Quote of the Day, by Mark Priestap, a Christian Father

We can be timid as parents to explain the wrath of God to our children because we’re afraid they’ll be too frightened and want nothing to do with him. But we are forgetting that the fear of God is a means God uses to stir up in us the desire to be forgiven by him..."Gospel fear" is a powerful weapon against unbelief. Far from being something to avoid, it is crucial to our children’s salvation and sanctification. Link

Hat Tip to Shawn Willis

61 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

"Gospel Fear" is intimidation and manipulation from those that are "bigger and more powerful" to get their children to behave for reasons, only the parent really knows. It is selfishness to the extreme, because it does not consider the child's reason. It just assume their pre-rogative to 'choose for the child" without considering the child, really at all. The child is considered as a subject to be "formed", and not a person to be known.

Parents discipline in such a way, because they "fear God" and think that if they do not maintain their control over their children, then they will have "hell to pay" and the child's "sinful nature" will not be alligned with "obedience", so that society may benefit. Such control is damaging and damning to the child for many reasons. I wonder how many children feel as if they were really loved, important, and of value when they have been treated in such a way.

David said...

Child abuse by another name is still child abuse.

LadyAtheist said...

The whole god-as-father metaphor is a big reason I couldn't accept "him." What kind of father kills everyone on the planet all at once, except for just a few? Sure, we're supposed to focus just on the survivors, but where is the sympathy for the innocent babies swept away in the flood? So he spares the one good family... surely there was more than one.

Not to mention, what kind of father punishes his one GOOD kid for the sins of all his brats? The same guy who spared Noah & Lot is now turning around and letting Christ bleed out on a cross?

Then we're supposed to fear the mean sky daddy of the OT and yet be grateful to the "loving" daddy of the NT for not smiting us.

...but he could still send us to the eternal fiery pit for [fill in the blank].

Lovely.

A. said...

I don't understand why you atheists are so upset about this. Instilling fear in one's child isn't always bad.

For example, suppose one lives in an environment containing a lot of aggressive, poisonous snakes. Parents teach their children to identify them, and tell their young children scary, real-life stories about people being bitten and getting really sick. This makes children very scared of the snakes. But this isn't child abuse. It is good for parents to be truthful for their children in this case, even though it scares them; for it's for their benefit that they understand the real danger of those snakes.

I presume that Christian parents, and this church father that Loftus points to, have the same motivations as the parents who tell their children scary stories about the snakes. We believe that hell is something real and dangerous. Can you see why it would be irresponsible and neglectful for Christian parents _not_ to warn their children about it, given that we believe this is a real and terrible danger?

Angie Van De Merwe's theorizes that parents are motivated by "selfishness to the extreme," and that parents tell their children about hell for the sake of "discipline." No doubt some Christian parents are motivated in this way. But it's really implausible that most Christian parents are so motivated.

matt the magnificient said...

@ A there is a difference between real and imaginary fears. for example, the legend of the Cuco, a child eating monster, is widely used by parents in Spain and Latin America when children disobey their parents. is istilling irrational beliefs and preying on fear of them a good parenting tool? teaching children about poisionous snakes is educational, and has a proven effect. there is a REAL outcome for being bitten by a snake; there is no PROVEN real outcome for disobedience of the boogeymen in this world, including your particular version of god.

Jonathan said...

Dear A.,

Teaching your children to be fearful of that for which there is evidence that it may harm them, such as your snakes, is totally reasonable and rational.

Teaching your children to be fearful of something for which there is no evidence and which cannot be validated is just plain child abuse.

We're not talking about snakes, getting knocked down by a bus, eating poisonous mushrooms or drowning in the pond. It is fine to instil a degree of fear in your child about those. Eternal damnation in hell though is a different category, there is nothing anyone can do to justify fear of hell short of actually dying and finding out if it's real, which if it's not real makes things rather too late. That's why it's just plain nuts to put notions of "Gospel fear" in your child's mind.

