Friday, August 21, 2009

God & Hell: A Purposeful Relationship

"Hell is punishment. It’s not “just what happens” to people."

That's a comment by Flute. She is informing me that hell - the eternal separation from God, is something that God has deliberately prepared for those who reject His offer of salvation. Her enthusiasm almost makes it sound as though she's just stumbled onto this revelation.

She's right of course. You do have to make a deliberate decision to not accept God’s offer of rescue from hell. But what kind of a fool would do that? Everything that Flute describes is true. Hell is the complete and total absence of God’s love. There isn’t any place on earth that even comes close.

Now, atheists of couse say, ‘Only a monster would create a place like that.’

Well, God has made a place where people don’t have to be around Him. In fact, He’s reserved a special place, somewhat like a no smoking section, where atheists will finally be totally free from God’s influence. True, they have to go outside God's Kingdom to do their thing. And it's true that they have to stay there, but . . . Still, when it’s properly understood, it’s like atheists are saying to God, “How dare you create a place to exist where your love is absent!” They can't seem to get it through their logical minds that:
a) You CAN get rid of God, but
b) If you get rid of God it's going to be awful
c) This is a spiritual reality. It can't be any other way.

That’s what’s so confusing. Atheists hate the very concept of God. They want His name removed from society. The don’t want to have to think about Him, hear about Him, or see any reference to Him. Atheists, like America’s haemorrhoid Michael Newdow, want to be completely free from anything that has to do with Creator God. So when God provides a place where they can get exactly what they want, when God grants their wish, when God says to atheists, “Thy will be done,” they wail, “How can He do this to me? What kind of monster are you?”

I know. I know. I’m being facetious. What atheists are really complaining about are the conditions that they’ll have to put up with in Hell. Hell isn’t a very nice place. In fact, it’s down right awful. Atheists read the brochure for Hell and demand that major renovations take place before they have to move in. On the up-side, you can’t say you weren’t warned. God has been very upfront about your destination. You know in advance that there won’t be any ocean view. On the other hand, you still have a chance to upgrade. It's not too late.

I suppose atheists simply don’t understand the spiritual realities involved here. Atheists don't understand that God did not create Hell to be a “horrific place.” Hell is a horrific place simply because God’s love, God’s influence, will be completely absent. It appears that atheists would like God to create a beautiful, peaceful place for them where they can exist in the absence of God, but that is simply not possible.

Beauty and the absence of God are mutually exclusive.

Peace and the absence of God are mutually exclusive.

Let me explain.

Just as there cannot be the perception of up without a down, in without an out, hot without cold and light without darkness, there cannot be Love without evil. This is a spiritual reality or law. With God there is love. Without God there is evil. To the degree that the essence of God is present, to that degree will evil be absent.

Atheists don’t seem to realise that the only thing that makes possible for any type of love or joy or peace, even in their own lives specifically, or just on planet earth generally is the fact that our Creator is, to some degree, keeping evil at bay. His presence, where ever and to the degree that it exists, forces evil back against the wall. This is true for believer and non believer alike. Now, God’s decrees are “written on hearts.” We are hardwired to KNOW objective right from wrong. Whether we believe in God or not, to the extent that we follow His objective morals, values and obligations, to that extent will we and those around us experience peace and joy. Whether we believe in or acknowledge Creator God or not, “All good things and every perfect gift is from above, coming down to us from the Father (Creator) of heavenly lights in whom there is no changing or shifting like shadows.”

Atheists of course want to rid the world of all reference to and influence from our Creator. And yet, although they’ve read about hell and heard about conditions in hell, they seem to have no idea what they’re asking for.

. Hell is the complete absence of God.

. Atheists think they want the complete absence of God.

For every atheist posting today, sometime between today and a few decades from now, you will see your goal accomplished. You will experience complete separation from Creator God.

Remember though. You can’t act surprised when you get there. You’ve seen the brochure. You have been warned far, far in advance that life in the total absence of God is just a little bit this side of unbearable. Jesus tells us that existing in the complete absence of God’s love will feel like being burned alive. Why would that be? Well, at some point in the near future, those who have longed for and worked for the complete absence of God’s love will exist in:

. The complete absence of Good

. The total, all pervasive presence of evil

. Absolute fear

. Unmitigated hatred and rage

. Total and unending darkness

. Unrelieved sorrow

. Unequivocal alone-ness

. Absolute shame

. Unbounded regret

. Undiluted violence.

