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Author Topic: Eternal hell and conditional immortality  (Read 879 times) Average Rating: 0
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lotharson
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« on: March 04, 2014, 10:09:54 AM »

Hello folks, I want to share with you an interview with an Evangelical defender of the doctrine of conditional immortality and annihilationism.

What is your own take on this issue?
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2014, 04:47:50 PM »

Neither are Orthodox, that is, neither are true.
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2014, 06:40:46 PM »

Is that the consensus view?
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2014, 06:45:13 PM »

Is that the consensus view?

Yes.   The only people I know of who teach annihilationism are the Jehovah's Witnesses and the late Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.  Not company if want to keep. 
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2014, 06:48:02 PM »

Is that the consensus view?

Yes.   The only people I know of who teach annihilationism are the Jehovah's Witnesses and the late Harold Camping of Family Radio fame.  Not company if want to keep. 

But you have to appreciate the Orthodox understanding of what hell means.  I suspect that the Protestant conception of what hell really is may color his rejection of it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2014, 07:02:02 PM »

There are many non-cultish folks such as Chris Date I interviewed who hold to this view.

As he explained, he came to this view on purely Biblical and not emotional grounds.

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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 07:04:01 PM »

There are many non-cultish folks such as Chris Date I interviewed who hold to this view.

As he explained, he came to this view on purely Biblical and not emotional grounds.



But it is not part of Holy Tradition.  Holy Tradition provides the understanding of concepts like hell by which we correctly interpret the Bible.  Thus, annihilationism is an incorrect interpretation of what the Bible says about hell. 
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2014, 07:17:17 PM »

We believe in the conditional im/mortality of all humans, and all created beings. Not only are all things made by God, all existing things are also conserved (sustained, made to persist, upheld) by God's power and operation. If God withdraws his power and operation from a thing, that thing is no longer conserved.

However, we differ from the annihilation camp on several points, including what it means to be alive and what it means to be dead.

Here is one possible objection to Annihilationism:

Let us read the term "annihilate" as equivalent to "cease to conserve the existence of".

On the annihilationist model, God annihilates rational creatures who are damned and will against him. We Orthodox Christians believe that God upholds and respects the free will of all rational creatures. Annihilating a creature is only respecting that creature's free will if that creature freely asks for annihilation. But if a creature asks for annihilation, then that creature is demonstrating humility towards God by acknowledging their own impotence and insufficiency. And a creature capable of demonstrating humility (and, perhaps, thanksgiving) is not damned, because the damned are incapable of humility and thanksgiving. Therefore, there are no possible conditions where God could annihilate a creature on which he would annihilate them, and no possible conditions where God would annihilate a creature on which he could annihilate them (while respecting their free will).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2014, 07:39:06 PM by NicholasMyra » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2014, 07:38:03 PM »

We believe in the conditional im/mortality of all humans, and all created beings. Not only are all things made by God, but all existing things are also conserved (sustained, made to persist, upheld) by God's power and operation. If God withdraws his power and operation from a thing, that thing is no longer conserved.

However, we differ from the annihilation camp on several points, including what it means to be alive and what it means to be dead.

Here is one possible objection to Annihilationism:

Let us read the term "annihilate" as equivalent to "cease to conserve the existence of".

On the annihilationist model, God annihilates rational creatures who are damned and will against him. We Orthodox Christians believe that God upholds and respects the free will of all rational creatures. Annihilating a creature is only respecting that creature's free will if that creature freely asks for annihilation. But if a creature asks for annihilation, then that creature is demonstrating humility towards God by acknowledging their own impotence and insufficiency. And a creature capable of demonstrating humility (and, perhaps, thanksgiving) is not damned, because the damned are incapable of humility and thanksgiving. Therefore, there are no possible conditions where God could annihilate a creature on which he would annihilate them, and no possible conditions where God would annihilate a creature on which he could annihilate them (while respecting their free will).

