How do you envisage postmortem punishment?


Since my post was not openable, here is the link to the chapter I was quoting.Exciting stuff. … #chapter15


It seems to me that Jesus contrasted His commandments to that of “what was said to those the ancients.” (He didn’t even say “God said” or “Moses said” but “It was said.”) Sometimes Jesus’ word is more stringent, and sometimes it is the opposite. Much of what “was said to the ancients” was part of the Mosaic law or the Ten Commandments. I’m not sure of the source of the command to love your neighbour and hate your enemy. Most commentators suppose that the latter was an inference of the Pharisees.

FROM MATTHEW 5 (My personal translation. Words in brackets have been added for clarification):


Good points, Don. Thanks!


Cindy said:

Cindy, I understand… But the problem is from good meaning evangelicals that are wanting to say what the scripture means. both OT and NT … They are saying such interesting things…

Good luck.


Dave, I have that book, but I never got very far in it. That was amazing, but I’m not sure why you posted it here–maybe I haven’t read far enough yet? I got so far as the coming of Jove…


The law was unto Christ (not an end in itself because righteousness could not be obtained in it), a tutor… Jesus in his beatitudes**+** shows the futility of the law in taking matters even further with examples of the futility of self-righteousness in saying those things recorded in Verses 21-22 of chapter 5.

Such things JUST LIKE THE LAW are impossible to keep, hence their futility in terms of righteousness… fine to aim for (just like the OC for those under it) but impossible to attain, i.e., effectively keep. Thus the beatitudes were mere guides NOT reapplication of the law. Besides… according to some people’s MO, Matthew’s recording of Jesus’ words could have been suspect — of course NOT something I’d agree with, but some run with it.

For mine, I show no partiality, the WHOLE package comes from God… most likely via post exilic Ezra.

Once you start slicing and dicing and erasing whole swathes of Scripture to suit one’s dogma then there comes NO end to the deletion of the Word. You only have to look at the attitude and belief of those of that era and THEIR belief and assurance as to the Scripture’s validity from God to them. Ignore one part and consistency demands you must ignore the lot — and some actually do this.

If one must trade away the Words of Scripture for private interpretation thereof (not saying you do Cindy) then NONE of it can be taken as sacred script, but mere postscript to dogmatic speculation — not healthy IMO.


Cindy, Yes, we can know this because it says this in the Bible. 1Cor.1-4 " Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the SAME spiritual food, and all drank the SAME spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ."

Psalm 78:14-19 “In the daytime He led them with the cloud and all night with a light of fire. He split the rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink in abundance like the depths. He also brought streams out of the rock and caused water to run down like the rivers. But they sinned even more against Him by rebelling against the Most High in the wilderness. And they tested God in their heart by asking for the food of their fancy. Yes, they spoke against God. …Therefore the Lord heard this and was furious so a fire was kindled against Jacob and anger also came up against Israel because they did not believe in God and did not trust in his salvation. Yet He had commanded the clouds above and opened the doors of heaven, had rained down manna on them to eat and gave them the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.”

Act 7:35 This Moses whom they rejected saying ’ Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ " verses 37-39 “This IS that Moses who said to the children of Israel ’ The Lord your God will raise up a prophet LIKE ME from your brethren . Him you shall hear.’ This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give us, whom our fathers rejected, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt.” 42-43 “Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ’ Did you offer me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel. Yes, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch.”

Not all of the fathers rejected the word. (Acts 7:44-45) Those who received the bread of heaven and took it to heart, went into the promised land where God gave them rest.

God raised up many prophets like Moses who were ALL of one voice, speaking the same words that Jesus spoke.
John 5:46 “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me.”


I’m not slicing away anything, Davo. Scripture is what it is. It is NOT perfect in the way we typically define perfection. The TANACH is the story of Israel and her journey into the understanding and knowledge of who God is. I would agree that it is perfectly told, but not that God is pleased with the kind of behavior permitted and/or required under Moses’s law, let alone with the alleged atrocities committed against little babies and toddlers and the taking of young virgins as sex slaves. The historic church saw these scriptures as symbolic of the eradication of sin in our lives and NOT as literal history. I think they were right about that. The story is perfectly told, but we do not perfectly understand it. We stupidly take it stupidly literally. As CS Lewis famously said, “The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them.”


:astonished: :astonished: Good thought.


