No eternal punishment

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by InnerStrength, Jan 2, 2007.

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  1. InnerStrength

    InnerStrength Well-Known Member

    I know alot of Bible-thumping sadists like to think God has eternal punishment for some of his followers, but there are biblical scholars that disagree:

    http://www.tentmaker.org/books/TheBibleHell.html

    Here is the conclusion for those that do not wish to read the whole thing (the last sentence just about covers it):


    We have thus briefly explained all the passages in which Gehenna occurs. Is there any intimation that it denotes a place of punishment after death? Not any. If it mean such a place no one can escape believing that it is a place of literal fire, and all the modern talk of a Hell of conscience is most erroneous. But that it has no such meaning is corroborated by the testimony of Paul who says he "shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God," and yet he never in all his writings employs the word once, nor does he use the word Hadees but once and then he signifies its destruction, "oh Hadees, where is thy victory?" If Paul believed in a place of endless torment, would he have been utterly silent in reference to it, in his entire ministry? His reticence is a demonstration that he had no faith in it though the Jews and heathen all around him preached it and believed it implicitly.

    A careful reading of the Old Testament shows that the vale of Hinnom was a well-known and repulsive valley near Jerusalem, and an equally careful reading of the New Testament teaches that Gehenna, or Hinnom's vale was explained as always in this world, (Jer. 12: 29-34; 19: 4-15; Matt. 10: 28), and was to befall the sinners of that generation, (Matt. 24) in this life, (Matt. 10: 39), before the disciples had gone over the cities of Israel, (Matt. 10: 23), and that their bodies and souls were exposed to its calamities. It was only used in the New Testament on five occasions, either too few, or else modern ministers use it altogether too much. John who wrote for Gentiles and Paul who was the great apostle to the Gentiles never used it once nor did Peter. If it had a local application and meaning we can understand this, but if it were the name of the receptacle of damned souls to all eternity, it would be impossible to explain such inconsistency. The primary meaning then of Gehenna is the well-known locality near Jerusalem; but it was sometimes used to denote the consequences of sin in this life. It is to be understood in these two senses only in all the twelve passages in the New Testament. In the second century after Christ it came to denote a place of torment after death, but it is never employed in that sense in the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Apocrypha nor was it used by any contemporary of Christ with that meaning, nor was it ever thus employed by any Christian until Justin and Clement thus used it (A. D. 150) (and the latter was a Universalist), nor by any Jew until in the targum of Jonathan Ben Uzziel about a century later. And even then it only denoted future but did not denote endless punishment, until a still later period.

    The English author, Charles Kingsley writes (Letters) to a friend: "The doctrine occurs nowhere in the Old Testament, nor any hint of it. The expression in the end of Isaiah about the fire not quenched and the worm not dying is plainly of the dead corpses of men upon the physical earth in the valley of Hinnom or Gehenna, where the offal of Jerusalem was burned perpetually. "The doctrine of endless torment was as a historical fact, brought back from Babylon by the Rabbis. It may be a very ancient primary doctrine of the Magi, an appendage of their fire-kingdom of Ahriman and may be found in the old Zends, long prior to Christianity. "St. Paul accepts nothing of it as far as we can tell never making the least allusion to the doctrine. "The apocalypse simply repeats the imagery of Isaiah, and of our Lord; but asserts distinctly the non-endlessness of torture, declaring that in the consummation, not only death but Hell shall be cast into the lake of fire.

    "The Christian Church has never held it exclusively till now. It remained quite an open question till the age of Justinian, 530, and significantly enough, as soon as 200 years before that, endless torment for the heathen became a popular theory, purgatory sprang up synchronously by the side of it, as a relief for the conscience and reason of the church."

    Canon Farrar truthfully says, in his "Eternal Hope": "And, finally, the word rendered Hell is in one place the Greek word 'Tartarus,' borrowed as a word for the prison of evil spirits not after but before the resurrection. It is in ten places 'Hadees,' which simply means the world beyond the grave, and it is twelve places 'Gehenna,' which means primarily, the Valley of Hinnom outside of Jerusalem in which after it had been polluted by Moloch worship, corpses were flung and fires were lit; and, secondly, it is a metaphor not of final and hopeless but of that purifying and corrective punishment which as we all believe does await impenitent sin both here and beyond the grave. But be it solemnly observed, the Jews to whom and in whose metaphorical sense the word was used by our blessed Lord, never did, either then or at any other period attach to that word 'Gehenna,' which he used, that meaning of endless torment which we have been taught to apply to Hell. To them and therefore on the lips of our blessed Savior who addressed it to them, it means not a material and everlasting fire, but an intermediate, a metaphorical and a terminal retribution."

    In Excursus II, "Eternal Hope," he says the "damnation of Hell is the very different "judgment of Gehenna;" and Hell-fire is the "Gehenna of fire," "an expression which on Jewish lips was never applied in our Lord's days to endless torment. Origen tells us (c. Celsus 6: 25) that finding the word Gehenna in the Gospels for the place of punishment, he made a special search into its meaning and history; and after mentioning (1) the Valley of Hinnom, and (2) a purificatory fire (eis teen meta basanon katharsin,) he mysteriously adds that he thinks it unwise to speak without reserve about his discoveries. No one reading the passage can doubt that he means to imply the use of the word 'Gehenna' among the Jews to indicate a terminable, and not an endless punishment."

    The English word Hell occurs in the Bible fifty-five times, thirty-two in the Old Testament and twenty-three in the New Testament. The original terms translated Hell, Sheol-Hadees occur in the Old Testament sixty-four times and in the New Testament twenty-four times; Hadees eleven times, Gehenna twelve times and Tartarus once. In every instance the meaning is death, the grave or the consequences of sin in this life.

