Author Topic: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners  (Read 6169 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
This thread is directed at GiC and all who follow his line and thought which generally entails that the notion of God sending people to an eternal hell is 1) absent from New Testament theology, and exclusive only to Old Testament theology, and 2) logically inconsistent in light of the fact that the Christian God is presented as an all-loving God (this position will be represented by X, for the sake of convenience).

1) deals primarily with exegesis. Advocates of X have generally reduced the numerous NT references to an eternal hell/destruction/damnation/punishment, to an allegorical interpretation. It seems that such a conclusion is no more or less the arbitrary result of wishful eisegesis influenced by their predisposition against the concept of eternal hell/destruction/damnation/punishment. The burden remains on those who support X, to prove through proper and objective exegesis, and in consultation with the Fathers when necessary, why verses such as the following should not be interpreted as they plainly read:

"[The Lord Jesus, with His mighty Angels will take] vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thess. 1.6-9)

2) deals with the logical coherency of the compossibility between the existence of an all-loving God, and the eternal destruction of sinners. To re-state (with further additions) my initial reply to GiC:

The all-loving God is One, who out of His love, created us in His own Image, which entailed endowing us with free will. He did not create that free will to take it away from us at a later time simply because the free will of some is exercised to the detriment of their own well-being and salvation. God respects the free will of man, even if that free will entails the free and irrevocable rejection of God, despite His best efforts to save them in a manner that does not challenge or compromise that free will.

Some may argue that the very concept of man freely rejecting God is in itself incoherent. For example, the following questions may arise: If God is the source of all happiness, such that distance and separation from God only serves to cause one misery, then why would one wish to freely reject God? What could possibly motivate one’s voluntary rejection of God, apart from those factors such as ignorance and deception which God may intervene to remove without challenging one’s free will?

The answer lies in John Milton’s poem on the fall of Satan, known as Paradise Lost:

What although the field be lost?
Not all is lost—their remains the unconquerable will,
…
Farewell, joyful fields,
Where happiness forever dwells! hail, oh horrors! Hail oh
Infernal world! Hail profoundest Hell!,
Receive your new possessor-- who brings
A mind that is not to be changed by time or place.
The mind is a place on its own, and within itself
It can make either Heaven of Hell, or a Hell of Heaven.
….
Here we may rule secure; and, according to my choice,
For to rule is worth ambition, even if in Hell:
It is better to rule in Hell than it is to serve in Heaven


Is it not possible that some share the same disposition as Mr. W.E. Henley?:

For it matters not how strait be the gate,
Nor how charged with punishments be the scroll,
I'm the master of my fate:
I'm the captain of my soul.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2006, 05:02:25 PM by EkhristosAnesti »
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline Fr. David

  • The Poster Formerly Known as "Pedro"
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,833
A very interesting topic, and I look forward to reading the other (no doubt much more) erudite responses from GiC, ozgeorge, et al.

Myself, I'm inclined to agree with EA here: our loving God does possess an anger, and does take vengeance on those who unite themselves to sin and to the evil one.  I say this, with the quickly-added qualifier that His anger is not like our anger--the latter being motivated by pettiness, hurt feelings and/or pride; the former being motivated by a selfless desire to see good prevail--nor is His vengeance like ours, for the same reasons, cf. Isaiah 55:8-9.
Priest in the Orthodox Church in America - ordained on March 18, 2012

Oh Taste and See (my defunct blog)

From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)

Offline troy

  • Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 109
It might be necessary here to define free will precisely, stating the extents of free will.

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,326
You would also have to define omniscience and omnipotence as it relates to God, and list all limitations that apply to him (e.g,. "he cannot lie").

Offline Riddikulus

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,788
From Archimandrite Sophrony, disciple of St Silouan of Mount Athos:

It was particularly characteristic of Staretz Silouan to pray for the dead suffering in the hell of separation from God... He could not bear to think that anyone would languish in "outer darkness". I remember a conversation between him and a certain hermit, who declared with evident satisfaction, "God will punish all atheists. They will burn in everlasting fire."

Obviously upset, the Staretz said, "Tell me, supposing you went to paradise, and there looked down and saw somebody burning in hell-fire---- would you feel happy?"

"It can't be helped. It would be their own fault," said the hermit.

The Staretz answered him with a sorrowful countenance. "Love could not bear that," he said. "We must pray for all."