Given your knowledge of this… how were the likes of… “the alleged atrocities committed against little babies and toddlers and the taking of young virgins as sex slaves” applied as being “symbolic of the eradication of sin in our lives” — like how do you see that actual outworking?

Interesting irony… Paidion so often pillories me for not going down the literal path. :wink:

Speaking of which… not sure if you noticed, but in the Dan 9 passage cited Daniel himself was quite clear as to his and Israel’s acceptance of all Moses’ words to them, i.e., the laws, precepts, statutes, judgments etc, as in fact being…the voice of the Lord.” Consequently the dramas they incurred by not heeding such.


You’re nit-picking, Davo. The point of the virgins was most likely to flesh out the story with pertinent details of what the conquerors of a land typically did–take the best of the land–the good and unspoiled things–for themselves. The point of the toddlers and babies is to show that even small sins are dangerous. If they’re not dealt with, they mature into full-grown sins that can be far more challenging to deal with. It’s not about pillorying babies.

I can’t answer for any argument you and Don might have had, but I know you’re just making an aside so I won’t go any farther with that. :wink:

I don’t have time right now to study up on Daniel, but I do know what Jesus said–which I already shared. If Jesus disagrees with Daniel, I think Jesus gets my vote. Are you seriously insisting that (because of your passage from Daniel) it’s wrong to wear a garment made of mixed fibers, or a sin to sow wheat and oats in the same field? Or that a girl who doesn’t bleed into the sheets on her wedding night should be put to death? Or that the punishment for killing one’s slave should be more lenient because the slave was after all, the master’s property? Or that a person who eats a six-piece shrimp dinner at Culvers ought to be cast out from the nation? Really? Even if you only apply Moses’s law for the subjects of the covenant, the Hebrews, should this truly be their law?


Well nit-picking aside, thanks for answering. You may be right that ‘the historic church’ saw it that way… I doubt however the ancient nomadic Hebrews understood it that way.

Well you can rest easy and vote with Daniel as Jesus had full confidence in him even quoting from chapter 9 the portion of scripture that came immediately after that which I quoted in the previous post.

NO I’m not… I don’t get why some things were as they were in their day; more than a little weird IMO, but it was what it was — or to use your own vernacular to solidify the point… “Scripture is what it is.

I do… and apparently, it was. :astonished:


Okay, so where do we disagree, Davo? The law of Moses was ordained by God–Moses was His designated authority over the people of Israel. He gave them the law–Jesus said so. That doesn’t mean they weren’t supposed to keep it (as Daniel pointed out). It doesn’t follow that God dictated the law word for word to Moses (0r to Ezra for that matter.) It seems likely to me that God gave Moses quite a lot of leeway to do what he believed was right for the people he led–just as God does for other leaders, both secular and spiritual.

According to a literal interpretation of scripture, the Exodus consisted of approximately 2 million Hebrews fleeing Egypt, passing through the waters (symbolic of death and resurrection/baptism), being followed by the Rock from whom the pure and true water (of life) flowed . . . some people try to tell me that there was an actual monolith actually following them around the desert, and they actually attempt to substantiate this “scientifically.” I read an article by a man who is apparently a prominent Rabbi (can’t remember who it was–it was a couple years ago), but I do remember what he said. In effect, is it any less the ‘family story’ if it was really just Moses and a small band of followers leaving Egypt (Egypt being symbolic of this world’s system) and crossing over into Cana and conquering it by destroying the prevailing idolatry, killing all those horrible practices (including human sacrifice and other shocking rites) root and branch (from the babe born yesterday to the doddering grandmother and everyone in-between) and instituting the law of Moses which was bar none the preeminent legal/moral code of that time (perhaps inspired by, but soaring above and far beyond the Code of Hammurabi), as well as instituting the revolutionary religious idea of monotheism? Histories back then were epic. Kind of like (if you remember) the daily reports from Vietnam. Twenty US soldiers died, 2,049 Vietnamese killed. Um-hum. We all believed it, but did that make it factual? You tell me. They just made that up–there was no way to know that. And yet it is a part of our national story.

