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A Never Ending Story

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

    No need to apologize to me, you haven't offended me. I can understand where the idea comes from. However, I disagree with the quote's premises. 1. That more people choosing hell means Satan is somehow more powerful or greater than God, and 2. That people who are in their right mind wouldn't choose Hell.

    There is also the fact that the Bible is very clear that not all will be saved. Jesus uses multiple metaphors to make this point, the wide road to destruction, the sheep and goats etc. While I wish everyone would be saved on an emotional level, there just isn't any scriptural support for it.
    Thank you, once again, for your kind and thoughtful response. I will respond to your post tomorrow. Right now I need to get some rest. I also sort of have to to limit myself in how many responses I give, becuase as I have said I am a nervous natured, passionate person and I can go overboard in my reply's (like I did with christian book worm) if I don't restrain myself.

    So, I will talk more with your guys tomorrow. Thank you for being such good friends.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post

      Thank you, once again, for your kind and thoughtful response. I will respond to your post tomorrow. Right now I need to get some rest. I also sort of have to to limit myself in how many responses I give, becuase as I have said I am a nervous natured, passionate person and I can go overboard in my reply's (like I did with christian book worm) if I don't restrain myself.

      So, I will talk more with your guys tomorrow. Thank you for being such good friends.
      I understand, do what you need to do.

      Comment


      • #18
        Another universalist? I don't think the fundy atheists on tweb would want to spend eternity with God. Why force people to accept an invitation they don't want?
        If it weren't for the Resurrection of Jesus, we'd all be in DEEP TROUBLE!

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
          There is also the fact that the Bible is very clear that not all will be saved. Jesus uses multiple metaphors to make this point, the wide road to destruction, the sheep and goats etc. While I wish everyone would be saved on an emotional level, there just isn't any scriptural support for it.
          No need to apologize to me, you haven't offended me. I can understand where the idea comes from. However, I disagree with the quote's premises. 1. That more people choosing hell means Satan is somehow more powerful or greater than God, and 2. That people who are in their right mind wouldn't choose Hell.

          There is also the fact that the Bible is very clear that not all will be saved. Jesus uses multiple metaphors to make this point, the wide road to destruction, the sheep and goats etc. While I wish everyone would be saved on an emotional level, there just isn't any scriptural support for it.
          I feel as if, at least in certain cases, It would be hard for me to agree that everyone chooses hell. Depending on the circumstance, someone may be born into a family who have beliefs that go against Christianity (take Faithists or Hare Krishna as examples). It seems to me that it would be absurd to say that the individuals in this case have absolute free will.

          But lets just say they did. They could still be fooled by Satan without being aware of it.

          The main point is that Christ came to rescue people from sin. And yet in the traditional view Satan wins almost infinitely more converts than Christ. This would seem to me that Satan, under the traditional view, thwarts the purpose and mission of Christ.

          There is also the fact that the Bible is very clear that not all will be saved. Jesus uses multiple metaphors to make this point, the wide road to destruction, the sheep and goats etc. While I wish everyone would be saved on an emotional level, there just isn't any scriptural support for it.
          Sadly I haven't had time to study universalism lately. But let me make a brief explanation about the sheep and the goats. There are two possibilities here. The first is that the word everlasting in the verses in question may mean an indefinite period of time. In other words, the sheep are bestowed with life right here in this world, while the goats are given the same phenomena but with corrective punishment.

          The second possiblity is that the word for judgment may mean eternal in one context, but temporary in another:

          Matthew 25:46
          And these will go away into age-to-come, age-lasting (aionios) corrective punishment (kolasis), but the righteous into age-to-come eternal (aionios) life. (God's Plan for All book)

          There is also a verse in the Gospel of the Holy Twelve which is relevant here, but I am not going to quote it because it opens a whole other can of worms.

          Thank you for your thoughtful response. God bless you and I am looking forward to hearing from you further.

          -Heero



          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
            Your depiction of what constitutes the Trinity is an unusual one.
            I stated I was not going to mention the other works I read. However, it is necessary in this case:

            If you want to understand it, google Gospel of the Holy Twelve pdf. Then CNTRL-F "trinity" and look at results 1 and 3 of 5. That might help you to understand.

            God bless.

            -Heero

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Christianbookworm View Post
              Another universalist? I don't think the fundy atheists on tweb would want to spend eternity with God. Why force people to accept an invitation they don't want?
              I think it really depends. This is an excellent question which will allow me to explain what I mean further.

