The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Historical vs. spiritual Gehenna

Well Aaron, it seems we weigh the evidence differently. As to the Jews changing the use of Gehenna between the 1st and 4th centuries, I don’t see any evidence that there was a change. If you have any evidence from the 1st century that Gehenna was used differently, please present it. Otherwise, to me the evidence points to what I’ve shared. Also, Origen who lived in the 2nd Century, based on his research of the Jewish meaning/use of Gehenna, believed that it spoke of remedial punishment.

And yes, Hillel believed that most people went straight to Ga Eden, not needing to go through Gehenna; and Shammai believed that few were righteous enough to go straight to Ga Eden and thus needed to go through the purification of Gehenna. Jesus’ use of Gehenna seems to line up more with Shammai’s, especially when one looks at Mk.9:49.

42 "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck. 43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, where the **fire **never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into Gehenna. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into Gehenna, 48 where
" ‘their worm does not die,
and the **fire **is not quenched.’
49 Everyone will be salted with fire.

Notice that Jesus is warning of Gehenna on a personal level, not a coorporate level. He is warning of how terrible it will be, or can be for those who are especially evil, causing little ones to sin. But then He notes that Everyone shall be salted by fire. And the fire in context is the fire of Gehenna. Salt speaks of healing, preservation, and even purification. And as you know, fire too was used in the purification of metals.

I believe that Jesus is speaking metaphorically of the fire of truth, the truth concerning our lives, what we did and did not do with what God gave us, the truth about how our actions hurt others, the truth about how our bad attitudes cut us off from the blessings of God, etc. This truth, well, brings us to repentance, moves us to accept the forgiveness and love of God, and ultimately heals our souls. Thankfully, we need not wait for this to happen, but can access the judgment of God today that will change us and make us whole.

To me the literary context of this passage in no way suggests that Jesus is warning of the destruction of Jerusalem or the punishment of Israel by God. Rather, Jesus was warning of personal judgment to come and the terribleness of that judgement.

Here, again, is what I believe to be the root of our fundamental disagreements concerning what Jesus meant by “Gehenna.” You continue to direct us to uninspired Jewish opinions (which may or may not have been held by some or any Jews in the 1st century) in order that we may better understand what Jesus meant, whereas I believe Jesus would point us to the inspired Hebrew Scriptures (i.e., our Old Testament) to better understand what he meant.

Hi Aaron, I read the other post and it was pretty long and I didn’t have time then to reply to it all. I’ll look at it again.


I too believe that Jesus pointed people to the inspired Hebrew Scriptures. If Jesus intended to point out where either Shammai or Hillel was using Gehenna incorrectly, He’d have pointed it out as He did with their other teachings; but He didn’t. As to the meaning of Gehenna, I not only point to the “uninspired Jewish opinions” recorded in the Talmud, but also to Origen who studied the meaning of Gehenna and concluded that the Jews used it to speak of remedial punishment. And I don’t see anything in what Jesus said concerning Gehenna that does not fit with this understanding of Gehenna.

If the Jews in the 2nd Century understood Gehenna to be metaphorical of remedial punishment as Origen asserts, and the quotes fromt the 4th Century Talmud assert the same, without evidence to the contrary I see no reason to believe that it was used otherwise in the 1st Century.

But, oh well.

I’ll look again at the other passages. That’s the difficult thing about having two threads on the same issue. In short, I believe that we shall all, believer and unbeliever alike, face the fire of God, the truth concerning our lives, the judgment. We’ll be rewarded and chastized as needed by our heavenly Father. How that all plays out, I don’t know but trust in the Lord. These passages do give me pause to consider how I’m actually living, not just what I profess to believe. And I believe that such passages warn of punishment from God that is remedial, punishments that can come in this life and the life to come as is needed to effect the positive changes in our souls that are needed for us to fully enjoy the presence of God in this life and the life to come.

Oh well.

Amen Aaron, it is rare for me to see others agree with what I personally discovered in my studies almost verbatim. Thanks for taking this challenge on. I may not have the patience to discuss things now as I used to, but it simply is because I don’t have the time these days and for that I apologize.

