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Love Wins: a Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived

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This topic does not belong in Questioning Faith and does not presuppose the non-existence of God.

It is based on something I've chewed on for years. I've started reading Rob Bell's book, Love Wins: a Book about Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.

41SJcK3PlDL.jpg

The topic DOES pre-suppose that the Bible doesn't provide many of the answers we need to VERY important questions about life and living.

Eugene H Peterson said about Bell's book,
 

Quote

In the current religious climate in America, it isn't easy to develop a thoroughly biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination.


Love Wins accomplishes this without a trace of the soft sentimentality and without compromising an inch of evangelical conviction in its proclamation of the good news that is most truly for us all.

 


Bell raises numerous thought provoking questions that will help the reader think outside the box that both contemporary Christian churches and especially TWI stuffed God. For starters:

"Of all the billions of people who have ever lived, will only a select number "make it to a better place" and every single other person suffer in torment and punishment forever? Is this acceptable to God? Has God created millions [billions] of people over tens of thousands of years who are going to spend etermity in anguish? Can God do this, or even allow this, and still claim to be a loving God?"

"Does God punish people for thousands of years with infinite, eternal torment for things they did in their few finite years of life?"

"This doesn't just raise disturbing questions about God, it raises questions about the beliefs themselves.
Why them?
Why you?
Why me?
Why not him or her or them?"

For perspective, how freaking narcissistic does that make Victor Paul Wierwille and The Way International by claiming they had the ONLY way to be in the "Household of God?" How indeed?

Or how about Vince Finnegan who reportedly has repudiated claims that once one gets saved (as we understood, by way of Romans 10:9-10), that's it. Has Vince really preached that God will cast believers in to the Lake of Fire if they don't toe Vince's (or anyone else's interpretation of what one must comply with to remain saved) line?

I invite Greasespotters to read Rob Bell's book with me. More background on Rob Bell. From Time.com April 14, 2011

"The standard Christian view of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is summed up in the Gospel of John, which promises "eternal life" to "whosoever believeth in Him." Traditionally, the key is the acknowledgment that Jesus is the Son of God, who, in the words of the ancient creed, "for us and for our salvation came down from heaven ... and was made man." In the Evangelical ethos, one either accepts this and goes to heaven or refuses and goes to hell.

 

"Bell, a tall, 40-year-old son of a Michigan federal judge, begs to differ. He suggests that the redemptive work of Jesus may be universal — meaning that, as his book's subtitle puts it, "every person who ever lived" could have a place in heaven, whatever that turns out to be.

 

Edited by Rocky

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The Myths of Hell

My goal is to also write a book. One of the chapters of my future book is on this web site with link above which I did. Rob Bell sounds like he is not a hateful person mixed with common sense and likely a study of the bible also. To use demonic theology and believe that immediately after death all people go to either hell for eternal torment or heaven for eternal pleasure is crazy. This was not part of the Old Testament theology. Hell is instead the grave or the place of death. And biblical translators see this with newer biblical versions for example the NIV, having ZERO usages of the word Hell in the entire Old Testament.  The doctrine of hell originated with Greek, Roman and perhaps other mystic theology. Hell is simply the grave or the place of death. It takes God the creator to raise people from the dead.

The first man to be raised from the dead to live eternally is Jesus Christ. All Christian who read the bible and believe in Jesus Christ should see this. Otherwise they are dumb-dee dumb dumb. In the actual bible for people who know how to read. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have the followers of Jesus Christ to be raised from the dead next and this is when Jesus Christ returns.  We have seen this in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Then in the figurative book of Revelation chapter 20, we have the first resurrection with those who were persecuted for the work of God being raised from the dead. Next we have what can be called the resurrection of the unjust.  The outcome of this resurrection is not clearly stated in the figurative and not literal book of Revelation. However, since God is referred to as the God of love. What is the purpose of raising humans from the dead???? To torture them only? Or to improve them with perhaps some punishment, which we often get now, but to at least try to purify their sin nature so that they can see how good and loving Jesus Christ is, while following him. The clearest example of this in the bible is Jesus Christ appearing to Saul, also named Paul; and getting him to change from one of the most hateful persecutors of the followers of Jesus Christ to the best teacher of Jesus Christ and God's word as seen in the New Testament. This is clearly seen by reading Acts chapter 9. 

Acts Chapter 9

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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2 hours ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

The Myths of Hell

My goal is to also write a book. One of the chapters of my future book is on this web site with link above which I did. Rob Bell sounds like he is not a hateful person. To use demonic theology and believe that immediately after death all people go to either hell for eternal torment or heaven for eternal pleasure is crazy. This was not part of the Old Testament theology. Hell is instead the grave or the place of death. And biblical translators see this with newer biblical versions for example the NIV, having ZERO usages of the word Hell in the entire Old Testament.  The doctrine of hell originated with Greek, Roman and perhaps other mystic theology. Hell is simply the grave or the place of death. It takes God the creator to raise people from the dead.

