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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 7:29 pm 
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I think your allegory of the mice was brilliantly put, IJ, and it's one of the main reasons I am an atheist. If God truly loves each and every human being, I don't think there is any way he would just sit back and do nothing if billions of them were being eternally tortured. He would have the power to destroy hell and take everyone out of it, and it certainly seems like something he would want to do.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:04 pm 
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I don't think there is any way he would just sit back and do nothing if billions of them were being eternally tortured.

But that's just it. He DIDN'T just sit around and do nothing. He emptied himself and became a man. Then he became obedient to death, even death on a cross. He saved humanity. Unfortunately, humanity often does not want to be saved, and so we're right back where we started.

The ontological significance of the incarnation and atonement are so astounding as to be almost incomprehensible, even by theologians like myself. Instead of destroying weakness and suffering, he took weakness and suffering upon himself. You might say that his greatest triumph over hell was when he suffered the torments of hell himself. The incarnation and the atonement transcend human rationality, and that is precisely why that whole Problem of Pain argument doesn't bother me. I personally think that the incarnation and atonement are just two of those unknown variables in the argument that make it so difficult.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 11:50 pm 
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Didymus wrote:
He saved humanity.


But he created the very conditions from which they needed to be saved. (And Jweb, I love the name "Allegory of the Mice". I'll keep it.)

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God created perfect conditions for humanity, and humanity screwed them up. You can't blame God for that. We've already been through this before, so there's no need for me to elaborate. As for why he created such a world, knowing that humanity would fall, that's another one of those unknown variables to factor into the equation. I do not know the answer to that, but I do know that HE had already factored in the incarnation and the atonement from the beginning.

Look, while the Problem of Evil might present an interesting test of logic, you've got to realize that a lot of this (particularly the incarnation and the atonement) transcend our limited reasoning abilities. But they are there none the less.

It seems to me that you still want all the unknown variables solved, and I'll be the first to tell you that it's not going to happen unless you factor in the incarnation and the atonement, but that requires faith on your part. You have already said you are not ready to take that step yet, so it might be that we are simply belaboring a point that we've already beaten to death. And even with faith, there are still unknown variables that even we theologians do not have answers for.

And as I've said hundreds of times on this thread, these unknown variables make the Problem of Evil an unsolvable equation, regardless of which side you take.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:57 am 
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Didymus wrote:
God created perfect conditions for humanity, and humanity screwed them up. You can't blame God for that.


And god created each and every person with the express prior knowledge what choices that person would make in his or her life. There's nobody to blame but god, because he made us the way we are and gave us the opportunities and the motives, and sin itself. Like you said, we've been over this already.

It's not like offering us salvation makes up for him creating evil and condeming most of us to hell in the first place. Or maybe if he's lucky he'll break even on that one. :-D

Didymus wrote:
And as I've said hundreds of times on this thread, these unknown variables make the Problem of Evil an unsolvable equation, regardless of which side you take.


Putting a label on it and calling it unsolvable does not make it irrelevant. One might contend that the idea that it's unsolvable makes it even more relevant.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:05 am 
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There's nobody to blame but god, because he made us the way we are and gave us the opportunities and the motives, and sin itself.

No he didn't. He might have created us with the POTENTIAL but not the motive or the inclination. Therefore you cannot blame him for the problem.

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Putting a label on it and calling it unsolvable does not make it irrelevant. One might contend that the idea that it's unsolvable makes it even more relevant.

I couldn't agree with you more. I am a chaplain. Part of my job is dealing with pain on a daily basis and helping people to see God through, or even in, the pain itself. This is all the more reason why I believe the passion is so important--God suffering with humanity.

I would say, then, to keep trying to solve it. The answer will never come easily, though.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:16 am 
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Didymus wrote:
No he didn't. He might have created us with the POTENTIAL but not the motive or the inclination. Therefore you cannot blame him for the problem.


What are you talking about? He created every single thing about us, including desire, anger, fear, hate, ad nauseum, with the specific, prior knowledge of how every single one of us would use it. He made Bob knowing every evil choice Bob would make, and he created the circumstances that led Bob to those choices, and he chose not to stop Bob from making those choices. It was god's will that Bob make those choices, or if you prefer, it was part of his Plan that Bob do so.