I will be responding later to his post to me. It is unfortunate that fallacy is used in Sherman’s responses. So far I have witnessed: Anachronistic Fallacy - In which later definitions, propositions and conclusion supersede previous precedents of original definitions, propositions and conclusions; that is like saying a man in 1940 saying, “I had a gay old time” was speaking about his homosexual experiences. Which is essentially what Sherman is presenting to us when he says that what was written 200-700 years later concerning Gehenna was in fact what Gehenna meant, instead of presenting us evidence which states this was the understanding of the 1st Century. In fact, a second fallacy appears when he fails to present evidence and ignores reason which disproves his theory. Argumentum ad nauseam - repeating something over and over without regard to contrary evidence and asserting it is true and therefore must be true. Then I see a hasty generalization, in which Sherman consequently groups up since all must face the ‘fire’ of God, that Gehenna (being a fire), is that fire of God we all must face ignoring the fact that Jesus says plainly, Gehenna can be avoided if you remove the ‘blind’ eyes that lead you, and the ‘lame’ limbs that cause you to sin against God (speaking of Israel, not the individual hence why all [speaking to Israel] will be salted with fire). You know what I do when I proved wrong? I actually admit it and change my doctrine to fit the truth. But as Sherman says, “Oh well.”

But you still haven’t proven that Gehenna was understood by 1st century Jews to be a place of remedial punishment. The only evidence you’ve given thus far is as follows: (1) a passage from the Babylonian Talmud, which provides us with the position of the school or Shammai at the time this source was written (5th century AD?), and (2) you’ve referred to something said by the 3rd century theologian Origen which indicates that some Jews in his day understood “Gehenna” to denote a place of purgatorial punishment (are you referring to his reply against Celsus?). But Origen - and the Jews with whom he was contemporaries - lived almost 200 years after Christ. That’s more than enough time for Jewish views concerning “Gehenna” to evolve. As I’m sure you’re aware, rabbinic opinion was not some static thing that remained completely unchanged from the beginning of the 1st century to the beginning of the 3rd. And the meaning ascribed to Gehenna by Jews would have had to undergo modification at some point, for not even you believe it had this meaning prior to the Babylonian captivity. The earliest allusion to Gehenna as a place of future punishment seems to be in the Book of Enoch (which possibly alludes to it in parable form when it refers to the “accursed valley” that would be the place of final punishment for the wicked - see ch. XXVI). And then we have the Mishnah references I provided, as well as the quote by Johanan ben Zakkai. But in none of these references is it indicated that Gehenna was thought to be a place of remedial punishment for the wicked; if anything, the exact opposite is implied (see especially the quote by Johanan). Therefore, I find it not only possible but probable that the figurative meaning ascribed to the word by the Pharisees underwent some modification from the 1st century to the 3rd century. So unless you have any evidence that the position expressed in the Babylonian Talmud was the position of Shammai himself, the very earliest date for which there is evidence to believe that some Jews understood Gehenna to denote a place of remedial punishment (at least, for some!) is sometime at the turn of the 3rd century. But I think I have just as much reason to believe that the position of the 1st century rabbi, Johanan ben Zakkai, more closely reflects the prevailing 1st century rabbinic understanding of Gehenna than the view of Origen’s Jewish contemporaries.

So basically, it seems that your argument boils down to, “If Jesus intended to point out that his understanding of Gehenna was different from the opinions of some Jews in Origen’s day, or the position of the school of Shammai at the time the Babylonian Talmud was written, he would have done so; but he didn’t.” But not only is there zero evidence that the views of the these later rabbis were known to Jesus or his 1st century audience, there’s no reason to think that Jesus would have even seen a need to “point out” to his first century audience that such a position was inaccurate even if it was known to them at the time. You merely assume that it was Jesus’ intent during his earthly ministry to either teach the popular opinions of the day or explicitly correct the popular opinions of the day if they were contrary to his beliefs. But I see no reason to believe this. The fact that Jesus explicitly corrected some of the incorrect beliefs of the Pharisees is no reason to believe it was his intention to explicitly correct all of their mistaken beliefs - especially when the beliefs did not directly touch on the subject of morality (i.e., our relationship to other people and to God).

