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What is loveable about such a God?

Discussion in 'Other Discussions' started by Matt Janes, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    You are throwing three asserts out here that are not necessarily true.

    (1) You posit the belief that God punishes persons for "simply not believing in him." While you may find many Christians who profess that, if you pay attention to scripture, people are punished for committing evil and refusing the mercy of God.

    (2) You posit the belief that God is "invisible" and "hides [H]imself." God makes Himself known to anyone who truly wants to know Him. Spend some time in the scriptures and you will see this. On occasion, He makes Himself known to persons who DON'T want to know Him as well, and it is agony for them. It is by God's grace that He is not eternally present for those who are unprepared to encounter Him. The veiling of His presence to those who reject Him is a temporary grace.

    (3) You posit that those who reject God experience "eternal agony" and burn "in hell forever." While that position is quite popular in this era, it is not uniformly believed among Christians. Again, take some time working through the scripture and pay strict attention to what is said about who receives eternal life (only believers), the parables of Jesus regarding the fate of the wicked (they are destroyed, slain, burned up like chaff, etc.), and the way the Lake of Fire is described as "the second death." Those who reject God and do evil are destroyed at the end of the age. The suffering of Hell may be short or long depending upon the needs of God's justice, but it will end. God will destroy evil, not maintain it eternally in the Lake of Fire.

    Your assertions sound like the opening salvos of an atheist who wants to upset the faith of naive and uninformed Christians. I have heard this stuff for years from many different people. The power of the arguments comes from the ignorance of the Christian who hears it, not any fault in the biblical revelation.

    Perhaps you are the one who has heard them from someone else and are seeking help to resolve these things in your own mind. As a practical matter, I encourage you not to widely air these concerns with others because you will face a backlash from Christians who are weak in their faith and will attack you out of fear. Find one or two wise and experienced Christians and work through these things with them. Spend most of your time reading scripture (the whole thing, not just pieces) to get the big picture view before you settle on an answer to these questions.
     
  2. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    That's a strange thing for a person who has read the whole Bible to say. I hear it said a lot by people who actually don't seem to have any memory of huge swaths of scripture upon further questioning, only a couple of proof-texts that are not hard to reconcile when you understand the big picture.

    How long did it take you to read the whole Bible? What translation(s) did you read from?
     
  3. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    Not as divided as you assert.
     
  4. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    No, he has probably met serious Christians who believe that. There are also some cultists who believe that, but that is not what makes their beliefs unChristian.

    Since Augustine, the most popular view of the Lake of Fire has been eternal conscious torment. However, the view of Conditional Mortality has waxed and waned through the years - always present - because the biblical evidence seems to STRONGLY support that view.
     
  5. Matt Janes

    Matt Janes Member

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    I read the douay Rheims version. Can't remember how long it took me. It took a while though
     
  6. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer Well-Known Member
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    That's probably a major part of your confusion. Like the King James, the Douay-Rheims translation translates a number of different words with different meanings as "hell". Therefore, the word "hell" can mean any number of things, from a morally neutral Hebrew concept of the grave of a person or humankind ("sheol"), to a figurative use of an actually place where shameful acts occured ("Gehenna"), to the morally neutral Greek concept of the afterlife ("Hades"). And all of those places are different from the "Lake of Fire" (modern English translations) or the "pool of fire and brimstone" in the Douay-Rheims translation.

    I suggest you find a text in modern English like that New American Standard, Holman Christian, or New Revised Standard translation that will do more to help you understand the text. Depending upon your reading speed, spending a few hours every evening read through the Bible will take you a couple of months. When I was trying to figure things out, I read through the Bible cover-to-cover in about two months, reading about four hours a night. After I finished, I had a decent sense of the overall layout of the scriptures and a sense of the main themes. Then I went back and read it carefully, cross-referencing things I had read previously to compare different passages. That took about six months. At that point, I was ready to start asking basic questions about faith, the content of scripture, how one comes to be right with God, the fate of those who never hear and those who reject God, and so on.

    If you want to have a conversation about these matters, I am happy to be of assistance, but God calls each one of us to be a student and find out for ourselves what is true. Most of the deepest lessons of my faith I did not get by asked others for opinions, but by spending time with God in the pages of scripture.
     
