how are we to accept or interpret god loving us if...

I don't really know the actual facts of the ancient Christian teachings on this literal idea of hell you have put forth.

But i will try to answer even though i lack the knowledge.

In Christianity God is love.
To submit to God is to submit to love.
What evil is there in that we are to try to be perfect.

But in that God is love, and we may grow in this love.
Could this be the reward and the spiritual realm known as Heaven.

For what other reward do we understand Heaven as, is it some physical palace as some have put forth, with physical delights, while hell is physical torture?

If that is true, then whay can't heaven be on earth physical riches and hell be physical torture, if this is what we aim for as a reward and is God's punishment?
But what we clearly see in Christianity, is Saints are humble, gave up the bonds of physical riches, and even were prepared to be persecuted and tortured in standing up for love.

A great witness of love, is some have even become poor to help the poor.
Become even diseased to help the diseased.
Given their lives to save others.

How much greater love can there be when one gives no thought for themselves in their love for another, with no restrictions.
For some it may be easier to run into a house of flames and save another, than to be mocked by others.
But greater is the one who is prepared to be crucified to save others, and being prepared to be spat on and mocked in front of many, humiliated and ridiculed, not even as part of a group, not even answering back arguing His own innocence.
He died an example to every word He spoke.
Many can repeat His wisdom and love, preaching the words He spoke, but no one is so full of the love He was.

If one submits to love and gains God, they have their reward.
Surely there is no greater reward than love.

What then can this hell be for those who don't submit to love.

Have you felt the anxieties of life.
Not from physical pain, or illness.
But from our own evil.

have you ever felt any bitterness to others, had certain physcial addictions, or pointless things on your mind that you can't rid yourself of.
There are many things in life that can lead us from love.

What if hell is the absence of love.
And what if proof lays in life.

I've been a drunk, a criminal, done my fair share of drugs, had may fair share of addictions, bad feelings towards others, thoughtlessness of others, only thinking of myself.

For me to examine myself, i can see clearly the cause of all these problems in me, it is a lack of love, and the submittence to God as love as my strength.

I'm still a weak person in many things, but at least God has given me the desire to change, a certain knowledge of love, a certain knowledge of failings in my own self which helps me grow and have more understanding and love towards others, who also have problems and are not perfect.

What if hell is the realm within ourselves of every burning desire amd emotion that eats us up and destroys us spiritually.
And what if Heaven is the Spiritual freedom from evil within ourselves, and our submitence to love.

What if Heaven is love.
And hell is evil.

Isn't it then our own free choice what we want.

It then can not even be called a punishment, for if we want loads of money and get it, we have our reward, we have what we wanted, just not what is good for us.
If we want goodness we can strive for that as much as we do for physical things in life.

Only in most physical things you just have to be worldly minded, think deeply of ways to acheive your physical goals, even have a certain discipline and commitment.
If only we give that much devotion to love.

Our spiritual being is our iner being.
Do we really think our inner self can ever cease to exist.
Our body grows, weakens and dies.
But the spiritual growth of the inner self can grow in even the illness and aging of the body.
For the aging of the body, grows from birth to it's peak then no longer grows to it's strength and physical peak, but grows older in a different way, now growing more feeble towards physical death, but our inner self can have much more wisdom when we are older.
And many say if i had only known what i know now when i was younger.

Gods does not toss us aside at the drop of a dime.
His hand is ever outstreached, it is we who push it away.

Even the suffering in our lives are pathways to God.

It sometimes takes certian suffering in our lives to bring us to what is important.

Some people have even come to realize in certain diseases that they have had how they have grown as a person, and have even said they wouldn't have had it any other way.

I haven't heard it said of family members, but i myself have experienced the loss of a loved one through cancer.
And it made me grow in love.
I wouldn't have wished it on her or anyone.
But the only regrests i can have in anything in life, is that all who i know most of all myself have not submitted fully to love.

I think my family member to a certain extent had submitted to love greater than anyone i have ever known personally.
I don't think this was just because she had cancer, but because she beleived in God, but i think having the disease must have brought things out more.

Who knows what happens after death.
We maybe don't really know things fully until we have experienced them first hand.

But what we do experince first hand, is here and now, ourselves here on earth living these lives.
What we choose to submit to and progress in is up to us.

I heard this quote somewhere:
"What you acheive through the journey of life, is not as important as who you become."

There's one perfect Father who can lead His creation in the path of righteousness, all we have to do is take His hand, listen to His voice.
 
if he would burn us in a place for torture at the drop of a dime
exactly, its incongruency proves the issue in my mind. We are all only condemned by our own beliefs and inacction. Punished by our sins not for them. G-d is loving and forgiving...and in the end we will all understand this and be with G-d...some will just take longer to get there than others....
 
Great post, paul. I totally agree with your assessent that basically Heaven = love (agape) and Hell = evil (or more precisely, selfish desires). I am reminded of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings whose countenance was completely given over to his desire to possess the Ring, and he transformed from the normal hobbit Smeagal to slowly, over a period of 76 years, becoming deformed into the pitiful creature we witness in the films. Even Bilbo Baggins felt the Ring's pull at times. There is some truth in fiction.
 
