The Atonement and Forgiveness

This is a re-dated post from Feb 13, '06.

One way to catch my attention is to comment on something I have written, so here comes triablogue who responded to my earlier post: Why Was Jesus Punished?

triablogue:
For God to simply forgive a person apart from the cross would be an unjust act. It would be an unrighteous act. It would be an unholy act. It would fail to satisfy his wrath. Going back to the illustration of the courts, it is not the duty of the court to forgive the offender. The same is true with God.

Poppycock! Absolute poppycock. The fact that I once touted this crap is a surprise to me now.

In this case the person primarily offended by our sins is God. He is the primary offended party. While others on a horizontal plane might feel slighted by comparison, God is the primary one offended. In this case, there doesn’t need to be any punishment between offender and offended, even though God is also the judge. Why? If God is a person at all then he responds towards us as a person does, a father, and even as a creator who cares for us, not a harsh and demanding judge.

Your Christian God is primarily a judge and not a father. He’s an aloof potentate who rules his people like the Kings of old did over the serfs and peasants. The very image bespeaks of a God who doesn’t really love us, but cares more for administering punishment to offenders in a kingdom of serfs. But the Christian God wants to be known as a father, a person, a lover, and even as a friend of sinners--in Jesus.

It would be like living in a kingdom where we slightly offend each other from time to time (the horizontal plane). But none of us would ever want any of our worst enemies to be punished in ways that the King will do when he's offended by the very same actions that have merely slighted us(on the vertical plane). We would all desire that our enemies were all completely forgiven, including us ourselves, than suffer under the wrath of that aloof potentate who only cares about a infinite tit for a finite tat. None of us would be happy about such a king at all, nor that he would have had to punish his own Son (himself?), when none of us would have wanted anyone to be punished at all. We would think such a God is a monster, a weirdo, and even retarded.

All I am saying is that forgiveness between persons does not logically involve punishment, or retaliation, repentance, or reparations. Show me the logical and rational relationship between punishment and forgiveness between persons. That's all you have to do.

And I'll say that our methods of punishment today are much more humane today by comparison; that all humane punishment should be for the purpose of rehabilitation anyway; and that God should give up on no one--no one.

And I'll say that the more I understand someone, the easier it is for me to forgive them. That's why mothers seem to always love their sons no matter what they do. Does God not understand why we do the very deeds we do? Then he understands like no one else. If he understands, then he cannot be angry. Unless, of course, he's an aloof potentate who simply doesn't care.

While I may want someone who hit me to spend a few months in jail, or someone who stole from me to spend up to a year in jail, I would never want my worse enemies to be treated as Jesus suffered, nor spend eternity in hell, however conceived. I would want everyone who has ever done anything to wrong me to eventually be forgiven. All is eventually forgiven anyway, in time. Why doesn't God do this, since he apparently has all the time in the world?

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

Psalm 7:11
God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.

Paul Manata said...

http://presstheantithesis.blogspot.com/2006/02/debunking-john-w-loftus.html

Oh, and I like the new form of refutation: Argument from poppycock!

Oh, and how do you acount for absolutes in order to have "absolute" popycock?

There needs to be punishment if God is to remain Holy. He made lkaws, men trangressed them, are you suggesting that God should just wink? What if we did that in our society? "Oh, you molested 56 children, that's okaaayyy, I forgiiive yooouuuu." Popycock! Absolute popycock!

In your second paragraph under the Popycock intro, all you tell us is that you don't like the concept of the Christian God. Guess what? My 6 yr old said the same thing when he trangressed my rules and I dealt out corporate punishmetn. Oh, and guess what else? Charles Manson thinks the justice system is made up of a bunch of meanines as well. Funny how criminals never feel like they're getting a fair shake. And, you are a criminal in God's universe.

In the third paragraph you say that when God is offended it's like us being offended. Are you sure you graduated from Trinity? Are you engaged in an internet hoax? Are you really teenager with a computer and a lot of time? I mean, to make a blunder like that is akin to a heart surgeon removing my kidneys rather than fixing my heart! Fir a mistake, this is to big.

In the fourth paragraph, below the popycock intro, I was wondering if you could show the logical relationship between the contrary.

In the fifth, you again assume a humanistic theory of ethics, but remember you said that there is "no foundation for morality." So, who cares if you rehab 'em or roast 'em?

In the sixth you just pontificate.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Loftus,

Will you please respond with some logical refutation or will you just continue to post your religious beliefs?

Zachary Moore said...

"Are you sure you graduated from Trinity? Are you engaged in an internet hoax? Are you really teenager with a computer and a lot of time?"

Ah, yes. The most common fallacy directed toward ex-Christians. Pass me the haggis?

Anonymous said...

"Ah, yes. The most common fallacy directed toward ex-Christians. Pass me the haggis?"

That's right Paul, because you can't assume athiest philosophy teachers can adequately understand and use the laws of logic!

Sharon Mooney said...

Loftus: " Why? If God is a person at all then he responds towards us as a person does, a father, and even as a creator who cares for us, not a harsh and demanding judge."

P.M.: "There needs to be punishment if God is to remain Holy. He made lkaws, men trangressed them, are you suggesting that God should just wink? ... I forgiiive yooouuuu." Popycock! Absolute popycock!"

