Where's the birth certificate

Free and Strong America

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hell is not a torture chamber

"If the government, tomorrow, mandated wearing a flag on every article of clothing you own and only made the knowledge available to a select few, that would be outrageous. If they rounded up everyone who wasn't in compliance and threw them in torture dungeons for the rest of their lives, it would be considered the most brutal injustice the world has ever seen. Nobody would blame the people rotting in prison for not wearing flags. It would be absurd to do so. Even if you were informed that the government was going to start torturing people for not wearing flags, you wouldn't believe it. You'd certainly ask for proof, otherwise you'd just file it away with all of the other conspiracy theories floating out there. Certainly, the idea that a powerful entity that preached equity and fairness brutalizing people for not making specific gestures of fealty is absurd and unworthy of consideration. You'd be crazy to blame the people who didn't know or didn't believe it would happen for being thrown in prison. It would be utterly ridiculous to claim that they chose to be tortured. From extheist.net




The internet is rife with such speculation among non-believers of a terrible God, bent on punishing people because they either believed the wrong things or came from a culture that did not teach forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Author and preacher Dr. D. James Kennedy once wrote that he did not believe that a just and holy God would send somebody to Hell because of their ignorance. Dr. Kennedy was quick to add though that there might be an entire host of other factors, apart from ignorance, that could cause someone to spend eternity in Hell.


Concerning the whole 'Hell Is a Tortue Chamber' idea though, apologist Lee Strobel once put the question to theologian and philosopher J.P. Moreland concerning the existance of "flames" in Hell. Moreland responded, quote, "..the flames are a figure of speech.. I just want to be Biblically accurate. We know that the reference to flames is figurative because, if you try to take it literally, it makes no sense. For example, Hell is described as a place of utter darkness and yet there are flames, too. How can that be? Flames would light things up. In addition, we're told Christ is going to return surrounded by flames and he's going to have a big sword coming out of his mouth. But nobody thinks Christ won't be able to say anything because he'll be choking on a sword. The figure of the sword stands for God's judgement The flames stand for Christ's coming judgement. In Hebrews 12:29, God is called a consuming fire. Yet nobody thinks God is a cosmic Bunsen burner. Using the flame imagery is a way of saying he's a God of judgement."


Now, from what Hell isn't to what Hell actually is. A great number of theologians, both liberals and conservatives, posit that Hell entails "eternal seperation from God" and this point is widely agreed upon by both camps. But what is Hell actually like when we refer to such a "seperation"? Moreland provides his thoughts on the matter and goes on to explain what the term "gnashing of teeth" really means when mentioned in relation to Hell.


"It's an expression of rage at realizing that one has made a huge mistake . If ever you've been around people who are self-absorbed, self-centered and highly narcissistic, they get angry when they don't get their way. I believe the gnashing of teeth is an expression of the type of personality of people who belong in Hell." People don't "consciously reject Heaven and choose to go to Hell instead. But they do choose not to care about the kinds of values that will be present in Heaven every day".

One last point about Hell and a common misconception about it. There is this idea that, in addition to the 'torture chamber' concept that all who fail to make it into Heaven will be sentenced to the same level of suffering in Hell. Adolf Hitler is right alongside the guy who lived a reasonably good life by most standards, yet refused to either acknowledge or fully believe in God. Lee Strobel raised this point as well with Moreland who responded by taking out his Bible and referencing Matthew, Chapter 11...


"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." Matthew 11:20-24


According to Moreland, "Jesus is saying that people will be sentenced in accordance with their deeds". The concept of "one-size-fits-all" isn't accurate, or as this site puts it, in Revelation 20:11-15, we see that God is opening up TWO books...

"The scene pictured here is the Great White Throne Judgment. And God is opening two books. The first is often called The Lamb's Book of Life. It's a record of all who have trusted in Christ. And if a person's name isn't found there, they're in big trouble. The second book that's opened reveals the deeds of a person's life. Nothing we do is hidden from God's eyes. And a person who doesn't believe in Christ will have their life evaluated and be judged according to their works. Lifestyle and the amount of light rejected determine the degree of punishment experienced in hell."


Why bother having two sets of books and reviewing the respective life of each person if all judgement is exactly the same?

In conclusion, none of this is to diminish Hell in any way. It's a fate that nobody truly wants to experience. However, if your concept of Hell is based upon poor Sunday school theology or highly inaccurate, atheisitic apologetics and is standing in the way of enjoying a relationship with the Most High, then maybe you should reconsider your opinions on the matter. Pride comes into play as well and nobody likes to admit that they were not correct. Won't you begin to explore the possibilitity that maybe there are viable explanations to the questions that you seek? A good starting point would be Lee Strobel's The Case For Faith which contains the above cited interview with J.P. Moreland. Others are free to leave the names of other sources in the comment section to assist those of us who are on our spiritual journeys with something other than a mind that is completely closed.

















45 comments:

Theological Discourse said...

Job 40:8

8 “ Would you indeed annul My judgment?
Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?

JD Curtis said...

What does the quote from Job mean to you TD?

I think that if God didn't judge us then he wouldn't be much of a God.

JD Curtis said...

Froggie, I'm still waiting for you to retract your earlier statement or back it up.

I banned WM for refusing to back something up or retract it. I'm only being consistent here.

JD Curtis said...

This guy has an 8 minute video up on youtube on the topic.

Theological Discourse said...

I used that quote because it seems the OP is trying to God so that he can be justified. He is condemning the unfairness of the concept of hell and by doing so he is justifying himself.

Ross said...

Do you get the impression that some atheists think of God as a capricious masochist who wants to torture people just because they reject Him? They forget that he actually doesn't want anyone to go to Hell, and that He is grieved when people reject Him?

SmartLX said...

I'll consider respecting Strobel's conclusions when he prints an interview with someone who disagrees with him about the relevant topic at the time, which would be a major contrast to his usual parade of yes-men.

SmartLX said...

Ross, if God didn't want anyone to go to Hell, no one would go to Hell.

If people are supposedly going to Hell (and God is as described by Christianity), there are two possible explanations:
1. God does want some people to go to Hell.
2. God doesn't want anyone to go to Hell and yet, despite being all-knowing and all-powerful, God is regularly failing to get what He wants.

Are you wrong, or has God failed?

JD Curtis said...

I'll consider respecting Strobel's conclusions when he prints an interview with someone who disagrees with him about the relevant topic at the time, which would be a major contrast to his usual parade of yes-men

Strobel comes off in his books (I have about 3 of them) as someone who isn't quite convinced of the validity of the Christian position, (whether or not he actually is, who knows?)