Cheers,
Anat.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

A.
You are corrct. I am sorry to impugne motives. I just know that "image" is also of importance to Christian families because of social pressure. And many times, social pressure can overcome parental care, as to their individual child and his/her needs. And since humans respond to social pressure, as this is human nature, many times the parent can be oblivious to "hearing" the child. (And I would add, this happens all the time, everywhere and with believers and unbelievers, if we do not take the time or care to listen.)

And yes, we do tell children real life stories about things that will harm. But, "hell" and "God' is not a real world experience. Whether hell and God exists is not a probable fact, but speculations of philosophy, formal, or not.

When people act selfishly, it is not always seen, or acknowledged, as we all have blind spots. And sometimes selfishness is important for human survival. Is it wrong for humans to want to survive? This is what causes the disagreements in the world.

"Identity" is part of human survival. And human, being social animals, use their reason to justify their existence. Their group is the "most special", "important", "has the truth" "knows God" etc.

The need to "prove" the specialness of one's group "just is". And this is where our country's value of life, liberty and the pursuit of happines is a "universal".

Our Constituion protects not just "Americans", but also the individual, who has come to understand himself apart from being an American. Autonomy should be the goal of any good parent, and this is what our country values in its "ideals".

Is America Great? Yes, because it values liberty and justice for all.

Jim said...

A,

I would also add that I see a big difference between teaching your children what behaviors to avoid in order to stay "safe" versus what thoughts and beliefs they must avoid to stay "saved."

I can control my behaviors to a much larger degree than my thoughts. I would argue, in fact, that my thoughts may be borderline uncontrollable--ooops, there I went again, lusting after a beautiful imaginary woman, for example. So I've just committed adultery for the umpteenth time, according to the character, Jesus.

Using fear to instruct children will undoubtedly lead to a happy lifetime of God-belief for some children and a lifetime of miserable mental fear and torment for other children. I was in the second camp in my childhood to some extent . . . always worrying . . . and no amount of "Jesus loves you" did any good. I consider myself a victim of unintentional child abuse.

Jayak said...

Thanks for that post Jim.

I can completely identify with what you just said.

Jason

2oaks said...

You are reacting to a review of a book you have not read. Please read Farley’s book, analyze it, think about it, and then react.

As a skeptic with a 3 year old son, I take my family to church because of the many benefits, both social and moral, of having a church family (these are not negligible). I am very afraid of what is planted in his young brain during Sunday school. But I am also confident that I will be able to balance what he learns with logic and reason; I’m hoping to use Christianity to develop his critical thinking skills, rather than just sheltering him from it.

“Gospel fear”, it seems, does eventually lead to “joyful, loving obedience” and a fulfilled spiritual life. I have to admit that this is consistent with the message of salvation.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ A

Ridiculous - Telling your child to be afraid of an actual verifiable real world phenomena, crossing the street without help, running around the pool, wild animals, snakes, poisonous plants, is completely different from telling them to be afraid of fictional entities Voldemort of Minotaurs or Closet Monsters or Hell. Children cannot process the difference. If you are going to fill their heads with nonsense, at least wait until they are old enough to actually understand the difference between real and make believe.

Jayak said...

Good for you and your family 2oaks.

However,

If you're implying this is the ONLY WAY to live a productive, healthy and fulfilled life then I would have to disagree with you.


I think for the most part "gospel fear" leads to these benefits when people who call themselves christians aren't willing to be brutally honest with themselves about the truth claims of christianity.

Cole said...

I have a "fear" of God in that I respect God. But I don't fear God in an unhealthy way. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear can carry with it the idea of torment. But thanks be to Christ there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. I am covered in the robes of His righteousness and can approach Him boldly. In His presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore.

Jayak said...

@cole

"I have a "fear" of God in that I respect God. "

Yes, that is what I was taught in sunday school also. It doesn't address the point that if you don't believe a bunch of stories written down by men about a man named jesus the same stories tell you that you will burn in hell.... forever. That's a pretty good motivator to believe those stories when you learn them at the impressionable ages of 5-12. we know fear is an excellent motivator to do and believe all kinds of things Cole.


But that's ok, you're not afraid. You believe those stories to be true and you "respect" god.

