

Gutsy post!

Christians are expected to believe that their loving God actually willed these autrocities. Because we can not explain how a loving God could do such a thing, we say His ways are beyond our understanding. Maybe it is our expectations of God that are not correct.

Perhaps man is simply adrift in this world with only his will, the acts of other men and Nature effecting him and God who created it all has not intervened to save or destroy since His creation was complete. It would be far easier to explain why millions of innocents die. Man did it.