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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2014, 07:40:03 PM »

I've been baiting you with this stuff for months on the forum; it took way too long for you to respond!
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2014, 07:45:16 PM »

Neither are Orthodox, that is, neither are true.
How is the latter unorthodox?
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2014, 08:24:34 PM »

Neither are Orthodox, that is, neither are true.
How is the latter unorthodox?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_conditionalism

The soul is immortal not due to special conditions, but because God created it to be immortal. That is how I understand it at least. And the immortality of the soul is not dependent on whether or not one believes in Christ.
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2014, 08:58:53 PM »

Right, it is not dependent upon belief in Christ for continued existence (immortality would be a separate claim). Would you accept the simple/natural mortality of the soul, though? Perhaps the teaching that God conserves all human souls.
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2014, 11:23:34 PM »

The soul is immortal. It does not require special sustenance from God to remain so, for God created it immortal. The body was naturally immortal as well, but the unnatural state of death intervened. But in the resurrection, body and soul will be reunited and live immortal.
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2014, 11:34:42 PM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2014, 12:15:42 AM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.

Do you have some patristic citations for that?
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« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2014, 12:40:52 AM »

The soul is immortal. It does not require special sustenance from God to remain so, for God created it immortal.

That reminds me of Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali's idea that there is a class of beings that are possible, but which become necessary once God creates them. It resulted in some brilliant ideas about God and time, but I doubt you'd agree with them.

I don't think you can make a good argument from Orthodox tradition that souls are independently immortal; I don't think you can make a good argument from the Judeo-Christian tradition that anything has anything apart from God's will. Our teaching is that everything exists because God wills it; not only at a thing's origin, like the watchmaker god, but continually and intimately.

Here's a helpful podcast on the topic:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/immortality_of_the_soul_or_resurrection_of_the_dead
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if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2014, 01:10:18 AM »

No, Illumined Heart is not at all helpful for anything. Show me the holy fathers.
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2014, 01:19:48 AM »

The soul is immortal. It does not require special sustenance from God to remain so, for God created it immortal.

That reminds me of Muslim philosopher Al-Ghazali's idea that there is a class of beings that are possible, but which become necessary once God creates them. It resulted in some brilliant ideas about God and time, but I doubt you'd agree with them.

I don't think you can make a good argument from Orthodox tradition that souls are independently immortal; I don't think you can make a good argument from the Judeo-Christian tradition that anything has anything apart from God's will. Our teaching is that everything exists because God wills it; not only at a thing's origin, like the watchmaker god, but continually and intimately.

Here's a helpful podcast on the topic:

http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/illuminedheart/immortality_of_the_soul_or_resurrection_of_the_dead

I think you are misunderstanding grace and nature, at least how I am using the terms.

Not sure what YOU mean by "independently immortal." Adam was meant to live forever, soul and body united. He sinned. His soul separated from his body. His body decayed. His soul lived on--though in Hades, and in expectation of the resurrection of the body, after which man as reunited soul and body lives forever.  This has NOTHING to do with some kind of "watchmaker god."

To me, if one says the soul is only immortal "by grace" and NOT "by nature," then one is saying that Adam was not created immortal by God, and this calls into question everything else, and opens the door to the thing that started this mess--conditional immortality, which goes hand-in-hand with the heresy of annihilationism.
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2014, 02:03:04 AM »

To me, if one says the soul is only immortal "by grace" and NOT "by nature"

If when you say "immortal by nature", you mean that a human's natural state is one of communion with God, who provides true life (that sort of immortality), then I agree with you. If you say "immortal by nature" to mean that God causes it that human souls never cease to exist (that sort of immortality) then I can work with you.

But if you say that, if God were to withdraw his creative energies from a human soul, that it would continue to exist, then I think you are in error. And I don't think you'll find a single father arguing for the idea that the soul, or angels, or anything, exists apart from the grace of God. Look at the language you yourself use: "Adam was *meant*"; meant by whom? By God. You are rightly unable to talk about Adam's existence apart from God.

To me, if one says the soul is only immortal "by grace" and NOT "by nature," then one is saying that Adam was not created immortal by God
To you, perhaps. But not to the mainstream Orthodox commentators on this subject, of which I gave an example.

conditional immortality
Nobody is arguing that a human's "immortality" (in the pagan sense of existence vs. non-existence) is something God will take away. Rather, that it something God has the power to take away.