I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,379
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Which Father was it that said: "The doors of Hell are locked on the inside."?
Hell is not a "punishment". God does not punish, He corrects.
And since hell is eternal, it cannot possibly be a "correction" because there is no point in correcting someone if they cannot change.
Heaven and hell are different experiences of the same phenomenon- the difference is not in the phenomenon, but how we experience it.
And the phenomenon is the Divine Energies.
Hell is not seperation from God, but an attempt to run away from and hide from His Divine Presence (which of course, we cannot escape).
Is this some "new theory"?....well, frankly, no....
This is the Greek Orthodox understanding of the Scriptures, because as I have said so many times, understanding Koine is indispensible for Christianity.
In the original Koine, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 does not read "They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might". In the original Koine it reads:
"οιτινες δικην τισουσιν ολεθρον αιωνιον απο προσωπου του κυριου και απο της δοξης της ισχυος αυτου"
Which means:
"Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from [i.e. "by", or "because of"] the presence of the Lord, and from [i.e. "by", or "because of"] the glory of his power".
Now compare this with verse 7 which describes how the Saints will experience this same presence of the Lord as "rest".
Same thing, different experiences. The Saint's perceive the Divine Energies as the Light of Tabor, the unrepentant sinners will percieve the same Divine Energies as the flames of hell.


« Last Edit: March 02, 2006, 09:31:47 AM by ozgeorge »
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Quote
Hell is not a "punishment". God does not punish, He corrects.

The verse clearly says “punishment”, which, in light of the fact of it being eternal, implies the conclusion that God’s punishment does not always serve a corrective purpose, since, as you admitted, the concept of an eternal corrective punishment simply makes no sense. How else do we explain the eternal “punishment” spoken of? Well, the very same verse explicates that for us:

"[The Lord Jesus, with His mighty Angels] will take vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thess. 1.6-9)

Quote
In the original Koine, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 does not read "They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might". In the original Koine it reads:
"οιτινες δικην τισουσιν ολεθρον αιωνιον απο προσωπου του κυριου και απο της δοξης της ισχυος αυτου"
Which means:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from [i.e. "by", or "because of"] the presence of the Lord, and from [i.e. "by", or "because of"] the glory of his power".

If we look at this verse without any eschatological presuppositions, and hence merely upon a linguistic basis, then it becomes clear that απο may validly be rendered both ways. The word “from” need not necessarily imply “by” or “because of”, but may also imply “in separation of” or “to the exclusion of”, hence the rendering of the particular translation I pasted; any NT Greek Lexicon will reveal this simple fact, as well as an analysis of how the word is used elsewhere. For example, in the very same epistle 2 chapters later, St Paul states:

"πιστος δε εστιν ο κυριος ος στηριξει υμας και φυλαξει απο του πονηρου"
Which translates:
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from [i.e. “away from”, “in separation from”] evil."

Anyway, the issues I have brought forth for question do not concern whether hell is the “experience of God’s presence”, but rather they concern the proposition that an all-loving and all-powerful God must necessarily bring about and allow the universal salvation of all mankind upon the basis that such a conception of God as all-loving and all-powerful is logically inconsistent with the notion of an eternal hell, which we can simply reduce to an “eternally negative experience” for the purpose of this discussion, without delving into the specifics of this very experience.
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,190
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
I've just recently contemplated about this.

I have trouble believing that all will eventually be saved.  Christ leaves a very vague image of the afterlife.  Is it not written in the "River of Fire" that hell is eternal because we are eternal?  Is not our free will predisposed to sin now, and while suffering the habits of our sins, go through a burning experience?  And if we don't suffer, but succumb to our damaged free will, does not our free will get damaged more?

I believe that even the Devil, as is prophecied about, is drowning in his own sins, and he himself became the biggest slave of sin.  His free will has become so damaged, he may perhaps continually choose to "be hell".

Thus, there is no telling if "universalism" is correct or not.  Perhaps, some may be saved, but do not trust your own free will, which may be continually damaged during time.

In addition, in light of the enlightening debates I had with GiC, is not God the source of evil and good?  Not that God brings evil upon mankind, but allows it, so as not to choke the exercise of one's free will.  And if we say that "evil" was not created from God, then, we would indeed fall logically into gnostic dualism.  And this "evil" he allowed would be the disobedience of God.  But He also allowed one other thing.  He created the consequences as well.  If we disobeyed God, we would be damaged and corrupted.  If God did not create these consequences, the world as we know it is vain, and we can live forever in sins without any pain.