What I like about his books is that Strobel will atually seek out people who have undertaken the years of study often times required to effectively address the weighty questions posed by atheists and can appreciate the depth and brevity of the questions on several levels. That atheists themselves would seek out such people and ask them. Admittedly, many people who are Christians don't dedicate the time to study their beliefs in-depth to the extent being able to provide well-informed answers to probing questions about their faith.

JD Curtis said...

If people are supposedly going to Hell (and God is as described by Christianity), there are two possible explanations:
1. God does want some people to go to Hell.
2. God doesn't want anyone to go to Hell and yet, despite being all-knowing and all-powerful, God is regularly failing to get what He wants.

Are you wrong, or has God failed?


Ross can answer this if he wants, but I would point out that your above question leaves out an important component of the equation.

God loves us so much that he gave us free will to decide upon an entire range of options in our relationship twith Him ranging from belief and acceptance to outright rejection.

What could be fairer than that?

SmartLX said...

I've watched Strobel speak, JD. He's convinced all right. He simply portrays himself as pseudo-neutral in print because in each book he's supposed to be building a "Case".

Yes, he goes looking for people who've done more research than him, which is good. Fact is, though, not everyone who's done that much research has reached the same conclusion, but everyone he talks to has. There's never so much as a word in person from even a token "devil's advocate", except for Strobel himself lobbing softballs. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I left out free will because it doesn't affect my logic. Again assuming that God exists, and is as described by Christianity, these three things were His decision and His alone: human imperfection, human free will and the hereditary property of Original Sin. If we can use those three to predict that some people will end up in Hell, God certainly could have, and obviously did. Therefore, God made decisions that resulted in people going to Hell. So either he wanted some people in Hell (not specific people, perhaps, and only deserving people, but he wanted someone there), or he made bad decisions according to his own motives. So which is it?

JD Curtis said...

Free will would dictate that those who truly do not want to belive in and know God are absolutely free to do so.

Would you argue that it would be better if free will were not available and we had no choice BUT to love and believe in God and follow in his ways?

It all seems a bit robotic to me.

SmartLX said...

Free will would dictate that those who truly do not want to belive in and know God are absolutely free to do so.

Yes. That, combined with imperfect and varying human nature, ensures that some people will decline to accept God and so go to Hell. Thus, regardless of the alternatives, God knowingly imbued humans with qualities He knew would send some of them to Hell according to His own rules. Perhaps He knew which people, too, and how they would damn themselves. Even if not, he knew not everyone would satisfy Him. He still does.

Would you argue that it would be better if free will were not available and we had no choice BUT to love and believe in God and follow in his ways?

If a large proportion of your flock refuses to read your sign that says "CLIFF", you put up a damn fence to save the poor stubborn animals, because even the worst of them are supposedly worth something to you. You reduce their freedom, but that doesn't mean you snuff it out altogether.

God's got the right idea in Heaven. Either the people there have free will and yet they never choose to offend God, or they surrender their will completely to God and they're perfectly happy regardless.

In other words, either
1. free will isn't necessary for human happiness or to serve God, but God's needlessly inflicted it upon us, dooming multitudes of us to Hell, or
2. there's a kind of free will that doesn't inevitably lead to evil but God's denied it to us, dooming multitudes of us to Hell.

If the Christian God is real, He wants some people to go to Hell and has made it so.

JD Curtis said...

God knowingly imbued humans with qualities He knew would send some of them to Hell according to His own rules

Whereas I would state that to force someone to know you/believe you/follow in your ways wouldn't be love at all. It would be coercion.

Perhaps He knew which people, too, and how they would damn themselves

See "Conditional Election"

If a large proportion of your flock refuses to read your sign that says "CLIFF", you put up a damn fence to save the poor stubborn animals

I'm quite convinced, having dealt with the most militant of the atheist set, that many of the most militant would not want to be with God for eternity and would prefer the cliff. Really.

free will isn't necessary for human happiness or to serve God, but God's needlessly inflicted it upon us, dooming multitudes of us to Hell

Before we go any further, if I understand you correctly, you would prefer an alterative to the full range of options provided by free will yo one whereby we have no choice in the matter, correct?

JD Curtis said...

should read "TO one wherby we have no choice in the matter"

Theological Discourse said...


I left out free will because it doesn't affect my logic. Again assuming that God exists, and is as described by Christianity, these three things were His decision and His alone: human imperfection, human free will and the hereditary property of Original Sin.

please clarify what you mean when you said it was Gods decision for human imperfection? Are you saying it was His decision to allow human imperfection or He created Adam and Eve that way?

Theological Discourse said...

I'd also like to point out that God allowing someone to suffer the consequences of their actions does not mean He wants them to go to hell. God can allow someone to go to hell, possess the power to prevent said person from going to hell and still not want that person to go there. It Happens everyday. A father allows their daughters to marry or date people they don't like, does this mean they want their daughters marrying or dating them? No. Do the fathers have power to stop it? Yes, as they can slap a restraining order on the boyfriend, threaten the boyfriend with violence etc.
A father allowing his son to go to jail after he constantly warns his son that selling drugs is wrong does not mean he wants his son to go to jail. The father has the money to prevent it (fly the son out of the country, pay for big lawyers, etc. Etc.). Does this mean the father wants his son to go to jail? No (the warnings are evidence of that). Situations such as these happen every simgle day which is why Your logic is revealed to be a false dichotomy:

"So either he wanted some people in Hell (not specific people, perhaps, and only deserving people, but he wanted someone there), or he made bad decisions according to his own motives. So which is it?"

Since it is entirely plausible that He allows people to go to hell but does not want anyone to be there.


You reduce their freedom, but that doesn't mean you snuff it out altogether.

So you reduce their freedom to the point where they're forced to love someone?

SmartLX said...

Yeah, I hate not being able to edit.

...to force someone to know you/believe you/follow in your ways wouldn't be love at all. It would be coercion.

Lots of people coerce the people they love into doing things they think will benefit them, like eating their vegetables and going to church. It's called parenting. God apparently lets some of His children ruin themselves utterly if they want to. What parent would be respected for not stepping in while that happened to any of his children, even if the children were obnoxious?

See "Conditional Election"

Okay, I see it. Is that your position, or is it Unconditional Election?

...many of the most militant [atheists] would not want to be with God for eternity and would prefer the cliff.

A lot of sheep don't like the shepherd. Hence the fence. The alternative is regarded as gross negligence in other settings.