*: That's what Jesus said to do, let the sinless cast the first stone.

The original sin. Compare your example of molesting 56 children with the original sin, which caused a breach between man and God.
There were no prior law books, no criminal records, no past judgments or punishments. What does Adam make a judgment based upon? Even the fall of Satan is not recorded in Genesis (how would Adam understand a thing about rebellion, sin, punishment, cause and effect)? In difference to your child molestor, Adam was a babe himself.
Men surely have seen men go to prison over the crime of child molestation, they know better, if not an offender themself and have knowledge its a crime, served time in prison. Who had Adam seen eat fruit, and God's wrath falling on them? Had God ever shown his wrath to Adam, for Adam to know he should fear?

There's another advantage the molestor has over Adam. How could Adam make a judgment, until he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. How could Adam distinguish between the two? How would Adam know, it was "evil" or "good" to disobey God?

Men have lived for enough years to know, if they were molested, it would "hurt". But they sometimes just don't care who they hurt. I'd hardly compare taking an innocent bite from fruit, with molesting a child.

Adam and Eve were in a different boat altogether. According to what I've heard, there was "no death before the fall"? If God tells you, "eat of that fruit and I'm going to bleep you." You don't know what getting bleeped is, you've never seen anyone get bleeped and bleeping just might even feel good. How could Adam or Eve conceive what death was, to fear punishment? There was no death to judge by. That's an advantage the molestor has over Adam. The molestor has surely witnessed dozens, if not hundreds of other men charged and imprisoned for the crime of child molestation. He fully understands it is a crime is.

Adam was incompetant on the matter, and any reasonable god would not have held him responsible for his actions.
God in his wisdom should have known the difference. Perhaps Jehovah needed a bite of that fruit himself.

Paul Manata said...

8ball is assuming that one needs to empirically verify any concept for them to be able to understand it. Okay, so empirically verify that!

Nice n swift. Not long, but it'll still do.

Oh, and you're assuming that everything in Gensesis is all Adam had to go on, not to sharp 8ball. Genesis wasn't meant to be a detailed account of everything Adam knew.

Furthermore, your argument assumes that man is born a blank slate. Hey, the 17oos are calling and want their arguments back. If you really think man is born blank, then you cannot ever know anything. Brute facts are mute facts.

Zachary, I'm sorry, I just couldn't believe that Loftus is someone who ever studied theology. Are you backling his interpretations of things? If so, I can write another blog on you, showing how you were never really into Christianity, oaky?

Sharon Mooney said...

P.M.:If you really think man is born blank

*: Yes, as a mother of three --I'd say they're born pretty blank, until they get a few years on them, and that's when they really start getting in trouble. Jehovah had the blank, designing all these creatures and not prepared to deal with their short-comings.

However, according to Genesis, blank enough God creates nameless beasts, brings them before Adam and depends on the man to give them names. Blank enough, that Adam doesn't understand why he's alone when he sorts through the animals and cannot find a mate for himself.

On second thought, Jehovah had to be blank on quite a few things, including reproduction, if he thought Adam wanted to spend his honeymoon with a Kangaroo.

evanmay said...

Is Forensic Justification “Poppycock”?

Sharon Mooney said...

Blank enough, young innocent Eve had no fear when seeing and hearing a snake speak to her. For all Eve knew in her short life, snakes were perhaps, suppose to speak. Picture that, if you can, in the garden of Eden, Eve is out for a stroll, unassuming, never having seen death or known deceit, -like a child would, she puts her trust in the serpent.

Isn't that also what Jesus instructed?
Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven.(Matthew 18:3)

Sharon Mooney said...

And just one more question: In Rabbinical lore, why was Lilith deified as a demon, when she never partook of the forbidden fruit? Lilith should have inherited all of Eden to herself, having never shared blame in the original sin. Lilith should have also became an immortal, blameless and having access to the tree of life.

ADAM AND EVE, Funk and Wagnalls
.. In Rabbinical lore ... Adam is a gigantic being reaching from earth to heaven. God caused a sleep to fall on Adam, and removed a portion of every limb. Thus he lost his vast stature, but remained perfect in every part.

His first wife was Lilith; but she fled from him when Eve was created. The happiness of the human pair excited envy among the angels, and the seraph Sammuel tempted them to their fall. According to the Koran, all the angels paid homage to Adam, except Eblic, who, on account of his refusal, was expelled from Paradise. To gratify his revenge, he tempted them to sin."

--

Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Volume 1, page 48
The descriptions of this demon as the spirit of a young girl who died without spouse or children finds resonance in Jewish midrashic literature. Lilith in Jewish legend was Adam's first wife, who was divorced before conceiving children and consequently takes her revenge on the children of Eve; in this role Lilith assumes the characteristics of another Mesopotamian demon, Lamashtu, who attacks babies at childbirth.

Steven Carr said...

Paul complains that it is poppycock to think that we would forgive a child molestor, forgetting that God *does* forgive child molestors.

Paul insists on no forgivness. 'There needs to be punishment', cries Paul.

Yet Paul insists that child molestors can escape punishment.

More Christian logic. There needs to be punishment, so God has shown us how to avoid punishment.