God however created both our freedom of choice and the consequences of this freedom.  He has the power to allow sinners to sin without damage, or allow damage to the sinner.  If one says that God's love contradicts the concept of an "eternal hell," then one forgets, by their logic, that God's love also contradicts the pain one feels that He created when one sins.  IMO, you do not know what God has in store for us in the afterlife.  There are so many ideas, but you should not let the idea of eternal hell trouble you, for it is possible.  Look, after all this time, and all these lessons, Satan STILL is our enemy.  You do not know if he will be saved or not.  "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, not heart can contemplate."  We should be like St. Anthony who just minds his own business and achieves his own salvation in his present life.

You can however pray for them, but not expect something good out of all of them.

God bless.

Mina
« Last Edit: March 02, 2006, 12:45:50 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Meekle

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 316
  • Meekle of Rohan, Dunadan Bard of the Riddermark
    • OrthodoxisChristian's Xanga
In addition, in light of the enlightening debates I had with GiC, is not God the source of evil and good?  Not that God brings evil upon mankind, but allows it, so as not to choke the exercise of one's free will.  And if we say that "evil" was not created from God, then, we would indeed fall logically into gnostic dualism.  And this "evil" he allowed would be the disobedience of God.  But He also allowed one other thing.  He created the consequences as well.  If we disobeyed God, we would be damaged and corrupted.  If God did not create these consequences, the world as we know it is vain, and we can live forever in sins without any pain.

God did not create the consequences. The consequences are already there. God is life, so when we separate ourselves from life, death coems. So it is when we do against God's way, that the conseqeunces come, but from cutting ourselves off from God.

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,379
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
The verse clearly says “punishment”,
Only in english. The Koine term which directly translates as "punishment" is "timoria" which is not the word used in the text of 1 Thessalonians 9.

If we look at this verse without any eschatological presuppositions, and hence merely upon a linguistic basis, then it becomes clear that απο may validly be rendered both ways. The word “from” need not necessarily imply “by” or “because of”, but may also imply “in separation of” or “to the exclusion of”, hence the rendering of the particular translation I pasted; any NT Greek Lexicon will reveal this simple fact, as well as an analysis of how the word is used elsewhere. For example, in the very same epistle 2 chapters later, St Paul states:

"πιστος δε εστιν ο κυριος ος στηριξει υμας και φυλαξει απο του πονηρου"
Which translates:
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and keep you from [i.e. “away from”, “in separation from”] evil."

No, it can't.
In the case of
"πιστος δε εστιν ο κυριος ος στηριξει υμας και φυλαξει απο του πονηρου"
"απο" links the words to the word which preceeds it: ("φυλαξει" (""He will protect") and "του πονηρου" ("the evil").
i.e "He will proetect from the evil".

In the case of
"οιτινες δικην τισουσιν ολεθρον αιωνιον απο προσωπου του κυριου και απο της δοξης της ισχυος αυτου"
the first "απο" links the words "ολεθρον αιωνιον" ("eternal destruction") and "προσωπου" {"Presence")
and the second "απο" links the words "and" and "glory".
i.e. "eternal destruction from the Presence and from the Glory"
And this, by the way, is how The Orthodox Study Bible translates 2Thessalonians 1:9 into english:
"These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."


« Last Edit: March 02, 2006, 04:26:23 PM by ozgeorge »
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,190
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2006, 05:15:09 PM »
God did not create the consequences. The consequences are already there. God is life, so when we separate ourselves from life, death coems. So it is when we do against God's way, that the conseqeunces come, but from cutting ourselves off from God.

Then you are creating two Gods, a God of good and a God of evil.  You're making the "consequences" as if it was another God itself.  It was never "already there."  God is the source of consequences.  Is it not understood that by His Divine Fire he burns the sinners and enlightens the righteous?

God bless.

Mina
« Last Edit: March 02, 2006, 05:15:31 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,326
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2006, 06:37:39 PM »
Quote
but rather they concern the proposition that an all-loving and all-powerful God must necessarily bring about and allow the universal salvation of all mankind upon the basis that such a conception of God as all-loving and all-powerful is logically inconsistent with the notion of an eternal hell, which we can simply reduce to an “eternally negative experience” for the purpose of this discussion

I'm ready when you are, provided we can agree on definitions (or at least descriptions) of the terms mentioned in my last post. Fire away :)

Offline Meekle

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 316
  • Meekle of Rohan, Dunadan Bard of the Riddermark
    • OrthodoxisChristian's Xanga
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2006, 08:01:04 PM »
Then you are creating two Gods, a God of good and a God of evil.  You're making the "consequences" as if it was another God itself.  It was never "already there."  God is the source of consequences.  Is it not understood that by His Divine Fire he burns the sinners and enlightens the righteous?