But we believe that God is a God of creation, and not annihilation.
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« Reply #20 on: March 05, 2014, 02:06:05 AM »

Hell is eternal. The grave is near.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk5ihtuWT6c
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« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2014, 02:31:20 AM »

God alone possesses immortality (1 Tim 6:16); we participate in immortality in union/communion with God, and insofar as "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17). Apart from God nothing holds together of itself.

"And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." -1 Jn 5:11

"God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,who alone possesses immortality [όνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν],and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see: to him be honor and might forever. Amen." -1 Tim 6:15-16

Endless life is a property not of Adam or the sons or daughters of Adam, but of Christ, and in Christ, of which we partake only in communion/union "in Christ." "...the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Rom 6:23

Even those in hell will also be "held together" by the love of God: "I say that even those who are scourged in hell are tormented with the scourgings of love. The scourges that result from love -that is, the scourges of those who have become aware that they have sinned against love- are harder and more bitter than the torments which result from fear. The pain which gnaws the heart as the result of sinning against love is sharper than all other torments that there are. It is wrong to imagine that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God.... [but] the power of love works in two ways: it torments those who have sinned, just as happens among friends here on earth, but to those who have observed its duties, love gives delight." St. Isaac of Syria, Homily 27(28).



"Make ready, O Bethlehem, for Eden hath been opened for all. Prepare, O Ephratha, for the tree of life hath blossomed forth in the cave from the Virgin; for her womb did appear as a spiritual paradise in which is planted the divine Plant, whereof eating we shall live and not die as did Adam. Christ shall be born, raising the image that fell of old"

"And then, lest Adam stretch forth his hand to the tree of life and live forever, God dismissed him from paradise." St. Augustine, Two Books on Genesis Against the Manichaeans 2.22.34

God did not kill Adam, but prevented his continual access to the Tree of Life:

"Therefore, lest Adam and Eve, after having eaten of this tree [of the knowledge of good and evil] live forever and remain in eternal lives of suffering, God forbade them to eat, after they were clothed with a curse, that which he had prepared to give them before they incurred the curse and when they were still clothed with glory" -St. Ephrem of Syria, Commentary on Genesis 2.35.1.

"Blessed was He who was pierced and so removed the sword from the entry to paradise" -St. Ephrem the Syrian, Hymns On Paradise 2.1

"...disobedience was the cause of death; for that reason not God but man himself was the agent of his own death." St. Ambrose, Paradise, 7.35

"By punishing us with death, the lawgiver cut off the spread of sin. And yet through that very punishment he also demonstrated his love for us. He bound sin and death together when he gave the law placing the sinner under punishment of death. And yet he ordered things in such a way that the punishment might in itself serve the goal of salvation. For death brings about separation from this life and brings evil works to an end. It sets us free from labor, sweat, and pain, and ends the suffering of the body. Thus the Judge mixes his love for us with the punishment." -Theodoret, On the Incarnation of the Lord
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« Reply #22 on: March 05, 2014, 07:27:13 AM »

Since you say hell is eternal I am not saying it is not why is it our duty to convert others to Jesus. I know we sow the seed but God gives the increase but how shall they preach unless they be sent? why is there no preachers who can convince the people like the apostles who had miracles, today?
How can we be saved if we go to a night club even if not a dirty one or buddhist restuarant and affect our witness and are responsible for others going to hell (my dad says I am responsible for no one but this goes against many christians and myself)
Why should I tell a fornicator that God will forgive them if they repent if someone who had sex with them refuses to follow christianity and goes to an eternal hell because they think it is a crutch? if they did not have sex would they have a higher chance of salvation? I  they have little or no excuse unless a christian seduced them
Can a christian be saved who participates in the world, who hangs out with sinners who are not even their friends I believe it affects our witness

So can noone be lost because of us but that is between them and God and we can save no one but only God can? but that is against the gospel message to share the good news with all people and it is against my feeling that people need someone to be a strong witness to pull them out of the fire

the problem is living away from the world may really hurt business and that is many peoples job if they are not monks
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« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2014, 08:03:11 AM »

I believe this "sermon" may be true for those who try to encourage people to sin

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/sermons.sinners.html
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« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2014, 04:38:04 AM »

I still don't like that sermon and I am sorry for sharing it but it may be true
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2014, 05:11:13 AM »

or why should I apologise if it is true. Revelations does say those not written in the book of life will not be allowed in the Holy City and there are many other verses St Pauls says are hard to understand which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction. Revelations warns not to add or take away from His words. That is perhaps not to insist on an interpretation
I do know I am probably not more loving than God but God is fair and perfect in His judgements. God is who He is. He can not be more loving than He is able to be just as He did not choose to be God. Even the prophets were the ones to pronounce judgements on those who hate God. That is if we knew all things we would judge the wicked
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« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2014, 05:47:21 AM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.