. Sheer panic. Unrelenting dissatisfaction

. All encompassing meanness

. Overwhelming stench

. Total betrayal

. There will be no freedom from pain, only total, all consuming, overwhelming pain.

The most dangerous conditions on earth don’t come close. God did not “create” these conditions. These are simply the conditions that exist when the essence of God is completely absent. That is what atheists say they want - the complete absence of God.

Hell is the destination for people who have finally come to the end of a journey, the main focus of which, the main direction of which has been to live a life without humbling yourself before Creator God.

If you long to be free from the presence of God during your life on earth, then Hell is nothing but the ONLY destination you could possibly reach given the road upon which you’ve chosen to travel.

Right now, even as I write this, millions of people are suffering a special kind of torment as they are in a hell that they refused to believe in. Their special torment is that they convinced spouses, children, friends, students and other ‘open-minded’ people that hell didn’t exist. Or, like singer Billy Joel, they’ve convinced millions of people that being in hell will be a lot more fun than the alternative. And now there is no way to turn back the clock. There is no way to warn their loved-ones about the horrendous consequences of following that error.

Of course hell need not be something that you even think about, much less experience. Jesus, at His own expense has made it possible for anyone who wants to be forever rescued from hell and to spend eternity in the midst of God’s Love.

If you choose to travel this earthly stage of life WITH Jesus, then Heaven is nothing but the only destination you could possibly reach given the road upon which you’ve chosen to travel. I hope to see you there.

Flute gave me some verses from the Bible that describe the "punishment" of hell. Yet, in order to do so, she had to deliberately climb over and step around these verses.

Daniel 12:1- 6 - Everyone whose name is written in the book will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake . . . to everlasting life. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.
John 5:28,29 - A time is coming when all who are in their greaves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live . . .
2nd Thessalonians 1:5 - All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. God is just: He will give relief to you who are troubled.

Again Flute, help me understand why you ignore what could be yours? And if your answer is because you don’t believe it, then why do you obsess on hell which I assume you also don’t believe in?

"Hell is not so much eternal separation from God as it is the eternal presence of God in unmitigated wrath and fury."

That's close to correct. It's God's umitigated wrath and fury toward sin and those who have refused to separate themselves from sin. So my question becomes, When you know this Flute, why, why, why don’t you do something to make sure it never happens to you?

38 comments:

The Atheist Missionary said...

I love this post because it starts with a frank admission: "God has made a place where people don’t have to be around Him".

I didn't ask to be be here. I didn't ask to be born. According to the Christian worldview, God is the reason I was born, God loves me and wants to spend eternity with me.

Hold on. According to Mak, I am a toddler in a minefield:
http://www.atheistmissionary.com/2009/06/just-and-loving-god-toddler-in.html

Thanks for nothing Dad.

Makarios said...

Well, a mine-field is where you don't know where the danger lies. In this case you know exactly where the danger lie AND you know exactly how to avoid it. Atheists just walk right into it and blame someone else when their legs get blown off.

There is no need for any bad to happen to you - NONE. The path to goodness is clearly laid out for you. Only your refusal to follow that path can cause you to experience trouble.

JD Curtis said...

Good post Mak. The only thing I would add for those of the atheist faith to ponder is that there plenty of folks out there that consider themselves "Christians" who are going to be left out in the cold on Judgement Day due to the fact that they never really had that which they professed to have.

The Bible instructs us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," (Philippians 2:12) This just underscores how serious all this is and what really matters in our personal lives.

Makarios said...

Thanks JD. That's an important point. Good night.

Glen20 said...

And it all comes down to threats and fear again.

Makarios said...

Glen, why is it, do you think that what most people see as a warning, you see as a threat?

Why is it that some people see the police as a threat while other people see them as helpful?

Why is it that some people, like you and Ditchens see God's omnipresence as a tremendous intrusion into their lives, while most other people see it as comforting?