Didymus wrote:
I would say, then, to keep trying to solve it.


Well, there is one extemely obvious solution, which is what makes the Problem of Evil so popular with atheists (and other non-Christians).

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:25 am 
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What are you talking about? He created every single thing about us, including desire, anger, fear, hate, ad nauseum, with the specific, prior knowledge of how every single one of us would use it. He made Bob knowing every evil choice Bob would make, and he created the circumstances that led Bob to those choices, and he chose not to stop Bob from making those choices. It was god's will that Bob make those choices, or if you prefer, it was part of his Plan that Bob do so.

I reiterate my previous statement. He might have created us (more specifically, our ancestors) with the POTENTIAL but not the motive or the inclination. Therefore you cannot blame him for the problem. I will not concede this point to you.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:38 am 
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Didymus wrote:
I reiterate my previous statement. He might have created us with the POTENTIAL but not the motive or the inclination.


If you say it a lot, it must be true.

Anyway, I don't antipating convincing you. I think I've already stated that I'm not trying to convince anybody of anything (I certainly don't have any beliefs firm enough to convince anybody of). But if anybody else can gain from asking themselves these questions, I hope they read this.

So think of it this way:

God is about to create a person. Since he knows all, he sees that once created, this person will make a lot of awful choices in his life, live a life of sin, spread evil to those around him, and then suffer for all eternity in hell. God has a choice. He can either create this person (knowing all that the person will do), or not. God, in his infinite wisdom, decides to go ahead and create the person anyway. And, just like god knew would happen, the person sins left and right, spreads evil, and suffers for all eternity in hell. Repeat a few billion times, and you've got our version of the world. I know you won't answer this, but I'm compelled to ask anyway. Why did god bother? He knew before he created this person that he would gain nothing and lose a lot in doing so, as would the person. He knew that the person would not love him or worship him, and that the person would not join him in Heaven, and that the person would turn others away from god. And the person got an eternity in hell. Knowing all of this would happen (because god knows all), why did god create this person anyway? If god had the sense not to create people like this (and he should, knowing the outcome of each of their lives in their entireties and being infinitely wise, right?), then the world would be a wholly better place, and a lot fewer people (none, maybe?) would wind up suffering for all eternity in hell.

Why is the eternal suffering of billions upon billions of people part of god's plan, when it doesn't have to be (no, it doesn't have to be: god doesn't have to do anything, he choses to)?

P.S. If you don't have anything new to add to the discussion, you're not obligated to reply, and I encourage you to keep that in mind (meaning that Rule 3 counts here, too). I guess I should have mentioned that a page or two back, before I started making repetetive posts in reply to others' repetetive posts.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:56 am 
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I will point one thing out and then I think I will drop this discussion. God did not create people as lone individuals with no connection to others. He created humanity. In this humanity, there are some who will fall and suffer eternally, and there are some who will fall and receive the grace of redemption. It is not for the former alone that he created humanity, but for the latter as well. To say he created Bob for the direct purpose of condemning him to hell excludes everyone else involved. It makes no sense to say that God created Bob for the sole purpose of condemning Bob to hell, because it simply is not true.

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If you say it a lot, it must be true.

We have both been repeating ourselves in this discussion. I will read that article, though.

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Didymus wrote:
It makes no sense to say that God created Bob for the sole purpose of condemning Bob to hell, because it simply is not true.


I didn't say that. I just said that he created Bob with the knowledge that he would ultimately be condemned to hell. We know that Bob is part of god's plan in other ways (or we assume, at least), but it still doesn't explain why sin and hell and condemning anybody to hell are necessary.

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We have both been repeating ourselves in this discussion. I will read that article, though.


The article is actually a Jon Stewart transcript and has nothing to do with this discussion apart from the punchline. But it's still funny.

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InterruptorJones wrote:
Didymus wrote:
It makes no sense to say that God created Bob for the sole purpose of condemning Bob to hell, because it simply is not true.


I didn't say that. I just said that he created Bob with the knowledge that he would ultimately be condemned to hell. We know that Bob is part of god's plan in other ways (or we assume, at least), but it still doesn't explain why sin and hell and condemning anybody to hell are necessary.