...you would prefer an alterative to the full range of options provided by free will to one whereby we have no choice in the matter, correct?

I don't believe in free will, JD, it's just part of the hypothesis in this great big reductio ad absurdum. But free action within limits is a perfectly acceptable way to live, and in fact it's the way we do live. Some degree of control doesn't rob us of all liberty.

Theological Discourse said...


A lot of sheep don't like the shepherd. Hence the fence. The alternative is regarded as gross negligence in other settings.

I think you've misunderstood the entire concept. God hates sin. If you sin you do not get into heaven. The only way to erase sin is Jesus. So either God must force people to not sin or He must force people to love Him, neither of which is "limiting free will" but is erasing it entirely, and more importantly, is something that God does not want. He wants people to love Him freely, so your entire argument is moot. Saying God should make a fence is like saying the NFL should have someone on hand ready to force the teams to play the way the owners think the games should play out. Both cases run contrary to the way things are designed. The NFL is designed to allow teams to play the way they want to play within a set of rules, this is the way they want it done. God designed us to live the way we want to live within a set of rules, this is the way He wants it done. The NFL knew people would break the rules, which is why there are consequences, but that doesn't entail they WANT people to
Break the rules, nor does their failure to provide someone that forces the teams to play a certain way constitute negligence. Same goes for God

SmartLX said...

TD, we wouldn't supposedly need Jesus in the first place if God hadn't supposedly created everything necessary to generate sin: humans with free will, objects whose sole purpose relative to God is for us NOT to use them, a lapsed angel to tempt us and the arbitrary extension of the very first sin so that it applies to everyone.

The father in your analogy didn't make the dangerous boyfriend, or consciously allow the drugs to be invented, or design the cliff and the entire underlying tectonic system. It's not necessarily the human father's fault if these awful things happen to his children, but it is God's.

Another issue with the analogies: to make them accurate, the father should know for a fact that the boyfriend will kill his daughter, and that the drugs will send his son to jail not just for years or even for life but for eternity. In this case, no he does NOT allow the son to go to jail, or allow the daughter to see the man. He prevents both any way he can, and anything less would be despicable parenting, because there is nothing to be gained from letting either one happen. The kids won't learn anything, they will simply be ruined and destroyed. Hell has no rehabilitation centre, and no rebound crushes. There is nothing to be gained for anyone, including God, by sending anyone to Hell. There are other ways to deal with sin. So if God doesn't want people to go there, what's the point of letting them go?

The NFL does have an army of people on hand ready to force the teams to play the way the owners of the league think the games should play out. They're called referees. Thing is, the owners of the league and the teams simply don't want to impose complete control over the games, as you say. They just want the rules to be followed in the interests of fairness, watchability and, particularly in the case of gridiron, safety. God as a referee would allow a man to spear-tackle another man against the goalpost multiple times, breaking the man's neck, and not discipline him at all until after the game (letting him play out the whole clock), and not let the other players know how or even whether the piledriver had been disciplined. These are the actions of a referee who wants to discipline more people, and allow more to be hurt, than is strictly necessary. That would indeed be negligent. The players themselves would cry out for more control, even those on the piledriver's team.

I say again, the Christian God is supposedly all-powerful, and supposedly does not want anyone to go to Hell. He is apparently not getting what he wants. Therefore, either he is not all-powerful, or your perception of what He wants is over-simplified at best. Would you at least accept that there are things He wants more than to keep people out of Hell, such that it's worth allowing people to go there?

SmartLX said...

And if you think the whole thing's moot, TD, do people love God freely in Heaven? Does anyone there not love Him? Is there free will there or not?

Theological Discourse said...


TD, we wouldn't supposedly need Jesus in the first place if God hadn't supposedly created everything necessary to generate sin: humans with free will, objects whose sole purpose relative to God is for us NOT to use them, a lapsed angel to tempt us and the arbitrary extension of the very first sin so that it applies to everyone.

That doesn't mean the fault is on God, since He specifically told them not to eat the fruit. That's like saying the person that created the original gun is responsbile for every single murder from a gun because if he had not created it than no one would be dying from a gun. The fact that God knew what would happen and the gun creator didn't(although it can certainly be argued the gun creator knew his creation would cause death) doesn't make the fault His, since He never forced them to eat the fruit. If they had never eaten the fruit then everything would be fine.


The father in your analogy didn't make the dangerous boyfriend, or consciously allow the drugs to be invented, or design the cliff and the entire underlying tectonic system. It's not necessarily the human father's fault if these awful things happen to his children, but it is God's.

The analogy was only used to show you that allowing someone to suffer the ultimate consequences of their actions and being able to prevent it does not entail they WANT the person to suffer the ultimate consequences and nothing more.


The NFL does have an army of people on hand ready to force the teams to play the way the owners of the league think the games should play out. They're called referees. Thing is, the owners of the league and the teams simply don't want to impose complete control over the games, as you say. They just want the rules to be followed in the interests of fairness, watchability and, particularly in the case of gridiron, safety. God as a referee would allow a man to spear-tackle another man against the goalpost multiple times, breaking the man's neck, and not discipline him at all until after the game (letting him play out the whole clock), and not let the other players know how or even whether the piledriver had been disciplined. These are the actions of a referee who wants to discipline more people, and allow more to be hurt, than is strictly necessary. That would indeed be negligent. The players themselves would cry out for more control, even those on the piledriver's team.

No the NFL does not have someone on hand ready to force the teams to play the way the owners think the games should play out. If the owners want the 49ers to beat the Raiders by 27 points using only passing, there is nobody on hand forcing the teams to play that way because the NFL is not designed to be played that way. Same thing with God. There is nobody that is forcing you to not sin or to love Him because He did not design it that way. Referees make sure the rules are followed, they do not force the teams to play the game in the way I described.


I say again, the Christian God is supposedly all-powerful, and supposedly does not want anyone to go to Hell. He is apparently not getting what he wants. Therefore, either he is not all-powerful, or your perception of what He wants is over-simplified at best. Would you at least accept that there are things He wants more than to keep people out of Hell, such that it's worth allowing people to go there?

Why do you assume that someone who is all powerful must always get what He wants? Just because someone is all powerful doesn't mean they need to be using ALL of their power all the time. Furthermore, how do you know His desire for you to exercise your free will to its full extent doesn't outweigh His desire for people to not go to hell?


And if you think the whole thing's moot, TD, do people love God freely in Heaven? Does anyone there not love Him? Is there free will there or not?

Yes, Yes and Yes. This is why people go to hell, because their free will puts them there.

Theological Discourse said...