Anthropologists say the Exodus never happened. Not the 2 mill strong exodus, not the genocidal conquest of Cana. They say the Jewish people always lived in Cana and that they were, basically, Canaanites. Only they weren’t–they were really a people set apart by God–even if they possibly did not all of them come from Egypt, through the desert for 40 years. Even if they were separated from among the indigenous people who had always lived there. People called out and inspired by the leadership of–Joshua? Moses died before entering the Promised Land, remember. It’s all a million years ago (not literally) and no one knows for sure what happened. The sociologists feel certain that what did NOT happen was mass genocide in the land of Cana, nor a 2,000,000 strong exodus from Egypt. I used to think this was a problem–now I realize it has never been a problem. The Middle East is the cradle of literature with all its nuance. Myth, allegory, hyperbole, poetry, metaphor… Remember how everyone rolled their eyes at threats of “The mother of all battles?” We all listened to the newscasters say how silly that was, what an empty boast, and we compared the battles to much more massive battles of old, and we completely missed the point that this was hyperbole and the people stating it never imagined it would be taken literally. It’s just the way they talk–with grandiose exaggeration. It’s like someone saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a hippo.” We understand that–how is it we didn’t understand “the mother of all battles” was just hyperbolic boasting? This is the way Middle Eastern people talk. It is the way they have ALWAYS talked. They expect us to understand it, but we don’t. We are very childishly literally minded in the modern West. We don’t even understand our own scriptures inherited from the middle eastern tribe of Abraham.

So I say the law of Moses was Moses’s law. Revolutionary, impossible to keep, containing God’s dictated law, but not limited to that. God was okay with Moses doing the task He had delegated to him. Moses did a good job. When the people did not keep Moses’s law, they suffered the wrath of God as well as the natural consequences of their degradation from a people living in a system of the rule of law to a corrupt people ruled by corrupt politicians and living in a corrupt and simpering and self-serving and shallow society (who does that remind me of?) Daniel was right. All this happened to them because they had neglected to live up to their obligation to obey the law of God given them by Moses. It was God’s law because God had ordained Moses to give the law–not necessarily because God had dictated every codicil.

So when Jesus said, “Moses gave you a law… but I say to you,” He wasn’t dissing Moses. He was elaborating and illuminating the true law–the law of God–the law that was from the beginning–the law that is not imposed from without, but which must bubble up from the Spirit’s power within us. The law that cannot be kept–that must spring from the life force of God living through the hearts of human beings.

I’m too tired (it’s very late here) to read back over this and make sure it makes sense, or even addresses our disagreement (whatever that is in your eyes). I think though, that the attempted literal interpretation of scripture distracts us from the truth–from the SPIRIT of the law. I think we need to move beyond that and follow Jesus in the Spirit of Love as our Teacher/Helper leads us and our Father conforms us to the image of His Son, who is the precise, full, and completely comprehensive image of God.


Yes it happened, historically, BUT probably not carte blanch, and hyperbole language does count as a factor but doesn’t discount the mayhem insurant on the wickedness of those displaced, e.g., Deut 9:5 etc. Again… hyperbolic figures of speech do not deny nor negate “historical accounts” but rather paint a picture of the totality of destruction in line with acts of war; NOT wanton indiscriminate killing, as is the language I’ve sometimes times seen disingenuously used for emotive effect in describing such.

This author has this to say…

And so whether one accepts “every codicil” was of God, the end result was the same… the law as it was meant to be kept, i.e., the spirit of the law, was there all along, e.g., Deut 10:16; 30:6.

Yes well… I was just about to answer your single paragraph response when it disappeared but then reappeared as it is above, lol… done that a few times myself. :wink:


Yeah, I realized that little paragraph was pretty inadequate even despite the fact I felt I was about to nod off. I get so tired, but then somehow I can’t go to sleep–not because of any worrying or anything. It just doesn’t seem to want to happen for me. Probably too much caffeine too late. That never used to bother me, but you know, I’m old and getting older. :laughing:

Bottom line, while we may be a little ways apart from one another in our perception of the topic, I can’t see that we’re far enough apart to have much of a disagreement. I don’t have a problem with your argument and I even concede that you’re as likely to be in the right as I am. (It’s ancient history after all, so who can say definitively?) I’m just not sure where to take this from here. As far as I can tell, I don’t have a problem with anything you’ve written–we’re always going to have different opinions with regard to details and that’s not a bad thing, so long as we don’t go all dogmatic about it. I don’t hold my opinions with such a tight grasp that I’m not willing to consider yours as equally valid to mine, and if something happens in future to tilt me in your direction, I could go there with no qualms whatsoever. :slight_smile:


That said, it just occurred to me (duh) that maybe we’re leaning a little off topic–maybe we ought to point it back at postmortem punishment, or at least relate our current discussion to it. :wink:


Oh no! You, too? Of course “getting older” is not “old.” When that little 6-year old you taught in school is retired and has grandchildren, consider yourself old!