God forgives us our debts , in the manner of someone who forgives a debtor by withdrawing all his money from the bank on Friday and depositing it back in the back on Sunday.

How does that remove any debt.

Steven Carr said...

John writes ' If God tells you, "eat of that fruit and I'm going to bleep you."'

Actually, if God *really* does not want people to eat from a certain tree, he makes damn sure they don't, by getting a couple of cherubim, giving them big swords, and forcibly keeping people away.

God takes away people's free will to eat from a certain tree, if he has made up his mind that they should not eat from that tree.

That's nhow much God thinks of free will.

Paul Manata said...

Steven Carr continues ot flap his gums and make himself look silly. He writes,

"Paul complains that it is poppycock to think that we would forgive a child molestor, forgetting that God *does* forgive child molestors"

Uh, I didn't say that, now did I? I said that we would just "wink" at His crimes. In case you forgot, Christian theology teaches that the crime of the molester was paid by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. The disanalogy is that, in the "wink wink" theory, PUNISHMENT IS NOT PAID.

"Paul insists on no forgivness. 'There needs to be punishment', cries Paul.

Yet Paul insists that child molestors can escape punishment."

Yes, there needs to be punishment for sin, maybe you forgot that little part in the bible about Jesus' death. Man, you are out to lunck. Get back to me when you have something substantive. This is getting old.

"God forgives us our debts , in the manner of someone who forgives a debtor by withdrawing all his money from the bank on Friday and depositing it back in the back on Sunday."

Go study up on those who you try and refute, otherwise you just look ignorant. For example, read a systematics text on the *infinite* value of the atonement.


And, to 8 ball, sorry I don't feel like dealing with Locke. If David Hume wasn't enough for you then I don't think I can help. I just hope you feel comfy in a worldview that can't account for causation, morality, and logic. You know why, right? No one ever "observes" the things. So, as Hume pointed out, basically you have no basis for rationality.

Night night Locke.

Steven Carr said...

All I can do is quote Paul.

'"Oh, you molested 56 children, that's okaaayyy, I forgiiive yooouuuu."'

Paul regards that as poppycock, but not if God punishes somebody else in the place of the child molestor, and then forgives the child molestor.

All Paul can do is call people names, while all I can do is point out what he believes.....

No wonder he is so annoyed that people understand Christianity.

Sharon Mooney said...

There's just gotta be a punishment on the wicked because the bible says so.

P.M.: I just hope you feel comfy in a worldview that can't account for causation, morality, and logic. You know why, right? No one ever "observes" the things. So, as Hume pointed out, basically you have no basis for rationality.

*: Pretty irrational, a god who has nothing better to do with their time than sending hurricanes on innocent poor people in cities like New Orleans. The rich and wicked had plenty of time to get out. Just Sodom and Gomorrah all over again, yea?

Wait. God promised never to flood the earth again, didn't he? -but that never occurred to those Christians who were pointing fingers saying Katrina was God's punishment on the immoral for Mardi Gras.
So much for causation, morality, and logic, or rationality, huh?

Zachary Moore said...

"Are you backling his interpretations of things?"

Can you show me an objective, abosolute method of interpretation? If so, I'll show you a Christian faith without denomintions.

Paul Manata said...

SC: Paul regards that as poppycock, but not if God punishes somebody else in the place of the child molestor, and then forgives the child molestor.


PM: Actually, you didn't quote what I believed above, now did you? You misrepresented me, didn't you? Now you change what I'm saying to what you said I said above, didn't you?

Now you have it right. I don't consider that popycock (granting the molester places his faith in the Lord Jesus). Anyway, the molster *did pay* for his sins, through Christ.

My problem on Loftus' view, which you haven't addressed, is that he says we should forgive and not require punishment. So then! On *this* theory we have child molesters being set free with no one paying the price. With justice not being served. Are you backing John's theory?

If so, then your belief is that we should not punish child molesters! Or, do you want to disassociate yourself from John's argument?

In any case, I have no problem with the above and do not consider it popycock. All you've done is to assert. Carr, you better get more detailed in your objections or I'll just write you off as another atheist with bad arguments used to cover his moral rebellion from God. I mean, have I seen ONE good critique from you? No



8 ball: I don't have a problem with any of what you said. Your problem, though, is that you left the above debate about Adam and Eve and the above critique of your position. You ran and are now taking shots from the sidelines. Did you get the memo? You were refuted hundreds of years ago. No one in their right mind holds to the tabula rasa theory of the mind. That's almost as outdated as believing in Zeus!

Anyway, all your arguments presuppose the falsity of your worldview and the falsity of your Adam and Eve argument.

Paul Manata said...

Moore bonehead errros from the scienticts who admits he doesn;t know what he's talking about in matters of philosophy.

Moore writes: "Can you show me an objective, abosolute method of interpretation? If so, I'll show you a Christian faith without denomintions."

I respond: (giggle). Moore confuses the *method of interpretation* with the *interpretER.* Classic blunder. Here's an objective method: the analogy of faith. (Now, go look that up because even though you claim to have been a Christian, you really were just a nominal, arminain, who was just in it for the emotion.

Sharon Mooney said...