The first man to be raised from the dead to live eternally is Jesus Christ. All Christian who read the bible and believe in Jesus Christ should see this. Otherwise they are dumb-dee dumb dumb. In the actual bible for people who know how to read. After the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have the followers of Jesus Christ to be raised to be with Jesus when Jesus Christ returns.  Then in the figurative book of Revelation chapter 20, we have the first resurrection with those who were persecuted for the work of God being raised from the dead. Next we have what can be called the resurrection of the unjust.  The outcome of this resurrection is not clearly stated in the figurative and not literal book of Revelation. However, since God is referred to as the God of love. What is the purpose of raising humans from the dead???? To torture them only? Or to improve them with perhaps some punishment, which we often get now, but to at least try to purify their sin nature so that they can see how good and loving Jesus Christ is, while following him. The clearest example of this in the bible is Jesus Christ appearing to Saul, also named Paul; and getting him to change from one of the most hateful persecutors of the followers of Jesus Christ to the best teacher of Jesus Christ and God's word as seen in the New Testament. This is clearly seen by reading Acts chapter 9. 

Acts Chapter 9

My goal in this is not to write a book, but to read one and discuss it. I hope you join me in that endeavor.

 

23 hours ago, Rocky said:

In the current religious climate in America, it isn't easy to develop a thoroughly biblical imagination that takes in the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people and all circumstances in love and for salvation. Rob Bell goes a long way in helping us acquire just such an imagination.

 

Mark, rather than comment on your post, which I suppose many people (especially here at GSC) could debate, I'd like to highlight what I believe is important about Rob Bell's book. It isn't easy to develop a thoroughly biblical imagination that incorporates the comprehensive and eternal work of Christ in all people... etc. I hope you can get hold of a copy of the book and consider the many questions Bell raises. Pondering those questions is a great way, IMO, to expand our ability to imagine (some of) what might be that is beyond what we've been able to grasp thus far in our lives.

 

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Rocky, I hope that you enjoy reading Rob Bell's book. Rob Bell sounds like he is NOT a hateful person mixed with common sense and likely a study of the bible that he teaches from. I hope it is OK to agree with you at least in part. Or should I apologize for agreeing with you????? :biglaugh:

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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While I can't say I agree on ALL points, I agree with Mark that a lot of the doctrine was adapted from Greco-Roman mythology,  of shades in the underworld, tortured for eternity.   I agree with him and Rob Bell that I don't buy the idea that lots of humanity will be (or are) tortured for centuries or forever.   I don't see that squaring the the Bible, and I don't see that squaring with God's M.O.     There was a quote, attributed to Mark Twain, where he supposedly didn't agree with it, either.   It's one thing to destroy a villain, it is another to punish for a time during his sentence, but to torture forever made no sense to him.     (I just don't see "eternal torture for humanity" working on paper.) 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Rocky, I hope that you enjoy reading Rob Bell's book. Rob Bell sounds like he is NOT a hateful person mixed with common sense and likely a study of the bible that he teaches from. I hope it is OK to agree with you at least in part. Or should I apologize for agreeing with you????? :biglaugh:

No need to apologize for any part of it, agreeing or disagreeing with me. :wave:

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56 minutes ago, WordWolf said:

While I can't say I agree on ALL points, I agree with Mark that a lot of the doctrine was adapted from Greco-Roman mythology,  of shades in the underworld, tortured for eternity.   I agree with him and Rob Bell that I don't buy the idea that lots of humanity will be (or are) tortured for centuries or forever.   I don't see that squaring the the Bible, and I don't see that squaring with God's M.O.     There was a quote, attributed to Mark Twain, where he supposedly didn't agree with it, either.   It's one thing to destroy a villain, it is another to punish for a time during his sentence, but to torture forever made no sense to him.     (I just don't see "eternal torture for humanity" working on paper.) 

 

 

Nor do I.

 

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1 hour ago, WordWolf said:

While I can't say I agree on ALL points, I agree with Mark that a lot of the doctrine was adapted from Greco-Roman mythology,  of shades in the underworld, tortured for eternity.   I agree with him and Rob Bell that I don't buy the idea that lots of humanity will be (or are) tortured for centuries or forever.   I don't see that squaring the the Bible, and I don't see that squaring with God's M.O.     There was a quote, attributed to Mark Twain, where he supposedly didn't agree with it, either.   It's one thing to destroy a villain, it is another to punish for a time during his sentence, but to torture forever made no sense to him.     (I just don't see "eternal torture for humanity" working on paper.) 

 

 

Yes and the word sometimes translated as eternal in bible versions are the Greek words "aion" and "aionios"". In English these biblical words are also often translated 'age". All usages of the Greek word for eternal in the book of Revelation is the Greek word often translated as "age" or "ages" in other New Testament scriptures. I can looks this up because of my biblical study software that I have. Age is a period of time that could be long or short.

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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1 hour ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Yes and the word sometimes translated as eternal in bible versions are the Greek words "aion" and "aionios"". In English these biblical words are also often translated 'age". All usages of the Greek word for eternal in the book of Revelation is the Greek word often translated as "age" or "ages" in other New Testament scriptures. I can looks this up because of my biblical study software that I have. Age is a period of time that could be long or short.

Rob Bell addresses that particular point in chapter two.

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Here also is a web site article that I have learned from on the subject of age using the original Greek N.T. words. I have read this article at least once and learned from it. This article was written by someone named Mark Sanguinetti. I wonder who that person is because I sometimes call myself Marky Spaghetti instead of Mark Sanguinetti? 