I don't think that's what the bible writers meant when they wrote - fear god.

I noticed you gave the impression when you first appeared on this blog that you were some kind of agnostic, but I'm prepared to call you out and make the claim you are just another christian poser.

Jason

A. said...

Matt the Magnificent & Jonathan & Angie & Jeffrey,

You all make what seems to me to be a plausible response to what I said. You're trying to point to a relevant difference between the snake case and the hell case in virtue of which it's permissible for parents to warn children of snakes but not permissible for parents to warn about hell. The (alleged) relevant difference you've all pointed to is a difference in the weightiness of reasons we have for belief in these two things, snakes and hell.

I'm happy that you made this response, because it re-focuses the attention on the important issue -- whether hell exists or not, and whether we have good reasons to think that it does. This is better than blasting Christian parents' motives, which seems to me neither productive nor well-grounded (and it seemed to me that previous commenters were doing this). The main point of my previous comment was just to point out that surely most Christians who teach their children about hell are not therefore moral monsters. It's not out of a devilish desire to control their minds that most Christian parents teach their children about hell. Rather, most Christian parents, I think, are motivated by altruistic reasons; they're motivated out of a desire to protect their children from what they think is a real and terrible danger.

A. said...

Jim,

you write: "I would also add that I see a big difference between teaching your children what behaviors to avoid in order to stay "safe" versus what thoughts and beliefs they must avoid to stay "saved.""

I guess I don't see how there's a relevant difference between these cases. If certain kinds of thoughts are dangerous, we should warn children about the dangers of having such thoughts; just like if certain kinds of actions are dangerous, we should warn children about the dangers of doing such actions.

Of course, it IS a problem if we're warning children against having certain beliefs/thoughts when those beliefs/thoughts aren't actually dangerous. I do agree that we shouldn't warn children against failing to believe in God if failing to believe in God is not actually dangerous. The issue comes down to whether it's true that failing to believe in God is dangerous.

matt the magnificient said...

@ A actually, its about the CHURCHES " devilish desire to control their minds". the parents just go along with it, because they are controlled by the same fear. if i'm afraid i'm going to lose my home because i'm struggling with the bills, should i scare the crap out of my 5 year old by sharing my fears with him, even if I am not 100% certain it will happen? only religion justifies using scare tactics at a young age to instill fear of uncertain outcomes, justified by their need to put these fear trigger mechanisims in their heads at an early age. despicable. "fear hell, little 4 year old, because we need you to grow up and believe what we preach and teach it to your children someday."

A. said...

Matt,

Well, I'd say that the churches I've been a part also educate children about hell out of altruistic motives (to the extent that they do educate children about hell. the churches I have been a part of haven't emphasized that doctrine when teaching young children).

"if i'm afraid i'm going to lose my home because i'm struggling with the bills, should i scare the crap out of my 5 year old by sharing my fears with him, even if I am not 100% certain it will happen?"

This analogy is not apt. Of course you shouldn't scare the crap out of your 5 year old in this way. nobody thinks that a parent who so scares the 5 year old thereby protects the 5 year old from harm. In the case we're talking about (christian parents educating children about hell) the christian parents DO think that scaring the children in this way protects them from harm.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Matt,

I think you raise a really valid point. Let us assume arguendo that Hell exists, that it is a real place that the allegedly all loving God condemns monkeys for all eternity if they fail to love him sufficiently because he is a jealous jerk who simply cannot stand rejection. Ok fine. Hell exists.

Assuming that, is Hell appropriate to teach children? Is it appropriate material to discuss with them? Your example about Foreclosures is a good example of an ADULT concern. NOT something that should be inflicted on Children. We don't teach young children about the dangers of STDs - We wait until they have achieved a certain level of maturity because it is a more adult concern. Christian parents teach children about Hell before they are even cognitively able to differentiate between which glass of water contains more, the tall one or the short one. Even assuming that Hell exists, it is NOT something that should be taught to children, anymore than Original Sin, the allegedly fallen and debased nature of man, etc.

matt the magnificient said...

you say what i'm thinking better than i can jeffery. i want to take you to vermont and marry you so we can do that all the time lol

The Snide Atheist said...