God bless.

Mina

It is not creating another god. God did not create sin, nor did He create consequences. He allows consequences to happen for our correction, but the consequences themselves came from us cutting ourselves off from life.

Offline jlerms

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 826
  • O sweet Jesus, cleanse my soul.
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2006, 10:50:17 PM »
I found this on this website. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/universa.htm This article makes it sound as universal salvation was rejected as a whole as a heresy.

Universalism is a belief which affirms that in the fullness of time all souls will be released from the penalties of sin and restored to God. Historically known as apokatastasis, final salvation denies the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment and is based on a faculty reading of Acts 3:21; Rom. 5:18 - 19; Eph. 1:9 - 10; 1 Cor. 15:22; and other passages. Belief in universal salvation is at least as old as Christianity itself and may be associated with early Gnostic teachers. The first clearly universalist writings, however, date from the Greek church fathers, most notably Clement of Alexandria, his student Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. Of these, the teachings of Origen, who believed that even the devil might eventually be saved, were the most influential. Numerous supporters of final salvation were to be found in the postapostolic church, although it was strongly opposed by Augustine of Hippo. Origen's theology was at length declared heretical at the fifth ecumenical council in 553.

What do you think?   Juliana

Offline BrotherAidan

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,568
  • OC.net
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #14 on: March 02, 2006, 11:41:50 PM »
It seems to me that:
God is loving and desires that all should come to repentance and be saved

He gives us free will (volition) and respects it ÂÂ
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  if we reject him we get the consequence of that choice
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  if we choose him we get the consequence of that choice

God seems not to love the evil one (and his minions), according to the scriptures
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  God will actively and actually punish the evil one (I don't think the evil one is locking hell's door from
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  the inside; it appears, from all scriptural evidence, that God is locking that door from the outside).

It also appears, from the scriptures (parable of the sheep and goats, for instance) that God is somewhat
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  active in ushering people into the consequences of the choosing of their free will

It also appears from some of the things the apostles write (eg. Jude in today's reading) that there are those
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ that God actively opposes (whether just in this life or eternally, I don't know)

There also seem to be those who have so alligned themselves with the evil one, and have done so, so
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  resolutely and irrevocably, that God will in fact judge, condemn and punish them to the same degree as the
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  minions of the evil one (and not just let them experience the consequence of their choice, but will actually
         actively punish, punitively and not reformatively)

the masses of the ignorant, dull, weak and those that have to struggle so hard in this life just to keep body and soul
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ together (the working poor in particular) God seems to have a special compassion for  (it is not the healthy but
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ the sick who are in need of a physician) and will deal with them compassionately and according to his mercy (and
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ will not condemn them just because "they haven't accepted Jesus" - as the fundamentalist protestants would
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ posit) [he will not bruise the bent reed; the smoking flax he will not quench)

Any knowledge we have of God or experience of him is because of divine grace; we must ever be grateful and never
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  become proud, thinking we are somehow a cut above ther rest for having chosen God (we must always have the
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  attitude: there but for the grace of God go I and Lord have mercy on me, a sinner)

We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling

Saying too much more (for me, anyway) leads to a Calvinist sort of predestination; or, a Judai-izing works
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ righteousness (self-salvation/Pharisee-ism); or a universalism that has no fear of punishment (so, what
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ the hell, we might as do as we please anyway).

Finally, regardless of what various fathers thought (emphasis on the word thought), there is absolutely nothing in
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  scripture to indicate that the evil one and his minions will ultimately be saved. It's not even a nice thought.
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  and it's not even spiritual. These are malevolent spiritual entities that have our destruction at heart; they   
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  hate God and exult themselves above God. Their final end will be the lake of fire (punitive, not reformative).
 ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚  
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 12:09:33 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,190
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2006, 11:51:25 PM »
It is not creating another god. God did not create sin, nor did He create consequences. He allows consequences to happen for our correction, but the consequences themselves came from us cutting ourselves off from life.