But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that every single Jew to whom Christ spoke understood Gehenna to refer exclusively to a place of purgatorial punishment in the afterlife that would be the means by which all people will be saved. In other words, let’s say every single Jew to whom Christ spoke believed exactly what the 3rd century “church father” Origen evidently believed about it. Does it then follow that Christ would have corrected his listeners if he knew their understanding of the word “Gehenna” was deficient? As I argue in the other thread, there is no good reason to think this would be the case at all. It’s not like Jesus would have been jeopardizing people’s final, post-mortem destiny by failing to correct them on this. Even if they misunderstood him on Gehenna, it is likely that those who took his words seriously would still have been positively impacted and benefited by his warnings. As I said in my other post, I believe it was the general principle that mattered most to Christ (e.g., that having a vicious character exposes one to severe consequences) - not the exact meaning of “Gehenna.” Whether they understood Jesus to be referring to corpses being thrown into Gehenna amidst a horrific judgment upon their nation, or as referring to a severe remedial punishment in the afterlife, the principle would have been the same. And even if Jesus did consider it an essential part of his earthly mission to explicitly correct every mistaken belief of the Pharisees, it doesn’t follow that the Gospel writers would have included in their narratives every instance of Jesus doing this.

The most I’ve been able to find concerning Origen is what seems to be an allusion to the opinions of some Jews in his day that were apparently consistent with his own views concerning Gehenna. But I don’t see the uninspired views of Origen or of the Jews to whom he refers as being any more worthy of acceptance, or as any more indicative of what Jesus believed, than the views of 1st century Pharisees concerning the final destiny of those they deemed wicked. And I need not remind you that, as brilliant as Origen may have been, he held to a number of beliefs that are clearly unbiblical, such as the pre-existence of souls. So since Origin believed in this, does it mean Jesus necessarily believed in it as well? Jesus doesn’t explicitly deny it when his disciples ask him a question that seems to presuppose such a belief (John 9:1-4). So according to your reasoning, since Jesus didn’t explicitly correct his disciples on the doctrine of pre-existence/transmigration at this time (or at least, it’s not recorded that he did), then Jesus must have believed it. It was, after all, a belief among the Jews at that time!

As the day of Israel’s judgment drew near, those Jews whose character was such that they would call their fellow Jew a “fool” in unrighteous anger were the most likely to be in Jerusalem at the time of its overthrow, since this kind of character would have betrayed a hardened and unbelieving heart which had been unchanged by the Gospel. On the other hand, those Jews who had believed the Gospel and remained faithful to Christ during the years leading up to this judgment would have either made their escape when given the opportunity to do so, or simply not travelled to Jerusalem at the time of the Passover feast when it became clear that Christ’s prophesies concerning the overthrow of the Jewish nation were soon to be fulfilled. Moreover, according to a number of commentators, the word translated “fool” (mōre) could denote one who has apostatized from the faith and was living in rebellion against God. And if said in unrighteous anger, which Jews do you think were most likely to call their fellow Jews by this name in the first century? Answer: those Jews who had not believed on Christ, and who believed the Christians to be rebellious “apostates” from the Jewish faith. And of course, it was these Jews who were most in danger of perishing in the overthrow of Jerusalem, and being literally “cast into Gehenna” by a Roman soldier.

But according to your view, why would calling someone a “fool” make them more in danger of going to a place of purgatorial punishment in the afterlife than being angry with someone or saying to them “Raca”? I thought you believed all or at least most would have to undergo some “purging” after death.

And to you I say, “Please point out in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus warns of a place of post-mortem punishment in which an intermediate group of sinners whose sins didn’t outweigh their good deeds would spend a limited amount of time before getting to ascend to Heaven.” On the other hand, if Jesus was using Gehenna literally, then any Jews familiar with their inspired Scriptures would have likely seen in his words an allusion to Jeremiah 7 and 19. And even if they didn’t, there’s no reason to think Jesus would have seen a need to correct them. It wasn’t Jesus’ mission to correct every mistaken opinion to which the Jews of that day held.

No disagreements here!

