Friday, October 28, 2005

Weekend Wonderings, Round Two

OK, so I'm talking to my kids about the Kingdom of God, and how Jesus wasn't so much eliminating the Jewish ideas of God and love as much as he was broadening and deepening their understanding. Our textbook explains that Jesus presents us with the image of a "passionately caring parent [with] tireless, healing, unlimited, and unreserved love." Which, of course, gets us thoroughly off-topic onto a discussion of sin and hell and forgiveness and all that other stuff that, as I explain once more, is something that is shaped by your personal image of God. This, of course, then leads us into World of the What-If, with all their scenarios of salvation and damnation, of forgiveness and justice, of punishment and pardon. To which, again, I explain that "In my mind I believe ____, but it's different for each person." (Notice a theme?)

Of course, there are lots of questions hiding in there, so perhaps we'll just start with an easy one:
Is there a Hell?
If so, how do we get there?
Once we're there, can we leave?
All according to you, of course, :-)

(I'm feeling a bit like the Dread Pirate Roberts and crew plotting Buttercup's rescue!)

So ..... Whaddya think?


Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

Yes there is a hell. It is a state of mind. Yes, we can leave, but it's hard. Either a major crawling out, or upheaval to make us see the light in the darkness and stay in its illumination. Or, for the irrevocably damaged, death itself is the escape, along the lines of relief after an illness. As long as it isn't by your own hand. That brings us to the other hell, which I hope doesn't exist. I like the idea of purgatory though.

10/28/2005 1:20 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

A friend of mine pointed out just a day or two ago that there has to be a hell or the concept of free will is a sham. The option has to be there to say no in a final way.

10/28/2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Andrea, I see what you're saying ... but that's where my second and third questions come in. Is it our free will that puts us in hell, or are we sent there? Is it an irrevokable action?

Just playin' Devil's Advocate here...

10/28/2005 11:22 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

God is described as a jealous God -- I think that means he wants us for himself. So he won't SEND us to hell, it has to be our choice to leave him.

Can you change your mind once you're there? I've never really thought about it -- I've always assumed it was a final choice. If you think about the story of Lazarus and the rich man, the rich man asks for water and is told that no one can pass between heaven and hell.

But what if...? Hmmm...Would it be too late to repent and want to spend eternity in God's presence? I guess that's one of those things where all you could do is leave it to God's mercy.

10/28/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

On that note...

Say a friend crosses us and so we cut that person out of our lives forever. That person, theoretically, can beg and beg and beg and we still may say no, you're dead to me.

But God is better than us, right? I'd hate to think that God would be so cold-hearted. When we're dealing with eternity, you know, God would be the first to say enough is enough, come back to my light, you've suffered enough.

10/28/2005 3:06 PM  
Blogger seeking_something said...

Yup, there is a hell. And it's for eternity just like heaven is for eternity. You get to hell by your own choice, when God gives you that last chance. If you can stand before God and tell him that you choose hell, then you've pretty much made your choice and chances are that you're not going to change your mind. Now what is eternity when there is neither time nor space in God's realm?

10/28/2005 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Lorna said...

GREAT question!

My thought is that heaven or hell are for eternity - God set the rules. Now it IS possible that his grace may extend further but we have no scriptual evidence for that so I wouldn't want to bank on it, would you?

I don't find any evidence for purgatory either.

another tangent
whats your views on salvation FOR Jews, the chosen people. I'm trying to get together some ideas so if anyone out there has read anything good on this topic, or wants to give their opinions I'd be delighted.

If you dont' wnat to give it here then email me
Lorna AT heavenlytrain DOT com

I'll blog about this later I'm sure but trying to put my own thesis together first :) ho hum I'm not a theologian !!

10/30/2005 4:14 AM  
Blogger jo(e) said...

I've often wondered this. I have a hard time reconciling the idea of "hell for eternity" with what I know of a loving, forgiving God.

10/30/2005 10:17 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Lorna, I don't know if this helps regarding the Jews.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

839. The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, "the first to hear the Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ"; "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."

From Nostra Aetate: God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle. In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder".


My version: If God makes a Covenant, he keeps it.

10/30/2005 12:17 PM  
Blogger seeking_something said...

visions of hell:
Some others who have glimpsed hell (you can google it):
St. Obitius
St. Drithelm

10/31/2005 11:32 AM  

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