Final Discussion on Hell – The Lazy Heretic Podcast Episode 06

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Our Own Thoughts

This is an extended episode where we discuss our own points of view on hell and why it is important.

This is the last episode in our series on Hell, and what happens when you die. In this series we have covered:
* Universalism
* Annihilationism
* Purgatory
* Eternal Conscious Torment

Feel free to jump in on the comments if you have something that you want to say or feel that we have missed out something.

What are our thoughts on Universalism?

It is really appealing. It spoke to something in my heart, and I would love to see everyone in heaven. There is a sense in which people could have their final choice to repent. Or even if they didn’t meet Jesus and they end up in heaven, that would be great.

I like the term ‘hopeful universalism.’

BUT:

At the end of the day I think that the way that people behave, who have done stuff that is evil, why do they get to go to heaven? But I don’t deserve to go to heaven.

Interesting point. One of the big accusations is the question of fairness. The last min prayer – how is that just when they get in, but the people they killed don’t get there.

It seems more fair option, to say that everyone is in, rather than the possibility that an evil person could get in, and some nice old lady might not.

Just saying the words doesn’t get you into heaven. There has to be TRUE repentance.

The thief on the cross – he gets in, but we don’t think about his back story. He is an actual criminal. He committed an offence, and is given a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Bernie Madoff is the modern example of this.

If he was let off, that flies in the face of our notion of justice.

What if you get hit by a bus? What if you’re not truly repentant on your death bed? How can you make it so?

I’d love to see everyone make it in, the wrath of God is clear, he is just, and that sometimes means that there is a punishment.

Even if someone doesn’t accept Jesus’ sacrifice, there’s still the possibility of that happening. The thief on the cross sets a precedent for that.

Do you think they have a possibility for a second chance after they die? Like C. S. Lewis?

I don’t think so, but I don’t know.

Hell is locked from the inside – they are there because they chose to be there.

It still seems a little bit unjust, if you take Bernie Madoff, if he get’s let off his sentence, it seems unjust, and so I can understand why universalists think it is unjust.

There’s not a lot of biblical evidence for it, so it’s not a view that I hold to, but I can understand why they might hold it. But I also think that they have bought into a caricature of the Gospel, and maybe they have ‘Gospel Light’.

What I struggle with, I don’t know if you could have a man walking towards 150 years in prison, and repent.

I think that fear does a whole lot as well – like the two reactions of the thieves on the crosses – one spits in the face of God at death, the other doesn’t know what’s on the other side, and so cries out to God.

There may be some people who have lived horrible lives, and faced with death they cry out and repent, desperately, and God hears those prayers. i don’t think that’s an impossibility. But you might not get that opportunity. It’s an attractive possibility, I hope everyone gets in, but I don’t see that happening.

It’s not a viable alternative, but it does raise questions that need to be answered faithfully.

Annihilationism

Again, a really attractive view. It’s easy to deal with.

What does it mean to be destroyed? A ceasing to be, rather than being burnt but not consumed.

Gehenna as a metaphor. The fire never went out, but everything was still being consumed. You will still be burnt UP.

It’s a stronger position that universalism for sure, even a stronger one than purgatory. They all make logical sense, and I don’t see how it is such a terrible view to hold.

It all depends on what you think happens between death and resurrection. You still go through the refining fires, and disappear, or end up in heaven. Or everyone goes through the fires and gets in no matter what.

This is the only other position that seems viable, most Christians would go with ECT just because that’s the one that’s been the loudest and most prominent. Especially through 17th and 18th Centuries.

Catholicism still has the dogma of Hell. 9 circles of Hell.

ECT has a lot of verses to point to that seem to make it the most ‘biblical’ with verses like Matthew 24 the sheep and the goats – everlasting life/death. What happens if that means not an eternality?

Are we getting played? No more SIMS! The Truman Show! The Matrix!

The lake of fire in revelation. The punishment seems to be forever and ever.

It seems odd that there is supposed to be New Creation with no more pain or tears, death is dead, so there’s all these good things, and God is going to live among these people, but then in the corner of this perfect universe there’s this place where God isn’t – can that exist even? Can he not be in a place when he is everywhere? Is there a place that he can’t be? How does that place of punishment exist in this place of perfection? Does perfection demand that some people have to be burning forever in order for it to be perfection.