Age and the Greek Words Aion and Aionios

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At the risk of over generalizing and not really getting into the weeds on his book (yet) I would say I agree more with the side he's on (I think) .... more than not. I'll try to come back to this Rocky - it's an invigorating topic. :anim-smile:

In brief, I don't see that the Bible teaches specifically that the outcome of God's creations, expectation of that creation and subsequent evaluation (judgment) of those creations is to exalt and reward the one's He likes forever (approves of, let's say) and to punish those he doesn't. 

God's view of things is often described in very human terms in the Bible, even what I'd call humanistic terms - like God being a "jealous" God and God's "vengeance"....mans' definition of many of those words doesn't fit with the God we see presented in Genesis nor in how He trends throughout the subsequent records, although that's how He's described but I never come to the same conclusion as say an angry Preacher shouting out God's Just Hell to all sinners everywhere - God clearly complex but seems to be put forward as One who is at work "creatively" - a word that gets closest to how I (in what I will confess to be very humble perspective) see the Bible's Elohim/Jehovah working. Sovereign, yes. Creative, yes. At work, yes. 

That's not to refute the inspirational source of the Bible itself, but rather to say it puts meat on the bones of how to understand it..........and the angst of man's struggles isn't one that's going to be at the essence of how a creator and giver of life who nourishes His relationships....feels. Or thinks. It does however give a level of emotional definition to God, and that's an important aspect of understanding God that Bell's book retains. 

Put another way I see God, whoy loves as strongly as many believe He hates and the result is a level of paradoxical "love" that we come to understand through qualities like grace, mercy and forgiveness...qualities that would seem to hint at a far broader Mind at work. 

I don't believe there's eternal punishment in store for those who don't accept Christ as savior, no but I can get into that further in this discussion (it involves what "Life" is and how the Bible teaches it). I do believe the entire message of Christ we're to live and spread is one of hope, of trust and of caring. I can't "BE" a Christian or "BE" saved and hate my brothers or even those who strike out against me - Jesus said "Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing"...... we are not all made by our own hand and intent - we are born who we are, where, at the age and times and to the people we are - completely outside our own ability to plan. People like to say we're accountable and responsible and we "make our own choices"....and we are and we do but we are not a law nor a law give unto ourselves.......

So our ability to be right or wrong or even understand either one and "believe" in any one thing or not, is limited outta the gate. IMO. And Bell hits on that somewhat in that Book if I remember right, I read it years ago, seems like it anyway. 

PEACE!!!

 

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3 hours ago, socks said:

At the risk of over generalizing and not really getting into the weeds on his book (yet) I would say I agree more with the side he's on (I think) .... more than not. I'll try to come back to this Rocky - it's an invigorating topic:anim-smile:

In brief, I don't see that the Bible teaches specifically that the outcome of God's creations, expectation of that creation and subsequent evaluation (judgment) of those creations is to exalt and reward the one's He likes forever (approves of, let's say) and to punish those he doesn't. 

God's view of things is often described in very human terms in the Bible, even what I'd call humanistic terms - like God being a "jealous" God and God's "vengeance"....mans' definition of many of those words doesn't fit with the God we see presented in Genesis nor in how He trends throughout the subsequent records, although that's how He's described but I never come to the same conclusion as say an angry Preacher shouting out God's Just Hell to all sinners everywhere - God clearly complex but seems to be put forward as One who is at work "creatively" - a word that gets closest to how I (in what I will confess to be very humble perspective) see the Bible's Elohim/Jehovah working. Sovereign, yes. Creative, yes. At work, yes. 

That's not to refute the inspirational source of the Bible itself, but rather to say it puts meat on the bones of how to understand it..........and the angst of man's struggles isn't one that's going to be at the essence of how a creator and giver of life who nourishes His relationships....feels. Or thinks. It does however give a level of emotional definition to God, and that's an important aspect of understanding God that Bell's book retains. 

Put another way I see God, who loves as strongly as many believe He hates and the result is a level of paradoxical "love" that we come to understand through qualities like grace, mercy and forgiveness...qualities that would seem to hint at a far broader Mind at work. 

I don't believe there's eternal punishment in store for those who don't accept Christ as savior, no but I can get into that further in this discussion (it involves what "Life" is and how the Bible teaches it). I do believe the entire message of Christ we're to live and spread is one of hope, of trust and of caring. I can't "BE" a Christian or "BE" saved and hate my brothers or even those who strike out against me - Jesus said "Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing"...... we are not all made by our own hand and intent - we are born who we are, where, at the age and times and to the people we are - completely outside our own ability to plan. People like to say we're accountable and responsible and we "make our own choices"....and we are and we do but we are not a law nor a law give unto ourselves.......

So our ability to be right or wrong or even understand either one and "believe" in any one thing or not, is limited outta the gate. IMO. And Bell hits on that somewhat in that Book if I remember right, I read it years ago, seems like it anyway. 

PEACE!!!

 

YES!

Love Wins was published in 2011. I appreciate that you enjoyed the book and have added to the conversation. I look forward to more of your insight reflecting on it. :love3:

 

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Well, couple things off the bat, and I'm sure others will chime in....

First point - The issue of God's sovereignty - some people want to believe that if some of us aren't getting condemned to hell forever then some of us are "getting off the hook".....that a righteous God will serve up justice to those who disobey him and the penalty needs to be eternal punishment of some sort. Needless to say whether it's eternal burning or getting pitchforked forever or maybe just having to hang out with Hitler and some of those nasty assed Popes, it's not something anyone will like. 