I’ve already addressed the first objection elsewhere. But I’ll say it again: among those Jews who perished in the overthrow of Jerusalem, many were not permanent residents of Jerusalem. The judgment in 70 AD took place during the season of Passover, and Jews from all throughout Israel (indeed, Jews from “every nation under heaven” - cf. Acts 2:1-5) were present to celebrate this feast. As for the second objection, Jesus is not stating that everyone alive at that time would definitely be cast into Gehenna for calling someone a “fool.” Rather, he’s providing an example of the kind of person who would be deserving of such a judgment; whether some among those to whom he spoke were cast into Gehenna or died before this judgment took place is irrelevant. All that Jesus meant was that those who held such contempt for their fellow Jews would be most likely to perish in the overthrow of Jerusalem when this judgment took place. And there is good reason to believe that Jesus’ disciples, as well as many of those who had gathered to hear him speak during his earthly ministry, were younger men and women (i.e., teenagers, some as young as 14) who most likely would have been alive before that generation “passed away.” And as for the older members of Jesus’ listening audience, their decisions and actions would have had an effect on the younger generation, for better or worse (e.g., Jewish parents who became followers of Jesus were most likely to raise up children who would be followers of Jesus, whereas the children of those parents that were inclined to call Christians “fools” would have been most likely to do the same, placing themselves in danger of the coming judgment).

Regarding Origen’s assertion about the beliefs of the Jews, do you mean the 3rd century? But perhaps I’m mistaken on this; do you have the reference available?

Aaron, here’s a good article on Origen: Though he was born in the 2nd Century, his adult life was in the first half of the 3rd Century. 185-254 CE.

“We find that what was termed ‘Gehenna’ or ‘the Valley of Ennom,’ was included in the lot of the tribe of Benjamin, in which Jerusalem also was situated. And seeking to ascertain what might be the inference from the heavenly Jerusalem belonging to the lot of Benjamin, and the Valley of Ennom, we find a certain confirmation of what is said regarding the place of punishment, intended from the purification of such souls as are to be purified by torments, agreeably to the same,–‘the Lord cometh like a refiner’s fire and like fuller’s soap; and he shall sit as a refiner and purifies of silver and of gold.’” Ag. Cels., VI. xxvi.

Another reason I believe Jesus used Gehenna to reference remedial punishment/judgment is because of the the parables in Mt.24:36 - 25:46 where Jesus is speaking of his second coming and being ready for that. In the parable of the faithful/unfaithful servant, Jesus says the unfaithful servant will be assigned a place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth - 24:51, which is an indirect reference to Gehenna. In the parable of the talents, the same phrase is used of the lazy unfaithful servant, 25:30. And then in 25:46, Jesus says the goats (kids) shall suffer aionian kolasis; and *kolasis *specifically means remedial punishment, judgment/punishment meant to bring about a positive change.

So yes, the extra biblical evidence I’ve cited is from 3rd-5th Century CE, but to me the literary context of Jesus’ use of Gehenna and allusions to it indicates to me that Gehenna was a metaphor of Aonian Kolasis, remedial judgment/punishment that is time-transcending from God in this age and potentially the age to come. This is the punishment that a loving father ministers to the children he loves to bring about positive change.

Of course, of all the passages that specifically mention or allude to Gehenna Mt.23:33 is the one passage that based on its literary context could refer both metaphorically to the destruction of Jerusalem and/literally to people, the Pharisees, being cast into the literal Gehenna. In Mt.23 Jesus is denouncing the Pharisees and speaks of terrible things coming upon that generation, and then speaks of Jerusalem being left desolate. In this passage I can see Jesus warning of Gehenna in all three manners - literally, metaphorically of the destruction of Jerusalem, and metaphorically of aionian kolasis - depending on which way one looks at the passage. The warning against hypocricy is certainly as applicable today as it was then, though the Pharisees today are often Christians. Christian leaders that are hypocritical do end up often with a reputation of being a hypocrite and certainly suffer remedial punishment from God in this life and potentially the life to come.

You know Aaron, I don’t know that I can “prove” anything; I can only share what I believe and why I believe it. Could your understanding and interpretation of Gehenna be right? Yes. Could Craigs be right? Yes. Could mine be wrong? Yes. Could we all be wrong? Yes. I’ve just shared what I believe and why I believe it. If you and others do not believe the evidence I’ve presented of sufficient weight to change your beliefs, ok. As to Craigs denunciations, well, never mind.