Not just some people, but the majority of people who have ever lived.

Rob Bell raises this exact question.

It is answered in part by the Eastern Orthodox view – they go to the same place. This sounds like a true conscious eternal torment.

Adam’s sin affected all creation, the death of Jesus should also affect all creation. The weight of the biblical evidence suggests that there is some people who will not spend a joyous eternity in the presence of God.

To still be covered in sin, and in his presence, in a different state of being, the same place has two different kinds of meanings.

New resurrection body, with new natures, joyous and beautiful.

Those who are resurrected without, will be in the same place, but rather tormented.

Taylor’s total opinion

Frustrates any armenian and calvinist out there.

My system is that I don’t have a system. I sit with a dialectical view. God is still in control, yet we have free will.

I fight both systems. My point of view is non-comittal. If someone asked me a question on it I’ll be able to answer them. But I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I have a healthy fear of God, and his power and his majesty. What I see is ‘What did Jesus come to do?’ Love. And to seek you and give you a gift of forgiveness, but you have to be willing to receive it and accept it.

I don’t have a particular view. If I was pushed into a corner, either annihilationism or Eternal Conscious Torment. But at the end of the day what is important is teaching people about Christ.

It frustrates the box people.

Jason’s Opinion

I would probably have a very similar opinion to you Tay. I want to spend eternity WITH God rather than whatever the alternative is. The interesting thing is, that in the first Gospel message the Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, there was no mention of Hell of punishment of torment.

He doesn’t set up the idea of everyone being sinful, of everyone has sinned. He tells them that this is what God has talked about and that the kingdom is here now. Jesus was killed and raised again. This is the promise, the Holy Spirit poured out. God has made Jesus Lord and Christ.

Repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

It’s implicit that sin is going to be punished, but he doesn’t say if it is going to be eternal, or in this life, or the next. He says that the King has come, and you need to follow the king. Jesus has won the victory over sin, satan, the world, death. You can enter this new life.

That is the focus. There has been a lot of focus on Hell as a big stick to beat people into submission. That doesn’t work. What does work is treating people well, showing them love of God, the acceptance of God, what Christ did for you worked out in your life, and then that comes back as a witness to them. And they ask you, and you answer them.

That’s the witness we all want, a life well lived.

Rather than yelling at them. Is that effective witness? I don’t think so.

You want to point people to life. To focus them on the punishment is not a good thing.

The way that I parent my kids. Is about relationship.

I believe in some form of what we would call Hell. Annihilationism or ECT? I think it’s painful for a long time, and I don’t want to face it, I want to be with Jesus.

I like the idea of purgatory. It makes logical sense!

The idea of sanctification – how do we end up like Jesus? IS it instantaneous? If so, why all of the work?

Cyprian – bishop of Carthage

“It is one thing to stand for pardon, another thing to attain to glory; it is one thing, when cast into prison, not to go out thence until one has paid the uttermost farthing; another thing at once to receive the wages of faith and courage. It is one thing, tortured by long suffering for sins, to be cleansed and long purged by fire; another to have purged all sins by suffering. It is one thing, in fine, to be in suspense till the sentence of God at the day of judgment; another to be at once crowned by the Lord”

Tertullian

“That allegory of the Lord [Matt 5:25,26] which is extremely clear and simple in its meaning… beware, lest as a transgressor of your judgement, before God the Judge; and lest this Judge deliver you over to the angel who is to execute the sentence, and he commit you to the prison of hell, out of which there will be no dismissal until the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off in the period before the resurrection. What can be a more fitting sense than this? What a truer interpretation?”

It cheapens Jesus’ sacrifice. Biggest road block to the argument.

Doesn’t our non-sanctification of us in this life also do that?

Died to save us in the next life.

But why don’t we see that happening now? We have the Spirit, and we are supposed to be made holy – why do we still sin?

If you take out the payment, then there is sanctification…

How do we get perfected after we die? You don’t know Taylor!!

Johnny Cash

It goes in the book of questions to ask Jesus when I see him face to face…

No water in heaven only orange juice, and smoothy – YOU HEARD IT FIRST HERE!

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