Conversely they believe True Justice will be served when God extends magnanimous gestures of grace and mercy to some of us, no matter how bumbling, incompetent, selfish and inept we really were and waves us through to an eternity of fun with the Son because - I dunno - He "Likes Us", maybe, for whatever reasons....? The assumption is that those who believe this will be most likely to get the pass, of course. 

The scariest version of this is hard core Calvinist theology, salvation by grace, not works, and that God by His own will chooses who will and won't "be saved". One of the weirder splinter teachers of Christian Reformed Calvinist theology was "Harold Camping" who taught what they call hyper Calvinism with a twist of his own to it - he made the news for awhile because he was predicting the return of Christ from the Bible's "data". More than once. I loved to listen to his call in radio show at night when I'd be on long drives. He was down right creepy, but it kept me awake. : )

That hyper Calvinism also covers the section in Ephesians where it talks about "predestination" - in that Calvinist view that means that God predestines and decides everything - who believes, who doesn't, what happens and when, etc. Everything that happens must happen that way because God is "in charge". So if God doesn't want some of us to believe in Him, we're not going to. Some of us will "go to hell" forever, because that's what He wants. "The Elect" and those He chooses, those "sheep" He gives to His Son the Shepherd, will be saved. Others, won't be, by God's determination. 

These beliefs were codified by some churches in response to theology like Bell's proposing so that they could shut the door tight on any possibilities that might include those who might get or even deserve "a second chance" or perhaps never had even heard of Jesus Christ. Figure - if God wants them, they're gettin' in, regardless. 

And If I understand it correctly this drills deeper into that predestination plan of God's where He already knows who would believe or not BECAUSE HE MAKES THEM THAT WAY. 

BUT - This "administration of grace", of the church of Christ of both Gentile and Jew reflects an inclusion of PEOPLE THAT WEREN'T INCLUDED BEFORE CHRIST. So really, the very existence of this time period reflects God's desire for the world to be drawn to Him in ways PREVIOUSLY NOT UNDERSTOOD but now in movement as an entire world hears a message that the Jews didn't believe was directly for anyone but themselves.....ironic in a way. 

So, this is kind of chatty I know, but I don't want to presume to try to teach a history of theology here - there's a lot of things this doesn't cover, but I as far as I've studied, the real core, real platform, real foundation of disagreement on any of Bell's premise(s) is the question of heaven or hell, but under it all it's the belief that  Bell's position questions and demeans God's Ultimate Authority. 

And by association, their authority. Cause there's a LOT OF POWER in having the one clear voice of God's will. Lot of power. Hell, you can even demand people pay you to hear it. :wink2:

-

My take on it is that if God has given us the ability to choose - and He clearly has from Day One of man's relationship with Him - then it reflects His sovereign will to use it. 

Remember the "first and great commandment" is "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. "

If I don't insert my own logic into that statement then I have to assume that God's logic is clear - He's telling me what He wants me to do, so that I can do that. 

It's not of concern to me whether or not I am even able to do it or not - if I hear that I have to assume that I should choose to do that, to obey that commandment and my next concern is "how". 

It's important to see that Jesus never taught people that came to Him to hear him and be helped by Him that they couldn't be helped. He never said "No, my Father has said I can't heal you", or "Sorry, you can't have any of the bread or fish, you're not included in this, my Father doesn't want you". 

He did reject those who rejected Him, who sought to kill him, He did reprove those who taught error and led people astray and who sought their own good and not the good of God and His people. 

Not many were turned away who came to Him seeking help - there was the one guy who asked Him to help settle a family inheritance issue, and he told the guy he wasn't a judge of those affairs over him (there were others who could do that).....There were some people who turned away from Him after one particular teaching, but it doesn't said He sent them away, it says they left. Another person He told to see all he had and give it away and that person didn't want to do that so they left. But Jesus never looked a person in the eye who was asking Him and who wanted to follow Him and said "Beat it, my Father tells me He didn't plan for you to believe".

People say that today, but I don't see that Jesus took that route. God's "sovereignty" means that what God has put in place and done is what's going to happen, and since He's given us these lives and minds that are designed to think, act, choose, respond and learn, we are going to have to learn to function in this world the way He's made it and with the plans He's put in place. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, socks said:

Well, couple things off the bat, and I'm sure others will chime in....

First point - The issue of God's sovereignty - some people want to believe that if some of us aren't getting condemned to hell forever then some of us are "getting off the hook".....that a righteous God will serve up justice to those who disobey him and the penalty needs to be eternal punishment of some sort. Needless to say whether it's eternal burning or getting pitchforked forever or maybe just having to hang out with Hitler and some of those nasty assed Popes, it's not something anyone will like. 

Conversely they believe True Justice will be served when God extends magnanimous gestures of grace and mercy to some of us, no matter how bumbling, incompetent, selfish and inept we really were and waves us through to an eternity of fun with the Son because - I dunno - He "Likes Us", maybe, for whatever reasons....? The assumption is that those who believe this will be most likely to get the pass, of course. 

