SDG, on 27 April 2011 - 08:46 AM, said:
Ross Douthat makes a case for hell
Doing away with hell, then, is a natural way for pastors and theologians to make their God seem more humane. The problem is that this move also threatens to make human life less fully human.
Atheists have license to scoff at damnation, but to believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices. If there’s no possibility of saying no to paradise then none of our no’s have any real meaning either. They’re like home runs or strikeouts in a children’s game where nobody’s keeping score.
In this sense, a doctrine of universal salvation turns out to be as deterministic as the more strident forms of scientific materialism. Instead of making us prisoners of our glands and genes, it makes us prisoners of God himself. We can check out any time we want, but we can never really leave.
The doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real, and, indeed, that we are the choices that we make. The miser can become his greed, the murderer can lose himself inside his violence, and their freedom to turn and be forgiven is inseparable from their freedom not to do so.
As Anthony Esolen writes, in the introduction to his translation of Dante’s “Inferno,” the idea of hell is crucial to Western humanism. It’s a way of asserting that “things have meaning” — that earthly life is more than just a series of unimportant events, and that “the use of one man’s free will, at one moment, can mean life or death ... salvation or damnation.”
Well... One of the biggest arguments against Rob Bells book out there, is that he has shoddy exegesis, and one of the biggest arguments against the doctrine of the ultimate restoration of all, is that this
is based all on philosophy, with poor exegesis.
So my question in regards to this article is..... Why isn't there any bibilical verses? It's all philosophy without Biblical exegesis, which is exactly what eternal hell supporters are saying that through
Christ alone universalists, and to a certain degree, Rob Bell's book, are guilty of.
Yet I strongly suspect that many people who already believe in the doctrine of eternal hell are going to read this article and cheer without ever even considering this.
I just wonder if this isn't a bit of a double standard.
But you see. There have been books, essays, and writings that dig into a deep exegesis for the support of the hope of the salvation of all through Christ alone. Books that are coming out of authors from a vast range of denominations (everywhere from Anabaptist to Catholic.) Yet these books are not even being hinted at or mentioned in the discussion which Rob's book has opened up.
The exegesis is out there. It's in print...... with a complete and sound refutation of the doctrine of eternal torments.
I just wish that people would read the darn books.
:Based on what's been said here, I'm entirely willing to grant that the perception of Bell (whom I've not read) as a universalist is a misunderstanding / misrepresentation.
Yep.... The thing that needs to be laid to rest in this whole (worldwide?) discussion about the book is that no one in the discussion (or at least very few) is saying that there isn't going to be a judgement
, and no one
is saying that a person can get to heaven without accepting Christ.
Of course there are universalists who believe this, out there, but I don't think that Rob Bell is of this ilk. From my understanding, if anything, his book would be making people who deny judgement and salvation
through Christ alone, reconsider their position.
From Ross Douthat's article.
In this sense, a doctrine of universal salvation turns out to be as deterministic, it makes us prisoners of God himself.
The doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real, and, indeed, that we are the choices that we make.
A simple argument to this could be that Because God stands outside time he knows that all people will eventually come to repentance in their free will, according to his plan. There is no need for this understanding to have to
be deterministic. I believe that I came to Christ in my free will, but I also know that God was working to draw me to him.
Throughout the prophets God's judgments were bringing people to repentance. We know that this was one of the reasons why
he judged them........in order to bring them to repentance. If he was going to
be deterministic with their free will, he wouldn't have needed to judge them, he would have just snapped his fingers and they would have repented. So I don't see why it would be impossible for any future correction
to not have the same purpose and ultimate effect, without determinism, from a God whose character is unchanging?
I believe that sin terrible, God is Holy, and that our choices have consequences. I just don't see how God would have to punish people eternally in order for these statements to be true.
Edited by Attica, 27 April 2011 - 08:43 PM.