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Author Topic: Eternal torment or annihilation?  (Read 2165 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: July 27, 2010, 12:06:53 AM »

I'm struggling with the concepts of eternal torment versus annihilation, and am starting this thread in hopes that others could help work me through this.

As a preface, I must establish that I believe that the ultimate redemption of all humans is the most probable eschatological end, and certainly the one that I most hope for.

However, I certainly recognize that it is possible that this will not come to pass, as given the freedom of will it is possible that some will simply choose to consistently and finally reject the divine life.

It seems if the universal redemption of all humans does not come to pass, that we are left wondering what will happen to those who are ultimately damned. It seems that the two major possibilities are that 1) the damned will be revived and they will be eternally tormented both in body and soul and 2) that the damned will be annihilated.

I certainly know that the eternal torment of the damned is the most common perspective amongst Eastern Christians, and as a consequence probably the members on this forum. However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how this is consistent with the other doctrines of the faith. How does reviving the damn and having them be eternally tormented indicate a loving God in a more sufficient way than God annihilating those who would otherwise have to be tormented by His loving presence? It would seem to me that annihilation would actually be the more compassionate approach. Can someone explain how eternal torment is more consistent?
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 12:20:24 AM »

You are very learned, so I might sound like an idiot, but I think one popular conception of eternal torment for Orthodox Christians is as a subjective state: God's loving presence is paradise for some, torment for others, according to the condition of the soul of the person.
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 12:47:59 AM »

I'm struggling with the concepts of eternal torment versus annihilation, and am starting this thread in hopes that others could help work me through this.

As a preface, I must establish that I believe that the ultimate redemption of all humans is the most probable eschatological end, and certainly the one that I most hope for.

However, I certainly recognize that it is possible that this will not come to pass, as given the freedom of will it is possible that some will simply choose to consistently and finally reject the divine life.

It seems if the universal redemption of all humans does not come to pass, that we are left wondering what will happen to those who are ultimately damned. It seems that the two major possibilities are that 1) the damned will be revived and they will be eternally tormented both in body and soul and 2) that the damned will be annihilated.

I certainly know that the eternal torment of the damned is the most common perspective amongst Eastern Christians, and as a consequence probably the members on this forum. However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how this is consistent with the other doctrines of the faith. How does reviving the damn and having them be eternally tormented indicate a loving God in a more sufficient way than God annihilating those who would otherwise have to be tormented by His loving presence? It would seem to me that annihilation would actually be the more compassionate approach. Can someone explain how eternal torment is more consistent?

http://www.oodegr.com/english/esxata/our_paradise_n_hell.htm

"....No, God does not condemn; it is Man who makes a choice. Man goes off to eternity together with his sins. If you have been a fornicator or a drunkard or had no love in you, that is how you will go there.

Here on earth you can satisfy your passions, and you can even commit murder in order to satisfy yourself.

Man retains every sinful tendency, even in the other world. Except that he will no longer be able to satisfy it there. For the sinner, these will be the "tortures of Hell". It is not a case of "punishment"; Man is tortured, by his very own choice.

God does not provide us with a "Hell".

God says to us: "Come and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven"; it is Man who carries Hell itself inside him.

This means that our hell and our Paradise are both prepared by us, here..."
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 07:36:42 PM »

You are very learned, so I might sound like an idiot, but I think one popular conception of eternal torment for Orthodox Christians is as a subjective state: God's loving presence is paradise for some, torment for others, according to the condition of the soul of the person.

Yes, I know. I avoid the phrase "eternal punishment" and use "eternal torment" instead because I know that the state is caused by an experience of God's presence in rejection and hatred of it.

The real problem for me is that, given that God must know that the damned are experiencing His presence as torment and don't want to be in His presence, annihilation seems like a more compassionate end to the damned. So, why is it more loving to allow the damned to be tormented by His presence instead of just relieving them of that torment by annihilating them?
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2010, 07:39:07 PM »

I'm struggling with the concepts of eternal torment versus annihilation, and am starting this thread in hopes that others could help work me through this.

As a preface, I must establish that I believe that the ultimate redemption of all humans is the most probable eschatological end, and certainly the one that I most hope for.