(how are we to accept or interpret god loving us if,) if he would burn us in a place for torture at the drop of a dime

Shadowman,

There is no IF, God does not burn us in a place of torture at the drop of a dime. Therefore your question is irrelevant with no connection to the question of interpreting God's Love.

Love in Christ,
JM
 
Yes, I concur. I don't believe in a permanent torture/hell, nor do I think God puts people there. So I don't have this quandary.

Quite a few Christians do not believe in a literal hell or that God punishes certain people forever. The concept of hell has changed over time in Christianity and the word "hell" actually never appears in the original language of the Bible. The words sheol, hades, and gehenna have been variously translated as hell, but none of them mean the equivalent of the current popular meaning of the word (i.e., that which is described by Dante's "Inferno").
 
Shadowman,

There is no IF, God does not burn us in a place of torture at the drop of a dime. Therefore your question is irrelevant with no connection to the question of interpreting God's Love.

Love in Christ,
JM

please explain how people going to hell is not part of gods active plan. if we make the ultimate mistake of not accepting jesus, there is no hope for redemption ever.

even "god is love" is defined in a way that includes people being tortured forever.

his love is defined as "saving people from hell even though its what they deserve" right?

so his love both thinks that humans deserve hell, and also keeps in mind that if his love is not accepted, then he will punish


and about punishment forever. whats the point of that. this creates a god that also has a will to punish beings with feelings for ever.
 
please explain how people going to hell is not part of gods active plan. if we make the ultimate mistake of not accepting jesus, there is no hope for redemption ever.

Maybe no one makes that ultimate mistake. How are we to know another's heart, and to know what happens after they appear to physically die to us?

even "god is love" is defined in a way that includes people being tortured forever.

Not to me. Depends on who you ask.

his love is defined as "saving people from hell even though its what they deserve" right?

I wouldn't say that's what people deserve. Hell is being separated from God. It's more like being lost than being punished. God gave us a road-map home (and more or less drove the car for us with us in the passenger seat) through Jesus. God had never chosen for humanity to separate themselves from Him. He gave us free will and humanity chose separation and self-centeredness. God must feel that what we ultimately deserve is His love, since that is what we get, particularly through the ultimate gift of Jesus.

I realize I don't have a very conventional view in some circles, but there are Christians who do not believe that God operates the way you describe.

so his love both thinks that humans deserve hell, and also keeps in mind that if his love is not accepted, then he will punish

Or that He desires humans to be with Him, but love them enough to let them choose. As long as they choose to be without Him, they punish themselves. It isn't that God punishes us. We simply reap what we sow. If we are selfish and sinful, we get the consequences, and we don't have to wait until after death to see the destructiveness of our choices (just think of all the painful consequences of such behaviors as drug abuse, greed, etc.). If we are other-centered and focused on loving God and each other, we reap the joys and healthy life that comes from it.

God provides us with gifts (Jesus, the Bible, each other, this amazing earth) that we might become aware of his love. He loves whether or not we accept it. We suffer until we accept it because ultimately, we need His love to be fulfilled in our spirit. It isn't as if He punishes us. It is more that our spirits long after Him, whether our egos choose to accept that or not.

and about punishment forever. whats the point of that. this creates a god that also has a will to punish beings with feelings for ever

I don't know what the point would be. I don't think belief in eternal punishment is a necessary part of being a Christian. I guess it's a belief that works for some people in some way, but I personally don't understand it. I suppose I encourage you to reach out to God and focus more on the experience of connecting to God, rather than worries about defining or understanding Him? I think God is just too big to comprehend. But I have found that if I focus on the experience of His love, that is enough to sustain faith.
 
shadowman, do ever listen to what anyone says? Did you even read path_of_one's post?

Your problem is that you don't listen, not take in what anyone says, for you keep going back to the same thing. Rather get obsessed with punishement, you ought to get obsessed with the Love of God. Let that Love guide you rather than the fear you seem to harbor.
 
I dont know if I can relate to a god that condones torturing. In my book it is never ok. never. its not even ok if you are offending a god that says "love your enemy" its never ok. and I do read peoples posts, they usually dont deter my arguments though, they usually sidestep them.
 
I dont know if I can relate to a god that condones torturing. In my book it is never ok. never. its not even ok if you are offending a god that says "love your enemy" its never ok. and I do read peoples posts, they usually dont deter my arguments though, they usually sidestep them.
Dunno Shadowman, I haven't seen you respond to anything I've written to you. ;)

Seems to me you do a lot of side stepping by starting new threads on the same old thing...without responding to the heartfelt responses already given.
 