Do you have some patristic citations for that?

The tree of eternal life was in the garden. They ate that before eating the forbidden fruit. If they ate the fruit, they would surely see death.

It could be assumed that they obviously ate from the tree of life first. But they decided to be all powerful like God (idolatry) which led to their eventual death. That's why God said they would surely die. Meaning that it would over ride the tree of life.
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« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2014, 09:09:29 AM »

If I may ask a somewhat related question:

Does hell negate man's free will? What does the Church say about this?


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« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2014, 10:46:23 AM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.

Do you have some patristic citations for that?

The tree of eternal life was in the garden. They ate that before eating the forbidden fruit. If they ate the fruit, they would surely see death.

It could be assumed that they obviously ate from the tree of life first. But they decided to be all powerful like God (idolatry) which led to their eventual death. That's why God said they would surely die. Meaning that it would over ride the tree of life.

Genesis 3.22-24
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« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2014, 10:53:13 AM »

If I may ask a somewhat related question:

Does hell negate man's free will? What does the Church say about this?


Selam

You should define what you mean by hell--the foretaste of eternal suffering between death and the last judgment or the eternal lake of fire after the last judgment?

Regardless, the answer to the question is no. Man's free will is not negated, however it seems to me the soul cannot make a decision apart from the body. So, in the unnatural state of division of soul from body which is death, the soul is left without the means of putting the thought of repentance into practice. So, in that sense, the time to make a decision is in this life. For those who were indecisive, so to speak, the prayers of the Church can move them out of suffering up until the Lord returns. Nothing is over until then.
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« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2014, 11:19:26 AM »

If I may ask a somewhat related question:

Does hell negate man's free will? What does the Church say about this?


Selam
Universalism was regarded as negating free will.
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« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2014, 06:53:21 PM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.

Do you have some patristic citations for that?

The tree of eternal life was in the garden. They ate that before eating the forbidden fruit. If they ate the fruit, they would surely see death.

It could be assumed that they obviously ate from the tree of life first. But they decided to be all powerful like God (idolatry) which led to their eventual death. That's why God said they would surely die. Meaning that it would over ride the tree of life.

Genesis 3.22-24

That doesnt negate that they ate from the tree early on. They likely did. But then Im going off other sources. I dont believe the Bible version to be any more accurate than the rest.
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« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2014, 06:55:28 PM »

Creations (angels, humans, etc.) are not immortal by nature, but by grace.

Do you have some patristic citations for that?

The tree of eternal life was in the garden. They ate that before eating the forbidden fruit. If they ate the fruit, they would surely see death.

It could be assumed that they obviously ate from the tree of life first. But they decided to be all powerful like God (idolatry) which led to their eventual death. That's why God said they would surely die. Meaning that it would over ride the tree of life.

Genesis 3.22-24

That doesnt negate that they ate from the tree early on. They likely did.

There's nothing in the biblical account that would lead one to this conclusion.  In fact, the biblical account at least strongly implies the opposite conclusion. 

Quote
But then Im going off other sources. I dont believe the Bible version to be any more accurate than the rest.

Oh!  The biblical account is useless.  Good to know. 
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« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2014, 07:05:47 PM »

Quote
That doesnt negate that they ate from the tree early on. They likely did.

There's nothing in the biblical account that would lead one to this conclusion.  In fact, the biblical account at least strongly implies the opposite conclusion.  
+1

It is also possible that the gift of endless life involved *continual* partaking of the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve might have partaken of the tree but eventually died because they had broken communion/union which involved continually receiving Inexhaustible Life. Similarly though the Eucharist is called "the medicine of immortality" we do not receive it only once.