The scariest version of this is hard core Calvinist theology, salvation by grace, not works, and that God by His own will chooses who will and won't "be saved". One of the weirder splinter teachers of Christian Reformed Calvinist theology was "Harold Camping" who taught what they call hyper Calvinism with a twist of his own to it - he made the news for awhile because he was predicting the return of Christ from the Bible's "data". More than once. I loved to listen to his call in radio show at night when I'd be on long drives. He was down right creepy, but it kept me awake. : )

That hyper Calvinism also covers the section in Ephesians where it talks about "predestination" - in that Calvinist view that means that God predestines and decides everything - who believes, who doesn't, what happens and when, etc. Everything that happens must happen that way because God is "in charge". So if God doesn't want some of us to believe in Him, we're not going to. Some of us will "go to hell" forever, because that's what He wants. "The Elect" and those He chooses, those "sheep" He gives to His Son the Shepherd, will be saved. Others, won't be, by God's determination. 

These beliefs were codified by some churches in response to theology like Bell's proposing so that they could shut the door tight on any possibilities that might include those who might get or even deserve "a second chance" or perhaps never had even heard of Jesus Christ. Figure - if God wants them, they're gettin' in, regardless. 

And If I understand it correctly this drills deeper into that predestination plan of God's where He already knows who would believe or not BECAUSE HE MAKES THEM THAT WAY. 

BUT - This "administration of grace", of the church of Christ of both Gentile and Jew reflects an inclusion of PEOPLE THAT WEREN'T INCLUDED BEFORE CHRIST. So really, the very existence of this time period reflects God's desire for the world to be drawn to Him in ways PREVIOUSLY NOT UNDERSTOOD but now in movement as an entire world hears a message that the Jews didn't believe was directly for anyone but themselves.....ironic in a way. 

So, this is kind of chatty I know, but I don't want to presume to try to teach a history of theology here - there's a lot of things this doesn't cover, but I as far as I've studied, the real core, real platform, real foundation of disagreement on any of Bell's premise(s) is the question of heaven or hell, but under it all it's the belief that  Bell's position questions and demeans God's Ultimate Authority. 

And by association, their authority. Cause there's a LOT OF POWER in having the one clear voice of God's will. Lot of power. Hell, you can even demand people pay you to hear it. :wink2:

-

My take on it is that if God has given us the ability to choose - and He clearly has from Day One of man's relationship with Him - then it reflects His sovereign will to use it. 

Remember the "first and great commandment" is "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. "

If I don't insert my own logic into that statement then I have to assume that God's logic is clear - He's telling me what He wants me to do, so that I can do that. 

It's not of concern to me whether or not I am even able to do it or not - if I hear that I have to assume that I should choose to do that, to obey that commandment and my next concern is "how". 

It's important to see that Jesus never taught people that came to Him to hear him and be helped by Him that they couldn't be helped. He never said "No, my Father has said I can't heal you", or "Sorry, you can't have any of the bread or fish, you're not included in this, my Father doesn't want you". 

He did reject those who rejected Him, who sought to kill him, He did reprove those who taught error and led people astray and who sought their own good and not the good of God and His people. 

Not many were turned away who came to Him seeking help - there was the one guy who asked Him to help settle a family inheritance issue, and he told the guy he wasn't a judge of those affairs over him (there were others who could do that).....There were some people who turned away from Him after one particular teaching, but it doesn't said He sent them away, it says they left. Another person He told to see all he had and give it away and that person didn't want to do that so they left. But Jesus never looked a person in the eye who was asking Him and who wanted to follow Him and said "Beat it, my Father tells me He didn't plan for you to believe".

People say that today, but I don't see that Jesus took that route. God's "sovereignty" means that what God has put in place and done is what's going to happen, and since He's given us these lives and minds that are designed to think, act, choose, respond and learn, we are going to have to learn to function in this world the way He's made it and with the plans He's put in place. 

 

 

 

Yes, yes and YES! 

I won't pretend to have any authoritative take one way or the other on the historical issues you listed. But the rest of it makes TOTAL sense to me.

Preach it Socks!

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Well, thanks, Rocky. Kind of sorting through some stuff on this - I wrote a thing titled "Was Jesus A Calvinist?" but don't know where it is, it'll turn up. 

I want to be careful with not getting too far off your original topic, buuuut I would say that how we define mans' so-called "free will" and "freedom to choose" are important  in this topic. In the bible anyway, will is associated with what we "want" to do, and what we plan to do....I will go to the store, I will open the door. It's a capacity, ability to determine or decide. It would be a function of our "nous" then, our minds which is part of the "psuche" or life we have. We're living breathing people, and we have individual minds that can think, consider, decide, plan. BUT WITHIN THE SCOPE AND PARAMETERS IN WHICH THAT CAPACITY EXISTS. We're human, we're not God. I can't say "Let there be light" and expect anything to happen unless I turn on a lamp, as a human being. 

Freedom to choose, making a choice, is us exercising that will, that capacity. Like picking which shirt I want to wear tomorrow. I have the ability to choose - there's more than one shirt I could wear, and I can then pick which one I will wear. My will or plan is to wear a different shirt tomorrow, and there are several shirts I could wear, so I pick...that one. 

Pretty simple. The Bible makes it clear that man's CAPACITY in which he picks and plans is limited, and in fact is unreliable and unpredictable, mostly because man's physical realm and capacities are fairly limited on a large scale - sure, I can decide to wear that shirt tomorrow but if a fire burns through my town over night I'm not going to do it as I planned. Many places in the Bible compare man's capacity to God's and how limited it is - like Proverbs 19:21 "Many plans are in a man's heart, but the purpose of the LORD will prevail."