PM: I don't consider that popycock (granting the molester places his faith in the Lord Jesus). Anyway, the molster *did pay* for his sins, through Christ.

*: That's like saying, you go to Wal Mart and handing the cashier fifty bucks and then somebody else goes to Giant and shoplifting fifty bucks worth of stuff, and their excuse, "but, it's already been paid for in full." And since you paid the price, their crime goes down on your record.

You're not speaking from the perspective of the child who was molested, either. Notice the victim gets left out of the picture, and why is Jesus dragged into this --did Jesus molest the child? No, then why is Jesus responsible for your sins? Why all these middle men between the sinner and their victim? To avoid repentance? It's foolishness - the possibility that a person might actually be eventually forgiven by the one that counts: The Victim (if the victim has cause to believe the person is actually sorry for their crime). But, the coward hasn't got the backbone it takes to be a man, to confront that child face to face and ask for true forgiveness, now has he? Now there's Christian Morals for you.

Therefore it is COWARDICE, hiding under the skirts of Jesus Christ to avoid personal responsibility, needless to say, totally unforgiven by the child or their family? So what worth does Jesus' blood possibly have, here, in the real world? the real God would say 'that's between you and the child', sorry joe, can't help. shouldn't have done it. tough luck." Now there's a god I can respect -one that demands some personal responsibility and expecting people to exercise the brain they were born with, to have AVOIDED the sin in the first place.

John W. Loftus said...

From Manta:
Moore writes: "Can you show me an objective, abosolute method of interpretation? If so, I'll show you a Christian faith without denomintions."

I respond: (giggle). Moore confuses the *method of interpretation* with the *interpretER.* Classic blunder. Here's an objective method: the analogy of faith.


Okay, that proves it. You're stupid. If you think that this explains the proliferation of denominations, i.e., that they do not use an objective standard, and that there is one that is completley objective in the first place. You are so intrenched in your beliefs that you just are not thinking. This is evidence to me of blind faith. Why cannot you be reasonable here? Why? Your comment is not reasonable. It explains nothing.

Sharon Mooney said...

P.M.: You ran and are now taking shots from the sidelines.

*: Ran? I'm sorry, you've lost me.

You have your own blog I presume?
I must politely decline getting involved because I only have time for our blog, Ed Babinski's website (which I have been working at for several months now and I am still very busy with (months of work to go), you wouldn't understand that I have hundreds of pages I'm in the middle of trying to update) plus, several sub-sites I am responsible for, --I have been participating in John Loftus' blog part-time, simply because Mr. Loftus seems to be an affable gentleman, and we shared some email correspondence about it. However, my time is really stretched from early dawn to well past midnight normally, and that is not including the time I invest on non-internet related matters, like my life. So, if you have any comments, you'll have to make them here. I may choose to answer, when and if I get the opportunity to come to Loftus' blog.

Sharon Mooney said...

P.M.: You ran and are now taking shots from the sidelines.

*: After reviewing this thread, I see two outside blog links, http://presstheantithesis.blogspot.com I assume is yours? Perhaps in the future, Paul, when I have more free time. *smile*
Seriously, right now I just don't have the time for any more obligations. It's nothing personal.

But, on the subject of Adam, Eve, Steve and Lilith -- did the inspired debunking come from the book of Jasher, Enoch or the Apocrypha?

Anonymous said...

Paul writes ' On *this* theory we have child molesters being set free with no one paying the price. With justice not being served.'

Paul claims if somebody molests a child, it is justice to let the molester go and punish Jesus instead.

Poppycock!

Of course, Jesus never suffered in Hell, but apparently his sacrifice was infinitely more than somebody who is being punished in Hell.

Zachary Moore said...

"Okay, that proves it. You're stupid. If you think that this explains the proliferation of denominations, i.e., that they do not use an objective standard, and that there is one that is completley objective in the first place. You are so intrenched in your beliefs that you just are not thinking. This is evidence to me of blind faith. Why cannot you be reasonable here? Why? Your comment is not reasonable. It explains nothing."

That's pretty much par for the course with Paul. Giggling and stupidity.

morning glory said...

I would like to ask you what was it that changed your mind from what you believed did you believe in the son of God Jesus Christ had you experienced his forgivness and then turned from this or did you study religion and made a decision that christianity wasnt for you

John W. Loftus said...

Morning Glory, click on my name after the "About the Contributors?" label on the side bar.

ismellarat said...

Have you ever thought of making an informal, online "book" out of these four years of posts?

Just make a virtual table of contents, with topic/chapter headings, and link to the posts categorized by these topics.

It's not very productive for people to try and read through these random topics in chronological order (and so they don't), and searches of course also don't lend themselves to systematically covering them, but you have a lot of interesting material - such as this post - that will otherwise not be seen, unless people happen to be searching for exactly such a topic.

It would be a great help for anyone thinking "I wonder how he deals with X."

___________________________ said...

Yeah, the "response" from Triablogue does not seem to be a response at all. It mostly seems like a string of attacks loosely related to one of your posts. So calling it poppycock is the best you can do. Your original point is just completely overlooked.

