Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hell

Sunday I began a series on Heaven. I have never had as much feedback from a lesson as I did this one. I'm guessing because it is a subject we just don't talk about much. People were extremely inquisitive. So I am looking forward all the more to coming weeks. However, this week is one I would just as soon forget -- even though we need to study it to. This week I will preach about hell.

I am going to mention it in my lesson, but I wonder: Is hell an eternity of torment? If so, people in hell also have eternal life. Or, is it a place of separation from God -- and then annihilation? I believe one could make an argument both ways. After all, if a person who commits a capital crime under our court system is found guilty, he might receive the death penalty. That is an eternal judgment against him, but if it is carried out -- he doesn't stay in jail for eternity.

I guess I am at a point in my life where I hope hell is like the latter description. I am being selfish in that, because I loved my granddad -- but he refused to ever claim the name of Jesus. I would prefer to think that he simply ceases to exist rather than the thought of him spending an eternity in torment.

Thoughts?
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Tonight Beverly goes to Southside Church of Christ for her monthly "Young Mothers' Night." I have been wanting to see "I am Legend" -- so I think I will go to the movies.

5 comments:

Josh Ross said...

You will love that movie. Use the restroom before you go in because there are a few scenes that will give you the heebeegeeba's.

Below are a few words from my buddy Josh Graves concerning hell:

There are five main understandings of hell, at least as I have come to understand. All of them have differnt biblical texts and unique interpretive assumptions that mesh together.

First, the literalist interpretation: fire, weeping, eternal punishment of sin without the chance.

Second, same as the first with the addition that humans have the opportunity to respond to God after a period of suffering.

Third, some suggest that hell is the absence of God. For the first time, according to this view, God fully removes himself from humanity--the worst possible reality.

Fourth: annihilationism. In this understanding, those who reject God cease to exist.

Lastly, the universalist perspective claims that all people will experience heaven through the means by which God has revealed himself. So the Hindu, Muslim, or atheist will be judged based upon their knowledge of God.

jross said...

I teeter between eternal punishment and eventual annihilation. When I teach the subject I don't dwell too long on it's specifics, I go right for the "regardless of how it may be ... I'm not going there!"

Last two blogs talk of annihilation.
Do we see a theme?

Kyle R. said...

My thought is that hell is a place of punishment by destruction. Here's how I see and understand it:

After all of us humans bow at the feet of Jesus and confess him as the Lord of all (some in this life, many on the other side of this life), the sheep and goats will be separated. The lost will be condemned to hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Whether this weeping and gnashing will be a result of the realization that they will be removed from the presence of God or from the actual destruction, I don't know). In hell they will be consumed and destroyed as in a fire.

To me, this view is consistent with both the just and merciful nature of our God. Justice is served in that those who are not redeemed by the blood are removed from God's presence, punished and get what they deserved (justice). And yet, because our God is merciful, he destroys their souls and does not allow them to linger.

There is so much language about fire that this makes sense to me. What does fire do? It consumes and destroys.

That's my perspecive for now.

Rick Ross said...

Kyle,

I am leaning toward the view you expressed very well.

Again for those reading this blog, let's remember that none of us knows for sure. Only God. We are simply speculating (perhaps even wishing).

Jeff said...

I think I'm glad I will be out of town again.