              1) There was a time when I didn't want to go to heaven. The following quote should elucidate why: "This kingdom was not to be some far-off land of ivory palaces, golden streets, beautiful mansions, white nightgowns, wings and harps, where there is nothing to do and all eternity to do it in." (Tent Maker website) This is how I thought of heaven when I was younger and it filled me with horrific pain/panic attacks. In other words, a false understanding of heaven left me literally quite out of my right mind. I was insane and to say I wanted hell only makes sense because I believed the pain would distract me from the horrors of eternity.

              2) I have also had difficulty understanding the God of the Old Testament. And though Richard Dawkins is far from a scholar, his description of the God of the Old Testament reflects what I have struggled with for a long time. I am only going to quote the first line of the relevant paragraph. If you want to read the rest, just look up The God Delusion pdf:

              The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction...
              So, again, due to a possibly false view of God, my sanity was compromised.

              The individual, subject and slave to delusion, believes in a false view of God. God's purpose in punishing the individual is to correct this view and wipe away the delusion, not simply to torment or annihilate.

              I hope this helps you make sense of my position. Thank you for your brief but thoughtful reply to my last post.

              God bless you.

              Sincerely,

              -Heero

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Heero Yuy View Post

                I feel as if, at least in certain cases, It would be hard for me to agree that everyone chooses hell. Depending on the circumstance, someone may be born into a family who have beliefs that go against Christianity (take Faithists or Hare Krishna as examples). It seems to me that it would be absurd to say that the individuals in this case have absolute free will.

                But lets just say they did. They could still be fooled by Satan without being aware of it.

                The main point is that Christ came to rescue people from sin. And yet in the traditional view Satan wins almost infinitely more converts than Christ. This would seem to me that Satan, under the traditional view, thwarts the purpose and mission of Christ.
                While I believe in free will, I would never call it "absolute free will", because for that to be real we would need to have powers on par with God. That's clearly not the case, so it doesn't exist to that extent.

                Personally I think God is wise enough to take such circumstances into account. I believe that those who seek God, even if they don't know who He really is will find Him. Those who don't do so, will not. In fact there are many accounts of Muslims who were raised in the Middle East who have come to saving knowledge of Jesus through visions. God isn't limited like we are in who He can reach out to.

                Jesus' many parables make it clear that most don't really look for God. They don't want Him because it means giving up certain aspects of their lives that they value higher than Him. The sheep and the goats, the wide road, and even the tares and the wheat all point to people not accepting His offer.

                Sadly I haven't had time to study universalism lately. But let me make a brief explanation about the sheep and the goats. There are two possibilities here. The first is that the word everlasting in the verses in question may mean an indefinite period of time. In other words, the sheep are bestowed with life right here in this world, while the goats are given the same phenomena but with corrective punishment.

                The second possiblity is that the word for judgment may mean eternal in one context, but temporary in another:

                Matthew 25:46
                And these will go away into age-to-come, age-lasting (aionios) corrective punishment (kolasis), but the righteous into age-to-come eternal (aionios) life. (God's Plan for All book)

                There is also a verse in the Gospel of the Holy Twelve which is relevant here, but I am not going to quote it because it opens a whole other can of worms.

                Thank you for your thoughtful response. God bless you and I am looking forward to hearing from you further.

                -Heero
                If it just means "an indefinite period of time", then there is no reason to believe that salvation is eternal. If it is the latter then the switching of meanings mid parable makes everything confusing. While I understand why people want this to be true, it just doesn't fit with what Jesus taught.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

                  I believe that those who seek God, even if they don't know who He really is will find Him. Those who don't do so, will not.
                  are you assuming that these people, of other religions are not truly humble and meek spirited within their own faith system? That may be the case, I don't know. But that would be a huge assumption.

                  Those who don't... that is, never abandon the faith of their parents and culture, were they really "not looking" with all meekness and humility?

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Machinist View Post
                    Those who don't... that is, never abandon the faith of their parents and culture, were they really "not looking" with all meekness and humility?
                    It would seem so. To begin a search for a "better god," and a better way, would involve abandoning the religion of one's forebears. Abraham could not have placed himself in position to respond to God whilst adhering to his family's traditional religion.

                    1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                    Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                    .
                    "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                    "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Machinist View Post

                      are you assuming that these people, of other religions are not truly humble and meek spirited within their own faith system? That may be the case, I don't know. But that would be a huge assumption.

