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Author Topic: Dilemma Regarding Hell  (Read 505 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: August 28, 2012, 03:39:36 AM »

If the state of Hell is eternal--that even one soul will remain forever condemned to the state of Orthodox Hell (to distinguish it from silly western Dante's Inferno Hell), then wouldn't it follow that--at least to a tiny extent--evil has prevailed over good? That God was not able to fully reconcile humankind to Himself and that evil has successfully kept some souls away from God? This is why I cannot accept that the state of Hell is eternal. I feel tempted to believe that someday everyone--even Satan and Judas--will be reconciled to God and enter the spiritual state of Heaven, thus affectively leaving Hell behind. Is this doctrinally sound? On the other hand though, I also find problems with this solution. If we believe that one day everyone will be reconciled to God and enter into the spiritual state of Heaven in the long run, then wouldn't it follow that none of the decisions we make matter and that there is no point in trying to be a good Orthodox Christian or doing any good because in the very end God will reconcile us to Himself anyway?

Thoughts?
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 03:51:49 AM »

Some random thoughts... you could argue that God allowing our choices (free-will) to have such lasting impact says something about God's strength, not any weakness on his part; I also have often wondered about this, wondering if God is just unpersuasive, but in the end we will have to trust that God gives enough grace to all to acknowledge him, and that the ball is then in our court to do so (John 3:16-21); we know that not everyone will eventually be reconciled because the Bible speaks of beings not being reconciled, so that at least some will end up in hell (Rev. 20:11-15); we can hope and pray that all are saved, but we can't say dogmatically that it will be the case or argue that we know such to be so... it is a hope, not a certainty; we must have faith in God that His love will reign supreme in all things, and that his justice is never such that it would conflict with His love.
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 04:20:54 AM »

They dont call it "everlasting" fire prepared for the devil and his angels for nothing.
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 06:50:17 AM »

Free will!
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2012, 03:28:39 AM »

If the state of Hell is eternal--that even one soul will remain forever condemned to the state of Orthodox Hell (to distinguish it from silly western Dante's Inferno Hell), then wouldn't it follow that--at least to a tiny extent--evil has prevailed over good? That God was not able to fully reconcile humankind to Himself and that evil has successfully kept some souls away from God? This is why I cannot accept that the state of Hell is eternal. I feel tempted to believe that someday everyone--even Satan and Judas--will be reconciled to God and enter the spiritual state of Heaven, thus affectively leaving Hell behind. Is this doctrinally sound? On the other hand though, I also find problems with this solution. If we believe that one day everyone will be reconciled to God and enter into the spiritual state of Heaven in the long run, then wouldn't it follow that none of the decisions we make matter and that there is no point in trying to be a good Orthodox Christian or doing any good because in the very end God will reconcile us to Himself anyway?

Thoughts?
There was a true saint of God father Gabriel. He once was asked by a believer: why can't we remember during the Liturgy those departed souls who committed suicide? Father Gabriel's answer was: When we remember (when we name the names of) departed ones during the Liturgy then they approach God. Sinful souls can't tolerate the presence of God around them and they experience torment. It is something like mourning mother rather be at her son's funeral then at somebody else's wedding. Same with fallen soul and hell. Hell is a blessing and mercy for fallen souls.

I wonder why hell would be blessing for a fallen soul if it was eternal?

As far as second part of your question goes I would think like this: if we are prone to sin and fall away from the Creator then there should be the way to get back to Him. The way is to go through pain caused by separation from God. Who would like to be in pain even for a moment and especially in an unimaginable pain? So, it does matter whether we try now or later.

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Aindriú
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2012, 05:00:18 AM »

A RC exorcist, Fr. Amorth, remarked from comments from the possessed that Hell is very lonely. It involves people contorted in on themselves who contemplate their bellybuttons and their own misery.
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2012, 10:29:37 AM »

This is another problem for me... it seems pretty fantastical that ANYONE actually deserves eternal punishment.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2012, 10:55:18 AM »

The question of hell is a Christian koan. The question is not supposed to have an "answer". The question itself is the answer.

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Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 11:01:16 AM »

The question of hell is a Christian koan. The question is not supposed to have an "answer". The question itself is the answer.

Quote
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

In other words we have to become Buddhist mystics before understanding our own faith? :p
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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2012, 12:46:38 PM »

I think we just have to leave it up to the Lord as indicated in these passages in the Gospel of John for ex. :

John 5:22-29
King James Version (KJV)

22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;

27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.