    Thus the word Hell in the Bible, whether translated from Sheol, Hadees, Gehenna, or Tartarus, yields no countenance to the doctrine of even future, much less endless punishment. It should not be concluded, however, from our expositions of the usage of the word Hell, in the Bible, that Universalists deny that the consequences of sin extend to the life beyond the grave. We deny that inspiration has named Hell as a place or condition of punishment in the spirit world. It seems a philosophical conclusion and there are Scriptures that appear to many Universalists to teach that the future life is affected to a greater or less extent, by human conduct here; but that Hell is a place or condition of suffering after death is not believed by any and as we trust we have shown, the Scriptures never so designate it. Sheol, Hadees and Tartarus denoted literal death or the consequences of sin here, and Gehenna was the name of a locality well-known to all Jews into which sometimes men were cast and was made an emblem of great calamities or sufferings resulting from sin. Hell in the Bible in all the fifty-five instances in which the word occurs always refers to the present and never to the immortal world.
     
  2. Syd

    Syd Guest

    metaphorical != literal

    Well, it wouldn't be the first time that metaphorical concepts were taken completely out of context from biblical allegory. Does it not make sense to acknowledge that the mortal lives we're living may very well be all we'll have? Given the probability, one should be motivated towards good action for the rewards received here and now, rather than focusing on what the collective imagination of humanity has conjured in contemplation of afterlife.

    It's the simple every day rewards that make life enjoyable.. life is about growth and progression.

    Treat a pet well, and the animal will love you in return.
    Spend enough time positively with someone, and the reward is friendship.
    Care and provide for a child, and the reward is seeing them grow up happy.
    Survive against all misfortunes, the reward is mental strength and wisdom.
    All good deeds towards mankind, no matter how great or small, will always bring you the reward of knowing someone is happier now because of you.

    This common system of morality applies to nearly all humans, because most of us are empathetic enough to reap the rewards of a healthy conscience. Those raised in complete deprivation of a healthy social environment are more prone to failure at connecting well with the system. This is why it's so imperative that society protects our children, advocating more funding towards education, and developing a better fundamental approach to teaching and helping new parents care for their children. Babies are not simply the children of some parents out there, they are society's children. It's completely disrespectful for society, as a whole, to punish those who fail to conform while allowing the unhealthy breeding environments to continue the production of new humans who will inevitably fail to contribute positively.

    There's much more to managing a society than balancing economical affairs and half-heartedly addressing a well-rounded selection of political issues in an effort to appear empathetic to the population. The beautiful thing about Moderatism/ Centrism is that it truly is an objectively honest and neutral strategy in politics. It takes a strong leader to embrace moderatism, because doing so is to sacrifice subjective political inclinations (which are largely cultivated through personal experiences) in the belief that finding middle-ground between opposing standpoints will truly strengthen a nation and lead us towards the pure progression and ingenuity that has helped humanity survive and prosper against all the odds history has thrown at us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2007
  3. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    Re: metaphorical != literal

    I skimmed the link. (A book from 1888? Interesting, that.) IMO, the mentions of Revelation in the link are downright misleading. It references Rev 20:14 as the hades being "destroyed" yet fails to mention that the wicked are to be kept there, in some sort of "second death," (see Rev. 21:8).

    Could by my translation or my ignorance, but I think author of this is engaging in wishful thinking, trying to toss out bits of X-tianity they dislike but keep the parts they do.
     
  4. ~Nobody~

    ~Nobody~ Well-Known Member

    Re: metaphorical != literal

    Isn't that what most do?

    ~Nobody~
     
  5. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    Re: metaphorical != literal

    Good point. :wink:
     
  6. Panther

    Panther Well-Known Member

    I agree with gmork, InnerStrength are you a Christian?

    There are so many different interpretations of the bible it's crazy.
     
  7. reborn1961

    reborn1961 Guest

    Whether you are christian or not, believe in a God or not, just try this for awhile and you may like your self and others

    "Do onto others as you would do onto yourself"

    Just try to be a compassionate person. What is to happen in the future no one knows. Many preach it but none are for certain. Yes I am Christian and I have my faith and I interpret like many and maybe what I see in the Bible is not what you see but who says one is right and the other wrong.

    Many religions believe in hell. So what. If you don't believe them or their faith than move along and hang out with those that see things like you do. You are not wrong, nor the person who believes in hell. They are just two different interpretatons. And if I look around SF, there are no two alike on this website but I still like it. Good luck
     
  8. Nelka

    Nelka Member

    Do a search on Google and you can find numerous websites that highlight the many contradictions in the Bible.

    Have someone verbally tell you a short story. Next, tell that story to someone else. That person will tell the story to yet another person. That final individual will finally write the story out. Now, translate that story into several different languages before translating it back into English again.

    You're not going to end up with the same story you started with. And that's in far less time than it took to conceive the Bible.
     
  9. InnerStrength

    InnerStrength Well-Known Member

    No, I'm not anymore. But, unless the guy who wrote the article is lying about the Biblical scholars part (which he might be) then I'm not really concerned about it. I've read other sources that claim this as well.

    And anyway, alot of the Hellish elements added on later to the Bible were stolen from the ancient egyptian concept of punishment after death, or so I've read.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2007
  10. Syd

    Syd Guest

    I think a lot of people would agree. Also, tales of the ancient Greek gods probably had a lot of influence on those creating the stories and characters in the Bible.
     
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