Forever and Ever?

According to most theology, there is a tenet of teaching and belief that human beings will be sent to a place of eternal damnation. The description of the horror of eternal damnation has been attempted by many in its cruelty, its pain and suffering, its sheer torture as far as the endless agonizing pain that ones senses will have to endure as flames of liquid fire sears every minute nerve repeatedly for all of eternity.

American or western Chistianity is no different.  We have learned our whole lives that if we don’t accept Jesus as our personal savior, then the moment we die, we enter this place of such torturous expanse (that cannot be described with human vocabulary), in order to receive our just punishment.  

 First of all, may I say, “Do I believe there is a hell?”.  Or, “Do I believe eternal damnation is biblical?”.  To be honest, I’m not totally convinced.  I think there is probably a hell, but I’m not convinced it is eternal.

Eternal damnation is bad!  No, I mean BAD!  REALLY, REALLY BAD.  Really?  All of eternity being tortured with pain that can’t even be imagined?  Eternal torture to this extent and nowhere in God’s Word does it actually give a description of how bad the pain is?  

Eternal damnation is such a horrible thing that for me personally, God would have mentioned it on the morning of creation.  It’s silly to say it like this, but I imagine God saying, “Okay, I’m about to create the earth.  I’m also creating a place of such unimaginable torture that you need to take all precautions necessary not to be sent to this place!”  DO NOT GO THERE!

While we are in the first part of the Bible, I find it interesting that the first five books of the Bible never mention eternal damnation!  Thats right…NOT ONCE!!!  When Cain committed murder by brutally killing his brother, he did not go about sobbing in torturous sorrow, “Oh noooooooooooo…I’m going to spend the rest of my existence being tortured by fire and smoke and pain!”  Rather, his fear was the dread of being a vagabond on the face of the earth.  I find that interesting.

Let’s look at Adam.  Here is a man that damned the entirety of human creation that would ever exist after him.  Our loving Lord entered into the annals of history and died an excrutating, painful death…spilled His blood so that the human race could escape this damnation that Adam wrought upon us.  My question is, if Adam’s actions damned everyone and Jesus’ actions can only save 1/2 or 3/4 of the human race, then isn’t what Adam did more powerful than what Jesus did?  I know, I know, this is where theologians and pastors will come in and say, “Welllll, the thing is, God gave us a free will.  We have to use that free will to accept Jesus as our savior.  God will never override our free will.”

I have a few points on this matter of free will.  By Adam’s actions I got damned!  I never had a say in the matter.  I just simply got damned without my permission!  What about John the Baptist?  He was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was in his mothers womb! I doubt a child in his mother’s womb would have the awareness to ask God to fill him with the Holy Spirit.  In other words, John’s free will was overridden.  He didn’t have a choice.  He was filled with the Holy Spirit without having any choice at all. 

And then there is Pharoah.  God said Pharoah was created for the specific purpose of showing God’s wonders and might.  

Moving to another point, let us look at the Great White Throne judgement.  This is taught in our churches that this a a time where God expends all of his wrath.  Wait a minute!  I thought all of God’s wrath was spent on Jesus.  Okay, whatever…I digress.  Here is the picture I get from the Great White Throne judgement.  It is taught that when a person dies unsaved, he immediately goes to hell.  This is where this person will stay until the GWTJ.  On this day, the unsaved person who has been in hell for maybe hundreds of years, is taken out of hell to stand before God…to be told by God that he will spend eternity in hell.  Something is missing here.  That something is the way we have taught eternal damnation for millenia.  Do I know the answer?  Sorry, no, I don’t.

Next point.  What about all of the poor babies that have been murdered in their mother’s wombs for hundreds of years.  Today, nearly 50 million babies would be eternally grateful to the one’s that murdered them, because now they have a free pass into eternal bliss.  And what if we make it to heaven, but some of our loved ones do not.  I once heard a preacher teach on this subject.  He said that God will permanently erase our memory of them.  I must ask, WHERE does it say that in God’s word?  There is no mention of God erasing our memories of loved ones and not only that, that is a violation of the so called tenet of God never violating our free will.

Next point.  From Adam until the present, there have been approximately 12 to 15 billion people who have lived on planet earth that we know of.  Let’s say for the sake of argument that 90% of all these 15 billion are saved.  That means that 1billion, 5 hundred million people will burn in hell for the rest of their existence!  That seems insane to me, but that is just me.  And any theologians reading this know that my 90% number is very high.  Most Christians believe about half or a bit more will be saved.  Still…billions of God’s creation in hell?  REALLY?

Here is another point..  When John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus “Are you the One?”  Jesus answered and said, “Tell John that blind eyes are being healed, deaf ears are being unstopped, lame legs are made to walk again and the poor are having the Gospel preached to them.”  (As bad as eternal damnation is?  Why wouldn’t the first words out of Jesus’ mouth be, “Tell John, that the first thing we are doing is rescuing everyone from a damning, tortuous, eternal, painful existence of endless, mind numbing, searing pain that lasts forever and ever.)

Also, in the book or Revelation, we are told that the devil and his angels will be cast into the lake of fire where they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  The words from the original manuscript were interpreted “forever and ever”.  That is not what these words mean.  Translated correctly, the words should be interpreted “ages of ages”.

Now let’s look at something I discovered recently.  The parable of the rich man and Lazurus.  The rich man asked Abraham if a finger could be dipped in cool water and touched to his tongue because of the torment he was suffering in these flames.  If this parable is an analogy of heavenly bliss versus a tortuous hell, then why did Abraham address the man in the flames as “Son”.  That’s right, read it your self.  Abraham called him SON!   WOWWWW !

Do I believe in eternal damnation?  I really don’t know.  Do I believe there is a hell?  Possibly.   Again, I’m not sure.  I’m not trying to change anyone’s theological thinking.  What I’m trying to do is show things that are taught as God’s Word that absolutely confuse me when it comes to eternal damnation.

Here is my point.  We as mere humans are aware of a three dimensional world that we live in.  I live in a three dimensional world and yet I have the power to end my marriage or any relationship with one sentence!  So, let me ask you.  Could our heavenly Father who is aware of and lives in not just three dimensions, but billions upon trillions of them…who created the universe with mere words…could He not take a monster like Charles Manson, sit with him for 30 seconds and change this monster with just a few of His words?

Amen

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