Love Wins - Hell Jun 3, 2012 6:48:40 GMT -5
Post by brianc on Jun 3, 2012 6:48:40 GMT -5
I apologize for sounding so certain. It's simply true that I can't believe in the annihilation of souls, but that surely does not mean that it can't be true. There's definitely bound to be tons of holes in my second-hand philosophy.
I bet if you toss the most selfish person in the world into hell for even a few minutes, he'll become the must humble person in the world and be begging God to forgive him.
I don't think punishment is the only analogy by which to think of hell. As I tried to say in my previous post, I think hell is the natural result of selfishness. God is all joy and love and peace; outside of God's presence, there is only torment and endless unsatisfied devouring. We were created to worship God, and we can never be satisfied without Him.
Let's say a person was living a lie and had hurt a friend badly. One day, the friend returned, and the person was now confronted with his offense. He could go to the friend and face the truth of what he had done. But if he is too proud to admit that he had been living a lie, the only thing left for him is to leave the presence of the friend forever. And if the friend happens to be the only source of joy and goodness, there will never again be any joy for this person.
Now, I think that God must take a more proactive role in the final Judgement. There is probably another sense in which hell actually is a punishment. But I think it is also a choice by the damned, a choice to writhe in their miserable self-pity forever. All the people in hell probably go on accusing God of being unjust, imagining themselves as righteous sufferers and refusing to admit the fact that they were and forever are sinners. They are God's enemies by their own declaration and do not want to be reconciled with Him. I think that by sending them to hell, God gives them the only thing they ever wanted -- independence from God, the ability to pretend to be their own gods. God gives everyone what they want in the end, but not everyone will like what they receive.
Of course, I cannot be certain of any of this, as I am not the measure of truth. It's just what I think is my best conception of things that I can't understand, what I think is most likely to be most true. And I know that my ideas can't be completely true, because my reasoning and understanding are both deeply flawed.
The question here isn't whether people go to a hell or a hell-type place. I think it's the question of if hell is eternal or if there is a chance that Jesus will, at some point, give the people there a chance to repent and be saved.
I don't think people in hell will have any idea of who Jesus is. I think there's absolutely nothing good in hell, and no memory of anything good even. Just as there is a verse that says we won't remember our lives before when we're in heaven (all sins and mistakes forgotten), I think hell may be the same, but in the opposite manner--remembering nothing good in life. And if God is the only one good, then we wouldn't remember Him while we're there. It's just a theory, of course.
I believe people choose to go to hell by choosing selfishness. However, selfishness, in and of itself, seeks what is best for self. Therefore, if they get to hell and see that their selfishness got them there, they would be seeking a way out. If there's one thing that's certain, it's that selfish people are never satisfied. Therefore, when Jesus comes down and says, "If you just repent of your sins and ask for forgiveness, I can save you and take you to a place much better than this," my guess is that they're going to jump on that chance out of selfishness, which will turn into selflessness when they're saved. That's completely theory, though, of course. No biblical backing for that outside of the verse that says Jesus made proclamation to the spirits in prison, whatever that means.
I simply choose to withhold judgment on this matter since it's not provable. That's all. I don't want to tell someone they'll burn forever if I can't prove it biblically, and I don't want to tell them they'll be saved out of hell eventually for the same reason. I don't know. No way to know, really. So, it comes back to running the race to win, being a light to the world, and winning as many as we can right now and focusing only on God rather than hell. That's really all we can do.