  7. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    This goes without saying!... Brother Glen:)

    1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
     
  8. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It is wonderful that you have devoted such time to studying God's Word. Unfortunately so many in our churches today do not, but instead believe whatever they choose (what suits their liking). I've also, along with many others on this board and elsewhere, have read and studied the Bible in its entirety several times. I believe that you may want to search out context when it comes to passages that appear to be saying the opposite of what other verses say. I know they are out there - one example is Paul's admonishment against a works based salvation and Jame's emphasis on works. But when you study the context you will find that these passages are complementary - not stating opposites.

    I wish that those like George MacDonald were correct and Scripture taught universal salvation - that in the end all will be saved. I know many far better than I who will face condemnation and judgment. But where the doctrines of eternal torment and annihilation can be derived via interpretation of Scripture, I believe that universal salvation cannot. The argument for such a salvation is akin to Denny Weaver's argument for a non-violent atonement (Weaver acknowledges that some passages speak of the necessity of a blood atonement but chooses to focus on the numerous passages that do not). In the end there is a finality of judgment expressed by the destruction (I believe an eternal and ongoing destruction - an eternal state of being, but understand why others prefer the interpretation of annihilation) of both body and soul.

    Anyway, good luck in your studies. I encourage you to look again at this topic, and look forward to your contributions on this forum.
     
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  9. john1

    john1 New Member

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    You have been heavily brainwashed into liberalism.

    God is a good and holy God. Where evil is, God cannot tolerate. If God could tolerate evil in His presence, He could not be perfect.

    God gave us a chance on Earth even though we don't deserve it. But if we live a life of sinfulness and reject God, then God has no choice. God did not choose people to go to Hell, God gave everyone the freedom to make their own choices. People who choose evil by rejecting God and righteous behavior, choose Hell on their own accord.

    God is not wrong to cast those sinful evil people into Hell.
     
  10. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    When it comes right down to it, God and the way He works is a mystery that will only be solved when we leave this world and enter His dimension. The only thing we who have faith really know is that a sacrifice was required for all mankind which gives us hope for the next world.
     
  11. Adonia

    Adonia Well-Known Member
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    God = good. Devil = evil.
     
  12. john1

    john1 New Member

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    Incorrect.

    God = good.
    Anything contrary to God (devil or anything else) = evil.
     
  13. Katarina Von Bora

    Katarina Von Bora Active Member

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    It sounds like you are looking for a designer God. One you make up! Is that correct?

     
    #53 Katarina Von Bora, Jan 24, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  14. Matt Janes

    Matt Janes Member

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    I'm saying God can do anything. It is possible for a person to repent after death and Resurrection before Judgement.
     
  15. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
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    Do you think there is literally eternal life for those who believe in Christ?
     
  16. thatbrian

    thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions," (2 Tim. 4:3)
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    It's not about what God can and cannot do but about how God has revealed himself to mankind. When Christians point to the finality of this life in determining the fate of men, they are not presenting (or should not present) God as bound or limited. Scripture (to include salvation) is descriptive of God as He relates to man rather than prescriptive of how He must act. The result, however, is identical - God is faithful to His Word. It is impossible for a man who dies apart from Christ to be saved in the afterlife.
     
  18. Matt Janes

    Matt Janes Member

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    So I suppose the soul of Anne Frank and all of the Jews who were tortured mercilessly in concentration camps, were just tortured that much worse after death... Is this really the picture we want to paint of God and drive other people further away?
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yes, you are correct. Salvation is not based on suffering in this lifetime. We can't change the gospel in order to gather people as such a change would render useless the gathering (people would be gathered into something other than Christian).

    Why do you believe that the suffering of people in this life demands God provide another gospel in the next should they deny Christ?

    ** edit - as a side note - I'm not saying we preach to the lost that people like Gandhi, or even Hitler, are doomed to hell. I'm saying we preach the gospel of Christ to the lost. If they are held back about concerns regarding loved ones after death then they are simply held back. Our only message to the lost is the gospel. Deception could bring more into the doors, but it is wrong and useless.
     
  20. Matt Janes

    Matt Janes Member

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    I'm not saying God should provide another gospel. I'm saying there's a possibility, that transformation of Soul can take place after death. I'm saying that Anne Frank may have realized that Jesus was her Lord and Saviour after her death, and accepted Christ as her defense attorney before resurrection and judgement.

    The Bible does not eliminate this possibility
     
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