So we can't decide to do or say or have or change or make something that can't actually be done, and even if it can be done we may not be able to control circumstances in such a way that would guarantee it to happen. God can of course, so the comparison is easy to understand. If God says it's possible, then it is and it may be within my ability to then decide and choose...whatever it is...but the fuel comes from God, not me. I may turn the key but that's nuttin' if there's no gas in the tank.

The will to decide and the ability to choose and act are all actually the mechanics of "believing", of pistis. It's what believing really is, all it is - not to say it's a small thing but it's not a magical thing. If we understand how to decide and choose and how to take action (or not take action depending, etc) then we completely understand how "believing works". 

So - God's sovereignty and authority is untouched and supreme when He....allows....us......to choose......to believe in God, to follow Jesus Christ, and to accept forgiveness as the New Gold Standard of life. God would "have all men to be saved", and so they will be as they respond but our choice to respond IS ONLY POSSIBLE BECAUSE OF GOD'S GRACE. We can't manufacture even the opportunity or invitation, so to speak, as it's "not by works". 

There's lots of places that help to define what God means by hell - like

Romans 6:23
For the wages (apsonion - pay, allowance) of sin (harmatia - a mistake, missing the mark) is death (thanatos - death, end of life); but the gift (charisma - free gift) of God is eternal (aionios - for ever, without beginning nor end) ) life (zoe - the living soul) through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I'm not told there that the payment for disobeying God is to be tortured for eternity in some hellish environment - it says it's death. Actual ending of life. 

The payment of God's gift to me though is ETERNAL life. Actual life that doesn't die but lives forever. 

So the contrast here in relation to what God wants to do with us is between death and life. Termination and continuance. 

Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill (apokteino - kill, destroy) the body (soma - the physical body), but are not able to kill the soul (psuche - life): but rather fear him which is able to destroy (apollumi - to destroy, abolish, out an end to) BOTH soul and body in hell (geenna - from Gehenna, the place where trash and dead animals were burned)

Again, the concern is to defer to God, who is able to destroy both soul and body - everything that we are - in "hell", a place or process or (fill in the blank) where that destruction is done. 

I'm not told to fear Him who is able to torture and punish me forever, endlessly. I'm told to fear the one who can end the entire body and soul. 

Could God do that, torture everyone for eternity? Yes. Sure. But that doesn't seem to be what is said in these and many other verses and contexts. Because - well, it doesn't say that or even imply it. 

There's other verses too, of course, other places we get context and scope. 

The real issue here is LIFE and the QUALITY of that life. There is a kind of life that is part of that "free gift" of God that's ETERNAL. Without that we don't "live forever". 

Eventually it gets to Bell's point, or at least the question which is - why would a Creator decide or even allow that some of His creation won't live forever, when some clearly can and will. Why even allow for that outcome. Why not "save" everyone? 

Or does God plan for that? And if so, what about those WHO CLEARLY DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THAT PLAN - people who would even think that eternity with a God they consider unfair wouldn't be desirable? And I've talked to people who do say they think like that. 

Lots of stuff to this. 

 

 

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I don't want to make this a "verse battle" where one side stacks them up against another side and in the end we just have fat stacks of opinions that we had when we started, but since the Bible is my source book for trying to understand this topic....some more verses....

---

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish (apollumi - end, abolish....and Strong's gives "put out of the way entirely") but have everlasting (aionios - or ever, without beginning nor end) life (zoe - hmmm..."life") 

Again, a fundamental verse for Christianity - whosoever BELIEVES in His "only begotten Son" will not die, perish, become abolished and put permanently out of the way .....but rather will have this unending transcendent LIFE.

Nothing in one of Christianity's core verses about being punished and tortured if you don't - but you are being told you will at the least avoid ending, perishing. 

---

John 10:10 - The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy (apollumi - end, abolish....and Strong's gives "put out of the way entirely"). I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

One of the biggies and there it sits like a big ol' duck. Compared to a thief that wants to steal kill and destroy their victims, Jesus gives more abundant "LIFE".

I guess many of us see the "thief" there as "the devil" but we can understand a thief to be someone who wants to take our stuff and will kill us doing it. I could build a solid 30 minute sermon around the Devil's intentions as the "father" of rebellion and self centered focus who wants to steal our futures and see us destroyed forever but I don't want to forget that Jesus counters that with a bigger, better more abundant LIFE. So again - death is contrasted with LIFE here, not an eternal torment. A bad ending to life compared to a much better life, and we lose to the thief that opportunity for an ongoing life, "eternal". 

Granted if it means getting tossed into a lake of fire and ending it all that way then it's not something I want. Given eternity or termination, I want eternity.

---

I'm resisting the cheesey logic stuff for now - why would a loving God do something unloving, etc. etc. buuuuut - I also think people under value our time on this planet in this life when they say "how come 80 years will get you eternal termination cuz you under performed in what amounts to the tiniest imaginable increment of time in that eternal arc....? How can that be fair?"......................................aaaaand that's a deeper topic, but from the perspective of this life I have, 80 years isn't a small part of anything, it's a huge part of everything, of all there is. That's something to consider in this mix, I think. 