Perhaps, he created Bob with that knowledge, but logical Christian Theories would tell you that God created Bob, to be his follower, and to follow God's Plan and Way, but Bob strayed away from God and did not let God lead him, a crucial mistake.

I believe God creates everyone with hope that they follow him, but knowing that they may utimately not, and go to hell.

God doesn't create people to send them to hell or heaven. He creates the to serve.


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fahooglewitz1077 wrote:
I believe God creates everyone with hope that they follow him, but knowing that they may utimately not, and go to hell.


But god already knows before he creates each person what path they'll choose. Hopes aren't useful to god because god already knows whether or not they'll come true.

Didymus wrote:
He might have created us (more specifically, our ancestors) with the POTENTIAL


I want to talk about this a little. My Allegory of the Mice addressed this already -- I didn't kill any mice, but I created the POTENTIAL for mice to suffer horribly. But I came up with another analogy in case the mice still aren't going to be acknowledged.

Say I go to a busy part of town with a gun, and I fire a bullet, that I know to be potentially lethal, straight up into the open air. I don't want to hurt anybody, but I know that that bullet will come back down and might strike someone dead. And, bummer that, the bullet comes back down and kills someone. Now, I didn't kill anybody. I didn't even point the gun at anybody. I only created the potential for someone to get hurt. Now imagine yourself on that jury. Would you convict me of second-degree murder? I should hope so.

Just because all I did was create the potential for someone to get hurt doesn't mean I'm absolved of all guilt.

But I've got it easy. If it were god, he'd look a lot worse up on the stand. Because I didn't know if the bullet would kill anybody. But god knows all -- he would have know before firing whether or not the bullet would kill somebody and precisely whom.

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You keep focusing on the ones that go bad, IJ.

What about the ones that choose NOT to tread the wrong path, the ones who devote their lives to the God that created them?

They get an eternity of fellowship with the living God.

Is your life worth it? If Christ died, only for YOU to live, wouldn't it be worth it? If SOMEONE, ANYONE decided that God was right and turned around?

Would you simply NOT create any of the mice because you knew that some would go the wrong way? Obviously some would NOT and you'd end up with some pretty cool mice to hang out with.

Ok. Let's go with this hypothetical mouse situation. You're a hypothetical mouse-god. All powerful. And loving, just like my God.

You create the mousies, and the same situation as was postulated before.

Also, keep in mind that you'd give up everything for these meeses. You'd die. Heck, you already did! You suffered just so you could place a sign pointing the way to the not-death door. In mouse-language even!
Even still, you knew some would die. But the ones who don't...they're worth it right? You'd never have them in your life if you'd never created them.


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I don't believe that God gave us our personalities. He gave unto all men weaknesses, but I don't believe that he went through and said, you I'm gonna make rebellious, and you I'm going to make obedient. He gave us all weaknesses so that we would be humble and come unto him, so that he could make our weaknesses strengths. Paul taught in 2 Cor. 12 (KJV)

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Even though God gave us our weaknesses, we can't blame him for us choosing poorly. Everyone has weaknesses, but it is up to us what we do with them. We can choose to indulge them (which eventually leads to misery), or we can go to Jesus so that he can make us strong (which leads to joy.)

You are right that God knows what is going to happen to all of us. He knows who will accept his gospel and who won't. But he gives everyone the chance to choose for themselves. And he continually tries to entice those who have not chosen him to choose him to be their god. This agency to choose, I believe is one of the greatest gifts he has given us.

God is loving and merciful, but he is also 100% just. If we choose to follow Jesus, then Jesus has paid the price of justice, and God's mercy can bring us to live with them in heaven. But on the flipside, if we choose not to follow Jesus and his commandments, then God can't just slide us through the back door into heaven and still claim to be just.