Hi Sherman,

You wrote:

I agree with you that the judgment Christ had in mind when he referred to “Gehenna” should be associated with the fate of the unfaithful servants/foolish virgins/goats in the parables of Matt 24-25. But I deny that the “second coming” of which Christ speaks in these chapters refers to his personal, bodily coming at the time of the resurrection of the dead (as described in passages such as John 14:2-3, Acts 1:9-11, 1 Cor 15:21-26, Phil 3:20-21, 1 Thess 4:13-18, and 1 John 3:2). Instead, I believe the coming referred to in Matt 24-25 refers to what may be called a virtual coming of Christ, which I believe took place before that 1st century generation passed away (see, for example, Matt 10:28; 16:27-28; Luke 12:40; 17:22-24; John 21:22; 1 Cor 1:7-8; Phil 1:6, 10; 1 Thess 2:19; 3:13; 5:28; 2 Thess 1:6-10; 2:1-2; 1 Tim 6:14; 2 Tim 4:1, 8; James 5:7-8; 1 Pet 1:7, 13; 2 Pet 3:3-15; 1 John 2:28; Rev 1:7; 2:25; 22:7-12, 20). This 1st century coming of Christ was not unlike the “comings” of YHWH described in the OT, which referred to a manifestation of divine judgment against a nation through the instrumentality of another nation. For more on how I understand Matt 24-25 and the judgment of the “goats” at Christ’s coming, see 2 Thess 1:5-10

Regarding the word kolasis, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that the word “specifically means remedial punishment.” I think it can convey this meaning, but I don’t think the idea is inherent in the word itself - or at least, I don’t think it was when the NT was written. In Young’s Analytical Concordance the definition given for the word kolasis is “pruning, restraining, restraint.” And the author of the Emphatic Diaglott, after translating kolasin in Matt 25:46 by the words “cutting off,” says in a footnote:

And in Liddel & Scott’s Greek-English lexicon we read:

From the above definitions we see that kolasin need not convey so much the idea of directly bringing about a “positive change” in a person but rather of “checking” their sinful actions, or of “restraining” them (or “cutting them off”) in some sense. The punishment could be remedial, but it’s not necessary that it be understood in this way. According to the wider range of meaning we find for kolasis, it could be used to describe the kind of punishment that we find (for example) in our US justice system (which is neither vindictive nor necessarily remedial). Moreover, in the following passages from the LXX we find kolasis used of punishment without any suggestion that the action was for a “remedial” purpose:

Jeremiah 18:
20 Forasmuch as evil is rewarded for good; for they have spoken words against my soul, and they have hidden the punishment they meant for me; remember that I stood before thy face, to speak good for them, to turn away thy wrath from them.

Ezekiel 14:
3 Son of man, these men have conceived their devices in their hearts, and have set before their faces the punishment of their iniquities: shall I indeed answer them?

Ezekiel 14:
4 Therefore speak to them, and thou shalt say to them, Thus saith the Lord; Any man of the house of Israel, who shall conceive his devices in his heart, and shall set the punishment of his iniquity before his face, and shall come to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him [according to the things] in which his mind is entangled,

Ezekiel 14:
7 For any man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, who shall separate himself from me, and conceive his imaginations in his heart, and set before his face the punishment of his iniquity, and come to the prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the Lord will answer him, [according to the things] wherein he is entangled.

Ezekiel 18:
30 I will judge you, O house of Israel, saith the Lord, each one according to his way: be converted, and turn from all your ungodliness, and it shall not become to you the punishment of iniquity.

Ezekiel 43:
11 And they shall bear their punishment for all the things that they have done: and thou shalt describe the house, and its entrances, and the plan thereof, and all its ordinances, and thou shalt make known to them all the regulations of it, and describe [them] before them: and they shall keep all my commandments, and all my ordinances, and do them.

Ezekiel 44:12
Because they ministered to them before their idols, and it became to the house of Israel a punishment of iniquity; therefore have I lifted up my hand against them, saith the Lord God.

Finally, the Jewish philosopher Philo (20 BCE – 50 CE) used the exact phraseology we find in Matthew 25:46, just as Christ used it, in the context of temporal affairs between people:

In the above quote it is evident that kolasis was not intended to convey the idea of “remedial punishment.”

So while I don’t think the kolasis aionios of Matt 25:46 is in any way inconsistent with the truth of UR, I don’t think it necessarily means what many universalists think it does.

Hello Sherman,

I did not say the Jews did not understand Gehenna, I am saying that 500 years of not admitting that you were wrong, leads Pharisee’s (later called Rabbi’s) to write what they think it had to have meant. You say that Gehenna is purgatory. The truth is according to your sources, Gehenna is only reserved for the wicked of the wicked. Yes, they will be healed, but it has nothing to do with Gehenna why they are healed. Gehenna only becomes a purgatory from that view because nothing is permanently separated from God. You try to ‘align’ this justification with the words of Jesus, which have no similarity, other than the fact they are both talking about something called ‘Gehenna’.