The major thing I see Paul Manata doing here is trying to justify the entire ream of BS with presuppositional apologetics, which seems to make it clear that the apologetic is mostly a dishonest excuse for dogmatism. Let's try replacing the Islamic god for the Christian god and then using this apologetic. Let's just make up worldviews and use the presuppositional apologetic to claim that they are not only true but Truth.

To get back to your post, John. I really like this quote: "We would think such a God is a monster, a weirdo, and even retarded." It really hits the point about the absurdity that is being promoted.

Jeff said...

John, I both agree and disagree with your post. I agree that since God was the one that made the rules in the first place, he could simply forgive (or even just not have made the rules at all) instead of then forcing himself to punish people.

However, I don't think I'd necessarily want to live in a world where everyone is simply forgiven. Such a world would offer no incentive to do the right thing and not do wrong. If a child molester can get away with molesting because he will just be forgiven, why not molest? I think that there is certainly a place for judgment and punishment, as long as it follows the concepts of justice that we all know and understand.

1. The punishment must fit the crime. Infinite punishment for finite sins is not justice.

2. The person who committed the crime must pay the punishment. Punishing a surrogate does not work - again, it offers no incentive not to continue to offend.

3. The punishment must be paid in full. Now, in our justice system, we do offer things such as parole, etc. that work to improve the behaviour of prison inmates, but Jesus spending three days in hell doesn't really compensate for a punishment of infinite proportions for billions of people.

The second thing that I somewhat disagree with is this: "All I am saying is that forgiveness between persons does not logically involve punishment, or retaliation, repentance, or reparations." While I wouldn't say that any of these are necessary for forgiveness, I do think that repentance and possibly reparations (within reason) are reasonable for the victim to ask for, should they so choose. Repentance can help to heal relationships when trust has been broken. And reparations can be made in the case where something has been taken (theft, for example). I don't think that a victim has the right to make the criminal clean their floors for the rest of their lives or anything, but in the case where there is a clearly defined object that has been taken, it makes sense, I think, to ask the criminal to replace it. You broke it, you buy it, essentially.

Anyway, this is a long comment to essentially bring up minor points. Overall, I think that an infinitely loving God should have no trouble with the concept of forgiveness - without requiring the sacrifice of a life and an infinite lifetime of torture.

Robin said...

Jeff,

People in hell continue to sin and therefore keep adding time on to their sentence. They sin, God punishes (not torture), they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, and the cycle goes on forever. The punishment in hell fits the crime.

AndreLinoge said...

"People in hell continue to sin and therefore keep adding time on to their sentence. They sin, God punishes (not torture), they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, and the cycle goes on forever. The punishment in hell fits the crime."

And yet Christianity teaches that people are sinners by nature. How is it just to punish people for the very thing they were created with?

Robin said...

AndreLinoge,

The Bible clearly teaches that people are responsible for their sinning. Those who are not (like mentally handicaped) are not judged for what they are not responsible for.

___________________________ said...

But if man is inherently sinful, Robin, then the crimes of those in hell is merely existing.

Additionally, if people are incapable of maintaining the rules, then those rules would be cruel. I mean, let's say that God is a husband, and we're the wife, we mess up on the meatloaf, God beats us. We miss a spot when vacuuming and so God beats us. We aren't sufficiently kind to God so he beats us, and so on and so forth. Certainly there is some logical ability of the wife to fulfill the husband's demands, but not realistic capability, so the relationship is quite abusive.

Jeff said...

Robin,

First of all, I don't know where you're getting that. I don't think the Bible states anywhere that people in hell keep sinning. As far as I am aware, it says that man is destined to live once, and then "the judgment" (which implies a one-time judgment, and not a continual re-evaluation).

However, either way, you're assuming that such things go on to infinity. You don't think that someone, at some point, might say, "Hey, this is silly. Why don't I just stop sinning, and then the punishment will stop?" And then what happens? Do they go to heaven, or what?

Robin said...

Jeff,

It hints at it in Revelation 22:11:

Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, anfd the holy still be holy.

It's also a bit of common sense that those in hell remain evil while those in heaven will remain holy. People in hell continue to sin and stockpile more and more guilt and it's consequent punishment. Hell is ongoing because sin is ongoing.

It's kind of like a prisoner who is sentenced to do time for a crime he commits. While he's in prison he commits more crimes and as a result he gets more time.

Jeff said...

"It's kind of like a prisoner who is sentenced to do time for a crime he commits. While he's in prison he commits more crimes and as a result he gets more time."

Okay, but you still failed to answer my question - what happens to the prisoners who don't continue to commit crimes in prison? Do they serve their sentence and get released, or are they still condemned to hell anyway? Is there any chance of parole? Maybe some house arrest (like, you get a mansion in heaven, but you are under guard there)? You seem to think that everyone in hell is going to keep on sinning, which I don't think would be the case, especially when you consider that people like Gandhi are in there. And of course, many well-intentioned individuals who simply were brought up in the wrong religion. They wanted to do the right thing, but got the wrong God - once they found out who the right one was, I'm sure they'd be quick to repent.

So once again.......what happens to them?

ismellarat said...

I'm also baffled by the idea that there is free will and yet no sin in Heaven.

I know of NO Christian who doesn't sin with impunity, if you count all the "small stuff."

Yet they will stop doing this in Heaven?