However, I certainly recognize that it is possible that this will not come to pass, as given the freedom of will it is possible that some will simply choose to consistently and finally reject the divine life.

It seems if the universal redemption of all humans does not come to pass, that we are left wondering what will happen to those who are ultimately damned. It seems that the two major possibilities are that 1) the damned will be revived and they will be eternally tormented both in body and soul and 2) that the damned will be annihilated.

I certainly know that the eternal torment of the damned is the most common perspective amongst Eastern Christians, and as a consequence probably the members on this forum. However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how this is consistent with the other doctrines of the faith. How does reviving the damn and having them be eternally tormented indicate a loving God in a more sufficient way than God annihilating those who would otherwise have to be tormented by His loving presence? It would seem to me that annihilation would actually be the more compassionate approach. Can someone explain how eternal torment is more consistent?

http://www.oodegr.com/english/esxata/our_paradise_n_hell.htm

"....No, God does not condemn; it is Man who makes a choice. Man goes off to eternity together with his sins. If you have been a fornicator or a drunkard or had no love in you, that is how you will go there.

Here on earth you can satisfy your passions, and you can even commit murder in order to satisfy yourself.

Man retains every sinful tendency, even in the other world. Except that he will no longer be able to satisfy it there. For the sinner, these will be the "tortures of Hell". It is not a case of "punishment"; Man is tortured, by his very own choice.

God does not provide us with a "Hell".

God says to us: "Come and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven"; it is Man who carries Hell itself inside him.

This means that our hell and our Paradise are both prepared by us, here..."

Yes, I know that God's invitation and presence, and the damned person's rejection of it, is what causes the torment. But surely God is not so naive as to not realize that they won't accept His invitation? He is omniscient after all. So why doesn't He choose to relieve the torment of those who He knows will never accept Him?
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2010, 08:03:32 PM »

I'm struggling with the concepts of eternal torment versus annihilation, and am starting this thread in hopes that others could help work me through this.

As a preface, I must establish that I believe that the ultimate redemption of all humans is the most probable eschatological end, and certainly the one that I most hope for.

However, I certainly recognize that it is possible that this will not come to pass, as given the freedom of will it is possible that some will simply choose to consistently and finally reject the divine life.

It seems if the universal redemption of all humans does not come to pass, that we are left wondering what will happen to those who are ultimately damned. It seems that the two major possibilities are that 1) the damned will be revived and they will be eternally tormented both in body and soul and 2) that the damned will be annihilated.

I certainly know that the eternal torment of the damned is the most common perspective amongst Eastern Christians, and as a consequence probably the members on this forum. However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how this is consistent with the other doctrines of the faith. How does reviving the damn and having them be eternally tormented indicate a loving God in a more sufficient way than God annihilating those who would otherwise have to be tormented by His loving presence? It would seem to me that annihilation would actually be the more compassionate approach. Can someone explain how eternal torment is more consistent?

http://www.oodegr.com/english/esxata/our_paradise_n_hell.htm

"....No, God does not condemn; it is Man who makes a choice. Man goes off to eternity together with his sins. If you have been a fornicator or a drunkard or had no love in you, that is how you will go there.

Here on earth you can satisfy your passions, and you can even commit murder in order to satisfy yourself.

Man retains every sinful tendency, even in the other world. Except that he will no longer be able to satisfy it there. For the sinner, these will be the "tortures of Hell". It is not a case of "punishment"; Man is tortured, by his very own choice.

God does not provide us with a "Hell".

God says to us: "Come and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven"; it is Man who carries Hell itself inside him.

This means that our hell and our Paradise are both prepared by us, here..."

Yes, I know that God's invitation and presence, and the damned person's rejection of it, is what causes the torment. But surely God is not so naive as to not realize that they won't accept His invitation? He is omniscient after all. So why doesn't He choose to relieve the torment of those who He knows will never accept Him?

Those who will experience the eternal torments of Gehenna are so far gone, that to them even Paradise would be Hell. As for God, He refuses to go against our free will.

What you seem to be advocating in some sort of "get out of jail free" card, where the reason why sinners are in Hell is because God refuses to accept them. Every sinner in Hell has the ever-lasting forgiveness of God. That is not the issue. The issue is that they don't have the repentance to accept that forgiveness. God has forgiven them all their sins. period. Full stop. God has accepted them.