My last post should read:

Yes, No, and Yes.


God as a referee would allow a man to spear-tackle another man against the goalpost multiple times, breaking the man's neck, and not discipline him at all until after the game (letting him play out the whole clock), and not let the other players know how or even whether the piledriver had been disciplined. These are the actions of a referee who wants to discipline more people, and allow more to be hurt, than is strictly necessary. That would indeed be negligent. The players themselves would cry out for more control, even those on the piledriver's team.

An accurate analogy would not have God being the referee. He would be the owner of the game. The referees are responsible for the game being under control, while the players themselves are also responsible for playing by the rules whether or not a referee is present. Like in the NFL, generally, the punishment fits the crime. First time offenders are not given the harshest punishment. First there will be warnings, then a fine, then suspension, then they'll get kicked out. If the game gets too out of control with both the players and the referees failing to play by the rules then the owner would come down and fix it, just like the flood.

SmartLX said...

That doesn't mean the fault is on God, since He specifically told them not to eat the fruit.

Why did He even put the fruit there? That's not just inventing the gun, it's leaving one in a preschool (complete with its own arms dealer) to practically ensure that natural human tendencies will be suddenly and mortally amplified. Are you surprised that Adam fell for it, in the circumstances? Who set those circumstances?

The analogy was only used to show you that allowing someone to suffer the ultimate consequences of their actions and being able to prevent it does not entail they WANT the person to suffer the ultimate consequences and nothing more.

Got that, but if they don't want it to happen but they let it happen anyway, it's only because they see a possible upside. The daughter gets a hard lesson in love and self-respect. The son pays his debt to society and comes out a better person. Even if the son is executed, the father might hope that his soul and/or others will be saved.

There's no redemption or silver lining after Hell, because there is no "after Hell". That's why the analogy doesn't work even for your intended purpose. There's no good reason to let people go to Hell if you don't want them there. ("Let" weasels God out of His responsibility, too, given that He personally makes each and every call. He's the one who says, "Depart from me." He doesn't let, he sends.)

SmartLX said...

No the NFL does not have someone on hand ready to force the teams to play the way the owners think the games should play out.

Actually God has rigged the game. You have a very clear idea of how the end times will play out, don't you? Or at least which side will win?

Regardless, we agree to some extent here, as do the analogy and the Christian view. There are rules, but they don't stop the players from acting autonomously. Many of the rules are there to protect the players.

The difference is that in the NFL, the rules are enforced during the game. Minor infractions are stomped on, so that players don't move on to deadly or career-ending stupidities. Hell, it's gridiron - there's a ruling every minute or so. Despite this, the players still have great freedom and everyone enjoys the game. God on the other hand doesn't hand out any penalties until it's too late to protect anyone. While the game is on, He behaves exactly as if He's not there.

Why do you assume that someone who is all powerful must always get what He wants?

Because the only reason you don't take something you want and can get is because you want something contradictory even more. The only reason an all-powerful being wouldn't achieve something He wants is because He wants something which is utterly contradictory in any possible circumstance, because He controls the circumstances. I just don't think free will and everyone being good enough for Heaven are that completely contradictory in a world where, as you say, there is supposedly free will in Heaven.

Furthermore, how do you know His desire for you to exercise your free will to its full extent doesn't outweigh His desire for people to not go to hell?

That would be one explanation, yes, and it's exactly the sort of thing I meant, but it's also somewhere between an assertion and a flailing guess. Can you back it up, scripturally? Or is it just what you're going with because the alternatives are a God who does want people in Hell or no God at all?

Even if it's true, it's then deceptive to say without qualification that God doesn't want people in Hell. It would be better to say that He doesn't want people in Hell as long as they've made the right choice. Even then, there's a grey area for people who haven't been exposed to enough Christianity.

Yes, Yes and Yes.

Wait, what? There are people in Heaven who don't love God? How does that work?

SmartLX said...

Okay, the new moderation's got us out of sync again. Who spammed you, JD?

Like in the NFL, generally, the punishment fits the crime. First time offenders are not given the harshest punishment. First there will be warnings, then a fine, then suspension, then they'll get kicked out.

Okay, so now God just owns the league and isn't on the field, which is the problem.

If the first official punishment isn't handed down by the boss until after a player's played his last game, there's no way for CEO God to actually improve his behaviour. The referees claim to speak with His authority, but nothing happens if the players challenge or ignore this, until it's too late.

God only hands out one punishment short of eternity in Hell, which is a stay in purgatory. People don't come back to life when they're finished that, so it has no preventative or rehabilitative power except as a threat.

If the game gets too out of control with both the players and the referees failing to play by the rules then the owner would come down and fix it, just like the flood.

I wondered whether you believed in that. A cataclysm doesn't really help from the perspective of the players or the referees, because they're all sent straight to judgement without a chance to improve or atone.

That's not the point, though, is it? God didn't go full Neptune until everyone but Noah's family was (supposedly) completely irredeemable - even by a non-lethal miracle, which He didn't try. What if He'd sent a skyscraping tidal wave to the shores a little earlier, but pulled it back? How many souls could He have saved that way?

Yes, No, and Yes.

Thankyou, I thought so. There is continuing free will in Heaven, but everyone loves God anyway. Therefore there can be a world in which everyone both has free will and loves and obeys God, which means sin is not a necessary consequence of free will; in the right circumstances, free will and universal salvation need not be mutually exclusive. Either that, or Heaven is headed for a great fall.

So why is there evil on Earth again, and why does anybody have to go to Hell again?

Theological Discourse said...


Why did He even put the fruit there? That's not just inventing the gun, it's leaving one in a preschool (complete with its own arms dealer) to practically ensure that natural human tendencies will be suddenly and mortally amplified. Are you surprised that Adam fell for it, in the circumstances? Who set those circumstances?

It doesn't matter why He put the fruit there. Placing the fruit, creating the fruit and creating the circumstances does not make it Gods fault in the slightest. The fall happened for 1 reason and 1 reason only, Adam and Eve disobeying a direct order. Again, one cannot reasonably blame the creator of the gun for every single death by a gun. The fault is on the one that disobeyed the law by aiming and pulling the trigger, not the creator of the gun, similarly the fault is on Adam and Eve for disobeying God and eating the fruit, not on the creator of the fruit.

It is nothing like leaving a gun in a preschool. Adam and Eve were adults, not children, adults that knew they shouldn't eat from the tree AND knew the consequences of their actions should they eat it. Nothing like a preschool, nothing like children.