Remember that God knows our situation, our weaknesses, and our heart. A person born into a secure, religious home and a person born to drug addicted teenager living in the street of course won't have the same opportunities to accept or live the gospel. But God, in his wisdom and love, will understand and judge the person on how they lived with what they knew. It's like the parable of the talents. Whether the person was given 1 talent and turned it into 2, or whether the person was given 5 talents and turned it into 10, the reward is the same. He judges us based on how we did with what we were given.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 3:20 pm 
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AgentSeethroo wrote:
Would you simply NOT create any of the mice because you knew that some would go the wrong way? Obviously some would NOT and you'd end up with some pretty cool mice to hang out with.


Of course I wouldn't. Not if I knew some of them would just die miserably. That's just cruel. I don't need any mice hanging around worshipping me, no matter how cool they are, if it means that some of them are going to suffer eternally in hell.

But let's just say for a moment that I'm lord of the mice and I'm out of my gourd with loneliness that day. Somehow I have a lapse in judgment and decide to breed a bunch of mice anyway. But I'm a mouse god! I can create any circumstances for them to live in. So here's what I do: I create the mice. But I don't choose to let my little nephew into my workshop and I don't choose to let him create Door #2 and the awful fate it holds. And I don't choose to allow evil and sin to be created. I mean, what reason could I possibly have to do otherwise? I love my mice and want them to be happy, so of course I'd create circumstances in which they would all lead good lives and they would ultimately all join me in mousey heaven.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 9:40 pm 
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IJ:

This thread is getting none of us anywhere. I have already stated numerous times that the logic of the Problem of Evil argument is flawed in that it does not take into account numerous basic aspects of Christian theology.

You can ask the question, "If God loves everyone, then why do some people go to hell?" You could just as easily ask the question, "If God is truly just, then why doesn't everybody go to hell?"

BTW, to those of you that keep trying to bring Satan into the picture, you are giving the old devil too much credit. The devil is a creature, not a god. Therefore, if he brought evil into the world at all, it could only occur if God allowed it for some reason. IJ is right on that point. The fault of the Fall lies with humanity, not with the devil.

The simple truth is that we are operating under different criteria for what makes a good argument. For that reason, no matter how many times this Problem of Evil argument is rephrased, it still does not convince; the Problem of Evil argument just doesn't look like a real problem to us. At the same time, trying to point out the logical fallacies in it fails o convince as well.

The crux of my own theology is not creation, but the atonement. What convinces me that there is a God is not a logical argument, but a historical fact: that God became a man, and being found in the likeness of mortal men, suffered death on a cross, then rose again from the dead on the third day. There is also something about God's wisdom being foolishness to men. I think it's in 1 Corinthians, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now.

It also disheartens me that, while God did provide a way to escape the fate of the evil, people continually choose not to take it.

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One thing I find odd about Christianity is: God can do anything. Right? I assume we're all agreed on that point. If God wants us to be saved, he can save us all, delete Hell and award us all eternal bliss with no hassle at all. So why did he bother letting his only son die on the cross "that we might be saved"? You can't tell me that the omnipotent God needs to crucify someone in order to prevent people from going to Hell. What was the actual point of Jesus' crucifixion?

Didymus wrote:
The crux of my own theology is not creation, but the atonement. What convinces me that there is a God is not a logical argument, but a historical fact: that God became a man, and being found in the likeness of mortal men, suffered death on a cross, then rose again from the dead on the third day.


That is not a fact. Although there are indeed reliable records confirming Jesus' existence, the only contemporary record which tells us that he rose from the dead is the Bible.

Prof. Tor Coolguy wrote:
I hear that once the rapture comes that then will come the only time for people who truely honist to God and deserved to go to heven in the first place but either died in their sin or wern't saved.


Can I have a Biblical source?

fahooglewitz1077 wrote:
I think that you're forgetting that there is a devil, who controls the non-believers.


I have to say I find that a tad bit confusing. I'm pretty certain that I'm the one in control of my body, not Satan. So unless I'm actually the Devil and don't know it, I think that sentence needs to be revised.

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And ask yourself this: Why would a God, who gave his Son for believers, save people who do not believe. He wants you to be saved, but that utimately is your decision.


You answered your question for me in the next sentence: because he wants me to be saved. It is not ultimately my decision whether I go to heaven or hell, because if God wants to override my decision, he can send me to either at a whim. You make it sound like I have some supreme power over God Almighty.