The text simply doesn't specify, however.
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« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2014, 07:07:49 PM »

If I may ask a somewhat related question:

Does hell negate man's free will? What does the Church say about this?


Selam

You should define what you mean by hell--the foretaste of eternal suffering between death and the last judgment or the eternal lake of fire after the last judgment?

Regardless, the answer to the question is no. Man's free will is not negated, however it seems to me the soul cannot make a decision apart from the body.
Isn't one's body resurrected at the Last Judgement?
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« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2014, 07:24:57 PM »

If I may ask a somewhat related question:

Does hell negate man's free will? What does the Church say about this?


Selam

You should define what you mean by hell--the foretaste of eternal suffering between death and the last judgment or the eternal lake of fire after the last judgment?

Regardless, the answer to the question is no. Man's free will is not negated, however it seems to me the soul cannot make a decision apart from the body.
Isn't one's body resurrected at the Last Judgement?
Yes; until that time the departed exist in an interim state "away from the body and present with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8; cf. Rev 5:8).
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« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2014, 01:43:54 AM »


Oh!  The biblical account is useless.  Good to know. 

That particular story is so old, it predates Judaism. It's on oral story (NOT that is is false at all! The things that matter are stated in all of them).

The real garden of Eden was located in either of these places:




Personally, my belief (based on 'other sources') is that the serpent was a being who could speak that looked something like this (take the dating with a pinch of salt):



God then cursed this creature into a the snake that we know of it today:

Quote
Genesis 3:14: And the Lord God said to the serpent, For thou didest this, thou shalt be cursed among all the living things, and unreasoning beasts of the earth; thou shalt go upon thy breast, and thou shalt eat dust all the days of thy life.



And then here's what interesting:

Quote
I shall put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; her seed shall break thy head, and thou shalt set ambush to her seed’s heel.

It could be that the serpent was a creature without a soul that led the woman astray. We know that Adam was not there when the serpent tricked Eve. Regardless of version, when the woman is alone, she is vulnerable to snakes. God says this in the curse that they will battle with one another.

I could go onto different versions. But it would be considered huge heresies and very anti women lol..
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« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2014, 04:49:34 AM »

Can one believe in an eternal tolerable hell? Which only exists out of mercy for the sinner since he does not want to risk suffering without Gods knowledge when God attempts to annihilate them?
So hell is considered another world for sinners and I think sinners may eventually be friendly to each other there for their own selfish sake or God making it so or maybe they won't be friendly but only some times yet it will be tolerable it exists because there is nowhere else to go
Hence God does not delight in putting people in hell but he must for justice for the poor of His people
Also because He can't save people without their free will and there are issues with giving people another life
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« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2014, 05:58:46 AM »

Can one believe in an eternal tolerable hell? Which only exists out of mercy for the sinner since he does not want to risk suffering without Gods knowledge when God attempts to annihilate them?
So hell is considered another world for sinners and I think sinners may eventually be friendly to each other there for their own selfish sake or God making it so or maybe they won't be friendly but only some times yet it will be tolerable it exists because there is nowhere else to go
Hence God does not delight in putting people in hell but he must for justice for the poor of His people
Also because He can't save people without their free will and there are issues with giving people another life

Hell is the fate of those who resist the Holy Spirit (c.f., Acts 7:51), when it is a free gift to those who believe. The result, they are unable to handle the Glory of God in the end, and are tormented by it.
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« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2014, 06:16:48 AM »

Ok thanks for your thoughts or the church position I guess hell may not be in any way tolerable
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« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2014, 10:19:42 AM »

Quote
I shall put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; her seed shall break thy head, and thou shalt set ambush to her seed’s heel.

It could be that the serpent was a creature without a soul that led the woman astray. We know that Adam was not there when the serpent tricked Eve. Regardless of version, when the woman is alone, she is vulnerable to snakes. God says this in the curse that they will battle with one another.

Yeah, that's about women being vulnerable to snakes.  Nothing at all to do with Christ and our Lady. 

Quote
I could go onto different versions. But it would be considered huge heresies and very anti women lol..

"Thou hast said it."
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