You've got to start the fear early and often, if you want to ensure that you mess someone up enough that they'll believe in fairy tales for the rest of their life.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Matt

LOL! Alas, I am quite enamored of the female form. :)

I cannot stress how harmful it is to teach children about these things at a young age. I was taught about hell at age 5 in Sunday School. It terrified me. I couldn't sleep for a week. I finally had to ask my parents to stay up all night with me because I couldn't take it. They were, rightfully, rather pissed at the SS teacher. Why? Because children at that age do NOT possess the cognitive ability to readily distinguish between rational fears and irrational fears. This is why we don't show children slasher flicks, serial killer and horror movies - their ability to emotionally distinguish between reality and unreality is exceedingly low. I doubt many Christians who would happily tell their children about Hell would take their Children to see 'Saw' or let them watch Dexter or Silence of the Lambs, but the principle is EXACTLY the same - eternal damnation, torture and punishment. Even if you view Hell as a real and terrible place, it is NOT a discussion that should be had with children.

Clare said...

@2Oaks "As a skeptic with a 3 year old son, I take my family to church because of the many benefits, both social and moral, of having a church family (these are not negligible). I am very afraid of what is planted in his young brain during Sunday school. But I am also confident that I will be able to balance what he learns with logic and reason; I’m hoping to use Christianity to develop his critical thinking skills, rather than just sheltering him from it. "

Don't send your child to Sunday school to have his head filled with all that nonsense. You can teach him the fairy tales at home if you wish.You don't have to go to church to have a social life. They just take your money and waste your time. There must be a skeptics or Humanist group in your area, or join another type of group like an art association, or a choir depending on your interests.

Cole said...

Jason,

I'm not sure the Bible teaches that people will burn in hell forever. Sure there is a place of eternal punishmenent and eternal destruction where humans will go, but I'm not sure they will stay there. God's punishment in the Bible can be for purifying and corective purposes. Moreover, if God's sovereign will cannot be thwarted, and He's not willing that any should perish, and He died for the whole world, then it follows logically that everybody will eventualy be saved. Whether in this life or the next. Every knee will bow and every mouth will confess Christ as Lord.

The way I see the fear of God is that it's a dreadful type of fear for those who hate Him and are in rebellion against Him. Those who are His have a respect for Him but it's a healthy type of fear. The Bible talks about more than one type of fear. There are many different forms.


I use to be agnostic but I'm trying to come back to the faith. I've been comming here for three years now. I started off as a Calvinist, moved to agnosticism, and now I'm non-denominational. There's alot of things I need to study and look into. Things that I'm not sure about. Like hell being a place of eternal concious torment for humans. I'm definitely no Calvinist anymore. And I may change to something else. I still learning and growing.

Jeffrey A. Myers said...

@ Cole,

"They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" 2 Thess 1:9

"And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Rev. 20:9-11

Certainly the Bible does not require that unbelievers be DELIVERED from Hell in order for "every knee to bow and every tongue to confess." Slaves subject to eternal torment and imprisoned in hell can surely be made to bow. As they are being eternally punished, they will surely recognize the error of their ways. But the Bible is pretty explict all over that it is eternal. Unless you don't think that part is divinely inspired again. :)

matt the magnificient said...

at coel

you and your god sure paint a pretty picture of the future of mankind. I can't WAIT to be forced into submission so i can be lobotomized and removed of everything distintly human about myself, so I can sit in outerspace with the rest of the world kissing gods feet, thanking him over and over for creating me and the world he just got done destroying, and eating bon-bons while waiting to be told how to make every move for the rest of eternity. sounds like a blast.

exreformed said...

Fundamentalists have a mental disorder.

Cole said...