Personally? I think you see talking about hell as a threat versus a warning because:

a) You know that you're as guilty as hell, and

b) You're absolutely determined to go to hell no matter how horrible it is. You simply will not, indeed cannot humble yourself enough to admit that you need forgiveness.

Finally, if you fall back onto the atheist defence, "Well, I don't even believe in all that crap," then why do you care so much whether we see talk of hell as a warning instead of a threat?

But, you know, that's just my opinion.

Glen20 said...

Glen, why is it, do you think that what most people see as a warning, you see as a threat?

Why is it that some people see the police as a threat while other people see them as helpful
?

If the police threatened to throw you into a pit of fire based on your opinions, you'd think it was a threat too.

Why is it that some people, like you and Ditchens see God's omnipresence as a tremendous intrusion into their lives, while most other people see it as comforting?

If the government put video cameras in every room of your house, would that be "comforting"? If the government put an implant in your brain that allowed them to read your thoughts, would that be comforting or intrusive?
Some people like privacy. Some people don't want invisible people watching them on the toilet. Some people think infinite punishment for "thought crime" is unjust.

Makarios said...

“If the police threatened to throw you into a pit of fire based on your opinions, you'd think it was a threat too.”

Does that mean you don’t know, or you don’t want to answer?

Why do people like you, Glen, see God as a threat while most others focus on His love, and mercy and grace and patience? Why do you focus on hell, Glen, while most others focus on heaven?

Lolita said...

@ JD- Atheism isn't a faith, it's simply the lack thereof. We don't hate just your faith, we don't hate any. We just don't believe in any of them.

And, just to be a smartass- How is Hell? Is it the blazing Inferno that we all remember from Dante? Is it Hel, the freezing labyrinth of the Vikings? What is this place of which you speak? Set up operational definitions. According to the Torah, Heaven is lit by a thousand suns and Jehovah doesn't have a Hell created. If you don't believe/sinned, you don't move on into the afterlife. Since your faith is based upon theirs, why did you add in a supposed 'torture chamber' for everyone else? If something is lit by a thousand suns, then it's going to be pretty toasty.

Glen20 said...

Personally? I think you see talking about hell as a threat versus a warning because:

a) You know that you're as guilty as hell, an
d

According to your book, everyone is guilty. Kinda makes the label near meaningless.

b) You're absolutely determined to go to hell no matter how horrible it is. You simply will not, indeed cannot humble yourself enough to admit that you need forgiveness.

It's like telling communists in Nazi death camps that it their own fault they are there.

Finally, if you fall back onto the atheist defence, "Well, I don't even believe in all that crap," then why do you care so much whether we see talk of hell as a warning instead of a threat?

But, you know, that's just my opinion
.

Look, I'll level with you. Atheists have the intellectual side of the theism/atheism question all tied up. Theists often have to resort to "god of the gaps" arguments. Those gaps get smaller every day. But what atheists often ignore is the emotional side of the question. The evil cruelty of YAHWEH is often looked over for the logical.

Why do people like you, Glen, see God as a threat while most others focus on His love, and mercy and grace and patience? Why do you focus on hell, Glen, while most others focus on heaven?

Why focus on the bad things Hitler did? Why don't you focus on his rebuilding of the German economy, the autobahns, the development of the Volkswagen, the first science linking smoking to cancer?

Makarios said...

According to your book, everyone is guilty. Kinda makes the label near meaningless.

I'm not guilty. And neither are billions and billions of others. That fact that you and I will be judged by our Creator makes "guilty" as relevant as can possibly be.
=============
It's like telling communists in Nazi death camps that it their own fault they are there.

Are you suggesting that you don't have a choice?
=============

Look, I'll level with you.

THAT's a good thing. Thank you.
==============

The evil cruelty of YAHWEH is often looked over for the logical.

Of course I think you overlook the justice of God for atheism of the gaps - "Nothing created everything."
==============

Why focus on the bad things Hitler did?

Wow! You compare the two, huh?
You think God is like the government. Well, I guess that helps me understand why you behave the way you do. Good luck with that.

Jeff said...