Today we throw everything away, if it breaks we toss it, recycle it, dump it. Just get rid of it because most stuff doesn't get repaired, it gets replaced. "LIFE" is unique and individual - I can't be replaced. Another "like" me yes, but never another me. Life isn't cheap just because there's a lot of them. Each one counts, is "precious" and represents a much bigger picture of reality. THAT makes complete sense then for it to be non terminating and eternally resilient. What is God's greater long term plan? To answer that I have to ask myself what do I not know that I can't even know I don't know, for whatever reasons? I only know what I know and I gotta go with that - there are some things I can and do know now, I'm not floating in a sea of unknowns. 

 

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24 minutes ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Biblical Usages of N.T. Greek word, Aion

Page 3 of the article. Article Written by someone named Mark Sanguinetti, I wonder who that person is??? 

Perhaps you could capsulize the point you want to make here when you provided the link to your article. I'd appreciate it. :wave:

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1 hour ago, Rocky said:

Perhaps you could capsulize the point you want to make here when you provided the link to your article. I'd appreciate it. :wave:

Perhaps the most confusion of understanding on this subject is the lack of understanding of the Greek word translated either as age, world, ever, forever and with other translated version words. In Koine Greek this is the word aion, which is also written in English as aioon. When seeing the following biblical usages of this word aion, a clear definition is age with a limited duration of time, or a period of longer or shorter duration having a beginning and an end. When seeing other biblical usages, which will be covered on the final page of this study, this word could also be understood and used in context as an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity. However, this usage would require multiple ages and as it relates to God the creator of life. This Greek word is used as a noun. There are 125 usages of this word in the New Testament. From a number of usages of this word it is clearly seen that age has a limitation of time with an end to the age. In the King James Version this is often translated world. However, most if not all of the newer biblical versions use the word age for aion more often. On the below link are verses with aion from the King James Version, followed by other biblical versions chosen randomly. As I stated previously, with editing biblical versions can improve for truth and clarity.

http://www.christian-universalism.info/agegreekwords-pg3.html

Reading the above should take less than 2 minutes. I hope that is not to long of a time to spend.

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13 minutes ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Perhaps the most confusion of understanding on this subject is the lack of understanding of the Greek word translated either as age, world, ever, forever and with other translated version words. In Koine Greek this is the word aion, which is also written in English as aioon. When seeing the following biblical usages of this word aion, a clear definition is age with a limited duration of time, or a period of longer or shorter duration having a beginning and an end. When seeing other biblical usages, which will be covered on the final page of this study, this word could also be understood and used in context as an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity. However, this usage would require multiple ages and as it relates to God the creator of life. This Greek word is used as a noun. There are 125 usages of this word in the New Testament. From a number of usages of this word it is clearly seen that age has a limitation of time with an end to the age. In the King James Version this is often translated world. However, most if not all of the newer biblical versions use the word age for aion more often. On the below link are verses with aion from the King James Version, followed by other biblical versions chosen randomly. As I stated previously, with editing biblical versions can improve for truth and clarity.

http://www.christian-universalism.info/agegreekwords-pg3.html

Reading the above should take less than 2 minutes. I hope that is not to long of a time to spend.

And reading Rob Bell's book should take only a few hours. I hope you read it and provide you insight.

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I'm getting a copy of it to re read Rocky, I originally read a copy loaned to me by a guy I worked with, who'd bought it after His pastor taught around some of the topics of the book. To them, him, Bell was a "heretic". We had regular chats every week at one point on several of the ideas that he wanted to know about but had strong opinions about - he knew I had background in the Bible and so I brought that to the discussions as a reference point for our understanding. He was a former Catholic who believed in "the Bible" now but didn't know one end from the other. A lot of our conversations boiled down to encouraging him to read the Bible more and give it thoughtful prayerful consideration. 

So the biggies I remember in our conversations covered several points- 

God's "sovereignty" 
Predestination (and what they call hyper-Calvinism and "the elect")
Justice and God's justice versus man's justice (grace versus law - what does grace really mean?)
The Devil/Satan
Love
Life
Will (God's and man's) and God's "master plan"

N stuff. 

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On 9/18/2019 at 12:23 AM, Rocky said:

Rob Bell addresses that particular point in chapter two.

 

20 hours ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Perhaps the most confusion of understanding on this subject is the lack of understanding of the Greek word translated either as age, world, ever, forever and with other translated version words. In Koine Greek this is the word aion, which is also written in English as aioon. When seeing the following biblical usages of this word aion, a clear definition is age with a limited duration of time, or a period of longer or shorter duration having a beginning and an end. When seeing other biblical usages, which will be covered on the final page of this study, this word could also be understood and used in context as an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity. However, this usage would require multiple ages and as it relates to God the creator of life. This Greek word is used as a noun. There are 125 usages of this word in the New Testament. From a number of usages of this word it is clearly seen that age has a limitation of time with an end to the age. In the King James Version this is often translated world. However, most if not all of the newer biblical versions use the word age for aion more often. On the below link are verses with aion from the King James Version, followed by other biblical versions chosen randomly. As I stated previously, with editing biblical versions can improve for truth and clarity.

http://www.christian-universalism.info/agegreekwords-pg3.html

Reading the above should take less than 2 minutes. I hope that is not to long of a time to spend.

So yeah - it does appear that the religious ideas of eternal/eternity and "forever" have been embedded into how people understand the translation of these words. Aion/aeon and the Greek's use of those words is of what you're calling a period of time, an "age", dispensation, part of a process - of sorts. 

