I couldn’t bring myself to put this post of Joe’s (a friend from church who I’ve been debating with) in “Discussion Negative”, as the Isaiah passage just seems too pro-EU (even if Joe sadly can’t see it yet ).
I’ll have to sleep on it, and re-read Parry’s take on the passage tomorrow.
At first glance, this suggests annihilation, not ECT. God will judge all flesh, and kill many.
Again, we have the annihilation of the wicked. But isn’t that all of us? “None are righteous, no not one.” All of us will be killed by God.
What’s going on now? God has just killed the wicked (everyone) with his fiery sword of judgment, but now we’re told he knows our works and thoughts and is about to gather us all together! It seems everyone is alive again. But this can make sense. When God destroys a wicked man, what is left isn’t nothing. God’s far better at his job than that. What is left is a good man. ie. God overcomes evil with good.
After killing the wicked (everyone), the survivors (everyone) see God’s glory and proclaim his fame wherever they go, even to faraway places that have no knowledge of God (worlds not yet created?)
Everyone will come rushing to God’s holy mountain. They will be like grain offerings in clean vessels. God’s fire has made them clean.
God’s fiery sword will sever the old man from the new. He will amputate the sin that festers in every one of us and destroy it. We all, now clean, will worship God, remembering and understanding the depths of the abomination of evil, and loathing it forever.
I’m cracking up over here a bit because as emphatic as Joe gets that he doesn’t see it, you, Alex, don’t give up hope and, not just that, find reason to celebrate, that he is taking a serious look at these passages! It’s gotta be killing him.
Because he started with Isaiah 45:22-25, which is so strongly universalistic, I couldn’t help but think he must have changed his position! He also made all the "all flesh"s bold, which also seemed to support EU Anyway, I was only when I got to the last sentence that I realised my mistake
Anyway, now I have to try to understand how he was reading it as anti-EU and produce a reply
Thanks Dad for giving me some good points.
This is tricky . The traditional solution is to say “all flesh” means some of “all races/nations”. Which seems a stretch, but I’ll admit if that *were *the meaning, the passage is at least simpler linguistically (ignoring for a moment all the theological implications). Following that line of thought a bit further, it means annihilation is true, not ECT or EU i.e. the bodies are **dead **not consciously tormented. I wonder what the traditionalists do about that, because if God resurrects these dead bodies, they are hardly going to be still rotting for the worms to eat
Well, we know that at least some “eternal” fire ends up not being “eternal” so I’m guessing that’s what’s going on here with the fire and the worms. i.e. it will stop at the resurrection.
Dad’s point that it could be the sinful person inside each one of us, might be another possibility.
I’ll admit, I’m still unsure about this passage.
Sure, I agree with that.
Either that it’s the death of the Pauline “old man” (e.g. Romans 6:6; Ephesians 2:15; 4:22-24; and Colossians 3:9-11) or it’s simply saying that some will be judged and go to hell, a place of extraordinary pain, more severe than you can imagine.
Given hell is a place of extraordinary pain, more severe than you can imagine, it’s best to be reconciled now.
I’m very confident in the Bible, with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, it’s the best source for growing in understanding, obedience & love of God, what He has done, what He is doing and what He will do.
No, I think the mourning will cease as God, over time, reconciles all things to Himself.
No, I think there will definitely be complete peace everywhere when God has finished reconciling all things to Himself. Whilst Hell exists there can’t be literal peace in any meaningful sense. e.g. 90% of all humans screaming outside the open city gates…
I can’t say I’m enjoying this as neither of us seems to understand what the other is saying
Also there seems to be these “correct” approaches to reading and comprehension that I can’t get my head around (mind you he is smarter than me so it could easily be my lack of ability in this area). As I’ve said before, he would be better off debating here with someone with a doctorate.
Perhaps Isaiah thought, quite understandably, that God would finally run out of patience and solve (?) the problem of evil by killing the wicked. The righteous would then congratulate themselves by hating even the corpses of their enemies.
“I thank you Lord that I am not like other men. Look! There’s the tax collector! Oh he was loathsome, that little man. How I rejoiced when you finally caught him! Bring out the hot irons! Hurt him some more!”
If this is what Isaiah was actually saying, then he was wrong. He didn’t understand grace. He wouldn’t be the first. The nihilist writer of Ecclesiastes was wrong too. So was the malicious psalmist who longed to murder Babylonian babies.
Look at the passage in the light of Christ’s teaching. We can rejoice over the destruction of God’s enemies only if we first *hate *them with a passion. We are forbidden to hate people, but commanded to hate sin. Therefore, the enemy being destroyed by God isn’t people, but sin. This destruction really is something to long for and we will rejoice over it. The righteous will indeed look on the dead bodies of the wicked (their own past life) with loathing. Isn’t that what Paul did whenever he called himself the “chief of sinners”?
How else can you read this passage without the “righteous” becoming insufferable hypocrites?
Allan, Thank you for that excellent post. Couldn’t agree more!
Thanks dad, I’ve posted it as a comment on Joe’s blog
Well when you put it like that, Allan, it seems pretty clear that no good God would decide that the way to really eradicate evil is to just kill the wicked. Reminds me as a teacher, and I know you are one too, that it would not be ok for us to decide that we’d had enough of our students so we think we’d just like to do away with them now. That’s not really how it works, if you are a good teacher, anyway. There’s always the crazies! But for the rest of us, that seek to emmulate a great God, we are destined to resort working with postive and negative reinforcers, permanent time out (ECT) not being one of them, though some teachers, bad ones I dare say, would like that option.
This also reminds me of the passage in Phill. Ch. 2 where Paul says about Timothy, " 20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare." Now imagine a God that doesn’t even measure up to Timothy in that he doesn’t have people’s genuine concern or welfare in mind, only some. It’s really unthinkable! We’d have to be very callous to block out just how callous it is to accept such a God, much less find him praiseworthy! God must have wonderful ways of removing callouses and working with us, or maybe when he gets tired, he just wipes us out! Naw!