Got that, but if they don't want it to happen but they let it happen anyway, it's only because they see a possible upside. The daughter gets a hard lesson in love and self-respect. The son pays his debt to society and comes out a better person. Even if the son is executed, the father might hope that his soul and/or others will be saved.

Sure in SOME cases they might see a possible upside, but not in ALL cases. Some cases might have the father disowning his son or daughter a 'washing my hands of this' attitude. but again, more to the point, seeing a possible upside still does not entail they WANT the person to suffer the ultimate consequences.


There's no redemption or silver lining after Hell, because there is no "after Hell". That's why the analogy doesn't work even for your intended purpose. There's no good reason to let people go to Hell if you don't want them there. ("Let" weasels God out of His responsibility, too, given that He personally makes each and every call. He's the one who says, "Depart from me." He doesn't let, he sends.)

That is why I said only some cases people will see an upside, other cases would be parents "washing their hands" of the children, disowning them, wanting nothing to do with them because they're beyond hope and reason.

Theological Discourse said...


Actually God has rigged the game. You have a very clear idea of how the end times will play out, don't you? Or at least which side will win?

Wait what? end times? this went from analogies of allowing free will to the end times?

When things got out of control and people weren't playing the "game" by the rules, God came down and destroyed everything with a flood. In the end times, God will take everyone that wants to play the "game" by the rules and kick everyone that wants to break the rules out doesn't constitute rigging. Just like if the NFL got out of control where the players, referees, coaches, etc. were not playing by the rules and playing the way the game was designed to be played and as a result the owner came and fired the ones breaking the rules and kept the ones that wanted to continue playing, how does that constitute "rigging?"


Regardless, we agree to some extent here, as do the analogy and the Christian view. There are rules, but they don't stop the players from acting autonomously. Many of the rules are there to protect the players.

Yes, we do agree to some extent. There are rules, the rules don't stop players from

The difference is that in the NFL, the rules are enforced during the game.....

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. Despite minor infractions being 'stomped on' players still get kicked out of the NFL. One example is Bernard Williams was kicked out of the NFL after he repeatedly failed drug testing(15 times I believe).


Because the only reason you don't take something you want and can get is because you want something contradictory even more. The only reason an all-powerful being wouldn't achieve something He wants is because He wants something which is utterly contradictory in any possible circumstance, because He controls the circumstances. I just don't think free will and everyone being good enough for Heaven are that completely contradictory in a world where, as you say, there is supposedly free will in Heaven.

You're confusing capacity with application. The fact that God is all powerful does not mean He is or has to be using all of His power all of the time. Usian bolt runs really fast, that does not mean he runs really fast all the time or every time he runs.


That would be one explanation, yes, and it's exactly the sort of thing I meant, but it's also somewhere between an assertion and a flailing guess. Can you back it up, scripturally? Or is it just what you're going with because the alternatives are a God who does want people in Hell or no God at all?

That is a false dichotomy. The Christian God can exist and not want people to go to hell, and as far as scriptual support Matthew 11:20-24. To save those cities all God had to do was preform the same miracles He preformed in those cities as he did in Jerusalem. Instead, He allowed them to continue sinning and be destroyed. Therefore it shows God would rather people exercise their free will and continue sinning, rather than showing miracles in their cities, which, by His own words, would save them.


Even if it's true, it's then deceptive to say without qualification that God doesn't want people in Hell. It would be better to say that He doesn't want people in Hell as long as they've made the right choice. Even then, there's a grey area for people who haven't been exposed to enough Christianity.

No its not. It's true. God does not want people to go to hell. Saying its deceptive to say He does not want people to go to hell without a qualification is about as deceptive as you saying "I want 100 dollars," when your desire for 1,000 dollars is greater.

Theological Discourse said...



Okay, so now God just owns the league and isn't on the field, which is the problem.

That isn't the problem. God is the owner, not the referee. People are referees, players, coaches etc. Just like the owners of the NFL are not the referees, players or coaches. In both cases that is how the "game" is designed to be played.


If the first official punishment isn't handed down by the boss until after a player's played his last game, there's no way for CEO God to actually improve his behaviour. The referees claim to speak with His authority, but nothing happens if the players challenge or ignore this, until it's too late.

God only hands out one punishment short of eternity in Hell, which is a stay in purgatory. People don't come back to life when they're finished that, so it has no preventative or rehabilitative power except as a threat.

Wrong. Punishments are handed down by the boss in both cases. Someone that steals will get a small punishment. Community service, probation, small fines or they reap what they sew, someone might steal from them. They steal again the punishment increases. These are 'warnings,' and if the thief fails to adhere he will continue to be punished. In the NFL its what I described. A warning, fine, suspension, then termination. "Punishments" are handed out throughout ones entire life, through warnings, jail time, reaping what they sew, etc.


I wondered whether you believed in that. A cataclysm doesn't really help from the perspective of the players or the referees, because they're all sent straight to judgement without a chance to improve or atone.



They had plenty of chances to improve or atone, but they got to a point where they weren't doing that anymore. If you remember, the flood didn't happen until

"The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time."

They were evil ALL of the time. The time for Atonement and repenting had passed. Its akin to the owner telling everyone in the NFL(caoches, players, referees) after everyone is not playing the game by the rules, "I've given many opportunities to repent, this is your last warning, you need to change your ways" and everyone responding back "**&* YOU" or simply not listening.


That's not the point, though, is it? God didn't go full Neptune until everyone but Noah's family was (supposedly) completely irredeemable - even by a non-lethal miracle, which He didn't try. What if He'd sent a skyscraping tidal wave to the shores a little earlier, but pulled it back? How many souls could He have saved that way?

We don't know what He did actually. You could be right and He never tried a non lethal miracle or you could be wrong and He tried multiple non lethal miracles, its a speculation either way. The fact that it was raining and people were making fun of Noah leads me to believe a massive tidal wave wouldn't have done anything.

Theological Discourse said...


Therefore there can be a world in which everyone both has free will and loves and obeys God, which means sin is not a necessary consequence of free will; in the right circumstances, free will and universal salvation need not be mutually exclusive. Either that, or Heaven is headed for a great fall.