Didymus wrote:
He could, but why should he? The way you make it sound, God MUST because he CAN, and somehow his love is supposed to completely override his justice. Maybe the plain and simple truth is that he doesn't love everyone the same. "Jacob I love, Esau I hated."


Hmm, this is a new angle. In fact, because I don't believe in Jesus, God hates me and wants me to burn in Hell. Interesting, to say the least...

I'm going to give that some thought.


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I don't remember putting it quite that way, Upsilon. I was just suggesting perhaps another way to try to understand why God's mercy does not seem to extend to everyone. Another look at that whole "Many are called, but few are chosen" aspect. Many are called, meaning that God's mercy does extend to everyone, but few are chosen, meaning that his mercy only actually effects some, not all. Why is that? I'm not sure. Life just doesn't fit together as perfectly as I want sometimes.

I should probably quote my response to this same remark that was on another thread.

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InterruptorJones wrote:
Upsilon wrote:

Well, according to what you said in the Religious Affiliations topic, you believe that God hates me because I am an atheist.

Actually, he didn't say that. One of the best ways to lose an argument is to make erroneous assumptions that the other party will focus on instead of your actual argument.

Didymus wrote:
Thanks, IJ. I certainly don't remember telling Upsilon that God hates him.

When God said, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated," he did not mean that he intended to destroy Esau out of sheer spite. As a matter of fact, he cared for Esau and provided all sorts of good things for him, too. In the context, God was saying that Jacob was his chosen one, not Esau--chosen to be the father of his nation.

One of the things I keep noticing about God over and over again is that he simply is not fair. Good, honest, hard-working people like Esau end up with the short end of the stick (well, not terribly short--God did bless him), while sleasy, good-for-nothing criminal types like Jacob (whose very name is a synonym for "deceiver") get all the breaks. Look who Jesus liked to hang out with. The religious types? No. With prostitutes, drunks, IRS personnel, thieves, etc. Heck, the only people to recognize Jesus as the Son of God during his life were Peter (who quickly forgot what it meant), a Roman Soldier, and a thief. Even one of the greatest saints in history, the Apostle Paul, was a murderer and a destroyer of the Church. I'm not sure why this is, except that maybe he gave himself more for people who need him more.

For that reason, I think it's highly inconsistent for someone to say God hates anyone because of particular issues in their life. I have learned first hand, for example, that God loves drug addicts. I have seen a man cry over stealing from his mother to buy drugs. Yet I have also seen God's hand on his life, bringing him to the Dom and motivating him to stay clean. And his is just one of a dozen or so stories I could tell you.

So maybe God even loves that godhatesfags dude. It's just that he's so busy proclaiming hatred, he can't see it so clearly. That to me is sad. But God will not force us to see what we do not wish to see; this man refuses to see God's unconditional love for others, so he will not see it for himself.

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Upsilon wrote:
One thing I find odd about Christianity is: God can do anything. Right? I assume we're all agreed on that point. If God wants us to be saved, he can save us all, delete Hell and award us all eternal bliss with no hassle at all. So why did he bother letting his only son die on the cross "that we might be saved"? You can't tell me that the omnipotent God needs to crucify someone in order to prevent people from going to Hell. What was the actual point of Jesus' crucifixion?


I don't know how other people here feel about this, but this is the way I understand it.

I don't believe that God can save everyone. (Now this quote may not mean much to any non-LDS folks, but to those who are...)

Quote:
D&C 1:31 For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;


Because God is just, he can't and won't tolerate sin at all. That is the reason for Jesus' crucifixion (and more importantly, atonement). So in a sense, because everyone sins (and by doing so guarantee a spot in Hell) Jesus needed to be.

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If God wants us to be saved, he can save us all, delete Hell and award us all eternal bliss with no hassle at all.


Again, according to what I believe this was an option. Of the two plans proposed during the pre-existence, this was the one that got rejected. Lucifer (Satan) proposed that we live here with no choice between good and evil (so everyone would be saved). More important then that was who the glory would go to... him.

Jesus proposed that we would be sent to earth with the choice of good and evil, and the glory would be given to the Father. But by giving us choice, we would sin. Due to that we would need someone to save us (because God is just), that is where the atonement and crucifixion came into play.