Gehenna is not a place where God locks sinners in and refuses to let people out. Gehenna is a place where people have locked the doors from the inside and refuse to come out.
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2010, 08:11:43 PM »

I'm struggling with the concepts of eternal torment versus annihilation, and am starting this thread in hopes that others could help work me through this.

As a preface, I must establish that I believe that the ultimate redemption of all humans is the most probable eschatological end, and certainly the one that I most hope for.

However, I certainly recognize that it is possible that this will not come to pass, as given the freedom of will it is possible that some will simply choose to consistently and finally reject the divine life.

It seems if the universal redemption of all humans does not come to pass, that we are left wondering what will happen to those who are ultimately damned. It seems that the two major possibilities are that 1) the damned will be revived and they will be eternally tormented both in body and soul and 2) that the damned will be annihilated.

I certainly know that the eternal torment of the damned is the most common perspective amongst Eastern Christians, and as a consequence probably the members on this forum. However, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how this is consistent with the other doctrines of the faith. How does reviving the damn and having them be eternally tormented indicate a loving God in a more sufficient way than God annihilating those who would otherwise have to be tormented by His loving presence? It would seem to me that annihilation would actually be the more compassionate approach. Can someone explain how eternal torment is more consistent?

http://www.oodegr.com/english/esxata/our_paradise_n_hell.htm

"....No, God does not condemn; it is Man who makes a choice. Man goes off to eternity together with his sins. If you have been a fornicator or a drunkard or had no love in you, that is how you will go there.

Here on earth you can satisfy your passions, and you can even commit murder in order to satisfy yourself.

Man retains every sinful tendency, even in the other world. Except that he will no longer be able to satisfy it there. For the sinner, these will be the "tortures of Hell". It is not a case of "punishment"; Man is tortured, by his very own choice.

God does not provide us with a "Hell".

God says to us: "Come and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven"; it is Man who carries Hell itself inside him.

This means that our hell and our Paradise are both prepared by us, here..."

Yes, I know that God's invitation and presence, and the damned person's rejection of it, is what causes the torment. But surely God is not so naive as to not realize that they won't accept His invitation? He is omniscient after all. So why doesn't He choose to relieve the torment of those who He knows will never accept Him?

Those who will experience the eternal torments of Gehenna are so far gone, that to them even Paradise would be Hell. As for God, He refuses to go against our free will.

What you seem to be advocating in some sort of "get out of jail free" card, where the reason why sinners are in Hell is because God refuses to accept them. Every sinner in Hell has the ever-lasting forgiveness of God. That is not the issue. The issue is that they don't have the repentance to accept that forgiveness. God has forgiven them all their sins. period. Full stop. God has accepted them.

Gehenna is not a place where God locks sinners in and refuses to let people out. Gehenna is a place where people have locked the doors from the inside and refuse to come out.

You misread my posts. I didn't suggest contrary to any of this.

Yet:
-It's not as if the damned experience some state where they succeed in separating themselves from the God that they hate. That's impossible. Bliss and torment in the end will be different experiences of essentially the same reality: the presence of God.
-As much as the damned would like to get away from the presence of God, they simply cannot.
-Thus, their state is not one that they really want to be in. If they could get away from God, they would probably enjoy their existence. Yet they cannot, thus they cannot enjoy their existence.
-This is where the torment comes in. The torment is the unavoidable experience of the presence of the Supreme Being that they hate.

If God knows that the damned do not enjoy their existence because it necessitates being in His presence, why doesn't He choose to relieve them of the tormented life that they do not want by annihilating them?
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 08:49:20 PM »

If God annihilated people so they wouldn't have to suffer, he would not be the God we confess and believe in, for that God hates nothing he has made and does not delight in the destruction of his creatures. The fact that they live forever, even enduring torment, is a sign of God's love in that, in them receiving eternal life, he fulfills his promise of love which he made to all people when he died on the Cross to give life to all men and renew his creation.
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2010, 08:56:12 PM »

If God annihilated people so they wouldn't have to suffer, he would not be the God we confess and believe in, for that God hates nothing he has made

I'm not talking about a scenario in which God would destroy the damned because He hates them. I'm talking about Him destroying them because they hate Him, and do not want to be in His presence, and are tormented by it, out of compassion for them.
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2010, 09:05:47 PM »

God does not destroy them because he loves them. How they feel about God is perhaps irrelevant.
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2010, 09:09:29 PM »

God does not destroy them because he loves them. How they feel about God is perhaps irrelevant.

