LETTERS FROM A THEOLOGIAN

msu8122
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-04-20
User is offlineOffline
LETTERS FROM A THEOLOGIAN

Hiya. This is my first post here & I thought I'd share them here and get your opinions on what has been said.

Note: I will not post his name or where he teaches (I have not told him I was going to post this). But, he has taught Bible & theology for many years and has a Ph.D from the University of Manchester (UK). Here are the emails (starting in order).

My first email:
"I have a question that I thought you may be able to help me with (hope this is no bother to you).

I have a question about the justness of hell (if it is just to be punished "infinitely for a finite crime.&quotEye-wink I am wondering what your opinion on that is. How is it just to be punished for infinity for a crime (i.e . not taking Christ as savior) that may last onlyl 30-50 years. Thanks."


His response:
"Joe, It is never a bother. I don;t see hell as a punishment for not accepting Christ. Just th eoppostite in fact - Christ is the remedy offered to keep us from going to hell. Those who have chosen not to live in the life of God offered to them are dead, and eternity like that is hell (John 3:17). Hell is the natural consequence of sin. Think of it like this: Is dying the punishment for not breathing? No, but if you stop breathing, you will die. If we were made for the life of God, then naturally turning away from that life is going to bring death. God remedy for that death is to send His Son - John 3:16. I am thinking of all this as natural - we were meant to live, we chose death, God sent a remedy."

My second email:
"Thanks for the reply. I do have some more questions.

In my first email I used the word punishment when I should have used the word consequence. (But then punishment does work because there is a punishment for reject ingChrist...hell, by its nature, is punishment). My main question can be summed up by asking: Is hell a just punishment? Is eternal suffering just?

Also, you said "we were meant to live, we chose death...." Can you elaborate on that last part, we chose death? Do you mean that in the sense of ancestral sin (original sin) or by willfully sinning as we go through life on our own

Thanks,
Joe"


His response:
"Joe, excellent questions. Again, I don't think hell is a punishment or a consequence of not choosing Christ. I think Christ is the remedy for hell. The difference comes in what is causing people to go to hell. The only cause I see is sin. Sin is rebellion against the One who can tell us what to do - the One who made us and gave us life. Now, life is the issue. God breathed His life in us. His life is eternal. His life was meant to be shared and known throughout eterninty. We became eternally minded and eternally centered. We became a living soul, eternaly equipped for life with God. But, what if we reject that life? What if we decide not to have it now? We won't have it for eternity either! Eternity without the life of God is eternal separation from Him. We call it HELL because He is not present in our lives. It is eternity without grace, eternity without interaction with the One who is life (John 1:4). It is dark without His light/life. Now, you asked, "Do you mean that in the sense of ancestral sin or by willfully sinning?" Our racial representative chose death, and introduced it to us, but we each choose it when we sin willfully. That is the issue with God. Our own choice."

My 3rd email:
"We will come back to the punishment issue in a little while. I really think what we are saying is a case of a distinction without a difference. But, you said hell is seperation from God. To you, is hell a real place when human souls are tormented without mercy and without end?

But, I wanted to talk about sin. You said "Our racial representative chose death". That is the crux of it all really. Adam & Eve bit the fruit and now we all are dirty rotten sinners, doomed to hell before we are even born. A couple questions come to mind here.

1. How was Adam (and I assume the representative you meant was Adam and not Eve) our Representative? How did he come about the power to deicde the fate of the billions yet unborn. How could that be so in light that the Adam character was more than likely a myth. How is it just to infect a whole species with the sin of someone who lived long ago.? And if sin is a part of human nature, then is it really sin? We have to choose to sin, it's in our DNA, so to speak. Since we are as naturally predisposed to sinning as we are to breathing, then is it really wrong or simply a biological imperative? Thus, if we are predisposed to sin, how then is sinning a choice? We have no choice at all whether or not to sin. Thus, the "race" is rigged and we lose before it all even starts.

2. We are born into sin, we are under death before we enter the world. If sin is passed down genetically (as is assumed) then a child is a sinner at the moment of conception. This necessarily would mean that when a fetus, infant, or small child dies they die in sin and are condemned to hell. I see no age of accountability mentioned in the Bible at all. And to say that a child hasn't willfully sinned yet defeats the idea of ancestral sin and the curse of Adam being passed down to all. And to say that such a child who dies would go to heaven would make Jesus a liar. For He said the only way to Heaven is to accept Him as savior (I don't see where he made an "age of accountability" exception).

Looking forward to your next email.
Joe"


Whenever I get his reply I will post it. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this.


Vastet
atheistBloggerSuperfan
Vastet's picture
Posts: 13210
Joined: 2006-12-25
User is offlineOffline
Welcome. I look forward to

Welcome. I look forward to seeing his next response being shot down. Smiling

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


American Atheist
American Atheist's picture
Posts: 1331
Joined: 2006-09-03
User is offlineOffline
Welcome aboard!

Welcome aboard!


BGH
BGH's picture
Posts: 2772
Joined: 2006-09-28
User is offlineOffline
Welcome aboard!

Welcome aboard!


rexlunae
rexlunae's picture
Posts: 378
Joined: 2007-01-07
User is offlineOffline
msu8122 wrote: "We will

msu8122 wrote:
"We will come back to the punishment issue in a little while. I really think what we are saying is a case of a distinction without a difference. But, you said hell is seperation from God. To you, is hell a real place when human souls are tormented without mercy and without end?

I think you hit the nail on the head here. If god created a person, knowing they would not say the right magic chant in their lifetime, and therefore would suffer, then he is responsible for that outcome.

It's just simpler to believe that life came about through purposeless processes.

It's only the fairy tales they believe.