There seems to be much room for those who He will determine to have done what is right in His eyes Christian or non Christian. We need to have faith & hope in our own salvation & for anyone's salvation & fear God.
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2012, 01:46:09 PM »

I know some might say that I am an unthinking, robot of a Christian, but my advice is to stop thinking so much.  God is Love and desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.  With that said, the Scriptures and the Fathers are more than clear that Gehenna is eternal.  Why we even consider that it might not be is beyond me.  We might like to think about why it is eternal, but we shouldn't question its eternity as the Lord, through direct revelation, has informed us that it is in fact eternal.  If people are in Gehenna for eternity, it is of their free will!  And the Lord triumphs in this because He wills that people have free will.  Even those who refuse God's love serve as a testament to His love.  But God, who shows no partiality, will reveal His glory, His uncreated Light, to all on the Last Day.  How people experience Him is entirely up to them. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2012, 02:01:08 PM »

I don't like being told not to think about something. Just about every religion tells its adherents that in some way. Even atheists, when you point out that their philosophy is inherently nihilistic and negates all meaning in life, you're advised to "not think too much about it." Infuriating.
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2012, 02:14:34 PM »

If JamesR wants to be enslaved to his thoughts, being constantly tossed to and fro by them, that is his business.  I was just recommending that some times we need to step away from our thoughts for a period of respite.  It keeps us generally stable and sane.  I'm sorry that my post infuriated you. 
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"If you cannot find Christ in the beggar at the church door, you will not find Him in the chalice.”  -The Divine John Chrysostom

“Till we can become divine, we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for change we sink to something lower.” -Anthony Trollope
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2012, 02:21:21 PM »

If JamesR wants to be enslaved to his thoughts, being constantly tossed to and fro by them, that is his business.  I was just recommending that some times we need to step away from our thoughts for a period of respite.  It keeps us generally stable and sane.  I'm sorry that my post infuriated you. 

Sorry, I didn't mean I was infuriated by your post, but by the atheist hypocrisy of claiming to promote free thought while telling people to ignore metaphysical implications. At least Orthodoxy openly admits a "mystical" element.
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2012, 02:43:55 PM »

The question of hell is a Christian koan. The question is not supposed to have an "answer". The question itself is the answer.

Quote
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

In other words we have to become Buddhist mystics before understanding our own faith? :p
Well, it might help to become Christian mystics before understanding your own faith. Wink
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Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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Y dduw bo'r diolch.
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2012, 04:12:05 PM »

The Uncreated Light gem and this.

You spin them right round, JamesR, like a record right round, you spin them right round, JamesR, it's a Holy Ghost hoedown!

Yes, I am committing blasphemy, only the real thing will do:

Rick Pino and his infamous worship song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ1diGCosjQ

Never not laugh.

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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2012, 08:45:53 PM »

The Uncreated Light gem and this.

You spin them right round, JamesR, like a record right round, you spin them right round, JamesR, it's a Holy Ghost hoedown!

Yes, I am committing blasphemy, only the real thing will do:

Rick Pino and his infamous worship song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ1diGCosjQ

Never not laugh.



You're the strangest person I've never met.  That video never gets old btw.  It makes me thankful for that dreadful hymnal we used to sing out of.  I <3 80s new wave though.  "You Spin Me Round" is one of the best.  Right up there with the B52s "Rock Lobster" and Dramarama's "Anything, Anything."
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“Till we can become divine, we must be content to be human, lest in our hurry for change we sink to something lower.” -Anthony Trollope
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2012, 09:41:04 PM »

The Uncreated Light gem and this.

You spin them right round, JamesR, like a record right round, you spin them right round, JamesR, it's a Holy Ghost hoedown!

Yes, I am committing blasphemy, only the real thing will do:

Rick Pino and his infamous worship song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ1diGCosjQ

Never not laugh.

I'd never seen that before so thanks for sharing that hilarity.
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« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2012, 03:06:24 PM »

This is another problem for me... it seems pretty fantastical that ANYONE actually deserves eternal punishment.
I don't think deserving/ not deserving is a good way to think about it. Instead I recommend simply thinking of it in terms of choosing/ not choosing. For instance, when I choose a steak at a restaurant and the waitress brings it to me I don't think "I have this stake because I deserve it" but "I have this steak as a result of my choices."

If one chooses hell they will have, but only as long as they continue in their choice. If one turns to God he will accept them.
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