Without realizing it, you are.  If He did not create consequences, but "allows" it, then the consequences have always existed eternally with God.  Thus, you are equating consequences to God.  In a way, you are also limiting God to some sort of "necessity," i.e. that if man sins, there is no other possible solution but to be seperate from God and to experience pain.  But how can this be?

Don't we always say that it is the same Divine Fire that strengthens His saints also quenches the tortures of hell?  To say that man suffers because of separation alone from God proves nothing (that's like saying man needs free will alone to achieve salvation).  If separation alone causes suffering, then we limit God, who we say is limitless.  It is impossible to separate from God.  It is our rejection of His grace that burns us, His Divine Fire.  If separation alone causes consequences, then you are in fact making another God, "Separation" being the God and "consequences" being the Fire.

God bless.

Mina
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Riddikulus

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,788
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #16 on: March 03, 2006, 12:08:05 AM »
I found this on this website. http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/universa.htm This article makes it sound as universal salvation was rejected as a whole as a heresy.

Universalism is a belief which affirms that in the fullness of time all souls will be released from the penalties of sin and restored to God. Historically known as apokatastasis, final salvation denies the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment and is based on a faculty reading of Acts 3:21; Rom. 5:18 - 19; Eph. 1:9 - 10; 1 Cor. 15:22; and other passages. Belief in universal salvation is at least as old as Christianity itself and may be associated with early Gnostic teachers. The first clearly universalist writings, however, date from the Greek church fathers, most notably Clement of Alexandria, his student Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa. Of these, the teachings of Origen, who believed that even the devil might eventually be saved, were the most influential. Numerous supporters of final salvation were to be found in the postapostolic church, although it was strongly opposed by Augustine of Hippo. Origen's theology was at length declared heretical at the fifth ecumenical council in 553.

What do you think? ÂÂ  Juliana

Juliana,

Someone might have mentioned this in some other thread, but anyway I thought I bring it up. Bishop Kallistos Ware has a chapter, considering the points of view of Origen St Gregory of Nyssa and St Isaac the Syrian, titled "Dare We Hope For the Salvation of All?" in his book "The Inner Kingdom". You might find it worth reading, if you haven't already. Clearly it's not a definitive work on the subject, but raises some interesting questions. :)
I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Theodosius Dobzhansky, Russian Orthodox Christian (1900-1975)

Offline BrotherAidan

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,568
  • OC.net
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2006, 12:16:00 AM »
Without realizing it, you are.  If He did not create consequences, but "allows" it, then the consequences have always existed eternally with God.  Thus, you are equating consequences to God.  In a way, you are also limiting God to some sort of "necessity,"



« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 12:16:31 AM by BrotherAidan »

Offline BrotherAidan

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,568
  • OC.net
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #18 on: March 03, 2006, 12:18:01 AM »
sorry ,
I still can't quote and reply without it all coming out in blue or all coming oput in white

It is important to distinguish that foreknowledge is an action of the energies of God and not the divine essence.
That is why God can foreknow WITHOUT his foreknowledge predestinating everything he knows in advance. The foreknowledge resides, not in the essence of God which can never undergo change, but in his divine energies which are dynamic and interactive with human volition

Offline Bizzlebin

  • Theologian
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 714
  • MonkBot, Go Forth!
    • BizzlebinLIVE
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #19 on: March 03, 2006, 03:09:07 AM »
Without realizing it, you are.  If He did not create consequences, but "allows" it, then the consequences have always existed eternally with God.  Thus, you are equating consequences to God.  In a way, you are also limiting God to some sort of "necessity," i.e. that if man sins, there is no other possible solution but to be seperate from God and to experience pain.  But how can this be?

Don't we always say that it is the same Divine Fire that strengthens His saints also quenches the tortures of hell?  To say that man suffers because of separation alone from God proves nothing (that's like saying man needs free will alone to achieve salvation).  If separation alone causes suffering, then we limit God, who we say is limitless.  It is impossible to separate from God.  It is our rejection of His grace that burns us, His Divine Fire.  If separation alone causes consequences, then you are in fact making another God, "Separation" being the God and "consequences" being the Fire.

God bless.

Mina

The question you seem to be asking is "how is it possible?" I think you answer it without even knowing it! Nothing is outside of God, so to try to remove oneself from God means to be nothing (and technically, not even nothing). This doesn't necessitate there being "something else" outside of God, but further reinforces the truth that nothing is outside of God!