                      Those who don't... that is, never abandon the faith of their parents and culture, were they really "not looking" with all meekness and humility?
                      It's not really an assumption that people who appear to be humble, faithful, meek etc. aren't so in actuality. Appearances can be quite deceiving, and just as appearances are deceiving, so is the human heart. This is equally true of those who claim to be Christians but are not.

                      Matthew 7:22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

                      I've met people who if you saw only their public side you would think are great people, but at home are some of the nastiest people you will ever meet. I hope they change their ways, but given my experience with them that is unlikely short of a miracle. That could still happen, but I won't be holding my breath.

                      Then there is the topic of deathbed conversions, which add another layer of complexity to the issue. The thief on the cross came to accept Jesus in his last hours, I don't see why this would be a one time occurrence. It's impossible to say how many fall under this.

                      I think one of the big things to separate types of people in your example would be this. Are they following these beliefs because they have searched wholeheartedly for the truth, or because they were told it was the truth and they never looked further than that? People just doing what they are told by authority figures has led to things like the Holocaust being as bad as it was. I know that is an extreme example, but not questioning things can have really bad results even when not taken that far.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by tabibito View Post

                        It would seem so. To begin a search for a "better god," and a better way, would involve abandoning the religion of one's forebears. Abraham could not have placed himself in position to respond to God whilst adhering to his family's traditional religion.
                        I've never been able to do that...to judge someone's experience of their own internal landscape. I am not saying that you and Cerebrum are "judging" in the sense of "holier than thou"...but you are making a matter -of -fact statement about someone else's thought life and how the world and all that's in it connects into a sensible map for them.

                        Even though I am a Christian, i've never been able to do that. I just don't have that view of other people of other faiths.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Machinist View Post

                          I've never been able to do that...to judge someone's experience of their own internal landscape. I am not saying that you and Cerebrum are "judging" in the sense of "holier than thou"...but you are making a matter -of -fact statement about someone else's thought life and how the world and all that's in it connects into a sensible map for them.

                          Even though I am a Christian, i've never been able to do that. I just don't have that view of other people of other faiths.
                          Consider it from your own point of view. What would make you shift from your own religious perspective? Presumably, you would have to be dissatisfied with what is to the point that you would be willing to abandon it. But you would need to go a lot further than simply abandoning what is, to seek something else. The second action necessarily severs connection with the past, where the first would simply discontinue active participation.
                          1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                          Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                          .
                          "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                          "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                          Comment


                          • #28


                            "Presumably, you would have to be dissatisfied with what is to the point that you would be willing to abandon it."

                            Do you believe that people of other faiths produce fruits of the Spirit? Peace, Patience, joy, kindness, self-control, etc. ?

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Machinist View Post

                              "Presumably, you would have to be dissatisfied with what is to the point that you would be willing to abandon it."

                              Do you believe that people of other faiths produce fruits of the Spirit? Peace, Patience, joy, kindness, self-control, etc. ?
                              To accept that, I would first have to be convinced that the Spirit is the only possible source for such things. I am, however, satisfied that bringing them to maturity can only be achieved under the aegis of the Holy Spirit.
                              1Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω
                              Come to your senses as you ought and stop sinning; for I say to your shame, there are some who know not God.
                              .
                              "when the church no longer teaches its people why they believe what they believe, the world will often step in and fill in the gaps." Ryan Danker

                              "The synoptic gospels claim that Jesus was crucified on the 15th day of Nisan and buried on the 14th day of Nisan:" Majority Consensus

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Hey Cerebrum123,

                                Sorry for the lengthy reply, and for taking so long to get back to you. I had school (Im studying to be a counselor). And also, I admit, I get nervous talking to you guys. But that's OK. Now I am on break so I have some time in the next few weeks to talk. So, if you are interested we can hammer this out and come to some kind of conclusion onto this issue; whether I change my mind, or your mind, or if neither of us agree that is OK as well. Thank you for your thoughtful responses. God bless you.

                                Originally posted by Cerebrum123 View Post

                                While I believe in free will, I would never call it "absolute free will", because for that to be real we would need to have powers on par with God. That's clearly not the case, so it doesn't exist to that extent.

                                Personally I think God is wise enough to take such circumstances into account. I believe that those who seek God, even if they don't know who He really is will find Him. Those who don't do so, will not. In fact there are many accounts of Muslims who were raised in the Middle East who have come to saving knowledge of Jesus through visions. God isn't limited like we are in who He can reach out to.