If the presence of God is such a perfectly motivating factor (and I can see that as an explanation), then why doesn't he just instantly reform almost everyone else, while he's at it?

Why are we only left with old documents that seemingly dare the reader to disbelieve them, when God could so easily do here what he apparently does in Heaven - inspire the same perfect behavior by his undeniable presence?

Robin said...

Jeff said: "what happens to the prisoners who don't continue to commit crimes in prison? Do they serve their sentence and get released, or are they still condemned to hell anyway? Is there any chance of parole?"

Jeff,

To answer your question about what happens to those who stop sinning in hell, I would have to say that there won't be any such people. People in hell stay evil. Hell is ongoing because sin is ongoing. As I already showed, this is hinted at in Revelation 22:11.

Revelation 22:11:

Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.

Scott said...

Robin,

You seem to imply that people who are saved here on earth do not sin. But this wouldn't be the case as humans are supposedly born sinners.

Christianity does not say people are not saved because they do not sin, they are saved because they think Jesus died for their sins.

It's also a bit of common sense that those in hell remain evil while those in heaven will remain holy.

Those who would be in heaven would not remain holy, they would become holy. Again, if we all fall short of the glory of God then we are all sinners. If our flesh is what causes us to sin, then it's unclear why we would sin after or bodies die and decompose.

Does God give those in hell a new body that causes them to sin but gives those in heaven a new body that does not?

This doesn't seem like "common sense" to me.

feeno said...

'Rat

You said "Why are we only left with old documents that seemingly dare the reader to disbelieve them...."

That's a great line,(I will look into that.) and that's also the $64,000 question, why some of us think the bible is archaic and for rubes, then people like me think it's new and different everytime I read it.

I only attempt to give reasons for the questions you pose for the sake of here's at least an explanation.

God made us body and spirit. Our body will rot, decay, decompose and eventually return to dust. But our resurected bodies will be made perfect. we will be raised in glory(1 Cor. 15:43) Our spiritual body will be "glorified" or made to sin no more or simply changed because we now see the truth clearly? When we accept Christ we are justified, from that point until we die we are being sanctified, (getting a little better day by day) and yes during that time we sin because we haven't been glorified. We still wear flesh. But one day we will discard these bodies that age or get sick or get tired for new ones. At least I hope so.

Dueces, feeno

ismellarat said...

My point, Robin and feeno, was that since it is in God's power to have us (apparently, since this apparently happens in Heaven) freely choose not to sin, he could have arranged it so that the vast majority would not even have to go to Hell.

Why Hell must exist when he could have chosen to not create it is another issue. Christians keep explaining God as if he's merely a bit player in a larger reality, when I thought he was running the whole show.

Robin said...

Rat,

People in heaven are confirmed in grace. They have no desire for sin. Since all desire for sin is completely gone they will not ever sin. They still make choices and freely do what they want to do. But since all desire for sin is gone, they will always want to do the right thing.

ismellarat said...

How do you define "confirmed in grace"?

If there is free will in Heaven, and they never sin, God must have some way of "making" people freely choose not to sin.

So I'd think that he could also do it here, since our actions this side of life seem to be so terribly important in determining where we go in the next.

Robin said...

Rat,

I explained what I meant by being confirmed in grace.

Those confirmed in grace have had all desire for sin removed from their heart so that they have no desire for sin. They still make choices but because all desire for sin is gone they always choose the right thing. They freely do what they want to do. Which is worship God.

God could do that right now but He doesn't. He's under no obligation to be merciful to sinners. Grace is something that nobody deserves and therefore God is never obligated to give grace to His creatures. Wether it's common grace or saving grace. Since God is never obligated give grace then He does nothing wrong by witholding grace. He's a good God. I don't know why God doesn't do it right now but I know he does nothing wrong by not doing it right now. To know that I would have to get indide the mind of God. and I'm not God. God has rights and prerogatives that I don't have. Logical explanations as to why are infinite and I'm not infinite. I can't fully comprehend the infinite.

Jeff said...

"To answer your question about what happens to those who stop sinning in hell, I would have to say that there won't be any such people. People in hell stay evil. Hell is ongoing because sin is ongoing. As I already showed, this is hinted at in Revelation 22:11."

Robin,

Well then I think you have an incredibly low view of the intelligence of people. I'm trying to appeal to reason, here - do you not think that maybe, just maybe someone would figure out that if they stop sinning, they can get out of hell? Come on here. You can train pigeons to learn that certain actions will produce certain rewards/punishments. Are you saying that we're dumber than pigeons? Because if you are...well, then I suppose you're probably the one that's dumber than a pigeon. It is plainly obvious that we have intelligence to know that actions have consequences. If I knew that my dad was going to throw me into a wood chipper if I ate from the cookie jar, you can be sure that I'd be staying the hell away from the cookie jar!

So your assertion is that everyone in hell is too stupid to even figure out that continual sin is what is keeping them there. I think that's ridiculous. I'd like to provide the following three statements, and then you can tell me if you agree with them or not:

1. There will be good non-Christians in hell - people like Gandhi, for instance - who sinned very little, and so would presumably not continue to sin in hell.

2. People are smart enough to figure out that if they stop sinning, they can escape hell - and they're smart enough to do it.