Jeffrey,

I should have added that the word translated "forever" doesn't always mean literally forever when we are dealing with God's judgement. Consider this passage:

Isaiah 34:8-10:

For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of recompence for the cause of Zion. And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur, and her land shall become burning pitch. NIGHT AND DAY it shall not be quenched; it's smoke shall go up FOREVER. (ESV)

Notice that the text says that the smoke of Edom will ascend forever even though Edom isn't still burning today. The exact some phrase is used in Revelation in describing God's judgement.

matt the magnificient said...

now i'm all curious, cole. after jesus comes back, and all the smiteing and whatnot is done and everyone worthy heads off to heaven, whats that gonna be like? any thoughts on the eternity itinerary?

Cole said...

Matt,

God doesn't force us into submission. He performs a miracle by regenerating the heart. All desire for sin will be removed from the heart for those in heaven. We still make decisions but because all desire for sin is gone we will always choose the right thing.

matt the magnificient said...

could you be a little more specific? like a day in heaven: whats it going to be like. are we as smart as god with all his powers, or what? am i eternal? do i have a house? a dog? a wife? sex? go fishing? is every fish i catch bigger than the last? i'm being serious. other than the great feeling and loss of desire for strippers, whats a day in heaven like, what are my options there and how much do i know?

Cole said...

Matt,

Get the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn. He gives a good description of the new creation we will dwell in. He argues it from the scriptures.

matt the magnificient said...

well your no fun at all, cole. i was hoping you would regale us with your beliefs on what heaven is supposed to like on a daily basis.

matt the magnificient said...

well thats interesting, cole. as much as you seem to know and enjoy setting people straight about the rules and requirements of christianity to get there, i figured you would have some firm ideas about what it specifically will be like in heaven. hell, i wouldn't plan a vacation somewhere if i didn't know what the place specifically offered for me and my family in the way of luxury, let alone my entire life. interesting indeed. i would think that as a christian if you come to an atheist website to show people how right and perfect christianity and what it has to offer truly is, you would be able to spell out what the ultimate reward is.

Cole said...

Matt,

It would take more than a comment on a blog to describe what I think the new creation is going to be like. It's going to be a new creation where there's no death, pain, or suffering. We will have resurrected bodies. We will be complete and the perfect and sustained satisfaction that we yearn will finally be ours forever.

matt the magnificient said...

well sometimes when people have a lot to say, they do 2 or 3 part comments. take a crack at it why don't you? i'm very curious about what this "new creation" will be like on a daily basis, apart from the no death and pain stuff. convince us that this heaven is a better place.

Cole said...

Matt,

Here's a little snippet of what I think the new heavens and earth will be like.

1. We will have new beautiful resurrected bodies like the one Christ has. We wont get sick, grow old or die. We will be free from all pain and suffering. We will demonstrate the qualities of youthfulness that Jesus valued in children - curiosity, gratefulness, a longing to learn and explore, an eagerness to hear stories and gather close to loved ones.

2. There will be a new universe of stars and planets.

3. Human beings will govern the angels.

4. Animals will peacefully live on earth with humans in harmony praising God.

5. We will stand on the New Earth and see it, feel it, smell it, hear it's sounds and taste it's fruits. We'll continually be discovering, to our delight, what we've been missing all our lives. God will forever give us more of Himself and His creation to discover.

6. There will be beauty and fulfilment. We will see God as He truely is - an endless reservoir of fascination. Everything will be enjoyable, good, refreshing, fascinating and interesting.

7. We will all wear cloths and dress normally.

8. We will never know everything like God. Because we are finite and unique we will have different tastes in music and food along with a thousand other things. Maybe will even have friendly debates about things we don't yet understand.

9. Everything that we will want will be good. We will delight in God and abide in Him.

10. There will be banquets, feasts, singing, dancing, and laughing.

11. We will play and have fun.

12. We will retain our genders.

13. We will have a home.

That's all for now.

Shawn said...

The point of highlighting this book and review of it, is that without question the Christian theology considers it a good idea to use fear in order to convince children to follow God. This is nothing like warning children about the real life dangers of snakes or spiders, but is about physchological manipulation of a child in order to get them to accept as fact the middle eastern fairy tales the parents and Church are pushing.
Fear and guilt were always the recruitment tools of Christianity, but I couldn't believe that in the 21st century they are actually so proud of this, as to confirm it in writing.