                                Jesus' many parables make it clear that most don't really look for God. They don't want Him because it means giving up certain aspects of their lives that they value higher than Him. The sheep and the goats, the wide road, and even the tares and the wheat all point to people not accepting His offer.


                                If it just means "an indefinite period of time", then there is no reason to believe that salvation is eternal. If it is the latter then the switching of meanings mid parable makes everything confusing. While I understand why people want this to be true, it just doesn't fit with what Jesus taught.
                                1.

                                While I believe in free will, I would never call it "absolute free will", because for that to be real we would need to have powers on par with God. That's clearly not the case, so it doesn't exist to that extent.
                                That is an excellent point. People don't have absolute free will. This means that man's free will is not greater than God's free will or God's ability to save the individual. Also, why would God judge us by his standards when we clearly did not create us to be able to realize them in this life, despite our best efforts. And if you respond, as you should, that Christ is the answer to that question, then I would challenge you to consider that Christ meets us where we are, and He knows what it would take to save each soul (consider his statements on Sodom and Gomorrah). Thus, ultimately Christ will draw all people to himself.

                                2.

                                Personally I think God is wise enough to take such circumstances into account. I believe that those who seek God, even if they don't know who He really is will find Him. Those who don't do so, will not. In fact there are many accounts of Muslims who were raised in the Middle East who have come to saving knowledge of Jesus through visions. God isn't limited like we are in who He can reach out to.
                                If you only consider those who seek God, then the parable of the lost sheep would make no sense. The lost sheep got away from the fold, yet Jesus Christ, the good Shepard, still sought it out. God reaches out even to those who are not searching for Him in the sense that you are talking about. In another sense, however, everyone is searching for God. Everyone, in their heart, yearns to come back home to the Father. Or at the very least, something greater than themselves. And ultimately, God will bring every lost sheep home.

                                I will admit I get a bit miffed when people bring up conversions from other religions to Christianity. When people bring that I would counterpoint that I have also seen accounts of Christians converting to Islam. It seems to me that Christians celebrate those who change their beliefs and believe on them, and ignore or ridicule those who don't make it, or fall away. It seems that a lot of Christians talk about Christian conversion as proof that Christianity is true. But when it comes to those who no longer believe, they are not proof that Christianity is false. Christians need to face up to the fact that although there are plenty of people who leave due to not wanting to give up sinful lifestyles, there are many who have been hurt by the Church who leave, without having anything to do with the desire to sin. Finally, if God isn't limited like we are in terms of who He can reach out to, then why not reach out to every Muslim? I know that there are sincere ones (I had a friend in High school and I read of others). This leads me once again to believe that God will ultimately reach out and save everyone, but on His terms, not ours.


                                3.

                                Jesus' many parables make it clear that most don't really look for God. They don't want Him because it means giving up certain aspects of their lives that they value higher than Him. The sheep and the goats, the wide road, and even the tares and the wheat all point to people not accepting His offer.
                                That doesn't seem true. For instance, the sheep and the goats were judged based on their actions, more than their beliefs. It is true that the way to life is difficult, and that few find it, at least in this lifetime. But God can work before, during, or after life in order to help everyone find the way to life, no matter how difficult it is or how many lives it takes. In all of these cases, it doesn't seem to be people seeking God, but rather God who comes to the people to spread truth and salvation. Some people, however, are not ready for this, which causes them to come under righteous and corrective judgment. Righteous Judgment does not consist of annihilation or eternal conscious torment. God's judgment is always to reform the sinner and protect the innocent.

                                4.

                                If it just means "an indefinite period of time", then there is no reason to believe that salvation is eternal. If it is the latter then the switching of meanings mid parable makes everything confusing. While I understand why people want this to be true, it just doesn't fit with what Jesus taught.
                                [/QUOTE]

                                There indeed is a reason to believe salvation is eternal. The salvation God gives believers is in this lifetime is the gift of new, true life itself on this Earth, and this life goes on into eternity. Whereas, the unbelievers do not get that gift of life if they don't repent, and they are condemned to corrected both on Earth and in the After-life. They will have to experience all of the harm that they caused during their life, and a ripple effect of all of what the people who they hurt did to others as a result. And that is correcting enough to help most sinners repent. Finally, an indefinite period of time can mean eternal or temporary. The point is we have to be careful about where we assign eternity and where we assign something more temporary, such as ages.

                                God bless you again for reading my message. I look forward to continuing this discussion with you in the coming days.

                                -Heero




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