Is it really? It's not relevant that they are being tormented and, in a certain sense, do not even want to exist?
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2010, 09:23:59 PM »

Ultimately, this is a mystery. You do not know what their state is like. You cannot interview them. Eternal torment hasn't happened yet, only a possible foretaste. There are some Fathers that speak about it, but none that I know say anything about annihilation.
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2010, 09:28:56 PM »

God does not destroy them because he loves them. How they feel about God is perhaps irrelevant.

Is it really? It's not relevant that they are being tormented and, in a certain sense, do not even want to exist?
Perhaps the experience of "torment" is "relative". Think about two people, a Siberian and a Saharan. To the Siberian, living in the Sahara would be a torment; and likewise for the Saharan living in Siberia. So, from the perspective of someone who is open to God, the state of being closed off from God would be a torment; and likewise for the person who is closed off from God.

But the key idea here is that, from the perspective of the person who is closed off from God, being closed off from God is actually a "pleasant" experience.

So, perhaps the talk about eternal torment in scripture is primarily referring to the standpoint of those who are open to God, and not to the standpoint of those closed off from God. That might explain why being closed off, can be so attractive to people -- unless, or until, they experience something greater.
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2010, 09:32:49 PM »

God does not destroy them because he loves them. How they feel about God is perhaps irrelevant.

Is it really? It's not relevant that they are being tormented and, in a certain sense, do not even want to exist?
Perhaps the experience of "torment" is "relative". Think about two people, a Siberian and a Saharan. To the Siberian, living in the Sahara would be a torment; and likewise for the Saharan living in Siberia. So, from the perspective of someone who is open to God, the state of being closed off from God would be a torment; and likewise for the person who is closed off from God.

But the key idea here is that, from the perspective of the person who is closed off from God, being closed off from God is actually a "pleasant" experience.

So, perhaps the talk about eternal torment in scripture is primarily referring to the standpoint of those who are open to God, and not to the standpoint of those closed off from God. That might explain why being closed off, can be so attractive to people -- unless, or until, they experience something greater.

What exactly do you mean by "closed off from God"? Because the paradigm I'm speaking of involves the tormented being in the presence of God, and not being able to escape it, and experiencing it as torment because of their hatred of God. Western Christians speak of "separation from God" as "Hell", but it is my understanding that Eastern Christians generally teach such a state to be impossible, and thus that "Hell" is actually the unwanted experience of God's presence.
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2010, 09:54:51 PM »

God does not destroy them because he loves them. How they feel about God is perhaps irrelevant.

Is it really? It's not relevant that they are being tormented and, in a certain sense, do not even want to exist?
Perhaps the experience of "torment" is "relative". Think about two people, a Siberian and a Saharan. To the Siberian, living in the Sahara would be a torment; and likewise for the Saharan living in Siberia. So, from the perspective of someone who is open to God, the state of being closed off from God would be a torment; and likewise for the person who is closed off from God.

But the key idea here is that, from the perspective of the person who is closed off from God, being closed off from God is actually a "pleasant" experience.

So, perhaps the talk about eternal torment in scripture is primarily referring to the standpoint of those who are open to God, and not to the standpoint of those closed off from God. That might explain why being closed off, can be so attractive to people -- unless, or until, they experience something greater.

What exactly do you mean by "closed off from God"? Because the paradigm I'm speaking of involves the tormented being in the presence of God, and not being able to escape it, and experiencing it as torment because of their hatred of God. Western Christians speak of "separation from God" as "Hell", but it is my understanding that Eastern Christians generally teach such a state to be impossible, and thus that "Hell" is actually the unwanted experience of God's presence.
True, being closed off from God is, technically, impossible; instead, what happens is we contract away from God, and it's the contraction, the tightening, that is the torment. It's like tightening your fist -- after a while, it begins to hurt, until you release, let go, and open your palm.