Paul Rinzler said...

Holy sumpin', Cole:

I should have added that the word translated "forever" doesn't always mean literally forever when we are dealing with God's judgement.

If you can make the word "forever" not mean "forever," what word in the Bible CANT you make mean whatever you want it to, and on what basis?

scattered said...

Maybe not entirely fairly, but the quote reminds me of this song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxYsi5Y-xOQ

shane said...

Fear can demand respect from people, but it cannot demand love!
The NT tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God in every way....but instilling fear of hell into children is not going to accomplish what christians hope it will.
As a matter of fact, it was the concept of hell which led to my dispising the gospel!

Chris said...

If I believed in hell, I would NEVER have kids. How could you bring them into a universe like that? Even if I was 99.99% sure they would wind up in heaven, I still wouldn't do it. It would be ignorant, cruel and very selfish.

Lvka said...

"Gospel fear" !? Boy, these Protestants are retarded! Who needs "Gospel fear" when you can have real terror instead!?

Tim Manley said...

Using fear as a tool to brainwash children is evil. And Cole, if you remove the God crap from your post I have that in my life now.

Cole said...

Paul,

There's places in the Bible where the term doesn't mean "forever" or "everlasting." I already gave you one example that deals with God's judgement. Here's a summary of other examples in the Bible:

We see the word everlasting applied to God's covenant with the Jews; to the priesthood of Aaron; to the statutes of Moses; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the mountains and hills; and to the doors of the Jewish temple. We see the word forever applied to the duration of a man's earthly existence; to the time a child was to abide in the temple; to the continuance of Gehazi's leprosy; to the duration of the life of David; to the duration of a king's life; to the duration of the earth; to the time the Jews were to possess the land of Canaan; to the time they were to dwell in Jerusalem; to the time a servant was to abide with his master; to the time Jerusalem was to remain a city; to the duration of the Jewish temple; to the laws and ordinances of Moses; to the time David was to be king over Israel; to the throne of Solomon; to the stones that were set up at Jordan; to the time the righteous were to inhabit the earth; and to the time Jonah was in the fish's belly. We find the phrase forever and ever applied to the hosts of heaven, or the sun, moon, and stars; to a writing contained in a book; to the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea; and to the time the Jews were to dwell in Judea. We find the word never applied to the time the fire was to burn on the Jewish altar; to the time the sword was to remain in the house of David; to God's covenant with the Jews; to the time the Jews should not experience shame; to the time the house of David was to reign over Israel; to the time the Jews were not to open their mouths because of their shame; to the time those who fell by death should remain in their fallen state; and to the time judgment was not executed.



But the law covenant is abolished; the priesthood of Aaron and his sons has ceased; the ordinances, and laws, and statutes of Moses are abrogated; the Jews have long since been dispossessed of the land of Canaan, have been driven from Judea, and God has brought upon them a reproach and a shame; the man to the duration of whose life the word forever was applied is dead; David is dead, and has ceased to reign over Israel; the throne of Solomon no longer exists; the Jewish temple is demolished, and Jerusalem has been overthrown, so that there is not left "one stone upon another;" the servants of the Jews have been freed from their masters; Gehazi is dead, and no one believes he carried his leprosy with him into the future world; the stones that were set up at Jordan have been removed, and the smoke that went up from the burning land of Idumea has ceased to ascend; the righteous do not inherit the earth endlessly, and no one believes that the mountains and hills, as such, are indestructible; the fire that burnt on the Jewish altar has long since ceased to burn; judgment has been executed; and no Christian believes that those who fall by death will never be awakened from their slumbers. Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?

Paul Rinzler said...

"Now, as these words are used in this limited sense in the Scriptures, why should it be supposed that they express endless duration when applied to punishment?"

Because this limited sense is exactly contradictory to every single dictionary definition (at least in my dictionary) of the word "forever."

What you're proposing is that we can make words mean the exact opposite of what they really mean. So Christianity really is from the Bizarro world. I knew it along!

Cole said...