It's an interesting topic and I think I get where you're going with it. I'd put it like this - 

A lot of man's idea of "eternity" is covered in our idea of "time". But - really, the most real definition of what eternity "IS" as it applies to God isn't primarily a matter of measured time..........in other words the word "eternal" isn't a clock that reads "always" or something.......(little humor there)......from the angle of aeon/aion I wouldn't answer the question "how long is eternity", I'd use it to answer the question "where am I and what's going on?"

That's a really sucky way to describe what I mean but if I started stacking up verses about God in the Bible it would give the impression that to me - as a creation of God's, eternity as some kind of time that has no beginning and no end would be GREAT because I measure time as a very measurable and trackable quality of life. "What time is it" and where is this moment in relation to all the moments I'm going to know is VERY important to the average citizen of Planet Earth, for obvious reasons. 

But it wouldn't be for someone who actually existed in my concept of Eternal Time would think about it. 

Which is hard for me to write, it's like trying to say I like a color I've never seen. 

Anyway - where I see what you're saying is in the context of the statements in the Bible - the sentences and verses don't always impose a concrete definition of the word aion (and it's forms) to mean "forever" or "eternal" - the meaning what it is, comes from the context. 

"I'm barely going to make it"....

Doesn't usually mean I'm going to make something like a cake and that I'll be bare when I do...... It usually means that I'll get somewhere I'm going when I'm expected but not early and hopefully not late. 

Etc. : )


 

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People should see if they use their brain, the Greek word "aion" should only be looked at as eternal as it relates to God the creator or Jesus Christ his son.  Thank you Jesus Christ for passing salvation onto regular man. Here are some of the usages of this Greek word. I give credit to the people who know Koine Greek who are able to do New Testament translations with improvement. 

Matthew 13:39-40
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world (aion); and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world (aion).
King James Version (KJV)
Matthew 13:39-40
39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age (aion), and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age (aion).
English Standard Version (ESV)

Matthew 13:49
49 So shall it be at the end of the world (aion): the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
KJV
Matthew 13:49
49 So it will be at the end of the age (aion); the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,
New American Standard Bible

Matthew 24:3
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (aion)?
KJV
Matthew 24:3
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age (aion)?
Jubilee Bible 2000

Matthew 28:20
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (aion). Amen.
KJV
Matthew 28:20
20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (aion).
New English Translation

Clearly from the above usages age or aion in the Greek has an ending.

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2 hours ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

People should see if they use their brain, the Greek word "aion" should only be looked at as eternal as it relates to God the creator or Jesus Christ his son.  Thank you Jesus Christ for passing salvation onto regular man. Here are some of the usages of this Greek word. I give credit to the people who know Koine Greek who are able to do New Testament translations with improvement. 

Matthew 13:39-40
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world (aion); and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world (aion).
King James Version (KJV)
Matthew 13:39-40
39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age (aion), and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age (aion).
English Standard Version (ESV)

Matthew 13:49
49 So shall it be at the end of the world (aion): the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
KJV
Matthew 13:49
49 So it will be at the end of the age (aion); the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,
New American Standard Bible

Matthew 24:3
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (aion)?
KJV
Matthew 24:3
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the age (aion)?
Jubilee Bible 2000

Matthew 28:20
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (aion). Amen.
KJV
Matthew 28:20
20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (aion).
New English Translation

Clearly from the above usages age or aion in the Greek has an ending.

Mark, didn't you already post a link to your website where you had previously posted this?

Are you reading Love Wins and then commenting on it? Or are you reading comments on this thread and figuring out how your already posted research might relate to it?

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6 hours ago, socks said:

I'm getting a copy of it to re read Rocky, I originally read a copy loaned to me by a guy I worked with, who'd bought it after His pastor taught around some of the topics of the book. To them, him, Bell was a "heretic". We had regular chats every week at one point on several of the ideas that he wanted to know about but had strong opinions about - he knew I had background in the Bible and so I brought that to the discussions as a reference point for our understanding. He was a former Catholic who believed in "the Bible" now but didn't know one end from the other. A lot of our conversations boiled down to encouraging him to read the Bible more and give it thoughtful prayerful consideration. 

So the biggies I remember in our conversations covered several points- 

God's "sovereignty" 
Predestination (and what they call hyper-Calvinism and "the elect")
Justice and God's justice versus man's justice (grace versus law - what does grace really mean?)
The Devil/Satan
Love
Life
Will (God's and man's) and God's "master plan"

N stuff. 

Socks, from what I've read about Bell (other than this book), he's no longer the pastor of a mega-church for that very reason. Christian theologians and religion academics did and still do consider him a heretic. But that's what I like about him.

Put another way, he dared to think outside the box.

Back in the late 1700s, with publication of one particular pamphlet, The Age of Reason, Part III, Thomas Paine previously a hero, became one of the most hated people in America. Why? He challenged the religious paradigms of the day (age). He dared to think outside the box and not only did he instigate the American Revolution, he challenged the superstition rampant in churches. I offer this NOT as political commentary, but only to offer historical perspective.   

One might at least say (I suppose I do, at least) that Bell didn't plagiarize. :wink2:

I can understand why you would have encouraged your friend to read the Bible and do so prayerfully. 

 

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