At least, that's what I think.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 4:37 pm 
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One thing I find odd about Christianity is: God can do anything. Right? I assume we're all agreed on that point. If God wants us to be saved, he can save us all, delete Hell and award us all eternal bliss with no hassle at all. So why did he bother letting his only son die on the cross "that we might be saved"? You can't tell me that the omnipotent God needs to crucify someone in order to prevent people from going to Hell. What was the actual point of Jesus' crucifixion?


God is a just god, and he is also an unchangeable god. God is omnipotent, but if he were to use that power to erase all the consequences of all of our actions, he wouldn't be just anymore. If he weren't just anymore, then he would be a changeable god, and how can we have faith in a changeable god? The atonement of Jesus Christ provides us a way to escape the penalty of our sins, but that is only because his suffering paid that penalty as long as we give our sins up to him. Jesus paid the demands of justice, so that mercy could be extended to us.

On a note related to what everyone is talking about, I don't think I have the same concept of Hell as alot of people. I think very few people will end up in hell forever. I think that there will be a lot of people who will not have repented, who don't accept Jesus, who will end up suffering a great deal for a long time for their sins. But I believe that time is finite. And when they have suffered enough to pay the price of justice, then God will take them in and they will live forever in a state of happiness much greater than we can know here.

However, I believe that those who do follow him in this life, who repent of their sins and keep the commandments, those will be blessed to an even greater degree, and live in a state of joy that those others will ever know. God loves us all, and wants us all to be happy. I believe the vast majority of us will end up eventually in a state of happiness. Some people will just have more joy than others.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:24 pm 
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racerx_is_alive wrote:
On a note related to what everyone is talking about, I don't think I have the same concept of Hell as alot of people. I think very few people will end up in hell forever. I think that there will be a lot of people who will not have repented, who don't accept Jesus, who will end up suffering a great deal for a long time for their sins. But I believe that time is finite. And when they have suffered enough to pay the price of justice, then God will take them in and they will live forever in a state of happiness much greater than we can know here.


I don't know if you have read C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" can be found here

I really like the way he portrays Hell. It isn't that we are cursed there forever, more like we choose to stay. We are attached to our sins (either because we think they make us happy, or because we don't think we can be forgiven for them... or any other number of reasons) and so we don't "get into heaven".

The choice is always there for you to change (accept Jesus, repent, however you feel about it).[/u]

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:30 pm 
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Stu wrote:
I don't know if you have read C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" can be found here


Syntax error.

But that sounds like a very interesting read. In fact, just last night I started reading The Magician's Nephew (I've never read the Narnia books, so I'm reading them chronologically -- I just bought a copy of Prince Caspian off eBay to replace the one missing from my set.) But I'll add this Great Divorce to my mental list.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 5:52 pm 
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Stu wrote:
racerx_is_alive wrote:
On a note related to what everyone is talking about, I don't think I have the same concept of Hell as alot of people. I think very few people will end up in hell forever. I think that there will be a lot of people who will not have repented, who don't accept Jesus, who will end up suffering a great deal for a long time for their sins. But I believe that time is finite. And when they have suffered enough to pay the price of justice, then God will take them in and they will live forever in a state of happiness much greater than we can know here.


I don't know if you have read C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" can be found here

I really like the way he portrays Hell. It isn't that we are cursed there forever, more like we choose to stay. We are attached to our sins (either because we think they make us happy, or because we don't think we can be forgiven for them... or any other number of reasons) and so we don't "get into heaven".

The choice is always there for you to change (accept Jesus, repent, however you feel about it).[/u]


I know that people would like to look at Hell like a place that'd be "cool" or whatever. I mean...how bad can it be? Metallica's gonna be there! Just kidding...seriously though. The bible portrays Hell in a completely different light.

Hell is a place that is completely devoid of God and his presence. It's a place of darkness and lonliness and pain.

The thing about earth is that God's presence is here. He's here with us, always. Nothing is as bad as being away from God completely, because in God there is hope, and without God, there is NO hope.

