Richard Abanes: The Truth That Hurts


He is/was also an apologist for Rick Warren.

Anyway, Joe scanned me a few pages where he addresses universalism, I assume from one of his books:RichardAbanes-TheTruthThatHurts.pdf (458 KB)

Mathmatical illustration, implausibility of Degrees in Hell

Luke 13:24-28 doesn’t say “forever”!

]When you get to the end of a road, the only thing to do is turn around :slight_smile:. There is still real value in life itself, even for those in hell./]
]Sadly true, but these things will bring them to repentance eventually./]
]If God creates something for a purpose, I think it’s logical to say, that purpose will be realised eventually./]
]Again these things will bring them to repentance eventually./]

I would say ECT sounds “cruel” because of it’s infinite duration and purpose. For example, surgery can be very painful but isn’t cruel because it has a purpose and benefit for the person, and it’s limited in duration. I would say ECT sounds “unusual” because it isn’t inline with God’s revelation about Himself, i.e. that He is love. It’s also “unusual” because no other justice system has infinite punishments for finite actions.

See Talbott’s book for why we shouldn’t divide God’s character, and that in fact God is consistent.

Like Talbott, I would say that, His loving is just, and His justice is loving.

I would be hesitant to say anything “demands” God does anything, however, if you want to use that language, I would say that His love demands that His punishment is loving. Also we were **all **“unrighteousness”, so whatever the “demand” for punishment is, Christ’s sacrifice for the world, has to be taken into account.

Of course I expect God to, justly and fairly, hand down punishments, however, no earthly court hands down ECT!

I totally agree, “it is impossible for God to be cruel”. So how is ECT not cruel?! :confused:


There aren’t degrees of infinity, e.g:
¼ severity x ∞ duration = ∞ conscious torment
½ severity x ∞ duration = ∞ conscious torment
¾ severity x ∞ duration = ∞ conscious torment :nerd:

Fascinating because if Sodom was already condemned to ECT (or at least everlasting fires), how can anything be “more bearable” for them?? :neutral_face:


My view is, Sodom wasn’t subject to ECT, but “one-off” destruction. People always love to use Jude 7 to support ECT of Sodom, but this view of Sodom’s ECT conflicts elsewhere.

I’ve had one fundamentalist Baptist pastor tell me that some will suffer degrees of the fire’s (supposed) intensity in ***. Some will be tormented forever at the core of the fire, some will be licked by the flames forever, and some will be singed forever above the flames. Of course, this horrible idea is only compatible with a traditionalist’s view of literal fire, and may not be endorsed by the majority of Evangelicals. A similar view could be held with those who believe ECT is at the centre of the earth.


I agree, and that’s one of the reasons I think “aionios/aioniou” shouldn’t translated as “eternal”.

It certainly is a horrible idea, and it doesn’t matter how someone is getting burned, if it’s forever, the result is just as bad for the person :cry:


So Alex if you don’t think they’ll be degrees of punishment you must also disagree with degrees of reward? (If there are degrees of reward doesn’t this make your argument inconsistent but there isn’t degrees of reward, how do we make sense passages such as the parable of the talents for example.)


If every degree of punishment involves extreme sorrow, remorse, and “torment” which never comes to an end, how does it work that there are degrees?

Jesus did not say that all the disobedient ones will be whipped forever and ever with the severity of the lashes varying according to their degree of sinfulness. He says (as you know!) that some will receive many and some few.



It’s not really a good comparison to compare God’s justice with the court’s. The court really isn’t able to achieve justice, though they would like to. Was watching a special yesterday on tv when they asked a daughter how she felt about her mother’s killer’s guilty conviction and she said it wouldn’t bring her mother back. The court can give consequences, but it is ineffective, unlike God, at bringing total restoration, reconciliation, and the repentance required for that. Punishment, discipline, in it’s proper state is for the purpose of restoration, not just eternally consciously tormenting people - whatever degree it is. If God really is in the business of using discipline to turn people maybe it would make sense that there would be varying degrees since not everyone needs the same thing to repent and turn to God. God’s justice does not fail to reconcile us all. :slight_smile: This is a sense of justice that seems to be overlooked.


Degrees of absolute separation from God makes no sense at all, but degrees of blessedness makes perfect sense. A child’s perfect happiness in her mother will be different to a husband’s perfect happiness in his wife. Which happiness would be greater I cannot say, but they certainly will not be the same.

I fully expect to be one of the least in the Kingdom. A small cottage by a stream in a forest will more than satisfy me. The great saints will reflect the glory of God far more than my small mirror ever will, and I will rejoice to see them from afar. Envy will be long gone from my soul.


Dante didn’t agree.


Ah, but note I didn’t say there won’t be degrees of punishment, I just said that mathematically there can’t be degrees of infinite punishment. However, if the punishment isn’t infinite, then the passages at least fit with logic. Similarly, I have no problem with degrees of reward :sunglasses:


I’m suprised that a traditionalist like this Abanes fellow is/was an apologist for Rick Warren. Rick Warren is probably one the most doctrinally loose “evangelical” leader in America. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a globalist think-tank.


So your saying there could be “degrees of infinite reward” but not “degrees of infinite punishment”?


I’m with Luke on this one. Seems clear to me that logicall even if punishment was forever (ECT) then there can still be degrees of punishmenet for ECT. The degree and the longevity are two different things.



:laughing: No, where did I say that or where does the Bible say that?


Let me try again:

Q. If Bob gets whipped in hell once a day for eternity, how many whippings will he get in total?
A. An infinite number

Q. If Fred gets whipped in hell twice a day for eternity, how many whippings will he get in total?
A. An infinite number

Q. Who, out of Bob and Fred, gets more whippings in total?
A. Neither, they both get an infinite number

Because they both get an infinite number of whippings, their prospects are equally grim :cry:


An infinite number, but of varying severities for each lash.


Roofus has answered correctly. How about this.

Fred gets 1 whipping a day in hell with 600 psi of pressure searing his flesh so that bone is exposed and by the end of the night he’s healed so that he can get a fresh one tomorrow.

Tom gets 4 whipping a day in hell with 20 psi because he was a ahteistic green peace guy who rejected Jesus but was a really nice guy who loves cotton candy, romance movies, American Football. His lashes only leave a red mark and though the pain infliced is bearable, it’s NOTHING compared to Freds 1 single whipping. In fact some people (according to C.S. Lewis) actually like the 4 whippings and wish they could get it all day.


But, Auggy, what if the wounds don’t heal by the next day? Then the cumulative effect over an infinite time would be the same. :mrgreen:



Surely the love of American Football deserves more punishment than that? :wink:


Thanks for that profound insight Jeff :laughing: