The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is God Violent In Hell? Does That Influence Us?—Cavanaugh


#101

We should frequently meditate upon Christ’s parable of the prodigal son and similar parables (such as the one about those who labored for but an hour receiving the same wages as those who labored all day, with the note that the first will be last and the last will be first). We should also contemplate the fact that Paul said that he was the chief of sinners.

On that note, you should hear and/or read the Orthodox liturgies during the Great Fast (i. e., the 40 days before Pascha [Easter]). We say over and over again that I, me, myself am the worst sinner ever.

THAT, I think, is the proper frame of mind to be in. We are so tempted to think of ourselves and those we like as better than the terrorists, the shooters, the Hitlers, and all the rest. Oh, I grant that these latter cause more immediately obvious mischief, but I deny that they are worse sinners than myself. I am the worst.

When we are made perfect by Christ, we are given what we thoroughly do not deserve: Heaven. For that matter, when God creates us in our mothers’ wombs, we are given what we do not deserve: existence in God’s grand creation. Neither our creation nor our re-creation is merited. Both are grace.

We must also remember that the martyrs forgave and prayed for their murderers, in imitation of Christ upon the cross: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The martyrs did not take a grim pleasure in thinking how one day their persecutors are really going to “get it”.

What is the difference between a holy martyr (let us take St. Ignatios of Antioch [martyred in A. D. 110] as our example) and the Romans who murdered him? St. Ignatios had the joy of Christ upon this earth, and his murderers did not. That makes all the difference in the world. St. Ignatios began his Heaven early, so to speak. His persecutors had to wait until death to enjoy Heaven, while St. Ignatios was communing with Heaven for decades before his death. One single second of such communion is worth more than the whole world and all it contains.

St. Paul himself recognized, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:21-24) Certainly we should desire Heaven! But God has ordained that we remain for a particular span of time here in this fallen world. Why? As Paul explains in that passage, to minister to our brethren. When our race is over, God will call us home. Suicide is dereliction of duty, a failure to love God and our neighbor.


#102

Hi Geoffrey:

Let me play Devil’s Advocate for a moment. I’m curious how you respond to these Orthodox blog posts (written by Orthodox church clergy)? :slight_smile:

Christian universalism: will everyone finally be saved?
Hell (Unfortunately) Yes: Why I Can’t Be a Universalist

P.S. All the user commentary is also very interesting. :exclamation:

http://www.cartoonresource.com/umbraco/ImageGen.ashx?image=/695573/devil's%20advocate.jpg&class=full


#103

Wow, I checked out that bottom article and the comments… What a petty debate. Wow, the more I read internet theologians, the more convinced I am of their bankruptcy. Bickering dogmatic assertions that go against the very lofty nature of Jesus Christ. Truly, throwing pearls before swine is an excellent example of keeping something we treasure guardung from swine who just want to fight endlessly on an internet forum… It’s ok to debate a few lines, but once a full discourse ensues, it is time to back off and protect ourselves and our pearls. My pearls are Jesus and his nature of Love as described in 1st corr 13… Not some petty God who will act as an all powerful tyrant. To eaxh their own, but I won’t give such people my precious. Pearls.


#104

Holy Fool, I read the articles you linked, and I concur with Gabe: petty, bankrupt, bickering dogmatic assertions. If those articles were representative of the teaching of the Orthodox Church, then I would flee far from her and become some sort of Lone Ranger Protestant. (If you really want to go down a bottomless rabbit hole of “Orthodox” nightmare, start poking around the internet for the “Orthodox” teaching of the aerial toll booths/houses. Seraphim Rose was a big proponent of that.)

Obviously a full refutation of those articles would be longer than the articles themselves, so let me put forth only a few points:

  1. Most of their articles were about the nonsensical Biblical interpretations that are always put forward by those who believe in never-ending Hell. This entire site is devoted to showing the bankruptcy of that.

  2. Also the tired old chestnut about universalists not believing in God’s punishment of sin. sigh I believe Jason is on record as saying that we universalists believe in God’s punishments more thoroughly than do the Hell people. I agree with Jason. I think that the Hell people really do not realize just how searching and unavoidable and implacable God’s judgement is.

  3. The nonsense about the 5th Ecumenical Council. I myself am very, very skeptical that the Fifth Ecumenical Council ever said a word against Origen, even as I am extremely skeptical that he ever believed or taught the nonsense ignorantly attributed to him centuries later. Not only do the supposed statements of the Council against Origen look historically dubious, but we must also deal with the fact that a host of saints (including St. Athanasius, St. Gregory Thaumaturgas, St. Ambrose, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Basil the Great) had great admiration for Origen. On top of all that are the facts that Origen is a Confessor (i. e., a man who was physically tortured for the Faith) and that he lived and died at peace in the bosom of the Church.

  4. The sweeping generalities about the Orthodox Church Fathers supposedly believing in Hell. I address that here:
    I have no proof that any Greek Church Father held to hell.

  5. A couple of supposed quotes from the liturgy. Every single time that I have read a “quote” from the liturgy that is something other than light and grace, it has turned out upon research into the original Greek text to be nonsense. People will inject Hell wherever they can. Consider this article along with the first comment thereunder:
    afkimel.wordpress.com/2013/09/0 … he-damned/
    John Burnett is right.