If your just trying to argue then your not going to get anywhere and there's no point in anyone responding to you.
To argue is ongoing, to seek understanding is to seek the truth.
and even "vain is knowledge that doesn't lead to love"

You've interperated maybe the hardest thing to understand to try to make God evil.
To understand what hell is, life after death, no one really has that experience to give a firsthand testimony.
I've put forward that maybe we have proof of hell in life, and maybe that is hell, or i believe certainly a connection.

St. Isaak of Syria wrote "those in gejenna are burnt by the fire of God's Love"
I saw this wrote on an Orthodox forum on a similar subject.

Now if God is love, in God there is no evil.
But if one is full of hate and evil, they hate love, everything they do and are is opposed to it.

Is anyone completely evil, i don't know.

Evil certainly exists and it lives within us, same as love can.

Some do horrifc things, but some people even change, have remorse, they even try to help others stuck in the same situation they were in.

I could bring up some horrific crimes, and what if they occured to you or your loved ones, i think you would find it very hard to forgive, even if they one day were completely sorry, but what if they were never sorry.
What if maybe some people tried everyway to reach them, what if things even happened to them in their lives where they could even fully understand what they had done to you, but still they had no remorse but just were pure evil.

You judge God, so you make yourself a better judge, what do you do?

I could think myself maybe wipe them out of existence, maybe such evil will be.

You probably think in your understanding, it's not the purely wicked that go to hell, but just thoughs who don't accept Jesus.

Here again we are to things we can't understand at this time, only estimate and speculate.
What i'm saying is probably not true, but you say and others have speculated on these things are probably not either.

But what if we go back to Saint Isaak's quote "those in gejenna are burnt by the fire of God's Love"
If God remains love always, is it's very essence, is the pure source.
People who are not perfect grow in this love, but are not complete, but maybe God has a way to make us complete of even our own will.
How will He achieve even this completely, i don't know.

But people do grow and change.

But if God is maybe in Christ's return somehow revealed as love, so people have no excuse whatsoever.
Lets say everything will be revealed to us, God's love in it's entirety.

Maybe many of us will be filled with shame, maybe even after death we somehow progress in this love, i don't understand the end of times and the final judgement, but i don't think you do either.

But what if some so filled of hate and evil still reject this love.
Will you say i won't accept it i hate love, i hate God in that he will leave me in this hate i choose instead of love.

What if the burning of hell is the evil of man of which they won't repent of, what if it's fully in the presence of God's love, that one filled with evil and hatred can do nothing but only scream out in torment in the presence of such love.

Again it's only speculation, and only can be.

If God is love and there can abide no evil.
Maybe the evil will be purged from us, maybe we will grow in love, it's not easy in life, and we suffer the tomrments of evil, and even the joys of love.

Will all this evil cease to exist.
Then everyone of us has to be complete in love.

Are we willing, when will we be ready.
What has God prepared to achieve this.
When will he judge righteously.
How will He achieve riding us of evil, and completeing us in love.

Hard things to contemplate, i don't know.
I know God gives me strength, helps me in love, i know i'm far from perfect, could i ever be, how could this be made possible.

I don't know if you're just trying to make an argument, if it is the case please let me know.
But if this is truly a stumbling block, all i can say and have tried to say, is it's not something we can understand completely, i expect some Saints have, some who've truly lived by love in life and even understand evil more may have a better idea on these things.
But i've just tried to present to you that God is not evil, you only have to follow love.

Live by the knowledge of love that has been given you, ask God for strength and guidance, i thinks it true the more we live by the little that has been give us, the more is entrusted to us.
 
what does it mean: to follow in love? is this a universal concept of unconditional love, or the love of the triune god discussed in the bible, which is obviously more defined, less universal, and more conditional
 
I dont know if I can relate to a god that condones torturing. In my book it is never ok. never. its not even ok if you are offending a god that says "love your enemy" its never ok. and I do read peoples posts, they usually dont deter my arguments though, they usually sidestep them.

No, I suspect you can't relate to a God that doesn't do what you want Him to do.

Can't keep bringing a broken toy to the creator to fix, if you don't let Him fix it the right way...

You ain't God, which means you have to get with the program God made, not the other way around.

Love ya man, but this is going on too long.

v/r

Q
 
and I do read peoples posts, they usually dont deter my arguments though, they usually sidestep them.

I don't know how much clearer I can respond than to directly quote your questions and comments (above) and respond sentence by sentence.

Why the obsession with punishment? If such beliefs don't work for you or resonate with your experience, why not just get rid of them from your religious repertoire? I just find it easier to say I don't believe God tortures people and move on...
 
shadowman,

your time is yours to waste. If you want to waste it fretting about hell, then you life will continue to be miserable. But I found that if your concentrate on the love of God, you will find that peace that passes understanding. No one here will tell you that they know everything about the mind of God. I don't completely understand His judgements. But I do know that if God is pure love, then He is perfectly just, however He decides to mete it. And somehow He has shown me personally how His Love and His Judgement on my life has been resolved through His Mercy in the Person of Jesus Christ. And that is what give me peace.

Why, oh why, don't you let Him do the same for you, shadowman? You're wasting time when you can live.
 
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