3. Thus, if the punishment for sin is not eternal (as you indicated), because of the above two facts, hell should be largely vacated once they have done their time.

I don't care what Revelation hints at (not to mention that that's pretty weak - the context pretty clearly shows that the verse is talking about the time from now until the "end times"). I don't care if you can find one verse to support your argument. I'm appealing to common sense. I'm appealing to facts that are plainly right in front of your face. If you can't figure it out, try going to a school for pigeons.

Robin said...

1. There will be good non-Christians in hell - people like Gandhi, for instance - who sinned very little, and so would presumably not continue to sin in hell.

Nope, everyone in hell is evil. Some are worse than others. Not everyone in hell recieves the same degree of punishment.

2. People are smart enough to figure out that if they stop sinning, they can escape hell - and they're smart enough to do it.

Nope, without the influence of God's grace everyone will continue to live in sin.

3. Thus, if the punishment for sin is not eternal (as you indicated), because of the above two facts, hell should be largely vacated once they have done their time.

Nope, hell will be full of sinners who continually blaspheme God and live a life of sin. Hell is ongoing because sin will be ongoing.

People in hell will hate God. They sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes and the cycle will continue forever.

Andre said...

Hi Robin,

When one is referred to as an evildoer, what does that mean? Because I don't understand why an atheist like me would be considered evil, and deserves eternal punishment.

You said, "To answer your question about what happens to those who stop sinning in hell, I would have to say that there won't be any such people." This statement indicates that you equate sinning with evil. If so, you obviously think that people who make it to heaven will stop sinning. But I'm curious as to why you and other christians tend to avoid using the word evil whenever the claim is made that people will stop sinning in heaven. Would it not be the case that everyone is evil if we are all sinners? Why don't we all just stop using the words sin and sinners, and replace it with evil and evildoers? This way it is clear that evildoers will no longer do evil in heaven. Otherwise, it seems to be a desperate attempt at trying to cast otherwise normal people as bad for no apparent reason.

Scott said...

Robin wrote: They still make choices but because all desire for sin is gone they always choose the right thing. They freely do what they want to do. Which is worship God.

Robin,

Do you always choose the right thing? Have you stopped sining completely? If not, why?

He's under no obligation to be merciful to sinners. Grace is something that nobody deserves and therefore God is never obligated to give grace to His creatures.

If God is not required to give mercy to sinners, then what does this say it's moral status?

If God must do good because he is good by his very nature, then giving mercy must not fall in the category of "good." And if it is not good, then why would God do such a thing at any time?

Note, I'm not saying that giving mercy to sinners is evil, I'm saying that, given your claim, giving mercy must fall somewhere outside of good, otherwise, God would be required to give mercy to sinners. Therefore, God's choice to give mercy at some point in the future appears to be an arbitrary choice on his part.

I don't know why God doesn't do it right now but I know he does nothing wrong by not doing it right now.

This sentence seems to conflict itself. How do you know that God does nothing wrong, yet not know why God doesn't cause people to freely choose not to sin in the here and now?

To know that I would have to get [inside] the mind of God. and I'm not God.

So then how do you know God does nothing wrong? It seems you'd need to know God's intentions to know if he's really doing the right thing.

For example, I could take actions that make me appear to be trustworthy and moral with the intent of using that trust against people at some point in the future.

Surely, if God is as powerful as Christianity claims, he'd have no problem creating the appearance of being good. He could have orchestrated the Bible and even religious experiences to gain people's trust with the intent of sending everyone to Hell regardless.

Jeff said...

Lol Robin, you crack me up. It's like listening to a broken record here. No thought involved - just defend your God like a mindless drone. I don't generally like to make fun of religious people, but this is just too good. I particularly like this bit:

"Nope, hell will be full of sinners who continually blaspheme God and live a life of sin. Hell is ongoing because sin will be ongoing.

"People in hell will hate God. They sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes, they sin, God punishes and the cycle will continue forever."

So as far as I see it, you must believe one of two things:

1. The people that have devoted their life to serving the incorrect God (i.e. Allah, Vishnu, Thor, etc.), instead of saying, "Oh hey, wow, that's crazy. I totally thought I had the right God here, but I guess not," and simply transferring their devotion from the incorrect to the correct God, they will decide to just hate God altogether. This, if you believe it, is a pretty irrational view. People throughout human history have been religious. They worship the God they worship because (presumably) they believe he/she/it is the correct God. Once they find out that they were wrong, common sense would say that they would then start worshipping the God they now know to be true. This view, on the other hand (the opposite of common sense), would say that they will decide to just hate God altogether. Lol.

OR...

2. The people who worshipped the wrong God but were still good people will go to heaven. This is a fairly reasonable view, but not something that is really advocated by the Bible. I mean, you could probably pull out verses to support it, but at the very least, most Christians don't hold to this view. This one is more rational, however, because at least when you say the people in hell will hate God, you'd only be talking about atheists - people who have rejected God altogether. I still don't think it correctly describes human nature (Hmm, which do I want - eternal punishment, or eternal bliss? Such a tough choice...), but at least it's better than choice #1.

So could I get your response to which one you believe? Maybe I can squeeze some common sense out of you yet...

Robin said...

