|Posted on November 15, 2019 at 8:15 AM|
There simply can be no eternal conscious torment, and certainly nobody who would choose it!! Do you agree?
While the book is not primarily on heaven and hell, I did discuss them. We always must be careful to avoid too strong of a position on heaven and hell for two reasons. One, while the Bible does speak of heaven and hell, we must admit that we don't have a lot of details. I am sure most Christians would like to know more. Two, because relatively little is said, opinions therefore vary considerably among Christians. I take three positions about hell. First, hell is either a synonym for being in the not God state or else closely tied to that. Anyone who is said to be in hell is one separated from God. Second, hell is not a physical place and does not have associated attributes like literal fire or gates. However, the state of hell is very unpleasant and bad indeed because it is the state of being away from God and all of his wonderful qualities. Third, all of us have the choice to select God or not God so therefore have the choice to select heaven or hell.
The criticism noted at the beginning says there cannot be an eternal conscious torment. The Bible does not actually use the phrase "eternal conscious torment" nor do I in the book. I will say that although hell may not be a physical torment of a lake of fire it could be described as torment. The Bible uses the term torment. What better way to describe what it is like to be out of the presence of God? So I would have to say there is a torment. Fire, darkness, gnashing of teeth all suggest torment. I am not sure what the critic means by conscious torment. It seems to me that would be the only kind. Wouldn't unconscious torment be no torment at all? Now, is there eternal torment? Without going into verses that might deal with that, I would say that the torment of separation from God will last as long as there are people separated from God. Does there come a time when all people will be saved regardless of their choice? I know some Christians do advocate a Universal Salvation. I did not argue for or against that in the book, but I am not yet convinced that God will override our choice to not be with him.
That brings us to the other point asserted: that nobody would choose this eternal conscious torment. It does baffle Christians as to why anyone might choose hell over heaven. But in the same way we are baffled as to why there is a choice of God over not God. The choice is the same. So to certify that nobody would choose torment is to say nobody would choose to be separated from God. However, the Bible seems clear to me that people, and a fair amount of them, do choose to not be with God. To deny that is to take the position that either God does not allow us a choice at all or that at some point God will override our negative choice. The alternative view is that while we may have choice and make bad choices on earth, but when we come face to face with God every single person will change their mind and choose God. I have to say that any of these positions are hard to support biblically. For example, the parable of Lazarus seems to indicate that God provides everything we need to make sensible choices while we are on earth. Christians who say that any choice of opposing God here on earth will be reversed at judgment are basically saying that God does not give us adequate tools on earth to make the right choice. It is baffling that people prefer the state of sin and hell over the state of God and love. But it does happen, does it not?
Categories: Erased: God's Complete Forgiveness of Sins
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