But as you say—back to the topic. To me “punishment” means “penalties” or in some cases “retribution.” I don’t believe God punishes in that sense. But I do believe in post-mortem correction, certainly for the unrepentant, and likely for everyone. For salvation is a life-long process, and may not be complete at the time of death. However, we have the assuring words of the apostle Paul in Phillipians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” So to complete the process of salvation, post-mortem correction may be necessary even for Christians, for, as Jesus said, “Everyone will be salted with fire” (Mark 9:49). Both salt and fire are purifying agents. All of God’s judgments are remedial.


Paidon, i’m wondering how you reconcile your view of retribution with God’s wrath towards the wicked, such as in:

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;

Whoever believes in the Son has lasting life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.


Davo, Yes, Moses was the voice of God

Cindy, Yes the New covenant IS old as you say. It was the covenant of Abraham as well as that of Moses.

Deut. 4:12-13 “And the Lord spoke to you out of the fire You heard the sound of the words but saw no form. you only heard a voice. So He declared to you HIS COVENANT which He commanded you to perform, THAT IS THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.”

Deut. 5:1 “And Moses called all Israel and said to them, 'Hear O Israel the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today that you may learn them and be careful to observe them.” Verse 22 “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud and the thick darkness with a loud voice, and He ADDED NO MORE. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.”

Deut 9:9 “When went into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the TABLETS OF THE COVENANT which the Lord made with you…”

Deut. 9:15 “And the TABLETS OF THE COVENANT were in my hand.”

Deut 9:15 "And He wrote on the tablets according to the first writing, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Deut. 10:5 'Then I turned and came down from the mountain and put the tablets in the ark which I had made, and there they are, just as the Lord commanded me."

Ex. 34:28 “And he wrote on the tablets THE WORDS OF THE COVENANT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.”

Ex.31:18 And when He had made an end of speaking with him on Mount Sinai, he gave Moses TWO TABLETS OF THE TESTIMONY, tablets of stone written with the finger of God."

Moses also explained the essence of this law in Deut. 10:12-22.


Greetings Origen,

I have used Romans 2 many times in answer to the following two different theologies:

  1. The position of Christian fundamentalists and some evangelicals, that of penal substitution—the idea that Jesus endured the punishment from God that we deserved, and so God doesn’t see our sin but Christ’s righteousness. And that He is satisfied to see His Son tortured to death so that He feels no need to punish us for our sin. This implies that whatever we do after we have accepted this substitution, will not be subject to God’s wrath. Jesus death gets us all off the hook.

  2. The position of Ultra Universalism—that everyone will automatically go to heaven to be with God forever when they first meet Him in the afterlife and consequently will be immediately changed.

However, I do not see that his passage conflicts with my position in any way. Here is my personal translation of the passage:

*For he will render to everyone according to his works: to those who by perseverance in well‑doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, he will give lasting life; but for those who are self-seeking and are not persuaded by the truth, but are persuaded by wickedness, there will be wrath and fury.

Affliction and anguish for every person who does evil … but glory and honour and well-being for every one who does good … For God shows no partiality. (Romans 2:6-11)*

We read about the wrath and fury of God in the passage. I fully acknowledge that God is angry about wrongdoing. That’s why He will do everything possible to correct wrongdoers. Paul speaks of those who persist in well-doing and the result—lasting life. The next verse, by analogy, implies that those who persist in wrongdoing will receive the wrath and fury of God. But this is not penalty for their wrongdoing; nor is it God’s vengeance. It is God’s correction. This correction will be “affliction and anguish” to those who continue resisting.

You quoted:

The Greek has it, "The one not being persuaded (present active participle, indicating a continuing mind set of not being persuaded) to the Son will not see life but the wrath of God remains (present active indicative, indicating that this wrath continues) on him.

As long as the person continues in not being persuaded, that is how long he will not see life. That is how long God’s wrath will remain on him. But what if the person at some point IS persuaded to the Son—to become one of Christ’s disciples? Will not God’s wrath then be lifted? Will he not then be in a position to see life?