Makarios, since you posted over at my blog, I figured I'd pop on over here and see what your blog is all about. Hope you don't mind that :)

I think I've come up with a better solution for everyone here: how about annihilation instead? God can have the pleasure or pain of getting rid of all the atheists, and being exterminated out of existence entirely is still punishment....and us atheists can still be away from God's presence as well without being tortured forever. I think that, right there, is win-win for everyone. So why didn't God think of that? It seems like he's inducing needless violence and torture...which seems to indicate that he's not as loving as you think he is.

Anyway, just my two cents. Cheers!

Glen20 said...

I'm not guilty.

Isn't it more like - you are guilty but YHWH punishes the innocent (his son who is also him) so you can get off the hook?

Are you suggesting that you don't have a choice?

If someone had a gun in your back, do you really have a choice on whether or not to hand over your wallet?

Of course I think you overlook the justice of God for atheism of the gaps - "Nothing created everything."

YHWH's "justice" is not justice. Throwing people into a pit of fire based on their thoughts is not justice.
Do you really think I believe "nothing created everything"? That a straw man. You believe nothing created YHWH.

Why focus on the bad things Hitler did?

Wow! You compare the two, huh
?

Yes because if YHWH was real and the stories about him in the bible were true, he be WORSE than Hitler. How can you defend such a monster?

JD Curtis said...

Atheism isn't a faith, it's simply the lack thereof. We don't hate just your faith, we don't hate any. We just don't believe in any of them.

Lolita, it takes FAITH to believe in a universal negative. The US District Court of Appeals has already ruled atheism to be a religion (albeit a non-theistic one) "Atheism is [the inmate's] religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being," the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said." Link

Insofar as what Hell is like, it is a place where a person is completely seperated from God, one could only imagine the suffering. If you like, here's a description.

Glen20 said...

"it takes FAITH to believe in a universal negative."

I lack belief in gods. I do not believe in a universal negative.
And why is faith so horrible to you? I thought Christians considered faith a virtue.

JD Curtis said...

I lack belief in gods. I do not believe in a universal negative.

Glenbo, if I were to make the statement, "God does not exist, no way, no how" would that be considered a universal negative?

why is faith so horrible to you? I thought Christians considered faith a virtue.

The amount of faith exhibited by your typical militant atheist is astounding to me. If they only put half as much effort into exploring the Bible and it's true meaning as they do search engines for arguments counter to God's existance, their faith would rival certain Anabaptists I saw while in Amish country a couple of months ago.

Glen20 said...

Glenbo, if I were to make the statement, "God does not exist, no way, no how" would that be considered a universal negative?

If your definition of "God" contained contradictory elements, a statement like that might be justified.
I don't make that statement.
Also, I'm open to any new evidences of any gods that might appear.

If they only put half as much effort into exploring the Bible

The Bible is often the reason people become atheists in the first place. I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it.

Glenbo is an amusing nickname. In Australia nicknames are often just your name plus "o". John becomes Johno. Jack = Jacko. Girls would sometimes add "bo" as a cute thing to do. I know my little sister did. (Except with my brother Sam). I don't know if the kids still do this nowdays. Too much American TV has stopped them. Which is sad.

JD Curtis said...

If your definition of "God" contained contradictory elements, a statement like that might be justified.

I'm mostly familiar with the God described in the Bible. I don't try to defend other viewpoints concerning theism like Islam.

I don't make that statement.
Also, I'm open to any new evidences of any gods that might appear


Glen, if He appeared 2000 years ago, then what? I guess the best starting point would be examining the evidence of his claimed humanity and earthly walk.

Youre in Australia? I made the common mistake of Americans by assuming you are in the USA.

Glen20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen20 said...

Are you Catholic?

(I was assuming you were a Protestant but the link you linked to had stuff about the Blessed Virgin and purgatory)

Makarios said...

Glen:
"Isn't it more like - you are guilty but YHWH punishes the innocent (his son who is also him) so you can get off the hook?"

A totally innocent person volunteered to take my punishment for us, even while you and I were still His enemies - yes, that’s correct.
==============

“If someone had a gun in your back, do you really have a choice on whether or not to hand over your wallet?”

Well, you and others like you try to say that you don’t have any choice, YET you do in fact make the choice to not accept the salvation from hell that is being offered to you. So, obviously it IS a choice and it’s one that you have made and continue to make on a daily basis.
===============

"Do you really think I believe "nothing created everything"? That a straw man."