The judgment of Gehenna, the valley of Gehenna and the spiritual place of Gehenna I have concluded long ago, are three different things and there is no such thing as a ‘spiritual place’ of Gehenna.

You have yet to demonstrate why Jesus spoke and repeated Jeremiah’s words.

Hi Aaron. I’m enjoying our discussion and it is provoking continued study on my part. Thanks. I’m actually rethinking whether or not Jesus when speaking of Gehenna meant something akin to Purgatory, or did He use it to speak metaphorically and in hyperboly (overstatement) of the destruction that comes to lives who give themselves over to sinful attitudes, actions, and life-styles. It would be similar to warning someone that if they continue in a certain sin/attitude/life-style their life would “go to the dogs”, or they’d “wind up in the trash” - a metaphorical warning of terrible things that are likely to come into our lives if we do not repent from such iniquity.

Yours and Craig’s question concerning how well developed was the concept of Gehenna as Purgatory during the 1st century and your suggestion that maybe Jesus meant it “literally” started me thinking in this direction. And frankly, the more I think on it the more it seems to fit the literary context of the passages where Gehenna and associated phraseology is mentioned.

Furthermore, if Jesus meant to affirm by Gehenna a concept similar to Purgatory then it seems that Paul would have picked up on this concept and warned of it clearly in terms that would have been understood by his Greco-Roman audience; but he doesn’t. Rather, he warns of destruction and judgment.

Ok, this was my primary point.

Is it possible that Mt.24-25 is speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem? Yes, and some of it surely is. But to me the principles communicated in the parables are for all generations, and the associated warnings are for all generations, all people, not just that generation and not just the residence of Jerusalem. The parable of the wise and unjust steward are warnings of judgment that comes upon those who misuse their positions of leadership. The parable of the 5 wise and 5 foolish virgins speaks of all the good (the parties) that people miss out on who are ill-prepared. The parable of the talents warns those who are lazy, fearful, and twisted in their thinking concerning God, that if they don’t repent they’ll loose all; they’ll not only miss out on all the blessings that God wants for them, but they’ll even loose what little they already have. And the parable of the Goats and Kids is a warning of remedial punishment that will come upon those who are selfish and immature - “it’s all about me” mentality.

But when I have time I’ll review the links you’ve supplied.

From my understanding of the above quotes you provided, kolasis does indicate remedial punishment, chastisement. Almond trees that undergo such kolasis are changed in shape and it is done so as to promote better fruit production. Liddel notes that kolasis is set in contrast to timoria which speaks of retributive, even vindictive, punishment. And even basinos, to torment, is related to the process of the purification of metals. Evil is restrained and good is promoted.

If you’ll note, the Hebrew words translated as kolasis are not consistently translated as kolasis and likely could have been translated better using other Greek words. For example, in Jer.18.20 above, the Hebrew word is “rah” which is best translated as “evil” not “punishment” (either remedial or retributive) and is translated otherwise in other passages in the LXX. I don’t know what the assumptions or intended meaning of the translators of the LXX were on this and other passages. As you know, translation work from the original languages is difficult enough without adding another layer of such.

To me, punishment to bring about a positive change does fit the scentence context. The weaker class will seek from “such as are more powerful” change of a positive nature.

I believe kolasis aionios means profoundly “God’s remedial punishment”. Does it necessarily imply a “purgatory”, no. I’m increasingly coming to believe that it speaks primarily of temporal remedial punishments; but that it can also imply punishment in the life to come that is needed to bring about positive change in us. This punishment of the life to come could be as simple and yet as powerful as profoundly encountering God’s judgment of our lives, how we actually lived – when we are forced to recon with the unshaded truth concerning our lives - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

And btw, James 3.6 “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” put into today’s terminology could simply be referencing having a “trash mouth that reflects a heart filled with trash!”

Thanks again for the discussion. I enjoy a serious study and it sure helps me seriously consider what you share when you do so in such a respectful way, not assuming ill of those who understand (or misunderstand) things differently than you do.

Blessings upon you and yours,