I'm not a fire and brimstone kinda guy, but to me, Hell is a serious matter.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:16 pm 
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Hell is a place that is completely devoid of God and his presence. It's a place of darkness and lonliness and pain.

The thing about earth is that God's presence is here. He's here with us, always. Nothing is as bad as being away from God completely, because in God there is hope, and without God, there is NO hope.

I'm not a fire and brimstone kinda guy, but to me, Hell is a serious matter.


Yeah, I think you are definately right. I hope you didn't get the impression that I think that think paying the price for our sins would be quick or easy. LIke Stu said, this scripture might not mean much to everyone, but I think it describes what I believe pretty clearly

D&C 19:
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
Emphasis added


So like you were saying, Hell is a serious matter, where those who will not repent will suffer greater than any of us can now comprehend. I'm just saying that it won't last forever, and that eventually the price will be paid, and we will be forgiven and happy. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that all of us weren't made to be condemned eternally to Hell. Many may have to pass through it, and suffer for a time, but the great majority will eventually will be in a state of happiness.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:19 pm 
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I've always preferred the Outer Darkness image of hell. It's the more common one found in the Gospels. I think it better sums up what hell will be like: exclusion from God's presence and grace. The image is that of people who refused to come to a king's party, so the king invited others to enjoy the feast instead. Those are so because they want no part of God's grace in their lives, so they end up spending eternity without it.

That's also the image of hell presented in The Great Divorce and also The Last Battle (both by C. S. Lewis).

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What was the actual point of Jesus' crucifixion?

That God himself was willing to risk, sacrifice, and suffer right alongside human beings. The God I worship does not simply sit far off, disconnected from human experience. He's right there in the middle of it. The incarnation and passion are his way of demonstrating that.

Also, there is some ontological significance to it that we, as mere human beings, cannot understand. It is beyond our knowledge. Somehow, his victory was made complete in utter defeat. It's a pattern he very often likes to follow: strength from weakness, good from evil, glory from humiliation, and--dare I say it--life from death. It's this pattern that defies our human understanding and makes God's wisdom foolish to us.

IJ: I wanted to apologize for some rather nasty things I said about you.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:19 pm 
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This reminds me of something someone told me a while ago. I'm not sure who originally came up with the story, but here it is:
    [Someone] tells the story of a man who dies and is shown both heaven and hell. In hell he sees everyone sitting together at a long table to eat their meal. However, the only utensil each person has to use is a spoon that is so long that it can't fit into the user's mouth. Everyone is starving.

    Next stop is heaven. Here he sees the same scenario -- people sitting together for a meal at a long table with these enormous spoons. But here everyone uses his long spoon to feed the person across from him.

    Hell is where people are self-absorbed. When everyone is looking out for each other, that's Heaven.

An interesting story.

(And I think Barbara Kingsolver used this in a chapter (I think it's #7) of her book The Bean Trees. I never read the book, but I just thought I'd mention a source.)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:20 pm 
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AgentSeethroo wrote:
I know that people would like to look at Hell like a place that'd be "cool" or whatever. I mean...how bad can it be? Metallica's gonna be there! Just kidding...seriously though. The bible portrays Hell in a completely different light.

Hell is a place that is completely devoid of God and his presence. It's a place of darkness and lonliness and pain.

The thing about earth is that God's presence is here. He's here with us, always. Nothing is as bad as being away from God completely, because in God there is hope, and without God, there is NO hope.

I'm not a fire and brimstone kinda guy, but to me, Hell is a serious matter.


I agree completely with you (I hope I wasn't portraying otherwise). I just don't think that it is a place you are damned to forever. The people who are going to be there forever are those that have no desire to change (the reason behind the lack of desire could be anything... not wanting to, not seeing any reason to; i.e. lack of hope, etc...)

So while the image of the devil standing over people with a whip isn't entirely accurate. Rather then whiping us for punishment, he would be exerting all of his efforts into convincing people that they have no chance of repenting.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:26 pm 
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Didymus wrote:
IJ: I wanted to apologize for some rather nasty things I said about you.


Hey, thanks, it's appreciated. And I want to apologize for anything I did to deserve it.

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a place you are * to forever


That's "d@mned", in case everybody was confused. The forum does a little censorship in its spare time.

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