How is that a straw man? Atheists say, “Since there wasn’t any matter, space or time, we don’t know what brought the universe into being but (atheism of the gaps) we know it wasn’t God.”
====================

“How can you defend such a monster?”

Even after calling Him a monster and who knows what else, even today, even right now, God would forgive you upon request and bring you safely home to eternity in paradise. I don’t think Hitler gave the Jews a chance that came anywhere close to that.
==========

Glen20 said...

Punishing the innocent is not justice.

Makarios said...

Who, exactly do you believe to be innocent? You know very well that All have sinned and fall short of the standard of God's Glory."

Glen20 said...

You just said "A totally innocent person" (I assume you mean Jesus)

Glen20 said...

unless you believe Jesus fell short of the standard of God's Glory...

JD Curtis said...

An important point Mak. You see, in addition to sins of commission, there are also sins of omission. That is to say, things you should have done but did not. By this standard, we are all judged guilty.

I was raised in a sort of Roman Catholic/Southern Baptist household and now, these days since I am all grown-up, I attend a Presbyterian church Glen. It's kinda like "Catholic Lite". Or low-fat Baptist if you prefer.;-)

Glen20 said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect
and "vacuum fluctuations".
Far out, apparently "something" can come from "nothing". I learn something new everyday.

Still I don't think the universe was caused. By definition, a cause comes before an event. If time began with the universe, "before" does not even apply to it, and it is logically impossible that the universe be caused. (I am not a cosmologist)

Glen20 said...

I used to go the Uniting Church. Which is pretty much Presbyterian. We used to call the Anglicans "Catholic Lites"! :-)

Glen20 said...

Well, not the reformed ones (there were some down here)

JD Curtis said...

Glen...there are numerous denominations you could consider before abandoning ship and going whole-hog atheist. I would suggest that you continue your journey, explore other viewpoints if your questions havent been adequately answered and then decide.

The "Catholic" link on my blog (Fr Longenecker) is that of a RC priest that graduated from Bob Jones University, is married and has kids. How many RC priests do you know like that?

Glen20 said...

"Glen...there are numerous denominations you could consider before abandoning ship and going whole-hog atheist."

It's okay. I've been to other churches. I'm an atheist because I don't believe in gods.

"How many RC priests do you know like that?"

Heh, okay, none. I do listen to Father Bob though...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Maguire

But I was referring to all the talk to the Blessed Virgin and purgatory in the near death experience link.

JD Curtis said...

Oh, that's Father Wingate. He's a priest in the Old Order RC Church and he too is married and has kids. His viewpoints are his own, but beware....A talkshow host once asked him, (on air) when his show would go off the air and he told him...Accurate to the day. (Morton Downey Jr)

JD Curtis said...

"although we Catholic priests may have better quarters, it's the Anglicans who can afford the better halves!"

That's pretty funny from this Maguire guy of yours

Makarios said...

Punishing the innocent is not justice."

While Jesus took our punishment upon Himself, He, Jesus, was not being punished. As well, I don't see how we can say Jesus was punished when He volunteered to take your punishment.

Glen20 said...

Okay, here's an illustration:
Someone murders your wife and children. You want justice. The murderer is brought in front of the judge. The murderer is guilty, he and everyone knows it.
But another voice is heard in the courtroom. The judge's 11 year old son offers to take the punishment. The murderer says he'll never kill your wife and kids again and is let go.
The judge holds a giant party for the newly let go murderer.
Is that justice?

Makarios said...

Is that justice?

No, but it’s not a very good comparison. See my next post for a better one

Glen20 said...

The next case in the court is a man who thought about stealing a pen.
The judge sentences him to be throw into a pit of fire because he didn't ask the judges son to forgive him.

Makarios said...

I think that you've hit on a really important point Glen.

People like you think that killing their Creator is really no big deal - certainly no worse than stealing a pen. They'd even rather defend people that burn their children to death as sacrifices to their gods than humble themselves before Creator God.

I mean, think about that! People such as yourself would rather defend parents who burn their children to death, than admit to Creator God that you need forgiveness. I can only sit and blink my eyes and shake my head in wonder at attitudes like that.