So, an absolute separation from God, an absolute closing off from God, is impossible -- but the attempt to separate ourselves, the attempt to close off ourselves from God, that attempt becomes a torment.
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« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2010, 10:14:37 PM »

The nature of hell or eternal torment, as a teaching of the Church, inasmuch as what has been revealed is clear, has many aspects--the outer darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth, the undying worm, etc.--which are understood, primarily I think, as spiritual, although the physical dimension is not lost since then man will be reunited, body and soul.

Of course, since God is everywhere present and filling all things, there is no place where he is not. But, will the "damned" be in his presence, that is to say, at his throne, at least according to the language of the Scripture and hymnography? I don't think so. Will it be God's presence, per se, or God's love for them which will be their primary tormentor? I'm not all that convinced, since their spiritual eyes will be opened and their conscience, which they did not heed in this life, will not cease to reproach them in eternity.

Every evil deed that was done, ever good deed that was not done, the person will suffer over noetically, not through God's action, per se, but because now the "damned" cannot distract themselves with sin, cannot justify themselves, can no longer ignore or kill their consciences.

There has to be a time when this world's parameters--its changes and effemerality--end, and the eternity dawns for God's creatures whom he created to be eternal. Man was created for eternity. Destruction out of compassion--I can think of no precedent for this. On earth, we call it euthanasia and murder and condemn it severely.

The demons certainly knew their fate would be eternal torment when they rebelled against God because of pride. That they might not be alone, and in an attempt to justify themselves, they tempt man and goad him into sin and rebellion. But man is a free actor in this, as in all things. He also has free will to choose between good and evil. God gave him a conscience and various gifts, as well as his divine aid, and no one will be able to accuse him of unjust judgment should eternal torment be the lot of any man.

I prefer to believe that eternal torment is a very real possibility, especially since the way to life is narrow and difficult, even for the just. I do not know if I shall be numbered among the saints, with those who are saved. I put my hope in the mercy of God. I commend everyone to God's mercy, trusting that his judgment is true and there is no unrighteousness in him, and that everything he does is out of his love for mankind. I pray that God would save every man, every sinner, because I am the chief of sinners, and if they are not saved, where does that leave me? But I put my hope only in God and what he has promised and revealed, and universal salvation is not something, to my knowledge, that he has ever promised or revealed. It is not the teaching of the Church.

I prefer the standpoint of expecting torment and being pleasantly surprised and better able to glorify God, rather than of expecting universal redemption and being disappointed, and less able to glorify God because I thought I understood him, but was proved wrong. We only have faith in what has been revealed to us by God to go on, not our personal understandings of how we think God should be or how we would like him to be.
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« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2010, 10:16:38 PM »

True, being closed off from God is, technically, impossible; instead, what happens is we contract away from God, and it's the contraction, the tightening, that is the torment. It's like tightening your fist -- after a while, it begins to hurt, until you release, let go, and open your palm.

May I ask, where are you getting this from?
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« Reply #17 on: July 28, 2010, 02:15:45 AM »

How can Satan pure Evil ,Stand Before God as Scripture mentions ,And Not Be tormented??? When Satan tested Job ,God told Satan Not to take Jobs life..... Grin
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2010, 07:50:24 AM »

True, being closed off from God is, technically, impossible; instead, what happens is we contract away from God, and it's the contraction, the tightening, that is the torment. It's like tightening your fist -- after a while, it begins to hurt, until you release, let go, and open your palm.

May I ask, where are you getting this from?
A closed fist is simply a useful symbol for understanding how we close ourselves from God.

Until the Final Judgement, we have the option of opening our fist, releasing the tension, and being receptive to God.

A closed fist cannot possibly receive any gift, whereas an open hand can.

The teaching of the Eternal Torment is due to one simple reason: the utter dependence of existence itself upon God. People often assume that the future will be just like the past, that tomorrow will be just like today. But this assumption ignores the utter dependence of existence upon God. Because of God, the future need not be just like the past, tomorrow need not be like today. Today, we can choose to follow God, or reject God. But, to assume that we will have that choice tomorrow, is to forget that God can do something radically different, tomorrow. Today we can choose, but tomorrow might see the end of our possibility to choose, in which case our choice of this present day becomes our choice for Eternity.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 07:51:54 AM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: July 29, 2010, 11:15:55 PM »

I've thought about this question before as well and, for the most part, agree with my patron that all will ultimately be reconciled with God, even if it takes "ages" of torment for some to do so.  This isn't the teaching of the Orthodox Church proper, however, so I hold to it only as a private opinion. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 29, 2010, 11:54:07 PM »

I've thought about this question before as well and, for the most part, agree with my patron that all will ultimately be reconciled with God, even if it takes "ages" of torment for some to do so.  This isn't the teaching of the Orthodox Church proper, however, so I hold to it only as a private opinion. 