Those articles are examples of why I wandered far from the Orthodox Church. I allowed that sort of preposterous darkness to cloud my vision. When I decided to stop listening to the opinions of men and instead “limit” myself to the thousands of pages of Orthodox liturgy POOF! all the fogs were dispersed by the pure light.

Modern academic and internet “Orthodoxy” is repulsive. I mourn that so many people are scandalized by it.


#105

#106

Dave, for anyone interested in reading about the Orthodox Church, I recommend starting with the following volume:
The Festal Menaion, translated by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware (published by Faber and Faber in 1969 and by St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press in 1990), ISBN 1-878997-00-9
It costs about $30.

I would recommend jumping right into the texts and saving the translators’ introductions for last (or never). Either start on page 81 with the common of the vigil, or on page 98 with the Birth of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and read straight through to the end. That gives you over 400 pages of the liturgy.


#107

Geoffrey, while I disagree with the Ortho position on closed communion, I appreciate your posting here.


#108

G - thanks, I’ll look for perhaps a used copy.


#109

Well, I think Hany Mikhail’s teaching on Divine Justice (12 videos) is outstanding! Each one is only 10 minutes long. Here is the first:

youtube.com/watch?v=D28MWNYGYAU

I was also greatly blessed by this joyful Coptic Orthodox praise and worship in Egypt:

youtube.com/watch?v=HnXJ7IWH3PU


#110

Geoffrey, from what I understand, what you are saying seems to be a one size fits all sort of deal; that because God is love and forgives us of sin, no matter what we do in this life it is instantly wiped away, and we become Christ- like upon death. However, God is also truth. In the parable of the laborers that you mention, some may have been laboring earlier than others, but they all labored at some point. Giving birth, whether it be to a creation or a recreation, requires going through “labor”, which is a painful process. I would say that this is the point where we come face to face with the truth. This step seems to be missing in the thought that upon leaving this world, we instantly become Christ-like. There are many that die without seeing the truth.


#111

There is an article in Wiki, to what Geoffrey is referring to:

Aerial toll house

Wiki refers to these 2 main criticisms:

Kind of reminds me of the Bardo Thodol, in the Tibetan Book of the Dead.


#112

Thank you. I also appreciate you and all the crowd here on the EU forums. :slight_smile:


#113

Let me amend my statement: Much of modern academic and internet “Orthodoxy” is repulsive.


#114

To LLC, Paidion, and all other universalists who believe in post-mortem corrections:

Perhaps we are not so far apart as it seems on first glance. I was contemplating Paidion’s statement that God’s correction is, generally speaking, more effective post-mortem than before death. This was in the context of my comment that George MacDonald seems to have thought that post-mortem correction would take long ages, while Paidion seems to think that it will not take as long as long ages.

So how long would be too short? Could the correction’s maximum length be measured in decades? In years? Months? Days? Hours? Minutes? Seconds? Fractions of a second?

It seems that we agree that we need to be fixed, and that physical death does not fix us. Christ fixes us. How long does it take Him to do that post-mortem? I think the merest fraction of a second. Consider:

  1. We will no longer be subjected to peer pressure. We have all seen a snotty teenager snap just like that become pleasant when his undesirable peers leave the room.

  2. We will no longer be subjected to the vagaries of our bodies’ chemicals, hormones, etc. We all know about monthly mood swings, or about being cranky because of an empty stomach, etc. No more of all that.

  3. We will no longer have any doubts: Does God exist? Is Christ deity? Which doctrines are true? Is such-and-so true? Etc. We will meet the Truth Himself. Thus, no more mental doubts as to the facts.

  4. We will no longer have our diseased brains. Studies of the brain show that our behaviors literally shape the physical contours of our brains. Our sins can make deep tracks, so to speak, in our brains, making it hard for us to shake those sinful behaviors. Drug, alcohol, and pornography addiction are examples of this. No more twisted brains holding us back!

  5. We are subjected to all the demonic spiritual influences of living in a fallen world. Surely such influences will be absent in the immediate presence of the enthroned Christ.

So what would take long? All or nearly all of our impediments will be absent by our change of venue. Our only handicap left us will be the stains on our souls. We will be confronted by God Himself in Heaven, the Omnipotent One. Surely such a One will operate at maximal efficiency in cleansing us from our sinful inclinations. What is the maximum efficiency I can imagine for Omnipotence? 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 second. :slight_smile:


#115

That was some very inspiring music!! I was not expecting that…


#116

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRlCNq63C6aj836ql3DTzejCjtzAaTQtALX2x5s_psYt4CDGuMZWg

Neither did I :exclamation: :laughing:


#117

Zombie’s humour is sending me over the clef:laughing: :laughing:


#118

Keep it up…I’m taking notes.


#119

Geoffrey, how do you explain the lake of fire verses in Revelation? It lists people who will be going there.


#120

Honestly, I basically ignore the book of Revelation. Its imagery can be interpreted in so many and varied ways that I would never base any doctrine on a passage therein. In fact, not even a single verse of the book of Revelation is ever read during any Orthodox liturgy.

That said, the book about Revelation that I like the best was Eugenio Corsini’s The Apocalypse: The Perennial Revelation of Jesus Christ. His overall thesis is that the book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ’s First Coming, not His Second Coming. Thus there is no information about the future or about post-mortem sufferings in the book of Revelation. Of course, any interpretation of the book of Revelation is uncertain, to say the least.