From: Gilbert L. Rice (email@example.com)
Date: Sun Nov 22 1998 - 00:38:02 EST
Allow this expression of appreciation to Trevor Peterson. I appreciated the
expressions on the above text in his recent post. I do think, apparently
with him, that Paul did mean to suggest that God would overrule in the
affairs of a wayward individual who had once espoused the principles His
savior taught. The overruling would be to an extended degree where one
would eventually be caused to yield the fleshly life in a test which would
find that one loyal in faith to principles again found precious, the result
of which would be a spiritual life in resurrection.
I appreciate Trevor's apparent acknowledgement that there is such a thing
as annihilation. I find this a much more satisfying concept as it reflects
upon a God of love and justice, than the concept held in some places of a
never-dying soul that if unrepentant, suffers for time unending.
His 2 Thess. 5:9 is doubtless intended to be 2 Thess. 1:9. Perhaps those
words of Paul were written particularly with natural Israelites in mind
who, along with other natural Israelites elsewhere who did not accept the
message about Jesus their Redeemer. Acts 17 records the persecution of Paul
and others by such in Thessalonica.. Pertaining to 'everlasting' in that
verse: seeing as how in LXX the Hebrew olam is often represented by
aionios, it would seem reasonable that the Greek here means 'to a vanishing
point,' to the end foreseen by God --not time infinitum.
His cited 1 Tim. 6:9 brings up another dimension of thought. Perhaps the
destruction is complete but not eternal--that as Jesus has it in John
5:28,29 and Paul in Acts 24:15, there will be a resurrection of all -- all
being divided into but two groups.
Years back I sent to England for a copy of "The Mystery of Salvation," A
report by the Doctrine Commission of the General Synod of the Church of
England, Church House Publishing, London, ISBN 0 7151 3778 6 Published
1995, copyrighted The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England
>From page 181: "In terms of ultimate salvation the decision is entirely
God's. ... Ultimately, we believe, and this is why we are Christians, that
it is through Jesus Christ that God will reconcile all things to himself.
How that will come about, we can only be agnostic about, whether it is
through some real but unconscious response to the Christ within them now,
or whether it is in response to some eschatological revelation, or by some
other means." Similar expressions appear on page 184.
Words on on 190 seem to mirror Trevor's sentiment? "In the Old Testament
the wraith-like existence of Sheol, the place of the departed under the
earth, is a place of non-being, far removed from the gift and fulfilment of
eternal life. Such non-being is the triumph of death, often envisaged as an
engulfing power opposed to God."
Page 199: "Final judgment therefore remains a reality. Moral and spiritual
choices are ultimate and serious choices. In the past the imagery of
hell-fire and eternal torment and punishment, often sadistically expressed,
has been used to frighten men and women into believing. Christians have
professed appalling theologies which made God into a sadistic monster and
left searing psychological scars on many. Over the last two centuries the
decline in the churches of the western world of a belief in everlasting
punishment has been one of the most notable transformations of Christian
belief. ... Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and
irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so
absolutely that the only end is total non-being. Annihilation might be a
truer picture of damnation than any of the traditional images of the hell
of eternal torment."
Gilbert L. Rice
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