Let's look at satan and Adam and Eve. All of them knew of God existence and power firsthand and yet still choose to rebel. This shows that the circumstances of being born or immediately coming into existence and experiencing God firsthand don't seem to be the ideal circumstances, as its gone awry twice already. The ideal circumstances seem to be people with free will living a lifetime of trusting and having faith in God THEN spending time with Him in eternity. How can one create these circumstances? well you need people with free will. They need to be born APART from God and they need to live their lives trusting and putting their faith in Him. Sounds exactly like this existence to me.
Why is there evil on earth? because of free will, people use their free will to do evil. Why do people go to hell? because they've sinned.
If creatures with free will that witness God first hand rebel i.e. the circumstances of satan and adam and eve(hence forth A), and creatures with free will that have not witnessed God but trust and put their faith in Him do not rebel(hence forth B), then it stands that creatures with free will that have not witnessed God firsthand will rebel(hence forth C). If it does not stand that C will not rebel(they might change if they witness God first hand), they will still go to hell because they've sinned and God hates sin so they cannot enter heaven anyway. Hell exists for people and angels that don't want to be with God or cannot be with God due to sin. In fact, hell was originally designed for satan and his angels in the first place (Matthew 25:41).

SmartLX said...

It doesn't matter why He put the fruit there. Placing the fruit, creating the fruit and creating the circumstances does not make it Gods fault in the slightest. The fall happened for 1 reason and 1 reason only...

If He hadn't put the fruit there, the Fall couldn't have happened. If He hadn't let the serpent in, the Fall wouldn't have happened. God literally enabled the Fall.

It is nothing like leaving a gun in a preschool. Adam and Eve were adults, not children, adults that knew they shouldn't eat from the tree AND knew the consequences of their actions should they eat it. Nothing like a preschool, nothing like children.

These adults were less educated than preschoolers in many senses. They'd never tested any authority before. They'd never heard a lie before the serpent told them they wouldn't die, so they really didn't know what would happen. And they'd never been disciplined in their lives. Children at least have some context in these situations. God left Adam and Eve unprepared.

...other cases would be parents "washing their hands" of the children, disowning them, wanting nothing to do with them because they're beyond hope and reason.

Who could possibly be beyond God's power to redeem? He's God. He's got no excuse to give up on anybody.

According to Genesis 6, people can reach a point where they're irredeemable. God can see that coming, and act beforehand. He doesn't.

SmartLX said...

You've convinced me, TD. Bold is a lot better than italics for quoting.

In the end times, God will take everyone that wants to play the "game" by the rules and kick everyone that wants to break the rules...

Actually, the end times are more like removing everyone from the game who does play by the rules (Rapture), and letting the game descend into chaos (Tribulation) before coming back and declaring Himself the winner (Second Coming). But it was a frivolous point of mine anyway.

Despite minor infractions being 'stomped on' players still get kicked out of the NFL.

Imagine how many more would be if there wasn't any of the mid-level discipline of the kind the refs can't give, like fines and suspensions.

Usian bolt runs really fast, that does not mean he runs really fast all the time or every time he runs.

Usain Bolt runs really fast whenever it's useful for him to run really fast. So far he hasn't decided to jog during a race. He'd have to have a really good reason to throw the race, for example a huge bribe. God's power is supposedly infinite so He could never use it fully anyway, but He would do more good if He used more of it more often. What do we think of someone who chooses not to do good?

That is a false dichotomy. The Christian God can exist and not want people to go to hell, and as far as scriptual support Matthew 11:20-24.

It's a trichotomy. Three options, including yours.

The Matthew passage can also be explained by supposing that God wanted to damn those cities, so He withheld miracles and now Jesus is gloating. Nothing in there about free will or God's actual desires.

...to say He does not want people to go to hell without a qualification is about as deceptive as you saying "I want 100 dollars," when your desire for 1,000 dollars is greater.

No, it's more like saying, "I want to give everyone 100 dollars," without mentioning that you want them all to work for you, forever, in return.

SmartLX said...

"Punishments" are handed out throughout ones entire life, through warnings, jail time, reaping what they sew, etc.

"Sow", dude. It's a farming reference, not to mention Biblical.

The earthly punishments would be great if they were actually punishing the same thing as God eventually will, and here the analogy is too simple. In anything but a Christian theocracy, there's no official punishment for not accepting Jesus. It's a binary proposition, and it's not tested until the very end. The CEO is at cross purposes with most of His staff. In other words, the punishments we get before death aren't really the kind that will save us.

They were evil ALL of the time. The time for Atonement and repenting had passed.

Exactly, God missed it. You say later that we don't know what miracles He tried beforehand, but we don't know from the Bible that He tried anything at all. And if He did try something, He failed.

The fact that it was raining and people were making fun of Noah leads me to believe a massive tidal wave wouldn't have done anything.

People are still meh about rain, and die in very gradual floods, because it doesn't look dangerous until you're up to your neck in it. Here in Queensland we're right in the middle of one. The moment the watery threat was described as a possible "tsunami", now that would get people moving. A flood was the least effective natural disaster God could have picked for creating a sense of urgency. Maybe He didn't want to.

Let's look at satan and Adam and Eve. All of them knew of God existence and power firsthand and yet still choose to rebel. This shows that the circumstances of being born or immediately coming into existence and experiencing God firsthand don't seem to be the ideal circumstances, as its gone awry twice already.

Satan influenced Adam and Eve, so it was two parts of the same "awry", but...do angels have free will, before we go any further?

Theological Discourse said...


If He hadn't put the fruit there, the Fall couldn't have happened. If He hadn't let the serpent in, the Fall wouldn't have happened. God literally enabled the Fall.

And if He hadn't made man with 2 arms to reach out and take the fruit the fall couldn't have happened. God enabled(made the fall possible) the fall in many ways, He also enabled the fall to NOT happen as well by telling them not to do it, but more importantly enabling it doesn't mean He is to blame. That is like saying the person that created the gun enabled every single murder from a gun.

These adults were less educated than preschoolers in many senses. They'd never tested any authority before. They'd never heard a lie before the serpent told them they wouldn't die, so they really didn't know what would happen. And they'd never been disciplined in their lives. Children at least have some context in these situations. God left Adam and Eve unprepared.

No they weren't, at least not in the sense that mattered. They knew what death was, they knew what fruit was, they knew what a tree was, they knew what eating was, they knew who God was, they knew the consequences for disobedience as well.


Who could possibly be beyond God's power to redeem? He's God. He's got no excuse to give up on anybody.

According to Genesis 6, people can reach a point where they're irredeemable. God can see that coming, and act beforehand. He doesn't.

No one is beyond His power to redeem, but they still need to choose to be redeemed in the first place. They have to repent and turn from their sins. God is not going to forcibly redeem someone.


Actually, the end times are more like removing everyone from the game who does play by the rules (Rapture), and letting the game descend into chaos (Tribulation) before coming back and declaring Himself the winner (Second Coming). But it was a frivolous point of mine anyway.