I think this is the most probably outcome, however I also feel I must recognize a significant possibility that it might not happen. My consideration of eternal torment versus annihilation is on the basis of hypothetically assuming that what I think is the most probable outcome winds up actually not happening.
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« Reply #21 on: July 30, 2010, 12:20:13 AM »

If God annihilated people so they wouldn't have to suffer, he would not be the God we confess and believe in, for that God hates nothing he has made

I'm not talking about a scenario in which God would destroy the damned because He hates them. I'm talking about Him destroying them because they hate Him, and do not want to be in His presence, and are tormented by it, out of compassion for them.

That would also mean God is interfering in our free will. By terminating a person's existence, God would remove our right to exist with the consequences of the lives we choose for ourselves. (That is, being engulfed in the blinding light of Christ and not being able to stand it.)

As to whether people are capable of reconciling after death, isn't that the heresy of apokatastasis? When I was catechised I was told this could only happen by the prayers of the Church. We lose our personal ability to repent at the moment of death—the great gulf fixed between the two, to prevent one from crossing to the other. But nothing is in stone until the final judgment.
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« Reply #22 on: July 30, 2010, 12:48:50 AM »

That would also mean God is interfering in our free will.

If a person wants to be annihilated, how would it be interfering in their free will by obliging them?

As to whether people are capable of reconciling after death, isn't that the heresy of apokatastasis?

Not really. What was condemned at Constantinople II was really very particular. The essential quality of what was condemned was the Origenistic idea that all of Creation (not just humans) would eventually reconciled as enlightened but strictly spiritual beings through some bizarre process of reincarnation.
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« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2010, 09:50:18 AM »

Universal salvation is not the teaching of the Church. Elder Cleopa says, if it were, what would be the point of terrifying people with hell? I do not think we can hold private opinions which are other than or contrary to the teaching of the Church.
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« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2010, 11:05:17 AM »

Universal salvation is not the teaching of the Church. Elder Cleopa says, if it were, what would be the point of terrifying people with hell? I do not think we can hold private opinions which are other than or contrary to the teaching of the Church.

Most forms of Universal Salvation do not negate the reality of Gehenna so I am not sure how Elder Cleopa's objection would apply. 

The Orthodox Church does allow for the hope of Universal Salvation, but holds that free will can't be violated, so it is wrong to assert that all will, or must be, saved. I don't make that assertion so I don't violate the teachings of the Church.  Also, there are several highly esteemed fathers who did hold to this personal opinion who were not condemned for it, so I am going to go with that (and also what my priest told me about the matter) rather than vague pronouncements about what is and isn't allowed. 
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« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2010, 03:26:58 PM »

A good explanation that I have heard is that fire is a symbol of God's love, so those in hell are still surrounded by His love, but they have rejected it and so it burns them.

(Eternal torment)
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« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2010, 05:48:20 PM »

A good explanation that I have heard is that fire is a symbol of God's love, so those in hell are still surrounded by His love, but they have rejected it and so it burns them.

(Eternal torment)

I'm aware of what it is, but in that context why would God continue to have them be tormented by His love and presence when they don't even want to be and He could very well relieve them of this torment by annihilating them?
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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2010, 05:50:43 PM »

Universal salvation is not the teaching of the Church.

I don't see any significant evidence that the eventual redemption of all men is contrary to the dogmatic teaching of the Church.

Elder Cleopa says, if it were, what would be the point of terrifying people with hell?

Given that it is commonly the belief that those who, in their particular judgment are judged for a foretaste of the eternal torment, are still able to be saved by the prayers of the Church, the reality of the torment that occurs after death is still very well compatible with the possibility of all being redeemed by the Final Judgment.
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