Further, you make "consequences" out to be a thing in themselves. They are not things, but descriptions of events. If we use your same reasoning, but have God disallow consequences instead, don't they still exist? See, it's your reasoning itself that is creating the consequence problem, not the allowance, or disallowance, of the given consequence.
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #20 on: March 03, 2006, 05:48:31 AM »
ozgeorge,

Quote
Only in english. The Koine term which directly translates as "punishment" is "timoria" which is not the word used in the text of 1 Thessalonians 9.

This is simply not true. There are four words in koine Greek that may all appropriately be translated as punishment: timoria, kolasis, epitimia, and the word used in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Ekdikesis.

The funny thing is that of all these words, timoria is the only one which possesses other connotations that have nothing to do with punishment. The primary connotation of timoria is in fact “help/assistance”. Ekdikesis unlike kolasis implies punishment in a sense of vengeance rather than a sense of correction.

We then have the adjective “punished” that is employed in the next verse (verse 9). The word for punished is tino, which can simply be translated no other way.

Since you have appealed to the OSB’s translation on another point, then I advise you to consider it on this point, for the OSB itself recognises the “vengeance” (v.8) and “be punished” (v. 9) translations.

Quote
No, it can't.
In the case of
"πιστος δε εστιν ο κυριος ος στηριξει υμας και φυλαξει απο του πονηρου"
"απο" links the words to the word which preceeds it: ("φυλαξει" (""He will protect") and "του πονηρου" ("the evil").
i.e "He will proetect from the evil".

All you’re doing here is using the context (i.e. the surrounding words) to infer what sense the term “from”, in this particular instance, may plausibly be understood. I know that the particular context of this verse compels us to understand it in the sense of “away from” (else we’d understand God’s protection as being derived or caused by evil, which is absurd); that’s why I brought it up as an example, in order to show how that very same word can indeed possess the connotation of separation, since we are compelled to interpret it as such in this particular verse. On a strictly linguistic basis however, there is no linguistic reason which compels us to understand the term “from” in this particular instance as one of separation as opposed to one of cause.

With respect to the II Thessalonians 1:9, both understandings of the term “from” seem to fit within the context of the verse. Looking at the verse in koine Greek does not, as you attempted to argue, compel us to interpret an origin/cause connotation of “from”, instead of a separation/exclusion-of connotation.

Quote
In the case of
"οιτινες δικην τισουσιν ολεθρον αιωνιον απο προσωπου του κυριου και απο της δοξης της ισχυος αυτου"
the first "απο" links the words "ολεθρον αιωνιον" ("eternal destruction") and "προσωπου" {"Presence")

There is still nonetheless no linguistic reason that necessitates us to understand the term as linking “eternal destruction” to “Presence” for the purpose of conveying the point that this “eternal destruction” is being experienced “by virtue of” such “Presence”, as opposed to “in the separation of” such presence.

Quote
And this, by the way, is how The Orthodox Study Bible translates 2Thessalonians 1:9 into english:
"These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."

I never objected to that translation; I have objected to your negation of the fact that the former translation provided is equally as valid — not in the sense of a literal translation, but in the sense of it being a valid interpretation of that literal translation. The term “from” as I have stated, is ambiguous on its own; it may connote “cause” or “origin”, or it may connote “separation”. As I stated, any NT Greek Lexicon will reveal this simple fact.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 05:48:46 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline ozgeorge

  • I'll take you for who you are if you take me for everything.
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,379
  • My plans for retirement.
    • Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2006, 06:23:18 AM »
I never objected to that translation; I have objected to your negation of the fact that the former translation provided is equally as valid — not in the sense of a literal translation, but in the sense of it being a valid interpretation of that literal translation.
So then, we either have the Orthodox interpretation that the Souls in Hell are "whipped by the Love of God" which they rejected, or the Western interpretation that those in Hell are "seperated from God" which contradicts the basic Orthodox Doctrine that God is "everywhere present and fillest all things". I will choose the Orthodox interpretation.
If you're living a happy life as a Christian, you're doing something wrong.

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2006, 06:26:28 AM »
Quote
I will choose the Orthodox interpretation.

So will I.
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2006, 06:27:49 AM »
Asteriktos,

No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2006, 06:34:53 AM »
Asteriktos,

I intend the plain and general meaning of the words in question. As far as it stands, the only vital condition that I may stress from the outset is the continuing integrity of the free will of man i.e. man's continous volitional capacity to reject God. God’s omnipotence cannot challenge or deprive man of this.