A more accurate analogy would be removing the people that want to play by the rules (rapture) destroying the people that don't want to play by the rules (tribulation) then doing a final remake that includes everyone that wants to play by the rules(2nd coming).


Imagine how many more would be if there wasn't any of the mid-level discipline of the kind the refs can't give, like fines and suspensions.

That's why people get warnings when they mess up.

Usain Bolt runs really fast whenever it's useful for him to run really fast. So far he hasn't decided to jog during a race. He'd have to have a really good reason to throw the race, for example a huge bribe. God's power is supposedly infinite so He could never use it fully anyway, but He would do more good if He used more of it more often. What do we think of someone who chooses not to do good?

So you agree that just because God is all powerful then he doesn't need to be using 100% of His power all the time? and what good is He not doing?


It's a trichotomy. Three options, including yours.

No, your assertion was a false dichotomy.

Theological Discourse said...


The Matthew passage can also be explained by supposing that God wanted to damn those cities, so He withheld miracles and now Jesus is gloating. Nothing in there about free will or God's actual desires.

It clearly shows 2 things. God knowing the miracles would save the cities and not doing them. This shows He would rather they continue in their sin than save them. Even if we pretend that He WANTED them to damned, it still supports my assertion that He would rather them use their free will to its ultimate consequence than save them. Just because the words 'free will' or 'desires' are not contained in the scripture does not mean they aren't there.

No, it's more like saying, "I want to give everyone 100 dollars," without mentioning that you want them all to work for you, forever, in return.

No, it isn't like that at all. God's desire for your free will is greater than His desire that you not go to hell. Your desire for 1000 dollars is greater than your desire for 100.

SmartLX said...

They knew what death was...they knew the consequences for disobedience as well.

They had no experience of death. There was no death, yet. And since they didn't know what a lie was, they didn't know what the consequences would be either. They'd heard two conflicting accounts, and they went with the most recent.

No one is beyond His power to redeem, but they still need to choose to be redeemed in the first place. God is not going to forcibly redeem someone.

Jesus didn't force people to do anything, but in a few short years of preaching he supposedly led many people to redeem themselves who otherwise wouldn't have. God could be saving more people by means other than force.

So you agree that just because God is all powerful then he doesn't need to be using 100% of His power all the time? and what good is He not doing?

Like I said, he can't use all of his infinite power in a finite world, but when it's within His power to do something He wants, there needs to be a reason not to or He would DO it. "Saving" people is good in His book, and he could be putting more people in a position to be "saved". Perhaps a very convincing (but not entirely verifiable, to maintain the need for faith) miracle in the middle of New York City to bring millions of people voluntarily to their knees?

No, your assertion was a false dichotomy.

I'm not asserting anything. I presented two options additional to yours, without dismissing your view. I merely suggested that you chose yours over my two because it's the one you prefer.

Even if we pretend that He WANTED them to damned, it still supports my assertion that He would rather them use their free will to its ultimate consequence than save them.

Okay, but thankyou for acknowledging that if we pretend/suppose that God wants them to be damned, the passage still makes sense. Therefore the passage does not demonstrate that He doesn't want them to be damned.

God's desire for your free will is greater than His desire that you not go to hell. Your desire for 1000 dollars is greater than your desire for 100.

How do you know? 1000 dollars might put me in a higher tax bracket.

Seriously though, God wants something more than for us not to go to Hell which actually jeopardises that, and makes it sound far less altruistic. That's what your parallel doesn't convey.

Theological Discourse said...


The earthly punishments would be great if they were actually punishing the same thing as God eventually will, and here the analogy is too simple. In anything but a Christian theocracy, there's no official punishment for not accepting Jesus. It's a binary proposition, and it's not tested until the very end. The CEO is at cross purposes with most of His staff. In other words, the punishments we get before death aren't really the kind that will save us.

They are the kind that will save us. They saved me, they saved a lot of other people I know as well. Some people are willfully stubborn, too prideful, etc. refusing to see the folly of their ways.


Exactly, God missed it. You say later that we don't know what miracles He tried beforehand, but we don't know from the Bible that He tried anything at all. And if He did try something, He failed.

Like you just admitted, you don't know what He did. He might not have missed it, He might've done something and people didn't respond, if people don't respond to His miracles that isn't His fault, its the people playing the "game" the way God designed it, using their free will.


People are still meh about rain, and die in very gradual floods, because it doesn't look dangerous until you're up to your neck in it. Here in Queensland we're right in the middle of one. The moment the watery threat was described as a possible "tsunami", now that would get people moving. A flood was the least effective natural disaster God could have picked for creating a sense of urgency. Maybe He didn't want to.

Doesn't matter if people are meh about rain. If you're living in a place where it doesn't rain for abnormally long periods of time and it starts raining for abnormally long periods of time, after a man says there's going to be a flood (and is actually building a boat and loading it with animals that should set a little bell off in your brain. More importantly, you're denying knowledge in one case and assuming it in the other. You're denying that people wouldn't be 'meh' about a tidal wave despite that being just an assumption and yet you're assuming people would be 'meh' about rain. For all you know the people back then would've thought like people do now, "the tidal wave is just a natural occurrence."


Satan influenced Adam and Eve, so it was two parts of the same "awry", but...do angels have free will, before we go any further?

no it wasn't 2 parts of the same awry. Angel = free will creature born in the presence of God and still rebelled. Adam and Eve = free will creatures born in the presence of God and still rebelled. These are two separate occasions of creatures with free will being born and witnessing God first hand rebelling against Him. The fact that the first case of rebellion influenced the 2nd one is irrelevant, because the salient point is, free will creatures being born witnessing God first hand isn't a deterrent for sinning.
The rebellion of satan suggests that angels have free will.

SmartLX said...

Like you just admitted, you don't know what He did. He might not have missed it, He might've done something and people didn't respond, if people don't respond to His miracles that isn't His fault, its the people playing the "game" the way God designed it, using their free will.

That's an interesting spin on the idea that if He tried something, He failed, but we supposedly know God can and does influence people at some point in their lives. Nobody in the pre-Flood world was saved except the family of the guy He told directly.

You're denying that people wouldn't be 'meh' about a tidal wave despite that being just an assumption and yet you're assuming people would be 'meh' about rain.

Here's the difference: how many people have ever been meh about a visible tidal wave bearing down on them? About something approaching which, if it hit them in the same form as they could currently see it, would plainly kill them? For that threat not to save more people than the coming Flood did, every single person on the planet (save eight) would have to be meh.