Paul,

The Hebrew and greek words don't always mean "everlasting" and "forever"

Youngs literal translation of the Bible translates the words age-during in some contexts.

Cole said...

Rev. 20:10

and the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] the beast and the false prophet, and they shall be tormented day and night -- to the ages of the ages.

Young's literal Translation Of The Bible

Cole said...

Hebrew:

`owlam

long duration, antiquity, futurity, for ever, ever, everlasting, evermore, perpetual, old, ancient, world ancient time, long time (of past) (of future) for ever, always continuous existence, perpetual everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity forever and ever

Greek:

Aion

for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity the worlds, period of time, age

Wesley said...

Cole is regular little gospel puppet, isn't he?

So, God is the perfect Father. If any human father modeled his parenting on that, we would put the guy in prison.

Comparing my fatherhood to God's fatherhood is the primary reason why I ejected out of the Christian world after 46 years.

Wesley said...

Cole, can you take a little helpful advice?

John Loftus and many of the regulars here have Ph.D.s, and, and their knowledge of Hebrew and Greek makes your efforts at using lexicons and concordances look pathetic.

I suggest you stop preaching and conducting Bible studies here on this site, because we are all laughing at you.

Cole said...

Laugh all you want. But the fact remains that the words have different meanings based on their context. The lexicons were written by experts in the Hebrew and Greek languages. I wasn't writing it for John but Paul.

Paul Rinzler said...

Cole, shouldn't your argument be (or, maybe it really is) that the word "forever" isn't really the correct English word to translate the corresponding Hebrew or Greek word?

Can you agree that if "forever" doesn't mean something like "an infinite amount of time," it's actually the wrong word?

Paul Rinzler said...

Sorry, Cole, I misunderstood. You're really saying that the Hebrew and Greek words include "forever" and it synonyms as well as other meanings that do not mean "forever."

However, would you agree, then, that when the Hebrew or Greek word, when not meaning "forever," but some other (closely related) meaning, is translated as "forever," that translation is not merely a poor one, but is actually incorrect?

Cole said...

Paul,

What I'm saying is that it's unclear based on these words definitions and usages in the Bible to come to a definitive conclusion about hell being a place of eternal concious suffering for humans. It may be but it may not.

Paul Rinzler said...

Cole, before we talk about Hell, I want to be clear about words and their multiple meanings in the Bible. Can you answer my question in my last post directly?

danielg said...

Love warns of danger, pride threatens.

http://www.godtweak.com/?p=9

GearHedEd said...

Shane, you put your finger on it!

"Fear can demand respect from people, but it cannot demand love!
The NT tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God in every way...."

Can you get an honest "love" out of anyone by commanding it?

Breckmin said...

Holy angels fear God. It is logical to fear a Holy Creator Who gives consequences for actions.

Teaching children the TRUTH about the Holy Infinite Creator and how choice is a danger to us is one of the wisest things you can do.

This accusation of fear tactics FAILS to deal with the TRUTH itself and whether or not it is logical for creatures who are created in God's Image and capable of violating (this does not refer to somehow injurying God) God's Holiness with their bad choices (which taint themselves)to actually fear consequences.

If a lion is in the rain forrest(JUNGLE) and I tell you about it... the fear is logical. There are consequences for not listening to the person who tells you the truth about danger.

The same way we teach our kids to watch out for cars before they cross the street is the same way it is logical to teach our children about ALL consequences..

including (especially) eternal consequences.

Breckmin said...

"Fear can demand respect from people, but it cannot demand love!"

We don't love God simply because He demands respect or because are scared of Him. We love God because He first loved us and showed us His Self-Sacrificing Love by becoming a Man and paying for our bad choices.

Until you address the relationship of the Christian and how they see God's faithfulness in their lives, and God's Self-Sacrificing Love in offering Himself as an Atonement for our sins...

your "demand love" concept will remain incomplete.

GearHedEd said...

"We don't love God simply because He demands respect or because [we] are scared of Him. We love God because He first loved us and showed us His Self-Sacrificing Love by becoming a Man and paying for our bad choices."

Was that before or after he destroyed the world with a flood?