Upon this condition (assuming you accept it), I now launch the onus on you to prove to me why the existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God necessitates the universal salvation of all mankind. Notice that you must prove this to be necessarily true, for as long as the possibility that it isn't true exists, then your case falls to the ground. As I see it, the case is very simple. I can accept the argument that an all-powerful God is able to create a world where it is logically possible for all to be saved, but to prove that an all-powerful God is necessarily logically inconsistent with the idea some may suffer eternal damnation, you will have to consider more than the mere logical possibility of such an idea. In light of the fact that everyone has free will, you must consider the feasability of the idea i.e. you must prove that God may actualise a world in which every man necessarily, yet freely chooses God.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 06:52:57 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,326
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2006, 08:38:48 AM »
Quote
Upon this condition (assuming you accept it), I now launch the onus on you to prove to me why the existence of an all-loving and all-powerful God necessitates the universal salvation of all mankind.

Well, I'm afraid I can't participate then, although GIC or others might. First, I would not allow our free will to trump (ie. put a limitation on) God's omnipotence; indeed, I do not think it is coercive for God to keep us in line with Him (e.g., through grace), I think Christianity calls that heaven, but even if push came to shove I think God could go further. And second, I cannot prove that an all-loving, all-powerful God requires universal salvation, any more than you could persuasively prove that an all-loving, all-powerful God requires a very loose exercize of free will (as you are defending). This conversation is about what makes sense: you think one thing makes sense, I think another. I do not think that either of us could prove our case beyond the shadow of a doubt, though.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 08:40:49 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2006, 08:58:03 AM »
Quote
First, I would not allow our free will to trump (ie. put a limitation on) God's omnipotence

That would only be the case if God intends to override man's free will, and yet is not able to.

Quote
And second, I cannot prove that an all-loving, all-powerful God requires universal salvation, any more than you could persuasively prove that an all-loving, all-powerful God requires a very loose exercize of free will (as you are defending)

That is clearly not what I am defending. My position is not that eternal damnation is logically necessary (i.e. that it is necessary that some will freely choose to reject God), but rather that it is logically possible. If one considers the concept of an all-loving all-powerful God to be logically inconsistent with the idea that some may suffer eternal punishment, then the onus is on them to prove that it is not logically possible for an all-loving ominpotent God to allow the eternal damnation of some, and hence they must prove that universal salvation is logically necessary.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 09:00:41 AM by EkhristosAnesti »
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline coptic orthodox boy

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 535
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2006, 09:06:21 AM »
Thought I'd post an interesting passage from a book I'm reading now.

"God is without limits and is incomprehensible.  He appears everywhere, both in the mountains and the sea and below in the abyss.  Yet he is not present by a movement, such as angels enjoy intheir descents from Heven to earth.  God is in Heaven and he is also here.  But you rightly object to my statemtn: 'How can God be in hell or in what way is he in the darkness or in Satan or in filthy places?'  I answer you that he himself cannot undergo any change and he contains all things sice he is infinite.  But Satan, who is his creature, is bound.  What is good is not tainted nor plunged into darkness.  But if you deny that he contains all things, including hell and Satan, you make him finite as far as that place where the wicked one dwells, so that as a result we should look for another, superior to him.  It is necessary that God be always superior.  Because of the mystery of the Godhead and his simplicity, the darkenss, though having its being in him, does not comprehend him.  Not can hte evil participate in the purity that is in God.  Therefore, for God no evil exists as a separtated substance, since his is in no way affected by it." - Pg. 131, Paragraph 5 "Pseudo-Macarius: The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter"

Online Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,326
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2006, 10:44:32 AM »
Quote
That is clearly not what I am defending. My position is not that eternal damnation is logically necessary.  (i.e. that it is necessary that some will freely choose to reject God), but rather that it is logically possible.