The fact that the first case of rebellion influenced the 2nd one is irrelevant, because the salient point is, free will creatures being born witnessing God first hand isn't a deterrent for sinning.
The rebellion of satan suggests that angels have free will.


Okay, so God gives free will to everything sentient.

I'm not going to be able to convince you of any inconsistency here, I can see that, so I give up. I really did wonder whether and how this idea hung together, so this has been an education.

Theological Discourse said...


They had no experience of death. There was no death, yet. And since they didn't know what a lie was, they didn't know what the consequences would be either. They'd heard two conflicting accounts, and they went with the most recent.

One does not need to experience death personally for them to be aware of it, God could've easily communicated to them what death is. Genesis 2:5 shows God creating man. Then Genesis 2:16 shows God telling the man to eat from any tree he wants except the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but Adam had never eaten anything before, much less fruit, much less knew what a tree was(since God had just placed Him in the garden) which shows God communicating to Adam what eating was without Adam ever haven eaten anything. Furthermore, Genesis 3:1-2 shows Eve repeating what God told her when the serpant initially tried talking to her. So she knew she wasn't supposed to eat from the tree and she knew death was to be avoided. Secondly, she knew what deception was, since she said "The serpent deceived me."



Jesus didn't force people to do anything, but in a few short years of preaching he supposedly led many people to redeem themselves who otherwise wouldn't have. God could be saving more people by means other than force.

They had to freely choose Him, and a lot more people DIDN'T follow Him than did. Furthermore His message didn't really take off until He left. It looks like He did more good than bad (as far as saving people) by going back to heaven, which is why He said what He said in John 16:7.


Like I said, he can't use all of his infinite power in a finite world, but when it's within His power to do something He wants, there needs to be a reason not to or He would DO it. "Saving" people is good in His book, and he could be putting more people in a position to be "saved". Perhaps a very convincing (but not entirely verifiable, to maintain the need for faith) miracle in the middle of New York City to bring millions of people voluntarily to their knees?

John 6:26-27 shows why God does not preform the miracles you describe. After Jesus was finished feeding 5000 people and walking on water, He said the following:

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

The type of miracles you want God to preform seem to cause people to come to God for the wrong reasons.

Secondly, due to people being stubborn or prideful, will simply ignore the miracles. Matthew 11:20-24 shows Jesus cursing the cities that didn't repent despite the miracles He did in them. God did miracles in the desert but just weeks/months later the Israelite still complained. Revelations 16:9-11 has God showing non lethal miracles(people being seared with heat) and people still refuse to repent. Luke 16:31 says people won't be convinced if someone is raised from the dead, and they weren't.


Secondly, Why would that be convincing? how do you know people wouldn't just say its some sort of natural occurrence? what about hundreds of birds just falling out of the sky at different locations? why is one ambiguous event supposed to save people but another one isn't?


I'm not asserting anything. I presented two options additional to yours, without dismissing your view. I merely suggested that you chose yours over my two because it's the one you prefer.

Your assertion is here:

the alternatives are a God who does want people in Hell or no God at all?

You said there are only 2 alternatives, when there are more than 2.

Theological Discourse said...


Okay, but thankyou for acknowledging that if we pretend/suppose that God wants them to be damned, the passage still makes sense. Therefore the passage does not demonstrate that He doesn't want them to be damned.

I didn't acknowledge that. I said if we pretend that God wants them to be damned, my point is still made, I never said if we pretend that God wants them to be damned the passage still makes sense.


Even if we pretend that He WANTED them to damned, it still supports my assertion that He would rather them use their free will to its ultimate consequence than save them.


see, I said it still supports my ASSERTION. I never said the passage makes sense if its read that way.


How do you know? 1000 dollars might put me in a higher tax bracket.

Is your desire for 1000 dollars greater than your desire for 100 dollars yes or no?
If no then plug in someone whos desire for 1000 is greater than their desire for 100. Its an example to show a line of reasoning.

Seriously though, God wants something more than for us not to go to Hell which actually jeopardises that, and makes it sound far less altruistic. That's what your parallel doesn't convey.

Ya, its free will and it isn't far less altruistic. He desires your absolute freedom, you can live your life how you want to live it, which is more altruistic than forcing people to live it they way He thinks He should live it.

SmartLX said...

Your assertion is here:

the alternatives are a God who does want people in Hell or no God at all?


Read what came before it. By the above I meant the alternatives to the idea that God wants free will more. So there are three options, including yours; my two are the alternative options to yours.

Other than that, I've realised I probably can't convince you of anything at all in this particular exchange, so I'm going to let this be.

Theological Discourse said...


Read what came before it. By the above I meant the alternatives to the idea that God wants free will more. So there are three options, including yours; my two are the alternative options to yours.

By saying your 2 options were alternatives you were not including mine in there. When something is an alternative, it suggests it isn't included.



Other than that, I've realised I probably can't convince you of anything at all in this particular exchange, so I'm going to let this be.

You need sound logic and evidence to convince me of anything. All the talking points you brought up such as why doesn't God give us miracles, why weren't we all born in 'heaven' already, it wasn't adam and eves fault, etc etc. everything along those lines, is easily covered and explained in the bible. All you need to do is apply logic.

Reynold said...

Don't blame us atheists for being wrong about hell pal!

Quote: poor Sunday school theology or highly inaccurate, atheisitic apologetics

Blame the preachers and your fellow xians (Billy Graham, Ray Comfort, Jack Chick, most of the idiots I've seen in the pulpits when I used to go to church, etc.) who preach verses from your own holy book like:

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42

If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. Matthew 18:8-9

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41


Then there's that "Lazarus" story, with the rich man being in torment while this "lazarus" guy is in peace on the other side of some chasm, or the lake of fire mentioned in the final judgment of revelations?

Get your own act straight, people before pushing your views on us, ok?

Come on...you have this supposedly "infallible" book given by an "omniscient" "perfect" god...why can't you get it together on just what the damned thing is supposed to mean?

It is so damned stupid that you people lack the bloody basic integrity to fess up to your own mistakes and differing interpretations of your own book, intead just blaming athiests for your own inconsistencies.

Now, as to the differing levels of punishment in hell; the preachers I've talked to merely refer to the flames being hotter for some than for others.

Duke of Earl said...

What is hell like?

theskepticalmagician said...

Whether hell is looked at as literal place of flames (which is what I would consider the accurate Biblical representation of hell), or as a figurative place of suffering, it makes no sense when one considers the deep philosophical problems that the whole concept creates....... http://theskepticalmagician.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/a-horrific-tale-rob-bell-love-wins/