Jeff,

What I believe is that people in hell will hate Christ, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit and his children. They are usually people who blashpheme Him and call His children names and make fun of them. They will probably even think God is unjust for His judgements and when they are punished and see others punished they will continue to blaspheme and sin and God will continue to punish. I believe God is a fair Judge and I have a confident trust that His justice is just. I'm not sure what happens to those who have never had the opportunity of hearing about Him. I don't know where Gahndi is at right now. But I do know that God isn't going to be unfair in His judgement. There are different degrees of punishment in hell just as there are different levels of reward in heaven. Nobody will be treated unjustly. Some recieve Gods grace some recieve justice. No one recieves injustice.

Jeff said...

Robin,

I think that takes us back to square one. Gandhi definitely did hear about the Gospel - he incorporated some Christian teachings into his own philosophy, although as far as I am aware he never claimed to be Christian. So according to what you say, Gandhi will go to hell, but maybe suffer less punishment than others. However, I still find it hard to believe that a person who is essentially the epitome of goodness like Gandhi would get to hell and suddenly start blaspheming God. I can't see him blaspheming anyone. That just seems to me to be against all common sense whatsoever. I can certainly see some people being pretty angry at God for punishing them, but I can't see all people being like that. That's my point.

But oh well...as long as you're suuuure that God is just...then I'm sure he's got a contingency plan for those who can get out of hell on good behaviour. I still like my house arrest idea - sure you can't get the full experience of heaven, but at least the air conditioning is nice.

Gandolf said...

Hi Robin you said .."Nope, without the influence of God's grace everyone will continue to live in sin."

But here on earth even with Gods supposed grace these folks all continue to sin in some way or another.

So why then would it be expected to be any different in heaven.

ismellarat said...

Gandolf, I take what she said to mean as being a form of "God's undeniable presence/influence," which we definitely don't have here.

At least I've never seen anything that can be considered an incontrovertible proof, and I've been/am looking/hoping for one for most of my life, so it can't be said that I'm not open to it.

Gandolf said...

Howdy ismellarat you said...

"Gandolf, I take what she said to mean as being a form of "God's undeniable presence/influence," which we definitely don't have here."

No to be honest i havent really noticed any real undeniable presence/influence happening thats showing anything so specially different to whats only human either.

Sure sometimes some Christian folk can seem to be a little nicer that some others might be,but so are many people depending on situations and circumstances etc.And many just dont seem to really need to have any faith beliefs either.

If Gods presence/influence was supposed to be so undeniable.Personally i would have thought we would be seeing some real decent evidence that it was actually creating something we could easily see was so very different.

Faithful folks will say oh no but humans are sinners thats why this happens this way.Bingo! no need to be worried.

The evidence we do feel we so often see that faith beliefs seem to make little difference to peoples humanity or can even often make so many folks more nasty and horrible,must just simply be thrown aside.

To be replaced with faith that God actually must make some special difference.

I dont know ismellarat seems God created us a world where logic and good evidence is so often useful and needed,yet he also decided us human should some how feel very comfortable relying on faith and a lack of any real evidence thats lasted now for thousands of years.

He dont half expect much hmmmm?

ismellarat said...

She meant it's different in Heaven, though, and I can see that.

And none of us can figure out why it's not that way here, if sinlessness with free will IS possible to achieve.

She apparently doesn't subscribe to the "but we'd be robots" line, because the same would then have to apply to Heaven.

We're all just hopeful guessers, I think.

Robin said...

"Hi Robin you said .."Nope, without the influence of God's grace everyone will continue to live in sin."

But here on earth even with Gods supposed grace these folks all continue to sin in some way or another.

So why then would it be expected to be any different in heaven."


Because in heaven all desire for sin will be removed from our hearts. The only things we will do in heaven will be good. We still make choices and do what we freely want to do. But we will never want to sin. We will be slaves to righteousness.

Robin said...

John said:

"If God is a person at all then he responds towards us as a person does, a father, and even as a creator who cares for us, not a harsh and demanding judge."

John, God is outside the human category. He's in a different category than we are. He alone is God. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. Although He's personal there is a huge distance between us and God. Because He's holy then He must punish sin because not to would be unjust.

Gandolf said...

Robin said...

John said:

"If God is a person at all then he responds towards us as a person does, a father, and even as a creator who cares for us, not a harsh and demanding judge."

"John, God is outside the human category. He's in a different category than we are. He alone is God. He cannot be compared to anything or anybody. Although He's personal there is a huge distance between us and God. Because He's holy then He must punish sin because not to would be unjust."

Hi Robin!, and yet we are so often supposed to try to live by his examples.

Which route should we take?,live by his examples or accept our different category which includes not being perfect.

Oh no but hold on ,god is god and he doesnt need to accept he made us in a different category either right?.

Sheeze quick somebody pass me the asprins .

Robin said...

"Hi Robin!, and yet we are so often supposed to try to live by his examples.

Which route should we take?,live by his examples or accept our different category which includes not being perfect."

Gandolf,

There are ways we are to be like God and ways we are not. God alone is God. He alone is the Creator. God has rights and prerogatives that we don't. What we are to go by is His revealed will which is this:

Love God above all else and love our neigbor as ourself.

The secret things belong to the Lord.