That's good, since I did not attribute that position to you  ;D What I attributed to you was the position that, to phrase it a bit better than I did in my last post, "God is required to allow a very loose exercize of free will". But now that you've put it the way you have, the question arises: why is it that you are allowed to argue merely for what is "possible," while you ask of your opponents proof that their beliefs are "necessary"? Why can't I merely show that universalism is possible, while asking you to prove that hell is necessary? It seems like a bit of a double standard; but again, I have no real interest in pursuing a discussion where God's supposed omnipotence is thwarted by His own creation. I especially see no reason to argue along those lines considering that there is evidence (e.g,. in angels) that God could have created beings who had free will and yet were more aligned to the will of God, without somehow constraining free will, thus leaving the "God has to respect free will" argument unpersausive.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2006, 10:48:32 AM by Asteriktos »

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Section Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,190
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2006, 03:20:57 PM »
Further, you make "consequences" out to be a thing in themselves. They are not things, but descriptions of events. If we use your same reasoning, but have God disallow consequences instead, don't they still exist? See, it's your reasoning itself that is creating the consequence problem, not the allowance, or disallowance, of the given consequence.

If God "disallows" consequences, then I believe they don't exist.  If God has mercy on people for not sending them back to non-existence, then He also has created the consequences themselves.

Let's look at an analogy.  A proton (or positron) is positive by nature and attracts what is negative by nature, i.e. electrons.  But where does this "positiveness" or "negativeness" come from?  They did not naturally come on their own by some sort of necessity, but God created them this way.  Similarly, mankind is not by divine necessity attracting grace or repelling grace, but God created them this way.  Otherwise, God Himself is limited by some necessity as well, and "Necessity" would be our real God, not God Himself.

God bless.

Mina
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline EkhristosAnesti

  • 'I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."' - Psalm 91:2
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,743
  • Pope St Kyrillos VI
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2006, 03:28:39 PM »
Asteriktos,

Quote
"God is required to allow a very loose exercize of free will"

First of all, my position doesn’t entail that God is required to do anything; you’re reading things into my argument that simply don’t exist. Second of all, what exactly does a “loose exercise” of free will mean? Free will is free will; it is exercised at the discretion of the individual who has been granted it, and God permits each individual to exercise it as he or she so wills; either for the glory of God, or to the rejection of Him. If there were boundaries compelling a “tight exercise” of free will, then it wouldn’t truly be free, obviously.

Quote
But now that you've put it the way you have, the question arises: why is it that you are allowed to argue merely for what is "possible," while you ask of your opponents proof that their beliefs are "necessary"? Why can't I merely show that universalism is possible, while asking you to prove that hell is necessary? It seems like a bit of a double standard.

There is no double standard; allow me to explain why: I, in fact, already recognise the possibility of universal salvation. This is why I can at the very most hope for universal salvation. I’m not the one who is postulating the argument that there exists a logical inconsistency between the concept of an all-loving omnipotent God and the concept of universal salvation; I don’t believe there is some irreconcilable logical contradiction here. Your position on the other hand entails that there is a logical inconsistency and contradiction between the concept of an all-loving omnipotent God and the notion that some shall suffer eternal damnation. That, my friend, is why the onus lies on you to prove the necessity of universal salvation, and not merely the logical possibility of it, the latter of which I already admit.
No longer an active member of this forum. Sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offence to anything posted in youthful ignorance or negligence prior to my leaving this forum - October, 2012.

"Philosophy is the imitation by a man of what is better, according to what is possible" - St Severus

Offline Matthew777

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,497
  • Seek and ye shall find
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2006, 08:08:31 PM »
If the eternality of hell is true, I figure that it is just. If you reject someone infinite, you deserve infinite punishment.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm

Offline Bizzlebin

  • Theologian
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 714
  • MonkBot, Go Forth!
    • BizzlebinLIVE
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2006, 05:46:25 AM »
If the eternality of hell is true, I figure that it is just. If you reject someone infinite, you deserve infinite punishment.

So is eternal punishment of a person a way to accomplish that person's salvation?
Fashions and opinions among men may change, but the Orthodox tradition remains ever the same, no matter how few may follow it.

-- Fr. Seraphim Rose

Offline Matthew777

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,497
  • Seek and ye shall find
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2006, 05:47:54 AM »
Do those in hell deserve to be saved? I'd hope that someday they will be, but that doesn't mean they deserve it.
He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. - Friedrich Nietzsche
www.aramaicpeshitta.com
http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et0.htm

Offline GiC

  • Site Supporter
  • Merarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,487
Re: The Compossibility of a Loving God & the Eternal Destruction of Sinners
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2006, 01:06:53 PM »
Do those in hell deserve to be saved? I'd hope that someday they will be, but that doesn't mean they deserve it.

Do those in heaven deserve to be saved? No more so than those in hell.